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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Virginia Loh-Hagan

Graphic for 7 Things You Didn't Know About Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan

You may know Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan as director of the Liberal Studies program, clinical practice experiences coordinator in the School of Teacher Education and founder/faculty advisor of Aztecs for Education. But did you know she’s also a piano-crazy, bike-averse, feral-dog-coddling children’s book author? Find out more about Virginia in this edition of 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Faculty and Staff!

1. Virginia is a children's book author with more than 250 books out in the world.
 She particularly likes to write about her Chinese-American heritage. Her most recent book is about the Chinese New Year dragon. The book is dedicated to Dr. Barbara Moss and Dr. Rafaela M. Santa Cruz, retired SDSU professors who have mentored her throughout the years. In addition, she has written about urban legends, monsters, extreme sports, odd jobs, gods and goddesses, women in STEM, animals and more. Warning: You don't want to play trivia games against her — she knows a lot of random facts!

2. Virginia loves pianos.
She is always shopping for pianos! At this moment, she owns four, including a Steinway semi-concert grand purchased from the former Balboa Park organist. She wants to buy more pianos, but her husband won't let her. She has taken lessons as an adult for more than 10 years. But don't mistake her enthusiasm for talent — Virginia says she plays at about a third grade level. She has a library in her house dedicated to piano music and trinkets, has hosted hosted piano recitals for the Encinitas Library and hosts regular recitals at her home for a committed group of musicians.

3. Virginia is super crazy about her dogs.
She has two very naughty dogs, Woody and Dotty. Her dogs are untrained and feral. They pee in her house, destroy her things, attack Christmas trees and wreak havoc all day long. Yet they can do no wrong in her eyes! She loves them unconditionally and cannot imagine life without them. To Dr. Nadine Bezuk's chagrin, she even lets them eat on her bed! Jackie Fuller's adorable son, Ben, wins her over by drawing her pictures of Woody and Dotty.

4. Virginia got married on 10-10-10.
She married her husband, Jeff, on 10-10-10 — a helpful date because they’ll never forget their anniversary! Thanks to Susan Moore, deputy director of the San Diego County Library system, she got married at Encinitas Library and some of her wedding pictures were featured in the American Library Association's magazine. Originally she wanted to get married at a Costco food court but her husband was a poor sport about it. So, some of her girlfriends hosted a bridal shower for her at Costco to make up for it. When she shared this story with Dr. Estella Chizhik, Estella said, “Wow. You don't take anything seriously, do you?" Bonus Fact: Jeff is 6 feet, 6 inches tall and and Virginia is 5 feet, 2 inches tall.

5. Virginia can't swim or ride a bike.
In general, she doesn't like to sweat. Her favorite hobbies are reading, binging shows and eating. However, she did build a lap pool in her backyard. She uses a snorkel mask to "swim" laps and makes sure to stay in the shallow end. But, to be honest, she mainly floats and reads in her pool. Regarding biking, she doesn't really see the point — that’s what cars are for.

6. Virginia is a big "Sound of Music" and Anne Shirley nerd. 
The hills are alive! She has traveled to Salzburg, Austria, and taken the "Sound of Music" tour. She went to all the sites in the movie and twirled in the hills. She's also a big nerd about “Anne of Green Gables.” She collects different versions of the book and has a closet of Anne-themed items. On her bucket list are the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont and Prince Edward Island.

7. Virginia has taught kindergarten through eighth grades.
She has taught in both general education and special education classrooms, and in elementary and middle schools. She has taught different models including multi-age, looping, dual language and more. She loved integrating the arts and coordinating holiday and talent shows. Virginia loved teaching third graders, but her favorite content was fourth grade social studies — California history. This is how old she is: One of her former third graders was Casey Schmitt, who is now a sophomore at SDSU and a baseball superstar.

How Virginia Loh-Hagan is making a difference in the College of Education 
"I'm so thrilled to be working with future educators and change agents. Education is so important, especially in today's crazy world. Educators are the key to positive change. The work we do is urgent. We shape generations of families and communities. We shape the future. I know I can be a bit of a 'Tiger Teacher' — but, it's with good intentions. I want to push my students to be their best selves. I want them to use all their superpowers for good."