Mathilde Mukantabana, a member of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, Local 2279, recently left her teaching job at Sacramento’s Cosumnes River College to become ambassador of Rwanda to the United States. Mukantabana started teaching at the college during the genocide and lost both of her parents in the bloodshed. She served as spokesperson for the Friends of Rwanda and says in the almost 20 years since the devastating ethnic violence in 1994, her home country has rebuilt itself through reformed education, expanded healthcare and revitalized democracy.

Jim Mahler, long-time president of the AFT Guild, San Diego and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Colleges, Local 1931, and CFT vice president, was honored with the “Visionary in Public Education” award from the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice of San Diego County.

Rena Pheng, a custodian at Long Beach City College and member of the Long Beach Council of Classified Employees, Local 6108, was named Classified Employee of the Year by the California Community Colleges. The annual award is given to five classifieds who demonstrate commitment to professionalism, their campus and their community; winners receive $500. In addition to her full-time work, Pheng studies at CSU Dominguez Hills and still finds time to volunteer with seniors.

Daniel C. Tsang, a data librarian at UC Irvine and member of UC-AFT Local 2226, received the 2013 William H. Flanigan Award for Distinguished Service from the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research for his work helping faculty and students use datasets for secondary data analysis.

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