A photo of Joan Murillo standing and smiling.For Prof. Joan Murillo, there's no better feeling than watching her students succeed. Murillo, a biology instructor and department chair, started at San Bernardino Valley College in January 2011. The Beaumont resident's lifelong love of physiology and fish inspired her to go into the sciences, and her initial goal after graduate school was to work for the National Marine Fisheries Service, conducting biochemical research and focusing on shark ecological physiology. Throughout graduate school, she taught anatomy, chemistry, and physiology courses, and kept at it as shark jobs fell through.  
"After teaching at various colleges, I decided I wanted to focus on helping students succeed in Anatomy and Physiology and their Allied Health careers," she said. "I feel I have a knack for making complicated body processes easier to understand for students."  
Murillo keeps students and faculty members up to date with the latest conferences and work opportunities, and is instrumental in ensuring SBVC offers certificates and programs like phlebotomy and sterile processing technician training.  
"I enjoy seeing how students grow, mature, and progress through human physiology and other prerequisites for Allied Health programs and then in their professional programs like nursing, physician assistant, and medical school," she said. "I love seeing students reach their educational goals and knowing I had a role in that."  
Murillo's colleagues appreciate not only her hard work on behalf of students, but also her dedication to keeping department morale up by holding celebrations for special occasions and milestones. This spring, she was nominated for and won SBVC's Outstanding Professor Award, a prize that left her feeling "over the moon."  
"I have outstanding colleagues and I felt very honored and humbled to be chosen by them for this award," she said.  
Murillo relishes in seeing her students walk away with newfound knowledge, and hopes that each one leaves her classroom able to "appreciate how amazingly complicated our bodies are and develop a love of learning for the rest of their lives."