Asian American Center Staff

The AAC has a number of staff members who are here to support the needs of students. The professional staff work to provide students with advising and support throughout their time at the university. Our student intern team is a dynamic group of undergraduate students who aim to provide a sense of community and belonging for their peers through programming at the AAC. 

Professional Staff

Aaron James Parayno

Aaron James Parayno

Director

Pronouns: He/Him/His

A New York City native, Aaron joined Tufts University in 2019 to serve as the Director of the center. Aaron is a graduate of Boston College where he has a Bachelor's Degree in History, and a Master's Degree in Higher Education Administration. He has spent his career supporting Asian American students, centering their needs, and advocating for the community. He is also currently a PhD student at the University of Massachusetts Boston studying Higher Education. As a practitioner-scholar Aaron works to center equity and justice issues for the Asian American community in higher education, as well as advocate for other marginalized communities. In his free time Aaron enjoys cooking, baking, and playing tennis.

617-627-3506
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Emily Ding

Emily Ding

Associate Director

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers & They/Them/Theirs

Raised in New Jersey, Emily Ding is an alumna of Rutgers University-New Brunswick, where she received her BA in Women’s and Gender Studies and worked as a student intern at the Asian American Cultural Center. Emily received an MEd in Higher Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst while working in the Dean of Students Office, assisting and advocating for students facing personal and academic challenges. Prior to coming to Tufts, Emily oversaw Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Student Services at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. As a first-generation college student, Emily is passionate about helping students with marginalized identities navigate college and find community. Some of Emily’s areas of interest include mental health among Asian Americans and the experiences of queer and trans students of color. Outside of work, Emily likes everything related to food and dogs.

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Kali Guise Asian American Center Program Administrator

Kali Guise

Program Administrator

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Born and raised in the Boston area, Kali received her BA in Gender and Women’s Studies from Connecticut College and her MA in Social Justice and Equity Studies from Brock University. She previously worked at the Asian University for Women Support Foundation, where she created academic and mental health programming and provided support to a diverse group of students from eighteen countries across Asia. Kali is passionate about creating spaces where all members of the Asian American community can thrive. She is particularly interested in fostering intergenerational joy and resistance, exploring ideas of belonging among mixed-race Asian Americans, and building solidarity with other marginalized communities. In her free time, Kali enjoys caring for her houseplants, cooking vegan food, and spending time with her dogs. 

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Yuuki Nishida AAC GA

Yuuki Nishida

Graduate Assistant

Pronouns: He/him/his & they/them/theirs

Yuuki Nishida is a graduate of Northeastern University where he received his bachelor’s degree in Journalism. He is currently getting his master’s degree in Media Advocacy at Northeastern University. Born and raised in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, Yuuki is of Japanese and Filipino descent. His academic interests include the effects of media on racial identity and how they inform each other, civil rights and restorative justice and abolitionism, decolonization, and pop culture. Outside of work, Yuuki enjoys playing video games, baking focaccia, and co-hosting a radio show on WBCA 102.9 FM.

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Student Interns

Arnav Patra

Arnav Patra

Pronouns: he/him/his

Hometown: Rockville, MD
Class year: 2024
Majors: Quant Econ
What can folks connect with you about at the AAC?: Connect with me to talk about Desi snacks, Bollywood movies and music, Hasan Minhaj or Parks and Rec, maps, traveling, and tea (preferably chai or boba)
What are you involved with on campus?: I am involved with 180 Degrees Consulting, I am an RA in Hill Hall and I am a member of the Hindu and Interfaith Student Councils and I am an active member of the South Asian community. I also work here at the AAC as an Intern, mainly organizing events and programs for our community!
Favorite AAC Memory: Painting the cannon for Heritage Month with the other interns
Fun Fact: I love maps and will spend hours on Google Maps

Dzheveira Karimova

Dzheveira Karimova

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Hometown: Wherever my family is
Class year: 2025
Major: International Relations
What can folks connect with you about at the AAC?: Hi, everyone! I'm Dzheveira Karimova, a first-year from Kyrgyzstan--a beautiful country in Central Asia. So far, I have lived in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, NYC, and Central New Jersey (yes, Central Jersey is indeed real). My first language is Russian, and I am learning Spanish. I am interested in majoring in International Relations and minoring in Environmental and Urban studies. You can often find me talking about urban planning, techno music, history, and psychology. My favorite artist is Kazimir Malevich, and my current favorite book is The Handmaid's Tale and its sequel. I love dancing whenever and wherever I can :)) If you're interested in learning Russian and/or Eastern European & Central Asian culture and history, please feel free to text me! I am so excited to be a part of the AAC community and meet you all!
What are you involved with on campus?: I am looking forward get involved in the wonderful community at the Asian American Center, and perhaps join the Model UN Team, a dance team, as well as some other clubs on campus.
Fun/Random Fact: I love boba :) and my typical order is taro boba with lychee. If you ever want to go get boba, hmu!

Johnny Lai

Johnny Lai

Pronouns: He/him/his

Hometown: Oakland, NJ
Class year: 2023
Majors: Computer Science & Film/Media Studies
Minor: Math
What can folks connect with you about at the AAC?: Asian snacks, Cantonese culture, Dim sum :)
What are you involved with on campus?: Black Out Step Team, Research with UEP School, TWO
Fun/Random Fact: I have a twin!

Kevin Pham

Kevin Pham

Pronouns: He/him/his

Hometown: Tampa, FL
Class year: 2025
Major(s): International Relations
What can folks connect with you about at the AAC?: Chat with Kevin about cooking, life advice, or geopolitics! (Yes he is that guy)
What are you involved with on campus?: I'm hoping to get involved with the Mock Trial Team and the Vietnamese Students Association!
Fun/Random Fact: Despite being Floridian and living in close-proximity to the coastline, Kevin has an irrational fear of the beach.

Edith Philip

Edith Philip

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA
Class year: 2025
Major: International Relations
What can folks connect with you about at the AAC?: Connect with Edith to talk about books starring Asian American narratives, hiking, and baking!
What are you involved with on campus?: Hopefully this year I will be able to join Tufts Hiking Club, the Tufts Observer, and the South Asian Political Action Committee!

Michelle Zhang

Michelle Zhang

Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Class year: 2024
Majors: Studio Art & IR
What can folks connect with you about at the AAC?: Crafting, dream interpretations, art
What are you involved with on campus?: I'm hoping to get more involved with the publications :-)