Lunch and Learn Series

September 8, 2022: Play as represented within the home of South Asian families: Inspiration for the development of a guided pretend play intervention, presenter: Dr. Tanya Paes (Postdoctoral Researcher, Human Development and Families Studies)


Dr Tanya M. Paes,is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Purdue University. Her research focuses on the effects of interventions designed to improve executive function and other school readiness skills in young children, particularly thosefrom families with low incomes and those from diverse ethnic groups. This is aligned with her scholarly interest in reducing the inequities faced by at-risk children through quality early childhood education provisions. Tanya obtained her MSc in Child Development and Education at the University of Oxford, and completed her PhD in Education at the University of Cambridge.

September 15, 2022: Holistic mentorship: A path to meaningful and gratifying relationships, presenter: Rabita Rajkarnikar, AICP (Senior Internship Program Manager, Construction Engineering & Management)


Rabita Rajkarnikar is the Senior Internship Program Manager in the Construction Management and Engineering (CEM) program at Purdue University’s College of Engineering. She focuses on creation, implementation, and assessment of educational and developmental programs for students, specifically aiming at the growth of the internship program. She also works with students in instructional and academic advising capacities to ensure holistic student experience. Rabita previously worked as an urban planner for the Area Plan Commission of Tippecanoe County; before that, she was a practicing architect and lecturer in Kathmandu, Nepal. She is an alumna of both Ball State and Purdue universities.

Rabita conveys her academic immersion and professional experiences in architecture, urban planning, and construction management in her efforts to collaborate with the students, faculty, staff, and industry partners to achieve and advance collective goals set by the program. She is an international fellow of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and furthers her community engagement desire, specifically in children literacy, through a local organization, Altrusa International of Lafayette.

September 22, 2022: Principles of epigenetic control at stem cell enhancers, presenter: Dr. Humaira Gowher (Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry)


Dr. Humaira Gowher is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry. Her research aims to elucidate epigenetic mechanisms that control cell identity and determine how these mechanisms are disrupted in cancer. The research specifically focuses on mechanisms of DNA methyltransferases and the effect of mutations commonly found in cancer and other developmental disorders on the activity of distal regulatory elements, called enhancers and insulators. Dr. Gowher's education in different parts of the world exposed her to diverse cultures while she traveled from Kashmir to North India, South India, Germany, and then the United States. This experience contributes to her ability to interact with people from multi-cultural backgrounds and teach and mentor students from various parts of the world. She has mentored graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from Saudi Arabia, India, China, Ghana, and various parts of the United States. In addition, she has mentored over 30 undergraduate students, both international and from the USA. Dr. Gowher looks forward to joining in the effort of making Purdue and her lab a place for diverse talent, equal opportunity, and scientific excellence.

October 6, 2022: Thriving: Spirituality in Health and Well-being, presenter: Lane Yahiro (Professor Emeritus, Health and Human Sciences/Health & Kinesiology)


Lane Yahiro currently helps cardiac patients maintain and sustain healthy lifestyle behavior changes after completing cardiopulmonary rehabilitation. Lane also helps those with risk factors for heart disease stay out of the hospital by helping create and sustain healthy lifestyle behavior changes. He is an Emeritus Professor at Purdue University in Health & Kinesiology. During his 12 years at Purdue University, Lane was a Clinical Associate Professor and the Director of the A.H. Ismail Center. He has 23 years of experience in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation working at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago and St. Elizabeth Medical Center (Franciscan Alliance Lafayette East). Lane has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology both from the University of Illinois-Chicago. He received his Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from George Williams College.

October 13, 2022: Visa Dreamers: Who are they? What are their struggles? How can we help?, presenter: Mahit Vaddadi (Board Member, The Hidden Dream)


Born in Ongole, India, Sai Mahit Vaddadi has lived in Singapore and Canada before moving to Mechanicsburg, PA at the age of 7 on an H-4 dependent visa. After graduating high school, Sai Mahit Vaddadi attended the University of Delaware, where he studied Chemical Engineering with minors in Materials Science and International Business and was a member of the Honors College and Tau Beta Pi. After obtaining his Honors Degree with Distinction from Delaware, Sai Mahit Vaddadi is now a Ph. D. student at Purdue’s Davidson School of Chemical Engineering, where he is working with Dr. Brett Savoie on utilizing machine learning tools to predict chemical reactions. While pursuing his Ph. D., he has been involved with The Hidden Dream - an organization that raises awareness of the struggles faced by legal immigrants who do not face a pathway to citizenship and are facing deportation due to ‘age-out’ rules. His passion for the organization stems from his experience being in the green card backlog, being a dependent visa holder in college, and switching to a student visa to keep his hopes of living in the US alive

October 20, 2022: Mouth Matters: Oral and Systemic Health, presenter: Dr. Mojgan Sarmadi (Clinical Assistant Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine)
Mojgan Sarmadi earned her bachelor in biochemistry from the University of Maryland in College Park and her DDS from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry at Baltimore. After a year of hospital dentistry training, she completed a geriatric fellowship in dentistry focused on tissue regeneration at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and followed that by earring her MD from the University of Michigan Medical School. She later completed her medical residency training at the Hunterdon Medical Center in NJ and Franciscan Health in Beech Grove, Indiana. After a research fellowship in oral immunology at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research/ NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, she went to privet practice in Indiana as a family physician. She is currently practicing as a family physician in West Lafayette. She has been an assistant clinical professor of medicine at IUSM, West Lafayette Campus at Purdue University since August 2021.Her interests include preventive medicine, oral immunology and promoting a better understanding of correlations between oral health and systemic health.

November 3, 2022: (Re)Visioning History, presenter: Dr. Mindy Tan (Lecturer, African American Studies)


Mindy Tan is currently a lecturer at Purdue University in the African American Studies program. Her work focuses on the intersection of race and aesthetics, specifically the ways in which art functions as a means of cultural and political resistance and radical propaganda. Her work on the African American Social Abstractionist painter, Norman Lewis, was published by Bill Hodges Gallery. Most recently, Dr. Tan and her partner, artist, Zach Medler, have been collaborating on public works of art that put her philosophical approach into practice. 

November 10, 2022: Navigating and sustaining health-related norms during the COVID-19 pandemic, presenter: Dr. Hwanseok Song (Assistant Professor, Brian Lamb School of Communication)


Dr. Hwanseok Song is an assistant professor in the Brian Lamb School of Communication where he studies and teaches risk communication. He earned his Ph.D. in communication from Cornell University in 2018, having previously earned an M.A. in general communication at The Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in German language and literature at Yonsei University.

Specifically, Dr. Song’s research focuses on how people make and use social judgments in contexts where people communicate information about science, safety, environmental issues, and technological risks. Judgments people make about their risk managers or other stakeholders play a pivotal role in cooperative efforts in conservation and environmental decision-making. His research seeks to understand not only how people make these judgments, but also their downstream consequences on attitude and behavior

November 17, 2022: Amplifying Asian American Voices in Music Education: A Discourse of Identity, Social Justice, and Curriculum, presenter: Dr. Shuk-Ki Wong (Administrative Manager, Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras)


A diverse musician and educator, Shuk-Ki (Suki) Wong, D.M.A., has taught applied piano, class piano; coached and accompanied vocal ensembles from positions at Purdue University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Madison College. Wong was the Spring 2022 Artist-in-Residence at Purdue Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center (AAARCC), where she promoted diversity, equity and inclusion through music and arts.

Wong's research interest centers around intercultural pedagogy with an emphasis on Chinese keyboard literature and folk tunes. She has presented at piano pedagogy conferences such as Wisconsin Music Teachers Association Conference, Music Teachers National Association Piano Pedagogy Symposium, World Piano Conference (Serbia), and Intercultural Piano Pedagogy Symposium (Germany). She has also conducted workshops ranging from piano playing-related injuries, cross-cultural education, to creating quality learning experiences for students with learning disabilities. In 2022, Wong is invited to speak at conferences such as College Music Society Regional Conference (IL), MTNA GP3 Conference (AZ), MTNA Virtual Collegiate Chapters Symposium and Minnesota Music Teachers Association Convention (MN), where she presents topics of exploring underrepresented Chinese keyboard works, building intercultural competence in piano learning, and discovering new Chinese piano method.

December 1, 2022: To MYELA, you are the world, presenter: Maria Whipple (Director, Purdue For Life Foundation Affinity Network)


Maria is a French, Filipino and American professional with management experience across multiple industries on 3 continents. She currently leads engagement efforts for the Purdue for Life Foundation's Affinity Networks. These networks actively engage around a unifying purpose to help those who love Purdue stay connected, get involved and give back. Maria is also the founder and president of MYELA, a French charity that fights for children’s rights and serves on a United Nations subcommittee that provides work-psychology solutions to address humanitarian issues. Maria holds a master’s degree in psychology from Purdue Global and an executive MBA from Henley Business School in the United Kingdom.


915 5th Street (corner 5th/Waldron)
West Lafayette, IN 47907

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

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Center Hours

Summer 2023 Hours (begins May 26th)

Remote Work:
Monday & Friday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

In-person hours:
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Fall & Spring Semester Hours

Monday - Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Schedule a Tour