In joint collaboration for National Women’s History Month, PCC’s Student Life, LBCC’s English Majors and Minors Club and English Department presented a guest panel of women professionals for the annual Creative Essay Writing Contest, March 24, in P104.
“Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government” was the theme. Panelists included, former Long Beach Mayor and LBCC President, Beverly O’Neill, Hawaiian Gardens Councilwoman and former LBCC student Myra Maravilla, who also serves as the secretary for LBCC’s academic senate and Long Beach Councilwoman and former LBCC student Stacy Mungo.
Panelists shared career stories, discussed their commitment to public service and their time spent at LBCC. Each woman said they have a desire to help in common.
After earning her master’s degree, O’Neill became dean at LAC for two years, moved into student affairs, became vice president, then president of LBCC.
“LBCC opened a new world for me. I saw the world all of a sudden, so maybe I can do something,” O’Neill said.
Though not interested initially, she was approached to run for mayor. She recalled, Long Beach faced significant economic challenges. The Navy had left, its base was closed. She ran for mayor and won in 1994, 1998 and 2002.
Mungo earned her master’s degree from USC in public administration. Wanting to help businesses help people, she has been working with the County of Los Angeles for more than 10 years. Mungo was persuaded to run for City Council and 4th and 5th District seat in 2014 once she agreed, she embraced it and won.
Mungo witnessed her single mother as a fighter and her hero. At one point, Mungo was mugged on the streets of Los Angeles. Realizing she needed to fight too, she decided to take her safety into her own hands and became a reserve deputy sheriff.
Maravilla attended school in buildings that were falling apart, she realized her school was not being taught the same curriculum as other schools. Maravilla knew something was wrong with the educational system, but couldn’t pinpoint it. Her parents always told her, “You have a voice, you have to use it.”
After earning her bachelor’s degree in public administration at Cal State Fullerton she was eager to apply her knowledge.
To help her community gain employment and better education, she decided to run for City Council. Maravilla is working now with school board members to correct severe discrepancies in the same school district so kids can truly learn and compete.
After hearing the panelists speak, the President of the English Majors and Minors Club, Patrick Shaffer, 23, an English major, said, “I think for the first time it became clear to me, that the skills I learned at LBCC can help change the world.”