Faculty Friday: Jenica Morin-Pascual Awarded 48th District Woman of the Year
Earlier this year, adjunct professor Jenica Morin-Pascual opened an unexpected email that brought her tears of joy. She had just been named the 2023 California Assembly District 48 Distinguished Woman of the Year. “I was in shock. I had no idea I had been nominated. I felt so honored,” she said. Morin-Pascual flew up to Sacramento with her sister and received the award from Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio ’99, ’03. “It was surreal. It was the experience of a lifetime to be amongst these amazing women. I feel blessed that I’ve had opportunities that I never imagined would come to me, just by doing something I truly love.” Morin-Pascual also received the Public Safety Woman of the Year award for the 22nd District from Senator Susan Rubio ’01.
Growing up, Morin-Pascual described her parents as great role models who treated each other and their children with kindness and respect. Yet, her world was shaken when her best friend lost both parents due to a domestic violence incident.
Morin-Pascual grappled with how to process such a painful and senseless tragedy. “I really wanted to understand more about what my friend had gone through and how to help her,” she said. This led Morin-Pascual to pursue a degree in social work. During college, she interned at the San Gabriel Valley YWCA and learned how to recognize domestic violence signs while supporting victims and providing them with resources.
Now married with three children, Morin-Pascual works part time with the YWCA as the manager of training and outreach. In her role, Morin-Pascual trains and educates many groups including high school and college students, law enforcement agencies, small businesses, community service clubs, and healthcare organizations. “With some, my goal is to talk about what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like and how to recognize red flags,” she said. “For others, like doctors and dentists, I teach them the right questions to ask to make sure their patients are safe.”
After speaking to a number of groups, Morin-Pascual made connections that allowed her to share her expertise more broadly. This included working with an NFL team to provide education and training. She was also invited to speak at Red Table Talk, an Emmy winning talk show hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith. “It was incredible to have a platform on that level, reaching millions of people, to talk about things I’m passionate about and provide resources,” she said.
Wearing Many Hats
In addition to her role with the YWCA, Morin-Pascual works for the Covina Police Department as the youth accountability coordinator for first time offending youth. “Instead of having this offense on their record, we have a diversion program that allows them to work with me, attending counseling, just trying to get them back on the right track after making a bad decision,” she said. So far, eight youth have passed through her program, and one of them just graduated from college. In her role with Covina PD, Morin-Pascual also works alongside the detective unit, assisting with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, providing resources and support.
Morin-Pascual also shares her expertise with Azusa Pacific University’s Department of Social Work, teaching Intimate Relationship Violence: Assessment and Intervention. “Students that take my course are able to get a certificate as domestic violence advocates that enables them to work at any domestic violence program in the State of California,” she said. Though Morin-Pascual has educated thousands of people through her training sessions, she especially enjoys teaching a semester-long course. “I supervised interns from APU’s social work department, so I already knew how amazing the program was,” she said. “But becoming a professor and teaching them was one of the highest achievements of my life.”
Balancing three jobs while being a mother of three is no easy task, but Morin-Pascual manages it because she loves all her jobs. “I also have an amazing family that deals with my crazy schedule. We make time to be together on the weekends and enjoy exploring new places,” she said. Morin-Pascual keeps herself available to law enforcement whenever they need her assistance. “It’s challenging, but I’m lucky because I have a very understanding and supportive family.” Morin-Pascual hopes to set a great example for her daughters, just as her parents did for her. “My upbringing is very important to my work in this field. I know what a healthy relationship looks like because I saw my parents treat each other and us with love, respect, honesty, and faithfulness.”
Posted: May 19, 2023