Woman of the Year Awardees

2020-2021 Woman of the Year

Professor Amber Colbert

Amber Colbert, Assistant Professor in Sociology

Professor Amber Colbert was nominated several times by colleagues who shared her leadership in making a difference on campus and contributing outstanding leadership in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Antiracism efforts, and empowering other women at our campus. She is the founder and leads the Palomar Black Faculty Staff Association. She organized Black history month in 2020 with the many workshops for our campus. She coordinated the first inaugural celebration for Black graduates at Palomar College which is part of the college’s call to action for antiracism. Professor Colbert also co-coordinates the Umoja program and is a member of the Empowered Women affinity group on our campus. Last Fall 2020, she participated in the plenary antiracism college project and co-led a workshop titled, “Seen and Unseen: Perceptions of Black and Brown Women in the Classroom”.

2021-2022 Woman of the Year

Jenny Fererro, Professor in Child Development

Jenny was nominated by colleagues who shared her leadership in making a difference and contributing outstanding leadership in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Antiracism efforts, and empowering other women at our campus and region. These are all her efforts and advocacy that go above and beyond her role at Palomar College. She holds active membership and leadership both in the Empowered Women Alliance at Palomar College and she serves as a regional representative for Palomar College for the San Diego Chapter of American Association for Women in Community Colleges. She has been instrumental with her leadership and participation in the pronoun project, campus book clubs, Africana Studies course, lactation pods, women’s history month, food drives, pride month, regional and statewide involvement regarding DEI, Antiracism, and Academic Senate. She most recently led the change to include pronoun inclusivity in all of our BP and AP policies. In the words of her nominator, “Jenny has been a leading voice for the LGBTQ community and continues to speak out in public forums, such as the Governing Board meetings and Academic Senate… She walks the talk.” 

2022-2023 Woman of the Year

Dr. Nora Kenny photo with award in front of a tree.

Dr. Nora Kenney, Interim Director, Occupational & Noncredit Programs

Dr. Kenney joined Palomar College as the Transitions Program (now Rising Scholars) coordinator in March 2020. In January 2022, she also became responsible for Palomar College’s noncredit programs, including the High School Articulation Credit-by-Exam. Dr. Kenney also represents Palomar College to Education to Career Network, a partnership between Palomar College and district adult education schools, whereby students receive support as they transition to Palomar College credit, noncredit, and career programs. Before joining Palomar College in 2020, Dr. Kenney taught at the Vista Detention Facility and doubled the jail’s adult education offerings. Dr. Kenney was a tenure track professor who taught, administered programs and conducted research in Oakland schools and community centers on behalf of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education, where she also earned her advanced degrees. Dr. Kenney is a proud community college alumna and transfer student to UC Davis. Inspired by a MiraCosta College English professor who proved pivotal to her success as a young adult, Dr. Kenney determined to work in community college; through her professional trajectory, she also discovered how adult education and programs like Rising Scholars realize her passion for liberation through education. Dr. Kenney and her spouse, artist, scholar, and Palomar College alumnus Peter Whitley, live in Carlsbad, where they are the residential caretakers of the Leo Carrillo Historic Ranch Park.