Women Hold Up Half the Sky

Maria Lopez

Professor Hoppe-Nagao is a woman who accomplishes juggling a job, motherhood and pursuing a Doctorate in education. In March, she will add conference keynote speaker to her accomplishments as well.

The local chapter of American Association for Women in Community Colleges will be holding a ‘Women Hold Up Half the Sky’ annual conference in March 2014 and Professor Hoppe-Nagao will be the keynote speaker at the conference.

The AAWCC is a network of women and men in Orange and Los Angeles County community colleges.The conferences have been going on for over 20 years and it includes students, staff, faculty, and board members.

It was created in 1973 to promote leadership for women in education and to help them pursue career opportunities and learn how to be strong role models and community members.

Miriam Tolson is the current Secretary of the Faculty Senate and represents Cerritos College in the commitee of different members from different colleges for the AAWCC local chapter. She has worked at Cerritos College for 18 years and has been involved with the AAWCC for 14 years.

Tolson contacted Hoppe-Nagao and asked her to be the Keynote speaker at the event.

“When she contacted me and asked me to do this I think I was honored, super excited, and then the thought went through my mind ‘why me?’

“I know that there are so many people that have amazing life stories and experience who would be wonderful for this type of event. But even though I go ‘why me?’ I think I’m not going to let that stop me and I’m going to go forth and do the best keynote speech I possibly can for this wonderful organization,” she said.

“I was really honored,” Hoppe-Nagao said, “I don’t know that I’m deserving to be the keynote speaker but it’s an opportunity that I really look forward to.”

Hoppe-Nagao has a history in the community. She is a graduate of Cerritos College, Cal State Fullerton and has been a part of the Cerritos College faculty since 1995. She has also served as Department Chair and Vice President of the Faculty Senate for 3 years and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Community College Educational Leadership at Cal State Fullerton.

Tolson believes Hoppe-Nagao is a perfect choice for the keynote speech.

“She is a dynamic woman and speaker, skilled in conflict-resolution. She’s very empowering and educated and very wise. She juggles a lot, she’s a young mother, she’s a professor and pursuing a higher education for herself,” Tolson said.

“She’s a perfect role model for any woman and she has a history at Cerritos, not only as a faculty member,” Tolson said, “but she’s also been a student here as well and a community member so we can all relate to her someway or another.”

Hoppe-Nagao plans to share her own story in the community college journey and plans on talking about the importance of cultural intelligence.

“I want to talk to these leaders at this event about how we as educators can use cultural to engage our culturally diverse student population and help promote their success,” she said.

The conference will be held in the Hilton Hotel in Costa Mesa.

Tolson says it will be taking a different spin and will merge with a global women’s conference. There will be over 100 speakers and will have an amalgam of small and corporate vendors.

Tolson encourages students and faculty members who may be interested to go to contact ASCC to help estimate the funds that are required for the conference.