For the second year, Jessica Mulvihill from IUP's Office of International Education will collaborate with the Universidad de Cienfuegos, Cuba, to offer a Student Forum at Cuba TIES V, an international conference planned for Cienfuegos for October 2019.

Students at the graduate level are eligible to apply to attend the Student Forum, which will offer students from a variety of disciplines the opportunity to present research and academic work during a poster session at the Cuba TIES V event.

As part of the experience, students accepted for the program will attend conference sessions, network with Cuban students and university faculty, and participate in a service project in the Cienfuegos community. Students will stay with families in the community to allow for a more in-depth cultural understanding.

IUP Delegation Cuba 750

The 2018 IUP Delegation. Back row, from left: Anthony Nguyen, Alex Stemmler, Christina Koren, Denita Kelly, Veta Talton, John Gradel, Jessica Mulvihill. Front, from left: Riley Daniels Vespoli, Millie Roman-Buday, and Chartice Wyatt.

The application deadline for the program is June 15; the application form is online. Persons can also contact Mulvihill in the Office of International Education at for more information.

Mulvihill, assistant director of IUP Education Abroad, accompanied nine IUP graduate students to the 2018 Cuba TIES IV conference. The students each presented research posters at the conference.

“While representatives of IUP have attended the conference, the 2018 event was the first time for our students to attend,” she said. “It was an incredible experience for them, and I was so proud to see the quality of their presentations and how well they represented IUP. Not only did they have the chance to present at the poster session, they attended sessions at the Cuba TIES conference, meeting both students and professionals who took part in the conference.”

“It's very exciting to continue this program for the second year,” she said. “The Student Forum program adds to our already strong relationship with the Universidad de Cienfuegos.”

IUP's delegation of 10 was the largest of any single university attending the conference. Mulvihill also coordinated the attendance of five other students from other American universities.

The IUP students who participated in 2018 included seven students from the Administration and Leadership Studies doctoral program and two master's degree students.

Students from the doctoral program were:

  • John Gradel, of Lock Haven, who presented “International Studies Integration into the Local Community”

  • Denita Kelly, of Philadelphia, who presented “From Foster Care to College Graduate”

  • Christina Koren, of Ebensburg, who presented “Exploring the Use of Big Data in Higher Education”

  • Anthony Nguyen, of Ontario, who presented “Work Opportunities for International Students Post-Graduation in the United States and Canada”

  • Millie Roman-Buday, of Easton, who presented “Factors that Help Latinos Advance to Senior Leadership Positions in Higher Education”

  • Veta Talton, of Indiana, who presented “Culturally Responsive Mentorship: A Communal Praxis for International and Diverse Graduate Students.” Talton is a member of the Graduate Student Assembly and is the recipient of the Julius Filcik Doctoral Fellowship

  • Chartice Wyatt, of Johnstown, who presented “Effects of Major Selection on Academic Selection in African American College Students.” Wyatt is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, served as treasurer for the Graduate Student Assembly, is a committee member of the Academic Senate Committee, a member of the University Conduct Board, and is a graduate assistant for the Department of Professional Studies.

The master's degree students are:

The students agreed that the experience was beneficial to both their academic and personal lives.

“The trip transformed me for the better,” Koren said. “It was a rich educational experience to meet higher education professionals in Cienfuegos who are working to promote higher education to help the Cienfuegos community to be even more resilient and socially equitable for future generations.”

Support for Mulvihill and for the student attendance was provided by the Office of International Education, the School of Graduate Studies and Research, and the College of Education and Communications.

“Having graduate students participate in a conference like this really offers our students a chance to build their resume and diversify their own experiences,” Mulvihill said. “Many of our students have opportunities to present at regional or national conferences, but to be the first cohort of graduate students to present at an international conference like this one is something extraordinary, and that sets them apart.

“IUP taking a leadership role in bringing graduate students to Cuba, let alone partnering with the Universidad de Cienfuegos for the Student Forum, shows that IUP is very serious about diversifying our education abroad experiences and about our partnership in Cienfuegos,” Mulvihill said.