Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs

About the Pennsylvania Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs
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About the Pennsylvania Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs

Established by Executive Order 2015-10, the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs is dedicated to ensuring that state government is accessible and accountable to the diverse Asian Pacific American communities in Pennsylvania.

The commission is composed of up to thirty volunteer members appointed by the governor for a term of two years.

News


Governor Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs to Host Town Hall
Governor Wolf’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs Statement
Governor Wolf Names Three New Members to Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs
Governor Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs Support Second All for All Summit Addressing Immigrant Integration in Pittsburgh
Governor Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs Host Town Hall in Erie
Mira Nakashima Lifetime Achievement Award
Governor Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs Hosts Community Symposium
Governor’s Advisory Commissions Urge Reunification of Immigrant Families
First Lady Frances Wolf Joins Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs to Honor Pennsylvanians
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 2018
Governor Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs Releases AAPI Language Education Schools (AAPLES) Initiative

Commissioners

 

Mohan Seshadri – Executive DirectorMohan-Seshadri

Born in Wisconsin, Mohan attended Fordham University in New York, studying political science and classical civilizations. While in college, he organized on campuses, in the Bronx (NY), and in Milwaukee (WI) in support of reproductive health and rights, racial justice, and union rights.

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    He returned to Wisconsin for the 2016 election, organizing for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in the suburbs and rural communities surrounding Milwaukee. Following the 2016 election, he moved to Pennsylvania to work for Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, the statewide organizing and advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood in the commonwealth, and operated across Central PA, Northeast PA, and the Lehigh Valley. While with Planned Parenthood, he organized and managed staff across the region through two election cycles and multiple legislative fights at the local, state, and federal level, as well as working to build solidarity with other movements and expand outreach to impacted communities, particularly in Latinx communities in the Lehigh Valley. Through years of organizing, particularly in marginalized communities, Mohan has seen what happens when communities lack a seat at the table and the organizational capacity to make change, and is committed to building that within and for AAPI communities across the commonwealth. This passion for community organizing is why he’s so excited to be the Executive Director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, serving the people of the commonwealth by working with the commission to advocate for our diverse Asian and Pacific American communities across Pennsylvania.

 

Lanica AngpakProfile image of Lanica Angpak.

Lanica Angpak is a second generation young woman residing in South Philadelphia. She is an artist, activist, and young professional. Lanica is a Temple University and Community College of Philadelphia alum. Lanica’s professional career is focused in youth development and youth programming. She is dedicated to bringing young people to all levels of dialogue and decision making.

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    She has worked with local and international youth programs and continues to seek opportunities that allow her to bridge intergenerational gaps, undo injustice, and advocate for young people everywhere. Lanica is currently a program liaison for the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services’ Out-of-School Time/Prevention Programs.

    Outside of work, Lanica is an organizer. Lanica is the founder and director of Cambodian American Girls Empowering (CAGE), a nonprofit dance troupe whose mission is to create a safe space where Cambodian Americans feel safe and free to explore and/or learn more about their shared identities, culture, heritage, and history. CAGE uses Khmer arts and culture as a way to build bridges between generations, communities, and identities. Additionally, Lanica is a board member of the 1Love Movement, in which she works with other board members and community leaders to create awareness, advocate, and create policy change for the unjust deportations of Cambodian Americans and our allies.

 

Niken Astari CarpenterImage of Niken Astari

Niken Astari Carpenter is originally from Indonesia. She works at the Office of the Mayor of the City of Erie, where she serves as the mayor’s executive assistant and liaison to the city’s refugee and immigrant communities.

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    Niken also serves as a member of Governor Tom Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs. She received her law degree from the University of Indonesia in 2003, and served as a judge in Indonesia for 12 years. Carpenter has been an active member of American Association of University Women – Erie Branch since 2011, an organization for which she’s the President-elect. In 2014, she received the career Development Grant from the American Association of University Women National to study Project Management at Pennsylvania State University. Carpenter also taught Asian culture, part of the World Languages and Cultures Department, at Mercyhurst University. From 2012 up to the present time, Carpenter has served as an advisory board member of Mentari – Human Survivor Empowerment Program, Inc. Beginning in 2013, she has been involved in the organization One Table, Erie’s Multicultural and Interfaith Bridge Builders.

 

Dr. anupama jainImage of anupama jain

anupama (anu) jain, PhD, is the owner of a small consulting business called Inclusant, which focuses on building capacity in Pittsburgh for diversity, equity, and inclusion by connecting individuals, organizations, and even sectors.

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    Previously, anu spent more than a decade as a professor of interdisciplinary studies, conducting original research, teaching varied topics, and supporting diversity initiatives in higher education. Her scholarly affiliations have included Union College in upstate New York, Colby College in Maine, and the University of Pittsburgh. Her major publication is the book How to Be South Asian in America: Narratives of Ambivalence and Belonging (Temple University Press 2011), which investigates Asian immigration, storytelling and politics, the American Dream, gender, and racial economics.

    Recently, anu has taken on more collaborative community organizing and public humanities initiatives, partnering with diverse local groups and designing original programming such as Color Me Pgh, Scholars at Large, and 12×12: Connecting Pittsburgh to the World. In Fall 2017, she also became the inaugural Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Gender Equity Commission in the Mayor’s Office.

 

State Representative Patty KimImage of Representative Patty Kim

State Representative Patty Kim, a former news anchor and reporter and Harrisburg City Councilwoman, was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2012 and has been a leader in government reform and transparency.

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    She returned her cost of living increase (COLA) and introduced a bill to eliminate the yearly pay increases. She is also one of the only members of the House to post all of her expenses on her legislative website for public review.

    Kim’s priorities in the General Assembly include taking a solution-based approach to statewide issues, working in cooperation and collaboration with colleagues, and utilizing her record of service to support initiatives that stand to better the lives of the citizens she represents.

    Leading her caucus’s charge to provide a livable wage for all Pennsylvanians, Kim twice introduced bills to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. She continues her fight for a minimum wage increase to restore the middle class by lifting thousands of Pennsylvanians out of poverty.

    Kim serves on the Appropriations, Education, Local Government, Transportation and Urban Affairs committees. She is Vice Co-Chair of the Southeast Delegation. During her second term, she served as Treasurer for the Legislative Black Caucus.

    Prior to her work in the legislature, Kim was elected to Harrisburg’s City Council where she served two terms. She was elected as council Vice President by her colleagues during her second term.

    A 1995 graduate of Boston College, Kim is married to John Sider and together they have two children, Brielle and Ryan.

 

Marian Mei-Ling LienImage of Marian Lien

Marian Mei-Ling Lien is the Executive Director of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition. For over 20 years, her interests and desires to create a more socially just society has led her down a professional path creating safer environments for patients in rural health care; teaching diversity in higher education; and building a more sustainable community.

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    She holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy Management from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, and strives to understand how people’s lives can be enhanced through public and governmental systems.

    Born in Taiwan and raised in California, Marian straddles the two worlds of Chinese Eastern and American Western ways; she is fluent in three Asian languages but dreams in English. Marian currently serves on the board of the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, on the Diversity, Inclusion and Global Centers of Excellence Committee for the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh city’s Commission on Human Relations, and the board of OCA-Asian and Pacific American Advocates, Pittsburgh Chapter.

 

Wasiullah MohamedImage of Wasiullah Mohamed

Wasiullah (Wasi) Mohamed is a life-long Pennsylvania resident. He was born in Harrisburg, raised in Enola, and moved to Pittsburgh in 2011 to attend the University of Pittsburgh.

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    During his time at the University of Pittsburgh, Wasi served in the leadership of many campus-wide organizations and initiatives, most notably he spent his four years helping to build the Office of PittServes, an arm of the Division of Student Affairs meant to ensure Pitt has a lasting positive impact on the local community while students grow from relationships and experiences with our neighbors.

    After serving as the Director of Islamic Center of Pittsburgh Food Pantry for two years, Wasi was selected to be ICP’s next Executive Director in 2015. In this position, Wasi works to empower, educate, and unite the diverse community in Western PA through social services and outreach programs. In 2016, he was appointed by Mayor Bill Peduto to the Commission on Human Relations and Welcoming Pittsburgh Commission, he was elected chair of the latter. He also sits on the All for All steering committee and works with other partners toward immigrant and refugee inclusion in the region. Also in 2016, Wasi was named the Executive Director of Emgage PA, a Muslim political education and empowerment organization.

 

Alka A. Patel, Esq.Image of Alka Patel

Alka Patel is the inaugural Deputy Director of the Risk and Regulatory Services Innovation Center at Carnegie Mellon University with the Heinz College. In her position, she is responsible for developing and executing the daily and long-term strategic mission of the Center, which is sponsored by PwC and focuses on data analytics, cybersecurity/privacy, artificial intelligence, and safe cities.

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    Alka has been recognized for her professional achievements as well as for her contributions to the community, with recognitions such as: the “Outstanding Achievement” award from Duquesne University Law School Alumni Association, the “Innovator Award” from Heinz College, CMU; “High Impact Leader Award” from ASCEND; “Business Women First Awards” from the Pittsburgh Business Times; “Tribute to Women, Young Leader” by the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh; “Rising Star” by the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers; a “Fast Tracker” by The Legal Intelligencer & PA Law Weekly; “Community Builder/Social Engineer” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Minority Attorney Committee; 40 Under 40 recipient by Pittsburgh Magazine; and Distinguished Young Alumni from the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering.

    Alka holds a Juris Doctorate and Masters in Business Administration from Duquesne University and a Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

    Alka, a native of Pittsburgh, lives in Collier Township with her husband and three children.

 

Thanh QuachProfile picture of Thanh Quach.

Thanh is graduate of Millersville University of Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in accounting, finance, and management. She is currently employed as a staff accountant in the Small Business Services Group at RKL LLP, one of the top public accounting firms in the nation.

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    She enjoys helping clients gain a better understanding of their financial position through reviews, compilations, and the preparation of necessary financial statements and tax returns. She is working towards becoming a certified public accountant. She enjoys volunteering with Junior Achievement, a program that educates young youth on financial literacy and work readiness.

    She was born and raised in Vietnam and immigrated to the U.S. with her parents when she was eight years old. She considers herself blessed to have experienced both cultures. Since 2016, Thanh has been serving as the secretary of the Vietnam Mutual Assistance Association of Central PA (VMAA of Central PA). In addition to this role, she also enjoys collaborating with other association members to organize events that unite the Vietnamese community, especially the annual Tet Festival. On top of serving the Vietnamese community in Lancaster, PA, she is a supporter of the Phuc Dai Charity, a non-profit based in California that aids rural families and community development. She has given monetary assistance and her own time to help the charity’s mission to provide better lives for rural families. Some projects include constructing bridges and temples, as well as providing scholarships and medical assistance in remote villages.

 

Dr. Anjali SahayImage of Anjali Sahay

Dr. Anjali Sahay is an Associate Professor of International Relations and Political Science at Gannon University, Erie, PA since 2008 and received tenure in 2014.

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    She serves as the Program Director of the International Studies Program (undergraduate) from Fall 2009 as well as the Director of Gannon’s Model UN Program that hosts the high school conference every Fall.  Prior to being at Gannon, she was appointed as Visiting Assistant Professor of International Relations at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC from 2006 – 2008. She has received her PhD. in International Studies from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA in 2006.  A recent article in Gannon Magazine on their Focused Faculty Feature also discusses her passion for Model UN that has stayed in her career throughout.

    Her current research focuses on topics relating to International Relations and International Migration.  Her dissertation on international migration and international relations was released in April 2009 titled: Indian Diaspora in the United States: Brain Drain or Gain?  and republished for the South Asian market in 2011.  She has also received several awards and grants most notably the ‘Excellence in Teaching Award” and was awarded first prize for Gannon President’s Award for ‘Teaching with Technology’ in 2012 and was awarded the second prize for Gannon President’s Award for “Teaching with Technology’ in 2015.

    Dr. Sahay is also a performing artist of Indian classical dance Kathak.  She has performed in various cities in India and internationally in Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA during her time there.  Recently, she has given various performances in Erie, PA and at the Ethnic Dance Festival auditions in California in 2014.

 

Stephanie SunBiographic picture of Stephanie Sun

Stephanie Sun works on corporate philanthropy in a global corporation, facilitating the support from the for-profit to the non-profit sector, both internationally and domestically. She has been working with the non-profit organization Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians as the project manager of the business development department, specializing in supporting the immigrant community with entrepreneurship cultivation, community integration, and youth empowerment.

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    In addition, Sun serves at the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, as an advisory board member. Born and raised in China, Stephanie received her master’s degree in journalism and communication and was a college senior lecturer in China. Before moving to the United States, she studied in a doctoral program in international relations and worked in international corporate and diplomatic agencies in South Korea for five and half years.

    Sun is also a journalist, and served as the senior director of the main local Chinese language newspaper based in Philadelphia.

 

Richard Tsai Ting, Esq.Image of Richard Ting

Rich is a partner at Beck & Thomas, PC, an intellectual property law firm in Pittsburgh.  Rich has counseled and represented clients in a wide variety of intellectual property matters, including patent infringement and validity assessments, freedom-to-operate analyses, intellectual property litigation, and patent and trademark prosecution.

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    Rich has technical expertise in the life sciences and has assisted clients with intellectual property analyses in preparation for filing Abbreviated New Drug Applications.

    Rich is active with the American Civil Liberties Union, serving on the board of the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter.  Rich also is a former board member and the current Corresponding Secretary for the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania, and is a former chair of the Asian Attorneys Committee of the Allegheny County Bar Association.

    Rich is a Pittsburgh-area native, has a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Brown University, a master’s degree in toxicology from the Massachusetts institute of Technology, and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

 

Videos


Asian American and Pacific Islanders in State Government

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration

Resources

Connect with Us

For more information about the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, please follow us on Facebook or contact:

Mohan Seshadri – Executive Director
508E, 5th Floor, Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
(717) 787-6543