Judy Chu

04/17/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/17/2024 11:26

Rep. Chu Recognizes 2024 Congressional Women of the Year

PASADENA, CA - On Saturday, April 13, 2024, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-28) hosted an annual Congressional Women of the Year Awards Ceremony to honor local women in the San Gabriel Valley who have contributed to their neighborhoods and communities through service, organizing, or leadership. The award, now in its 14th year, is given to women nominated by people in their own cities and communities. "The annual Women of the Year Awards Ceremony is among the highlights of my year,"said Rep. Chu. "The honorees have stood out in our communities because of their commitment to give back to the San Gabriel Valley. Every single honoree has been selected through an exhaustive process that begins with a nomination from their neighbors, friends, or family-the people in their communities who know them best and see their service up close. We received a flood of nominations from cities across the 28th congressional district of California, and the winners stood out not only because of their passion and drive, but because of the admiration from their neighbors and fellow citizens. I'm so proud of these role models and am honored to be recognizing them."

The 2024 honorees are:

Alhambra - Dr. Denise Jaramillo

  • Dr. Denise R. Jaramillo, a Monterey Park native, has dedicated 37 years to the Alhambra Unified School District (AUSD), serving as Superintendent since July 2017. With a career spanning various administrative and instructional roles, she began as a classroom teacher in 1987 before advancing to positions such as assistant principal, principal, and director of curriculum & instruction. Her background in both education and business administration offers a unique perspective on public education. Dr. Jaramillo holds a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development from California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA), a Master of Science in Educational Administration from Pepperdine University, and a doctorate in Organizational Leadership from the University of Massachusetts - Global. Additionally, she holds a Chief Business Official Certificate from the University of Southern California. A strong advocate for collaboration, Dr. Jaramillo attributes AUSD's achievements to its dedicated students, staff, and parents. Beyond her professional accomplishments, she is an active member of the Rotary Club of Alhambra and has been recognized with numerous awards, including Educator of the Year honors from the Alhambra Education Foundation and the Alhambra Latino Association. Residing in Hacienda Heights with her husband Paul, Dr. Jaramillo is the proud parent of three adult daughters and anticipates becoming a grandparent in September 2024.

Altadena - Katy Townsend

  • Katy Townsend, a prominent figure in Altadena, California, boasts a remarkable 29-year career in the cosmetics and beauty industry. Renowned as both a service provider and educator, Katy's influence extends well beyond the salon. With a tenure at the Marinello School of Beauty, Katy mentored aspiring entrepreneurs, championing equal opportunities in community development. Her salon has become a gathering place for politicians and civic leaders, garnering recognition from notable figures like Congressmembers Adam Schiff and Judy Chu, among others. Honors such as the Leadership Award from Leads and induction into the International Educator Hall of Fame highlight Katy's exceptional contributions. Her dedication to education has earned her the title of Humanitarian Inductee in 2022, leaving a lasting impact on global education. As the newly-elected President of the California Cosmetology Association Inc., Katy brings a wealth of experience and a commitment to revitalizing the association. With a focus on unity and professional development, she aims to elevate the beauty industry through leadership, education, and networking. Beyond her professional achievements, Katy is a captivating author, sharing her journey in her memoir, "FAITH: My Life in California." Through her eloquent prose, Katy offers readers insight into her triumphs and challenges, inspiring resilience in navigating life's complexities.

Arcadia - Hon. Eileen Wang

  • Eileen Wang, a dedicated Arcadia resident, educator, and community leader, brings a wealth of experience and passion to her role as City Councilmember. Over the past 15 years, she has been actively involved in various City and service groups, including the Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, Realtors Association, and the Arcadia High School Chinese Parents Booster Club. Through her extensive involvement in organizing cultural events and collaborating with local law enforcement and fire agencies, Hon. Wang has gained valuable insights into the challenges faced by Arcadia residents. Her leadership roles, such as serving as President of the American Southwest Chamber of Commerce USA and founding the US Sun Foundation, reflect her commitment to supporting local children and families. As the owner of Tutorial Services in Arcadia, Hon. Wang is deeply passionate about education. She believes that a robust education is essential for individual success and community development. With a focus on advocating for heightened public safety standards, ensuring financial responsibility and transparency in the City budget, and enhancing the overall quality of life for all residents, Hon. Wang is dedicated to making Arcadia an even better place to live. With her strong voice, leadership, and dedication to serving her community, Hon. Wang is poised to make a lasting impact on the City Council and continue her tireless efforts to improve the lives of Arcadia residents.

Claremont/Upland - Dr. Susan Warren

  • Dr. Susan R. Warren, Ph.D., epitomizes a lifetime commitment to education and equity, spanning over 45 years of transformative service. Her journey from Los Angeles to Claremont Graduate University has been marked by unwavering dedication to fostering inclusive learning environments and empowering communities. Beginning as a teacher and later as a principal in Southern California districts, Dr. Warren demonstrated leadership in supporting underrepresented students and their families. Her initiatives, ranging from environmental education programs to peace-building initiatives, showcased her innovative approach to addressing societal challenges within educational settings. Transitioning to higher education, Dr. Warren continued her advocacy as a professor and director of Social Justice MA programs, influencing countless educators to champion diversity and equity. Her research, with over 30 peer-reviewed publications and a co-authored book, has contributed significantly to the discourse on inclusive education. Moreover, Dr. Warren's impact extends beyond academia. As the co-founder of Project Think, a summer STEAM program, she has enriched the lives of thousands of children through engaging, thought-provoking curriculum. Additionally, her volunteer work on non-profit boards, including CA-NAME and the Pitzer College Alumni Association, underscores her commitment to advancing equity in broader community contexts.

Monterey Park - Nina Loc

  • Nina Yuen Loc is a dedicated professional with a unique background, born and raised as a Pacific Islander on the island of Guam before relocating to California in 2000 to pursue psychology studies. Her aspiration to become a therapist catering to the Asian American community has been a driving force throughout her career. Currently serving as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the Director of Behavioral Health at Chinatown Service Center (CSC), Nina has been actively involved since 2013, initially as a field-based counselor. Prior to her tenure at CSC, she served as an academic consultant for high school students and a mental health clinician focusing on the AAPI population. In her current role, Nina channels her time and passion into understanding the unique needs of the AAPI population in the San Gabriel Valley. She spearheads the development of mental health programs, services, and resources tailored to meet the community's requirements. Nina is actively engaged in collaborative efforts with various AAPI-serving organizations across the county, fostering partnerships for collective impact. One notable collaboration was her involvement in the response to the Lunar New Year mass violence incident on January 21, 2023, where she and her team collaborated with the city of Monterey Park, the County, and local entities to help the community heal and establish the Monterey Park Resiliency Center. Throughout her endeavors, Nina remains steadfast in her commitment to reducing disparities and enhancing health outcomes for all AAPI residents, youth, and families.

Pasadena - Mo Hyman

  • As a founding member of College Access Plan (CAP), Mo Hyman is deeply committed to its mission and finds immense fulfillment in working with students on a daily basis. Inspired by their enthusiasm and resilience, she channels her passion into advocating for educational equality and access. Mo's journey in academia began as an undergraduate at Michigan State University, where she earned a BA in English and cultivated her scholarly pursuits while actively engaging in community advocacy. She furthered her education with an MA in English from the University of New Mexico and a Masters of Public Administration from USC. Over nearly two decades, Mo dedicated herself to teaching community college English, solidifying her commitment to educational equity. At CAP, Mo merges her passions to empower students, staff, and the community. Beyond her role at CAP, she contributes her expertise to Collaborate PASadena's Leadership Council, a collaborative initiative fostering community engagement and educational advancement. Additionally, she serves as the board treasurer of Action Kivu, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering women, children, and communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo through vocational training and education. One of Mo's proudest professional achievements was CAP's involvement in the civil rights action that contributed to ending the University of California's use of entrance exams for admissions and scholarships. This pivotal moment resulted in California becoming an SAT/ACT-free state for all public universities.

Pasadena - Arpi Krikorian

  • Arpi Krikorian, a proud Armenian artist residing in Pasadena, has devoted her life to celebrating the vibrancy and richness of Armenian culture. Originating from Beirut, Lebanon, her journey to embrace her heritage led her to establish her creative enterprise in 2015. Today, Arpi is renowned for her captivating modern illustrations featuring intricately-designed traditional Armenian costumes, transforming her art into accessible giftware beloved by many. Notably, her collection graced the halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the ARMENIA! exhibition from 2018 to 2019. Inspired by UNESCO's recognition of Western Armenian as an endangered language, Arpi founded Arpi Publishing in 2021. This non-profit publishing house is dedicated to producing original fiction books for young adults readers in Western Armenian, ensuring the enduring vitality of Armenian literature. Currently, Arpi is collaborating with Twiddle Productions Inc. on an animated series entitled "Stories of Armenian Hope." This project endeavors to sensitively introduce children to the Armenian Genocide, fostering empathy and understanding for future generations. Arpi's commitment to preserving and sharing Armenian culture through art, literature, and animation serves as a testament to her passion and dedication.

San Gabriel - Michelle Freridge

  • Michelle Freridge's tenure at the Asian Youth Center (AYC) commenced in 2002, where she ascended from Development Director to Program Director and, eventually, Executive Director by 2012. Leading a team of over 70 staff members, she oversees AYC's provision of essential educational, employment, and social services to low-income, immigrant, and at-risk youth and families. Under Michelle's guidance, AYC served 4,845 individuals last year and engaged with over 106,608 community members. Notably, 95% of those served hailed from low-income households, reflecting the organization's dedication to addressing pressing community needs. With over 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector, she expanded her expertise by earning admission to the California Bar in 2011 after completing Loyola Law School's evening program. In addition to her professional achievements, Michelle has contributed to academia as an Adjunct Professor at the University of the West, specializing in non-profit-focused MBA classes for a decade. She also holds leadership roles in various community organizations, including the San Gabriel Valley Bar Association board and the President's Asian American & Pacific Islander Advisory Committee at Pasadena Community College. Michelle's unwavering commitment to community service and youth empowerment underscores her dedication to creating a positive impact.

San Marino - Chun-Yen Chen

  • Chun-Yen, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Community Fund (APCF), brings over 20 years of experience in non-profit management, fund development, and government budget analysis. Under her leadership, APCF has expanded to include over 80 AAPI nonprofits, empowering the community through initiatives like the Asian Women Leadership in Philanthropy Fund. She spearheaded efforts to support victims of the Monterey Park Lunar New Year Mass Shooting and established the Brandon Tsay Hero Fund for mental health resources. Chun-Yen, a Taiwan native, holds degrees in political science and Public Administration. Recognized for her outstanding contributions, Chun-Yen has received prestigious awards, including the "Asian Women Empowered (AWE) Catalyst Visionary Award" from the Asia Society Southern California. Actively engaged in her community, she serves on various nonprofit boards and commissions, including the UC Irvine Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND) Asian American Community Advisory Board. She also volunteers her time to support new immigrant families in her local school district.

South Pasadena - Hon. Evelyn Zneimer

  • Evelyn G. Zneimer, a respected attorney and dedicated public servant, has served as South Pasadena's District 1 Councilmember since November 2020, previously holding the position of City Clerk. With over three decades of experience, she has demonstrated a deep commitment to community service and advocacy. Hon. Zneimer's legal background includes earning a JD degree with honors from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law, complemented by specialized studies in Comparative Laws in Human Rights and Patent Laws. Her advocacy efforts encompass critical issues such as open space preservation and support for veterans and active military personnel, earning her prestigious awards and recognition. Additionally, Hon. Zneimer owns and manages her law firm, specializing in immigration, family law, and criminal defense, showcasing her legal expertise and commitment to justice. Her leadership continues to positively impact South Pasadena and beyond, positioning her as a trusted advocate and asset to District 1.

Click here to see photos from the event.