Sarah Wagner | Director

Sarah Wagner is the Director of the VIH Program in the Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.  In her current role, she oversees a large grant from The Heinz Endowments that offers international experiences, leadership development, and community engagement experiences to underrepresented women at fifteen colleges and universities throughout Pennsylvania.  Conducting field research on decentralization in El Salvador and completing an intensive Portuguese language course in Fortaleza, Brazil were the highlights of her M.A. in Global Political Economy.  Currently, Sarah is completing a doctorate in Social and Comparative Analysis in Education at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research centers on predeparture preparation and cultural competency development for engineers and underrepresented students. For the past three years, she has taught a course on Cultural Competency Development.  As a certified facilitator in the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), Sarah enjoys working to improve team dynamics and organizational culture.  Sarah has been invited to speak about VIH as well as various aspects of international education in Barcelona, Prague, Shanghai, and Colombia as well as at conferences across the United States.  She was recently nominated for the ATHENA Young Professional Award.  In her spare time, she volunteers for Strong Women; Strong Girls, and tutors in ESL.           

All student newspaper articles are to be approved by the VIH Director.

Sarah Wagner | University Center for International Studies | 1209 Cathedral of Learning | Pittsburgh, PA 15260 | 412.624.0276 direct | sewst29@pitt.edu



Emily R. Koren | Graduate Intern

Emily R. Koren is a doctoral student in Social and Comparative Analysis in Education at the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Education. Her research interests include place-based education, immigration and education, and second language acquisition in domestic and international contexts. Emily spent the past five years teaching high school Social Studies and Spanish in Durango, Colorado and Truckee, California. She completed her M.A. in International Studies from The University of Denver in 2008 with a focus on Latin America and Human Geography. Her thesis, "Contra Su Voluntad: Indigenous Women's Health in Rural Peru" was published by the University of Denver's International Human Rights Advocacy Center.  In 2010 Emily co-founded Stand Up for Rivers, a non-profit organization of stand-up paddle boarders committed to river awareness and sustainability.  A former radio DJ, farmer, and professional ice hockey player, Emily is a world traveler and outdoor enthusiast. In addition to her duties with Vira Heinz, Emily is an Assistant Coach for the Pitt Club Women's Ice Hockey team. She is originally from Buffalo, New York.

Emily R. Koren | University Center for International Studies | 1209 Cathedral of Learning| Pittsburgh, PA 15260 | vihprogram@pitt.edu



                                                             Julia Qian | Graduate Intern

Julia Qian serves as a graduate assistant at VIH Program while pursuing her master degree in Higher Education Management at the University of Pittsburgh. Her career interests include student engagement and leadership development, global education, and diversity and inclusion. Prior to her work at VIH Program, she worked at various higher education institutions and offices, such as Multicultural Affairs Office at Chatman University, New Student Programs Office at Cornell University, and International Buddy Program at University of Minnesota.  

Julia came to the United States when she was 18, and studied at the University of Minnesota for her bachelor degree. She sees herself as an adventurer who loves traveling and meeting new friends. She has been to many places both in and outside of the states and her favorite city is Kyoto, Japan. She teaches Chinese at Pittsburgh Chinese School and volunteers for Red Cross during her free time. She enjoys working with people from diverse cultural backgrounds and learning from different personal stories.


Julia Qian | University Center for International Studies | 1209 Cathedral of Learning| Pittsburgh, PA 15260 | vihprogram@pitt.edu





Jean Ferketish | Faculty Advisor

B. Jean Ferketish, PhD is an Associate Professor in the School of Education as well as the Faculty Advisor for the VIH Program, working with the program since 2007.  Prior to joining the School of Education fulltime in 2015, she served as Secretary of the Board and Assistant Chancellor for the University of Pittsburgh for 13 years.  During this time she also taught Leadership in the Graduate School of International and Public Affairs, the School of Education, the School of Public Health and the School of Social Work.  In addition, she led a variety of projects requiring the ability to build consensus across constituency groups, affect the image of the University and provide advice on sensitive and complex situations.


Throughout her career, Jean has helped people develop their leadership abilities and improve the effectiveness of their organizations in multiple settings including industry, healthcare, education and non-profit human services.  She introduced the first organization development methods to the University in 1995. Before joining Pitt, Jean was a consultant for Development Dimensions International, where she worked with clients across the country to implement major culture change strategies.  She is a recipient of the company’s Presidential Award and co-authored the book, Organization Change that Works:  How to Merge Culture and Business Strategies for Maximum Results.  Jean spent the first 10 years of her career at Westinghouse where she directed efforts in organizational development, total quality management, and internal communications.

Jean has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Africa and has taught in Qatar.  She is a frequent speaker on women and leadership. She learns so much from her clients and is particularly pleased to work with young women who are at the beginning of their leadership journey in a world that is very different from the past.  


  Jean Ferketish | WWPH 4309 | Pittsburgh, PA 15260 | 412.648.7177 | ferkjean+@pitt.edu

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