About Us

The URep Abroad Story

URep Abroad was created in 2010 by Dr. Shawntia Key, who, as an undergraduate, struggled to find resources for Black students traveling abroad and wanted to create content for those needing support. After working in international education (IE) for several years, Dr. Key realized that inspiring young leaders and connecting them with experts in the field, and educating those experts on the needs of diverse students in IE was another avenue to increase diversity abroad. URep Abroad was founded to provide a space to exchange resources and opportunities while diversifying the field

URep Abroad Staff

Dr. Shawntia Key

(she/her/hers)

Shawntia has more than ten years of experience in international education with professional expertise in student advising and leadership, senior management, strategic planning, international partnership, and program development.

Shawntia received a Doctorate in higher education management with her dissertation focusing on Black American Undergraduates Studying Abroad: What Are Their Intentions and Behaviors?

Shawntia also has a Masters in international education, a Bachelor in international studies, and a TESOL certificate. As of 2021, Shawntia has traveled to Aruba, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, India, Italy, Ireland, Japan, London, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, and several states in the United States of America. Learn more about Shawntia and her professional experiences at www.shawntia.com

Dawn H. Wooten

(she/her/hers)

Dawn has 15+ years of progressive experience working in international education administration. Access, equity, and diversity shaped her educational career as a first-gen college student. Developing win-win partnerships comes from years of volunteer, member, and committee service with well-respected organizations ACPA, FAIE, IASAS, IIE, NACAC, NAFSA, NASPA, NCDA, NODA, SHRM, and the Partners of the Americas.

Dawn’s educational journey began at the local community college, then on to a BA and MA in History, an MA in Nonprofit Management, and an Executive Education Diploma in Social Innovation. As a student, she studied abroad in France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and the Netherlands.

Before URep Abroad, she worked at NAFSA: Association of International Educators, The George Washington University, Florida Atlantic University, and several nonprofits.

Did you know?

URep is a double entendre meaning “you represent” and “underrepresented.”

 

This creates our slogan:

“You Represent the Underrepresented.” 

Justification

The pandemic has given organizations and leaders more flexibility and motivation to collaborate and think creatively with cross-functional perspectives to solve the complex and long-standing diversity issues lacking in international education and abroad programs. 


URep Abroad recognizes that inspiring diverse leaders and equipping IE educators to better support those aspiring leaders is another avenue to increasing diversity abroad.

Lack of Diversity:

 In the United States, international education (professionally and academically) is severely lacking diverse representation in travel. Statistically, the racial diversity of US students studying abroad is 70% white, with the remaining percentages being either Hispanic or Latino(a), Asian or Pacific Island, Black or African-American, Multiracial, and American Indian or Alaska native. The lack of racial diversity has led to the fear of racial conflicts or being targeted because of racial identity. URep Abroad resources equip organizations and leaders with the tools needed to support and educate others on dealing with and understanding racial issues abroad. 

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: 

URep Abroad, a Black-owned company, challenges organizations and institutions to stand by their message of being inclusive and further their commitment to diversity by taking steps to better support the underrepresented populations. International opportunities provide a clear benefit to career prospects, marketability and increase critical thinking.

 

URep Abroad offers a space for resources and professional opportunities to guide organizations in supporting underrepresented communities. URep Abroad also applauds and showcases organizations that demonstrate their commitment to diversifying IE thought to action and transparency.