Albert M. Greenfield Intercultural Center

3708 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104—6188
Phone:    (215) 898-3358
Fax:         (215) 573-2597
Email:      gic@dolphin.upenn.edu

GIC Hours of Operation Spring 2024
Monday: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Tuesday: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Wednesday: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Thursday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Our Team

Valerie De Cruz

Valerie De Cruz



Valerie provides leadership and oversight for the center’s programs and services. Over 25 years, she has built trusting relationships across campus. Valerie has worked alongside students and campus partners to design enriching intercultural initiatives that have created a sense of belonging for diverse communities at Penn. As a result, the center is known as a space for supportive collaboration and innovation. Valerie also loves using her background in psychology and counseling to coach and mentor students and colleagues. In her free time, Valerie enjoys traveling, recommending good eats in Philadelphia, and reading inspiring fiction and poetry.

Kia Lor

Kia Lor


Associate Director

Kia is a first-generation low-income Hmong-American college graduate. She is a political refugee of the Vietnam War, born in a refugee camp in Thailand but raised in snowy St. Paul, Minnesota. Ask Kia about the GIC’s signature programs such as the Alliance for Understanding (AU) program, the Intercultural Leadership Program (ILP), our courses for credit, and our communications outreach. She also serves as the advisor to the United Minorities Council (UMC). As an Alumna of PennGSE’s Intercultural Communication program (GSE’16), Kia can also help answers about the job hunt post graduate school in the intercultural field. When not at the GIC, you can find her running a race in the city or hiking in the woods. 

Headshot of Mary Ann Kalei Baricuatro

Mary Ann Baricuatro


Associate Director

Mary Ann is coming to the GIC team this Fall 2023 from Wahiawā, Hawaiʻi. In her new role, she will assist in designing leadership development opportunities and cultural wellness initiatives to help students from diverse backgrounds thrive at Penn. Mary Ann will provide oversight for PennFLASH, our intercultural virtual alumni community platform, and will also bring experience and passion to her role in supporting Native, Indigenous, and First Nation students. As the advisor for Natives at Penn (NAP), she will provide guidance on community building, advocacy, and program planning and implementation. In her free time, Mary Ann plans to spend lots of time outdoors, exploring the city and finding ways to get involved.

Patricia Soria

Patricia Soria


Administrative Assistant

Patricia serves in an administrative role and as the building manager, overseeing the facility, executing financial transactions, and providing critical support for center courses, educational programs, student organizations, workshops, and events. She uses her experience as a mother of two to help parents and students navigate their college experience. She loves to connect with parents, students and alumni to create the feeling of a home away from home at the GIC. She brings knowledge and skills sets from her work in local non-profit settings to event planning and community building at Penn. In her free time she loves spending time with her family, cooking and gardening.

Areli Martinez Pizano
Areli Martinez Pizano she/her/hers
Areli is a master's student at the Graduate School of Education, specializing in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development. She received her bachelor's degree from UCLA, where she studied psychology and education. Born in Mexico, Areli moved to Fresno, California at a young age and pursued higher education as a first-generation, low-income student. Passionate about working with students in primary and higher education, she is motivated to understand the educational disparities that exist in the Latinx community. At the GIC, she facilitates and hosts student events, ensuring students from all backgrounds feel at home. In her free time, she loves binge-watching Netflix, going on spontaneous trips, and doing spicy food challenges.
Ai Kassykhanova
Ai Kassykhanova she/her/hers
Airis is a master's student at the Graduate School of Education, specializing in International Educational Development. Her research interests encompass program evaluation and design, social and emotional factors of development, eradication of child labor, cultural competencies, etc. Born into intercultural family, she is very passionate about improving cultural competencies and communication, as well as spreading cultural awareness. Airis is also skilled in graphic design and social media marketing. At the GIC, she manages social media and facilitates students events, making sure that everyone is up to date about opportunities around campus and feels welcomed at them. Outside of GIC, she enjoys baking and making jewelry. Make sure to stop by GIC and maybe you’ll try her cake!
Oumy Diasse
Oumy Diasse she/her/her
Oumy is a Senior in the College studying Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and she is also a Philly native. As a first-generation Senegalese student, Oumy's academic interests lie in finding how the mechanics of finance directly aid in the polarization of modern-day politics. At the GIC, Oumy works alongside the other student employees in handling any programming and administrative tasks. Oumy is also Chair of the United Minorites Council, an intercultural coalition of students who fight for equity and access to resources for students of color at Penn. In her free time, Oumy enjoys watching rom-coms and catching up on sleep.
Andrew Choe
Andrew Choe he/him/his
Andrew Choe is a senior in the college studying PPE concentrating in choice and behavior. He is from Charlottesville, Virginia and strongly advocates for putting intersectionality into practice. He hopes to use his education to influence public policy in the future. At the GIC, he helps manage the content to share on social media. In his free time, he enjoys binge watching the latest TV shows and going on spontaneous walks with his friends
Tristan Farjardo
Tristan Farjardo he/him/his
Tristan Fajardo is a fourth year student studying Political Science and French originally from Vancouver, BC. At the GIC, he has assisted in United Minority Council and Natives at Penn initiatives ever since freshman year. He very much enjoys the community aspect of the GIC family, spending time chatting with all the staff and students work at the center. In his spare time, Tristan enjoys baking all kinds of sweet treats and hiking around the Vancouver area.
Diana Mota
Diana Mota she/her/her
Diana Mota is Junior in the College triple majoring in Cinema, Design, and Visual Studies. She’s originally from Illinois, but now calls Florida her home. As a first generation Mexican-American student, she uses her background and experiences to fuel her creativity. Passionate about social justice and the power of art, she uses her craft to inspire others and push for more inclusivity and empathy from anyone who is willing to listen. At Penn she is involved heavily in the Latinx Community, taking part in the Steering committee that reimagined ARCH. She’s called the GIC home since her freshman year and encourages students to do the same!!! In her free time she loves taking walks, spending time with her friends, and overall enjoy the small things of this life.
Kaynath Chowdhury
Kaynath Chowdhury she/her/her
Kaynath Chowdhury is a sophomore in the college studying political science. She is from Detroit, Michigan, and loves to explore the intersection of technology and social justice. She is passionate about making information accessible and envisions leveraging technology for societal betterment. As an active member of Penn Policy Action, Kaynath dedicates time along with the other members to writing original policies, navigating legislative processes, and consulting with legislative offices and partner organizations. Committed to dismantling barriers, she aspires to use technology to foster inclusivity and is on a journey to bridge the gap between technology and social equity. In her free time, she enjoys reading rom-coms and baking whenever she's stressed.
Tammy Peralta
Tammy Peralta she/her/hers
Tammy Peralta is a freshman in the college studying psychology. Born and raised in The Bronx, NY, Tammy has found her interests in navigating how low-income communities are affected by educational disparities and plausible solutions to help tackle this dilemma. As a result, Tammy enjoys sharing resources for low-income students to help them throughout the college-application process alongside her experience in navigating such process. In her free time, Tammy enjoys trying out new restaurants and fun activities like laser tag or arcade games.


Getting Involved:

The mission of the Albert M. Greenfield Intercultural Center (GIC) is to build community, create a sense of belonging, and foster intercultural understanding. The center also works closely to advise and support student organizations interested in planning campus-wide intercultural activities. We are also available to assist in designing and implementing workshops on diversity issues for student organizations and administrative offices on campus. For graduate students interested in doing applied work in intercultural education, the center provides a small number of intercultural internships.

You can get involved with the GIC both formally and informally. Formally, you can join one of our several intercultural offerings. Informally, you can just show up at our center and join us for our weekly events such as Pancake Mondays, Immigration Series, FruiTea, and more!

You don’t have to sign up or interview or be on a specific listerv in order to engage with the GIC. All you have to do is show up!

The UMC represents a number of individual student organizations. You can join by participating in on our the UMC’s constituent groups and representing that organization at UMC’s General Body meetings. You can also contribute by applying to join the UMC Board.

Yes. The GIC has worked with departments across the university to design workshops that meet student and staff needs. Some examples include training workshops for CHAS staff; summer workshops for student interns in Engineering; and training workshops for tutors, and peer advisors.

Yes, depending on the breadth and nature of the program. The very nature of intercultural work requires collaboration and the leveraging of diverse resources and talents. All of our programs are collaborations between GIC, our campus partners as well as, community partnerships. For more information, contact Director Valerie De Cruz at decruz@upenn.edu.

No, all students are required to attend the spring break trip which will be Sunday afternoon through Thursday morning.

Graduate Students:

Yes! Many graduate students take our courses and participate in our signature programs. There are also a few internships at the center for graduate students who are interested in doing applied work in intercultural education. To learn about our courses and signature programs, contact our Associate Director Kia Lor at lork@upenn.edu. For questions about the internships at the center, contact the Director Valerie De Cruz, decruz@upenn.edu.

Program Support:

The GIC funds programs with an intercultural goal. You can learn more on our Student Organization Funding page.

View our meeting spaces here: Meeting Space

If your group is under 25 people, at least three-week notification is required. If your group is 25 people or more, at least one month of notification is required. For more information, contact Associate Director Kia Lor at lork@upenn.edu.

A computer cluster is available on the third floor of the GIC for use by Penn students. It is equipped with three computers and a printer. Should you experience concerns with the equipment, please contact a staff member. 

Penn Resources:

Penn Compact 2020 illustrates the University’s commitment to increasing access and diversity. Penn strives to meet the full financial need of traditional undergraduates with an all-grant aid policy and to strengthen financial aid for graduate and professional students. Penn offers additional resources and supports that may be helpful for low-income or first-generation students. This web page provides links to services, support, and administrative contacts to assist you with any concerns. LEARN MORE


The Albert M. Greenfield Intercultural Center was established in 1984, in response to the 1978 United Minorities Council’s call for a campus center for minority students. Under the direction of the founding Director Rene Gonzalez, the Greenfield Intercultural Center’s mission was twofold: to provide support for student of color and to foster intercultural understanding on campus. He and his family lived in the house behind GIC and cultivated a culture of close-knit community at GIC.  In addition to fostering intercultural understanding, the center was home to four major communities and helped establish ethnic heritage months and programs to celebrate the rich heritages of African American, Latino, Asian American and Native American communities.

A decade ago, Penn expanded on the center’s mission by adding three sister centers, Makuu the Black Cultural Center, La Casa Latina- Center for Hispanic Excellence and PAACH- the Pan Asian American Community House. As these vibrant centers began to absorb and increase programming to serve those communities, the GIC in turn expanded its support for Native communities and has reached out to newer communities such as Arab communities, Turkish students and international students. The center also offers numerous courses for credit, programs, and services designed to engage students around diversity and enhance their cultural competency skills for the 21st century. 

Faithful to its original mission, the center continues to serve as an intercultural incubator of new ideas and programs and a resource not only for students but also to the greater Penn community.