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Montgomery College Professor Sonia Pruneda-Hernandez is the recipient of the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) 2019 Northeast Region Faculty Member Award. The ACCT recently announced the recipients of its annual Regional Awards for community college trustees, equity programs, chief executive officers, faculty members, and professional board staff members. Pruneda-Hernandez will be presented with the award during the 50th ACCT Leadership Congress, October 16-19 in San Francisco.
Pruneda-Hernandez said she was pleasantly surprised when she found out she was a regional recipient, as faculty leadership and administrators had nominated her without her knowing. She is currently the Early Childhood Program coordinator for Montgomery College’s Rockville and Takoma Park/Silver Spring campuses. She will finish her Doctorate of Education at Walden University next May.
“I focus on eliminating barriers for students. My population is mostly older students, nontraditional women, immigrant women, women of color,” Pruneda-Hernandez said. “For many, it is the first time coming to college or going into an education setting in the United States, so I focus on supporting them in finding a pathway to finish their degree and then to transfer.”
Part of the work of eliminating barriers means offering an online degree in early childhood education, which Pruneda-Hernandez made happen at MC, and offering flexible early morning and evening advising hours.
She grew up in a small town in Washington State in a family of migrant workers who worked in agriculture fields seasonally.
“But education was really pushed on us,” she said.
Her academic path started in a community college before continuing on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. After marrying her husband, who is in the military, they moved to Florida and then to Italy before coming to Maryland.
Pruneda-Hernandez started as an adjunct faculty member at Montgomery College in 2006 and became full-time faculty in 2010.
ACCT recognizes the central purpose of our community colleges is teaching and learning; and achievement of excellence in that purpose relates directly to the quality of our faculty. Therefore, ACCT annually presents its Faculty Member Award to say “thank you” to all faculty members.
About Montgomery College
Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 130 areas of study.
Founded in 1972, the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) is the nonprofit educational organization of governing boards, representing more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees of community, technical, and junior colleges in the United States and beyond. ACCT’s purpose is to strengthen the capacity of community, technical, and junior colleges and to foster the realization of their missions through effective board leadership at local, state, and national levels. For more information, visit http://www.acct.org. Follow ACCT on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/CCTrustees.