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:

President & Executive Director

Noël S. Harmon, PhD.

Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff

Michelle Cohenour, ED.D

Associate Vice President of Student Success

Christina Lambert

Associate Vice President of Development

Stacy Lewis

Chief Financial Officer

Michelle Kim

Vice President of Scholarships

Amy Ronnkvist

VP of Marketing and Communications

Wendy Wong

Senior Manager of Student Success

Courtney Arguello

Scholarship Associate

Maggie Chu

Development Grants Manager

Maria Dolojan

Senior Director of Scholarship Operations

Kim Ma Gustafson

Executive Associate

Paul Haakenson

Director of Operations

Paul Kwon

Database and Systems Manager

James Lewis

Director of Scholarship Solutions and Partnerships

Sierra Lloyd

Scholarships Manager

Cindy Luo

Development Account Manager

Rhea Mahajan

Director of Finance

Gulnara Mambetova

Director of Staff Success and Special Projects

Andrea Pouso Morales

Student Success Manager

Melvin Nguyen

Digital Storytelling and Marketing, Senior Manager

Bryan Park

Senior Director of Development

Meredith Randle

Liaison to the President and Senior Director of Special Projects

Matthew Rosales

Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

Mavish Sandhu

Staff Success Support Staff

Johanna Simpson

Development Operations Associate

Sydney Zhu

Development Intern

Hannah Chan

Marketing and Communications Intern

Mahnoor Ali

Consultant, Data Voyager Project

Robert T. Teranishi

Consultant, Data Voyager Project

Kāwika Riley

Consultant, Data Voyager Project

Audrey D. Paredes

Data Consultant

Meaghann Wheelis

President & Executive Director

Noël S. Harmon, PhD.

Noël Harmon is President and Executive Director of Asian Pacific Islander American Scholars, formerly, the Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund. She joined the organization in June 2018. Harmon comes to APIA Scholars from Say Yes to Education, where she was Senior Vice President for Strategic Partnerships. Harmon has also held positions at the Brookings Institution where she was the Associate Director of the Global Cities Initiatives, a joint project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase, and at CEOS for Cities, where she was the Chief Program Officer and National Director of the Talent Dividend. She led the National Talent Dividend Network and Prize, a joint initiative of Living Cities and CEOs for Cities, to foster post-secondary attainment, through cross-sector collaboration among more than 60 network cities. She also served as a senior research analyst at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) where she managed several long-term national initiatives.

Harmon spent the first decade of her career in direct service to students, working in administration at post-secondary institutions including Hofstra University, University of Michigan, Western Illinois University, and four years in Athletic Student Services at the University of Iowa.

Harmon holds a PhD in Higher Education and a BA in English from the University of Iowa, and a MA in Student Affairs Administration from Ball State University.

Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff

Michelle Cohenour, ED.D

Michelle Cohenour is the Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff at Asian Pacific Islander American Scholars. She joined the organization in August 2021. Michelle is honored to have the opportunity to lead staff success policies and internal strategy at the nation’s largest student success non-profit for AANHPI American college students. Michelle has spent the past twenty years advocating for college students through a variety of roles in higher education including retention, early-intervention, career development, academic advising, residence life. Cohenour comes to APIA Scholars from Baylor University where she was the Senior Director of the Center for Academic Success and Engagement. Cohenour also held positions at the University of Iowa where she was the Director of Retention and Early Intervention. Michelle is deeply invested in student success and believes the student experience is positively impacted when a coordinated care network is fostered for students. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Early-Childhood Education from Eastern Illinois University, a Masters of College Student Development from Western Illinois University and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Tarleton State University. 

Associate Vice President of Student Success

Christina Lambert

Christina Lambert (she/her) started in July 2022 and is currently working as the Associate Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at APIA Scholars. Previously, she managed Coaching Services with the Making Waves Foundation, directly managing professional staff who supported around 700 scholarship recipients each year. During that time, she led initiatives focused on community college completion and creating a student success framework. Previously, Lambert was the inaugural staff member for an AANAPISI grant at Bunker Hill Community College. She developed a culturally-responsive success coaching model for the grant, in addition to being part of a curriculum reform for the English Language Learning department, and developing more holistic student supports for the College. Prior to that, she worked for Bunker Hill CC, Northeastern University, and Colorado State University in academic advising and student activities roles. Lambert received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Wheaton College and a Master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University. She also received a Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance from the state of Massachusetts in 2017, and completed the Leadership Development Program for Higher Education (now known as LEAP Advance) through LEAP (Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics). 

Associate Vice President of Development

Stacy Lewis

Stacy Lewis (she/her) is the Associate Vice President of Development at APIA Scholars. She originally joined the organization in January 2014 as an Administrative Assistant for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program. Over the course of nearly six years, Stacy served in progressively more senior roles supporting the team in Scholarships, Programs, Communications, and Development. She left the organization in October 2019 as the Director of Development and External Relations. After nearly three years away serving as the Senior Director of External Affairs at the Millennial Action Project, Stacy rejoined APIA Scholars in May 2022 to lead the organization’s national fundraising efforts.  

Stacy holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Art & Art History from The College of William & Mary and an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University. Her home island is Saipan, CNMI and her maternal roots are in Bicol, Philippines. 

Chief Financial Officer

Michelle Kim

Michelle Kim is the Chief Financial Officer at Asian Pacific Islander American Scholars and joined the organization in August 2022. While working in the nonprofit sector, Michelle saw the direct positive impact education can have on the trajectory of a student’s future. Prior to joining APIA Scholars, she held a number of roles focusing on finance, operations, and strategic planning with various nonprofits. Most recently, Michelle served as the Senior Director of Finance and Operations with The TEAK Fellowship. Prior to transitioning to the nonprofit sector, Michelle was Vice President at Deutsche Bank and also held a number of roles at Morgan Stanley and OppenheimerFunds. Michelle holds a BA in Psychology from Smith College and an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business. She was the Founding Co-Chair for Open Hands Legal Services Young Professionals Network and also previously served on the Leadership Council for Beginning with Children Foundation. 

Vice President of Scholarships

Amy Ronnkvist

Amy Ronnkvist (she/her) is the Vice President of Scholarships at APIA Scholars and joined the organization in August 2023. Prior to APIA Scholars, she was the Director of Strategy and Product at Scholarship America where she brought a student centered, equity lens to heavily influence the strategic direction of the organization and translated that strategy into the future vision of scholarships and emergency grants for students. 

Ronnkvist’s career has spanned corporate, academic, government, and non-profit sectors where she has created innovative partnerships and products that drive results. This included research, publishing, and teaching at the University of Minnesota; Minnesota State University, Mankato; and serving as the Office Manager for the American Civil Liberties Union-Greater Minnesota Racial Justice Project. Her background in sociology fuels her passion for tackling systemic economic and racial barriers, especially related to education. Amy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Social Sciences with a specialization in Sociology from the University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu. 

VP of Marketing and Communications

Wendy Wong

Wendy Wong is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications of APIA Scholars. She joined the team in July 2022. Wong has a track record of bringing her strategy- and data-driven marketing and communications expertise to nonprofit, entertainment, and tech startup organizations. Prior to joining APIA Scholars, she served as the Head of Marketing at the Singleton Foundation, the VP of Marketing at Lionsgate, and the Executive Director of Marketing at Summit Entertainment. She has worked on partnerships with Scholastic, Harper Collins, Cover Girl, Hasbro, and Chegg. Her campaigns have won the Clio Awards and Promax/BDA Awards for excellence in marketing, design and communications. After her success in the film studios, Wong combined her experience in entertainment to the Singleton Foundation for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship where she made financial education engaging, entertaining, and relevant to the younger generations. During her tenure with the startup Tapcheck, she spearheaded the awards campaign and won recognition at the 2021 FinTech Breakthrough Award for the company in the category of Best Employee Benefits Solution. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Communications from Cornell University and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. 

Senior Manager of Student Success

Courtney Arguello

Courtney Arguello (she/her) joined the APIA Scholars team as the Senior Manager of Student Success in February 2024.  In her role, Courtney will lead scholar-focused events and will work closely with the team to innovate high-quality and impactful student engagement.  Her commitment to supporting students comes from her extensive background in higher education and college access and success work.   

Most recently, Courtney worked at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as the Manager of Inclusion Partnerships and Alumni Engagement, where she executed alumni initiatives and a mentorship program that promotes continued access and opportunity, while supporting career trajectories and education for alumni of the Academy’s diversity, equity and inclusion talent development programs.  Prior to her work at the Academy, Courtney was the Senior Manager of Early Career and Alumni Engagement at the Making Waves Education Foundation.  While here, she led initiatives focused on providing support and resources for students and alumni beyond college.  In addition to her work with students, Courtney is an experienced event planner and coordinator, who finds joy in planning and executing a vision and bringing it to life.  She received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego and a Master of Arts degree in Sport Management from the University of San Francisco.  Born and raised in California, Courtney resides in Los Angeles, CA.  

Scholarship Associate

Maggie Chu

Maggie Chu (she/they) joined the APIA Scholars team in June 2022 as a scholarships associate. Chu has a strong commitment to supporting the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, especial AAPI youth. Before joining APIA Scholars they worked for Asian American LEAD as a high school program coordinator, creating afterschool and summer curriculum for underserved Asian American youth in the DMV area. Chu started her work in the AAPI community at the College of William & Mary where they graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Global studies with a concentration in APIA Studies and History. 

Development Grants Manager

Maria Dolojan

Maria Dolojan (she/her) is the Development Grants Manager at APIA Scholars and joined the organization in February 2024. Prior to APIA Scholars, she was a Project Officer and Development Associate for the University of Oxford in their North American Office, and has experience working in higher education administration, the nonprofit social services sector, and community-based organizations. Maria is currently a Fellow at the Apolitical Foundation for the TransformNorms Learning Collaborative – a global program funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that is focused on addressing various issue areas in promoting gender equity. Additionally, she is a part of the inaugural cohort of Obama Foundation’s Leaders USA program and Founder of Famalåo’an  Rights, Guam’s first and only reproductive justice initiative focused on addressing the need for accessible reproductive health care in Guam. 

 

Maria has been involved with APIA Scholars since 2017 as a former scholarship recipient, Social Innovation Fellow, Elevating Leaders’ Summit Group Facilitator, and as a volunteer Scholarship Review Board Member for the organization.  

 

She received a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration and Criminal Justice from the University of Guam, and a Masters in Public & Nonprofit Management & Policy from The Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, the public policy school of New York University.   

Senior Director of Scholarship Operations

Kim Ma Gustafson

Kim Gustafson (she/her) joined the APIA Scholars team as Senior Director of Scholarship Operations in December 2023. She is honored to serve as a key contributor to the overall strategy and management of scholarship and emergency grant solutions. Gustafson is deeply committed to expanding access to education and supporting students holistically in reaching — and exceeding — their full potential. Equity, cross-sector collaboration, and fostering a sense of belonging are always at the core of her work. 

Prior to joining APIA Scholars, Gustafson held the role of Scholarship Director at the Mitchell Institute. Senator George J. Mitchell founded the scholarship and research organization with a mission to guide students from the state of Maine on a path to success in college and beyond. Gustafson led the expansion of the scholarship program, wraparound resources and support, and data management. As a John T. Gorman Foundation Fellow, she leverages a framework of adaptive leadership, data-informed decision making, and a results-based approach to address disparities, close gaps, and bring change at a systems level. The foundation for her work was built through various roles in admissions and career development at Bates College.  

Gustafson graduated from Middlebury College with a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies. She has been certified as a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and Strong Interest Inventory® practitioner, as well as a Global Career Development Facilitator. 

Executive Associate

Paul Haakenson

Director of Operations

Paul Kwon

Paul Kwon (he/him) is the Director of Operations at Asian Pacific Islander American Scholars. Paul joined APIA Scholars in 2023. In that capacity, Paul works to support operations and internal systems of the organization. Previously, Paul served as Project Coordinator for People Stretch Solutions, consultants working with organizations to improve success and OKR implementation. Prior to People Stretch Solutions, Paul worked at different government contracting IT organizations, helping them implement new technologies, processes, and procedures to improve client success. 

Paul holds a B.S. in Health Administration & Policy from George Mason University and an MBA from Boston College. He resides in Northern Virginia. 

Database and Systems Manager

James Lewis

Director of Scholarship Solutions and Partnerships

Sierra Lloyd

Sierra Lloyd (she/her) serves as Director of Scholarships and Programs and joined APIA Scholars in June of 2020. She currently co-leads the management and disbursement process of the APIA Scholarship and oversees the AANAPISI Scholarship program. In her role, Lloyd finds enjoyment in streamlining cross-department processes and cultivating working relationships with AANAPISI partner campuses, in order to minimize success barriers for first-generation and low-income college students. Prior to joining APIA Scholars, Lloyd worked for various other college access and success organizations, including the College Advising Corps, where she created targeted programming and advised hundreds of high school students on navigating the college application and financial aid process. She also comes to APIA Scholars with years’ experience in managing and overseeing college access and scholarship programming, at the city-wide and school-district level, created for students, parents, and high school counselors. Lloyd holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Gender Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Masters of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. 

Scholarships Manager

Cindy Luo

Cindy Luo (she/her) joined APIA Scholars in May 2021 and works as the Scholarships Manager. She supports the team with different programming initiatives, including the Gates Millennium Scholars Program and academic advising services for students as they navigate their higher education journeys. In her role, she strives to help foster a stronger sense of community and belonging for students of all backgrounds while encouraging their identity exploration and leadership development. Cindy brings a global mindset to her work and is also inspired by the power of storytelling, intercultural communication, and language learning. Prior to joining APIA Scholars, she worked at the University of Pennsylvania’s Division of Student Engagement. Cindy received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Sociolinguistics at Georgetown University.  

Development Account Manager

Rhea Mahajan

Rhea Mahajan is the Development Account Manager at APIA Scholars since January 2024. A licensed CPA and SASB FSA Level II candidate, she holds a B.S. in Accounting, Finance, and Sustainable Business from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. 

In her previous role as Social Innovation Officer at Smart City Expo USA, Rhea played a key role in advancing smart, equitable, and sustainable cities globally. At APCO Impact, she supported clients in financial inclusion, ESG, philanthropy, and DEI, and co-led the firm’s ANHPI ERG with a focus on community advocacy. 

Rhea’s professional journey began in forensic and litigation consulting, contributing to investigations of whistleblower claims and a national opioid crisis litigation. Beyond her professional roles, she serves as a host for the South Asian media company, DissDash, and actively volunteers with organizations like NYCares. 

With a deep commitment to positive impact, Rhea brings a wealth of expertise to the APIA Scholars team. 

Director of Finance

Gulnara Mambetova

Gulnara Mambetova began her APIA Scholars journey in December 2016 as a Staff Accountant, and in February 2022, she was promoted to the Director of Finance role. While at APIA Scholars, she has overseen all internal finance, accounting, and administrative functions. She has proven to work collaboratively with external auditors and lead successful audits from year to year.  

Gulnara received her Masters in Business Administration with a focus in Finance from Bay Atlantic University in Washington, DC, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Business Administration from International Alatoo University in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. 

Director of Staff Success and Special Projects

Andrea Pouso Morales

Andrea Pouso Morales (she/her) is the Director of Staff Success and Special Projects. She joined the APIA Scholars team in June 2022. Coming from a background in student affairs, Andrea has experience in different functional areas working with mentoring, curriculum development, campus programming, and basic needs initiatives within a college campus. Prior to APIA Scholars, Andrea served as the Program Coordinator of Engineering and Computer Science Scholars at Baylor University. In that role, she led the implementation of a National Science Foundation S-Stem grant supporting 2 cohorts of low-income, high achieving students historically underrepresented in the fields of ECS. Andrea is passionate about eliminating barriers to college access and building holistic supports for historically underserved student populations to thrive in post-secondary education.  

Andrea holds a B.S in Nutrition Sciences and a M.Ed. In Higher Education and Student Affairs from Baylor University. 

Student Success Manager

Melvin Nguyen

Melvin Nguyen (he/him) joined APIA Scholars in October 2022 as the Programs Manager. Dedicated to closing the gap of achieving higher education, Nguyen has served as a College Access Mentor for Breakthrough New York, Let’s Get Ready, and Strive for College for the last four years to support first-generation low-income BIPOC high school seniors navigate the inequitable college application process. In addition to college access, Nguyen is passionate about the power of hands-on learning in kitchen environments, working in the back and the front of restaurants since his high school years. He recently served as the Program Specialist at Future Chefs where he led the recruitment and onboarding of their paid school year and summer programming, internship programs, and short-term engagements, impacting 200 participants a year. He facilitated the development of their work-based learning and coaching curriculum with a focus on post-secondary success and transferable skill attainment. Nguyen has been involved with APIA Scholars as a former scholarship recipient, Social Innovation Fellow, and Elevating Leaders Summit Group Facilitator. He graduated from New York University where he majored in Hospitality and Tourism and has a graduate certificate in Food Studies from Boston University. He is currently a Community Fellow at the Institute of Nonprofit Practice.  

Digital Storytelling and Marketing, Senior Manager

Bryan Park

Bryan Park (he/they) serves as the Senior Manager of Digital Storytelling and Marketing for APIA Scholars, and originally joined the organization in May 2018 as a Communications Associate. Bryan comes from a background in journalism, having graduated from American University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in print journalism and Asian Studies. Bryan is passionate about using his storytelling skills and experience to bring rich and empowering stories of young Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholars to the forefront of popular media. During his 4 years at APIA Scholars, Bryan has led key marketing and brand building efforts for the organization including the 2018 APIA Scholars rebrand, social media management, website development, photography/videography production, event collaterals, and more. 

Senior Director of Development

Meredith Randle

Meredith Randle (she/her) is Senior Director of Development at Asian Pacific Islander American Scholars. In that capacity, Meredith works to drive the growth of the organization. Previously, Meredith served as Associate Director of Business Development at SimpsonScarborough, a premier higher education marketing and branding agency. While there, she implemented sales enablement strategies to transform the agency’s inbound sales and business development. She first joined APIA Scholars in 2018, where she served in roles including Development Manager and Executive Assistant to the President. She has also held positions in student affairs and communications at her alma mater, William & Mary.  

Meredith holds a BA in Psychology from William & Mary. She resides in Brooklyn, NY. 

Liaison to the President and Senior Director of Special Projects

Matthew Rosales

Matthew Rosales (he/him) is Liaison to the President and Senior Director of Special Projects at Asian Pacific Islander American Scholars, joining the organization in June 2023. With over a decade of non-profit experience, Matthew comes to the organization directly from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, where he served as Senior Operations Manager, Organizational Policy and Performance, and supported the organization’s Executive office through various internal projects and initiatives focused on optimizing organizational performance. Matthew brings a passion for breaking down barriers to post-secondary education through experience leading programs and operations at the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. He has led multiple breakout sessions at the National Scholarship Providers Association’s annual conference and was featured in the American Society of Association Executives article: The Building Blocks for a Successful Scholarship Program.  In addition to his work in the non-profit sector, Matthew is a military veteran, having served in the United States Marine Corps and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Salisbury University in Maryland. 

Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

Mavish Sandhu

Mavish Sandhu is the Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at APIA Scholars and joined the team in July 2022. She leads the team responsible for developing marketing campaigns and communication strategies that advance the organization’s efforts to illuminate impact – bringing equity, empowerment, and access for underserved Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) students across higher education.  

Sandhu has spent over a decade building and leading next generation marketing and communication teams ranging from Fortune 500, tech startup and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining APIA Scholars, she served as the Communications Advisor to the Senior Vice President of Nationwide Offices at AARP; serving over 38 million members across 53 state offices. During her time at Frontier Communications, she was tapped to join start-up incubator, Frontier Secure, as the Head of Marketing. While there, she and her team helped grow the product portfolio from 30M to 300M in the span of 3.5 years – establishing major media presence including Lifetime Network, Discovery Channel, and Inc. Magazine. Throughout her work, Sandhu continues to be passionate about empowering teams and developing brands that as she puts it ‘market with meaning’ by executing innovative, strategic, and creative marketing and communications that ultimately unlock change for good. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University at Buffalo. 

Staff Success Support Staff

Johanna Simpson

Development Operations Associate

Sydney Zhu

Sydney Zhu (she/her) serves as the Development Operations Associate at APIA Scholars and joined the organization in August 2023Sydney is passionate about social justice work and human services, having graduated from The George Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Political ScienceShe has a strong commitment to AANHPI issues, coming from rich immigrant roots herself, and through her senior dissertation, she researched the effects that gentrification and displacement had on residents and small businesses in Washington DC’s Gallery Place Chinatown neighborhoodShe is extremely mission-driven, and in her role at the organization, she sees development as a tool that can be used to contribute to the important equity work that benefits historically marginalized communitiesIn the past, she has served as a Community Organizer for equitable housing practices, advocating for rent stabilization for tenants in DC during the height of COVID-19, and most recently served as the Development and Communications Coordinator for Rebuilding Together DC Alexandria, a local nonprofit organization in Washington DC serving low-income homeowners. 

Development Intern

Hannah Chan

Marketing and Communications Intern

Mahnoor Ali

Consultant, Data Voyager Project

Robert T. Teranishi

Robert Teranishi is Professor of Social Science and Comparative Education, the inaugural Morgan and Helen Chu Endowed Chair in Asian American Studies, and director for the Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research examines the causes and consequences of the stratification of college opportunities, with a particular interest on the impact of higher education practice and policy on the mobility of marginalized and vulnerable communities.

Teranishi’s research has been influential to federal, state, and institution policy related to college access and completion. He has testified before Congress on the Higher Education Reauthorization Act, the College Cost Reduction and Affordability Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. His research has been referenced in U.S. Supreme Court cases on school desegregation and affirmative action in college admissions. In 2011, he was appointed by Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan to the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission. In 2015, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as a member of the National Board for the Institute for Education Sciences. He has also served as a strategic planning and restructuring consultant for the Ford Foundation.

Teranishi has received national awards from the National Institute for the Study of Transfers, the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals, and the Association for the Study of Higher Education. He has received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Faculty Award and the Daniel E. Griffiths Award at NYU and at UCLA he has been the recipient of the Robert M. Stevenson Award, Hoshide Distinguished Teaching Award, and Don T. Nakanishi Award for Outstanding Engaged Scholarship. Teranishi has also been ranked among the most influential academics in the field of education by Education Weekly and was named one of the nation’s top “up-and-coming” leaders by Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

Teranishi was formally a National Institute for Mental Health postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute. He received his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz in Sociology and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in Higher Education and Organizational Change.

Consultant, Data Voyager Project

Kāwika Riley

Kāwika Riley is a consultant for APIA Scholars. A longtime partner, Kāwika is the past CEO and cofounder of the Pacific Islander Access project, a small nonprofit that collaborated with APIA Scholars to raise awareness about Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander underrepresentation in higher education and improve NHPI student access to underrepresented minority scholarships and fellowships. He is honored to continue to work on these issues and others with APIA Scholars.

Kāwika brings over 18 years of experience in public service, academia and the nonprofit sector to his role as consultant. He has worked as a senior staffer in the U.S. Senate, a national spokesman for a federal agency, and in leadership roles at Native Hawaiian-serving institutions. Kāwika is the Vice President of External Affairs at Kupu, a youth-focused conservation nonprofit operating in Hawaiʻi and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific.

A proud graduate of Hawaiʻi public schools, Kāwika earned his B.A. from the University of Northern Colorado, his M.A. from the George Washington University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He has taught at UH and GWU and is currently a Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Project on Indigenous Governance and Development.

Consultant, Data Voyager Project

Audrey D. Paredes

Audrey D. Paredes, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of educational leadership and administration in the School of Education at California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM). Her role as a teacher-scholar is informed by her positionality as the daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, first-generation college student, and a former college student affairs practitioner. As an interdisciplinary scholar, Dr. Paredes’ broader research agenda utilizes critical approaches to understand and conceptualize the ways in which institutions of higher education, specifically Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), can be sites of transformation so that systemically marginalized communities can thrive. Currently, her research focuses on responding to the heterogeneity of the Latina/o/x college student population within the context of federally designated Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) by way of examining the lived experiences of Central American undergraduates. Dr. Paredes’ has expertise in anti-racist and decolonial theories such as Critical Race Theory and Chicana/Latina Feminist Theories as well as, Chicana/Latina Feminista qualitative methodologies. Prior to joining CSUSM, she was a post-doctoral scholar at UCLA, the lead project manager for the University of California’s Hispanic Serving Institutions (UC-HSI) Initiative, and a consultant for the UC Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) working group. Dr. Paredes earned her Ph.D. in education with a specialization in race and ethnic studies at the UCLA, MA in education at UCLA, and BA in Gender, Ethnicity, and Multicultural Studies (concentration in Chicana/o Studies) from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Data Consultant

Meaghann Wheelis