Who We Are (OID)
Sumun (Sumi) Pendakur
Sumun Pendakur EdD is associate dean for institutional diversity at Harvey Mudd College. She is a member of the president’s cabinet and serves as the co-chief diversity officer, partnering with the Office of Academic Affairs to focus on campus-wide efforts related to access, equity, campus climate and inclusion. She also directs the College’s social justice education center, the Office of Institutional Diversity (OID). Pendakur serves as a consultant, speaker and facilitator regionally and nationally, helping campuses, nonprofits and other organizations build capacity for cultural competence, social justice and equitable practices. She is a scholar-practitioner whose research interests include critical race theory, Asian American and Pacific Islander students and institutional transformation.
Prior to Harvey Mudd College, Pendakur spent more than seven years at the University of Southern California, where she served as the director for Asian Pacific American Student Services. In 2011, she won the USC Remarkable Women Award and the USC Rossier School of Education Dissertation of the Year Award. In 2014, she won the Outstanding Mid-Level Professional Award from the NASPA Asian Pacific Islander Knowledge Community.
Pendakur has held leadership positions and presented her original research at NASPA, ACPA, NADOHE, NCORE and ASHE. In addition, she is an Asian American and Pacific Islander Research Coalition Fellow, the 2014–2016 co-chair of NASPA Southern California, the 2015 co-chair for the NASPA Western Regional Conference Research Institute, as well as a 2014–2015 NADOHE Chief Diversity Officer’s Fellow. Sumi served as a Cultural Competence Coach (2013-2016) for the AAC&U’s Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM (TIDES) Institute. Most recently, Sumi was appointed to the Board of Directors for NADOHE, the national chief diversity officers’ organization, for 2016–2019.
Pendakur is a graduate of Northwestern University with a double major in women’s studies and history and a minor in Spanish. She holds an M.A. in higher education administration from the University of Michigan and received her doctorate in higher education leadership from the USC Rossier School of Education. Pendakur is married to actor Sunil Malhotra and is the proud (and permanently tired) mommy of toddler Shashi Veer Pendakur Malhotra.
Pendakur, S.L., & Pendakur, V. (2016). Beyond boba tea and samosas: A call for Asian American race consciousness. In Museus, S.D., Agbayani, A., & Ching, D.M. (Eds.), Focusing on the underserved: Immigrant, refugee, and Indigenous Asian American and Pacific Islanders in higher education. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Pendakur, S.L. (2016). Empowerment agents: Developing staff and faculty to support students at the margins. In Pendakur, V. (Ed.), Closing the opportunity gap: Identity-conscious strategies for retention and student success. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
Pendakur, S.L. (2014). Going against the grain: Higher education practitioners countering neoliberalism and postracial ideology. In Kumashiro, K. & Ngo, B. (Eds.), Six lenses for anti-oppressive education (2nd edition). New York: Peter Lang.
Lee-Nichols, M., Pendakur, S.L., & Uy, P. (2014). Complicating the complications: A conversation. In Kumashiro, K. & Ngo, B. (Eds.), Six lenses for anti-oppressive education (2nd edition). New York: Peter Lang.
Pendakur, S. & Pendakur, V. (2012). Let’s get radical: The theory and praxis of being a practitioner-ally for Asian Pacific Islander American college students. In D.M. Ching & A. Agbayani (Eds.), Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in higher education: Research and perspectives on identity, leadership, and success (pp. 31–50). Washington, D.C.: National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.
Zachary S. Ritter received his bachelor’s degree (history ’08), MEd (student affairs ’09) and PhD (higher education ’13) from UCLA. He has conducted research on Singapore’s education system and completed his dissertation on East Asian international students’ experiences with cross-racial interaction. As the assistant dean for institutional diversity at Harvey Mudd College, he helps lead first-generation student, international student and social justice education programs. He was associate director of campus diversity and inclusion at the University of Redlands, where he helped manage the women’s, LGBT and multicultural centers and taught courses in social justice history through music and movies, Jewish history, and qualitative methods. At Redlands, he helped create the Dudes Understanding Diversity and Ending Stereotypes (DUDES) program, which fosters healthy masculinity. He has also participated in fellowships such as Bend the Arc (a progressive Jewish alliance), New Leaders Council (a young liberal action committee) and New Ground (a Muslim-Jewish cross-cultural fellowship) and has presented at national conferences such as NASPA, ACPA, NAFSA, and NCORE. Additionally, he has taught intergroup dialogue courses on race and socio-economic status at UCLA and helps run a social change living-learning community at Harvey Mudd College.
Santos, J. L., Roth, K. R., Huerta, A. H., & Ritter, Z. S. (2016). Tech-Centric Classrooms: A Discussion of Policy, Costs and Access. In R. T. Teranishi, Bordoloi Pazich, L., Knobel, M., & Allen, W. (Ed.), Mitigating Inequality: Higher Education Research, Policy and Practice in an Era of Massification and Stratification. United Kingdom: Emerald Publishing Group.
Ritter, Z. (2016). Globalization of Racism: Chinese, Japanese, and Korean International Students’ Racial Stereotypes and Experiences with Cross-Racial Interactions. In K. Bista & C. Foster (Eds.), Exploring the Social and Academic Experiences of International Students in Higher Education Institutions (132-155). PA: IGI Global, Inc.
Roth, K., & Ritter, Z. (2015). Diversity and the Need for Cross-Cultural Leadership. In N. D. Erbe & Normore, A. H. (Ed.), Cross-Cultural Collaboration and Leadership in Modern Organizations Hershey, PA: IGI Global, Inc.
Ritter, Z. (2015). Taboo or Tabula Rasa: Cross-Racial/Cultural Dating Preferences amongst Chinese, Japanese, and Korean International Students in an American University. Journal of International Students, 5(4), pp. 405-419.
Ritter, Z., & Roth, K., (2014), Realizing Race: Media Representations and the Uneasy Adjustment of International Students and African American Males on U.S. College Campuses, in N. D. Erbe (Ed.), Approaches to Managing Organizational Diversity and Innovation Hershey. PA: IGI Global, Inc.
Ritter, Z. (2013). Singapore’s Search for National Identity: Building a Nation through Education. Comparative & International Higher Education, 5.
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Jennifer Rodil joined the dean of students staff in January 2014. As the graduate intern for the Office of Institutional Diversity, she developed and facilitated the office’s first cultural competency and communication program: “Building Bridges: Pathways to Action.” Jennifer also serves as the social media & assessment & evaluation coordinator for the office.
Jennifer is currently pursuing her master’s in higher education at California State University, Fullerton, where she also completed her bachelor’s degree in child and adolescent development & human services. Jennifer has a strong passion and focus on student leadership, social justice education, and assessment. She strongly encourages you all to visit the office to come “kick it” with her as she enjoys the warm company of tough and intelligent Mudders.
The 2016–2017 OID student team members serve as social justice ambassadors for the Harvey Mudd campus! Stop by to say hello and find out what’s happening through OID.
Dominique Macias is a sophomore Computer Science major in the Class of 2019. In addition to interning at OID, she works at the Office of Admissions as a Diversity Intern and is a member of the Society of Professional Latinxs in STEM. In her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, and watching television.
Callie Glanton is currently a freshman and a prospective engineering major from Roseville, Minnesota. In the future, she hopes to advance medical technology through biomedical engineering. She joined the OID team to strengthen her connection with social justice at Mudd and learn every day how to be a better member of society. In her free time she enjoys dancing, exploring the outdoors, creating arts and crafts, and biking.
Felipe Borja is a sophomore engineering major from Falls Church, VA. In addition to his involvement in OID, he is a member of the is a member of the Society of Professional Latinxs in STEM. In his free time, he enjoys running, cooking, and watching movies with friends. He loves dogs, pan dulce, and chilling with his squad.
Kira Favakeh is a freshman at Harvey Mudd. She is an undeclared major, but is interested in engineering and biochemistry. Hailing from Evanston, IL, Kira grew up playing soccer and continues to play with the CMS women’s soccer team. While soccer is her favorite activity, she loves playing other sports, going hiking and camping, singing and dancing, and relaxing and watching movies.
Lakshmi Batachari is a joint major in chemistry and biology. She was born in Texas and has spent time living in Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. Her interests include yoga, weightlifting, playing the violin, traveling, and watching The Office.