For Angela Hoppe-Nagao, the profession of teaching speech communication came to her almost unintentionally. Hoppe-Nagao started taking German and math classes at Cerritos College while in high school as part of the College Bridge Program. At that time, she had no idea what she wanted to do with her life.
Even though her father was a great public speaker, she was too shy to like public speaking. However, Mary Lewis, a speech instructor, saw something in Hoppe-Nagao. Mary Lewis recruited her to be on the Forensic Team. Hoppe-Nagao was nervous but willing to give it a try.
To her surprise, Hoppe-Nagao won medals in persuasive speaking and poetry interpretation as a member of the Forensic Team, and she fell in love with speech. It was not so much public speaking; rather, it was interpersonal and intercultural communication -- the study of how we communicate with others in our lives -- that enchanted Hoppe-Nagao. "It's personally enriching," says Hoppe-Nagao. "Everything you do in your life deals with communication."
Hoppe-Nagao majored in speech communication and transferred to Cal State Fullerton where she earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees. She began teaching at CSUF as part of her master's program, and she became more and more interested in teaching. She taught at CSUF for several years. Afterwards she became a freeway flyer teaching at LBCC, Golden West, Orange Coast and Rancho Santiago for one year, and then she returned to her hometown Cerritos as a full-time instructor.
Currently Hoppe-Nagao serves as chair of the Cerritos College Speech Communication Department. She was instrumental to the new Associate in Arts for Communication Studies Transfer Degree as a result of the Student Transfer Agreement Reform Act (SB1440).
Hoppe-Nagao is very active outside the classroom as well. She serves as Vice President of the Faculty Senate, serves on the Curriculum Committee and the Technology Based Learning Committee, and the Open Academic Analytics Initiative Gates Grant.
She stresses that she does not specialize in communication because she is an expert. "I want to address my own shortcomings as a communicator. I do this from my desire to learn about human beings," says Hoppe-Nagao. There is no doubt that she loves communication. "Communication is so fundamental to satisfaction and quality of life," she says. "I'm a life-long learner of communication."
Off campus, she became a Certified Conflict Mediator in 2004 and served as a volunteer community mediator for the North Orange County Small Claims Court.
In her spare time, she loves to be with her family, to read and to spend time outdoors. She also believes that it is important to give back to the community, and makes an effort to volunteer.
With her two daughters, Liana and Sophia, Hoppe-Nagao has made blankets for children in foster care. She has also volunteered for the Compton Initiative, which revitalizes the city of Compton by beautifying churches, houses, and schools.
"My daughters are my inspiration and they are the reason for me to try to become a little bit of a better person every day," says Hoppe-Nagao. Her other inspiration and biggest supporter is her husband Ryan. "He makes everything possible," she says. "I'm fortunate to have him, my parents, my beautiful daughters, and a wonderful job!"
Growing up in a family that loved to travel, Hoppe-Nagao frequently visited her mother's home country, Germany, and explored Europe. While in her master's program she lived in Japan for a summer. Her fascination with culture and travel inspires her intercultural communication class. She and her husband enjoy the traveling tradition and they decided to take their daughters to all 50 states. Thus far they have been to 30 states. As a true Cali girl, California is still her favorite.
Hoppe-Nagao lives by Confucius's quote: "Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life." She feels she has accomplished it. She loves being on campus with students, working with them in the classroom, and challenging herself to constantly improve her teaching. "Being with 30 people who are engaging, enthusiastic, and who trust me to teach them is a joy," says Hoppe-Nagao. "The greatest reward is to witness students embracing effective communication."