Executive Secretary to the VP of Instruction

For Joanne Gonzales, accolades from MiraCosta College seem to run in the family.

Gonzales, a secretary in the Honors Scholar Program, was honored as MiraCosta College’s Classified Employee of the Year for going above and beyond in helping to coordinate Honors activities and for her willingness to work extra hours to make sure the program runs smoothly.

Her mother, Pat Egan, was recognized as MiraCosta College’s Classified Employee of the Year a generation ago while working in the financial aid office.

“Joanne is extremely helpful, kind, friendly and knowledgeable about the Honors Scholar Program,” wrote one student. “She is an amazing person and helps everyone in the program. If it weren’t for her, HSP would be chaotic.”

Gonzales is a Vista High School graduate who earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University, Chico, about 100 miles north of Sacramento. She served as a human resources department administrator for a few years before she and her husband had a daughter, Elizabeth, and then decided to stay at home for her and a second daughter, Sophia, who was born three years later.

She came to MiraCosta College as a part time employee when her children, now 10 and 13, got a little older. Gonzales has been working with the Honors Scholar Program since 2010. Her desk sits in the middle of the Honors lounge, enabling her to interact easily with students who often come by for guidance. Duties include processing Honors Scholar Program applications, providing administrative support to the students, and answering a lot of questions. She also goes out of the way to make new students in the program feel comfortable.

“I love being with the students,” she said. “They have a great energy and they are at a wonderful point in their lives.

“A great number of these students are going onto some amazing universities, and being able to help them get to where they want to go is really fulfilling.”

Gonzales said she was stunned when she learned about the award.

“It is most meaningful to me because you’re nominated by the students, and at the end of the day, we’re here for the students. We’re here to serve them as best we can.”

The Associated Student Government developed the awards. The student-initiated, student administered recognitions were announced during MiraCosta College’s commencement ceremony on May 17.