The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) honored California State University, Stanislaus President Ellen Junn with two awards at the NAEYC Annual Conference in Atlanta, Nov. 15-19. One was a leadership award for her work in childhood development and inspiring diverse emergent leaders. The second was for her work in diversity and inclusion throughout her career.
Junn was the keynote speaker at the Nov. 16 Asian Interest Forum (AIF) meeting within the conference at CNN Center. The meeting was held in conjunction with the Peace Educators Allied for Children Everywhere organization to honor Junn.
Junn received the AIF Leadership Award for her contribution to the healthy development and well-being of young children of Asian descent in the United States. “You were instrumental in forming the Asian Interest Forum for NAEYC. Under your leadership, the AIF members are working together to improve Asian American children's mental health and well-being,” AIF presenters Dr. Jenny Yen and Dr. Sandy Baba said. “You have inspired many emergent leaders in diverse backgrounds/ethnicities/races.”
NAEYC cited Junn's presence as an Asian-American in the leadership position in higher education and at the local, state, and national AEYC as an inspiration to young professionals to follow in her footsteps. "Because of you, Asian-American children have a model to look up to, especially for girls. Because of you, we know that young minority children will have their voice heard. We appreciate your inspiration, contribution and commitment to the education of young children.”
The Peace Educators Allied for Children Everywhere presented the 2017 P.E.A.C.E. Award to Junn for her commitment and work to strengthen early childhood education and care in California through public policy and teacher support around diversity and peace education.
“We honor you for your extraordinary commitment to encouraging diversity and equity at the many institutions you have influenced during your career,” said presenters Pat Dorman and Lucy Stroock. “You have worked tirelessly to combat discrimination in childhood, to promote success for marginalized students and to devise policies to expand diversity.”
“Your impressive academic understanding of child development has informed your teaching, administrative work and your advocacy. Over the years you have spoken up for children in state and local policy deliberations.” They also cited her work for earthquake safety preparation in preschools and her stand against corporal punishment.
“Your presence as a Korean-American in leadership roles at the local, state and the national AEYC was an important dimension of your message about equity. Your life’s work has been to increase understanding and opportunity for inclusion for all: minority, LGBT, the disadvantaged, and struggling. It begins with children and families, as you know.”
Ellen Junn is one of only 6 Asian Pacific Islander women currently serving as college presidents at four-year institutions in the U.S. She holds a bachelor’s in experimental and cognitive psychology from the University of Michigan, and a master’s and Ph.D. in cognitive and developmental psychology, both from Princeton University.