The I-House Connection: September 2022

Nayeli Vivanco's First 30 Days; Meet the RAs; Thanks and Farewell to Joy Iwasa; Messages from Alumni
September 15, 2022

Dear Alumni and Friends,

In this issue of the I-House Connection, Nayeli Vivanco shares some highlights of her exciting first month as the new VP of the Robertson Center for Intercultural Leadership and Programs.  As Nayeli rebuilds the team in the Sarin Program Office, it is wonderful to have signature I-House traditions once again enriching the experience of our residents. 

Roxanne Pifer, Director of Admissions and Housing Operations, shares that our new cohort of Resident Assistants is hard at work as well. Please learn more about their important role and meet them below. 

Also in this issue, I-House bids farewell and congratulations to Joy Iwasa, and thanks her for her many years of dedicated service.  We expect to still enjoy a lot of Joy’s company.  Bill Howley, Director of Philanthropy, advised Joy that it's like the song "Hotel California," You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!

Last month, I invited you to share a message for our incoming residents, and I’d like to share some of those thoughts with you. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to join and participate by sharing additional messages in our online global community at


Shaun Carver, I-House Executive Director

Shaun R. Carver
Executive Director
International House at UC Berkeley

News from Nayeli Vivanco, VP of Robertson Center for Intercultural Leadership and Programs

It’s been an exhilarating 30-days since my family and I moved from the East Coast to the Bay Area and I started my journey at I-House. From being welcomed to our new home by the community, to welcoming residents back to I-House, I am thankful to be here.

Nayeli Vivanco Retreat

We kicked off the year by launching the rebranded DiversiTEA and Coffee Hour to meet and greet our new residents. With an attendance of over 400 residents, the energy was electric. I now understand what I-House staff members mean when they say, there is life back in the House!

Later that week, we had the opportunity to take 200+ residents on two-day orientation retreats outside of the city limits. This was a time for residents to make connections and get an introduction to the intercultural leadership skills they will gain throughout their time at I-House. Residents were randomly grouped in teams, where they had to quickly get to know each other and learn how to effectively communicate across differences while strategizing how to win a series of field games and activities. There was chanting, cheering, and life-long friendships were created! 

Over the next 30 days, we are looking forward to honoring Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the Hispanic and Latinx communities at I-House. Stay tuned for more updates.

Thank you to the I-House community for the warm welcome! I am excited about what the rest of the year has to bring.

I-House Orientation Retreat

Orientation Retreats are held at the beginning of each semester for residents of International House. Learn more at

Meet the 2022-23 Resident Assistants

We are pleased to introduce the 2022-23 Resident Assistants! RAs are student live-in staff that monitor the safety and well-being of residents. They also plan social events and help enforce I-House policies. We are grateful to have these resident leaders serve in this important role at International House.

2022-23 Resident Assistants

2022-23 Resident Assistants, from left to right:
Back: Nicolas Lezaca, William Kayitare, Haikun Liu, Amir Mohiuddin
Center: Andreea Mateescu, Jaquelyn Borcea, Fatima Itzel Torres, Gracie Chung, Jordan Chastain, Adam Brownell
Front: Carina Samson, Smruthi Balasubramaniam, Kailee Mai Truong

Learn more about this year’s RAs at:

Farewell and Many Thanks to Joy Iwasa!

For eight and a half years, Joy Iwasa has contributed to a wide range of important and impactful functions at International House at UC Berkeley, most notably as a key leader in our development, communications, and alumni engagement programs. Joy’s love of I-House, its mission, and its values have been demonstrated in her long and deep relationships with staff at I-House and across campus, board members, alumni, and friends. I-House congratulates Joy for her many accomplishments, thanks her for everything she has done to move the I-House mission forward, bids her farewell, and wishes her good fortune as she begins a new chapter focusing on Mana, her wonderful 102-year-old Grandmother!

Joy Iwasa farewell

Joy Iwasa presented with a framed David Goines commemorative poster 
in grateful recognition of her years of service by Bill Howley, Director of Philanthropy

Messages from Alumni to New Residents

In the last edition of the I-House Connection, we asked alumni and friends to share a wish or advice for our new residents. Below are a few of the responses we received so far:

On this special day, wish all of you the best. Use your time at this place to learn and make lifelong friends. I do still keep in touch with my I-House friends some 45 years later. All the best in your time there and good luck in your studies.
— Alp Kocaman (IH 1977-79)

This is the time of your life!!! Make the best out of it!
— Marco Nicosia (IH 1997-98)

Enjoy your coming stay at I-House, which could be the happiest time in your lifetime!
— Nelson Fung (IH 2004-06)

Enjoy your time at I-House! I wish you the opportunity to make lifelong friends, learn new intercultural leadership skills, gain understanding and mutual respect for people from many lands, and build your own pathways toward a more just and peaceful world!
— Bill Howley (IH Staff 2019 - present)

We invite alumni and friends to share a wish or advice for all residents via this form, by emailing, or by posting on


It is our goal to celebrate the lives and achievements of our alumni and the contributions they have made and continue to make in the world. Please help us to keep you informed of upcoming regional events, update our records to help you reconnect with old friends and locate lost alumni, and to share recent I-House news with you. We encourage participation in this online global community at, where you can:

  • Connect with another member via video chat or direct message;
  • Browse the Alumni Directory and connect with I-House friends;
  • Post or browse job opportunities;
  • Offer mentoring or find a mentor;
  • List your business or passion project in the Business Hub;
  • Read Shaun Carver's Friday posts to stay in the know!

Join I-House Berkeley Connect Button

I-House Berkeley Connect Recent Members Sept 2022

If you have moved, changed email or mailing addresses, or want to give us an exciting update, please let us know by filling out your profile in I-House Berkeley Connect. As always, we welcome your news at

If you need some assistance or have any questions, just let us know!

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