La Palma-Cerritos AAUW holds 26th Annual Recognition and Awards Program at Cerritos College

The La Palma-Cerritos Branch of the American Association of University Women held its Twenty-Sixth Annual Academic Recognition and Awards Program on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at the Cerritos College Board Room. Three outstanding Cerritos College women who will be transferring to a four-year college or university were invited to come with their families to receive their awards and enjoy a continental breakfast hosted by the local AAUW members starting at 9:30 a.m.

The AAUW’s President Harriet Moses welcomed the students, their families, Cerritos College staff members and AAUW members to the brunch. She introduced Tobi Balma, a founding member of the La Palma-Cerritos AAUW, who explained that she and other AAUW members started the Academic Achievement Awards Program 26 years ago at Cerritos College.

Tobi explained that students who were nominated for the Academic Achievement and Recognition Awards had to have a 3.5 GPA or higher, be recommended by a faculty or community member, and be involved with extracurricular activities at Cerritos College or in the community. The Cerritos College Foundation receives the nominations and forwards the nominations to the La Palma-Palma Cerritos AAUW’s Local Awards Selection Committee.

Tobi reminded everyone that students at Cerritos College are eligible to receive free e-Student/Affiliate memberships on line for AAUW National, because Cerritos College is a College/University Partner member of the AAUW.

She said that education is very important to the AAUW, and members raise money for grants for women in higher education. She noted that one of the first recipients of an AAUW grant was Madam Marie Curie. (Marie Curie was a pioneer in the study of radiation and won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903, and the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911.)

Tobi introduced the AAUW video “Because Equity Is Still an Issue,” which said that the AAUW started in 1881 working to achieve equal rights for women to vote. The AAUW continues to work for equity for women and girls, now for pay equity. According to the video, the pay for women graduates was about $10 less than men with the same education level at the time the video was made.

(Last year, the video, “Breaking Through Barriers” was shown that said that women were paid 78 cents to $1.00 for men.) It has improved since then to about 80 cents to $1.00, for men in California, but more needs to be done to
achieve pay equity. Tobi personally invited the students at the brunch to join the AAUW and work for equity.

President Harriet Moses then introduced Carol Marsh and Peggy Brutsche, Co-Chairs of the Academic Achievement Awards Committee, and Norma Rodriquez, a liaison for Cerritos College, who helped to present the awards and scholarships. Carol explained that after the Cerritos College Foundation received nominations for the awards from Cerritos College staff members and recommendations from others in the community, the AAUW’s Awards Committee then selected the winners.

Harriet then presented each award winner with Certificates of Recognition from the La Palma-Cerritos AAUW, the Offices of U.S. Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn. Each award winner also received a monetary award with the certificates.

Faculty member Dr. Jaclyn Ronquillo-Adachi nominated both Eriyanna Sioson-Archer and Angelica Fregoso for Academic Achievement Awards and added more accolades for both women. They each will receive $1,000 when they continue their education at a four-year college or university next September.

Both women want to pursue Ph.D. degrees in Psychology in the future, possibly at UCLA, or UC Davis for Eriyanna. Both women thanked the AAUW for their awards and Dr. Ronquillo-Adachi for Inspiring them. Cerritos Staff member, Linda Ramos, Program Facilitator for support services for LINC, (Leaders Involved in Creating Change), read her nomination of Alyssa Bojorquez for an AAUW Award. Peggy Brutsche then presented the Ollie Lee Stewart Memorial Scholarship of $1,500 to Alyssa Bojorquez. This was a special scholarship in honor of Peggy’s mother, who believed in higher education for women.

Alyssa works full-time and has a three-year old daughter. She thanked Peggy and the AAUW for her Scholarship Award. She said she has a passion for social justice. She hopes to attend Cal State Long Beach or Cal State Fullerton and become a social worker.

After the award winners received their awards, they posed for pictures with their families and friends and continued to enjoy the refreshments that the AAUW members had provided. President Harriet Moses congratulated all the award winners and thanked everyone for coming to the Brunch and Awards Program.