Monica Snow: 2013-2014 Sadae Iwataki Award Winner

Dec 20th, 2014 | By | Category: Annual, Awards, Conferences
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Ellen Lange and Monica Snow at podium after Sadae Iwataki Award was announced.

President Ellen Lange (left) nominated Monica Snow for the 2014 Sadae Iwataki Award.

—An award with no essay attached! The Sadae Iwataki Award is based on outstanding service to CATESOL and is named after Sadae Iwataki, who served as CATESOL President in 1981–1982. This year, our exhibits coordinator for the past six years, Monica Snow, the assistant director of California State University, Fullerton’s American Language Program, was selected for the award in recognition of her tireless contribution to making the publishers’ exhibits happen. This award is given at the discretion of the Board of Directors, the recipient being nominated by the president of the Board of Directors and ratified by the Board. At the President’s Luncheon, the award is presented and the recipient is given a pin and a lifetime membership to CATESOL. The award is not announced beforehand so it is a complete surprise to everyone—recipient and luncheon attendees alike.

One of the first recipients of the award was Sadae Iwataki. When she died in 1991, the award was named in her honor. Sadae was a tireless worker for excellence in education for English language learners and promoted a high-quality professional environment for their teachers.

My first impression of Monica Snow was that of a blond-headed woman racing in, out, and around the Exhibits Hall at the annual conferences. Someone finally pointed her out to me and said, “Oh, that’s Monica Snow.” When I began thinking about whom I should nominate as the recipient, I thought of that blond, tireless, behind-the-scenes worker at the annuals. Indeed, the Exhibits Hall of the annual is like a city unto itself where business other than presentations and meetings is taking place. As Monica reported herself, “As exhibits coordinator, one almost runs a little ‘parallel’ conference since one interfaces with site, program, registration, sponsorship, advertisement, publishers, and many more.” She also said that Ahn Le, who had held the position previously, informed her that she “needed to be the publishers’ advocate.”

general photo of the exhibits hallThe exhibits area starts out as an empty hall, often a concrete floor resembling a car dealership without cars, and springs to life under the “wand” of Monica and Joseph Sheppard, of Sunrise Decorating, to become an array of booths, color, and activity, a virtual fairyland. It takes half a day to set up after four weeks of devising a floor plan. Monica says that doing the floor plan, rather than a chore, has been her creative outlet. Fortunately, she says, she has experienced few disasters because of this careful planning except for one memorable moment when an exhibitor showed up and no space had been set up for him because the conference committee had, by mistake, never informed Monica this exhibitor was coming. She and Joseph got to work, extended the entrance to the exhibits with a few side rails and created a new space right at the front—problem solved. “Being flexible and having our wonderful show decorator, Joseph Sheppard, ready to assist has helped avoid any major disasters,” says Monica. By special invitation from the president, Joseph was at the luncheon to share in the honor.

She has also enjoyed networking with the publishers’ representatives, has been invited to some of their special events, and has met many authors through her work. She is always sensitive to the publishers’ needs and is, indeed, their advocate. Making room for the publishers’ dedicated hours in the program has always been at the top of her list “because the publishers deserve special attention as they support CATESOL in so many ways.”

Monica has been active in CATESOL since 1990 and says about our organization:

CATESOL has always felt like “home” to me, where I have felt welcomed and respected. There are so many dedicated and wonderfully supportive individuals I have met year after year. You may only meet them once a year because they don’t live nearby, or they work at a different institution, but we all share a dedication to the profession and the organization. Going to a CATESOL conference almost feels like going to a family reunion to me.

Although she is passing on the baton as exhibits coordinator, she will be front and center at the 2015 Annual in Anaheim—as conference chair.

Thanks, Monica, for your dedication, hard work, and devotion to CATESOL. You are the true spirit of the Sadae Iwataki Award.

Ellen Lange is past president of CATESOL.

image of current and previous Sadae Iwataki Award winners

Gathered with 2014 Sadae Itaki Award winner Monica Snow (seated, third from left) are previous honorees for outstanding service to CATESOL. They are (from left, standing) Gretchen Bitterlin, Lynn Savage, Carol Bander, Lydia Stack, Susan Gaer, Don Sillings, Denise Murray, Kara Rosenberg, Dan Fichtner, and Margi Wald, and (seated) Margaret Teske, June McKay, [Monica Snow] and Karen Dennis.

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