Platt House Advisory Council
- Maintain a vibrant, vital advisory board that advances the mission of Platt Student Performing Arts House
- Build connections between arts communities at Penn
- Foster alumni connections that support the sustainability of the Penn arts community
- Enhance alumni ownership of the Platt Student Performing Arts House by helping alumni feel proud of their past and current relationship to arts at Penn
2019 – 2020 Members:
Bhargavi Ammu, C’13
Bhargavi Ammu graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences at Penn in 2013 with a B.A. in Health and Societies and South Asian Studies and minored in International Development. While at Penn she was active on the South Asian female dance team, PENNaach, an Emily Sachs Dance Benefit Chair and Chair of the Dance Arts Council. Additionally, she was a resident advisor in the Fisher Hassenfeld College House for three years, was an EMT and board member on the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT), a Wharton Lipman Family Prize Fellow and a member of the Oracle Senior Society. Bhargavi is a trained Indian classical Bharatanatyam dancer with 20 years of performance experience, and has always been a strong supporter of the arts and student arts education. For the past four and a half years, Bhargavi has worked at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and has focused on health systems and HIV/AIDS global health work. She has served as the chair of the DC+Acumen volunteer chapter, and in the fall of 2018 will attend the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in pursuit of an MBA.
Anthony Anchelowitz, C’18
During his time at Penn, Anthony Anchelowitz (C ’18) served as the President of Counterparts and the Chair of the A Cappella Council. Through these roles, he created the first annual Raise Your Voice a cappella charity concert, produced award-winning music videos for Counterparts, and worked as one of the producers of the University’s first ever performing arts event at Carnegie Hall. Since graduating, he has interned in film development with Marc Platt and now works as the development assistant for Kristin Burr on the Walt Disney Studios Lot.
EJ Baker, C’10
Baker graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a major in Quadramics (although her diploma officially claims it was English and Cinema Studies). She currently works in the press office of EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, and is finishing her masters in Political Communication at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. Before retiring from the entertainment industry, EJ worked at Paradigm Talent Agency in Beverly Hills and studied and performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Los Angeles. While at Penn, EJ proudly served as Chair of Penn’s oldest student run and student directed theater company, in addition to producing, directing, publicizing, acting in, and showing up to cast parties for countless productions across TAC-e and is thrilled to have an excuse to keep hanging out with theater kids as part of the Homecoming Arts and Culture Host Committee this year.
Jessica Brand, C’04
Graduated from Penn with a double major in history and international relations. She is now a lawyer at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. On the side, she volunteers at the Sitar Arts Center, teaching dance. She misses her time at Penn, where she danced with Arts House Dance Company, served as the Chair of the Emily Sachs Dance Benefit, and as the Dance Arts Council (DAC) chair for two years. She was also involved with Penn Life Sketches.
Jason Butler, C’09
Graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Communications and Theatre Studies. He currently works as a Motion Picture Talent and Comedy Assistant at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in NYC. Previously, Jason worked at Roundabout Theatre Company and The Gersh Agency. While at Penn, Jason was a member of Penn Players, Penn Singers, Front Row Theatre Company, and Quadramics.
Ankit Dhir, C’10, W’10
Ankit Dhir (W’10, C’10) lives in New York with his wife, Ayesha Chacko (W’11). While at Penn, Ankit served on PAC Exec, sang with Penn Masala, and was involved in Penn Student Government through the Undergraduate Assembly and University Council. In New York, Ankit has stayed connected to Penn alumni through yPenn, yPAAN, and the Penn Masala Alumni Society where he served as Chair. He and his wife also work with America Needs You to mentor first-generation New York City college students and help them with college and career readiness. He is very excited for the opportunity to serve on Platt House Advisory Council to give back to a place and an organization that was incredibly formative in his college experience and continues to be at the heart of some of Penn’s most enriching experiences.
Cassandra Georges, C’01, L’05
Cassandra is a lawyer specializing in dispute resolution. She has fond memories of her time with Onda Latina Dance Troupe and as Performing Arts Council (PAC) Chair.
Becca Goland-Van Ryn, C’06
Graduated from Penn with a double major in Theatre Arts and Communications. Becca currently works as an Account Executive at Serino Coyne, a full-service theatrical advertising agency in New York City. Becca also works as a Producer at The Gallery Players. While at Penn, Becca was involved with Penn Singers, Penn Players, Quadramics, iNtuitons and Front Row Theater Company.
Pamela Hetherington, C’01
Pamela Hetherington is a Philadelphia tap dancer. Her artistic work aims to expand the boundaries of jazz tap, both as a soloist, a choreographer, and a composer. She was a principle dancer with Tap Team Two & Company, under the direction of Robert F. Burden, Jr., from 1996-2011, during which time she performed widely in major theaters and festivals all over Philadelphia and the East Coast. Those experiences led her to imagine and produce dozens of tap dance and live music events in Philadelphia, and in 2014, she created Take It Away Dance, a tap dance and live music company has been presented consistently in Philadelphia and New York. Her work has been presented by Jazz Bridge
(Neighborhood Concert), Philadelphia Jazz Project
(7×7 Series), Creative Philadelphia
(City Hall Presents), The Barnes Foundation
(1st Sunday Series), Allentown Art Museum
(3rd Thursday Series), Dixon Place
(8 in Show, 30-30-30), and Symphony Space
She has an original jazz composition published in the Philadelphia Real Book
and is a featured recording artist on the “Whitman Project” mixtape, published by The Philadelphia Jazz Project. Pam has been interviewed about her work on Articulate
(WHYY) and The Arts Desk
(WRTI), and she was recognized in The Philadelphia Inquirer
and Dance Teacher Magazine
for her work with The Philadelphia Community Tap Project
. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania, where she is an active member of the Performing Arts Council, and a Master’s Degree in English from University of Virginia. Since 2015, she has owned and directed Sound Space Performing Arts
, a percussive dance space in North Philadelphia, where she instructs dozens of classes a week and spearheads new initiatives that keep tap dance alive in Philadelphia.
Lolita Jackson, ENG’89
Lolita Jackson currently serves as the Special Advisor to the Senior Director of Climate Policy and Programs in the NYC Mayor’s Office. She is the primary liaison to foreign and domestic governments around climate, and administers activities for New York City’s participation in global climate and resilience networks as well as with the United Nations. Prior to her appointment to this role, she held numerous positions within the NYC Mayor’s Office and has worked there for 12 years. Lolita was also at Morgan Stanley for 12 years, with her last position as Vice President at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. Lolita is a 1989 alumna of the Penn School of Engineering, majoring in Applied Science with a concentration in Chemical Engineering. She is currently the President and Reunion Chair of the Class of 1989, which has won the Class Award of Merit twice, a member of the Alumni Class Leadership Council, and a former member of the Annenberg Center Board of Overseers. Lolita is a 2008 winner of the Alumni Award of Merit. She is also a professional singer who has performed in Shanghai, Sydney, Berlin, Tokyo, and Carnegie Hall and performs annually at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. While at Penn, Lolita was a member of Penn Gospel Choir, Quadramics, Counterparts, and lead singer of Billie Soul & the Obsessions, a band comprised of members of Counterparts and the Jazz Ensemble.
Pearl Lo, C’17, GSE’18
Pearl Lo is currently a Ph.D. student studying Higher Education. Her research interests include cross-racial interactions and friendships groups, particularly among Asian Americans and their peers of color. She also conducts research on intersectionality and how the lived experiences of individuals with multiple minoritized identities, specifically queer women of color, coupled with social development affect learning outcomes. She is also interested in experiences of acculturation and assimilation of first and second generation Asian American and Latinx students. During her time at Penn, Pearl was first introduced to the arts through the PennArts pre-orientation program. She later went on to serve as the PennArts coordinator in her junior and senior years. Pearl had the pleasure of serving on PAC Exec as the Community Service Chair from 2015-2017 and loved organizing ASAP (After School Arts at Penn) every week. Pearl was an administrative assistant at Platt Student Performing Arts House, which was her home at Penn. She held leadership roles in various performing arts organizations such as Director of The Vagina Monologues and Penn V-Day, Vice Chair of Stimulus Children’s Theatre, and Technical Manager of the Penn Glee Club. She also performed in or did tech for many different groups and graduated Penn with having been involved in 41 student productions. Pearl was also the Support Chair for the Osiris Performing Arts Senior Honor Society and was a member of Oracle Senior Honor Society. Pearl is excited to continue her love for the performing arts at Penn by being a part of the Platt House Advisory Council.
Sarah Marcus Hansen, C’10
To say theater was her life in college might be putting it lightly. Over her four years at Penn, she minored in Theater Arts and was involved in 47 student productions, both onstage and backstage. She also held board positions for Bloomers, Penn Singers and Stimulus Children’s Theatre, was a Penn Arts orientation program leader and helped organize alumni symposiums. The Platt Performing Arts House, the PAC Shop and the theaters were her second home and her theater friends are still her family. Post graduation, she began working at Serino/Coyne, a theatrical advertising agency in NYC. As an alum, she still returns every semester for some combination of Bloomers, Singers or Players shows. She also continues to organize monthly Penn Singer alumni gatherings in NYC and is serving her second year on the Homecoming Arts and Culture Host Committee.
Arnab Mishra, W’96
Arnab is Chief Product Officer for Xactly, where he leads a team responsible for the strategy, execution and go-to-market success of Xactly’s product suite. Prior to joining Xactly, Arnab served as Vice President for BroadSoft (now part of Cisco) where he led a global business unit. Arnab joined Broadsoft as a result of its acquisition of Transera, a company he joined at its founding and where he served as President and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to Transera, Arnab held leadership roles with another software startup that was acquired by Alcatel. Arnab started his career in finance, working initially as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch and then as a private equity investor at The Beacon Group (now part of JP Morgan Chase & Co.). Arnab holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and children.
Layla O’Kane, C’14
Layla O’Kane is from Cairo, Egypt, and graduated from Penn with a degree in economics and in international relations in 2014. While at Penn, she was chairwoman of Bloomers, business manager of The Pennsylvania Players, and involved in shows by Quadramics, Front Row Theatre Company, and Penn Singers. She is currently living in Cambridge, MA and pursuing a Masters in Public Administration/International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School. Most recently, Layla worked at NERA Economic Consulting, focusing on antitrust consulting in New York. She has continued to be involved in the arts through community choirs and independent comedy groups in tandem with her career, and would love to be on the Council engage with alumni and students looking to balance pursuit of the arts with other professional goals.
Chirag Pathre, W’14
Originally from Troy, MI, Chirag Pathre (W ’14) currently lives in Brooklyn, NY and works within the advertising and technology space. During his time at Penn, Chirag was a cast member of Mask and Wig and served on the Performing Arts Council’s Exec Board. Chirag continues to stay involved with performing arts as part of his indie musical improv team, The 29th St. Revue! Through the Advisory Council, Chirag hopes to help connect alumni in the New York area and serve as a resource for students interested in the performing arts or life beyond campus.
Paul Pimentel, C’96
Paul is chief of staff to the minority leader in the Connecticut State Senate. At Penn, Paul was chair of Penn Players and served on the PAC board. He stage managed and did other tech work for Players, Arts House Dance, and Quadramics.
Corey Singer, C’10
Bio will be posted shortly.
Josh Slatko, C’00
In real life, Josh is a writer and editor for a pharmaceutical marketing magazine and ghostwriter for pharmaceutical marketing executives. In Penn life, he’s spent the last 18 years as business manager for Mask and Wig’s alumni organization and producer of the Club’s annual productions. As an undergraduate he spent four yea
rs in Wig’s stage crew, serving as stage manager and secretary-treasurer as a senior. He also worked on several Quadramics shows and produced the 2000 Q Spring Fling musical, “A Little Night Music.” Josh is proud to have captained Mask and Wig’s efforts to launch the Mask and Wig Club Endowed Scholarship, the first Penn scholarship ever to be endowed by a performing arts group, now on its third recipient; and the Stephen Goff Senior Honor Award, the first Penn senior honor award for achievement in performing arts, awarded for the first time last spring. He’s been happily married to the extremely tolerant Djung Tran for almost 13 years now, and is a proud parent of Micah, age 9 (showing early signs of interest in musical theater and singing), and Naomi, age 3.
Greg Suss, C’75
A proud member of the Class of 1975, Greg was a devoted member of the Penn performing arts community as Chairman of Penn Players, Business Manager and Student Conductor of the Penn Glee Club, Treasurer of Penn Singers and Advisory Board Member of Arts House. While pursuing his graduate and post-graduate studies, he worked on Broadway for several major general management firms and the Shubert Organization. As a performer and director, Greg has been involved in over 200 productions including a wide variety of musicals, straight plays, opera, and cabaret. He is the principal of a strategic communications firm where he directs “corporate theater” empowering individuals and teams to maximize their ability to inform, persuade and get their audiences to act on their information. He continues to direct as a member of the faculty of Concordia College in Bronxville, New York and performs with his wife Kathleen and daughter Katie in civic productions in Fairfield County, CT. Currently at Penn, Greg is the President of the Alumni Class Leadership Council, President of the Sphinx Senior Society Board of Governors, Executive VP and Reunion Chair of the Class of 1975 and long-term President Emeritus and Board member of the Glee Club Graduate Club.
Gilberto Vega, C’14
Gilberto Vega is a Costa Rican-American creator, educator, and stage manager for music and theatre. His short play, Miley Vs. Mozart: An Epic Poperatic Smackdown, was featured in The Vs. Series during the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Gilberto is the Manager of Education and Engagement for The Philly POPS, where he curates music education programs for 3,000 students in the School District of Philadelphia and free community events to make pops orchestras accessible to all. Gilberto contributes to Bonaly Reviews and is a Barrymore Nominator.
Joey Wallerstein, C’13
Bio will be posted shortly.
Platt House is currently seeking new student representatives. If you are interested, please complete this form and send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Valerie De Cruz, Penn Staff
Valerie De Cruz has served as Director of the Albert M. Greenfield Intercultural Center since 1997. She came to Penn after five years as a counselor and Assistant Dean at Oberlin College, followed by four years at Princeton University where she was Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs. Valerie has fun co-teaching a fall course with Ty. In this course students are able to explore identity (self, others, portrayal in media, culture and theatrical forms) as well as, uncover the common human and dramatic stories through which groups and individuals might engage issues of difference.
Kris Forrest, Penn Staff
Kris Forrest joined Penn in 2012, and is passionate about the arts at Penn. After two years as Assistant Director of Finance in the Business Services Division, Kris now manages the finances of the Penn Museum. Most of her career was spent in corporate finance, but she has also taught at Rowan University since 2006. Kris has an undergraduate degree in accounting and an MBA in finance; she is also ABT (thesis, not dissertation) for a master’s degree in Music History.
Rose Malague, Ph.D.
Rose Malague, Ph.D. is the Program Director for Penn’s Theatre Arts Program.
Philip M. Nichols, JD.
Philip M. Nichols, JD. is an Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the institutions of international trade, primarily the World Trade Organization, and on the institutional changes occurring in emerging economies.
Please email Platthouse@pobox.upenn.edu if you are interested in serving on the Advisory Council, which meets twice a year.