Aminata Sy is the Founder and President of African Community Learning Program, a U.S.Department of State Rangel Fellow, and a graduate student at American University. A Senegalese-American, Aminata currently has 13 years of experience in the U.S. educational context: learning, teaching, creating curriculums, volunteering, recruiting and training volunteers. She spent 7 years writing and reporting on African immigrant and African American experiences. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated cum laude after studying international relations and English; she is also an alumna of Community College of Philadelphia, where she received an associate’s degree in international studies with highest honors. Aminata speaks five languages: English, French, Pulaar, Wolof, and Spanish. She was honored as a 2019 Funtimes Magazine Woman of Influence, among the 2019 Philadelphia Tribune Most Influential, and listed a 2020 Marquis Who’s Who Top Entrepreneur in America. Aminata plans to earn her master’s degree in public policy with a concentration on international development in 2021 and join the U.S. Foreign Service to become a diplomat.
Founder & President
A longtime resident of Philadelphia, Abdoul Wane was one of the first Africans in the city. He has been a community leader, helping mostly West Philadelphian African immigrants with interpretation, filing documents related to immigration, hospitals, and driver's licenses, among others. Wane is fluent in Pulaar, Wolof, French, and English. He also worked in New Jersey for Urban School Services Corps as a community resource developer. There, Wane implemented and managed after school programs for John G. Whittier Elementary School, organized mentoring programs that included both academics and activities for students, and provided counseling for parents and students on life skills. Serving for African Community Learning Program has been a natural fit for Wane, given his extensive experience supporting African immigrant communities. Wane holds a bachelors degree in sociology and philosophy from the University of Paris VIII in France.
Co-Founder & Vice President
Similoluwa Ayinde was born in Rhode Island but grew up in Nigeria. At the young age of 11, she moved to Canterbury, England where she began boarding school at Junior King’s Canterbury. At boarding school, she learned the value of mentorship and support and has constantly looked for ways to support and mentor the younger generation. At Junior King’s she was further exposed to different languages and became fascinated with culture. This passion for culture fueled her love for languages which she believes connects people of different backgrounds. At A-levels, she even studied Spanish, French, Latin and Greek! Simi, a 2018 Howard E. Mitchel Scholarship Recipient and a 2019 Hoesley Digital Literacy Fellow, is currently studying organizational management and marketing at the University of Pennsylvania. Other positions she has held include President of Nigerians at Penn (NAP), Marketing Chair for the Black Ivy League Conference (BILBCon), where she spearheaded the marketing strategies through promotional materials. It was Simi's desire not only to be a part of a life-changing program but also to serve the students that led her to the African Community Learning Program.
Chief of Staff
Wilnaphekie Taloute was born in Haiti but has been living in the United States since 2011. She is dedicated to volunteering her time in nonprofits and educational programs for underserved communities; this includes Penn Circle of Women, where she served as Chair of Internal Affairs; Education Haiti, where she currently serves as a mentor; and the African Community Learning Program, whose mission she has been gratefully helping advance since 2018. A senior at the University of Pennsylvania, Wilnaphekie is double-majoring in Africana Studies and sociology, with a minor in Hispanic Studies. She has had the opportunity to connect with people from various backgrounds during her travels and study abroad journeys; this has amplified her love for learning different languages. Wilnaphekie is fluent in English, French, and Haitian Creole; proficient in Spanish; and hoping to learn Twi and Yoruba soon! Her passions lie in writing, organizing, creative expressions, and participating in cultural causes that lead to collective progress. As such, she aspires to pursue an interdisciplinary career in various industries where she can channel her passions to communicate positive messages and to effect change.
Marissa is a second year nursing student from Long Island, NY. At Penn, she’s involved in leadership and service not only on campus but also in the neighboring West Philadelphia neighborhood. She is Program Outreach Director for Penn Model Congress, a large scale conference for high school students to work on proposing bills that solve problems plaguing our country; she’s External Chair for Penn Minorities in Nursing Organization and External Chair for Penn Ghana. This past summer, along with helping to prepare for the ACLP school year, Marissa served as an Africana Summer Institute mentor which is a program to gear Black incoming freshmen with the tools needed to maneuver being Black and successful at Penn. In her free time, Marissa enjoys reading, going to the beach, and playing her trumpet, which she’s played for 10 years. In the future Marissa hopes to submatriculate into Penn’s health law program and pursue medical law as well as get involved with health care policy to work on legislation in both the US and her home country, Ghana.
Obed Antoine is a rising junior at the University of Pennsylvania from Bradenton, Florida pursuing a major in economics through The Wharton School of Business (concentrations in strategic management and finance). Outside of the classroom, Obed is President of his fraternity, Treasurer of the Penn Barbell Club, and an Associate Consultant in Consult for America. Obed's passion for mentorship stems from his experiences as a peer-tutor and helping high-schoolers with their college applications. Overall, Obed enjoys working in a team setting to come up with creative solutions to solve various problems. In his free time, Obed loves to weight-lift, binge-watch YouTube videos, hang out with friends, and read/listen to audiobooks. As Curriculum Developer, Obed looks forward to putting together a program designed to help students prepare for college.
Hailing from Atlanta, Lauren Davidson is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying biochemistry with minors in neuroscience and fine arts. An aspiring pediatric neuro-oncologist, Lauren has always been adamant about serving youth. She has volunteered with organizations aimed at tutoring and mentoring elementary-aged and middle school students since the beginning of high school. The daughter of Ghanaian immigrants, she feels fortunate to be a part of an organization such as African Community Learning Program, hoping to support the African community in her new city of Philadelphia. Lauren hopes to employ skills from previous editorial positions in her role as ACLP Editor. Outside of ACLP, she is involved with African American Arts Alliance as a sound designer and Cubics Entertainment, Penn's film club.
Bing, like the search engine, is a rising senior in the class of 2021 at the University of Pennsylvania. She studies cognitive/computer science and is from East Harlem, New York City. As an aspiring software developer and graphic designer, she hopes to use her skills to bring light to a good cause. On campus, Bing is a part of a community service fraternity called Alpha Phi Omega. She enjoys working in a team setting and looks to utilize her creativity to take on new challenges. As a member of the FGLI community, she also appreciates the significance of the work that ACLP puts into supporting motivated high school students to excel in higher education. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, watching anime, and exploring parts of the city. Bing aims to create a dynamic and unique platform that will showcase the mission of the African Community Learning Program and connect others to the cause.
Christine Oliva is a senior at the School of Nursing with a minor in nursing & health services management and plans to become an Adult Gerontology Acute Nurse Practitioner to help underserved populations with cardiovascular disease and transplant patients. Born and raised in Chicago, IL, she spends most of her time learning how to cook a random assortment of food, most recently Korean fried chicken! She is also involved in District 5 (an umbrella organization for Filipino clubs across Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Delaware) as Co-Chair and Executive Vice President of Penn Philippine Association. Christine hopes to use social media to engage future participants and parents in the program for the upcoming year as well as help students use their full potential to succeed in college.
Social Media Manager
Amy Xiang is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania with interests in English and international relations. She was born in Hamilton, New Zealand; grew up in Austin, Texas; and currently calls Sioux Falls, South Dakota her home. On campus, she spends much of her time reporting for The Daily Pennsylvanian, writing for 34th Street Magazine, and stacking books at Van Pelt Library. In her free time, she enjoys reading, discovering new music, and baking vegan treats -- especially in quarantine!. She is very passionate about social justice and community engagement, as well as creating mutually beneficial relationships in the West Philadelphia community. Amy is excited and grateful to be a part of the ACLP Leadership Team as a writer, where she will help share the inspiring stories of students and staff!
Steele is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania where she is majoring in political science with a double minor in consumer psychology and history & legal studies. On campus, Steele is a member of multiple organizations some of which are Penn's Best Buddies, Moot Court, and Stouffer Steering. Steele was born and raised in the heart and soul of the Mississippi Delta, Greenville. Her life experiences have led to Steele’s interest in and commitment to connecting, empowering, and supporting people and students of all backgrounds. While in high school, she founded United We Stand, a program designed to bridge the racial and social gaps within the larger community. Currently, Steele sees the African Community Learning Program as the perfect opportunity to be a part of strengthening the Philadelphia community.
External Communications Liaison
MADISON (STEELE) PARKERSON
Originally from Vermont, Andie Pinga is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania. She’s interested in studying inequality through the lenses of economics and anthropology and hopes to someday work in international development. While in Philly, she’s eager to engage with the West Philadelphia community and explore ways to best support the community’s youth. On campus, Andie works with the Penn Action Team, advocating to establish an Education Equity Fund for Philadelphia public schools and serves as the co-director of internal affairs for the Penn Philippine Association. In her free time, she loves playing water polo, noodling her guitar, and organizing her Spotify. Andie is excited to design a fundraising strategy and run campaigns to advance and financially support ACLP’s mission!