Our People

The work of APIA Scholars would not be possible without the efforts and generosity of countless Scholars, advisors, institutions, and supportive companies and their dedicated employees. Learn more about the ones making a difference below:

Dr. Patricia A. Neilson

Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education (APAHE) Board Member responsible for AANAPISI Community Forums (ACF), External Evaluator of Minority Serving Institutions, Founding Director, AANAPISI Project at UMass Boston- retired

Over 35 years ago, Dr. Neilson and her family made the decision to move from the tropical island of Oahu, Hawaii to Boston, Massachusetts with its changing seasons. Pat’s husband, Joey had accepted a position in technology. Prior to the move Pat’s professional experience included community organizing with the YMCA of Honolulu and Palama Settlement.

Upon arrival in the Bay State, Dr. Neilson’s job search resulted in securing a grant-funded, workforce development position targeting women at North Shore Community College in Lynn, Massachusetts. This was her initial entry into higher education. After eighteen years of service at NSCC, concluding as an Academic Dean, Pat accepted a position at the University of Massachusetts Boston, College of Management to direct an executive leadership program to develop a new generation of leaders for the Boston region where the most recent census had revealed that the city was now a minority/majority city. After six years of leading this effort, UMB was awarded an AANAPISI grant and she was invited to be the director. After eight exciting years of providing opportunities for AAPI students, Pat retired from UMB in 2018. Since her retirement, Pat has been consulting with institutions and organizations on matters involving AANAPISI and serving as an executive coach.

Dr. Neilson received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Seattle University; Masters of Public Health in Health Education at the University of Hawaii Manoa; and EdD in Leadership Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

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