Behind the Bok: Sarah Emory

May 26, 2021
Sarah Emory

Each month we will profile a member of the Bok staff in order for our friends and colleagues to learn more about us, the full range of work that we do, how we approach our work, and what is happening in the world of teaching and learning from different perspectives.

Sarah Emory, Assistant Director, International Teachers & Scholars

Q: How did you come to do this work?

A: I’ve always loved learning and interacting with people from different cultures. From 2007 - 2013, I taught university-level English oral communication, public speaking, and academic writing courses in South Korea and China. In 2013, I returned to the United States to work with international graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University, which is how I first bridged my love of teaching and learning with language and communication development. I enjoyed my work teaching and developing resources for PhD students as they prepared to work as teaching assistants and instructors, and took on active roles in professional organizations on graduate communication, and teaching and learning. I was excited to join the Bok Center, and specifically to have the chance to develop the Professional Communication Program for International Teachers and Scholars.

Sarah Emory poses with instructors and students from the Professional Communication Program for New International Students.

Q: What do you like best about working at the Bok Center?

The best part of working at the Bok Center is having the opportunity to connect with, and build connections between, PhD students from all over the world and Harvard undergraduates. I help international PhD students build confidence as they navigate the communicative demands of graduate school, whether they are exploring cultural differences, working on their English language skills, or preparing to teach. I teach seminars and coach students individually, with the goal of providing a comfortable space for PhD students to practice and develop their oral English skills. An important part of this work includes training a team of undergraduates to engage with and provide feedback to PhD students in seminars, discussion groups, and as language partners. Building community and fostering relationships across cultures, getting to know students, and helping them develop strategies to increase their confidence for communicating their expertise in English are all highlights of my work.

Q: What do you like to do for fun?

Sarah Emory on a hike in the woods with her childrenA: I’m a bit of a magpie when it comes to doing things for fun; I am open to trying pretty much anything! I love traveling and exploring new places as well as learning new things about where I am.  I’ve only been in the Boston area for about 3 years, so I still have so much to see and do. I love cooking and trying new foods and restaurants, so I enjoy talking with people about where they like to go and what they like to get. When I’m on my own, I read or play games.  I enjoy yoga, pilates, playing badminton, and hiking. The Boston area has so many beautiful outdoor spaces, and the place I’ve been visiting the most lately is Middlesex Fells. I love DIY projects like refinishing furniture and home renovations; I’m firmly in the category of amateur but love the sense of accomplishment from fixing or completing a project on my own. I love spending time with my two kids, whether we are playing games or going to museums, playgrounds, and parks or hanging out at home. Right now, my kids and I are trying to grow apple trees from seed and now have 5 saplings.