AboutOur PeopleSarah Ropp
Faculty Staff

Sarah Ropp

SNF Paideia Dialogue Director

Sarah Ropp is a multi-lingual and interdisciplinary teacher/scholar with over 20 years of experience in intercultural communication. As a dialogue practitioner and researcher, she is interested in the role of dialogue in anti-oppression approaches to teaching, learning, and community-based work, taking special inspiration from the critical pedagogy of bell hooks and Paulo Freire. In her role as Dialogue Director, Sarah facilitates dialogue workshops and events; teaches SNF Paideia-designated courses; creates resources for planning and participating in dialogue; conducts ongoing research on dialogue in theory and practice; and provides advising to Penn students, faculty, and staff working on their own dialogue-related projects, courses, and events.

Sarah has a long history as a U.S. public school teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language in the U.S. and abroad, and a university-level teacher of language, literature, dialogue, and writing. A native of the rural Midwest, she has lived in seven countries on four continents and in every region of the United States, in rural, small-town, and major-city environments. Sarah has been a first-generation, low-income, and nontraditional student and remains deeply committed to expanding educational equity in the U.S. To that end, she works with a number of Philly organizations including Mighty Writers, the Bloomberg Arts Internship, and the Nationalities Service Center.

Prior to her role as Dialogue Director for SNF Paideia at Penn, Sarah served as Difficult Dialogues Program Coordinator at the University of Texas at Austin as well as Dialogue Facilitation Training Coordinator for the Plan II Undergraduate Honors Program at UT-Austin. She also completed two postdoctoral fellowships focused on engaged scholarship and dialogue across difference: one with the SNF Paideia Program and the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy at Penn (2021-2023) and the other with the Andrew W. Mellon Engaged Scholar Initiative at UT-Austin (2020-2021). She earned her PhD in Comparative Literature from UT-Austin in 2020.

Sarah’s scholarly work has been published in a variety of literary and cultural studies journals, including MELUS (Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States); Western American Literature; Dutch Crossing; Southwest Council on Latin American Studies Journal; and more. Her first academic book, The Prosthetic Child: Rhetorics of Race and Rehabilitation in 9/11 Narratives, is forthcoming from Temple University Press. Sarah has also published over 20 open-access articles on dialogue and anti-oppression education (available here and here), and she provides open-access original resources for dialogue on her website at sarahropp.com/resources-for-dialogue/. She also created a free guide for writing the college admissions essay, StoriesofSelfworkshop.com. Currently, Sarah is developing an open-access guide for planning and facilitating dialogues aimed at an audience of undergraduate students and youth community leaders.

Contact Information

Email: sropp@sas.upenn.edu