El Camino College Honors Newest Additions to its Distinguished Women Hall of Fame
El Camino College concluded Women’s History Month with a reception honoring the Distinguished Women Award winners for 2023. Honorees recognized for their dedicated service and contributions to the community include: El Camino communications professor and Director of Forensics Francesca Bishop; El Camino Puente Project counselor Griselda Castro; North Torrance Youth Musicians Ensemble President Hiroko Eddow; Linda McLoughlin Figel and Patty Gibson, owners of Pages bookstore in Manhattan Beach; healer/author and community activist Monisha Garner; and the late Darilyn Rowan, former El Camino photography professor. New this year, the committee honored two El Camino students, Janet Carraman and Rebecca Gloyer.
Nominated by friends, family and colleagues, award winners were selected by the college’s Women’s History Month Committee, based on their contributions to women’s and girls’ causes or community service that aligns with this year’s National Women’s History Month theme, “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” The theme celebrates women, past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and storytelling including print, radio, TV, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, news, and social media.
The accomplishments of these award winners will be featured on the El Camino College Women’s Wall of Fame (in the Schauerman Library) throughout the year, and their names will be engraved on a plaque that is a permanent part of the display.
2023 El Camino College Distinguished Women
Francesca Bishop joined the ECC community in 2000 as a professor of communications and director of forensics, where she has guided nearly every team to state, national, or international championships, bringing home more awards than almost any other community college in the U.S. Bishop was a member of the ECC forensics team before completing a bachelor’s degree at UCLA and a master’s in communications at CSU Fullerton. She has encouraged the college’s female students to speak about their hardships and obstacles, their battles against racism, domestic abuse, poverty, and sexual discrimination; students campuswide have also gained self-confidence and self-esteem through forums made possible by Bishop. Students from her teams regularly transfer to four-year colleges and universities and have pursued successful careers in law, medicine, business, and education.
Janet Carraman came to El Camino College in 2021 and joined the Formerly Incarcerated Re-Entry Students Thriving (FIRST) program, where she actively participated in all workshops and bridge programs. Openly sharing her experiences with the staff and her peers, Carraman not only facilitated her own healing but also helped to create safe spaces for other vulnerable students. With the assistance of Project Rebound, Carraman transferred to California State University, Fullerton, where she is currently majoring in public administration and planning to launch her own nonprofit to support formerly incarcerated and system-impacted students. She also continues to take classes at El Camino. Carraman’s success story started with successfully navigating El Camino programs to change her life for the better; she is now actively creating new avenues to success for others.
Griselda Castro came to the United States when she was 8 years old, and her first encounter with El Camino College was as a student, where she enrolled in the Puente Project and immediately demonstrated an interest in championing education and mentoring younger students. After graduating from Loyola Marymount University, Castro earned a master’s degree in counseling from California State University, Dominguez Hills and then returned to El Camino in 2008 to work both as a full-time counselor and as part of the Puente team, bringing her El Camino College experience full circle. Her colleagues describe her as a “fierce, loyal, student-centered professional” who “leads with her heart.”
Hiroko Eddow is president of the North Torrance Youth Musicians Ensemble, or “nTyme,” and a longtime supporter of music education in the Torrance Unified School District. After her own daughters graduated from elementary school, Eddow partnered with district music teacher Ken Kamida to create not only nTyme, but also a number of innovative school programs such as ukelele classes, bucket drum classes, jazz bands, chamber ensembles, “mommy and me” classes, popular music ensembles and junkyard musical ensembles, all while volunteering thousands of hours of her time and raising thousands of dollars to assist the existing music programs offered as a regular part of the Torrance Unified curriculum. Eddow is a benefactor of the diverse Torrance Unified community and her efforts have brought a wide range of musical experiences to students.
Manhattan Beach residents Linda McLoughlin Figel and Patty Gibson together in 2010 opened Pages, the only independent bookstore in the South Bay and one of the very few indie bookstores in the entire Los Angeles area. Pages has become a community landmark, offering not only an outstanding selection of titles, but also an outstanding schedule of events for readers and authors. The store features book clubs for children, teens, cooks, mystery lovers, nonfiction readers, and novel devotees, as well as readings and panels with renowned writers such as National Book Award winners Charles Yu and Colum McCann, and New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah. The work of Gibson and Figel has put the South Bay on the literary map.
Monisha Garner has been an asset to the Torrance community for more than 15 years, working as a holistic healer and as an author, publishing books on herbal healing, natural living, and digestive health. As her nominator noted, she “is dedicated to giving back, paying forward, and being an inspiration to others.” Her dedication extends to the El Camino College community, where during the height of the pandemic she participated in an ECC-sponsored panel “The Pandemic and Women’s Health.”
Rebecca Gloyer has established herself at El Camino not only as an outstanding student, but also as an exemplary leader. While maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average and working toward a double major, she has served as a computer science teaching assistant and tutor, senator of mathematical sciences for student government, a member of the Initiatives Committee and the Policy and Advocacy Committee, and as a member of the Women in Technology club. In addition, Glover founded and runs the El Camino Computer Science Club. She also earned a paid summer internship at Stanford University and was selected to be part of the Los Angeles County Youth Climate Commission.
The late Darilyn Rowan, professor and head of El Camino’s Photography Department, came to the college in 1989 and served for 32 years “as the glue, duct tape, and wire” for the entire department. She passed away in 2021. A gifted photographer in her own right, Rowan tirelessly encouraged the talents of others, teaching hundreds of classes and labs; organizing exhibitions of student photographs; lecturing on photographers as varied as Julia Margaret Cameron and photographers of the Warsaw and Lodz ghettos during World War II, Henryk Ross, Mendel Grossman, and Roman Vishniac; and publicizing the successes and accomplishments of her current and former students as they moved on after graduation, even inviting them back to campus to lecture.