Women's Hall of Fame and Young Women of Excellence - 2020

The annual San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame, established in 1984, is an important and lasting way to recognize the incredible work of women of all ages and walks of life in our community. Every two years a new slate of women, including outstanding high school students, join the ranks of some of San Mateo County’s greatest contributors, an honor roll that today reaches 291 individuals.

33rd Annual San Mateo County Women's Hall of Fame Inductees Announced


 We are excited to announce the Honorees for the 2020 Women's Hall of Fame!


Dr. Belinda Hernandez Arriaga is an Assistant Professor at the University of San Francisco and she is Founder/Chief Executive Director of Ayudando Latinos A Soñar (ALAS www.alashmb.org), a Latino cultural arts, education, mental health and social justice program dedicated to working with rural youth and families living on coastside. Dr. Hernandez Arriaga is a graduate from USF with a doctorate in education and a masters in social work. Belinda has done extensive work with farmworker families and their children, her mental health practice is focused on immigration trauma, u-visas, asylum and her current research is focused on understanding the emotional, psychological and traumatic experiences that impact undocumented and mixed status Latino youth. A significant part of her work is dedicated to the cultural arts as part of cultural connections for healing. Belinda is committed to social justice advocacy, equity and human rights. She and her husband have three young daughters and live in Half Moon Bay.


Judge Beth Labson Freeman is a Judge on the Federal Court in the Northern District of California, appointed by President Obama in 2014.  Judge Freeman sits in the San Jose Division, hearing a broad array of cases including antitrust, civil rights, consumer class actions, commercial litigation and technology cases including patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret cases.  She serves on the Northern District’s patent local rules and jury instruction committees. Judge Freeman previously was a Superior Court Judge in San Mateo County, California from 2001 to 2014. Judge Freeman served as Presiding Judge and Assistant Presiding Judge of the San Mateo Court.

Prior to her appointment to the bench in 2001, Judge Freeman was deputy county counsel in San Mateo County, and an associate attorney at Lasky, Haas and Cohler in San Francisco and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Jacobson in Washington, D.C. Judge Freeman is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and University of California, Berkeley.


Celine (Huijia) Wen, a current Junior at Aragon High School, immigrated from China in 2016 and lives in San Mateo. In 2017 she founded Women of the World Club in her school because of her interest and passion to help women, especially homeless women in the Bay Area. The club collects donations through bake sales, farmer’s markets, and collaborations with organizations like Happy Period and Saint Bartholomew’s Church. Funds collected during every three-month period are used to purchase hygiene products for homeless women. Outside of school, Celine volunteers at Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN) and teaches autistic children arts and crafts every other week for three years and was awarded Best Volunteer of the Year in 2018. Celine is also a varsity tennis and badminton player at Aragon. While working hard in school, she continuously encourages herself to give back to society and help the underprivileged.


Sarah Pistorino joined the San Mateo County Youth Commission in 2016 as a freshman at Sacred Heart Preparatory High School and currently serves as Chair. She is a founding member of the SafeSpace Youth Advisory Board, an organization that provides resources to youth around mental health, referral to services, on-site counseling and communities where youth can connect and share their stories. With her work on the Youth Commission she has shown leadership with her fellow commission members and has worked closely with Supervisor Carole Groom on projects such as the development of the County’s Social Host Ordinance and cannabis health education campaign, Decoded. Sarah lives in Menlo Park and is looking forward to continuing her development in higher education this coming fall.


Nomination Forms are now available for the next Women's Hall of Fame and Young Women of Excellence on March 7, 2020!  Don’t miss this opportunity to shine a light on a fantastic woman in your life. Nominations are due November 25, 2019.

Questions? Email Director Tanya Beat or call (650)-363-4467.

Guidelines & Instructions

  • Option 1: Download PDF Nomination Form (includes detailed instructions) to print/write/mail
  • Option 2: Word Form (recommend reading the PDF Nomination Form for detailed instructions)
    In additional Word document, tell us how your nominee meets the evaluation criteria. Limit content to no more than two typed pages in 12-point font. A third page in your Word document may be used to list recognition and awards.

General Rules

  • Nominees for the Women’s Hall of Fame must be at least 18 years of age.

  • Young Women of Excellence nominees must be high school juniors or seniors or equivalent.

  • The Women’s Hall of Fame and Young Women of Excellence Awards are open to all women who live or work in San Mateo County without regard to race, color, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, religious or political affiliation.

  • Current members of the Board of Supervisors, the San Mateo County Commission on the Status of Women, the Women’s Hall of Fame Planning Committee and previous recipients are not eligible.

  • Individuals and organizations may submit more than one nominee, including past nominees.

  • Self-nominations will not be accepted for the Women’s Hall of Fame or Young Women of Excellence Award.

  • The official nomination form (or photocopy) must be used. Additional information will not be considered.

  • The nomination form and tips for writing a compelling nomination are available on the Commission’s website at http://csw.smcgov.org

  • The selection panel is comprised of prominent residents from other Bay Area counties who review nominations without knowing candidates’ names.

  • Awards may be posthumous. All other recipients must be present at the Hall of Fame Ceremony in order to receive the award.

The most recent Awards were presented during the Women’s Hall of Fame Ceremony held on March 24, 2018 at the conclusion of the Women’s Leadership Conference. The next Women's Hall of Fame is scheduled for March 7, 2020. For more information about the Women’s Leadership Conference please visit smcwomenlead.org.

Qualities for the Hall of Fame Inductees

The Women’s Hall of Fame honors women of all ages who have excelled in any of the following areas:

Women's Hall of Fame:

  • Achieving leadership in business and community service
  • Helping others
  • Taking risks
  • Striving for equality and peace
  • Pursuing justice

Young Women of Excellence Award:

  • Outstanding volunteer service in addition to school activities.
  • Academic excellence and contributions to the quality of the school environment through extra-curricular activities.
  • Unusual courage or perseverance in daily life.

Evaluation Criteria

Women's Hall of Fame:

  • Impact of major achievements — How has this woman’s contributions improved life in the communities of San Mateo County?
  • Experience — Describe the nominee’s professional or volunteer experience/achievements.
  • What distinguishes the nominee from her peers/colleagues?

Young Women of Excellence Award:

  • Impact of major achievements — How has this young woman’s contributions improved life in the communities of San Mateo County?
  • Experience — Describe the nominee’s volunteer, extracurricular and academic experience/achievements.
  • How has this young woman demonstrated initiative and leadership?

** “Women / Girls” refers to gender expansive adults & youth (cis, trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and gender queer).

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