Winter has arrived!

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, December 8, 2018… A great day to be a Renegade.

Winter has arrived.  Photo of the grapevine from my Land Rover on December 6th.

Last week of classes at BC.  Great holiday spirit.  Students excited….students stressed….  Nicky Damania and team staffed the library with extra hours for students to study in groups…. faculty dropped by to help students…..  What can I say.  We are BC!

BC Food Services Comes Through in a Pinch

Earlier this week BC administrators and managers came together to assist students with enrolling in classes for the Spring semester.  I want to give a huge shout out to our Food Services team who stepped up and served a delicious lunch to those helping in the outreach efforts.  If you know of anyone wanting to register for BC courses in the Spring 2019 semester, have them sign up today!  Steven Watkin and Ashlea Ward have organized three days of registration (Dec 10th, 11th and 12th) with the help of Counselors and Ed Advisors.    You can check out the Class Schedule and registration information at this link:

Penny Loos, Diana Murrell and Pam Miller: These ladies are on it!

Food Services had their last day in Campus Center yesterday before relocating to make room for the cafeteria remodel!  They are moving to the Huddle and Mount Vernon Commissary over Winter Recess.  Here are some photos of their last day before the remodel:

Also, be sure to check out the new Food Services social media accounts!  You can follow their journey to the new location at the Huddle, see the new food trailer, and see what delicious menu items they’re preparing!  Check out @BCFoodScene on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

BC Jazz presents: Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite

The Bakersfield College Jazz Ensemble held a holiday concert earlier this week, featuring Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite re-imagined with a big band twist. The concert was amazing!!  The big band rendition of this classic music provided holiday cheer with a fun spin. There were saxophones, trumpets, trombones, guitars, a double bass and of course drums. I loved the beautiful clarinet during the “Chinoiserie” song, or rather, the Chinese Dance.  Also, Professor Robbie Martinez surprised guests and joined in on “Arabesque Cookie (Arabian Dance)” with his beautiful piccolo playing.

I was so proud of our students and the beautiful music that they performed.  My personal favorite was the “Sugar Rum Cherry” song, a take on the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.” Students learned how to integrate trumpet mutes and rubber plungers in order to hit the notes as Duke Ellington originally intended. A huge shout out to Kris Tiner for directing this amazing piece of music here at the BC campus.    

The Jazz Ensemble performing “Sugar Rum Cherry”
The Jazz Ensemble performing “Dance of the Floreadores”

Blue Ribbon Committee Reconvenes

The Blue Ribbon Committee reconvened earlier this week bringing together community leaders who were pivotal to the passage of Measure J in 2016.  Attendees were taken on a trip down memory lane with a great video created by our very own Chris Blakemore.  Thank you Chris!

Measure J: Memories

We also shared all of the recent developments here at the BC campus.  There are eleven projects in various phase stages over the next year!  Bill Potter and Tamara Baker definitely have their hands full, and can’t wait to share each of these projects as they progress along.

Emails Worth Sharing from Paul Beckworth

In light of the news of the passing of President George Bush, Paul Beckworth shared a memorable photo with me this week. He said, “with GW Bush in Somalia in December 92 or Jan 93. I asked him for a pic, he grabbed my camera out of my hand, and said , “Come here Beckworth,” (he read my name tag) and took a selfie of us. Pretty cool!”

Paul Beckworth and President Bush

2018 Bakersfield College Foundation Holiday Dinner

The Bakersfield College Foundation hosted a wonderful group of about 60 invited guests in the Renegade Room at the Holiday Dinner, following the Foundation Board’s annual strategic planning meeting. The dinner was expertly prepared and served by the students in the Culinary Arts program as their final exam for the semester. Many members of the BC Foundation Board were joined by their spouses to ring in the holidays, including founding Foundation Board member, Ken Byrum and his wife Pam; and Foundation Board Chair Jeff Bell and his wife Amy. Other special guests of the evening included KCCD Trustee-Elect, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and her husband Jim; Adam Alvidrez of Chevron and his wife Tiffani; and Gloria Williams of CRC and her sister Loretta. The guests were entertained by the talented BC Chamber Choir under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Garrett. The choir performed four Christmas songs and surprised the Foundation with a special video to express their gratitude to the Foundation members for the help in making their trip to Australia a reality this past summer. Major compliments to the Culinary Arts students, Chefs Alex Gomez, Suzanne Tangeman and Christian Flores-Castaneda for a beautiful and delicious evening! You all earned an A+ in our eyes!

Attendees at the Bakersfield College Foundation Holiday Dinner

SGA Discovers a Hidden Treasure

Our SGA president Ashley Harp came across a fun piece of BC nostalgia.  Check out the video below to see why BC has school spirit in spades!

Seen on Facebook: BC Chamber Singers Christmas Gathering

This week, I saw on Facebook that the BC Chamber Singers gathered at Choral Director Jennifer Garrett’s home for evening caroling in the neighborhood park, packing bags for the homeless, and spending time together for the holidays. She said in her post, “What a wonderful night with the BC Chamber Singers in my home! We ate lots of yummy food, put on a mini concert in the City in the Hills Park (thanks to so many for joining us), exchanged secret Santa gifts, made bags to hand out to the homeless, and many enjoyed the hot tub or talked to finish off the night. They are such an incredible group of people. We still have a lot of work to do in order to reach the excellence we are striving for and we will continue to work and love music to get there.”  Check out the fun photos.

KernTax 79th Annual Meeting

I was at Tom Burke’s table at the KernTax 79th Annual Meeting earlier this week at the Bakersfield Country Club, along with Cindy Collier, Bill Thomas, Tom Gelder, Romeo Agbalog, and Debbie Martin.  It is always great to get out and visit with our fellow community members! I feel so lucky to be a part of a city like Bakersfield!

Our dual enrollment program was highlighted at the event. Michael Turnipseed shared in his introductory remarks that over 3,000 dual enrolled students have benefited from the partnership between Bakersfield College and Kern High School District (KHSD), thanks to initial support from the Game Changer grant. Dr. Anna Laven, program manager for dual enrollment, and her husband, Commissioner Andrew Kendall, attended the event. The keynote speaker, James Gollub, highlighted the success of applying collaborative strategy to address our next generation economy.

Celebrating Dual Enrollment

On Thursday, December 6, the dual enrollment team held a convening of high school partners from McFarland, Wasco, Delano and KHSD and Bakersfield College student services areas to recognize the strong work that has taken place, expanding on success. Points of discussion included enrollment trends, guided pathways, pre- and post-enrollment activities, and the dual enrollment newsletter. Steve Watkin guided participants in discussion, with presentations provided by Dr. Anna Laven, Kylie Swanson, Sharon Bush, Liz Rozell, Jaqueline Lau, and Abel Guzman.

Fun Registration Time Photos from S&E

Veronica Hathaway shared with me the creativity of Dean Stephen Waller and everyone in the Science and Engineering area. We are BC!

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this past Thursday at 11a, check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include segments with BC Baseball Head Coach, Tim Painton and four of his players: Kamron Willman, Ryan Dickerson, Nate Ortiz, and Frank Villasenor.

Renegade Women’s Volleyball Team Goes to State

Our amazing Renegade Women’s Volleyball team went to the state championships last weekend, hosted by Solano College in Fairfield. This was the first time since 2009 that the team qualified for the state tournament. They were ranked #2 in the state with a 25-1 overall record and were riding a 19-match winning streak. The streak ended last weekend, but we could not be more proud of our Renegades!!! Not only did they make it to the championships, Coach Ferreira was recently honored as the SoCal Coach of the Year and WSC South Coach of the Year. Setter Sarah Armendariz was named an AVCA All-American and WSC Player of the Year – huge recognitions for both! 

Proudly wearing the Renegade Volleyball Conf Championship t-shirt. We are BC!

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (11/25-12/1) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

  • Brianna Mendez, Women’s Basketball – Scored 38 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in helping the team to a third place finish at the Santa Ana Tournament this last weekend.
  • Marcus Hutcherson, Wrestling – Qualified for the state tournament by placing 1st in his weight class (125 lb) at the Southern Regional Tournament and helping the team to a 4th place finish.

Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Post-Season Awards Announced

The Renegade Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams recently finished their 2018 fall season at the CCCAA State Championships. The women’s team placed in a tie for 15th place, with Gabby Lugo placing 10th overall. For the men, Adrian Lopez was a state qualifier.

With the conclusion of the season, post season awards have been announced. Below is the list of awards by individual:

Gabby Lugo, So. (Bakersfield Christian HS) – 1st-Team All-American and Western State Conference (WSC) 1st-Team All-Conference

Jacquelyn Barrios, Fr. (Foothill HS) – WSC 2nd-Team All-Conference

Lourdes Cruz, So. (Wasco HS)- WSC 2nd-Team All-Conference

Angelo Benitez, Fr. (Independence HS) – WSC Honorable Mention

Justin Frando, Fr. (Highland HS) – WSC Honorable Mention

Cutberto Salgado, So. (Wasco HS) – WSC Honorable Mention

Roundup of Athletics Events This Week

As always, it was a full week of events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click for the story on

Stay Connected to Renegade Athletics

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media. On Facebook find us under ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’, on Twitter – @GoGadesGo and on Instagram – @gogadesgo.

California College Guidance Initiative in McFarland

As we continue to expand Early College opportunities for high school students throughout Kern County, we are looking for innovative ways to align with our K-12 partners and provide the resources they need. The California College Guidance Initiative (CCGI) is a new partnership opportunity with K-12 school districts to support students, counselors, parents, and community-based organizations with technological tools that help guide the college and career planning and preparation process. Bakersfield College is currently working with all of our partner districts to engage with CCGI. On December 5th, CCGI staff met with McFarland Unified School District (MUSD) administrators and counselors to begin implementation of the program. MUSD is leading the way for all districts in Kern County on this project. This tool will help K-12 educators, parents, students, and Bakersfield College collaborate to build clear pathways to higher education. I cannot wait to see what develops out of this work!

MUSD, BC & CCGI in McFarland.

Bakersfield New Car Dealers Annual Luncheon

Earlier this week, BC attended the Bakersfield New Car Dealers Annual Luncheon where Bill Wright was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. BC’s Rony Recinos, Automotive Instructor Industrial Arts had the chance to meet with Sheriff Donny Youngblood and Senator Shannon Grove.

Sheriff Youngblood, BC’s Rony Recinos, and Senator Shannon Grove 

Winter at BC

Earl Parsons from the Marketing team sent over some beautiful photos that he took as winter weather blankets the BC campus.  Thanks Earl!

Jennifer Serratt took some photos of the gorgeous rain that we had earlier this week. The rainy weather made for a cozy atmosphere in the office! 

Jennifer also shared a photo with her and two of our favorite veterans, Paul Beckworth and Tommy Tunson.  They’re ready for the Army Navy game this weekend.  When Jennifer said she was rooting for the Air Force, they let her know that was the wrong choice! 🙂 

Tommy, Jennifer and Paul

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

November to Remember

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, December 1, 2018… A great day to be a Renegade.

Let’s pause and honor the passing of the 41st President of the United States, George Bush.  Take a moment to check out this in-depth article in the New York Times

Business Pathway Industry Summit

On Tuesday morning, students in BC’s Business pathway gathered in the Indoor Theater for the first ever Business Pathway Industry Summit. As students filled the front rows of the Indoor Theater, Dean Manny Mourtzanos was preparing to go on stage to welcome students and industry partners to the first annual event. Manny opened by telling students we are so happy that they’re here and we’ll be even happier when they graduate, because we care about our students and want them to efficiently complete their degrees and certificates.

Manny Mourtzanos speaking at the podium

The moderator for the afternoon, Mary Jo Pasek introduced the first panel of guests to the stage. The first panel connected students with local industry leaders including Leo Bautista, Senior Recruiter of Talent Acquisition for The Wonderful Company, Bob Bell, CEO of Cita Development, Inc, Morgan Clayton, President and Founder of Tel-Tec Security, Clayton Montgomery, Information Systems Security for Aera Energy, and Shontay Sweeney, VP at Chase Bank. The members of the panel shared a little about their background, how they got to where they are today, and where they see future business careers going. 

Mary Jo at the podium with panels on either side

The second panel featured Business faculty including Dr. Michael Harvath, Michael Ivy, Jeff la Force, Rudy Menjivar, Creighton Magers, Richard Miles, Valerie Robinson, Jonathan Ward, Eddie Rangel, and Dr. Murad Zikri. The panelists shared how they became interested in Business, what they did before they became professors, and  words of advice for students.

Mary Jo Pasek, with Beth Harrison and Valerie Robinson planned the event on a short timelineAs students left the theater they were served lunch provided by Student Success and Equity, and guided towards tables in the courtyard where they could gather and carry on conversations with industry leaders and fellow classmates. Events like these help our students connect with one another and connect with their community.

Emails Worth Sharing

Manny Mourtzanos emailed me midweek to share a student success story that was an outcome of the Business Pathways Industry Summit:

“At the Business Summit yesterday, one of our Business Administration students did the right thing by bringing her resume with her. She submitted it to one of the representatives from the Social Security Administration and has since been invited to interview for a summer internship.”

Stories like this are exactly why I’m the happiest and luckiest college president ever!

Roadmap to OSRM Degrees

On Wednesday, BC’s Occupational Safety and Risk Management (OSRM) program hosted an informational booth in the courtyard of the Science and Engineering building to inform students about course options leading to a degree in OSRM. Occupational safety professor Catherine Jones organized the booth providing handouts about the myriad career opportunities available to students in the OSRM program.

Experts in safety and risk management strive to protect workers, property and the environment in various occupational workplaces. Safety professionals can be found in a broad range of industries, from construction, petroleum and agriculture to insurance and regulatory government agencies such as the EPA and OSHA.

To reflect this broad range, the OSRM program at BC offers four different associate degrees of science – agriculture, business, industrial technology, and health science. Each of these programs teaches students the scientific foundations and knowledge of the regulatory framework needed to pursue a degree as a safety professional.

Clarifying the path is one of the four pillars of Guided Pathways. Events like this help do just that, clarifying for our students what they need to take to achieve their goal and start a career. I’d like to thank Catherine Jones and the OSRM program for organizing this informational event for our students.

Catherine Jones handing out information to a student while explaining about OSRM.

De-Stress Fest

As we head into Finals Week, many of our students are feeling the pressure to finish projects and study for the upcoming final exams. The week before finals every semester, the staff and faculty of the Grace Van Dyke Library provide games and events for students to decompress from their stressful study sessions.

For this semester’s De-Stress Fest, the library arranged for therapy dogs from Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue to stop by the library on Monday for a little pet therapy for student relaxation.

Throughout the week, the library provided “De-Stress Zone” stations on the second floor with coloring pages, puzzles, word games and origami to give students a temporary respite from their studies.

Along with activities, the library also created a flyer with six stress-free research tips, which include developing search terms, doing some introductory background research on your subject, and narrowing your paper’s topic. Librarian Faith Bradham, who coordinated many of the activities for this semester’s De-Stress Fest, also recommended taking advantage of the free mental health screenings and therapy sessions available through the Student Health Center.

I’d like to thank Kirk Russell, Faith Bradham, and all of the faculty and staff at the Grace Van Dyke Byrd Library for organizing this semester’s De-Stress Fest, as well as Marley’s Mutts for providing therapy dogs on Monday morning. Don’t worry Delano, you haven’t been forgotten! Emotional support dogs will be visiting the Lobby at the Delano Campus on December 3rd to assist Delano students with de-stressing for finals. This is a great example of our core value of Wellness, and our holistic approach to education including the mind, body and spirit. I wish our students the best of luck on their finals next week.

Renegade Minute

Students in Dr. Josh Ottum’s Commercial Music Certificate program have completed Season 2 of The Renegade Minute Podcast. “In our Sound Design and Synthesis course (MUSC B32), we aim to give students practical experience in recording, editing, and doing sound design for a podcast,” says Ottum. Featuring interviews with librarians, professors, security guards, and more, the podcast aims to shed light on the BC community and people that make it work.

A few weeks ago, student and Renegade Francis Benevente interviewed me for the podcast, The Renegade Minute,posted right before Thanksgiving break. Listen in at Soundcloud.

See our talented Commercial Music students perform at December’s First Friday Art Walk. Students from the Commercial Music program will perform original and cover material.

The unique creativity of our students was on full display throughout the sale, from ornately crafted cups, bowls and vases to sculptures displayed on tables and shelves.

Early Holiday Shopping at BC

Did you get an opportunity to peruse the beautiful ceramic offering of the ceramics sale? It was a great opportunity to procure a unique gift for that someone special. On Wednesday and Thursday, the students in BC’s ceramics classes had the opportunity to display their projects and potentially sell them during the ceramics sale held in the Fine Arts building.

The ceramics sale was a tradition for many years on main campus, but one that dwindled out for a few years. When ceramics professor Darrin Ekern was hired three years ago, he brought the ceramics sale at BC back and has hosted it every semester since. The revenue generated from the sale go directly to supporting student through scholarships.

Thank you Darrin Ekern and the Ceramics Department for providing an opportunity for students to display their work. 

Power Lunch – Chain, Cohn, Styles

The Student Government Association hosted its last Power Lunch of the semester in Levinson Hall 40 on Wednesday, inviting attorney Beatriz Trejo from local law firm Chain, Cohn, Styles to talk about her experiences as a Latina woman in the legal field.

Trejo earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Cal State Bakersfield and a master’s in political science from Cal State Northridge before moving to Ohio to obtain her law degree from the University of Akron in 2011. She describes her time in Ohio, as well as her first few years as a practicing attorney in California, as a culture shock, as there are few young women of color in the legal field. She has since found that her differences are a strength, as she can speak directly to her Latino and Latina clients without an interpreter.

Trejo speaking in front of the SGA sign.

Trejo is a workers’ compensation attorney, representing injured workers at Chain, Cohn, Styles. In 2017, she was selected by the State Bar of California as the “Workers’ Compensation Young Lawyer of the Year”. She prides herself on her drive and professional work ethic to fight for labor rights in the community. “Someone else may have more experience, education or other advantages than me, but one thing they will never be able to control is how hard I work,” Trejo said.

Trejo is an active member of several local organizations, including the Immigration Justice Collaborative, which seeks to educate immigrants on their constitutional rights. She is also a part of the Cal State Bakersfield Pre-Law Advisory Committee, Latina Leaders of Kern County, Kern County Small Business Academies, and the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Some advice that Trejo gave to students interested in the legal field included: developing verbal and written communication skills, abiding by deadlines, and effectively prioritizing your caseload. She also recommended reaching out to some local attorneys for job shadowing opportunities before committing to the time and financial investment required to attend law school.

I’d like to thank the Legislative Affairs Department of BC’s Student Government Association for organizing this important networking opportunity for our pre-law students, as well as Beatriz Trejo and the staff at Chain, Cohn, Styles for taking time out of their busy schedules to speak with our students.

Ethics Bowl BC vs CSUB Scrimmage

Students from the Bakersfield College and Cal State Bakersfield Ethics Bowl teams scrimmaged in the Levan Center on Tuesday to prepare for the regional competition at Cabrillo College later today, Saturday, December 1. This is BC’s first year competing in the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, which gives college and university students practical experience in developing a coherent ethical argument.

BC philosophy professor Bryan Russel giving direction.

Before the competition, the two teams researched several potential questions about contemporary ethical issues from a range of topics, including business and professional ethics, political and cultural issues, and personal relationships. The moderator, BC philosophy professor Bryan Russell, selected one of the issues for each team to debate. Each team had 10 minutes to present an initial argument about how to address the issue, while demonstrating a deep understanding of the case and describing the ethical framework they used to arrive at their conclusion. After the main argument, the opposing team presented a rebuttal, asking for the team to clarify elements of their argument or demonstrating ways that the argument may be inconsistent. After the main team responded to the rebuttal, the panel of judges – BC professors Reggie Williams and Michael Korcok, and Cal State Bakersfield professor Deborah Jackson – had a few minutes to ask questions about the initial argument.

Teams facing each other with the panel of judges in between
Left to right: CSUB Team, panel of judges, moderator, BC Team

The BC team answered the question, “should victims have more say in sentencing than currently afforded them in the American Justice System?” Cal State Bakersfield’s team answered the question, “should we recognize Rachel Dolezal’s claim that she is black, even though neither of her parents have any African-American heritage?”

BC’s Team

The Ethics Bowl differs from Lincoln-Douglas or other traditional debate formats in that the primary goal is not about using rhetoric to persuade judges on one of two arbitrarily assigned positions, but instead emphasizes intellectual honesty and civic discussion by evaluating how well the team was able to defend and articulate their belief.

Left to right: BC professor Reggie Williams, BC professor Michael Korcok, and CSUB professor Deborah Jackson 

I’d like to thank the Levan Center and the Philosophy departments of both BC and CSUB for organizing this Ethics Bowl scrimmage, and I wish both teams the best of luck in their competitions.

Renegade Round Table

Another event in BC’s Norman Levan Center for the Humanities took place Wednesday Evening, November 28th, where approximately 90 people gathered for an engaging Renegade Round Table. This month’s topic was: Racial Injustice and the US Justice System. BC professors Erin Miller (History), Michael Harvath (Economics), Steven Holmes (Political Science), and Neal Stanifer (English) engaged with the issue in a number of interesting ways.

Panel in front of the screen that says "The Injustice System? Do we have a system of injustice rather than a Justice system?"
From left to right: Erin Miller, Michael Harvath, Steven Holmes, Neal Stanifer

Stanifer lead off, drawing the audience’s attention to the disproportionate rate at which US minorities are charged with petty crimes, such as jaywalking. Harvath focused on the role that media play in drawing attention to some alleged injustices over others. Miller asked the audience whether they feel we have a system of justice or systemic injustice, and Holmes presented statistics that challenged the audience to entertain the question of whether minorities in fact commit serious crimes more frequently than do other members of society. I’m very proud of the quality and rigor of discussion of our faculty.  

speaking while wearing a t-shirt that says "I'm confused, wait... maybe I'm not."
Michael Harvath

Thank you Reggie Williams for organizing these Renegade Round Tables to enhance the education of our students and our community. There will be three more Renegade Round Tables in the spring. Topics and dates are forthcoming, but the panels will be on Wednesday evenings in the Levan Center. They are always free and open to the public. For scheduled events, visit the Levan Center Lectures and Events.

Working with Faculty to Build a Better BC

On Wednesday our Science & Engineering faculty met with the architecture firm who was awarded the Design/Build contract for the Science & Engineering building.  This will be the third building to be built using Measure J funds here on the Bakersfield College campus. The meeting was a great opportunity for faculty to let the designers know what is best suited for the new building, and what is essential to improving the classroom and therefore educational journey of our BC students.  I can’t wait to see the final rendering!

2018 BC Employee Holiday Reception

Our annual BC Employee Holiday Reception was held on Thursday in the Fireside Room.   The great food and collegiality is a festive kick-off to the holidays and recognition of the hard work of all administrators, faculty, and staff over the fall semester.  Over two hundred Renegades enjoyed scrumptious treats by Chef Stuart and the BC Food Services Staff, along with Chef Gomez’s yummy bread pudding from the Renegade Room with the Culinary Arts Students. 

We enjoyed beautiful holiday music provided by John Gerhold, Jennifer Garrett, Robbie Martinez and Kris Tiner along with their wonderful student musicians.  The annual event is coordinated each year by the Bakersfield Holiday Reception Committee (Susan Pinza, Kristin Rabe, Leah Carter, Tracy Lovelace and Pat Smith) and is made possible by generous donations from the Bakersfield College Foundation, President’s office, CCA, CSEA, and numerous employee donations. 

I want to send a special thank you to our amazing Food Services department, who once again outdid themselves.  Thank you to Stephanie Stuart for managing such a great team, and to Penny Loos for all of the beautiful decorations!  The Fireside Room was warm and festive, with our many faculty and staff spreading holiday cheer while eating delicious goodies.  Planning has already begun for next year’s reception, so if you’d like to contribute, please contact the BC Foundation. Enjoy these fabulous photos by Manny De Los Santos.

Renegade Athletics

Renegades of the Week

BAKERSFIELD, CA – Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

  • Ryan Bayne, Women’s Volleyball – Had 10 total blocks in helping the team to playoff wins over Mt. San Jacinto on 11/20 and San Diego Mesa on 11/24.
  • Shahadah Camp, Men’s Basketball – Shot 54.5% to score 22 points in helping the team to a 76-67 win at West Hills Coalinga on 11/20.

Women’s Soccer Post-Season Awards Announced

The Renegade Women’s Soccer team finished the 2018 season with an 11-5-4 overall record (3-2-3) in conference and hosted a CCCAA playoff play-in game.

With the season coming to a close, post-season awards were announced and the team took home a host of conference awards.

  • Drew Hallum (Centennial HS) 2018 CCCAA All-State & 2018 WSC East 1st-Team All-Conference
  • Brooke McDonald (East HS) – 2018 CCCAA All-State & 2018 WSC East 2nd-Team All Conference
  • Michelle Vargas (Independence HS) – 2018 WSC East 1st-Team All Conference
  • Rhyan Acosta (Liberty HS) – 2018 WSC East 1st-Team All Conference
  • Emma Gross – (Liberty HS) – 2018 WSC East 2nd-Team All-Conference
  • Jackie Zavalla (Bakersfield HS) – 2018 WSC East Honorable Mention
  • Cameron Jimenez (Independence HS) -2018 WSC East Honorable Mention

Roundup of Athletics Events this week

Men’s Basketball Tops West Hills 

Renegades on Social Media

BC in Digital Journal

Bakersfield College and our efforts in partnership with Jobspeaker was highlighted in Newswire article “Jobspeaker and Bakersfield College Creating Equitable Career Pathways” in the Digital Journal The article says, “Bakersfield College supports students through their Learning & Career Pathways approach to keep students on track in their skills development for their chosen field” and featured BC’s Stephanie Baltazar. Check out the full “Jobspeaker and Bakersfield College Creating Equitable Career Pathways” article.

Tyrone Crawford Instagram and Twitter

Bakersfield College Alumnus Tyrone Crawford of the Dallas Cowboys was all over social media with his slick Renegade jacket lining. I am so proud of Tyrone and his success in the NFL!

Recently, the Cowboys filmed a documentary about Tyrone and visited our main campus to interview Coach Jeff Chudy and film the Memorial Stadium. I first talked about this in my September 2nd blog. His story led him from Canada to Bakersfield College before transferring to Boise State and on to the NFL. Watch the completed documentary: Deep Blue: from the Edge: The Tyrone Crawford Story.

Renegades on Facebook

It’s great to see Renegades in the community being recognized for their service. Paws for Liam which helps raise awareness for Autism Service Dogs tagged BC in a post which highlighted a BC rad tech student. 

Upcoming Events

This season is rich with celebrations and entertainment and BC is doing our part to entertain our community. Make sure to support our many student endeavors. Here are a few on the calendar:

Fun Photos

Here is some fun with Media Arts students hard at work!

Sonya speaking with her hand in an ok sign

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Thankful for Friends, Family, and the Home of the Renegades

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, December 1, 2018… A great day to be a Renegade.

Happy Thanksgiving Bakersfield

I’m thankful that Bakersfield College is a place of transformation, excellence, achievement, hope, dreams, diversity, acceptance, and student support. I’m thankful that our campus is one without boundaries, where we reach out to serve students in our surrounding communities, bringing college closer to home so they, too, can obtain a college education.

 I’m thankful for the countless stories of how our work is changing lives. Each and every day, I am amazed by the leadership and engagement of BC’s faculty and staff, especially in the way they serve our students providing seamless transitions and guided paths with pillars of light, support and hope.

In this season of thanksgiving, I spent a few moments reviewing weekly posts on my blog and through seeing the photos of students, graduates, alumni, supporters, faculty, and staff, I am blessed to share that I truly am the happiest and luckiest college president ever.  There really is so much to be thankful for.

Remember the Renegade Pantry for the Holidays

The holidays are a time to set aside differences and focus on love of family and community, coming together in fellowship to celebrate each other’s accomplishments and mourn our losses over the year. As the temperatures drop with the change of seasons, we become more sympathetic to those less fortunate than us who are suffering in the cold without food,housing or proper clothing.

Student hands out Pantry bags
Student hands out Pantry bags

At BC, we believe that none of our students should come to class or go home hungry, which is why we established the Renegade Pantry to alleviate food insecurity, hunger and poverty among our students, which in turn makes them more prepared to commit to their education.

This holiday season, we ask that you consider supporting the Renegade Pantry by donating nonperishable food, clothing and hygiene items. For more information about how to make a donation or financial contribution, visit the Donate page on the Office of Student Life website. Also the Culinary Arts Renegade Room is hosting a promotion in support of the Renegade Pantry – bring in two canned or dry goods items to the Renegade Room, and you’ll receive a soft drink of your choice free of charge. They also accept new or gently used coats, scarves, hats and blankets.

Students outside the Renegade Pantry
Students outside the Renegade Pantry

I’d like to thank the Office of Student Life for operating the Renegade Pantry and all those who have donated to keep it going.

Phillips 66 Tours Industrial Automation Lab

Phillips 66 Logo

On Tuesday, a team of 5 representatives from Phillips 66 were on campus to tour BC’s CIM and robotics labs. Dean of Instruction Michele Bresso shared that they asked incredible questions and one of them even made a comment that the equipment in our labs “is exact what is used in industry right now.”

BC’s Industrial Automation lab

Dean Bresso went on to share that at least two dozen students in Engineering and IT met with them for lunch and learned more about career opportunities within the field. Industry and community partnerships like this are one of the many enriching experiences for students at the home of the Renegades. Friends, it’s stories like these that prompt me to ask…

Have I told you lately that I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever?  🙂

Helping Youth Develop A College Going Attitude

Marisa Marquez presented valuable college application information to the Latina Leaders of Kern County Youth Leadership Program on Saturday, November 17.  She spent three hours sharing tips on the college application process, financial aid, goal setting, and why developing a college going attitude is so important. Bakersfield College has been a longtime supporter of Latina Leaders of Kern County and their efforts in youth leadership development. LLKC launched its twenty-first annual Youth Leadership Program with this session. Kudos to Marisa and all of our BC faculty and staff who go above and beyond and volunteer for the many great organizations in our community.

BC’s Counseling Department

With Thanksgiving now in our rear view mirror, the end of Fall and start of the Spring 2018 semester is right around the corner. I can bet that students are registering for their classes at this very moment. In light of this, I thought it was important to highlight the superheroes in our Counseling and Advising Department who assist students every day. The counseling office inside the Center for Student Success is always bustling with activities, workshops, appointments and walk-ins, and our Counseling and Advising staff handles it all with grace, conducting back-to-back appointments practically every day to serve our students and get them into the classes that they need.

Counselors and Advisors strategize to help students

Counselors and educational advisors are integral to our vision for implementing guided pathways at BC, and many of them serve as completion coaches for our ten Learning and Career Pathways, as well as our affinity groups for African-Americans, Latinos, and veterans. These coaches work with diligence and care to ensure that each student in their completion coaching communities is on track to graduate with a degree that will transform their lives and the lives of their families.

The Counseling and Advising Department is also working to bring its services out into the rural communities in Kern County, offering appointments at the Delano Campus, as well as select appointment dates throughout the year in Shafter and Wasco to bring BC closer to home.

Nothing we do here at BC would be possible without our counselors and advisors working with students to get them registered in classes that properly align with their educational and career goals, so I’d like to just say thank you for all you do and keep up the good work!

Transgender Day of Remembrance

A candle and small flier outside the doors to Levinson Hall

On Tuesday, the Bakersfield College community gathered in Levinson Hall to honor the lives of 23 transgender people who were murdered in 2018 as part of the 19th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

BC’s Sexuality and Gender Awareness club (SAGA) organized the campus’ commemoration of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which began in 1999 by transgender woman Gwendolyn Ann Smith to memorialize the murder of her friend Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts. Since its inception, Transgender Day of Remembrance has grown into an international day of action, with candlelight vigils, marches and art shows organized around the world on November 20 every year.

The gathering of students, faculty, staff, and allies
Professor Helen Acosta speaks during the event.
Professor Helen Acosta speaks during the event.

Club adviser and communication professor Helen Acosta spoke about the ways that people can be proper allies and advocates for the trans community.

“You don’t have to understand what it’s like to be transgender,” Acosta said. “Accept them for who they are and love them for who they are.” “My life has been deeply enriched by the trans friends and students,” she added.

Congratulations to Jen Garrett

Dr. Jennifer Garret, BC’s Choral Director

BC’s Choral Director, Jennifer Garrett has been invited to be one of the guest conductors for the 2019 Central Region Honor Choir. Each year the high school directors from the central region vote on next year’s honor choir conductors and so it’s quite an honor that our very own Jen Garrett will conduct.

The scheduled event is quite a ways away, not taking place until November of next year but stay tuned to my blog for more information when it becomes available.

TBC Highlights Jeannie Parent

BC’s Jeannie Parent was recently spotlighted in an article by The Bakersfield Californian’s Sam Morgen. The article titled “Local advocacy group extends welcoming hand into Mesa Verde detention facility” shares more about the group Kern Welcoming and Extending Solidarity to Immigrants, which was formed in 2015. 

Fun Photos: College Council

College Council met on Friday, November 16th to address college-wide issues through a collaborative approach. Of the topics presented, I was really impressed with the Industrial and Transportation  Meta-major Pathways Report given by Katie Makaiwi and the State of the College by Dan Hall.

Fun Photos: Child Development Center

Sue Vaughn shared some fun photos from BC’s Child Development Center. She said, “the staff in the Child Development Center decided that they wanted to have special shirts to identify themselves so they designed these.”

Staff at BC’s Child Development Center wear their shirts on November 19, 2018

Fun Photos: Renegades are Everywhere

BC’s Dean of Instruction, Corny Rodriguez texted me that he spotted the Renegade Athletics mascot on the back of this local Pepsi truck while leaving the BC SW campus.

Renegades on the back of a Pepsi truck

Where have you spotted the Renegades around town?

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

  • Gabby Lugo, Women’s Cross Country – Placed 10th at the CCCAA State Cross Country Championships and was named All-American in her final race as a Renegade.
  • Josh Medina, Football – Honored as the 2018 Patriotic Bowl Player of the Game. Threw for 258 yards and with 3 total touchdowns (2 passing, 1 rushing).
Gabby Lugo and Josh Medina

Women’s Volleyball Brings Home Post-Season Awards

The Renegade Women’s Volleyball team finished the 2018 regular season with a 23-1 record and a state ranking of #2. With the first round of the playoffs starting this coming week, post-season awards were announced. The team and Coach Ferreira were highly decorated. List of awards by individual:

  • Sarah Armendariz (So., Clovis West HS) – AVCA 1st Team All-American, CCCAA 1st Team All-State, WSC South Conference – Player of the Year
  • Lanie Camarillo (Fr., Liberty HS) – WSC South 1st Team
  • Penelope Zepeda (Fr., Frontier HS) – WSC South 1st Team
  • Jessica Merante (Fr., BCHS) – WSC South 2nd Team, WSC South Libero of the Year
  • Bianca Logsdon (So., Stockdale HS) – WSC South 2nd Team
  • Ryan Bayne (Fr., Stockdale HS) – WSC South Honorable Mention
  • Shyanne Baez (So., Golden Valley HS) – WSC South Honorable Mention
  • Coach Carl Ferreira – 2018 CCCWVCA Coach of the Year, 2018 WSC South Coach of the Year

Football Post-Season Awards Announced

The Bakersfield College football team finished the 2018 season with a hard fought 34-31 loss to Saddleback in the Patriotic Bowl. Overall they compiled a 6-5 record and went 3-2 in conference. With the close of the season the SCFA has announces postseason awards and several Renegades received recognition. The list of awards are below:

  • 1st Team All-Conference
    • Ricky Leung-Wai- DL (So., Ridgeview HS)
    • Justin Harrington- FS (Fr., Southeast Raleigh HS, NC)
    • Carson Olivas- Punter (So., Bakersfield HS)
    • Nathan De Jager- Place Kicker (So., Bakersfield Christian HS)
    • Cam Roberson- Punt Return Specialist (So., Garces HS)
    • Elisha Ortiz- RB (So., Stockdale HS)
  • 2nd Team All-Conference
    • James Thomas- DE (So., Independence)
    • Jalen Simpkins-ILB (So., West HS)
    • Lini Richards- CB (So., Wildwood HS)
    • Holden Williams- DL (Fr., Taft HS)
    • Jaron Marshall- OL (So., Fredrick Douglas HS, MD)
    • Zack Hartsfield- TE (Fr., Centennial HS)
    • Elisha Ortiz- All Purpose (So., Stockdale HS)
    • Shane Jones- WR – (Fr., Bakersfield HS)
  • Honorable Mention
    • Alex Bolden-OLB (So., Washington Union)
    • Mario Solario- ILB (So., Cesar Chavez HS)
    • LJ Early- Utility (So., Tulare Western HS)
    • Josh Yubeta- OL (Fr., Highland HS)

Roundup of Athletics Events

BC Supports Student Athletes

It’s always a treat to spend time at Renegade athletics games surrounded by
Renegade faculty, staff, fans, and friends. I loved cheering on the Renegade Volleyball Players beside Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Sandi Taylor, Michele Bresso, and Darrell Ballard. It’s extra special when families bring young ones to the games. Will I see you at a Renegade game?

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —

Student Success is Shining at BC

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, November 17, 2018…..A great day to be a Renegade

Wildfires Affecting Many California Community Colleges

Many of our sister schools in the California Community College system have been gravely affected by the wildfires that raged across the state last weekend, bravely fighting to support the most vulnerable members of their communities while dealing with the loss of their homes and loved ones.

Fire on the Panorama Bluffs earlier this year.

More than 70 people have died and 1000 are missing after the devastation of the Camp Fire in the North Valley, which completely destroyed the area around Paradise, California, a town of 26,000 people in the mountains above Chico in Butte County.

Butte College was surrounded on three sides by the blaze, but the campus was thankfully saved due to the valiant efforts of local firefighters. In a Student FAQ page on the Butte College web site, the campus announced that Butte College and all centers will remain closed until a tentative date of November 26, while some support services began this Thursday at the Butte College Chico Center, including mental health counseling, educational advising, referrals to local support services, and a food pantry for all those affected by the fire. The college has also established two GoFundMe accounts to support individuals affected by the fire: the Butte College Student Fire Relief Fund and the Butte College Faculty/Staff Fire Relief Fund.

The Butte College main campus continues to be used as a staging area for emergency service personnel, and “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” host Guy Fieri visited the area on Sunday to hand out food to relief workers, according to SF Gate.

While the Woolsey fire continues to burn along the California coast, with only 57 percent containment as of Thursday, November 15, a new blaze referred to as the Sierra Fire has started in the town of Fontana, just 50 miles east of Los Angeles, according to NBC News. Los Angeles Pierce College in Woodland Hills is being used as an evacuation area for the Southern California wildfires, as people and their pets who were displaced by the Woolsey and Hill fires have found refuge in the Pierce College gyms. The college also opened its pens and stables to house over 300 horses, donkeys, sheep and chickens, according to USA Today.

On Tuesday, California Community College Chancellor Eloy Oakley released a message across the state linking to the California Wildfire Relief Fund put together by the Foundation for California Community Colleges. All of the proceeds from the fund will go to directly support community college students and staff affected by the fires. The Santa Monica College Foundation is also partnering with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District to raise money in the Malibu Fire Relief Fund.

Bakersfield Fire department

Here at Bakersfield College, our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by these fires, and we hope that our partners in community college education can recover from this devastation as soon as possible.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of the first responders and firefighters around our state and those who have traveled, especially to California from other states, to assist. Earlier this year, we had a close call with a fire near campus, and you can read about it in my blog piece titled “Thank you firefighters and first responders.”

100 Years Since The End of World War I

Sunday was the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I, and throughout the world, leaders and communities solemnly honored the courageous people who died in the war. I came across a YouTube video which I found moving and poignant.

 The description of the video reads: “In fall 2015, Legion Magazine and Leonard Cohen released a video to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. In a poignant tribute to McCrae, Canadian songwriter, painter, and poet Leonard Cohen has recited that stirring poem for this exclusive video. His voice is accompanied by stirring imagery from the First World War.”

BC is About Student Success


Bakersfield College received the 2018 state Chancellor’s Student Success Award on Friday in recognition of the college’s intensive focus on strengthening curricular alignment throughout the k-16 educational pipeline. The state Chancellor’s Office describes the annual award as one which “honors college and/or district programs that demonstrate a commitment and significant progress toward achieving success and equity goals for all students.”

In a recent study of 98 of the 100 largest metro regions in the country, researchers at the non-profit Measure of America found that Kern County has the highest rate of disengaged youth in the country. With 21.2% of those aged 16-24 neither in school nor working, over 26,000 young people in Kern County are completely disengaged. By developing various student success initiatives, BC has united programs and resources to improve outcomes and support the Chancellor’s Vision for Success.

Group Photo

In 2016, BC developed a county-wide college promise, The Kern Promise, which focused on Associate Degree for Transfer Pathways. To advance the work specifically relating to issues of transfer misalignment, BC established a transfer task force for faculty from both BC and CSU Bakersfield to jointly clarify the pathways so students can progress through the college system, locally, unabridged, and efficiently.

Bakersfield College has recognized the value of momentum points which include:

  • Attempting 15+ units in the first term
  • Completion of transfer-level math and English in the first year
  • Attempting 30+ units in the first year
  • Completion of 9 core pathway units in the first year

These momentum points, along with high-tech, high-touch innovations such as the Program Pathways Mapper, Completion Coaching Communities, and with the Finish in 4 initiative, students are gaining the clarity to efficiently complete their degree or certificate. Special thanks to the WARBA group including Matthew Garrett, Janet Fulks, Eleonora Hicks, Marisa Marquez, and Khushnur Dadabhoy and BC’s Leading from the Middle team including Craig Hayward, Billie Jo Rice, Jennifer Johnson, Mark Osea, Brynn Schook, and Jonathan Schultz.

Student Success is on The Right Path

Student Success in Bakersfield was highlighted last weekend by Joseph Luiz in the Bakersfield Californian in his piece titled “Bakersfield College, Cal State Bakersfield see major increases in graduates.” In the article, Joseph cites BC’s Vice President of Instruction Liz Rozell highlighting
the college’s Guided Pathways model as one major reason we’ve seen such a significant increase. The article explains, “The goal of Guided Pathways is to graduate students more quickly by making the path to graduation more clear to students with a detailed plan and more counseling and other support services.” Read the full article at

Commencement Photo by Henry Barrios TBC May 12 2018

Speaking of student success, this week, a BC alum emailed his BC professors to share how being a Renegade has changed:

“I would like to thank the both of you, and the entire electronics/industrial automation department at BC. I just accepted a position as a broadcast engineer at our sister station in San Diego KGTV. This is a very big leap for my career as San Diego is in the top 30 markets of the US. For reference, Bakersfield is 122 in market size.

The success I’ve had so far in my career is directly related to the classes that I took in the electronics program at BC. Beyond learning electronics, PLCs, telecom and radio, I learned valuable life skills that I’ll carry the rest of my life. Once I start at KGTV my hourly rate will increase to $34.10 an hour, or $70,928 per year.  Your guys program is changing lives, I know it changed mine.”

Teaching 411

A BC team presented at the Teaching 411: Everything You Need to Know to Support and Prepare Future Teachers conference at College of the Canyons on November 9.  The conference brought together experts from across California to provide insights and information to those who create the pipelines and pathways for students pursuing careers in education from preschool through college level.

Jessica Wojtysiak, Isabel Castaneda, Kimberly Bligh
Jessica Wojtysiak, Isabel Castaneda, Dr. Kimberly Bligh

Dr. Kimberly Bligh, Isabel Castaneda, and Jessica Wojtysiak presented a workshop called “Guided Pathways and Teacher Preparation” with a focus on how Bakersfield College has embraced and institutionalized the Guided Pathways approach to education. The Education Pathway Completion team is laser-focused on finding ways to identify our community’s future teachers and ensure they can enter their pathway as early as possible, stay on their pathway, and ensure they have the courses, skills, and knowledge they need to obtain their degrees, transfer to a 4-yr institution, and complete the requirements they need to realize their career goals. It’s a good time to be a future teacher at BC!


The Education Pathway team hosted a conference at the Bakersfield College Southwest campus for more than 120 high school students from 9 campuses who are on the pathway to become teachers. Fernando Lara and his team graciously supported the L.E.T.S. Teach BC education team of Dr. Kimberly Bligh, Isabel Castaneda, Christina Maldonado, Teresa McAllister, and numerous student volunteers and peer mentors as they took over the BC Southwest facilities for the day. The conference was funded through the Education Futures project, which is a grant through the California Community College Chancellor’s Office.

The conference offered 16 breakouts and included motivational workshops with a resource fair option with 15 vendors from multiple four-year institutions and community partners. Topics included:

  • “Teaching from the Heart,” a presentation by Standard Middle School with LaStevia Dixon and Adan Garcia
  • “How to Shine in a Teaching Interview,” with former Superintendent Dr. Domene from Hope International
  • And a very cool hands-on Child Development activity facilitated by our very own Child Development faculty Amanda Tumblin!

The afternoon offered a great panel discussion with BC faculty Bill Chapman, Cato Middle School and BC Adjunct Faculty Amanda Gonzalez, and Samantha Hayes-Delaney, a BC Education Student and Classroom Aide at North Beard Elementary.

The BC L.E.T.S. Teach team will be hosting another conference in the spring for BC students in the Education Pathways. BC supports future teachers! #WeAreBC!

BC’s Spanish Club Visits LA

BC’s Spanish club organized a cultural trip to Los Angeles where they visited the Plaza Olvera, the Museum La Plaza de Cultura y Arte, a Mexican restaurant, the Chinese American Museum, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels, and finished dining at a Japanese restaurant.

Art, Architecture, and Archetypes – What’s a Museum?

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg (our newly elected KCCD Trustee!), David Koeth, Rae Ann Kumelos, Duane Anderson, and Susan Pinza hosted an interdisciplinary panel discussion this past Thursday.  The discussion was titled “From the Lourve to the Museum of Ice Cream: What’s a Museum?” and is a series focused on the significance of art, aesthetics, and humanities on communities.  

People sitting at table for panel discussion

David Koeth showed a slide saying there are approximately 850 million visits to American museums annually, which is more than the attendance for all major league sporting events and theme parks combined (483 million in 2011).  Museums support more than 726,000 American jobs and contribute $50 billion to the U.S. economy. This information was mind-blowing! I want to thank all of our participants, and Levan Center Director Reggie Williams who makes these events possible.

These discussions are free and open to the public, so make sure to keep your eyes open for future dates and topics!

Congratulations to Juan Pablo Buenrostro

Kris Tiner

Kris Tiner at a performance in December 2014.

Music Faculty Kris Tiner shared with me recently that one of his students, trumpet player and BC Music Major Juan Pablo Buenrostro, was selected to be a member of the prestigious Bakersfield Youth Symphony Orchestra. I’m also told this is a special year for the orchestra as they’ve been invited to perform in our sister city of Wakayama, Japan. Through his online fundraiser, Juan says, “Being able to participate in this international tour would be an enormous musical and educational opportunity for me.”

The sister city relationship between Bakersfield and Wakayama officially began on August 21, 1961, when the Bakersfield City Council adopted a resolution establishing an ongoing friendship with the city of Wakayama, Japan. This action was shortly followed by Bakersfield Mayor Gene Winer appointing a People-to-People Steering Committee to oversee the Bakersfield-Wakayama Sister City relationship. Later, the Bakersfield Sister City Project Corporation was created. Soon, Bakersfield officials and citizens were traveling to our new sister city, where they were overwhelmed by the friendly reception. In return, delegations from Wakayama began to visit Bakersfield, forming lasting friendships that continue to the present day.  Over the years, every Mayor of Bakersfield since 1964 has visited Wakayama, while every Mayor of Wakayama has visited Bakersfield.

Blessed are the Huggers’ by Jack Hernandez

Last weekend, it was a joy to see Jack’s most recent Community Voices piece, “Blessed are the huggers” in The Bakersfield Californian. With words of wisdom, such as “Hugging somehow blends us in a way that words don’t,” and “I believe, though, that even if we don’t hug others, we should hug ourselves,” Jack shares the importance of closeness, caring for others, and caring for ourselves. If you missed it in print, check it out on

Community Voices Jack Hernandez Blessed are the huggers

Gadfly Cafe – Suicide: In Pain, Protest, and Honor

The fall semester’s third and final Gadfly Cafe took place on Wednesday, November 14. Students gathered in the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities to discuss a very serious topic–Suicide: In Pain, Protest, and Honor.  Philosophy Professor Reggie Williams did a fine job moderating the discussion of a delicate topic.  Attendees shared stories of how suicide has affected their lives and how they have managed to cope with these sudden losses. It was a heartbreaking yet supportive atmosphere.  Stay tuned for more Gadfly Cafe events coming next semester!

Taking BC Adult Education Across Country

Fall leaves, beautiful weather, the Charles River and Adult Education, as Boston, Massachusetts was the site of the National College Transition Network (NCTN) 2018 Fall Conference. Program Manager Endee Grijalva had the opportunity to co-present with Bakersfield Adult School (BAS) Principal Mark Wyattand Administrator Jodi Loeffler on the partnership between BAS and BC–a partnership that has birthed an innovative and creative space for student success! This co-located one-stop for education and resources is the first of its kind and only the beginning, as the BC Adult Education team continues to take education to the people via Rural Initiatives.

Mark Wyatt, Endee Grijalva, Jodi Loeffler
Mark Wyatt, Endee Grijalva & Jodi Loeffler

Mech Ag Grand Opening

The Mechanized Agriculture Grand Opening took place on Wednesday, November 14, at Renegade Park, with opening remarks by Anthony Cordova, Career & Technical Education (CTE) Director, and Cornelio (Corny) Rodriguez, Dean of Instruction, welcoming everyone to the event.  Mechanized Agriculture Professor Matt Riley  spoke about how this program is developing a strong workforce for jobs in local industries, in particular oil and agriculture.

More than a dozen students were on stage to share how the program has changed their lives.  Some told their stories of how they came into the program, including Raul Herrera, who gave a moving speech about how the program offered him hope for a new career.  Heavy equipment was on display, showing visitors the exact type of machinery these students will be using on the job.

Congratulations to all the students who will be completing this new degree program!  You are BC! For more coverage of the Mech Ag Grand Opening, read the story on or check it out on

Deep Cuts and Conversations

Often when we hear a song that we enjoy, we sing along or tap a foot without even thinking about the artist’s personal life. On Thursday evening, the Levan Center hosted another round of Deep Cuts & Conversations with Josh OttumKris Tiner, and Reggie Williams. The theme for the evening was musicians who were not the most exemplary people.

The evening started off discussing Merle Haggard. Although a celebrated country artist, Merle spent much of his younger years on the wrong side of the law. In 1950, at the age of 13 he was already involved in theft and writing bad checks. He had a knack for escaping incarceration and was eventually sent to San Quentin. In 1972 however, then-California Governor Ronald Reagan granted Merle a full pardon.

Two people talking

The conversation then turned to John Lennon. Although some of his songs have been used as celebrated anthems for peace, he was reputedly a horrible father who abandoned his son Julian at 5 years old. The song Imagine was played over the PA and Prof. Reggie Williams described how the song parallels the Communist manifesto. Prof. Kris Tiner added that the song was actually banned from some radio stations after the 9/11 attacks due to its anti-materialist sentiment.

The evening continued with mentions of Sam CookeDon Henley, Spade Cooley, and Beethoven for questionable aspects of their lives. Stay tuned for the next edition of Deep Cuts and Conversations.  Date to be announced soon!

Fun Photos from Midnight Madness

The Rural Initiatives team burned the midnight oil!  Express enrollment this week was Midnight Madness. We had a great turnout. Students were able to complete all matriculation steps in one day. Big shout out to the team!

Fun Photos from Hot Rod Reunion Drag Race

BC Renegades and Automotive Technology professor Vic Posey participated in the 2018 Hot Rod Drag Race. Check out the fun photos!

International Education Week

All this past week, the Bakersfield College community celebrated the diversity of our international students with a series of events in observance of International Education Week.  This year, approximately 60 students from 24 different countries to start their futures here at BC, said International Students counselor Shoreh Rahman.

On Tuesday morning, several international students gathered at the International Students office in the Center for Student Success to raise awareness of the program, which provides educational services and academic support for students coming from abroad. And on Tuesday night, faculty and staff met with international students in the Fireside Room to network and learn more about the countries the students come from.

International Education Week students

This year, Rahman has sought to provide more opportunities and support for international students at BC by hiring several of them to work in her department. Transfer Pathways director Khushnur Dadabhoy, Testing and Placement Program Manager Kalina Hill, and EMLS instructor Elizabeth Rodacker are all advocates for international students at BC.

Mecha table

The event culminated on Wednesday afternoon with the Passport to the World event, where students hosted tables from each of their countries on the lawn between the Center for Student Success and the Library.  I’d like to thank Shoreh Rahman and the International Students department for participating in the nationwide celebration of International Education Week and striving to make Bakersfield College’s influence spread worldwide.

Chicano/Latino Community Leader Breakfast

The Annual Chicano/Latino Breakfast was hosted in the Fireside Room on the Bakersfield College campus on Thursday morning, November 15. What a great group of community leaders that came out in support of Bakersfield College. Mayor Karen Goh was in attendance along with many corporate and community partners.  It is always inspiring to see the support our college and students receive.  The highlight of the meeting was rhe commitment from those present to be “Padrinos” for students who may fall through the cracks and need a little guidance and support.  A Padrino will be someone our students can reach out to when they run into an obstacle or question about their education. The Padrino will provide information on resources and support avenues for the student to be successful.  Another start to great opportunities to ensure student success!

Kern Energy Summit

Each fall, industry leaders gather in Bakersfield to exchange information on the latest advances and innovation in the energy industry, specifically as it affects Kern County’s position as a U.S. energy leader.  Kern EDC partners with other industry supporters every November to explore current challenges and opportunities facing the petroleum, utility, and renewable energy industries. The conference provides an opportunity to network with top industry experts and suppliers to learn about local innovations and technologies that are shaping the energy future of the state and nation.  Bakersfield College was a proud sponsor of the event. 

Kern Energy Summit

The agenda included a presentation by Lorelei Oviatt, Director, Kern County Planning and Natural Resources Department, a presentation on the Belridge Solar Project, a panel discussion on the future of energy in Kern County, and ended with a panel discussion on Gender and the Changing Face of the Energy Industry.  Next up was Peter Zeihan, Geopolitical Strategist It was great to see Bakersfield College well represented at the event with participation from the Career Technical Education team and the Bakersfield College Foundation staff and board members, including the Foundation Chair, Mr. Jeff Bell.

BC Giving Away Free Uber Rides!

We all know how important it is to promote safety for our students and greater community. Director of Student Life Dr. Nicky Damania and BC student Mataalofa Hubbard visited 17 News at Sunrise on Tuesday to explain the effort to keep drunk drivers off the roads. Read the full story on

Santa Ana College Visits BC GPIT

On Tuesday and Wednesday, BC hosted 14 members of the Guided Pathways Implementation Team from Santa Ana College. Led by Fernando Ortiz, the faculty Guided Pathways Coordinator, the team members represented their Guided pathways Design Teams: Entry, Program Mapping, Communication, Student Support and Advising.

Classroom of people

Santa Ana College is in the early implementation phase as one of 20 California Community Colleges participating in the statewide CA Guided Pathways Project, which follows the national AACC Guided Pathways project that BC participated in several years ago. BC was instrumental in bringing the project to California and is recognized as a partner in the CA Guided Pathways project. The Santa Ana College team met with BC’s Guided Pathways Implementation Team (GPIT) on Tuesday, and on Wednesday morning with  teams from Outreach & School Relations, Summer Bridge, Academic Support Services, Starfish Implementation, the Program Pathways Mapper, the Data Analytics Team and more for advice and to learn strategies in implementing Guided Pathways at Santa Ana.

Thank you Lesley Bonds for coordinating Santa Ana College’s team visit and thank you to GPIT and all of the teams that took time out of their busy schedules to meet with our visitors. I am proud that we are leading the way in Guided Pathways and improving the college system for not only our students, but for students all over California by assisting other colleges in implementing Guided Pathways. This is one more reason why I am the happiest college president. For more about Guided Pathways at BC, see BC Guided Pathways.

‘Boys in the Band’ Now Playing

Playwright Mart Crowley’s “The Boys in the Band” is considered to be a groundbreaking work in the American theater genre. It is truly the first honest portrayal of the lives of contemporary gay life in 1968. Taking place in an apartment in New York’s posh Upper East Side, the dialogue exchanges and witty remarks concerns 9 gentlemen who gather for the birthday. The play intertwines the conception themes of love, fear, self-loathing, alcoholism, stereotypes, friendships, betrayal, trust, and most importantly, the unknown. Cleverly directed by BC Professor Kimberly Chin, she brings this production to life with nine amazing BC actors with a bit of class and drama.

Boys in the Band

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11 a.m., check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include segments with Athletic Director Sandi Taylor, TBC’s Jon Mettus and Head Football Coach Jeff Chudy.

Segment with Sandi Taylor

Segment with Jon Mettus

Segment with Jeff Chudy

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (10/28 -11/3) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

Renegades of the Week

Allie Crawley, Women’s Golf: Placed 4th at the SoCal Regional Tournament on 11/5 to qualify individually for the 2018 CCCAA Women’s Golf State Finals.

Emmett Kuntz, Wrestling: Took 1st place in his weight class (149 lb.) at the SEWA Conference Tournament on Saturday 11/10.

Allie Crawley

Women’s Golfer, Allie Crawley, Finishes 16th at 2018 CCCAA Women’s Golf State Tournament

Renegade Women’s Golfer Allie Crawley represented the BC women’s golf program at the 2018 CCCAA Women’s Golf State Championship on Sunday (11/11) and Monday (11/12). Over the course of the two-day tournament, she shot a 78 the first day and an 82 on the second day to finish the tournament ranked 16th (out of 59) in the state. Way to go, Allie!

Men’s Soccer brings home host of post-season awards

The Renegade Men’s Soccer team finished their 2018 campaign with a 9-6-5 overall record. They posted a 4-2-4 record in conference which placed them in third place in the final Western State Conference (WSC) South Division. As the season has concluded, the team has racked up a number of post-season conference, region and state awards, which are listed below:

2018 Western State Conference 1st team

  • Jesus Barajas (so)
  • Jose Lara (so)
  • Edgar Gonzalez (fr)

2018 Western State Conference 2nd team

  • Christian Gonzalez (fr)
  • Alexander Ramos (so)

2018 Western State Conference Honorable Mention

  • William Johnson (so)
  • Armando Alvarez (fr.)

2018 CCCSCA All-Region Team

  • Jose Lara (so)
  • Edgar Gonzalez (fr)

2018 CCCSCA All-State Team

  • Edgar Gonzalez (fr)

Roundup of Athletics Events this week

As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include:

Emails Worth Sharing

Tamara Baker, Community Relations Manager, and Rae Ann Kumelos, English Faculty, exchanged emails this week because Tamara waved Rae Ann into an open parking space.  See the email below.

Rae Ann and Josh Ottum in BC’s recording studio.

Dear Tamara, Thank you for your act of generosity yesterday morning in giving me the rare and elusive parking spot. I was delighted to see you last night at the Levan Center!  Now I can thank you properly. Your kindness had a lovely ripple effect.

I was running late, had heavy bags of essays to schlep to Humanities, forgot a sweater and was wearing heels, so the full parking lot on Haley made me so grumpy. As I raced to the back lot hoping to find a spot, I was also saddened that I would not be able to share the latest morning parking drama with my beloved colleague, David Beest. As you may know, David passed away suddenly on Oct. 18th. We miss him terribly in the English department. David and I had a M/W ritual before class of comparing the daily parking story, and he would have appreciated this one.

More importantly, he would have appreciated and laughed at my silly warrioress parking mentality versus your generosity of spirit. My students keep a kindness journal and we often start class with someone sharing a kind act shared with them. Thanks to your kindness, I shared the story of your parking gift (something the students all relate to…), and your actions uplifted not only me, but the entire class. Thank you for making a lovely difference in my day–one that touched the students as well. I will be sure to pass your generous gift forward next time a parking challenge occurs (and we know there will be a next time).

Thank you again – wishing you all joy – and an empty parking spot whenever you need one.

Take care, Rae Ann

Stories like this show how even during the holiday season, something as simple as kindness in the parking lot goes a long way and spreads joy throughout our community.

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC Loves Our Vets!

Good morning Bakersfield. 
It is Saturday, November 10, 2018…..A great day to be a Renegade

Official group picture

It has been 6 weeks since I went to my Saturday exercise class.  So I really enjoyed being back at Body Pump and fell in love with this song that the instructor used for the lunge session.

Now back to BC….. Paul Beckworth texted me this morning that it was a “fantastic week” at BC.  All week long we have been celebrating our student veterans at BC with many events.

Bakersfield College Vernon Valenzuela Veteran Resource Center

Monday morning began with the 2018 Veterans Community Leader Breakfast, celebrating those who diligently support our returning veterans and men and women in service. Local leaders ate a delicious breakfast at the Renegade Room prepared by our amazing culinary team.  With an over 60% increase in student veterans at BC on campus, it is the leadership and engagement from these dedicated individuals who help us intentionally and meaningfully support our students and veterans to reach their goals. Thank you to everyone who came out including Mayor Goh, Chancellor Tom Burke, Assemblyman Vince Fong, Dick Taylor, Cole Karr (Representative for Kevin McCarthy), Perry Finzel (Representative for David Valadao), Josh Dhanens, and Scott Spielman.  

Karen Goh, Lauren Skidmore, Perry Finzel, Cole Carr, Lilly Agbalog.jpg

A special thanks to Christian Flores-Castaneda, Alex Gomez, Suzanne Tangeman for all of your hard work on the breakfast!

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After the breakfast, attendees joined others from the community to break ground on the Bakersfield College Veterans Resource Center, the first capital project to be funded by Measure J.  Speakers celebrated Vernon Valenzuela and his importance to our community, and spoke about how it is fitting that the first building to be constructed using the Measure J funds is that in dedication to our veterans.  Thank you to our MANY attendees, including Trustee Kay Meek, Trustee Bill Thomas, Trustee Romeo Agbalog for coming to celebrate this momentous occasion! You can view the entire photo album on Facebook. 

I grabbed some of these photos from Mayor Goh’s Facebook posts.

Karen Goh, Sonya Christian.  Picture 2: Norma Rojas Mora, Romeo Agbalog

Karen Goh, Dyann Serrato, Sonya Christian.  Picture 2: Tom Burke, Jeff Flores

Group at the Ground Breaking ceremony.  Picture 2: The fabulous Jennifer Serrat with me


Large group with shovel in hand Nov 5 2018.jpg


2018 Vetfest

Patriotism was on full display this past Wednesday, November 7, as Bakersfield College celebrated Vetfest.  The festival, which honored and showed appreciation to all active and former members of the military, was well-attended by students, community members, and veterans.

The morning began with the BC Drumline giving a wonderful performance to kick off the festivities.  They were followed by the presentation of colors and National Anthem. The MC for the event, Veterans Club President Miguel Valle, did an excellent job welcoming the attendees and introducing the speakers.  We had the distinct honor of hearing from the keynote speaker, Lt. Col. (retired) Dr. Tommy Tunson, Director of Public Safety Training Programs, who delivered a truly inspiring speech.

Providing entertainment for the festival were the Brothers of Latin Rock.  Music echoed throughout the campus as this talented band played many classic rock songs, adding their own Latin feel, including “Black Magic Woman” by Santana, which was requested by a veteran in attendance.  BC student Brooke Perez also got on stage and showcased her amazing voice by singing a handful of songs. Way to go, Brooke!

It is events like this that remind us how important it is to never forget the sacrifices our veterans have made.  I am humbled at how this campus has come together to take care of those who have given so much in the name of freedom.
Very special thanks goes out to the following individuals for contributing to the success of Vetfest:

  • Armando Trujillo – Veteran Educational Advisor
  • Bernadette Martinez – Office Supervisor, Counseling Dept.
  • Adeana Williams – Department Assistant, Veterans Resource Center
  • Miguel Valle – Student Veteran Club President
  • Lee Caldwell – BC Student Veteran
  • Lt. Col (ret.) Dr. Tommy Tunson — Director of Public Safety Training Programs
  • BC Veteran Club advisors and members
  • Office of Student Success & Equity
  • BC Food Services
  • BC Facilities, Maintenance & Operations

Last but most definitely not least, a HUGE thank you to Lisa Kent and Paul Beckworth for organizing this week!  Thank you to everyone for helping honor our veterans as we celebrate Vet Week. We are BC!


President Sonya Christian, VPs Zav Dadabhoy and Mike Giacomini, with keynote speaker Lt. Col. Dr. Tommy Tunson.


American pride at BC


BC Drum Line


President Sonya Christian speaker to the crowd.


Keynote speaker Lt. Col. Dr. Tommy Tunson on stage.

You can view photos of the entire week’s worth of events on Facebook.

Vet Club

BC’s Vet Club

Football game honoring our Veterans

Last weekend’s football game was a treat. There was a beautiful color in the sky which looked fierce like fire as I made my way towards Memorial Stadium.

Sky at the BC football game

It started with the National Anthem sung by a student veteran who is also a Music Major. His name is Josh Forquera. He works so hard and it shows. Let’s listen to his talent….

Josh singing the National Anthem.

Josh Forquera singing the National Anthem.


Skydiver from Skydive San Joaquin bringing in the American and State flags.


Skydiver from Skydive San Joaquin bringing in the game ball.

Thank you to SGA for being so supportive of our football game honoring our Veterans, and for providing the amazing skydivers to kick off the night.

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Jeremy Staat tossing the coin at the football game.

BC’s very own Jeremy Staat performed the coin toss at the game, alongside Chevron’s Gavin Kimmel.  Jeremy played football as a Renegade, then went on to play at ASU as a teammate of Pat Tillman.  Jeremy’s football career then took him to the NFL, after which he served in the Marines. He’s now a welding instructor at BC.

We also had a swearing in ceremony for army recruits at halftime.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these recruits!

Moorepark at BC Football29

Swearing in ceremony for army recruits at halftime.

That night, the names of all BC staff/faculty veterans were read aloud.  I would like to honor them now by listing them by name once again:

United States Marines
• Jeremy Staat, 2005-2009, Corporal (E-4). — Welding
• Armando Trujillo, Marine Corps –Veterans Educational Advisor
• Felix Ramirez from 1980-1985. 1985-2002 Army National Guard (E-7) —Public Safety Officer (ret). (Retired from BC)
• Juan Torres, United State Marine Corps from 1988-1994—Site Operations (Delano)
• Jason Mattheus, 1997-2003, Public Safety
• Luke Thomas, Public Safety

United States Navy
• Lieutenant Manuel Fernandez, 11 years—Electronics
• Jahnea Palfrey, 1999-2003, Law Enforcement—Department Assistant
• Di Hoffman, 1992-2001 – Nursing
• Eddie Rangel, 1998-2001 –Information Technology
• Diana Alcala, 2002-2008—Human Resources Assistant
• Paul Beckworth, 1989-1993, National Guard 1997-2003— Faculty Director of Veteran Services
• Richard McCrow, 30 years –Dean of Instruction
• Tony Cordova- Program Manager CTE
• David Whalen, 5 year, Physics and Astronomy Professor

United States Army
• Pat Smith, 5 yrs —Criminal Justice Professor
• Joe Escalante, served 4 years, Sociology Professor
• Patrick Fulks, 1969-1971,(E-5) Biology Professor
• F. Javier Llamas, 1995-2003, History Professor
• Chef Patrick Coyle, 1972-1977, Culinary Professor
• Charlie Fivecoat, 1971-1974, Criminal Justice Professor
• Tommy Tunson, 1974-2007, Director of Public Safety Training Program
• Richard Castallon, 2013-present, Public Safety

United States Air Force
• Bernadette Martinez, 1993-1997 (E-4)—Office Supervisor
• Malissa Buggs, 21 years, Nursing Professor
• Christine Dunn 1995-1998 (Captain) Nursing
• Myron Patton, 1973-1977, Air Force, Adjunct Agriculture

Coast Guard
• Thomas T. Rush, 4 years, BS Program Associate Professor-Electronics
• Glen Gustafson, 6 years, Art Professor

Thank you for all that you do, for serving our country and protecting our freedom.  I am so proud that you all are a part of the Bakersfield College team!

During the game, it was great to see Kimberly Bligh, Zav Dadabhoy, and Carlos Barabaran in the stands among all our regular dedicated Renegade fans.

Sonya Christian and Kimberly BlighSonya Christian, Zav Dadabhoy, & Carlos Barbaran

Chris Hine shared a photo with me after the game of Valerie hanging out with Pepper, the softbank robot programmed by BC’s Industrial Automation seniors to be a Renegade football fan!

Valerie & Pepper the Robot

Chris Hines’ grandaughter Valerie

Chevron supports current and future Renegades

Partnerships with local industry are so important to our students and Chevron is a true partner in the transformative power of higher education.  In 2013 when I started as President of Bakersfield College, we received a $125,000 gift from Chevron for various programs and initiatives. With that gift, the college was able to modernize engineering labs equipment from the petroleum and engineering fields.

An ongoing project between Bakersfield College and Chevron, called Project Lead the Way, grows each and every summer offering more enriching STEM camp opportunities for local high school and middle school students. These day-long summer camps truly inspire students to consider career fields in engineering, robotics, architecture, and more. Check out the article from KGET which highlights these camps from last summer with a video.

BC’s Yadira Guerrero, the Program Manager of Engineering at Bakersfield College has spoke about her passion for bringing hands-on STEM education to young people during these camps made possible by Chevron. “We’re hoping to inspire students and ignite a love for hands-on learning that maybe they don’t get the chance to do a lot of in school,” she said. “We’re hoping the academy will inspire them to want to go to college.”

In 2016, the Bakersfield College Foundation honored Chevron as Outstanding Corporate Donor for all they invest in our community. Everything Chevron does is focused on preparing students to succeed in school and in life. As a testament to their generosity, they are a core reason for the increase in our engineering majors from 163 in 2008 to 2512 STEM majors in Fall 2018.

In addition to the STEM camps before students get to BC, the support of BC’s MESA program is life changing. I previously blogged about MESA Week Zero here and news about recent MESA students is regular feature in my blog! It’s amazing to see these young men and women grow and succeed in their studies and budding passion for engineering and STEM careers.  

Chevron leader and advocate Adam Alvidrez was also on campus for the signing of the Kern Promise in April 2017. The Kern promise supports a vision of focused partnerships between education and industry partners to increase efficiency and ensure that our graduates can find meaningful employment upon completion. You can read more about the signing event in my blog, “Strengthening Kern County One Degree at a Time.”

Chevron’s support goes beyond academics and the classroom, extending to athletics and support for our veterans. Last weekend, Chevron’s Gavin Kimmel was on the field alongside BC faculty and Veteran Jeremy Staat for the coin toss. Chevron invited employees to support veterans and attend the Renegade football at the game against Moorepark for a family night out supporting the ‘Gades.

chevron coin toss

Chevron’s Gavin Kimmel alongside BC’s Jeremy Staat tossing the game coin.

Thank you Chevron, for investing in education, supporting our students, and inspiring the future workforce to learn skills that provide living wages and meaningful employment.

Wounded Heroes Fund: Salute to Our Local Heroes

For the 10th year, the local Wounded Heroes Fund sponsored a very successful BBQ steak lunch at the Kern County Fairgrounds–free for all veterans!  Just inside the grounds was a range exhibitors that provide services for veterans, employers of veterans, and veteran supporters, such as Kevin McCarthy. Of course, Armando Trujillo, BC Veteran’s Adviser, was stationed at the BC booth, and addressed the gathering regarding his military service and transition home.

Inside the pavilion, large rows of camo-covered tables and US flags filled the room providing plenty of space for veterans, families, and friends. Attendees listened to speeches from our local veteran leaders, and rocked to music from outstanding veteran-lead bands. A fantastic steak lunch added to the festivities!  BC Director of Veterans programs, Paul Beckworth and his wife Sandra were there with family, and joined by Terri Goldstein, Director of BC Disabled Students Programs & Services.

The official website states that The Wounded Heroes Fund is a local service organization for veterans and families affected by the war on terror in an effort to provide the support and appreciation they need for a healthy return to civilian life. Thank you to Mayor Karen Goh who always notices BC in the community and is never shy to forward me the photos, BC’s Veteran Services, Terri Goldstein, Director of BC’s DSPS, and BC’s Nursing students who always jump in with involvement in the community. See the post by Mayor Karen Goh on her Facebook! BC Nursing rocks!

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Thirty Unit Coining Ceremony

On Wednesday evening Bakersfield College Veteran Services held its first ever 30-unit Coining Ceremony, which signifies an important momentum point for our student-veterans. This milestone captures the halfway mark to the participants’ road to degree completion. Challenge coins are traditionally handed out upon completion of an important task or mission and to raise morale.  Wednesday’s ceremony may very be the first of its kind in the California Community College system. Twenty-seven veterans were coined in front of a roomful of family and friends.  I’m so proud of our student veterans!

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BC Honored with Joint Assembly & Senate Resolution

Earlier this week, Senator Fuller presented BC with the joint Assembly and Senate Resolution in honor of Bakersfield College receiving the Gold Strong Workforce Star for our Radiologic Technology program and our Registered Nursing program. Over the summer, BC was recognized by the 2018 Strong Workforce Stars for SIXTEEN of our programs!  The Strong Workforce Stars highlights career education programs whose students show significant gains in factors important in building a skilled workforce and for advancing personal social mobility: a substantial increase in earnings, attainment of a living wage and placement in a job closely matched with the field of study.  Here you’ll be able to see the entire list of programs honored.  You can view the ceremony on our Facebook page.

It was such a beautiful moment, and I’m glad I got to share it with those who work so hard to make our CTE programs successful.  Thank you to Tony Cordova, Cindy Collier, Carla Gard, and Jennifer Johnson for all of your hard work and your commitment to our students!  

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Thank you to Senator Fuller, Assemblyman Vince Fong, Senator Andy Vidak and Assemblyman Rudy Salas for your support and this honor.

Telemundo highlights BC’s Free on the Outside program

Thank you to Telemundo for highlighting our Free on the Outside program.  President Alex Arreola shared how this program has helped him envision a different future for himself and his family.  Adolfo Vega shared how the program has provided academic and social support to help him feel part of the Bakersfield College campus.  Norma Gaspar congratulated the students for their dedication and commitment to each other and to changing their lives all while encouraging viewers to see the opportunities Bakersfield College has to offer.  Providing an avenue for all students to succeed and giving them support is what matters. Todos Somos BC!

telemundo alex arreola adolfo vega emmanuel Limaco

BC’s Alex Arreola, Adolfo Vega and Emmanuel Limaco with Telemundo’s Norma Gaspar.

You can watch the segment here on Telemundo.

Roadmap to Public Health Degrees & Careers

Sarah Baron of BC’s Public Health Science program hosted an informational fair on Monday along with presentations on degrees and careers in public health. Throughout the morning, she shared tips for transferring to CSU and UC into a public health or health science major and various opportunities to learn more about public health careers from professionals in the field. There was information on how to apply for the UCLA Public Health Scholar program, an overview on how to obtain an Associate Degree for Transfer in Public Health Science and information on the new Health Navigator Certificate.

BC is fortunate to have such incredible faculty who inspire students to learn more and be inspired by their programs and areas of focus. Thank you Sarah Baron!

Panel Discussion – World War I: A Retrospective

On Tuesday, Bakersfield College professors gave a series of lectures about World War I in the Levan Center to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day this Sunday, which marks the end of The Great War.  History professor Tina Mendoza moderated the event, which offered substantive analysis of three different aspects of World War I and how it continues to influence society today.


Tina Mendoza moderating the WWI panel.

Paul Beckworth’s presentation focused on the last day of the war on November 11, 1918. Even though a peace agreement had been reached by 5 a.m. that morning, seven US generals forced their troops to continue fighting until the official end of the war at 11 a.m. More than 11,000 casualties were needlessly suffered on that last morning due to the hubris of generals such as John J. Pershing, which Beckworth considers a criminal act and a violation of the social contract that a military officer agrees to when he or she becomes an authority figure in control of the fate of their troops.  “An officer is a powerful thing, and it carries with it a heavy responsibility,” Beckworth said. “You don’t grade on curves with other people’s lives.”


Paul Beckworth speaking on the WWI panel.

Olivia Garcia focused on young men in the British middle and upper class who volunteered to die by the thousands in the first major world conflict of the Industrial Age. Military propaganda convinced young men to fight in the conflict; and the horrifying realities of trench warfare and death at a scale that humanity had never seen before was challenging for Victorian and Edwardian notions of aristocratic masculinity that still permeated British society.


Olivia Garcia presenting at the WWI panel.

Javier Llamas discussed how the United States’ late entry into World War I reorganized the structure of the Army and provided opportunities for immigrants and African-Americans to defend their country through volunteering and being drafted into the conflict. African-Americans, as well as Asian immigrants and Mexicans, participated in the conflict via segregated units that primarily provided infrastructure for the war effort. Some troops of color, such as the Harlem Hellfighters, got to fight alongside French and Senegalese troops and were treated as equals.


Javier Llamas presenting at the WWI memorial.

I’d like to thank everyone who participated in this panel Levan Center discussion about World War I. It provided some fascinating perspectives on a conflict that shaped the the 20th Century.


Thank you Olivia, Paul, Javiera & Tina!

Distinguished Speaker Oz Sanchez

On Thursday BC hosted its fifth Distinguished Speaker, Oz Sanchez, author of Know No Limits: The Gold Medalist in Us All. Mr. Sanchez is a Marine and 3x Paralympic medalist who spoke about achieving successful change inevitably means overcoming obstacles and, in some cases, recreating oneself through an identity shift. He asked the question: how can you become better if you don’t change your mindset? An open mind creates a growth mindset, and helps create your identity. Mr. Sanchez explained that excuses are justifications for our inactions.

Thank you to Dr. Terri Goldstein, Director of Disabled Students Programs and Services, Paul Beckworth, Director of Veterans Services, and Sandi Taylor, Director of Athletics for organizing and advising on this event, and to the Veterans Committee, Renegade Athletics, and Kern Disability Collaborative for collaborating on it as well.

Operation: Not Forgotten Drop Zone

BC held its annual “Operation: Not Forgotten Drop Zone” from 7am-6pm this past Thursday.  The community came out and showed its support by dropping off items to send to deployed military personnel overseas, as well as giving cards and letters of support.  BC holds this activity annually alongside the group Blue Star Moms. Thanks to everyone who donated and showed their support for our troops!

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Services for David Besst

Last Saturday, I attended a celebration of life for Professor David Besst.  There were several faculty and staff and retired faculty and staff at the event.

David passed away unexpectedly in October at the age of 55, with 25 of those years being spent as an English faculty at BC.  I grabbed these photos from Andrea Thorson’s Facebook post. 


Entree to Employment

Speaking of the Renegade Room and Culinary Arts department, the Career Technical Education Department partnered with the Kern High School District ROC to host the 3rd Bi-Annual, Entrée to Employment event on October 23, 2018. The goal of this event is to introduce our students to the art of networking and gaining valuable knowledge of industry expectations from the employers firsthand. The following Automotive, Fire Technology, Nursing, and Veterinary Technician programs were highlighted. Students were individually selected to participate by their Professors and were required to attend an etiquette class that covered proper dining, attire, and business networking practices. Entrée to Employment took place in our very own Renegade Room, where Chef Suzanne Tangeman, Lab Technician Christian Flores, and their entire staff of students prepared and served an impeccable meal.

While there are no expectations of job offers, the survey results from the event were very positive:

  • 95% of the employers surveyed commented on how professional our students were dressed and how effectively they communicated.
  • 1 student was offered an interview the following day
  • 2 students were told about internship opportunities
  • 1 student was invited to a facility tour
  • 1 student invited on a hike with the Battalion Chief
  • 1 student was offered a job

Kudos to Beth Harrison, Job Development Specialist, who coordinated the event. Without the assistance of BC culinary students, instructors, staff, community employers and the Kern High School District the event would not have been possible.

entree to employment

Attendees at the Entree to Employment event.

entree to employment1

Delicious meal prepared by our talented Renegade Room Culinary team.

Student Life & SGA hosts Murder Mystery Dinner

The Renegade Room was packed for the Murder Mystery Dinner hosted by Student Life and BCSGA. The crowd was captivated by the hilarious performers and interactive experience. And the food…well the food was simply to die for! Special thanks to Christian Flores-Castaneda, Alex Gomez, Suzanne Tangeman and the Renegade Room Staff for a night well spent! It was fantastic!

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Running in Silence

Dr. Terri Goldstein, BC’s Director of DSPS, shared an article featuring BC student athlete, Adolfo Escudero-Mendoza. The moving story featured the passion, love of sport, determination, and power of teammates. 23ABC’s Sports Director Kari Osep shot and produced this piece on our very own Men’s XC student athlete Adolfo, who has run Men’s XC since his time at Highland HS, and who does not let being deaf slow him down. His teammates even embrace the challenge of learning ASL to communicate with him and cheer him on. Special thank you to Kari Osep for sharing Adolfo’s story and bringing awareness to the incredible things taking place at the Home of the Renegades. Check out the story “Running in Silence” on 23ABC.

Screenshot of 23ABC story on Adolfo Escudero-Mendoza

Terri shared with me that Adolfo is also a gifted artist with several of his works hanging in the DSPS office. Here are a few that she shared:

Adolfo Escudero-Mendoza art pieces

Emails Worth Sharing: Spotlight on Inmate Scholars

Communication faculty, John Giertz has been teaching at BC for 30 years and shared with me that he recently has taught classes at Kern Valley State Prison. His email said, 

One of my Argumentation students paroled out of the prison at about the same time I was beginning an 8 week argumentation class.  Today, Chelsea was waiting for me. We met the student in the hall and it was the first time I really shook his hand and the only time I have been able to give him a hug. This is what this program is about, and I was fortunate to see a former inmate coming back into society. This is what education is all about. To witness a student navigate from one world to another and to be, just a small part of it. This is what all teachers live for. To see your student become involved in your class and to realize that the two of you are walking unchartered territory—together.

Professor Giertz is one of many committed faculty and staff who prioritize supporting students through education. The Inmate Scholars program, led by Chelsea Esquibias is offering hope through education and transforming lives.

Photo of John Giertz

BC is doing amazing things because of the leadership and engagement of faculty, staff, and of course… our students.

This is why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president EVER!

Fun Photos from Halloween Fun at BC

Faculty and staff from the Math and Science departments have continued to share photos with me from the Halloween fun that took place on campus.

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Talented Renegades at BC

Throughout October, the talented Renegades in our choirs and chamber singers had some amazing events worth sharing! In case you missed it, on Oct. 25th Hila Plitmann, a Grammy-award winning soprano held a Master Class in the Indoor Theater. She worked with 5 of our Applied Voice Majors, performed 4 solo selections, and held a Q&A with the audience. It was great to see the piece by Susan Scaffidi Love, tradition, modern hits – BC concert will have it all” in the Bakersfield Californian as well!

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The following evening was the Fall Concert entitled Veni, Vidi, Amavi: We Came, We Saw, We Loved which featured Hila Plitmann, the Synergy Chamber Players and the finale included the Fairfax School District Choirs. We had a nearly full house too!

Photo from the Veni, Vidi, Amaiv event.

On October 29th, BC hosted the Chamber Festival with Dr. Cari Earnhart, Director of Choral Activities at Fresno State as our guest clinician for local high school chamber choirs. I’m filled with joy every time we are able to host local high schoolers on campus to showcase their talent. Director, Jennifer Garrett tells me that we had 13 high schools perform. She said, “The transitions were something to behold.”

Chamber Singers 5th Annual Holiday Dinner

Can you believe it’s already that time of the year? The BC Chamber Singers will once again host their annual holiday dinner, this year called “Christmas Through the Ages.” This year’s event will take place on December 1, 2018 at 5:00pm and tickets are already going quickly. The holiday dinner will be family focused with crafts for kids, cookie decorating, a photo booth, and Santa Claus may even make an appearance. The amazing Jen Garrett tells me there will be a live auction, great entertainment, and lots of fun to be had. It’s the perfect way to kick off the month of December and I hope to see you there.

For tickets, please contact Jennifer Garrett at 661-395-4547 or by email at

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11am, you can check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include segments with Head Softball Coach Casey Goodman and her Assistant Coach Megan Rowe and four of their softball student-athletes: Kylee Fahy, Alex Venegas, Alexis Lopez and Ashley Hernandez. Also, joining the show was Mike George of Kern Schools FCU – we always appreciate their support of Renegade athletics.

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (10/28 -11/3) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

Renegades of the week Sarah Armendariz and Adrian Lopez

Sarah Armendariz, Volleyball – Also named the CCCWVCA State Player of the Week, Armendariz had 27 assists in 3-0 sweep over West LA in helping team to 21-1 record and #3 ranking in the state. She is currently ranked fifth in the state in assists average at 10.28 per set.

Adrian Lopez, Men’s Cross Country qualified for the CCCAA State Cross Country Championships in setting a new PR in the 4-mile race at 21:16. Lopez is the lone Renegade to qualify for the state finals.

Congrats to Sarah Armendariz for being named CCCWVCA State Player of the Week

For week #10 of the season sophomore Sarah Armendariz was given the Player of the Week honors by the California Community College Women’s Volleyball Association (CCCWVCA). As setter for the team, she has helped the team to an impressive 15-match win streak. She dished out 52 assists and made 10 kills in the team’s last two victories, both sweeps. Currently, she is fifth in the state in assists average at 10.28 per set. Way to go Sarah!

Sarah Armendariz

Congrats to Cam Roberson for being named SCFA Special Teams Player of the Week

The Southern California Football Association (SCFA) named Renegade punt returner Cameron Roberson as the National Division Special Teams/All-Purpose Player of the Week for his exceptional performance in returning two punts for touchdowns in their game against Moorpark this last Saturday. The first touchdown was a 77-yard return and the second was an 81-yard return. On the game, he had 6 punt returns for a total of 202 return yards, averaging 33.7 yds/return. Congrats, Cam!

Cam Roberson has been named SCFA Special Teams Player of the Week

Roundup of Athletics Events this week

It was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click for the story on

Staying Connected to Renegade Athletics

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media. On Facebook find us under ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’, on Twitter – @GoGadesGo and on Instagram – @gogadesgo.

Sonya Christian Nov 5 2018


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever