The BMCC – Hunter AANAPISI Bridge Initiative is a joint project led by faculty and staff based at Borough of Manhattan Community College and Hunter College.
Borough of Manhattan Community College:
Linta Varghese, ABI Program Coordinator & Assistant Professor, Department of Ethnic and Race Studies
Linta Varghese is the Program Coordinator for the BMCC-Hunter College AANAPISI Bridge Initiative (ABI). She oversees ABI programming at BMCC with a focus on financial literacy and emotional wellness workshops and the AAPI needs assessment project. Professor Varghese is an assistant professor in the Department of Ethnic and Race Studies at BMCC where she teaches courses in Asian American Studies, Asian Diaspora and Comparative Ethnic Studies. She is a cultural anthropologist whose research interests and publications have examined gendered labor, domestic workers and care, class in South Asian American communities, and Asian American Studies at community colleges. Professor Varghese has a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Texas, Austin and also received her BA in Asian Studies from there.
Soniya Munshi, ABI Program Coordinator & Associate Professor, Department of Ethnic and Race Studies
As co-coordinator of the AANAPISI Bridge Initiative (ABI), Soniya Munshi (she/her/they) supports student programming, faculty development, and other activities that aim to address the needs of Asian American and Pacific Islander students. Soniya is an Associate Professor in BMCC’s Department of Ethnic and Race Studies, where she teaches classes in Asian American Studies and Gender + Women’s Studies. They were a co-director of the NEH-funded project, “Building Asian American Studies across the Community College Classroom” (2016-2018) and is currently a member of the CUNY Black, Race, and Ethnic Studies Initiative (BRESI) Council. She is an affiliate faculty member in the Critical Social/Personality and Environmental Psychology (CSPEP) program at the CUNY Graduate Center. Soniya’s research interests in gendered violence in migrant communities, illness and disability in Asian America, and women of color abolitionist visions of safety and health is informed by their experiences organizing for gender justice in South Asian, immigrant, and/or LGBTQIA+ communities of color in New York City and beyond. Soniya has a Ph.D. in Sociology with a Women’s Studies Certificate from the CUNY Graduate Center and a B.A. in Psychology and Women’s Studies from Macalester College.
Nadia Saleh, ABI Program Assistant
Nadia Saleh is the Program Assistant for the AANAPISI Bridge Initiative (ABI). Her role is to provide programmatic and administrative support for ABI and support the planning and implementation of academic, co-curricular, and leadership programs/workshops open to all students.She is also developing an outreach system to identify student resource offices to help build relationships between offices, faculty, and students within BMCC and Hunter College. Nadia Saleh is an Advanced Standing MSW Student at the Silberman School of Social Work with a focus on Clinical Practice. She holds a BSW with a minor in Asian American studies. Nadia is an APIA scholar and a Cabrini fellow that works closely with nurses and other professionals who will be on the front lines of helping our state shape healthier, equitable, and accepting communities. She has conducted ethnographic research in migrant communities and co-organized workshops on the criminalization of domestic abuse survivors. Nadia has an additional role in BMCC as the Multicultural Coordinator within the Social Justice and Equity Center.
Gina Cherry, Director, Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship
Gina has worked in higher education for more than 15 years, bringing experience from a variety of roles, including educational technologist, researcher, and faculty member. Before joining BMCC in 2016, Gina was a founding co-director of Hunter’s Academic Center for Excellence in Research and Teaching (ACERT). She also held a research scientist position at the University of Washington and was a tenant organizer in subsidized housing in San Francisco. Gina holds a Master’s in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder.Gina collaborates with the ABI team on the design of the Faculty Seminar Series and accompanying website. Gina has worked in higher education for more than 20 years, bringing experience from a variety of roles, including educational technologist, researcher, and faculty member. Before joining BMCC in 2016, Gina was a founding co-director of Hunter’s Academic Center for Excellence in Research and Teaching (ACERT). She also held a research scientist position at the University of Washington and was a tenant organizer in subsidized housing in San Francisco. Gina holds a Master’s in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
John J. Chin, Principal Investigator & Professor, Department of Urban Policy and Planning
Prof. Chin is the Principal Investigator of HCAP and ABI, and is responsible for overall management and assessment of these projects. Prof. Chin’s research focuses on access to social and health services for underserved urban communities, including immigrant communities and communities of color. His NIH-funded research has examined the role of immigrant-led community institutions in delivering HIV prevention and stigma-reduction messages, and more recently, HIV risk, working conditions, and experiences with law enforcement for Asian immigrant women working in sexually oriented massage parlors. Prior to his academic career, he helped to found the Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS (now a Federally Qualified Health Center known as Apicha Community Health Center), where he served as Deputy Executive Director. Prof. Chin is chair of the National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Policy Research Scholars Program. He has a Ph.D. in Urban Planning from Columbia University, an M.S. in Urban Policy Analysis from the New School for Social Research, and a B.A. from Cornell University.
Paul McPherron, Co-Principal Investigator & Professor, Department of English
Paul McPherron is the Co-Principal Investigator of HCAP and ABI, and is responsible for overall management for these projects. He also supports the faculty and staff development seminars and the research skills curriculum for the ABI. He is a professor of English at Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY) where he teaches classes on English linguistics, sociolinguistics, ESL, and the structure of English. He is a socio/applied linguist whose research interests and publications have examined questions about English language learning in relation to identity, globalization, neo-nationalism, and teaching policies, particularly in China and the United States. He also recently published a textbook with Palgrave McMillan entitled Thinking Sociolinguistically: How to Plan, Conduct, and Present your Research Project. Paul has a Ph.D in Linguistics from UC Davis, an MA in TESOL from UC Davis, and a B.A. in English Education from the University of Illinois. He has held academic and teaching positions around the world including at Southern Illinois University, Stanford University, Shantou University (Guangdong, China), and UC Davis. He was also a Peace Corps Volunteer in Romania where he taught English at two high schools in Sibiu, Transylvania.
Caitlin Ho, HCAP Program Director
Caitlin Ho is the Program Director for the Hunter College AANAPISI Project (HCAP) and works closely with the ABI team to manage the AANAPISI cooperative grant between Hunter and BMCC. As Program Director, she oversees programs and partnerships, manages reporting, and coordinates activities for HCAP and ABI. She also implements the HCAP/ABI Transfer Pipeline Program, a peer mentoring program that targets Asian American and other first-generation students who are transferring from CUNY community colleges to Hunter. Caitlin has worked for over 10 years in initiatives to build the capacity of college students, direct service providers, and community leaders. Prior to joining HCAP, Caitlin was the Grant and Loan Program Manager at the Hopewell Fund, where she provided resources to women’s health clinics, and served as Senior Associate at NoVo Foundation, where she supported organizations focused on ending gender-based violence, advancing economic justice, and building the leadership of young women of color. Caitlin has also worked for the Center for Students of Color at Brown University and served as the Pan-Asian Student Coordinator. Caitlin received her B.A. in Ethnic Studies and Political Science from Brown University, and her M.S. in Urban Policy and Leadership from Hunter College CUNY. Caitlin was also a CUNY Women’s Public Service Policy Fellow, and served as a local chapter leader of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF).
Marcia Liu, HCAP Mental Health Specialist
Marcia Liu, Ph.D. is the Mental Health Specialist for HCAP. In this role she co-lead the semi-annual ABI Faculty Seminar Series, focusing on the needs of AAPI students at Hunter and BMCC. This program focuses on pedagogical interventions, cultivating cultural humility and reflective instructor identities, and understanding the mental health needs of students at both institutions. Additionally, she has developed a mental health outreach program for students. Here she hosts student outreach events, develops relationships with NYC AAPI-serving community mental health centers, and engages with faculty and staff. She also leads an undergraduate research team. She has taught in the Asian American Studies Program at Hunter for the past seven years. Outside of ABI, Marcia has a private psychotherapy and consulting practice, and she serves as national advisor to the Steve Fund. Her research and clinical interests include AAPI racial identity development, racial trauma, immigration stress and intergenerational conflict, AAPI gender and sexuality, and mental health stigma within the AAPI community. Prior to Hunter she worked as a psychologist at The Brooklyn Veterans Affairs Hospital, The New School, and Columbia University. She has a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Boston College, an M.A. in Psychology from New York University, and a B.A. in both Economics and Psychology from the University of North Carolina– Chapel Hill.
Linh An, HCAP Multilingual Learner Specialist
Linh An, Ph.D., is the Multilingual Learner Specialist (MLL) at the Hunter College AANAPISI Project. As the MLL, she helps develop academic and research skills seminars and is currently leading HCAP/ABI’s financial literacy program and co-directs the undergraduate research program. Linh is a first-generation college graduate with a long history of working with underserved AAPI students in NYC. Outside of Hunter, Linh is leading the development of a psychoeducation program in partnership with NYU School of Medicine- Dept of Population Health for limited English proficient (LEP) Chinese caregivers. Additionally, she is building a holistic wellness intervention for Asian American college students that integrates psychoeducation, professional development, and racial identity exploration with NYU’s Dept of Applied Psychology. She is currently on the Board of Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. Linh received her bachelor’s degree from Queens College and her PhD in Anthropology from UCLA.
Maryam Mian, HCAP Program Associate
Maryam Mian is the Program Associate for the Hunter College AANAPISI Project (HCAP). Maryam provides support to the ABI program through programming planning and development. They are a New York native and Hunter alum with a Bachelor’s degree majoring in Psychology and minoring in Asian American Studies. Currently, Maryam is a social work grad student who also helps develop and implement programs and events at HCAP and ABI that focus on supporting Asian American and 1st generation, low income students at Hunter College and BMCC. As the program associate, Maryam also maintains HCAP’s social media platforms and huntercap.org website in correlation to the ABI social media platforms and website.