Sarvelia is currently the Director of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Global Consulting Practicum, a cross-functional course given within the curriculum of the Wharton School of Business MBA program. She also teaches Experiential Learning Design, a core course for the Intercultural Communications Master's degree at the UPenn Graduate School of Education. In addition, for the past eight years, Sarvelia has served as a co-investigator, curriculum developer and facilitator for the Intercultural Leadership Program, a volunteer-run initiative that brings together undergraduate and graduate, international and domestic students to educate and empower them to take leadership in integrating intercultural issues into all aspects of campus life.
Experiential Education for Future Interculturalists
Sarvelia’s impact in her teaching and training goes beyond the communicating new concepts and skills and focuses on the building of a meaningful collaborative environment. Her students are transformed by the opportunity to engage with each other as well as with the theoretical material; through the space she creates, she challenges them to learn how to work with each other, how to be vulnerable, and how to manage their discomfort when faced with unfamiliar methodologies.
Case Study: Experiential Learning Design Course
In her previous work at the University of Pennsylvania's Greenfield Intercultural Center, Sarvelia served as a consultant to two students wanting to develop a course that would bridge the gap between academic theory and intercultural practice. With one of her graduate courses as a model, she worked with the students to develop a new class for the the Intercultural Communications program. The course used a democratic-education model to teach future interculturalists how to design high-quality, experiential training and workshops. Sarvelia taught the class as a pilot during the spring of 2013 and the course unanimously passed academic review to become a core course the following semester.
Case Study: Intercultural Leadership Program
In 2006, Dr. Rodolfo Altamirano was preparing a proposal to fund a new initiative at the University of Pennsylvania. This initiative would bring together international and domestic students to connect with each other, to learn about intercultural communication and leadership, and to become ambassadors to the rest of the University campus. Sarvelia provided Dr. Altamirano with feedback on the proposal and suggested that he add a mentoring component to the program where former participants could become student leaders to their peers. The proposal got funded and since that time, Sarvelia has been an integral part of the staff team that recruits, trains and supports a group of 30-40 intercultural student leaders on campus each year. Throughout the eight years of the Intercultural Leadership Program (ILP), Sarvelia has facilitated a variety of team-building and leadership experiences for students.
During her time as a support staff at the Greenfield Intercultural Center, Sarvelia was tasked with building collaborations across campus to to expand the impact and footprint of the Center. She was in charge of organizing and helping to deliver a number of workshops related to diversity and dialogues across difference including for Resident Advisors/Graduate Assistants, engineering and life science students, and student groups.
University of Pennsylvania's School of Engineering & Applied Science
Designed and facilitated a two-session class on Intercultural Awareness in Teamwork as part of a series of professional skills workshops for engineering undergraduate students in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. Students engaged in a simulation of a multinational collaborative project, learned a theoretical framework for understanding intercultural communication, and applied a DIET (describe, interpret, evaluate, take action) model for analysis of intercultural interactions.
Sarvelia is a passionate interculturalist and global nomad. For the past eleven years, Sarvelia has designed and facilitated experiential workshops on diversity issues, human rights, leadership development, intercultural communication, intercultural conflict, Latino/Hispanic identity development, and Experiential Learning Theory. She received her Masters of Art from the School for International Training Graduate Institute and her Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Psychology and Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania.