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2020 Awardees

Katsuyo Howard Asian woman

Dr. Katsuyo Kunugi Howard is professor emerita and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Counselor Education and Rehabilitation at California State University, Fresno. She received her BS at Chiba University, Japan, a MA in Linguistics and MA in Counseling from Fresno State, and a Doctor of Education at the University of San Francisco. Dr. Howard began her career at Fresno State in 1980 as a counselor in the International Student Services Office. From 1986 to 2010, she served as coordinator in the Center for Southeast Asia Studies, and worked closely with Southeast Asian students to complete their education at Fresno State. Her book Passages: An Anthology of the Southeast Asian Refugee Experience (1990) was adapted into a theatrical production at Fresno State in 1991. She has also contributed to the production of “Pathfinders: Hmong Refugees in Higher Education” in 1987, and “Voices of Challenge: Hmong Women in Transition.” Dr. Howard continues to devote her time and experience to Fresno State and Fresno.

Geri Yang-Johnson Asian woman

Geri Yang-Johnson, vice president and community relations senior consultant, is charged with implementing Wells Fargo’s community and economic development programs in Central California. For more than 15 years, Geri has dedicated herself to improving California communities through advocacy, philanthropy, and development. In 2019, Geri was recognized with the Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP) Margaret Ashida Leadership Award for demonstrating leadership in her work. In 2018 Geri funded and launched the Mala Scholarship Fund with Central California Asian Pacific Women to support first generation API students in their pursuit of higher education. Geri earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Women Studies from California State University, Fresno.

Misty Her Asian woman

Misty Her serves as an Instructional Superintendent in the Fresno Unified School District. She leads and oversees the district improvement efforts including the implementation of curriculum, staff development, evaluations, student assessments, and community relations. She received a BA in Liberal Studies and a MA in Administration and Supervision from Fresno State. A pioneer and leader in education, she became the first Hmong vice principal in the Fresno Unified School District, and the first Hmong woman to hold the position of principal in the United States. Through the mentorship and coaching of many teachers, counselors, and leaders who inspired her as a student, Misty Her dedicates her life to do educational missionary work to impact and change the lives of children and their family in Fresno.

Kamaljit Kaur Asian woman

Kamaljit Kaur is the Director of Development for the Jakara Movement and the previous Fresno County Community Organizer. Native to Fresno and of Punjabi descent, she is fearless, bold, and unapologetic in her calling for feminist equality and equity. She has a stronger connection with the Punjabi youth throughout the region due to her compassion, empathy, and dedication. Being a Sikh where equality amongst all is a core pillar, she tries to assert equality for women in a patriarchal and misogynistic world. She firmly believes in a grassroots community organizing and developing leadership skills, encouraging community engagement and activism within the Punjabi Sikh Youth of Fresno County. Her passion for uplifting all women has been the motivating factor for bringing young women to the forefront of her work. Kaur is a graduate of Fresno State with her B.S in Business Administration and a minor in Public Health.

Julie Wen Asian woman

Julie Wen has been an instructor of Mathematics at Fresno City College since 1990. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Education with a minor in English from National Taiwan Normal University, Julie obtained a Master’s degree in Linguistics/ESL from California State University, Fresno, a Master’s degree in Math Education from Fresno Pacific University and a Master’s degree in Pure Mathematics from California State University, Fresno. Teaching has always been Julie’s passion, and she continues to learn, and help students to improve their lives and the lives of their families. She is blessed to have a rewarding and exciting career in teaching, and strive to help students appreciate the importance of education.

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