Advisory Council


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APIASF/AANAPISI Advisory Council (2016-2018)

  • Dr. Robert Underwood, Chair | President, University of Guam
  • Dr. Loretta P. Adrian | President, Coastline Community College
  • Dr. Timothy Fong | Director of Liberal Studies & Social Science Program (LSSSP), Professor of Department of Ethnic Studies and Principal Investigator & Director of Full Circle Project, Sacramento State University
  • May Toy Lukens | Project Director of AANAPISI Program, South Seattle College
  • Dr. Leroy Morishita | President, California State University, East Bay
  • Dr. Patricia Neilson | Director of Asian American Student Success Program, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Dr. Leon Richards | Chancellor and Executive Director for International Education, Kapi’olani Community College
  • Kenneth Songco | Director of Student Equity & Success, Mission College
  • Dr. Karen Su | PI and Project Director of UIC Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) Initiative & Clinical Assistant Professor in Asian American Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Dr. Patrick Tellei | President, Palau Community College


Dr. Robert Underwood

President Underwood


The Honorable Robert Underwood is a former Member of the U.S. Congress and is currently the President of the University of Guam. As an educator, he has served as a high school teacher, curriculum writer, administrator, Dean of the College of Education and Academic Vice President. He is a distinguished scholar with many publications to his credit on educational issues, regional political matters and language change. He served as the Congressional Delegate from Guam in the 103-107th Congresses (1993-2003) during which he sponsored major legislation for Guam, played an active role in Department of Defense authorization bills and was a forceful advocate for political development for insular areas and the extension of educational and social opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

In recognition for his efforts in building good relations in the Pacific, he received a Presidential Merit Award from President Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines and congratulatory resolutions from the Pohnpei, FSM and Northern Marianas Legislatures. He has also been honored by several national Asian Pacific American organizations and was named citizen of the year by the National Association of Bilingual Education in 1996 and Alumnus of the Year by Cal State University Los Angeles in 2000.

His public service includes an appointment to the National Advisory Council on Bilingual Education during President Carter’s administration and an appointment by President Obama to the National Board of Education Sciences. He also served as Chairman of the Chamorro Language Commission for over a decade and is widely acknowledged as a leading authority on cultural, educational and linguistic issues in Guam and Micronesia. He was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Guam Humanities Council and is the only Professor Emeritus of Bilingual-Bicultural Education of the University of Guam.
In 2003, he helped create the Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund and served as the first Chairman of the Board. He has worked on several research projects with the East West Center, the University of Hawaii and the Asian Pacific Center for Security Studies.

Robert was born in Guam (1948) and educated in Guam and California. He graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Guam (1965) and received a Bachelor’s (1969) and Masters Degree in history (1971) from Cal State University, Los Angeles. He holds a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Southern California.


Dr. Loretta P. Adrian



Dr. Adrian joined the Coast Community College District as the sixth president of Coastline Community College on July 1, 2010.  Coastline is one of the three colleges in the Coast District. Founded originally as a “college without walls,” Coastline is one of the nation’s most innovative colleges and is deeply committed to a “students-first” philosophy.  Coastline currently has three campuses in Orange County. A beautiful and sustainable new campus will open in Newport Beach in July 2012. Coastline brings on-site and hybrid classes to students close to their homes locally, and through Distance Learning nationally and internationally.

Dr. Adrian has been as an educational leader for over thirty years. During her first year of tenure as president, some of her outstanding accomplishments include the completion of an educational master plan for the college, in collaboration with the faculty, staff, students, and external stakeholders. She supported leadership development and led the college through a financially challenging time in an atmosphere of mutual respect, and open and transparent communication. She is sharply focused on student success and the practice of a “students first” philosophy. Prior to joining Coastline, she served as the vice president of student services at Skyline College in the Bay Area from 2005-10. As the chief student services officer, Dr. Adrian provided leadership for a comprehensive array of student service programs aimed at facilitating student success and fostering a strong connection to diverse students. In collaboration with instruction, she developed and implemented student-centered programs and services, e. g., learning communities for Latino, African-American, and Filipino students. She provided leadership for the Foundations of Excellence in the First Year Experience Project, which subsequently informed Skyline’s Basic Skills’ self-study and the College Success Initiative. From Nov 1992-Aug 2005, Dr. Adrian worked as dean of student affairs, interim dean of student development and matriculation, and acting vice president of student services at San Diego Mesa College. Dr. Adrian spent ten years of her career working with international students from around the world, both at the University of the Pacific (a private four-year university) and at San Joaquin Delta College (a community college), in Northern California.  She worked closely with foreign embassies and educational foundations in Washington DC, and with Ministries of Education worldwide.

In addition to her U.S. higher education background, Dr. Adrian worked as an intercultural trainer/project director for the U. S. Peace Corps for six years. She designed and managed cultural, linguistic, and technical orientation and retraining programs for American Peace Corps volunteers who were assigned to the Philippines. Working with a prominent linguistics scholar, she helped develop dictionaries in English and various Philippine languages, and documented the oral literature of diverse Philippine ethno-linguistic groups.  These experiences provided a strong foundation for her commitment to global education, intercultural competencies and diversity.

Dr. Lori Adrian holds a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Education from Claremont Graduate University. She has a master’s degree in Communication Theory from the University of the Pacific and a bachelor’s degree in Philippine Studies from the University of the Philippines, with a minor in linguistics.

Dr. Timothy Fong


Dr. Timothy P. Fong is Professor of Ethnic Studies at California State University, Sacramento. He was recently appointed to the position of Director of the Liberal Studies and Social Science Program (LSSSP), where he oversees all preparation of multiple-subject pre-service K-6 teachers, as well as single-subject pre-service 7-12 grade teachers in History-Social Sciences. Dr. Fong is responsible for curriculum, supervising faculty teaching courses in the program, and has oversight of the program’s budget and operations. He also carries out program activities related to advisement, articulation, assessment, and recruitment and outreach.

Dr. Fong is also the Project Director and Principal Investigator for the Full Circle Project (FCP) a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education. FCP is a comprehensive approach to implement a strategically focused, campus-wide effort to improve retention and graduation rates of underrepresented Asian American and Pacific Islander (APIA) students. FCP aims to assist APIA students throughout his or her entire college careers, and provide ample opportunities to engage in service both on and off campus to enhance their university experience.

In addition, Dr. Fong is a Steering Committee member of the California State University Asian American & Pacific Islander Initiative. The steering committee advises the Chancellor's Office on Asian American & Pacific Islander issues, provides direction to the CSU APIA Initiative's programs on campus, and develops long-term strategies designed to increase the number of students who go and succeed in college.

Dr. Fong received his doctorate in Ethnic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley in 1992. His research specialty areas include comparative race and ethnic relations, contemporary immigration, politics and public policy, community studies, higher education equity and student engagement, and qualitative methodology (ethnography and oral history).

Dr. Fong has written and edited several books (see Publications below) and has presented at numerous professional conferences across the nation and internationally. He was also the editor of the Critical Perspectives on Asian Pacific Americans Series published by AltaMira Press (a division of Roman & Littlefield). The Series presented books that are theoretically engaging, comparative, and multidisciplinary. Special emphasis is placed on works that reflect contemporary concerns critically important to understanding and empowering Asian Pacific Americans.

A recognized authority on multiculturalism and social change, Dr. Fong has been interviewed in stories by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, the World Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation, and on National Public Radio, among others.


Dr. Patricia A. Neilson

photo of Patricia Neilson


Patricia Akemi Neilson is the director of the Asian American Student Success Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston that is funded by the Department of Education, Title III, Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) grant. Prior to her current appointment, Dr. Neilson was the director of the Center for Collaborative Leadership in the College of Management at UMass Boston. She has also served as an academic dean at North Shore Community College. Her research interest is in the underrepresentation of Asian American senior administrators in higher education. Dr. Neilson serves on the Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education (APAHE) board of directors and mentors promising APAs. As part of the pipeline effort, she serves as a faculty member in the Leadership Development Program in Higher Education (LDPHE).


Ken Songco

Ken Songco


Ken oversees Mission College’s Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) programs whose mission is to improve the transition, progression, transfer and graduation rates of historically underrepresented and underprepared APIA students. He joins Mission College with eight years of experience managing federally-funded programs and leading teams in the nonprofit sector.

Prior to joining Mission College, Ken worked at the Japanese Community Youth Council, one of San Francisco’s most successful non-profit youth organizations. He played a dual role serving as Associate Director of the AACE Talent Search TRIO programs and Project Director of the San Francisco College Access Center, a Cal-SOAP program. Under his leadership, Ken administered three education programs that served over 3,200 participants annually and assisted more than 4,000 low-income students to graduate from high school and enroll into postsecondary institutions.

He brings five years of experience in leading lobbying and advocacy efforts to help protect federal funding of educational opportunity programs such as TRIO and the College Access Challenge Grant Program. Ken also served a one-year term as Lead Project Director for the California Student Opportunity and Access Programs, acting as liaison between the Executive Director of the CA Student Aid Commission and the sixteen Cal-SOAP Project Directors.


Dr. Karen Su

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Karen Su is currently the Principal Investigator and Project Director of the UIC AANAPISI Initiative. The Initiative has encompassed a total of three grants spanning from 2010-2020 providing approximately $5.6 million to support the enhancement of programs and activities that improve the educational outcomes and experiences of Asian American, Pacific Islander, and English language learner undergraduate students at UIC. The UIC AANAPISI Initiative is fully funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions Minority Serving Institutions grant.

Prof. Su will teach the new ASAM 105 seminars that are linked to on-campus internship opportunities and to AAMPED, the Asian American Mentor Program's Experiential Development. She has taught ASAM 105 seminars on Asian American children's literature, graphic novels, and life stories; ASAM 125, the Introduction to Asian American Studies; and a faculty-led Study Abroad course to Japan in summer of 2014, Crosscurrents of American and Japanese Cultures, that was co-taught with Prof. Laura Fugikawa. She is developing Asian American Studies community engagement curriculum.

Prof. Su has been at UIC since 2004 and was the founding director of the Asian American Resource and Cultural Center. She established not only the center but also helped to start many Asian American Studies initiatives before ASAM became an official program in 2010, such as the ASAM Expo, Lecture Series, and Knowledge Bowl. Prof. Su has been recognized for her service to UIC with the Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence (CAPE) Award in 2010 and the Award of Merit in 2008.


Dr. Leroy M. Morishita



Leroy M. Morishita is the fifth president of California State University, East Bay. He was appointed to the position in January 2012 by the CSU Board of Trustees, after taking office on July 1, 2011 as the Interim President. He came to Cal State East Bay from San Francisco State University, where he served as Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer.

Educational Background

A native Californian, President Morishita holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Science in Counseling from San Francisco State University. He also earned a Doctorate in Education in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Professional Experience

Dr. Morishita has more than 30 years of experience in higher education, as an educator and administrator. He first worked in the California State University system from 1978 to 1981 as Counseling Coordinator and Counselor for the Educational Opportunity Program at San Francisco State University. Dr. Morishita’s administrative experience includes working in Massachusetts at the Institute on Computing in Schools at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, at Salem State College, and at Tufts University working as the Director of Asian Student Programming. Returning to the CSU system in 1984, he worked in Admissions and Records at SFSU and in 1987-88 was an Administrative Fellow to the Provost at CSUEB (then Cal State Hayward). Dr. Morishita was hired as the Director of University and Budget Planning at SFSU. In 1996 additional responsibilities included serving as the Interim Executive Director of Enrollment Planning and Management. He became the Associate Vice President of Budget Planning and Resource Management in 1997 and was selected as the Vice President of Physical Planning and Development in 2001. Morishita was named SFSU’s Vice President of Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer in 2002 and Executive Vice President in 2009.


Dr. Morishita serves on several committees for the California State University 23 campus system. He is a member of the CSU President’s Council on Underserved Communities and the Presidential Coordinator for the Asian American/Pacific Islander Initiative. In addition, he serves as co-chair of the Taskforce for a Sustainable Financial Model for the California State University System and as a member of the CSU Commission on Online Education. He has also served on several committees, including the CSU Risk Management Authority from 2002 to 2011, serving as Chair from 2006 to 2010 and Vice Chair from 2004 to 2006; the CSU Systemwide Budget Advisory Committee from 2004 to 2011; and the CSU Investment Committee from 2007 to 2010. Previously, Morishita served as a commissioner of the Western Association for Senior Colleges and Universities from 2007-2013, chairing its Finance & Operations committee for three years. Dr. Morishita is Chair of the California Campus Compact Executive Board, Chair of the Presidents’ and Chancellor’s Board of the California Collegiate Athletic Association, and a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Investment Committee. Locally he is a founding member of the Chabot Space and Science Center Leadership Council, a trustee of the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, and serves on the board of directors of the Bay Area Council and the East Bay Leadership Council. He is a member of the Executive Committee and a board member of the East Bay Economic Development Alliance. He chairs the Board of Trustees of the JA Health Benefits Trust. Dr. Morishita and Barbara Hedani-Morishita have two sons.


Dr. Patrick Tellei