Dr. Sarah Wagner | Director

Dr. Sarah E. Wagner is the Director of the VIH Program in the University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.  In her current role, she oversees a legacy program from The Heinz Endowments that offers international experiences, leadership development, and community engagement experiences to underrepresented women at fourteen colleges and universities throughout Pennsylvania. She is also an adjunct faculty member at The University of Pittsburgh and La Escuela de Administración y Negocios in Colombia, and she was recently awarded a Chancellor’s award for mentorship.  Dr. Wagner has spoken about various aspects of international education in Barcelona, Prague, Shanghai, and Colombia as well as at conferences across the United States.  

Dr. Wagner holds a doctorate in Social and Comparative Analysis in Education (SCAE) from the University of Pittsburgh. 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 Political Economy. As a certified facilitator in the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), she strives to improve team dynamics and organizational culture, for example, in her role as Co-Chair for the:  ‘First Generation, First Abroad, High Financial Need’ national taskforce through Diversity Abroad.  Dr. Wagner is a proud resident of the South Hills in Pittsburgh and enjoys biking and whitewater rafting.

Sarah Wagner
University Center for International Studies
1209-B Cathedral of Learning
Pittsburgh, PA 15260


Dr. 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


Laura Gooding | Graduate Intern

Laura Gooding is an alumna of the 2018 VIH Cohort and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2019 with a B.A. in Anthropology and a Minor in French. While participating in the VIH program Laura studied abroad in Toulouse France where she studied art and architecture as well as French language. For her community engagement experience Laura and her fellow Pitt Viras held an event entitled “Unconsciously Uncomfortable: Talking About the Things No One Wants To,” a roundtable style discussion on taboo topics in the U.S. and abroad. 

Laura is currently a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs pursuing a Master of Public and International Affairs with a concentration in Security and Intelligence Studies. She is a graduate student researcher with the Ford Institute for Human Security pursuing research into human trafficking in global supply chains in partnership with the U.S. Department of State. She also works as a co-editor for The Pitt Policy Journal and Princeton University's Journal of Public and International Affairs

Laura Gooding
University Center for International Studies
1209 Cathedral of Learning
Pittsburgh, PA 15260


Natalie Vazquez | Podcast & Media Consultant

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.



Lindsay Allen | Social Media Intern

Lindsay Allen is an alumna of the 2019 VIH Cohort and graduated from Temple University in 2020 with a B.F.A in Film and Media Arts with a Concentration in Directing and a Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management. While in the VIH program, Lindsay studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic and analyzed and compared European and American cinema. For her community engagement experience, Lindsay and her Temple cohort facilitated an event called, “Connecting Communities,” to discuss the relationship between Temple University and the surrounding community of North Philadelphia. 

Lindsay is an emerging writer, director, and producer with experience in short form narratives.  As a female filmmaker, Lindsay has made it her mission to open doors and create opportunities for other marginalized communities in the film industry. She is specifically interested in creating opportunities on screen for individuals living with disabilities in relatable and positive portrayals. Lindsay is currently in post-production for her two short fiction films that she wrote and directed, Malarkey and Grier, and is in development of her next film.