Event Recap: What’s in a Name? A Panel Discussion

On May 12, Penn State Outreach and Online Education, in collaboration with the Office of Educational Equity, hosted “What’s in a Name?” — a virtual panel discussion held in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. This event was inspired by the thought-provoking short film “The Name” from Procter & Gamble, which portrays the authentic AAPI experience through the eyes of a young Asian American girl and her mother. The film was created as an act of solidarity with the AAPI community, driven by the surge in hate crimes against them across the country, and sheds light on the unintended bias Asian Americans encounter when their names are mispronounced and misunderstood, leaving them feeling like perpetual foreigners in American society.

The discussion offered an opportunity for panelists from Procter & Gamble and Penn State to share insights from their personal experiences as members of the AAPI community.

The panelists shared their perspectives and provided advice on fostering a sense of belonging. Among the valuable insights shared was the importance of simply engaging in meaningful conversations about an individual’s name, inviting them to share the significance behind their name, and ensuring correct pronunciation. These dialogues hold the potential to foster deeper connections and enable us all to relate to one another on a more profound, human level.


Clarabelle Lin — Executive Director of Online Education Strategy and Business Development, Penn State Online Education


Yea Yun Chow — Senior Director of Advertising and Brand Strategy, Procter & Gamble

Dr. Nalini Krishnankutty — Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Program Manager, Penn State Human Resources

Janet Luong — Senior Brand Director, Procter & Gamble

Event Recording


The panelists who participated in the discussion gathered resources for anyone to use to support the AAPI community and promote belonging and inclusion in all of our communities. 

Asian/Asian-Pacific Islander Community Organizations and Departments

Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Caucus Student Organization

PanAPIDA Circle – Asian Pacific Islander Desi American community of Centre County

Penn State Department of Asian Studies

Related Reading

If You Don’t Know How to Say Someone’s Name, Just AskHarvard Business Review

America Ruined My Name for MeThe New Yorker

What Listeners Told Us About The Importance Of Getting Names Right — WBUR

American Immigrants and the Dilemma of ‘White Sounding’ NamesThe Atlantic

‘Where We Come From’: By Any Other Name — National Public Radio

Why Pronouncing Students’ Names Correctly Is So Important — National Education Association

Resources from Procter & Gamble 

“The Name” — Belonging Starts with a Name 

“The Name” — Dialogue Guide for Businesses and Organizations (PDF)

Penn State Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Resources 

Penn State DEIB Dashboard

Center for Spiritual and Ethical Development Calendar

College of the Liberal Arts Diversity Events Calendar

Finance and Business Diversity and Inclusion Calendar

Office of Educational Equity Diversity and Inclusion Calendar 

Student Affairs Events Calendar

Rock Ethics Institute Ethics, Sustainability, and DEIB Events Calendar

Sustainability Institute

Center for the Performing Arts


Nalini Krishnankutty
Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Program Manager
Penn State Human Resources