Meet the Staff

Xavier Hernandez

Xavier Hernandez. Ph.D.



Dr. Xavier Hernandez has served as the Director of AAARCC since June 2016. Originally from Southern California, Xavier holds a BA in Criminology, Law, & Society from the University of California, Irvine, an MA in Asian American Studies from San Francisco State University, and a PhD in Educational Policy Studies with a Graduate Minor in Asian American Studies from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. As an undergraduate, he also studied abroad at the University of the Philippines, Diliman.

Xavier comes to Purdue from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he served as a Graduate Assistant at the Asian American Cultural Center for three years, working in multiple facets of student affairs, such as programming, student organization advising, and institutional assessment. He has also been a Teaching Assistant for courses such as Asian American Education and Transfer Advantage, a first-semester seminar for transfer students. Outside of the classroom, he spent two years as a Research Assistant for the American University meets the Pacific Century research project, which explores the effects of the internationalization of higher education on student life.

Generally speaking, Dr. Hernandez’s academic research interests include Asian American and Asian international student experiences, diversity in higher education, and extra-curricular student life. Along with Drs. Yoon Pak and Dina Maramba, he is the co-author of Asian Americans in Higher Education: Charting New Realities, and has also published multiple book chapters, journal articles, and national academic conference presentations on Asian American and Asian international student issues in higher education. His dissertation, entitled “Filipino American College Student Identities: Exploring Regional Racial Formation on Campus,” was awarded an Honorable Mention by the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship Program.

As Director of AAARCC, Xavier looks forward to combining his academic, professional, and personal experiences in order to provide the campus community with a multitude of innovative opportunities to learn more about Asian and Asian American cultures from both historical and contemporary perspectives.

Sydni Hair picture

Syd Hair



Syd serves as the secretary for AAARCC.  Syd received a BS degree from BYU-Hawaii in Organizational Development while enjoying 8 years of island living on the north shore of Oahu.  While in Hawaii she served in various capacities at the Polynesian Cultural Center!

She is a native of Idaho where she relishes the company of her large extended family. In 2011 she moved with her husband and two of their four children to Lafayette.  Syd is passionate about hospitality and embracing diverse cultures.  She is on the Board of Directors and co-founded the nonprofit group Hands 4 Uganda which serves to establish education and food programs within impoverished communities in Uganda. 

Syd loves to travel and lead humanitarian outreaches to various countries.  She feels very blessed to not only be a part of Purdue but the groundbreaking development of the Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center.

Taejung Ma

Taejung (Esther) Ma


Graduate Assistant
(Speaks Korean and Mandarin)

Taejung Ma is currently pursuing her PhD degree in Literacy and Language Education at Purdue. She arrived to the U.S. for her undergraduate study and received education in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. She earned her BA in English with honors and MA in TESOL (Teachers of English to speakers of other languages). Experiencing culture shock and recognizing cultural differences gave Taejung opportunities to seek ways to promote diversity. As an undergraduate, she held the student assistant position at International House and designed various Korean events. While studying her master’s degree, she coordinated a presentation that addressed academic and cultural challenges/issues that international students in her university encountered for faculty and administrators. As a PhD student at Purdue, Taejung is currently serving as graduate assistant for the AAARCC, and she desires to make a positive contribution to the campus community.

Taejung’s research interests include: culturally-responsive pedagogy, multicultural education, immigrant populations’ identity, and ESL instruction. For her master’s thesis, she investigated the relationship between second language acquisition and mother tongue attrition. She is specifically interested in examining immigrants’ identity. As a first year PhD student, she is taking various courses to build sound theoretical backgrounds for her research. Beyond her academic interests, she enjoys participating in the Bible study, watching musicals, and traveling to other countries.

I-Ting (Yvonne) Chen

I-Ting (Yvonne) Chen


Student Ambassador
(Speaks Mandarin and Taiwanese)

Yvonne is a sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering, with minors of chemistry and forensic science. She is an international student form Taiwan, and wishes to work on 3D bio-printing and making medical devices in the future.

On campus, Yvonne a member of Timmy Global Health and she will be going to Ecuador for a medical brigade during this year’s spring break. She is also a UR Global peer educator and Boiler Gold Rush Team Leader. She loves to interact and make friends with different people, and also guide people around to help them feel like Purdue is a second home. Yvonne is passionate about helping people out by giving them some everything from life advice to campus directions, especially those who are new or looking for resources to get involved. In her spare time, Yvonne is learning the art of popping with Purdue’s Dance All Out Club. She loves to take on new challenges like dancing, which she had never done before coming to Purdue. Yvonne enjoys the AAARCC’s respectful atmosphere, where people are incredibly nice and always willing to refer students to whatever resources they may need.


915 5th Street (corner 5th/Waldron)
West Lafayette, IN 47907
City Bus to AAARCC

Phone: 765-496-0488  
Fax: 765-494-1225

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8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

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