About Us

Center for International Education Staff

Donald F. Ross Jr, PhD, Director

Donald F. Ross Jr. serves as director of the Center for International Education (CIE) at Salem State. In this capacity, he oversees foreign student advising, study abroad and ESL programs at the university. Before coming to Salem State, he was the director of the international students and scholars office at Boston University for 12 years. Earlier in his career, he worked for seven years in various international education positions at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Don received his BA from Williams College and an MA, MALD and PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He has long been active in NAFSA-Association for International Educators, serving on its regional team and numerous committees. He also presents frequently at conferences and workshops. He is the current treasurer of the Massachusetts Council for International Education (MACIE) and has been a member of MACIE's executive board for 12 years.

Nelly M. Wadsworth Associate Director

Nelly Wadsworth is associate director of the Center for International Education where she is responsible for coordinating international student programs. She has worked at Salem State for over 19 years and has extensive experience in international student advising, including immigration advising, personal and academic counseling, programming, admissions, and recruitment.

She assists students in all aspects of their academic and personal lives while in the United States, including living arrangements, cultural adjustment and re-entry. She also develops and coordinates cross-cultural programs that benefit both international students and the community. She has presented at numerous conference and cross-cultural workshops for elementary and high school teachers, high school students, community organizations, host family program participants, and at the Institute of Undoing Racism. She has also participated in recruitment tours throughout Asia. 

Nelly Wadsworth serves on the boards of numerous community organizations and hold memberships in many different community and professional organizations such as the Massachusetts Council for International Education, American Association of University Women, North Shore Area, Operation Bootstrap, Lynn, International Careers Consortium, League of Women Voters, NAFSA and Pax Populi. She has been recognized with the Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance Award, the Advisor of the Year and the Volunteer of the Year awards.

Wadsworth earned her master's degree in intercultural relations at Lesley University and has completed additional coursework in cross-cultural negotiation and conflict resolution. A native of the Philippines, she worked as a development project director for rural development programs funded by international organizations such as World Bank, USAID, ADB, HIID, and other organizations before immigrating to the United States.

Sarah E. Dietrich EdD, Associate Director, ESL Coordinator

Sarah E. Dietrich has served as coordinator of Salem State's English as a Second Language program since 1999. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a master's degree in history from the University of Paris, a master's degree in teaching English as a second language, and an EdD in literacy, language and cultural studies from Boston University. Sarah has taught ESL and trained teachers in a variety of settings including France, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. At Salem State she has taught undergraduate composition and French courses and is an associate professor in the graduate school's TESOL and reading programs.

Yanxia Wang Program Coordinator

Yanxia Wang serves as the program coordinator at the Center for International Education. A native of Guang Feng in China's Jiang Xi province, Yanxia received her bachelor’s degree in business administration and master’s degree in higher education in student affairs from Salem State University. Yanxia is currently the coordinator for the 1+2+1 program and the SEVIS manager.

Kristjana Sharra Program Assistant
Kristjana Sharra is the program assistant of the Center for International Education, and deals with the everyday tasks that help run the office. She has been working at the Center for International Education at Salem State University since 2009 originally as a volunteer. She is native of Albania, and speaks fluent Albanian and Greek. Her multicultural background contributed to her decision to work at the international office of Salem State and help international students. She received her undergraduate degree in business administration in 2011 with Cum Laude honors, and is about to pursue her MBA degree, as well.

Fátima Serra PhD, Study Abroad Advisor, Spanish-Language Professor
Fatima Serra, a native of Spain, first came to the United States as part of a cultural exchange between the University of Oviedo (Spain) and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. What began as a one-year study abroad experience before returning to Spain eventually turned into a life-changing experience for Serra, who remained in the United States to study and work.

Upon the completion of her doctoral dissertation in Hispanic literature in 1996, Fatima joined Salem State's foreign language faculty. She currently serves as professor of Spanish language and literature. For the past 10 years, she has coordinated a summer study abroad program at her alma mater in Oviedo, Spain. She views the international experience as a vital component of her professional and personal life and, in that spirit, she joined Salem State's Center for International Education as study abroad advisor in 2004. She loves the opportunity it provides her to help students embark on their journeys in international education. At the center, she discusses with each student his or her study abroad options and academic choices and guides them through the whole process.

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