Meet the Executive Committee!

 The Board of the Harvard Asian American Alumni Alliance is pleased to announce the election of its Executive Committee, whose two-year term begins immediately. The Committee is responsible for developing and realizing plans in accordance with the strategy set by the Board. creating virtual programs to keep our community connected; advocating for Ethnic Studies; building our volunteer base.


The 2020 Board is comprised of Jeannie Park, AB ’83 (President), Mukesh Prasad, AB ‘93 (VP), Athena Lao, AB ‘12 (VP) Christine Hu Barchick, AB ‘13 (VP, Chapter Development), Eugene Shen, AB ‘93 (Treasurer), and Simi Shah, AB ’19 (Secretary).


The Board would like to thank departing VP Jinhee Ahn Kim, AB '85 for her service to H4A.


President: Jeannie Park, AB ‘83



Jeannie is deeply honored to be representing H4A for another term as President. She is sheltered in her home in NYC, wishing she could still host the occasional H4A meeting or event.


What are you doing to keep your sanity during this bizarre time?

Our two dogs keep me sane—they make me laugh all day and force me to step away from the computer and get outside. I listen to Governor Cuomo's press conference every single day. I'm usually busy when it's live, so I put my earbuds in and listen to it in bed. I find it calming. I'm very alert when he's giving all the statistics at the beginning, but by the end I'm usually asleep. 


What issues are you passionate about?

I've spent my whole life trying to build community and support among Asian Americans, though I admit that I had my own selfish motive, which was to build community for myself, especially when I was living and working in places like Kettering, Ohio, and Time Inc., where there were so few Asians.

Two of my earliest jobs out of college (after abandoning my wasted Biochem degree) were with the Mondale-Ferraro campaign in 1984 and then with a California Assemblyperson. And after spending 22 years in magazine journalism, during which I was a vocal advocate on diversity issues but unable to be active in politics, it has been great to get involved again.

Only through a dramatic shift in political power will our country be able to reverse its entrenched and growing inequities. It will take much more than a presidential election. If there's any silver lining to the COVID tragedy, it's that people are seeing why we need good government and also are questioning the status quo. I don't want to work in government or politics anymore, but I want to help drive a power shift by doing what I do, which is organize resources and people.


Why are you involved in H4A?

I got involved at Harvard in 2008 for two reasons: 1) I noticed at my 25th reunion that Asian American alumni were not visible within Harvard’s alumni structures and events; and 2) The long-running need for an Ethnic Studies program was still unaddressed –35 years after students began to demand one. It was clear to me that we alumni needed to get organized to make things happen.

Luckily, Eric Yeh AB ‘98 had just launched H4A. He let a few of us run with our idea to host a reunion weekend for alumni of Asian descent on campus, which became the first H4A Summit, in 2010. We kind of stunned Harvard by attracting 400 people! I've stayed involved since then to try to keep building a stronger voice at Harvard on issues of diversity and equity. I also love the H4A community and friends I've made from across generations. It is a little disturbing that I'm old enough to be everyone's mom at this point!


VP: Mukesh Prasad, AB ‘93



Mukesh is based in New York City, where he stays home when he is not in the office or hospital seeing patients.


What are you doing to keep your sanity during this bizarre time?

Spending a lot of time with my wife of 24 years, as she gets an early taste of what retired life will be like with me, as well as our 20 year old son and 14 year old daughter. Lots of telemedicine, lots of Netflix, and lots of board games!


What issues are you passionate about?

I am passionate about my work at the hospital, taking care of my patients as an ENT at Weill Cornell Medical School as well as our work in our Innova Capital Partners, where we explore and develop innovative solutions in a variety of different industries, including energy, telecom, and food.


Why are you involved in H4A?

Harvard was a transformative experience for me. Growing up in a small town of 5000 in the Midwest, the day I moved into Straus was the first time I had ever been to Cambridge. The four years there were amazing and the experience changed my life forever.

I see my alumni engagement as the opportunity to make sure that we pay it forward and ensure that others who follow have the same wonderful experience. While I love the College as a whole, I gained a lot from being a part of the South Asian Association and felt that as Asian enrollment at the College was so novel we never had the alumni network to help us out the way many of my friends did. I joined H4A to help keep our alumni community joined to each other to socially and professionally help one another, to stay linked to Harvard, and to help our current students as they find their way.


VP: Athena Lao, AB ‘12



Athena Lao is sheltered in place in her home in Queens, NY.


What are you doing to keep your sanity during this bizarre time?

I have made blueberry pancakes every Friday morning since the lockdown started (and then shamelessly eaten them all).

The other project that has helped my sanity is working on the H4A Instagram account. We just get to share when alumni are doing really wonderful things in the world. If you need a pick-me up, follow us @harvard4a ...and also nominate a friend that we can profile! :)


What issues are you passionate about?

Immigration and Education. As the daughter of Filipino immigrants, I strongly believe that immigrants make our country better and that we need to work against the nativist impulses of current immigration policy.

I believe that education is a human right and that we need to make high-quality education more accessible to all who seek it. At this particular moment in my professional life, I work at the intersection of higher education and international development, and I am curious to see how the pandemic will shape student mobility in the long term.


Why are you involved in H4A?

In college, I was very involved in a lot of Asian cultural groups and in helping create the Ethnic Studies secondary field. By taking Ethnic Studies courses, I finally had a language for explaining the world in a way that accounted for my actual lived experience – and that was empowering.

In that self-discovery process, I found myself also wanting to help build community around this shared identity of Asian American-ness, in a way that honors how complicated and seemingly disparate that can be. And through H4A, I’ve been able to tap into that desire to build in an even bigger way. I love that we can connect people, share incredible alumni stories, provide support and opportunity to current members and students, and even shape discussions around university policy. Let’s continue to use that power thoughtfully and for good!


VP, Chapter Development: Christine Hu Barchick, AB ‘13




Christine is located in Philadelphia, PA, where she works at Livent, a lithium technology company headquartered in the City of Brotherly Love.


What are you doing to keep your sanity during this bizarre time?

Work keeps me busy, but I do look forward to watching Survivor every Wednesday to help keep track of the day of the week (haha)!


What issues are you passionate about?

In my personal life, I’m concerned about sustainability, clean energy, and renewable resources.

Professionally, I’m concerned with inequity in the workplace. Did you know that Asian Americans Are the Least Likely Group in the U.S. to Be Promoted to Management? I am passionate about creating better opportunities for Asian Americans in the workplace. Thank you to fellow H4A members Buck Gee (MBA '80) and Margaret M. Chin (College '84) for being our first H4A Webinar speakers, on this very topic, and So-One Hwang (College/GSAS '05) for co-moderating and inspiring us to launch the virtual programming initiative!


Why are you involved in H4A?

I have been involved with H4A since I was an undergraduate (helping book rooms for the inaugural Summit in 2010); what has kept me involved over the last ten years is getting to continuously meet new members and connect over the shared experience of going to Harvard as an Asian American! No matter your year, your ethnic background, your school, I love finding things in common and also learning about what makes us different!


Treasurer: Eugene Shen, AB ‘93




Eugene is proud to begin his seventh year as Treasurer of HAAAA. During the lockdown, he has been holed up in his house in Maryland, preparing for the NFL Draft since he is the Director of Personnel Analytics for the Miami Dolphins. His family will be relocating to Boca Raton in June!


What are you doing to keep your sanity during this bizarre time?

My family and I are using online grocery deliveries and occasional restaurant takeout for food.  Now that the NFL Draft is over, I am turning my attention to our impending move to Boca Raton this June.  We have cancelled our family summer vacation to Europe and will be replacing it with a road trip to Florida.

In preparation for the move, we have been throwing away things that have not been touched since we moved here five years ago, boxing up possessions that we will be taking with us, and keeping the house pristine in the rare event that a real estate agent requests a showing.

Moving is one of life's most unpleasant ordeals, but the silver lining is the opportunity to de-clutter the house. A lot of the things we are discarding and donating are toys and children's books, which hit me as an indication that my kids have grown up. A new adventure awaits the family in the fall, as my 18-year old daughter is off to Harvard and my 14-year old son will be starting high school in Florida.


What issues are you passionate about?

After over a decade in the finance industry, I left to pursue my passion in sports and joined the Baltimore Ravens. This past season, I switched to the Miami Dolphins and have been traveling back and forth between Maryland and Florida. I did not realize how much I missed sports until the Draft began and I felt the excitement pulsing through my body.


Why are you involved in H4A?

I first became involved after I met Eric Yeh at the 2010 HAAAA Summit. He roped me into HAAAA, and then I roped him into working at AllianceBernstein, my employer at the time.


Secretary: Simi Shah, AB ‘19




Simi lives in Duluth, a suburb outside of Atlanta (GA), in her family's home where she grew up.


What are you doing to keep your sanity during this bizarre time?

I've been doing lots of baking -- banana breads, brownies and the like. I've also spent some time writing and definitely binging on some tv!


What issues are you passionate about?

Broadly, I'm passion about diversity and representation (especially as related to the Asian American community), women's empowerment in the workplace, and the crisis in journalism around the world.


Why are you involved in H4A?

Embedded in the Asian American community while at Harvard, I witnessed firsthand the impact of connecting undergraduates and alumni communities. For that reason, I'm have been looking forward to becoming involved with H4A. I believe there is power in shared experiences and identities that transcend time. I'm looking forward to meeting and getting to know more members of this incredible community!