Associate Dean, Director of the AARC

Mike Manalo-Pedro

Mike Manalo-Pedro 2018 Staff HeadshotEducation: BA Behavioral Sciences (Cal Poly Pomona); BA Gender, Ethnicity, and Multicultural Studies (Cal Poly Pomona); MA Asian American Studies (San Francisco State University); EdD Educational Leadership (UCLA)
What does the AARC mean to you?
The AARC, in many ways, represents a sense of community empowerment. I know that the AARC community is strong on many levels: between students and amongst faculty and staff partners. To me, the AARC represents a space where students foster leadership and become more inspired to create unique and systemic changes beyond the boundaries of the Claremont Colleges. I’m extremely honored to be part of the almost 30 year legacy of the AARC.
What do you enjoy doing outside of the AARC?
I enjoy spending time with my family the most. I am a proud husband, son, brother, and Ninong. With whatever free time I have, I am organizing family events or visiting my family members. Outside of that, I enjoy the outdoors and love being in nature as much as possible. Being from the Pomona area, my partner and I try to take advantage of the gardens and mountains that we have in our area. We love visiting these mountains right here just above the Claremont foothills. I’m always down for a good hike!
What is your comfort food?
Ask anybody in my circle what type of food I love the most and they would definitely say soup. I am a soup fanatic, so I’m always searching for the best soups in the region including Pho, Ramen, Sotanghon, Caldo De Mariscos, etc. I think the food that is comforting and reminds me most of home is Arroz Caldo (or Lugaw), which is a Filipino rice porridge made with chicken stock, chicken, rice, ginger, soy sauce, green onions, lemon, and garlic. It has a perfect blend of salty and sour. My mom used to make Arroz Caldo for our family on rainy days and during all family gathering. Arroz Caldo reminds me of family.

Assistant Director of the AARC

Asena Taione-Filihia

Asena Taione-Filihia 2018 Staff HeadshotEducation: AA Liberal Studies (LA Valley College); BA Communication Studies (Cal State Northridge) & M.Ed. in Education (UCLA)
What does the AARC mean to you?
AARC- means many things to many students, staff, faculty and generations of activists from Pomona and the Claremont College. It’s a home away from home for others. To me, the AARC reminds me that we/I matter at this school/institution; it means that we have a voice and our voice can and will bring about change. This space and the work that comes out of it represents the activism and power that students wield in creating space and place for and with one another. It is an inspiring place with resilient students that continue to redefine what leadership means today. I’m grateful to be here at this time and supporting the growth and leadership of student activism at Pomona and within the Claremonts.
What do you enjoy doing outside of the AARC?
Outside of the AARC, I spend my time with family and in community work (specifically work reaching our community college population). I am married to my best friend, Pila, and together we have three children: Johnny (14 yrs old), Victoria (12 yrs old) and Taione Luke (6 yrs old). I have a bunch of nieces and nephews that also are like my own which also keeps me quite busy outside of the AARC. On an average weekend, I am usually between visits to see my mom in Garden Grove or my father in Northridge. Within community work, I sit on several committees spanning community college work as this is the pipeline many of our Pacific Islander communities will enter as their first stop within higher education. As such, I make intentional efforts to remain involved whether it’s programming, attending local events or committee feedback in order to create space for our young Pasifiki scholars, knowledge, wisdom and Pasifiki philosophies. Additionally, I also support my son at his games for football. It’s his first year playing ball and I’m still learning about the game, but I enjoy watching him grow and thrive in something he enjoys.
What is your comfort food?
Comfort food for me is both cultural and homely. To that end, I will share that one of my comfort foods is lu kapapulu and talo. Though it does take a good amount of effort to make, it is always worth it. It begins with the taro leaves, which my father grows it in his community garden. It is super soft, organic and it doesn’t give you that itchy feeling in your throat like some taro leaves sold at the shops. You then take coconut milk, corned beef and onions and place it all within the taro leaves. Then you wrap it up with foil and either bake it or steam it. It’s delicious with taro root as it reminds me of my mom’s kitchen as a kid (and as an adult). Thankfully, she still makes it for me and I get to enjoy a taste of childhood whenever she feels like making it.

5C Asian American Advisory Board Program Coordinator, IDAAS Community Engagement Coordinator

Sarah Lynn Miralles

Sarah Lynn Miralles 2018 Staff HeadshotEducation: Majored in Ethnic Studies
What does the AARC mean to you?
The AARC is a place where growth is in praxis. Students can take what they’ve learned in the classroom – from the textbooks and dialogues, all the theoretical frameworks, and create something out if it to share their knowledge and understanding of issues facing APIDA students with others. Our students are then asked to reflect on how this work is impactful to our communities, but also for themselves.
What do you enjoy doing outside of the AARC?
Teaching, sleeping, and eating ice cream.
What is your comfort food?
Sinigang or ube ice cream.