WHAT’S AN AANAPISI?
AANAPISIs are Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. The U.S. Department of Education AANAPISI Program was authorized by the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 and are critical sites for serving low-income APIA students and supporting degree attainment among APAIA students. Nationally, there are 23 funded programs at 21 eligible AANAPISI institutions. In Massachusetts, the University of Massachusetts Boston, Bunker Hill Community College and Middlesex Community College receive funding to increase the retention and graduation rates of Asian American underserved and underrepresented students. This session will highlight the impact the funding has made on each of the campuses.
I am currently working as a Tax Computation Specialist in the IRS’s Boston Appeals Office. Prior to that, I served on Active Duty with the Massachusetts Army National Guard, to include a tour in Iraq in 2005, retiring as a Sergeant First Class. Awards include 5 Army Commendation Medals and 3 Army Achievement medals. Since coming to Appeals I served 4 years on the Diversity & Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Committee (DEEOAC), I also served over 3 years as a member of Federally
Executive Boards Diversity Committee.
Pratna Kem is the critical reading and writing specialist of the Asian American Student Success Program. He received his bachelor of arts degree from UMass Boston in English and completed a program-of-study in Asian American Studies. His current career and future goals are informed by his lived experience as a second-generation Cambodian American growing up in the Greater Boston Area, where he saw the disparities between well-established, suburban communities and under-resourced, poorly-educated new refugee populations. He hopes to become a teacher who will advocate for underserved and underrepresented student populations.
Dr. Maria Puente currently serves as the Faculty Project Director of Building the Framework of Success, the AANAPISI grant-funded initiative of Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC). A clinical psychologist by training, Dr. Puente had over twenty years of experience in higher education before becoming a full-time professor at BHCC, Chair of the Behavioral Sciences Department and concurrent Chief Editor of the College’s Fifth Year Interim Report for the New
England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), and later, Interim Dean of the Division of Mathematics, Behavioral, and Social Sciences. Her career in higher education began in the Philippines, where she engaged in phenomenological and qualitative research on family dynamics of women recovering from substance dependence, families experiencing domestic violence, trauma survivors of natural disasters, and socioeconomically disadvantaged children; managed UNICEF, USAID, and ILO grants that focused on psychosocial rehabilitation and the lives of children in very difficult circumstances; coordinated administrative functions for a university-
based psychological wellness center; and clinically supervised graduate students undergoing masters-level practicum in group play therapy. Dr. Puente first came to the United States in 1999 and has settled in Boston, Massachusetts with her family.
Virak Uy is the Director of the Program for Asian American Student Advancement (PAASA) at Middlesex Community College. He has extensive experience working with the Asian community in the greater Lowell area and is the Board President of the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association (CMAA). He also has a background in education, marketing and finance. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Boston College, Virak received his master’s degree in education from UMass Boston.