- 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.
3601 Locust Walk, Suite G22
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6224
Monday – Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
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 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. Recently, she became a 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 had the pleasure of teaching art to K-12 students while in the program. She also 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. Fun fact: Vicky is also a world traveler, photographer, and visual artist. She has traveled to 30+ countries and territories, and she has hosted six solo art shows and group exhibitions in Philadelphia, New York, and Manila. She believes that art is a universal language that connects people.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 (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
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.