Success Story: University of North Dakota

Via gives UND’s Emily Dougherty “Peace of Mind”

When Emily Dougherty joined the University of North Dakota Study Abroad Office full time in Spring 2016, the former UND intern suddenly found herself managing UND study abroad programs by herself.

Emily Dougherty, Study Abroad Coordinator at the University of North Dakota Study Abroad Office.

“When I interned, there were two study abroad advisors and a director who oversaw the entire international center,” she says. “And then when I started full time, the director left, and later both of the advisors left as well.”

The positive of that experience was that Emily was able to learn “everything.”

“I definitely think one of the pros of being a one-person office, a really small office, is that I have my fingers in every pot,” says Emily, who was promoted from Study Abroad Advisor to Study Abroad Coordinator in January 2022. “I work with all aspects of study abroad.”

Emily managed UND study abroad programs as a one-person office for most of the pandemic. She is now joined by Allison Johansen, a study abroad advisor, and Taylor Lemmerman, a student marketing assistant.

Using Via has made Dougherty’s experience onboarding her new colleagues “a breeze.”

Via Helps Dougherty During Staff Changes, Pandemic

Dougherty isn’t sure what she would have done without Via during her stint managing UND study abroad programs alone. As an intern at UND, she had used another software system and found Via much easier to use when UND made the switch to Via in 2017.

“Via definitely helped with student outreach,” she says. “It’s so much more intuitive. I don’t get lost in it. It’s easy to find what I’m looking for.”

Dougherty says the many highlights of working with Via include the communication, transparency, personalized responses, and Via’s response time. Dougherty is also impressed with the way Via has handled its success and growth.

“I still receive quick responses from the Via team. It’s so nice to see a small company keep their personalized touch as they get bigger.”

Emily striking a victory pose at an amphitheater in Greece.

UND Restarts Mobility

UND is preparing to send students abroad for the first time since the pandemic hit. Eighteen students will study abroad this summer and 20 in the fall.

“Things are looking up,” she says.

Emily knows first-hand the importance of global experiences. As a geography major at SUNY Geneseo, the native of Buffalo, New York, was encouraged by her father to explore international travels. As an undergraduate, Dougherty spent a semester in the Netherlands and a summer in Western Canada. After graduating, she taught English in Thailand for a semester.

“It helps a lot when I’m talking with students to have that study abroad experience,” says Emily, who also holds a master’s degree in higher education from UND.

When she moved to North Dakota in 2015 so her partner could start graduate school, Emily contacted the UND Study Abroad Office to see if she could intern.

Emily with UND’s mascot, The Fighting Hawk.

“The fact that the office took a chance on me was so incredible,” she says. “They were so gracious. UND has been very good to me, both in this job and the professional development opportunities.”

Emily says she felt like a “professional development hoarder” in the early stages of her career. “I am a people person,” she says. “I love making new connections.”

Emily got involved with NAFSA, first as a Region IV Education Abroad Knowledge Community Liaison for two years and, since 2021, she’s been the Education Abroad Knowledge Community Regional Outreach Coordinator. She also served for about two years as an application reviewer for the Fund for Education Abroad.

When her colleagues in International Education ask her about Via, Emily is happy to share her experience.

“Via gives me peace of mind and helps me breathe easier,” she says. “It is definitely helpful to have software that isn’t a burden or a hindrance to students finding or applying to programs or to helping us facilitate programs.

“The great thing about Via is I don’t have to think about it. Students don’t have to think about it. It just works—and it works really well.”

About Via

Like Emily at UND, Via believes global experiences will change our world. That’s why we created traveler relationship management and travel risk management software, which helps universities and study abroad program providers to empower global experiences. If you’re looking for a true education abroad partner, turn to Via.


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