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Camp Pendleton vet uses Marine Corps skills to teach at Palomar College

By Lance Cpl. Melissa Ugalde | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | December 4, 2019


"Ensure the task is understood, supervised, and accomplished.” This is the sixth of eleven Marine Corps leadership principles instilled in Marines from onset of their career. This specific principle is the ability to communicate a task to subordinates, as well as being able to assist and successfully lead Marines to mission accomplishment.

Retired U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Serena Reid uses the skills in communication and leadership she gained as a Marine to mold young videographers as a teacher at a local community college.

Reid enlisted into the United States Marine Corps as a Combat Videographer in June 1986. Reid rose through the ranks, eventually transitioning from staff sergeant to warrant officer, then to captain before retiring.

Reid, a Cleveland native, was stationed on Marine Corps bases all over the United States, from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, to Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay. She also deployed twice in support of the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

After retiring in 2007, Reid worked as a video editor for KUSI News for two years. Reid attributes her time at KUSI, where she often worked under immense pressure, with further increasing her proficiency in video editing,

“That puts your video editing skills on nuclear because we were always editing, you didn’t have a chance to make an edit and go get coffee, you had to get it done,” Reid said. “Having gone through two deployments, Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, it teaches you to take care of your equipment. You have to be able to take care of yourself and your equipment because you have a mission to bring back imagery.”

Reid, who is now an adjunct professor of media studies at Palomar College in San Marcos, California, uses the skills she learned in the Marine Corps to pay it forward and teach students multimedia and broadcasting.

“Discipline, work ethic, and common sense,” Reid said. “You have to make sure that everything is ready to go, that all your equipment is working. The Marine Corps teaches you to think common sense-wise and logistics-wise, and it comes naturally. There’s no other experience you can have that teaches you that.”

Reid teaches the college’s three live broadcast classes, instructing students how to film and edit video packages of high school football games throughout San Diego County. The students then conduct a live highlights show with their footage.

“The students do all the work, they’re the ones that make the show and make it good," said Reid. "I don’t have a good show if I don’t have good students. It was the same way with the Marines.”

From her time as an enlisted Marine, to commissioned officer, to KUSI video editor, Reid built a foundation of knowledge and leadership that she fully utilizes today to mentor her pupils.

“A combination of all the knowledge from the Marine Corps, and having worked at KUSI, I think has given me a really good foundation with translating to my students what’s going to be needed when they get out here,” Reid said. “When you teach a young Marine something or a student something, you can see that lightbulb go off in their eyes. When that happens I’m like: ‘Okay, I’m good. I can sleep good tonight.’”