By Grace Rodriguez and Annette M. Lesure
Retirement awaits a few prominent figures of East Los Angeles College including six faculty members and two staff members.
The following retirees have agreed to be publicly recognized by the Faculty and Staff Recognition Program. The faculty retirees include:
•Barbara Dunsheath, Ed.D., Social Sciences
•Deborah J. Glickman, Child Development Center
•D. Michael Hamner, Architecture
•Rin Kahla, Ph.D., MSW, Social Sciences
•Satoshi K. Kojima, Business Administration
•Sara Maga, Modern Languages
•Robert B. West, Ph.D., Anthropology, Geography & Geology
•Joanna Flores, Political Science
The three staff retirees and single admistrator include:
•Andrew Durazo, Photography
•Marcella Lozano, Student Services
•Tony Lin, Information Technology
•Julie Benavides, Vice President Student Services
Each of them will be remembered by the ELAC community.
West, known by his students as helpful, funny and laid back, always encouraged his students to ask questions. Although his laid back style was not always reflected in his challenging courses, students admit they turned out better because of the challenge.
“My retirement plans include travel, gardening and consulting. I will miss the comraderie my ELAC collegues (faculty and staff) across the campus and all the enthusiasm they bring to making ELAC a great place to learn,” West said.
Hamner is renowned for being able to encompass fun in his architecture courses. While Kojima has the highest rating of the seven professors with “understanding” and “respectable” being the adjectives used most to describe him in his Accounting courses.
So many women leave behind a legacy that will influence the future of ELAC.
Dunsheath, a feminist, who is a co-founder of Women and Gender Studies and California State University Long Beach graduate will continue to guide young women at ELAC with the work she put in during her time here.
Glickman who is well known at the Child Development Center with over 31 years of teaching experience will also be missed.
Maga is also retiring in June. She has been with ELAC for 21 years. In her first year she served as a full-time substitute teacher. She then went on to serve six years as chair and full-time tenured faculty member for 20 years.
Although Maga’s plan to retire was originally for health reasons, the pandemic gave her a new outlook on life. “COVID made me realize that there were a lot of things I wanted to do before I couldn’t, before I was too ill or too old. And that was more important to me than money or a career. I just want to mess around,” Maga said.
The avid horseback rider plans to ride around the world after retiring, with her first target being Icelandic ponies on volcanic expeditions. Maga has also been training in sheep herding for 20 years and will continue with her current dogs, Buddy and chatty Rolo.
She plans to ultimately use her newfound free time to help people by using her dogs and horse for emotional therapy on patients who need to “heal their souls.”
Jorge Berumen who was a student of Maga’s during the pandemic said, “Professor Maga is extremely empathic and caring for her students. Her spirit of continuous learning and growth is inspiring. She approached each class with an attitude of ‘we are going to all learn something new from each other.”
Teresa Flores, who was a student of Maga’s for the last two semesters said, “Professora Maga compassionately led us through such a challenging time in our academic careers.”
Another prominent woman whose career at ELAC began back in September of 1996 is Kahla. She gained a reputation for being caring and inspirational despite her intimidating nature.
That is not to say she gives her students the disservice of being too lenient in her sociology courses, instead she is known for pushing them to do better. A co-founder of the Women and Gender Studies Program, she made waves in her time spent at ELAC. Her course “Sociology of Women” launched the program that grew into an AA by 2017.
The professor said she plans to continue to stay active as an alumni of after all her entire career has already been dedicated to student success. As a first generation woman of color, she hopes to empower women of similar backgrounds.
Kahla’s former student and ELAC graduate Adriana Araujo said she was sad to hear Kahla was retiring because she had been there for “as long as [she] could remember.” Passionate, is what came to mind when she thought of the professor. “I fell in love with sociology thanks to her,” Araujo said.
Kahla has been featured on Campus News several times. It is not hard to see the dedication she puts into her work. From being the MC at the 2013 and 2018 ELAC graduations to single-handedly supervising 33 students for 10 days working to clean-up after the hit of hurricane Katrina.
Naturally, when ELAC students think of sociology, Kahla comes to mind. Many kind words from students who took her course can be found all over her profile.
Due to the pandemic it was not possible to contact other sources for comments on the retirees.