College and University Partners

Amy Jaffe Barzach, Executive Director of The Women’s Advancement Initiative

University of Hartford

Proud to celebrate and continue the legacy of Hartford College for Women (HCW), The Women’s Advancement Initiative positions women for success through education and leadership programs, research and scholarship opportunities, and career connections and experiences. Inspired by the way students at HCW were challenged, empowered, and supported, under Amy’s leadership, The Women’s Advancement Initiative launched its innovative LEAD (Leadership, Education, and Development) program. This four-year program is designed to respond to the opportunities, challenges, and transitions female students experience in college. Amy also teaches Adult Journey and Leadership in UHart’s University Interdisciplinary Studies Program. Prior to joining the University of Hartford, after a career in marketing and community relations, Amy was the founder and executive director of Boundless Playgrounds, the first national nonprofit dedicated to helping communities create inclusive playgrounds.  During Amy’s tenure, with the dedication and hard work of employees, and volunteers, Boundless Playgrounds defined a gold standard for inclusive playgrounds and partnered with 135 communities in 25 states to develop inclusive playgrounds at schools, parks, and hospitals – playgrounds where children, with and without disabilities, could play, learn, and celebrate life together. The first Boundless playground, Jonathan’s Dream, was developed in memory of Amy and Peter Barzach’s son, Jonathan, who would have been 25 years old in 2019.  Jonathan’s Dream was built in 1996 and rebuilt in 2017 by hundreds of volunteers including dozens from the University of Hartford. Amy earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University at Albany, and her MBA from RPI.


Sara Cerruto, LEAD Program Director

University of Hartford/ The Women’s Advancement

Sara facilitates and delivers programming for students and directs efforts for continuous improvement in LEAD (Leadership, Education, and Development) programming to support recruitment, participation, and learning outcomes and goals. She mentors students, provides opportunity and resilience coaching, coordinates professional women facilitators to teach sessions, designs, manages, and promotes on and off campus events for students, and assists with student-led fundraisers. She previously served as Assistant Director of Transfer Admission and University Evaluator at the University of Hartford and as a Teacher’s Assistant at Cobb Montessori School. She holds a master of science in business management from the University of Hartford and a bachelor of science in communication disorders from the University of Connecticut.