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House Directors

Each College House has its own House Director, a resident of the House and the head of its administrative office. She or he is the person in charge of supervising the people and programs that make the College House work. The Director is always there to provide "first response" advice and support to students, referring them as necessary to the variety of academic advising resources offered by Penn's undergraduate schools. The Director will also refer students, as necessary, to other offices in the University where specialized counseling, tutoring, and other services are available.

Please refer to the House Director Position Description and the House Director Addendum for detailed descriptions.

In 2011 the Almanac, Penn's weekly journal of record and opinion, published an overview of the role of the House Directors (then called House Deans) at the University. Click here to view.


College House Directors



Ebonish Lamar
Fisher Hassenfeld College House

Ms. Lamar earned a B.A in Philosophy from Cal Poly Pomona University and a M.Ed in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from the University of Southern California. Ebonish comes to Penn with almost 10 years of Higher Education experience, more specifically in residence life, conference services and residential learning communities. Ebonish's most recent position was at Syracuse University as the Assistant Director of Learning Communities. She also has worked as adjunct faculty facilitating course sessions around college transition, first generation college student success and socially just residential communities.




Gwendolyn Stevens
Gregory College House

Gwendolyn has spent the last several years working in the field of Higher Education as an Educator and Student Affairs Practitioner. As a student-centered professional, –she has supported initiatives in Residential Education, First-Year Orientation, Student Activities, DEI Initiatives, and engaged in cross-campus collaborations. It is her determination and no-nonsense attitude that has led her colleagues to affectionately call her an engaging, thoughtful leader, with an eye for innovation and inclusion. Her students describe her as courageous, encouraging, and influential, with many of them grateful for her mentorship and support throughout their college journey. It is her commitment and belief in student success and embracing your authentic self that is instrumental in helping students reach phenomenal levels of personal and professional growth. Guided by the Latin phrase “cura personalis”, care for the entire person, Gwendolyn’s philosophy is to ensure everyone feels heard, seen, and valued. As House Director, Gwendolyn is committed to cultivating vibrant living and learning experiences reflective of the diversity and uniqueness of every Penn student. Gwendolyn holds a B.A. in Political Science and French from Lincoln University and a Master’s in Public Administration from University Pittsburgh. She is a proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and is affiliated with several leadership and professional organizations.




Viraj Patel
Harnwell College House

Viraj Patel is a social justice advocate, educator, and dialogue facilitator as well as an active blogger, consultant, and engaged community member. Born and raised in Downers Grove, IL, Viraj completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in English with a minor in Asian American Studies and then went on to earn her Master of Education at the University of Vermont. Prior to her House Director role, Viraj served as the Associate Director at the Pan-Asian American Community House (PAACH) at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a student at Penn and is enrolled in the Higher Education program at the Graduate School of Education. In her free time, Viraj is probably watching the latest Bollywood movie, cooking a fun new recipe, dancing, running, checking out an exhibit at a museum, or reading at a coffee shop.




Eric Cottrell
Harrison College House

Eric Cottrell earned his Master of Education in Student Affairs from Clemson University and his Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Rider University. Prior to joining College Houses and Academic Services, Eric served as a Resident Director and Adjunct Faculty Member at Temple University where he also completed a Graduate Certificate in Teaching In Higher Education. Eric is excited to bring his passion for creating inclusive living-learning environments to Harrison College House. In addition to his work, Eric is an active member of NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. He also is a lover of college football, iced tea, and playing in Stonewall Sports Leagues with his friends.




Stephanie Turner
Hill College House

Stephanie Turner holds a Master of Science degree in Community School Psychology with an emphasis on Clinical Child Psychology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where she also worked as an Assistant Hall Director and Residence Director for four years. She previously served as a therapist and referral coordinator at Gateway Regional Medical Center in Granite City, Illinois, providing clients with psychological assessments, counseling, and family and group therapy. Her chief area of expertise is in adolescent depression and anxiety in young adults. She has been involved in presentations and conferences on student well being and development, both regionally and nationally, since 2001. Stephanie was the Hill House Dean from 2007-2015 and is delighted to return to the role of House Director in 2020.




Dr. Mhamed Bokreta
Kings Court English College House

Dr. Bokreta received three advanced degrees in geology at the University of Algiers during the years 1974-1976. In 1992, he completed a Ph.D. in Geology at Penn. Among his honors are a National Council for Research Fellowship in Italy in 1986 and in 1989, and a Research Fellowship from the Geology Institute of Poland in 1975. With a working knowledge of six languages, he has written for American Mineralogist and is researching an article on the properties of garnet. Dr. Bokreta has been closely involved in residential housing, academic programs and student advising at Penn since 1985. In 1990, he began serving as Assistant Dean for Residence at Kings Court English House and was instrumental in building four model living-learning programs there. At the 1997 Frontiers in Education conference in Pittsburgh, Dr. Bokreta and Penn colleagues presented "The Partnership Between the Science and Technology Wing and the School of Engineering and Applied Science: An Experiment in Living and Learning" that was subsequently published in the IEEE Catalog of 1997. In 1998 at the inception of the Penn-wide College House System, he became the first House Dean of KCECH and has served as the director of the House ever since.




Trina Sokoloski
Lauder College House

Ms. Sokoloski received her B.A. in English from Syracuse University in 2003 and her M.S. in Higher Education Administration from Syracuse in 2007. Before joining Hill College House as the House Dean and now House Director, she accumulated extensive experience in both teaching and in University students' residential life at Wells College, Northeastern University, and the University of Delaware.




Darby Wiggins
Riepe College House

Darby was born in Anchorage, AK and raised in Washington, D.C. She earned her B.A. in Government and Politics; M.S.in Environmental Science and Policy; and M.A. in Higher Education from George Mason University. Darby comes to Penn with over 15 years of experience in Higher Education in areas such as academic program management, faculty governance, residence life, residential curriculum development, student conduct and case management, and holistic advising. She utilizes Servant Leadership Theory in her work with students and views her relationships with them as a partnership in discovering and unlocking students’ best versions of themselves. Darby enjoys working with high-achieving students and is excited to join both Riepe House and the larger Penn community.




Kathryn McDonald
Rodin College House

Ms. McDonald earned her B.A. in American History and African History at Southern Oregon University and her M.A. in Higher Education and Student Personnel at Kent State. Her focuses in the residential life field include training and development; student leadership and supervision, teaching at the college level. Joining CHAS in 2016 after serving as an Associate Director of Residential Education at Tulane, she now serves the upperclass population of Rodin College House as House Director.




Rhina Duquela El-Amin, M.S.
W.E.B. Du Bois College House

Originally from the Bronx, New York, Ms. Rhina M. Duquela earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary English Education and her Master of Science degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from SUNY College at Buffalo. She has also studied Chinese Language and Culture in Shanghai, China. Prior to joining Penn, she was an Assistant Director for Residence Life and Student Conduct at Mercyhurst University where she was appointed by the Vice President for Student Life and Athletics, to chair the Bystander Intervention Committee. Ms. Duquela also served as an adjunct instructor teaching Latin American Cultures. She has participated in trainings and received additional certifications in LGBTQ Allies, CPR/First Aid, Title IX, School Anti-Violence Education (SAVE), fire safety and suicide prevention. She is passionate about using education to spread awareness and promote inclusiveness as well as social justice advocacy.




Miriah McCaffrey
Ware College House

Miriah McCaffrey’s leadership style is a combination of diplomatic and whole-hearted. Miriah holds a Master of Science in Human Services from St. Leo University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Speech Communication from McKendree University. With over a decade of leadership experience in Higher Education, Miriah has a background in Title IX, residence life, and adjunct course instruction. As a Yoga Alliance Certified (RYT200) yoga teacher, she enjoys combining her passions for yoga and meditation with academia and advocacy. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and supporting the arts.