Shinta Herwantoro Hernandez was brought to America by her parents, Bambang Hengky Herwantoro and Julianti Sri Rejeki when she was one year old. At that time his father was accepted to continue his education in the nuclear field at the University of Maryland.
However, Shinta, 43 years old, who has lived in America since childhood, still speaks Indonesian fluently. She graduated from the all-girls Catholic high school, The Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington, Maryland, before going on to college.
“Graduating from Georgetown University got a Master’s degree in Public Policy, and graduating from the University of Maryland got a PhD majoring in Sociology. Then I worked at Montgomery College in Maryland since 2007,” he said.
For Shinta, education is very important for the next generation. That is why, he plunged into the world of education.
“Because I want to make the world a better place, so I want the new generation to be smarter than my generation. That’s why I went into education, so that everyone has a better education,” he said.
Montgomery College in Maryland, which was founded in 1946 where Shinta teaches, has given her two promotions.
“I have been teaching there for 15 years, first as a sociology professor, then I was promoted to Head of the Department and now I have been promoted again to a virtual campus dean such as online lectures. This position is my first at Montgomery College, so I call it ‘sounding dean’ or pioneer dean”, he added.
An American national organization, Women We Admire chose her as one of the 50 Women Leaders for the state of Maryland. Shinta does not know that she was nominated by the college where she teaches. The organization selects women in various fields of work such as technology, education, economics, law, etc. with special requirements.
“Women who receive this award must be able to innovate, their leadership must be transformational, their business is always number one, not afraid to make the best decisions for the common good,” he said.
An Indonesian woman activist who lives in the US, Gadis Arivia knows Shinta Hernandez as her senior who teaches together at Montgomery College.
The girl who is also the founder of the Women’s Journal since 1996 said, “So Shinta went through all her work when she was the head of the department in three fields, sociology, anthropology and criminal justice, making extraordinary programs, such as OER, open education. This OER makes education widely accessible, and works closely with the United Nations. Now that’s all Shinta’s work, even now collaborating with foreign countries and also exploring universities in Indonesia,” explained the girl who has been teaching there for 4 years.
Nowadays, it is not uncommon for women to become leaders in an organization. Sometimes people see that women who have a career have to sacrifice their families. But not so for Sita.
“The key to success has always been my family. My mom, dad, husband and two children are very supportive. When I was about to enter the doctoral program, I said, if I really want to continue the doctor program, my husband said if he wanted to stop working so that he could study full time, I supported him,” he said.
So Shinta pursued her doctoral program and only her husband worked until she finished her doctoral program.
Not a few Indonesian students studying at Montgomery College know Shinta.
One of the Indonesian students, Aisya Achiruddin who received guidance from Shinta said, “Prof. Hernandez was a great mentor for me. He’s been teaching me for these 2-3 years and he’s been great. He pointed me towards a good cause, was very helpful in my study career and I couldn’t have done this without his help”, he said
Being a mother with a career certainly has tremendous challenges, especially in terms of dividing time between work careers and the duties of a mother in the household. All that has been passed by Sinta Hernandez who is now continuing her dream to provide education for the next generation. [ps/em]