About Us

The Pan-Asian American Community House is a hub of academic, personal, and professional growth for University of Pennsylvania students interested in Asian American culture and the Asian American Diaspora. Through advising, leadership development, advocacy, social and cultural programming we expand student access to the University’s resources.

  • As a center with an educational mission, PAACH works with its academic partner, Penn’s Asian American Studies (ASAM) Program, to provide co-curricular events focusing on Asian American research, culture, history, politics and social issues.
  • As a community center, PAACH develops and implements innovative programs for leadership development and community service in close collaboration with student and community groups.
  • In addition to advocacy for students (undergraduate, graduate and professional), PAACH also strives to partner and collaborate with Asian American and Pacific Islander alumni, staff, and faculty.

The center is open to all members of the University of Pennsylvania and the surrounding community who have an interest in issues relevant to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Contact Us

3601 Locust Walk, Suite G22
ARCH Building
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6224 

Hours
Monday – Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

Our Team

Mei Long
Mei Long (she/her/hers)
Director

Mei joins the University Life and PAACH team in July 2023 after serving as an Associate Director of Academic Affairs and Advising in the Wharton School’s Undergraduate Division since 2018. Throughout her years in higher education, Mei has consistently demonstrated a deep commitment to fostering an inclusive environment where students of all backgrounds can thrive academically, culturally, and socially. More recently, she spearheaded multiple programs at the Wharton School and at Penn to support AAPI students, faculty and staff. These initiatives have helped to center AAPI voices and galvanize support for the AAPI community in the face of escalating anti-Asian hate during the pandemic, as well as address long-standing challenges faced by the AAPI community.  As a first-generation immigrant parent raising two Asian American kids in the U.S., Mei is particularly passionate about uplifting AAPI students’ experiences on college campus and preparing them for success after graduation. Mei is originally from southern China and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Higher Education from the Penn Graduate School of Education, where she received her master’s degree from the same program.  She has experience in teaching, career advising and academic advising at Penn and other universities. Outside of work, Mei loves spending time with her family and friends, building communities wherever she goes, and spending times outdoors.

Vicky Aquino Headshot
Vicky Aquino (she/her/hers)
Associate Director

Vicky Faye Aquino (she/her) is the Associate Director of the Pan-Asian American Community House (PAACH). In this role, she is responsible for advising student organizations in implementing programs that focus on leadership development, advocacy, community engagement, as well as social and cultural events. She understands the impact of having a supportive, nurturing, and inclusive environment, and that is what she hopes students feel when they come to PAACH. One of her goals is to connect students to the various AAPI communities and cultural institutions in Philadelphia. Vicky is also a Lecturer at the Penn Language Center focusing on Filipino language and culture. Before joining Penn, she worked in the areas of Development and Human Resources for five years at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her first career was in corporate banking where she worked as an analyst for an international bank in Manila, Philippines. When she moved to Philadelphia, she decided to have a career change and pursued meaningful work in the arts, non-profit, and higher education. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Asian American Women’s Coalition (AAWC) and previously served as a Board Member and Chair of the Scholar Development Committee for several years. She is also a founding board member of Bahay Kultura, the first Filipino American school in Philadelphia. She also devotes her time to volunteering at several AAPI non-profit organizations in Philadelphia. Through her years of volunteer work with the Philippine Folks Arts Society, Inc. (PFASI), she participated in various cultural events and taught Filipino (Tagalog) language to college students through the Eskwela Filipiniana program. She holds a double bachelor's degree in Psychology (B.A.) and Business Management (B.S.) from De La Salle University, and a master's degree in Art and Design Education (M.A.) from The University of the Arts. She graduated with distinction and received an Elizabeth C. Roberts Prize for her master's thesis: “The Effects of Doodling on the Academic and Artistic Learning of K-12 Students”, which was cited in scholarly publications. Currently, she is an incoming doctoral student at Penn GSE's Doctor of Education (Ed.D) Literacy Studies program. Fun fact: Vicky is also a world traveler, photographer, and visual artist. She has traveled to 30+ countries and territories, and she has hosted 6 solo art shows and several group exhibitions in Philadelphia, New York, and Manila. She believes that art is a universal language that connects people.

Daniel Hoddinott headshot
Daniel Hoddinott (he/him/his)
Associate Director

Daniel Hoddinott (pronouns: he, him, his) is the Associate Director for the Pan-Asian American Community House. He received his B.A. in Human Resource Management and Labor & Employment Relations from Rutgers University and a M.S. in Higher Education from Syracuse University. Daniel is a proud product of the Asian American Cultural Center at Rutgers University and previously worked at the Asian & Asian American Center at Cornell University. Outside of work, he enjoys running, cooking, eating, and traveling!

Cindy Au Kramer Headshot 02
Cindy Au-Kramer (she/her/hers)
Finance, Operations, & Program Coordinator

After completing her BS in Accounting/Geography (SUNY Albany) and MBA (NYU Stern School of Business), Cindy has worked in finance for over 15 years, as a CPA, Investment Bank Controller, Big Four systems implementation consultant and more recently as a healthcare system finance professional. Last year, she took a honest look at what she really wanted out of life and what kind of impact she wanted to make – to join the Penn community and to help students access campus services. She reached out to AppleOne, a temp agency, and was matched with PAACH!!! Now, Cindy supports students and provides financial and operational support for PAACH’s many initiatives/programs. In her spare time, Cindy indulges her love of book art by teaching bookbinding in the local community, builds online communities, and creates fun experiences for her teen children.

Faculty Fellow

Pillai Rupa
Dr. Rupa Pillai (she/her/hers)
PAACH Faculty Fellow & Senior Lecturer, Asian American Studies Program

Originally from Texas, Rupa is a Senior Lecturer in Penn's Asian American Studies program. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, she is interested in the intersection of race, religion, and migration, with a focus on Hinduism. For over 10 years, she has learned from the growing Guyanese community in New York City how they utilize Hinduism in their lives. Through this research, she has gained a great appreciation for the diverse experiences of South Asian American communities and how Asian American communities are connected to other marginalized communities. Since joining Penn in 2018, she is deeply invested in supporting students in finding their future paths and gaining meaningful research experiences. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Philly and listening to true crime podcasts.

Program Assistants

Grace Edwards headshot
Grace Edwards (she/her/hers)
Program Assistant

Grace Edwards (she/her/hers) is a junior in the School of Arts and Sciences, studying Health and Societies (HSOC) with a minor in Journalistic Writing, on the pre-med/pre-health track. Originally from the D.C-Maryland area, she was exposed to student advocacy and education equity work that motivated her to examine health and racial inequities on a national and country wide level. As a pre-med and humanities driven student, she views health from a more sociological, historical, and journalistic perspective. Aside from her work experience as a PAACH intern, she is also currently a member of Shelter Health Outreach Program (SHOP), and a Restorative Justice student practitioner at Restorative Practices @ Penn. In her time at PAACH, she has been focused on intercultural identity and interracial solidarity, which stems from her own personal experiences as a biracial Black-Caribbean and South-east Asian American. In her free time, she writes, hikes, and plays the violin.

Sakshi Lende outdoors
Sakshi Lende (she/her/hers)
Program Assistant

Hi! I’m a junior from New Jersey studying Mechanical Engineering in SEAS. I love meeting and collaborating with new people, and I’m interested in learning more about different cultures and backgrounds. In my free time, I enjoy reading and listening to music. I’m excited to be part of this community, and I look forward to seeing everyone at PAACH!

Jocelyn
Jocelyn Greshes (she/her)
Program Assistant

Jocelyn Greshes (she/her) is a freshman from New York interested in Political Science, International Relations, and East Asian Studies. She is half Japanese and is fluent in written and spoken Japanese. She has contributed 400+ hours in volunteering at her local libraries and teaching English to children and students in her community who are new to the language. She was also the class representative for her high school's D.E.I. (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) Committee. She enjoys going shopping, listening to music, and folding origami.

woman in white with bamboo background
Thu Le (she/her)
Program Assistant

Thu Le (she/her) serves as an undergraduate Program Assistant at the Pan-Asian American Community House (PAACH). Currently a sophomore in the School of Arts and Sciences, she is pursuing a major in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). Thu is not only a dedicated first-generation college student but also an advocate for those from low-income backgrounds. She enthusiastically mentors underserved high school students through the intricacies of the college application process. Her passion extends beyond academics, as she actively seeks to embrace diverse cultures, acting as a bridge between languages and cuisines. Additionally, Thu holds a role as a Communication Assistant at Civic House, further demonstrating her commitment to community engagement. In her spare time, Thu indulges in the thrilling challenge of planning international trips on a shoestring budget, her ultimate guilty pleasure.

James Tran
James Tran (he/jim)
Program Assistant

James Tran (He/Him) serves as an undergraduate Program Assistant at the Pan-Asian American Community House (PAACH). Currently a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, he is pursuing a major in Political Science on a pre-law track in hopes of one day becoming a lawyer. As a first-generation college student, he knows the importance of feeling at home and surrounded by a community supporting each other. He serves as the Undergraduate Representative on the Penn First Board, freshman liaison on the Vietnamese Students’ Association, and a media editor at The Daily Pennsylvanian and Penn Appetit. But beyond his academic career, he loves filming cooking videos for his YouTube and TikTok accounts and indulging in food from around the world. Though his travels are limited, he hopes to use the Penn Global Seminars to immerse himself in global perspectives and knowledge.

Board of Advisors

Dr. Ann Tiao
Dr. Ann Tiao Lecturer, Graduate School of Education University of Pennsylvania
I have been teaching at Penn GSE for over 11 years and recently taught Diversity in Higher Education and Contemporary Issues in Higher Education. Over my career, I have worked in numerous fields including high tech, engineering, statistics, and higher education. Currently, I’m the Assistant Dean for Research and Graduate Education in the College of Education at Rowan University in South Jersey. As a second generation Asian American, I have studied and researched issues concerning AAPIs in higher education. Students affiliated with PAACH really helped me while I was gathering data for my dissertation. I’m delighted to have an opportunity to give back to PAACH and to support its mission by joining the Advisory Board.
Deven M. Patel, Ph.D.
Deven M. Patel, Ph.D. Asst. Professor, South Asia Studies University of Pennsylvania
As a professor of South Asia Studies who works on South Asian cultures in history, I am also committed to forging links with contemporary South Asians and contemporary South Asian-Americans with my work. I have also taught Asian history and religion (covering the cultures of China, Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia) and so I have a deep interest in working with students whose heritage is linked with these places. I hope to serve PAACH by providing support to students and alumni in terms of an academic perspective to Asian cultures’ connections with contemporary America.
Rashmi Kumar, Ed.D.
Rashmi Kumar, Ed.D. STEM Learning Instructor Weingarten Learning Resources Center Lecturer, Graduate School of Education University of Pennsylvania
I specialize in STEM Learning and research learning environments anchored in emerging technologies. Currently, I am working on identifying the tools, technologies, and strategies that generate measurable impact in different fields of science, technology, and engineering across individual learning styles. I am excited to join the advisory board of PAACH and hope to further its organizational goals by solidifying participation and success of Asian American students, particularly in STEM fields; supporting group initiatives with Penn colleagues and external networks; and raising attention to the contributions and efforts of PAACH.
Eugena Oh, C’03
Eugena Oh, C’03 Interim Executive Director “I Have A Dream” Foundation
Eugena joined the “I Have A Dream” Foundation (IHDF) in November 2011 and currently serves as Interim Executive Director. IHDF’s mission is to provide long-term support to help children living in under-resourced communities achieve their full potential by promoting personal empowerment, postsecondary success, and financial support for postsecondary education. Eugena also serves as IHDF’s Legal Counsel. Prior to joining “I Have A Dream,” Eugena practiced commercial and products liability law, and served in development, strategy, and operations roles within several non-profit organizations, including Teach For America – New York City, Rock The Vote, and Washington State Court Appointed Special Advocates. Eugena received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania, and her J.D. from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Outside of work, Eugena serves as a Board Member of the Korean American League for Civic Action (KALCA), and is an active alumna of the University of Pennsylvania, serving on the Board of Advisers for PAACH (Pan-Asian American Community House) and on the alumni applicant interview committee.
Michael Mariano, W’00, MUSA’09
Michael Mariano, W’00, MUSA’09 Senior Economist & Director of Geospatial Analytics Oxford Economics / Tourism Economics
I was a member of the original student coalition that helped start PAACH in 2000 and served on the PAACH Advisory Board as a grad student in 2007. I am serving on the current Board of Advisors because I believe it is a pivotal and exciting time for PAACH and hope that the Board of Advisors can help bring PAACH to whole new levels. I hope to be able to draw upon my past experience with non-profits, past involvement with Upenn (as an undergrad, grad student, and as an alum working on alumni programming & fundraising), professional experience, and alumni networking to bring a unique perspective to the Board of Advisors.
Min Derry
Min Derry Learning Instructor, Weingarten Learning Resources Center
Min Derry is a graduate from the School District of Philadelphia. She was born in South Korea, spent her entire childhood in Brazil, and completed high school in Philadelphia as an ESOL student and immigrant. She is presently a doctoral candidate in the Reading, Writing and Literacy Program of the Literacy, Culture and International Education Division at Penn’s Graduate School of Education. Her research interests include critical literacy, practitioner research, culturally responsive pedagogy and intersectional research methodology. She has served as teaching assistant for the GSE courses: Multicultural Issues in Education, Advanced Fieldwork Seminar: Practitioner Research, and Assessing Language and Learning Differences. For her research fellowship, she serves as a Learning Fellow at the Office of Learning Resources of the Weingarten Learning Resources Center. As Learning Instructor, she works collaboratively and in co-inquiry with Penn students, including undergraduate, graduate, post-doctoral, professional and executive students. She provides individualized, in-person and online walk-in sessions, consultations, and facilitates a variety of academic wellness workshops across disciplines. Min is a parent to two young children.

History

In the fall of 1999, an ad hoc committee of the 1999-2000 Asian Pacific Student Coalition board launched a campus-wide campaign for a Pan-Asian American resource center. The SPEAKOUT! Rally was organized to gain support and publicity for this initiative. Petitions were also circulated to push for the creation of this resource center.

On November 15th, 1999 a large group of students demanded a meeting with then President, Dr. Judith Rodin. A declaration from APSC and constituent groups, campus groups, and coalitions was presented for the need of the APA resource center.

A preliminary PAACH proposal was submitted to the University President on November 24. In February, student, staff, and faculty supporters met with the President to discuss the implementation of the proposal. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Office of the President committed to the establishment of the Pan Asian American Community House at Penn.

The Grand Opening of PAACH was on November 11th, 2000 – only a year after the SPEAKOUT! Rally, and PAACH signature programs soon followed.

  • Planning for the Asian Pacific American Leadership Initiative started in the spring of 2001, with the first class assembled for Fall 2001.
  • The Promoting Enriching Experiences & Relationships (PEER) Mentoring Program was developed in 2002 to meet the needs of incoming APIA students.
  • The first Conference for Achievement Through Asian Pacific Undergraduate Leadership Training (CATAPULT) retreat was organized as a collaborative project between PAACH and the Asian Pacific Student Coalition in April 2003.
  • The Asian Students Promoting Identity, Reflection, and Education (ASPIRE) high school outreach program, formerly Asian Pacific Americans Tackling Identity Through Education (APA-TITE), began as an informal collaboration between PAACH and Central Philadelphia High School. The program was refocused in 2008 to be more student-driven and led.
  • Asian Pacific American Heritage Week, established in 1993, celebrated its 20th heritage week in 2012 with the theme “20/20 Vision”.
  • The Asian American Mentoring Program (AAMP) was started in 2012 to provide opportunities for graduate students to engage with the undergraduate community. AAMP has produced programs such as the South Asian Men’s Circle, South Asian Women’s Circle, and the Chinese Student Support Network.

In an effort to strengthen its ties with the graduate student community, PAACH developed the Asian American Mentoring Program (AAMP) in 2012. As a result of this program, PAACH piloted the South Asian Men’s Circle, the South Asian Women’s Circle, and the Chinese Student Support Network (CSSN).

The ARCH Building began a complete 18-month long renovation in May 2012 thanks to an anonymous donation. During the renovation period, all three ARCH cultural resource centers were relocated to Houston Hall, with collaborative programming supported by funding from the President’s Office. PAACH, Makuu, and La Casa Latina moved back into new ARCH spaces in December 2013.