Distinguished Faculty and Staff 2022


Congratulations to Hong Herrera Thomas and Bryan Bates who were named the 2022 El Camino College Distinguished Faculty and Staff Award honorees! The campus is invited to celebrate their recognition, Wednesday, June 1 at 1 p.m. on the Marsee South Patio. 

Hong Herrera ThomasA member of the El Camino history faculty since 2013, Hong Herrera Thomas has shown her dedication to the college and students through her work on committees, campus leadership roles, mentorship, and passion for teaching. She has taught classes in history, women studies, ethnic studies, American studies, and is currently building LGBTQ curriculum.

As an educator and advocate of social justice, Herrera Thomas has worked tirelessly to support and nurture all students while honoring their complex intersectional identities and rich experiences. She devotes her efforts to college organizations centered on equity, inclusion, and academic integrity, working with groups such as the Safe Zone Project; MyPath; Mental Health Taskforce; Academic Senate; Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Standing Committee; Academic Integrity Committee; Land Acknowledgement Committee; and the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee. As a proud first-generation college student from an underserved community, she says that her experiences lead her teaching pedagogy, as she strives to bridge knowledge learned in the classroom to skills that will help fulfill future goals.

Herrera Thomas attended California State University, Fullerton where she earned a master's degree in American studies and a bachelor's in history. She started her higher education at Cypress College. As a woman of color and daughter of refugee parents, Herrera Thomas said higher education would have been impossible for her without community college. She has personally guided students to resources and follows up to see if additional services are needed. One former student said Herrera Thomas offers students strength, acceptance, encouragement, and support and is a "light of hope for many students who have received her support and guidance during difficult circumstances."

Bryan BatesBryan Bates has been an integral part of the El Camino College Fine Arts Division for over 30 years. He is a theater technician for the Center for the Arts and serves as scene shop supervisor and production technical director. In addition to maintaining and stocking all equipment and tools, Bates is a true artist and skilled craftsman who works with designers to bring expertly built scenic designs to life. Colleagues note that he does all this with a smile and a positive attitude.

Consistently going above and beyond to keep things moving smoothly both onstage and backstage, Bates is also known for sharing his knowledge in stagecraft classes, providing students with valuable experience and safety practices. One former student said working in the scene shop with the "witty, kind, and observant" Bates helped her learn many aspects of theater and contributed to her success as a technical theater graduate from California State University, Fullerton.

Bates is also eager to adopt new technologies and practices to improve his work and the theater environment. He took it upon himself to learn CADD drafting and has become skilled with the art of projection in set design. During the COVID-19 shutdown, the Theatre Department continued to produce productions online with Bates' support. He worked with faculty and student directors to gather props and other items for the productions, ultimately ensuring students could continue with their education. One colleague said that Bates' "ingenuity, creativity, and ability to solve problems and find solutions are a huge asset to El Camino and all the performing arts."


Go Back