Meet the Staff

We are here to provide academic, professional, and community support. We look forward to sharing space with you!


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Katherine 'Kat' Parpana, M.A. (she/her/siya)

  • Director | Strategic Asian and Pacific Islander Retention Initiative

Kat (she/her/siya) is a Pinay scholar-practitioner whose advising philosophy is cultivated by a culturally informed asset based approach. Kat is a UC Davis alumna with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Asian American Studies and Sociology and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Sacramento State University. She has worked in higher education for over 13 years in dedication to the advancement of hxstorically marginalized, systemically excluded, and underrepresented student scholars.

Prior to supporting the retention initiative, Kat was one of the inaugural diversity and inclusion educators and specialists with the Office of Campus Community Relations under the Vice Chancellor’s Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She also served as an academic advisor and academic counselor with the College of Letters and Science and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean’s Office. Engaged and active in social justice work and diversity education, Kat is a founding chairperson for the award winning ‘Developing Deeper Advising Relationships’ module, embedded in the UC Davis Advising Certificate Series. In addition, she collaborates with organizations including APIs Mobilize, The Asian Pacific Islander Capitol Association (APICA), and Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) in service to the Asian, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. 

Kat believes in the power of shared experiences and the importance of connectivity. When students have a culturally informed network that validates and cares for them holistically, they can truly thrive.

Region in the diasporas I identify with: Philippines, Okinawa, Pacific Islands*

*I recognize I am an Asian settler colonialist whose family benefits from ancestral transnational immigration to Pacific Islands, like Hawaii, due to the economic displacement from their homelands, like the Philippines. 


Henrietta Fonua (she/her/hers)

  • Community Consultant | Strategic Asian and Pacific Islander Retention Initiative

Henrietta (she/her/hers) is an alumna with a Bachelors of Science degree in Human Development and a minor in Psychology. She is the co-instructor and facilitator for the Pasifika Footprint First Year Aggie Connection (FYAC). In the near future, she plans to attend graduate school and further her career in supporting underprivileged and underrepresented youth. Especially those of the Pacific Islander community. Henrietta is also a founding member and inaugural High Chief of the Pacific Islander Student Association (PISA) at UC Davis.

As a first-generation Tongan student, she aims to build unity amongst Pacific Islanders at UC Davis and establish another family away from home. In doing so, build visibility and ensure the needs of PI students are met. Navigating higher education can be difficult, but having the right people supporting you might lessen the load. Henrietta is not trying to change the world, but change how the world sees Pacific Islanders.

Henrietta served as member of the first cohort of scholar leaders working for the Retention Initiative as a community organizer in academic year 2021-2022. Henrietta loves being in nature, listening to music, and spending time with family and friends. Finally, one of the best pieces of advice she was given was, “You have to play as hard as you work”.

Region in the diaspora I identify with: Tonga, Pacific Islands

Tatum Phan

Tatum Phan, Ph.D

  • Community Counselor | Student Health and Counseling Services

About Me

Tatum identifies as Vietnamese-American. She grew up in Dayton, Ohio and received her Bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University. She earned her doctoral degree in counseling psychology from the University of Oregon and completed her pre-doctoral internship in psychology and post-doctoral residency at UC Davis. Tatum joined Student Health and Counseling Services as a CAPS Community Counselor in August 2013.

How I Work With Students

When working with students, I use a collaborative and strengths-based approach that integrates Interpersonal theory, the Multicultural Framework and Ecological model. I work with my clients in exploring the multiple systems in which they are embedded in and identifying potential barriers and supports within their cultural contexts. I conceptualize the goals for therapy to include increasing my clients’ self-awareness, coping skills and their overall sense of empowerment.

Professional Interests

Multicultural counseling, social justice issues, identity development, grief and loss, life transitions, stress and wellness, behavioral health and concerns impacting underrepresented and underserved communities (e.g., racial/ethnic minorities and LGBTQ students).

Contact Information

These communication methods are intended for staff, faculty and community communications. Students are advised to use Health-e-Messaging for all communications.


Alexandra Porter, B.A. (she/her/hers)

  • Program Coordinator | Strategic Asian and Pacific Islander Retention Initiative

Alexandra (Alex) (she/her/hers)  is a UC Davis alumna who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations. Along with supporting the retention initiative, she provides administrative support to the Vice Chancellor’s Office for Student Affairs. Alex is passionate about establishing a support network for marginalized students and ensuring that campus resources are readily accessible. Coming from a family of immigrants and a multi-ethnic background, creating an inclusive space for people of all ethnic backgrounds is a top priority for Alex.

“The power of visibility can never be underestimated.” – Margaret Cho


Region in the diaspora I identify with: Thailand, South-East Asia

Staff Collaborators

Michelle Web

Michelle Cerami (they/them )

  • Residential Academic Specialist | New Student Academic Services

Michelle Cerami (they/them) is one of the professional staff that supervises the Peer Mentors based in the Living-Learning Communities, including the Asian and Pacific Islander Aggies Living-Learning Community in Redwood Hall.

As a Residential Academic Specialist, Michelle has the privilege of supervising Living Learning Community Peer Mentors who provide holistic academic support to residential students. Prior to working at UC Davis, they worked in first-year experience, leadership, and diversity & inclusion programs and teaching grades 3-9. Michelle is passionate about developing diversity, equity, and inclusion co-/curricular programming for first-year and transfer students and culturally-responsive training for the peer mentors that support those student populations.

Michelle graduated with a Master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of San Francisco and wrote their Master’s thesis on best practices for improving American Indian undergraduate enrollment and retention. Prior to this, Michelle earned their B.A. in Religion from California Lutheran University with minors in Sociology and Asian studies and went on to work in Sendai, Miyagi, Japan while on the Japan Exchange and Teaching program (JET).

They currently live on unceded Nisenan land, now known as Sacramento, CA, with their rescue cats Olaf & Yuki. Michelle watches all of the international franchises of RuPaul’s Drag Race and still plays Pokémon Go. 

Region in the diaspora you identify with: Angeleno-born; white & American Indian; adoptee

Lou Cha

Lou Cha (she/her)

  • Program Coordinator | Cross Cultural Center

Lou is a Hmong American, first-generation professional. She is the eldest daughter of her family and Human to two rottweiler dogs. In her spare time, she enjoys eating with her family and spending time alone. Lou is passionate about supporting students through their academic, personal, and professional development and advocating for student equity and inclusion. From UC Irvine, Lou received her B.A. doubling in Education Sciences and Social & Behavioral Psychology. From CSU Sacramento, Lou received her M.S. in Counseling Education. Before serving at the Cross Cultural Center, Lou served as an academic advisor for the MAE department and CA&ES Dean's Office at UC Davis. 

Region in the diaspora you identify with: Hmong American, Southeast Asian

Anya 2

Anya Gibson, M.A. (she/they)

  • Supervisor | Letters & Science Blue Cluster, Undergraduate Advising Center: Economics, History, and East Asian Studies

Anya supervises the Undergraduate Advising Center for Economics, History, and East Asian Studies. Anya is responsible for the administration of the Economics, History, and East Asian Studies programs, Latin American and Hemispheric Studies and Jewish Studies minors, and provides support to Military Science. Anya is a UC Davis alumni with a bachelor's degree in Sociology-Organization Studies and a master's degree in Education from Sacramento State. Prior to attending UC Davis she attended The East Bay French American School (Ecole Bilingue) and is fluent in French. Anya identifies as transracial adoptee.

Region in the diasporas I identify with: Vietnam

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Carol Huang, M.A. (she/her/她(tā) )

  • Operations Director | Student Recruitment and Retention Center

Carol (she/her) is the daughter of Chinese immigrants and the eldest grandchild in her family. She is a first-gen college graduate and first-gen professional; this informs how she navigates her life and work. Carol obtained her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Psychology with a minor in Educational Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and her master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University (MSU); she always fully acknowledges that if she can go back in time, she totally would have studied Asian American Studies. 

Prior to joining UC Davis, Carol served as a Career Counselor/Coordinator at UCSB. She has experience in various functional areas including career services, educational opportunity program, multicultural affairs, student leadership development, residence life, and university writing center. Carol has many wishes for the world we exist in. She acknowledges the hxstories and hopes of all those who have come before us to honor their legacies; seeks to address the most challenging needs that students are currently facing in the educational system today; and strives to collectively reimagine change so we don’t reproduce systems that harm us. Through reflective practice, she continues to develop greater self-awareness, unlearn toxic attitudes and behaviors, and understand the people and communities she serves. 

Carol is community-oriented and collaborative in creating shared goals and actions. She has led community building and advocacy efforts with APIDA communities in higher education through serving as the Asian Resource Center Student Mentor at UCSB EOP during undergrad, starting a Asian Pacific American Graduate Alliance at MSU during graduate school, and serving as a Board Member for Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (faculty/staff association) at UCSB. She enjoys learning about people and seeks opportunities to listen wholeheartedly to their stories and perspectives so please reach out if you want to chat or collaborate!

Region in the diaspora I identify with: China

Joe Nguyen

Joe Nguyen

  • Academic Adviser
  • Asian American Studies

Joe completed his degree at CSU Sacramento with a BA in Ethnic Studies & Sociology and followed with completing his Master’s in Business Administration.

Joe has worked in education since graduating college. First starting at CSU Sacramento as the head tutor for underserved communities through Mercy Housing. It was there that he recognized the struggles he had when navigating his own education and the lack of assistance that was offered to him in education as he grew. It was the same time he decided the value of education was critical to everyone’s self-growth and aimed to assist fellow students going through those same struggles. Today, he continues his role as an adviser and remains a resource for students seeking to find assistance in navigating their academic careers.

Region in the diaspora I identify with: Southeast Asia (Vietnam)


Christopher Nguyen Pheneger, M.A. (he/him/his)

  • Diversity and Inclusion Educator and Specialist | Office of Campus Community Relations with the Vice Chancellors Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Christopher identifies as a queer, Asian American transracial adoptee from Vietnam.

He currently serves as a Diversity and Inclusion Educator and Specialist for the Vice Chancellor’s Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, providing DEI professional development opportunities for faculty, staff, and students. Christopher is a UC Davis alumni and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies and a Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of San Francisco.  

Prior to joining the Vice Chancellor’s Office he served as a Program Coordinator for Full Circle Project, an AANAPISI Grant-funded program aimed at supporting Asian American and Pacific Islander students at CSU Sacramento. He’s also served as a Student Support Specialist for UNITE, a center that provides programs focusing on critical consciousness, social justice education, equity, and cultural empowerment for students, staff, and faculty at American River College.

Christopher enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking, cooking and dancing. His guilty pleasure is marathoning anime or Korean dramas over a tub of ice cream.


Region in the diaspora you identify with: Vietnam  


Christopher Pangelina, M.A. (He/They)

  • Retention Specialist, Educational Opportunity Enrichment Services

Christopher Vincent Pangelina, who is also known as Pangie, identifies as a first-generation college graduate, multiracial queer educator in the field of Student Affairs.

Pangie holds an Associates of Liberal Arts from Laney College, Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and his Masters of Arts in Postsecondary Educational Leadership with a specialization in Student Affairs from San Diego State University. He discovered his passion for working in higher education in undergrad while working in the Cal Student Orientation Program (CalSO), where he discovered the power of giving back and being a helper to fellow college students transitioning to Cal. Pangie has nine years of experience working in higher education and has continuously been an advocated for access, equity and inclusion for hxstorically marginalized and underrepresented students.

In every role Pangie has held he has had the privilege of directly supervising and developing undergraduate scholars, which keeps him grounded in student-centered work and making sure student's voices are heard. He currently works at the Center for the Educational Opportunity Program supporting first-generation and low-income undergraduate scholars.

Like many of his Pasifika fam, Pangie identifies as multiracial, which is a result of colonization across Pasifika and here on the main land. He identifies as a beautiful mix of CHamoru, Native American and Spanish. He was born in Oakland, CA and grew up in Hayward, CA and considers both cities home. He also dances hula in Sacramento for Halau Ka Waikahe Lani Malie and Halau Kahulaliwai under Kumu Juni Kalahikiola Lovel, where he's been able to reconnect with the local Pasifika Community. He is also a member of the United Territories Of Pacific Islanders Alliance (UTOPIA), which is a community based organization for LGBTQIA+ Pacific Islanders.

Region in the diaspora you identify with: Pasifika, Guam. Biba Mes CHamoru!

Affaf Waseem

Affaf Waseem, M.A. (she/her)

  • Director
  • Middle Eastern, North African, South Asian Student Resources

Affaf is the current director of the Middle Eastern, North African, South Asian Student Resources unit. She graduated from American University with an MA in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs, and obtained her BA in Global Studies and Religious Studies at UC Riverside. Throughout her career, Affaf has worked very closely with the MENASA communities at her previous campuses and is now working to build up her UC Davis family.

Apart from supporting her community and engaging in interdisciplinary research regarding MENASA issues, Affaf also enjoys learning about the diversity of MENASA cultures, gardening, journaling, and crocheting all with a good cup of tea!

Region in the diaspora I identify with: South Asian! Proud Pakistani Muslim

Wesley Young

Wesley Young

  • Director
  • Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) within Global Affairs

Wes has spent over 25 years in higher education, as a faculty member and administrator. He has been the Director of Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) since 2003. Prior to coming to Davis, he was an Associate Professor of International Studies at Dominican University of California. He received his bachelor's degree from UC Davis, Ph.D. in Political Science from UC Berkeley, and has lived, worked, and studied in a variety of cultures in both Europe and Asia.

Region in the diaspora I identify with: Chinese-American

Student Collaborators

Sean Abellera

Sean Abellera (he/him/his)

  • Community Advisor | Redwood Hall

Sean is a second-year undergraduate studying at UC Davis, majoring in English as well as Cinema & Digital Media. Living in a mobile home for a majority of his life, Sean turned towards creative writing and video games, where he found the power of these expansive, expressive worlds. He is currently located at Redwood Hall as a first-time Community Advisor.

Region in the diaspora you identify with: Philippines, Filipino-American 

Kyla Jennell

Kyla Jennell (she/her/hers)

  • Residential Academics Peer Mentor | Redwood Hall

Hi, I’m Kyla Jennell, a 4th-year here at UC Davis completing a double-major in Cinema/Digital Media and French. I’m from Phillips Ranch, which is in Southern California, so Davis was pretty unfamiliar at first. I’m an avid PC gamer and I love to cook!


Region in the diaspora you identify with: Half Vietnamese, Half Caucasian