Dr. Porter is the Associate Director of the Institute for International Studies in Education (IISE) at the University of Pittsburgh, specializing in international collaborations with colleagues and communities around the world. She publishes in German and English, eagerly seeking out consultancies in global education as a holistic, engaging practice of social justice. Her work as an anthropologist of education has focused on scholarly research and engagement in culturally-responsive, place-based education policy.
As an Associate Professor in the Social and Comparative Analysis of Education (SCAE) graduate program, she has mentored several generations of students who have gone on to careers in global education policy and leadership, sharing their own passionate expertise across Pennsylvania, the USA, and in numerous countries. Over more than 25 years, she has built a distinguished career by innovating - and sustaining - international service-learning programs with indigenous peoples in Bolivia and Peru, leading fieldwork schools across the United States, and co-founding intercultural study programs in Belgium and Germany.
Dr. Porter has been an advocate for intercultural education in her work with the World Bank, National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian, and educational NGOs globally, particularly in the areas of gender equity and culturally nuanced pedagogies. She strives to build reciprocal allyships that honor partners’ dignity and distinctiveness; her recent Indigenous Education: Language, Culture, and Identity is a trans-national guide to best practices for post-colonial endeavors. She has worked in four countries in Africa and co-led a 2017 Fulbright Group Program Abroad in Ethiopia on Indigenous Wisdom and Culture, summaries of which are featured on websites, YouTube, and on NPR.
She brings expertise from professional and academic realms to enact sustainable change founded on shared ownership. She is particularly interested in education policy writing and advocacy, skills that she honed while working at the local school district (Pennsylvania), regional (Appalachian), state (Kentucky and Minnesota) and federal (Department of Education in DC) levels.
Dr. Porter’s first international experience was as a high school Rotary Exchange student in West Germany. This experience launched her Honors degrees in neuropsychology and German sociolinguistics and in gender studies at UW-Madison, in comparative education policy studies and art history at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, and her Stanford PhD degree in international education policy and cultural anthropology. She brings these linked interests to her engaged scholarship and outreach with the University Center for International Studies (UICS) at Pitt and particularly enjoys consulting with regional public school districts to build capacities for global programming, certificates, and joint research.