“Every year, we honor women across the 28th Congressional District who make a positive impact on the lives of their neighbors and improve and enrich our community,” said Rep. Schiff. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed the unimaginable burden shouldered by women as essential and frontline workers, health care personnel, caregivers, scientists and teachers. I am proud to recognize these heroic individuals and their contributions, sacrifices, and selfless service as recipients of the 2021 Women of the Year award.”
At a luncheon Sunday in La Cañada Flintridge, Rep. Schiff celebrated with the 2021 honorees, as well as 2020 honorees whose celebration last year was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. See photos from Sunday’s luncheon here.
“The 2020 Women of the Year honorees are also remarkable women who have all worked tirelessly for the common good, and to make our District a better place. They are pillars of our communities, and I thank them for their invaluable service,” added Rep. Schiff.
2021 Women of the Year Honorees
MiMi Aung, La Cañada Flintridge – Special Districtwide Recognition
MiMi is receiving Special Districtwide Recognition for her trailblazing work on the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. Ms. Aung moved to Southern California in 1990 and began working at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), fulfilling her childhood dream of space exploration. She began her career by working on mathematical algorithms for deep space communication with spacecraft hundreds of millions of miles away from Earth, and during her 30 year career at JPL, was selected for various positions with increasing degrees of responsibility specifically in Deep Space Network projects, organizational line management, technology development, and space flight projects. With Ms. Aung as the Project Manager, worldwide history was made on April 19, 2021, when the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took its first flight and was the first powered, controlled flight in the planet Mars’ atmosphere, and the first such flight anywhere outside of Earth.
Lori Rosales, Atwater Village
Lori has spent nearly two decades in education: as an elementary school teacher, a high school principal, an educational consultant, and her current position working for the University of California Los Angeles Center X Math Project. A longtime Atwater Village resident, for the last four years, Lori has served as president of Friends of Atwater Elementary, bringing her community-building skills to the organization. During the coronavirus pandemic, Ms. Rosales organized volunteers to sort and pack books for the school’s children to read at home and sent 350 stuffed animal bears to the children for emotional support.
Nareh Manooki, Burbank
Nareh joined Glendale Community College in 2018 as an instructor of engineering. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Ms. Manooki wanted to help frontline workers, and while researching online, she came across articles about 3D printing personal protective equipment (PPE). Nareh was printing with 3D printers in her home, and reached out to colleagues and students for help, and together as a team, they donated over two thousand face shields and ear tension straps to the community. In 2020, the Glendale College Foundation approved her proposed program to advise and mentor students on how to learn to operate 3D printers and improve existing PPE designs. Nareh’s students created their own prototypes while gaining hands-on engineering technology skills.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Echo Park
A renowned and respected public health leader, Dr. Barbara Ferrer has more than four decades of professional experience as a researcher, philanthropic strategist, community advocate, educational leader, and public health director. Dr. Ferrer serves as Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, which prevents disease, protects health, and promotes well-being and equity in Los Angeles County. She guided the area’s coronavirus pandemic response, collaborating with the County and community-based partners to ensure targeted services and appropriate policies to keep Los Angeles County residents safe during this health crisis. Dr. Ferrer’s unparalleled and compassionate leadership, coupled with her wealth of knowledge, helped the community navigate during these unprecedented times.
Daisy De La Torre, Elysian Valley
Daisy began her vocation as a nurse at Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital in 2018. As a labor and delivery nurse, Daisy has been an essential frontline worker with coronavirus patients throughout the entire pandemic. In some instances, due to the mothers’ COVID-19 positive status, mothers were separated from their babies after they were born. She stepped up to the challenge, working overtime providing kindness, comfort, and compassion to those under her care. When personal protective equipment became scarce at the hospital, Daisy contacted local Elysian Valley businesses, nonprofits, and friends, who quickly responded with donations of locally made masks for hospital staff.
Rebecca Berberian, Glendale
Rebecca Berberian has worked at Adventist Health White Memorial for more than three decades, and presently serves as the hospital’s director of the Risk Management and Infection Prevention departments. Her passion for her job became even more evident during the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically during the surge periods, she worked long hours supporting the hospital’s efforts in responding to the pandemic, including taking part in strategic decision-making about converting hospital units to accommodate high hospitalization rates, contact tracing infections among staff, and securing personal protective equipment. She has also volunteered at the hospital’s vaccination clinics.
Alycia Belle, Hollywood
Alycia served as the Director of Development for Blessed Sacrament School, which closed its doors in 2021 after being in operation for over a century. Ms. Belle co-founded The Urban Sanctuary, which offers a safe environment within the sacred space of the Blessed Sacrament Church’s nave, where individuals experiencing homelessness may seek guidance and rest. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Alycia had the Parish Community online with live streaming masses within a matter of days. She also supported moving The Urban Sanctuary outdoors and worked with the Hollywood Food Coalition to provide meals to people in need.
Dr. Wint Hun, La Cañada Flintridge
Dr. Hun is board-certified in Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine, and treats patients in her office and at Adventist Health Glendale, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital and Methodist Hospital in Arcadia. When coronavirus became a world-wide pandemic, it struck at the core of Dr. Hun’s specialty as an Infectious Disease physician. Dr. Hun’s fearlessness and expertise emboldened USC Verdugo Hills Hospital’s team giving them courage to battle the healthcare crisis. She was also an indispensable resource to the Infection Prevention team, as it developed rapid isolation and testing protocols to keep patients and staff safe.
Susan Sung Hee Lee, La Crescenta
Susan is a registered nurse at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital in the intensive care unit, where she has been a Relief Charge Nurse for nearly eleven years. During the pandemic, she worked at least one overtime shift every week and would stay past her 12-hour shifts when there was a shortage of nurses. She also used her sewing machine to sew her own scrub caps and provided scrub caps to each of her colleagues, as well as putting her years of haircutting experience from her mission trips to use by giving haircuts to her colleagues when the hair salons and barber shops were closed.
Catherine Y. Kim, Los Feliz
Catherine co-founded SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition (SELAH). SELAH is a community-based volunteer organization devoted to supporting unhoused neighbors in Silver Lake, Echo Park, Los Feliz, Atwater Village and East Hollywood. When the coronavirus pandemic began, she was instrumental in guiding SELAH to serve those in-need through countless ways, from providing showers, case management/housing navigation, meals, hygiene supplies, and clothing to initiating an emergency food program. Presently, Ms. Kim is committed to supporting the efforts of Los Angeles County in COVID-19 vaccine education, administration, and outreach in the unhoused community.
Mara Leong-Maguinez, Pasadena
Mara is a native Pasadenan. In January of 2020, shortly before the coronavirus pandemic began, Mara began serving as Executive Director of the Ronald McDonald House Pasadena. The Ronald McDonald House Pasadena, is a home-away-from-home for families with critically ill children who are receiving medical treatment, providing families with a place to stay, meals and family support services at little or no cost to the families. When the pandemic hit, Mara worked to implement comprehensive safety and cleaning protocols and adjust the physical spaces within the House, while simultaneously obtaining funding and gathering support to keep the House open during this crucial time.
Dr. Rebecca Crane, Silver Lake
Dr. Rebecca Crane became an attending physician at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, where she worked as a primary care physician. She moved to Urgent Care after several years in Family Medicine to accommodate the needs of her family and other pursuits. As an essential frontline worker during the coronavirus pandemic, she assisted in organizing a three-day event at Kaiser called “A Time to Grieve, a Time to Heal,” to commemorate all the patients, family members and loved ones her fellow healthcare workers had lost during the pandemic, and to honor all the hospital staff.
Pattee Colvin, Sunland
Pattee is the founder of Making It Happen, a food and clothing pantry in Sunland whose mission is to help those in need. When the coronavirus pandemic began, there was an increase in demand for food and meals, and their Saturday food pantry attendance grew from about 60 individuals and their families to almost 200 individuals and their families. At the height of the pandemic, their Sunday Hot Meal program increased from 75 people to 200 people. Stepping up to the challenge, the organization began offering a weekday lunch program, which included meal deliveries, and in response to COVID-19 safety protocols, changed the manner in which they serve the needy; from a walk-through pantry and seated dinners to a drive-through and delivery.
Lynn LeMay, West Hollywood
Lynn dedicates her time to serve the LGBTQ community and is an advocate for people living with AIDS. She has been a volunteer with Project Angel Food for many years. Ms. LeMay serves as one of Project Angel Food’s Telephone Angels, which is a buddy telephone program designed to combat social isolation. She also played a role in implementing Project Angel Food’s Feminine Hygiene Program, which conducts outreach to age-appropriate clients. Lynn took part in both programs during the coronavirus pandemic. She felt fulfilled speaking to individuals on the phone to let them know that they were being thought of and there was someone to listen to them.