VIH Podcast

Thanks for tuning into the VIH Global Leadership Podcast!

The VIH Global Leadership podcast is a media outlet that gives current and alumni Vira’s the opportunity to express how the program has shaped their leadership, mentorship skills, enhance global understanding, and think globally while acting locally through community service. This audio recorded series hopes to enlighten, encourage and educate women on a variety of topics that are explored during program such as language, preparational skills for an  international experiences, constructive criticism, and working in groups.

A Vira’s journey is unique; not only do they discuss their first international experience but also  share their internal growth that occurs during the spring and fall retreats. Through a Vira’s journey, each individual gains a sense of self, confidence, and cultural understanding. This podcast is a resource for current and past cohorts to reconnect with Vira’s that may share similar interests and/or have explored the same country. 

Every Vira has a story to share and this is the platform to showcase them!


About the Host: 

Natalie Vazquez, a Chatham University alumna and member of the 2011 cohort interviews with special guest from the VIH alumni community. In 2014, Natalie completed her Masters of Fine Arts in Film and Digital Technology at Chatham University. She now uses her experience in video production to produce podcasts that highlight women in global leadership within the VIH program. When she’s not hosting an episode, Natalie takes on the role as Video Production Specialist and Multimedia Designer for the IDEA Lab within for the Institute for Clinical Research at the University of Pittsburgh. 

Natalie's passion for international exploration all began when she ventured to Alicante, Spain through the VIH Program back in 2011. During her time in Spain, she attended the Universitat d’Alacant where she improved her Spanish speaking skills and practiced flamenco dancing. Since her VIH experience, she's had the opportunity to explore Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Puerto Rico and Italy. Upon returning to the states from Italy, Natalie had the desire to reconnect with the VIH community with the hopes to inspire and learn through other Vira experiences.


Ep. 7: Moving Past 2020 Vision

As we move past the 2020 vision, these viras share their perspectives and reflect on their experiences regarding racial justice during this time of COVID. We also discuss the importance of self-care and engagement within their focused areas of expertise. Let’s all take a deep breath in and get ready to hear from our viras

Ep. 6:  Sustainable Practices:  Culturally, Economically, & Environmentally

During the most recent podcast, Natalie had the pleasure of exploring sustainability challenges and prospects with Arcadia Vira GodIsPerfect Eadric (2017) and Pitt-Oakland Viras Mary Hassan (2014), Julie Fornaciari (2014, and Nadine Humphrey (2018).  Would you like to learn more about hydrogen fuel, wind turbines, microbes for biofuels and water management as well as explore the nexus between sustainability, economics, and culture? Well, you’ve tuned into the right episode – enjoy!

Ep. 5 Bridging Perspectives and Identities through Art Forms

New podcast episode alert! Check out episode 5 Bridging Perspectives and Identities through Art Forms. Listen to Shaniece Holmes (2019), Carina Stopenski (Chatham, 2017), Natalie Vazquez (Chatham, 2011), Beth Barbis (RMU,2018), and Crystal Durachko (Thiel, 2017) talk about how the VIH program has helped mold their awareness of art and culture through experiential learning. Podcast guests also shared and discussed their own artwork and creative processes. 

Ep. 4 Empowering through Engagement Pt. 2

In the continuation of Episode 4, Empowering through Engagement, we return to conversations with from Duquesne University's Megan Wall (2014) and Megan Toomer (2019), Robert Morris University's Laurel Murray (2017), and Dominique DeSilva (2012)  from Temple University. 

Together we explore different ways in which these Viras are channeling their energy and efforts during our ‘new reality’ of COVID-19.  Leadership, being bold, and elevating our voices and the voices of others are also topics that are tackled.  Finally, these Viras brainstorm possible directions and ideas for the future of the VIH community!


Ep. 4 Empowering through Engagement Pt. 1

In this episode we hear from Duquesne University's Megan Wall (2014) and Megan Toomer (2019), Robert Morris University's Laurel Murray (2017), and Dominique DeSilva (2012)  from Temple University. 

In this hefty conversation, we begin with some back story as to how each of these Viras got back involved in the VIH community post-completion. We then transition into their viewpoints on how VIH has helped mold their engagement socially and politically as well as their global perspectives on current issues. Yes, we do touch on the pandemic and how these Viras are finding ways to positively impact their communities during this time. This is the first part in a two-part series. Enjoy and stayed tuned for part 2!

Ep. 3: Holding Each Other Accountable

In this episode, we hear from three Pitt Bradford facilitators. Our special guests include Akire Hoots (2017), Nicki Kellogg (2013) and Antonell Robinson (2018).

These three have a unique bond, as they have known each other for quite some time now and share their passion for facilitating at the spring and fall retreats. They each share their views on how VIH is a learning community, especially during the spring and fall retreats. At the retreats, many Vira’s experience the “growing pains” of constructive criticism and finding their voice. As many of the VIH alumni know, the retreats help enhance the role of language and shift the way particular words might be used.

So, grab a coffee or tea, whatever you prefer and listen in closely. Let’s hear how you can learn more about yourself through others!


Ep. 2: Laying the Foundation

Two words - Reunion and Mentorship! Yes, you heard right, VIH just had their first 10 year reunion in June. Following the reunion, Natalie had the pleasure of speaking with Pitt-Greensburg Vira’s, Bethany Hallam (2013), Nichole Johnson (2016) and Andrea Hartman (2018).

 In this episode, Laying the Foundation, we discuss everything mentorship. From campus coordinators to cultural coaches, these three Vira’s know the lay of the land when it comes to pre departure preparation and the importance of action plans and goals. Although plans may not go as expected, you’ll hear how these Vira’s conquered unpredictable events.

If you haven’t been a mentor lately, be prepared to get a second wind of encouragement and a few tips!

Ep. 1: Taking the Leap

In this episode, Natalie had the pleasure of speaking with Temple University’s Katrina Harrison, Marko Forkpa, and Annie Kim from the 2014 cohort. This recording goes down in history as the beginning of this series of VIH episodes! 

These three Vira’s have stayed in contact with each other since the start of their VIH journey - they’ve also completed their Community Engagement Experience together and to this day are supporting one another as they step closer to their life goals. The buzz topics within this conversation include cohort teamwork, mentorship and how one’s international experience connects with their present and near future endeavors.

Need a dose of inspiration? You can count on these viras for advice!