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House Deans

Each College House has its own House Dean, 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 Dean 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 Dean 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 Dean Position Description and the House Dean 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 Deans at the University. Click here to view.

College House Deans for Academic Year 2018-19

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. Ebonish is excited to join our team and explore the great city of Philadelphia.

Dr. Christopher Donovan
Gregory College House

A native Philadelphian, Dr. Donovan received a B.A. in English from Penn in 1992, and a Ph.D. in Contemporary American literature from New York University (where he was awarded a full Fellowship-in Residence) in January 1999. While in New York, Dr. Donovan worked at several major publishing houses, including Vogue magazine. On Penn's campus, he held a number of positions within the Department of Housing and Conference Services starting in 1991; during the summer of 1993, he served as Head Prefect for an innovative program for gifted students in the arts, offered by the College of General Studies, called the Penn Summer Academy in Communications. In March 1999, he worked within Penn's newly established Conference Services division, promoting the campus to outside organizations and helping to coordinate dining and facilities aspects of on-campus conferences. His book Postmodern Counternarrative: Irony and Audience in the Novels of Paul Auster, Don DeLillo, Charles Johnson and Tim O'Brien was published by Routledge in late 2004. In addition to more than a decade of dedication to the residents of Gregory as their House Dean, Dr. Donovan frequently teaches classes in Film and Literature, in addition to the for-credit Film Culture Program which he founded at Gregory and co-administrates there today.

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 Dean 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.

Dr. Frank Pellicone
Harrison College House

Dr. Pellicone received his B.A. from Cornell University in 1986 and his M.A., M.Phil, and Ph.D. at Yale in the Department of Italian Languages and Literature (1994). He has taught such popular courses at Penn as Language and Vision in the Italian Renaissance, Blood, Sweat, and Pasta: Representations of Italian Americans in Literature and Film, and many other courses through the Departments of Romance Languages and English. At the State University of New York at Buffalo, he served as director of Undergraduate Studies in Italian and coordinator of the Italian Language program. Prior to attending graduate school, Dr. Pellicone worked as a mediator and arbitration administrator for the New York Better Business Bureau, helping resolve disputes between consumers and automobile manufacturers.

Dr. Krimo 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. Since 1990, he has served 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.

Trina N. Sokoloski
New 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, she accumulated extensive experience in both teaching and in University students' residential life at Wells College, Northeastern University, and the University of Delaware.

Dr. Marilynne Diggs-Thompson
Riepe College House

Before coming to Penn, Dr. Diggs-Thompson taught cultural anthropology at Hunter College in New York where she served as undergraduate advisor in the Anthropology Department. At Hunter, Dr. Diggs-Thompson created and taught over ten new seminar topics in cultural anthropology, four of which she has reprised at Penn. She has served as graduate thesis advisor for students in New York and at Penn, and she has taught upper level and graduate seminars within Penn’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) and for the past five years, a highly popular freshman seminar in the College entitled Desire and Demand: Culture and Consumption in the Global Marketplace. She is the author of several articles within the “Strategies in Teaching Anthropology” series published by Prentice Hall, and has contributed several articles to the Anthropology Newsletter (AN) published by the Association of American Anthropologists. In addition to increasing her knowledge of “student and residential campus culture” as the Riepe College House Dean in the Quad, she has expanded her research interests to include the transition to modern consumerism—historically analyzed from the Victorian Age to the present, and, more recent economic fluctuations associated with “global consumer culture.” Demographic change and migration in France and the French-speaking Caribbean continues to be the subject of much of Dr. Diggs-Thompson's scholarship. Her doctoral dissertation, written at the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, considered consumption, modernization and demographic transformation in Guadeloupe, and she continues to study causal factors related to fertility transitions—including women’s economic autonomy, education, and migration experience among French West Indian, Algerian and other French-speaking minority groups in the Europe, the Caribbean and North America. Her research has also examined the broader issues of contemporary urban education and post-colonial politics. She has given multiple presentations at the annual meetings of the Association of American Anthropology, the Association of Black Anthropologists, the American Ethnological Society, the Caribbean Studies Association, and the European Studies Association. She is a member of the review board of several foundations and professional journals.

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 Dean.

Nadir Sharif
Stouffer College House

A native of Lahore, Pakistan, Mr. Sharif moved to the United States in 2003 to attend college. He earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and an M.S. in College Student Personnel from Bucknell University. Mr. Sharif started his professional career at the University of New Hampshire where he served as a Residence Hall Director. He then returned to his alma mater to serve as the Assistant Director of Residential Education. Throughout his career, Mr. Sharif has worked closely with students who come from non-traditional educational backgrounds. He joined Penn in 2015 as the House Dean in Stouffer College House.

Rhina Duquela
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.

Amanda Atkinson
Ware College House

Ms. Atkinson received her B.A. from Sweet Briar College in 2000 and her Master of Education in Higher Education Administration at Harvard's Graduate School of Education in 2002. Her positions before coming to Penn include serving as the Assistant Director for Student Programs at the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC's Los Angeles campus; working as the Assistant Director of Residence Life at Occidental College, and serving as Assistant Director of Residential Programs at Columbia.