Making a difference: TSU students celebrate assistant dean in school of communication

HOUSTON – Maiya Turner rushed into the studio with five minutes to spare before showtime.  After anchoring her belongings, Turner slid to her left for a debrief on the hour’s latest. 

She listened as Professor Serbino Sandifer-Walker ran her through the variety: if you’re talking Washington, D.C. make it local. Same for the latest on COVID-19. In fact, whatever the story, be sure it’s of local significance.

“Just think about the current events, what’s actually going on in our community,” Walker advised.

Tuner nodded her head, took a breath, and declared, “Around the world. Around our community. This is KTSU2 News for Monday, February 1, 2021.”

Professor Walker watched from her corner of the dimly lit studio as Turner practiced what she had learned.

“You’ve got to make sure people know what’s happening locally first,” professed the professor.

For Serbino Sandifer-Walker, or Professor Walker, as she’s affectionally known, local reporting is the raison d’être – the very basis for why reporting matters. That’s been her mantra, echoed from the halls of TSU’s School of Communication ever since she joined the faculty in the early 1990s, after reporting stints throughout Texas and New York City.

It’s what she hammers home to students, like Maiya Turner, a senior, who serves as KTSU2′s lead anchor and managing editor.

KTSU2 is the student-run arm of Texas Southern University’s long-running radio station, KTSU 90.9 FM.

“I knew from a very young age that I wanted to do journalism,” Turner said, adding her aspirations deepened upon taking her first course with Professor Walker.

“I love this woman. My mother knows for a fact that Professor Walker is my second mom,” Turner said with a chuckle.

Serbino-Walker’s motherly approach has attracted students to her journalism program.

Kennedi Robinson recently changed her major to journalism, from biology. She said she loved writing but never felt confident about her work. That changed, Robinson said after taking a course with Professor Walker.

“She helped me begin to find my voice for reporting,” Robinson said.

Harrison Richmond, a graduate student at Texas Southern University, oversees scheduling and other production logistics for KTSU2. Richmond praised Walker’s continued enthusiasm.

“She stood the test of time, from when she first got into media, till now; she’s still doing it, creating future generations of broadcasters,” Richmond said.

Serbino-Walker isn’t one for pomp and circumstance, however.  Reporting remains at the core of her teaching – so much that she continues to do so in the field with her students.

The story never stops.

“It is so humbling for me,” Serbino-Walker said.

“My only goal is to help them to become the person they want to become. So, we work very hard at it,” she continued.

KPRC 2 is partnering with Texas Southern University throughout the month of February for a celebration of Houston Black history. Students from TSU’s School of Communication and members of @KTSU_2 “The Voice” online team are providing 28 days of content for the @kprc2 Instagram account and the station’s other digital platforms. Posts and articles have been researched and produced exclusively by TSU students under the supervision of their School of Communication professors and the KPRC 2 digital team. An article will be published daily throughout February 2021 on click2houston.com/blackhistory


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