Our 60th Homecoming at 1801 Panorama

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, October 14, 2017….our homecoming.  A wonderful day to be a Renegade.

Tailgader Homecoming Sep 30 2017This year marks the 60th Homecoming celebration at 1801 Panorama Drive. I hope you’ll come out and show your unique Renegade pride in celebration of 114 years of BC transforming lives in Kern County. The game starts at 6PM, but we’ll be serving steak dinner with music by local legends Mento Buru at TailGade starting at 3PM and our grand Homecoming Parade starts at 4:45PM before the game.

On campus, we’ve been celebrating Homecoming all week. When I arrived on campus on Monday morning, I was greeted with Renegade decorations and school spirit everywhere. We kicked off with an office decoration contest hosted by The Office of Student Life. This year there was a tie between two areas: the shared area of the Marketing & Public Relations and Institutional Effectiveness departments, and the Extended Study Area. Congratulations!!



Guess who is the king in the picture above? Answer will be provided at the end of this blog post.

There was also a poster artwork competition for the Red&White Traveling Trophy. Congrats to this year’s winners of the Team Poster Competition. You can stop by the Office of Student Life to view them all. First place to “Free on the Outside,” second place to the Student Nursing Org, and third place to the Ag Club.

Renegade Homecoming Paint Night

In the evening, SGA hosted a Renegade Paint Night where BC students, faculty, staff, and friends could come together and create their own masterpiece.

On Wednesday, we held a talent show to showcase our talented Renegades. The host for the evening was Stig Jantz, who cracked jokes and kept everyone laughing. Congratulations to the first place winner Dezi Von Manos & Rayven Acosta-Webb (Duet Cover of Dynamite by Taio Cruz) second place went to Valentin Vargas (single dancer) then in third place came Ganae Romo (Alessia Cara – Scars To Your Beautiful). Special thanks to the BC Food Services for providing the nachos and beverages for the event.

The Office of Student Life held a Pancake feed and pep rally on Thursday, bringing everyone into the Homecoming spirit. Students were jousting with rubber batons “American Gladiators”-style in a ring and knocking down milk jugs with bean bags in celebration of Homecoming Week. Our cheer team led routines and high energy dancing while our drumline gathered all on campus to the Renegade Crossroads for the activities.

Learn the BC Fight Song

Before the big game, listen live here!

We will fight fight fight when we’re winning
We will fight fight fight when we lose
Ere play ere goes ere the whistle blows.
We will fight where ere we choose.
We will fight fight fight in the morning,
We will fight fight fight in the night.
We are bound to win today, as we battle in the fray.
We will fight fight fight fight fight.


Homecoming Queen: Robbie Bonas

Robbie (1)

1961 Homecoming Queen, Robbie Bonas

In 1961, Robbie Bonas was our Homecoming Queen and I recently requested her photo from back then. Can you spot the BC on her crown? I absolutely love this photo.

Robbie was also one of our 100 stars. She gained numerous honors during her career as a student at BC, including homecoming queen, head song leader, and was an active member of the Newman Club. She married and raised 3 daughters, one of whom assisted in nominating her for the 100 stars centennial award. Her daughter, Tarina Perry works in the executive suite with Academic Senate. Robbie returned to BC in 1992, and served as the key support person for numerous deans. She was known on campus for her kindness and patient nature.

Doesn’t Tarina look like Robbie?

Somaly Boles and Tarina Perry May 12 2017

Sonya Christian with Robbie Bonas at the Red and White Wine Festival April 12 2013

BC Cannon Crew Captain

Courtney Carter Shooting BC CannonIt’s a great day to be a Renegade and it’s a great day for honoring tradition and celebrating new milestones. BC Gun Crew Captain John Medvigy will be retiring after 50 years of shooting our BC cannon. The Home of the Renegades wants to say thank you for the many years of service to our students, our alumni, our friends, community, and fans. Our next Captain has a love for shooting cannons stemming from her childhood. Courtney Carter is not only a renegade alumni, she’s also currently working with Tom Gelder and the BC Foundation.  The love she has for shooting cannons defies explanation – please see the whole story done by Tabatha Mills at KGET.com.

Panorama Creative Music Summit

The Panorama Creative Music Summit started last night and will also continue tonight! This is the first annual Music Summit organized by faculty members Josh Ottum and Kris Tiner.


It was  good to faculty out to support this inaugural event on Friday the 13th.  Janet Tarjan, Mathematics; Reggie Williams, Philosophy; Andrew Bonds, English.

Janet Tarjan, Reggie Williams, Andrew Bonds at Panorama Creative Music Summit Oct 11 2017

Janet Tarjan, Reggie Williams, Andrew Bonds

The music was phenomenal.  The performers included the BC Commercial Music Students, Josh Ottum Trio, and Chris Schlarb & Psychic Temple.

You be the judge of that and listen to Josh Ottum perform Tom Petty’s Learning to Fly.  I don’t know about you….. but I’d take Ottum over Petty.  It is a quieter but more powerful version of the original–great bass.

I am so glad Josh did this piece.  Tom Petty is one of my all time favorites.  Listen to Ottum in the first video doing Learning to Fly and then Petty in the second with Free Falling.

Here is Tom Petty and Free Falling

Josh Ottum Trio with Kyle Burnham on the drums and Jared Gardner on the bass guitar was followed by Chris Schlarb and Psychic Temple.  Just great music.  Schlarb invited Kris Tiner to join them for two pieces.  Here is a 41-second snippet of Tiner.


During the transition of bands, I asked our philosophy student Andrew Martin to do a short video for my blog.  Let’s listen to Andrew

Distinguished Speaker, Dr. Ignacio Garcia

Ignacio GarciaDr. Ignacio Garcia was a guest speaker on campus this week, giving a talk he calls “Becoming brown in America: Remembering the Chicano movement.” Dr. Ignacio Garcia is the professor of western American history at BYU he has written 5 books. He says the presentation is a memoirist odyssey on why and how he and many other Mexican American youth in the 1960s became brown and Chicano and went into activism and the academy. He talked about the conditions in which many lived, the inadequate schools attended, the identity crisis faced and the bleak economic future that awaited many. Thank you Dr. Garcia, for coming to BC and thank you SGA and Student Life for hosting the Distinguished Speaker Series.

One Heart, One Voice – 1965 Choir Documentary

In the summer of 1965, the Bakersfield College Choir toured Europe and now, 52 years later, I had the privilege of seeing this incredible story documented on the big screen at our very own indoor theater on campus. We held two premier showings on Sunday, October 8th of the documentary “One Heart, One Voice: How the Bakersfield College Choir found success on the international stage”.


The film documented both the triumphs and hardships they experienced. From humble beginnings of signing waivers before leaving on the trip, to the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, singing for the Pope, and meeting the President of the United States. It was incredible to see the reunion, and film’s premier showing take place at our campus on the hill, the place where it all started 52 years ago. I fell in love with the story and can’t wait to share more with you.


Herb Benham wrote a fantastic piece available here at the Bakersfield Californian website. I love how he started the article, “They broke all the rules, they broke some of the rules, they broke enough of the rules to prove they were 18, human and in the midst of a grand adventure.”

Thank you to everyone who contributed to creating the film and those who attended. Among all the familiar friendly faces, it was fantastic to see Joe Hustzi, Director of the 1965 Choir and our mayor, Karen Goh at the event.  Thank you city councilman Andrea Gonzalez for attending and the fabulous Jerry Ludeke.

Mary Jo snapped a photo of the choir singing benediction afterwards. Just incredible.


The Links 40th Celebration


BC was in full force at The Links, Incorporated’s 40 year celebration of providing important educational resources to the community at the Seven Oaks Country Club last Saturday. The Bakersfield chapter of The Links offers has offered dozens of programs to support Kern County youth over four decades, including health and wellness conferences; panels on human trafficking, cyberbullying, HIV/AIDS prevention and other important social issues; and its hallmark “Leadership STEAM Academy”, introducing students to academic achievement tools and information about careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

There are three women who are members of The Links in our BC Faculty – Debra Strong, Denise L. Norris and Odella Johnson, who is now retired. Also in attendance were Shanell Tyus, Paula Parks, Steven Watkin and June Charles. I’d like to thank all of our faculty who supporting the Links in making a positive impact on our youth.

Research and Planning Group: Student Success Conference

Several Bakersfield College Staff and Faculty attended the conference to present data and programs and to take back valuable information to BC. Collaboration at National conferences is vital to build communication across our regions.  I’m so proud!

BC Team Pictured: Isabel Castaneda, Darla Cooper (RP Group), Erica Menchaca,  Kimberly Bligh,  Teresa McAllister, Karen Snow, Shanell Tyus, and Lisa Kent

BC Team at RP SSSC Oct 2017 cropped.jpg

Craig Hayward.pngOur very own Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, Craig Hayward, was part of a team who presented a break out session titled “Multiple Measures Assessment Project (MMAP): From Pilot to Paradigm). The MMAP research team has found that assigning the highest placement from either a test or from multiple measures rule sets (i.e., disjunctive placement) reduces error and increases appropriate placement into transfer-level English and math. Disaggregation of student groups also demonstrates improved access and throughput for important demographic groups, decreasing or eliminating disproportionate impact. Pilot college results confirm reductions in required semesters of developmental education and increases in successful completion of transfer-level courses, while maintaining success rates in those courses. Participants learned about these results and heard about lessons from pilot college implementation to inform their own plans or refinement of their own implementation of a high-quality multiple measure placement system.

Isabel Castaneda, Darla Cooper, Erica Menchaca, Kimberly Bligh, Theresa McAlister cropped

Isabel Castaneda, Darla Cooper, Erica Menchaca, Kimberly Bligh, Theresa McAlister

At team from Title V and the Academic Development at BC, Dr. Kimberly Bligh, Isabel Castaneda, Teresa McAllister, and Dr. Erica Menchaca presented a break out titled “Extending the Classroom: Intensive Academic Support for Accelerated Basic Skills Pathways” Participants learned about how BC has redesigned traditional math pathways to offer more coherent accelerated options in remedial math. By extending the classroom to support college readiness, BC provides intrusive academic and counseling support to improve student learning in the math classroom and beyond. During this session, participants will hear how these acceleration and intensive support practices have increased student success at BC. Participants discussed how one of these approaches, interventions, and practices can be adapted to fit most colleges. Several participants requested a visit to BC to learn more about the ETC program! One participant stated that BC as a “Zootopia College: A College that ‘has it together and others want to imitate…’”  #WeAreBC

Family Literacy Night

On October 5 Bakersfield College Elementary Education students supported Family Literacy Night at Stella Hills. The students were paired in groups creating activities to develop literacy for children. Parents played games with their children and in each classroom throughout the Stella hills campus kids were laughing  enjoying spelling, reading and finding words. It was a very successful event and a proud night for Bakersfield Colleges future teachers.  Thank you Bernadette Towns for sending me these photos.


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Gadfly Cafe

On Thursday, the Gadfly Cafe met in the Levan Center and they discussed how robotics can help out in many different situations. It was inspiring to see how all the students attending were laser focused and paying close attention to the speaker. Thank you to Reggie Williams for organizing the Gadfly Cafe.


Jobs for Justice

Criminal justice professionals from across Kern County, many of them former BC students, came to campus on Wednesday to teach students how to get into the field, and what to expect when they get there.

Our Career and Technical Education department organized “Jobs in Justice: A Panel on Careers in Criminal Justice,” putting together panelists from Kern County Superior Court, the Bakersfield Police Department, Probation, Kern Valley State Prison, and the Department of Human Services.

The panelists detailed the application process for their various fields, which almost all require some combination of written, physical or oral examinations; background checks; and several rounds of panel interviews, as well as academy training after being hired to ensure that the right applicants are being chosen to serve the vulnerable populations that criminal justice professionals are tasked with helping.


While the application process can be daunting, many criminal justice fields, including juvenile probation, allow students to work as trainees while earning their degree, working around students’ class schedules. Monique DeLeon, a deputy probation officer for the Juvenile Investigations division of the Probation Department, recommended attempting to work in detention facilities in some capacity to prepare for a career in probation, where you’ll be responsible with making sure people are on the right path after getting out of those facilities.

“It will really prepare you in a closed environment for when you have to interact with people in an open environment,” DeLeon said.

Another entry point is by applying for temporary extra help terms, which have lower standards for application but allow you to learn important skills and network with professionals in the field before applying for permanent positions, Human Services Program Director Juan Rocha said.

Panelists reiterated the importance of dressing and conducting yourself in a professional manner in preparation for a criminal justice career, as well as maintaining a clean social media profile, as professionals in this field will be looked at as figures of authority.

All of the panelists emphasized the reality that a long, successful career in criminal justice can be very stressful and emotionally taxing. Rocha, who works with child custody disputes, detailed a harrowing first assignment where he assigned custody of a newborn child to its biological father with no criminal history, who displayed no red flags, to later find out that the man had killed the child at five months old.

“In child welfare, you see the worst society has to offer,” Rocha said. “When you’re dealing with human behavior, you can never be sure that everything is going to be OK.”

To see a gallery of photos, visit BC’s Smugmug.

Alliance Against Family Violence Fundraiser

It was a pleasure seeing representatives from our district and the community converge at the KGET parking lot for the annual fundraiser lunch for the Alliance Against Family Violence, a hotline and support program for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Kern County. As I parked my car and was walking over, there was Gary Moser, Vice Chancellor of IT crossing the street from the Weill Institute to the KGET parking lot.  I joined him and we decided to take a few moments and have lunch rather than rushing back and eating at our desk.  It was great catching up with Gary and getting to know of the larger projects that he is working on a with other community colleges in the state.  Louis Gill came and joined us for a few minutes.

I ran into so many people I know.  John Means, Derrick Jeffries (thank you KGET for all your support), Jeff Green (a board member of the Alliance), Sandy Woo and many more.  I spotted the very unique Mustang car of Board member Trustee Agbalog as he pulled into the drive-through lane.

KGET interviewed Louis Gill, CEO of the Alliance, about sexual assault.


Board of Trustees Meeting

I loved this photo taken with our incredible students at the last Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday.

BC Students at KCCD Board Meeting

Afterwards, Bill Henry, President of Porterville College handed me this treasure in the parking lot.  A record of the 1965 choir that he found at his mother’s home.  Thank you Bill for safely getting this record to the Bakersfield College Archives.

Bill Henry at Board Meeting on Oct. 12, 2017

President Bill Henry

Board meeting Bill Henry (2)

What an incredible time to be a Renegade. So much history, so much love from our community. Can you see why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

Kern County Workforce Summit

Bakersfield College was present at the 2017 Kern County Workforce Summit.  Liz Rozell, Dean of BC’s baccalaureate program in Industrial Automation did an amazing job presenting the program to our community.  I was on the panel highlighting BC’s work in Arvin, a collaborative venture with Michael Turnipseed from KernTax, Supervisor Leticia Perez, Bryon Schaefer and KHSD and Bakersfielf College.


Karen Goh, Mark Novak, Sonya Christian

Karen Goh, Mark Novak, Sonya Christian

Cheryl Scott, Kristen Barnes, Richard Chapman, Sonya Christian

Cheryl Scott, Kristen Barnes, Richard Chapman, Sonya Christian

BC Choir Heading to Australia

And speaking of the BC Choir, Jennifer Garrett was so thrilled with the Board’s decision to help fund their Australia trip that she made up fake checks to give them at one of their rehearsals this week.  She said some of them cried and others just squealed with delight.  Regardless, she said they were so appreciative. I loved the photo they all took – well done all.


Wellness at BC

Wellness Core Value

Many of us at BC are attempting to be deliberate about developing habits that promote wellness.  Our Office (VPs and President), under the leadership of Chris Glaser, has tried to cultivate one habit every month.  Last month it was hydrating by drinking water.  This month is taking breaks and going for walks.  Here is a photo I snapped with Chris Glaser and Denis Spencer after Dennis shared with us that his doctor had ordered him to walk more.  So he tried several times a week to do ten rounds through the gym which included two flights of stairs.  His routine included placing 10 pennies on a banister and after every round he would pick up one of the pennies to make sure that he made the ten rounds.  I thought that was pretty cool.

Chris Glaser, Sonya Christian, Dennis Spencer

Chris Glaser sent this great email this week to remind us to take breaks and walk.  In it he had a video about the Pomodoro Technique to overcome procrastination.  Check it out

He wrapped up his email with this:

And, now that I’ve intensely focused on writing this piece, I’m going to take a break and recharge by brewing my second cup of tea.

Happy Thursday and Happy Renegade Pride Day!

Keeping in Touch

Alex DominguezI got a lovely email from our former SGA president Alex Dominguez, who’s currently studying law at Old Miss. Alex wanted to let me know that he’s taking a class about Torts, Contracts and Civil Procedure in his first semester with a professor who has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Oxford University. It’s good to know that Alex hasn’t given up on electioneering, as he successfully ran for one of only three Senate positions on the Student Bar Association for his graduating class. He’s also staying connected back home by writing a column in the Kern County Bar Association’s monthly magazine.

As well as staying in touch with me, Alex makes sure to maintain contact with Nicky Damania and fellow former president Clayton Fowler, who share stories about how BC has impacted their lives and looking forward to their return to Bakersfield to give back to our college and community.

BCSGA Presidents with Nicky Damania June 16 2017

Four Generations of SGA Presidents and Nicky Damania

Ag Advisory Meeting

BC students, past and present, are a huge inspiration to me. Here are some photos from this week’s BC Agriculture Advisory Meeting. Thank you Corny Rodriguez for the photos!


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Celebrating our Faculty

This week, one of our faculty in Art, Diego Gutierrez, was invited by the Consulate General of Mexico in Fresno to show his stunning artwork. You can view some of Diego’s artwork online at: https://diegomonterrubio.weebly.com/

Congratulations to Diego for this high honor. We are so proud of you! And thank you Manny Mourtzanos for letting me know.  You are always bragging about faculty accomplishments.

Monterrubio at Mex Consulate

BC Social Science professor Matthew Garrett was granted an award by the Utah State Historical Society for his book about Native American children who left their reservations to live with Mormon foster families. Garrett is the winner of the 2017 Francis Armstrong Madsen Best Utah History Book Award for “Making Lamanites”, a book about the Indian Student Placement Program published by the University of Utah Press last year. “Making Lamanites” documents the Church of Latter Day Saints’ Native American foster program that ran for over 50 years and the debate between First Nations leaders who saw the Mormon Church as an empowering force for natives, and Red Power activists who viewed them as colonial invaders.


BC Passings

Beverly Keiper-MaloufKim Nickell shared that our beloved colleague and friend, Bev Keiper, passed away this past week in Los Angeles with her husband, Bob, at her side. As most of you know, Bev had battled and beaten cancer several years ago; however, she continued to battle pneumonia and other illnesses for some time. Bev was a remarkable woman and teacher.  She created a supportive atmosphere for our ACDV students in the writing courses she taught and in the Student Success Lab.  Students always sought her out because she was helpful and encouraging to them in many ways.  And despite the fact that Bev didn’t always feel well, she still came to work with a cheerful spirit. She had an amazing work ethic, and she brought many years of valuable teaching experience and a professionalism that elevated the work in the lab as well as the Learning Center

Renegade Athletics:


October 11 2017 BC vs AVC

The Renegades swept Antelope Valley (25-17, 25-10, 25-13), on Wednesday night.  And on Friday, won 25-24, 25-12, 25-18 over LA Valley.

It was a treat having Mr. and Mrs. Packer there to support Renegade Volleyball.  They  recently celebrated 55 years of marriage and met while attending BC…they are long time supporters of volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball.

Mr and Mrs Packer October 13 2017 Renegade Volleyball

Mr. and Mrs. Packer with Sandi Taylor and Coach Paula Dahl

Men’s Soccer:

The Renegades defeated Victor Valley 1-0, On Monday night, for their first win of the year.  Alazhar Magali scored the only goal of the game, his first of the season.  Israel Rodriguez, making only his second start of the season recorded the shutout for his first career win.

I was at the Memorial Stadium on friday the 13th supporting our soccer program.  And of course saw Stig Jantz there.  He is always there for all sports supporting our students.  I snapped this picture of him with a track student Edward who is an Engineering major.

Women’s soccer:

The Renegades women’s soccer team played to a 1-1 draw against Antelope Valley.

October 10 2017 against AVC.jpg

Grand Jury presentation about Bakersfield College

My favorite thing to do, besides sitting in the galleries watching our students, is to talk about BC.  So, I was delighted when the Grand Jury invited me to present to them about the State of Bakersfield College.  It was so much fun.  And the individuals where full of energy with sharp probing questions.

Grand Jury October 11 2017.jpg

Fun Pictures:

Welcome to Wendy Lawson, Nan’s new assistant.

Wendy Lawson and Jennifer Serratt Oct 10 2017

Andrea Thorson and son Jimmy from Facebook

Andrea Thorson and Son Jimmy from Facebook October 13 2017

Liz Rozell and grandaughter from Facebook

Liz Rozell with grand daughter from FAcebook Oct 13 2017

Matthew Garrett and his daughters

Matt Garrett and his daughters Oct 14 2017

Craig Hayward:

And the answer to the quiz above.  The king in the picture is…….[drumroll]

Craig Hayward October 10 2017


And in closing, here’s Neo being smart, alert, and figuring things out…

October 13 2017 Neo on leash

Sonya Christian walking Neo Oct 8 2017


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Somber News, Stories, and Celebrations…


Flag at half staff on the BC campus

The American Flag flew at half staff on the BC Campus on Monday, October 2nd.

We woke on Monday morning to the senseless loss of life in a mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017…..58 lives have been lost, another 500+ injured/wounded, and countless lives impacted and changed.

Kern County Residence who lost their lives.png

Bailey Sweitzer, Jack Beaton, Victor Link, Kelsey Meadows.  Photo from the KGET website

Exactly two years prior on October 1, 2015, we learned of a gunman who opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, taking the lives of nine and injuring seven others. The quiet little UCC campus is a gem among the 17 community colleges in Oregon and it’s a place that I know well… having walked the beautiful campus grounds on countless occasions. A college campus…a familiar place.


Coming together for a concert, like those who attended the one in Vegas, is also a familiar experience for us at BC.  We come so often together to enjoy music. A familiar activity, a community gathering.  We go to smile, we go to celebrate. We go to feel alive because music has this incredible way of feeding our soul.

Many people had friends, family, acquaintances who were in some way a part of the terrible tragedy in Las Vegas.  Coach Carl Ferreira shared that his students were at the concert when the shooting started. They were staying at Mandalay Bay, and as it turns out, on the 32nd floor.  They escaped uninjured but were witness to a horrific event.

Our community has been directly impacted and we’ve lost special people in this terrible tragedy. Of those who lost their lives, three from Bakersfield: Jack Beaton, Bailey Schweitzer, and Victor Link; and one from Taft, Kelsey Meadows, a graduate from Taft High School in 2007. Our community came together and held a prayer vigil on October 2nd which was organized by Mayor Karen Goh and Houchin Blood Bank received an surge in blood donors throughout the following days.

This article about Jack Beaton specifically stood out to me. Near the end, authors Jay Reeves and Don Babwin delivered this important message: “Beaton said her husband, a 54-year-old construction worker, wouldn’t want much said publicly about his death. But she wanted people to hear how he had protected her, just as he always had done.

Karen SalleeProtection was the ultimate act of love and it’s important that we focus our attention also on the acts of heroism, kindness, compassion, and bravery that happened on October 1st and in the days following.

Karen Sallee posted on her blog, “This is why, with swollen eyes and a broken heart, I mourn this regular guy, who wasn’t regular at all. Jack was a hero not just to Laurie, but to everyone he knew. We look up to him in memory, we respect him as the finest sort of human being, and we miss him.

We live in a new world in ways that are hard to understand. There are real threats, and with that, we must face the hard reality that it can happen to anyone – in any place – even familiar places and ones close to our community.

Active Shooter Response Trainings

Keeping our students, faculty, staff, and community safe is an ongoing and constant effort that will never be over. It requires constant awareness, understanding, and progress. We must also remember that our campus is an open institution and we are an integral part of our community. Active shooter training cannot be a taboo subject; we must engage with the best practices, the drills, the exercises, and we must be prepared. Such efforts can save lives.


Chief Chris Counts held 4 Active Shooter Response Training sessions throughout Wednesday and Thursday on the main campus as well as on our campus in Delano, to make sure our faculty, staff and students are prepared if we are ever unfortunate enough to have this experience. I was able to attend the Thursday morning training and it was difficult sitting through the training and listening to the brutal realities of what happens in an Active Shooter situation.

Chief Counts was somber and choked up at points when he was telling each of us to be ready and prepared for these horrific situations. Here are some of the sad statistics of the “ongoing trend” that he shared with us in training:

  • October 1st, 2015 at Umpqua Community College, Oregon, a school that I am very familiar with, 26 year-old Chris Harper Mercer killed 9 students and wounded 9 more. The incident ended when detectives arrived and Mercer shot himself.
  • April 16th, 2007 at Virginia Tech, Virginia, 23 year-old Seung-hui Cho killed 32 and wounded 29 with only handguns. In this case he had blocked escape routes by chaining the doors. Again the incident ended when he killed himself.
  • February 14th, 2008 at Northern Illinois University, a graduate student, Stephen Kazmierczak, killed 5 and wounded 16 with legally purchased shotgun and handguns. Again the incident ended when he killed himself.
  • March 24th, 1998 at a school in Jonesboro, Arkansas, 13 year-old and 11 year-old Andrew Golden set off a false alarm and killed a teacher and 4 students and wounded 10. Imagine, children planned and attacked the school. They were caught fleeing the area.
  • May 21st, 1998 in Springfield, Oregon, 14 year-old Kip Kinkel killed 2 and wounded 22 after killing both his parents. He was stopped by seven students subduing him until authorities arrived.
  • April 20th, 199 at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, 17 year-old Dylan Klebold and 18 year-old Eric Harris killed 12 students and one teacher and wounded 23. They had planned to kill 500 by blowing up the school with multiple timed propane tank bombs. Once again, the incident ended when they killed themselves.
  • March 21st, 2005 at an Indian reservation high school in Red Lake, Minnesota, 16 year-old Jeff Weise killed 5 students, a teacher and a guard after killing his grandfather, a tribal policeman. In this incident the shooter actually breached locked doors. The incident ended when he killed himself.
  • September 26th, 2006 at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colorado, 53 year-old Duane R. Morrison killed 1 student and sexually assaulted 6 students. He killed himself and one hostage when SWAT entered the room.
  • December 14th, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary school, Connecticut, 20 year-old Adam Lanza, heavily armed, killed 20 children and 6 adults. Again, the incident ended when he killed himself.

As difficult as it is to hear these statistics and to imagine the loss and suffering of the families of those killed, recounting these statistics gives us an idea of a profile of who an active shooter is. Mostly they are individuals engaged in actively killing or attempting to kill people, but sometimes they have partners. These instances usually occur in confined and populated areas. Mostly they use firearms and usually there is no pattern to how they select victims. Many of the shooters had a history of mental health related instances and in nearly all incidents, somebody else knew.

i-mb9xkcn-x3The Chief’s mantra at BC is “if you see something, say something.”  If you hear something, tell an administrator, Public Safety, or the authorities. Let them investigate it and know that you could be saving lives. Chief Counts says “the sole purpose of each Public Safety Officer at BC is to protect us.” We need to create a culture of awareness and action and let the authorities know when there is something amiss.

The Chief’s main message for our response to an active shooter situation is to RUN – HIDE – FIGHT, in that order. Your first response if you hear gunfire is to run. Be aware of your surroundings and always know where the exits are when you enter a room. Have a predetermined route in your mind for escape. Leave all of your belongings behind and get away. Take others with you if you can, but if they will not leave, continue your evacuation. Distance is your friend. Don’t group up. Warn others of the situation and not to enter. When the police are on scene, keep your hands empty and visible – a phone in your hand could look like a gun – follow their instructions. Call 911 if you have something to report, like how many shooters there are, where the shooting is located, a description of the shooter.

If you can’t run, HIDE. This is only if evacuation is not possible. Choose a hiding place out of the shooter’s view, protected if shots are fired at you, and does not trap you or restrict your movement. If you are in an office, lock and barricade the door. Use heavy furniture to block the door. The shooter is looking for an easy target and will likely move on if their way is hindered. Make sure to silence your phone, turn off any sources of noise and remain quiet so you do not attract the shooter’s attention.

If you can’t run or hide, then FIGHT. Try to remain calm and keep others calm, if you can’t evacuate and can’t hide and the shooter is coming – fight for your life. Don’t be a sheep waiting for the slaughter, be a sheepdog and attack. Act as aggressive as possible, throw things, improvise weapons, yell, overwhelm the shooter with numbers of people. It is okay to get angry and fight back!


Thank you Chief Counts and all of our Public Safety personnel for caring so much about all of us at BC and for holding this important training on a difficult and unpleasant topic. For those of you that were unable to make it to training, the main messages of Active Shooter Training are “if you see something, say something” and in an Active Shooter situation first priority is to Run, if you can’t run, Hide, if you can’t do either of the first two, then Fight.

New M&O Building Opens


After months of hard work, planning, and construction, Bill Potter, our M&O team, and guests from Klassen Corp. celebrated as we opened the doors to the new Maintenance and Operations facility on Tuesday.

Group Picture M&O Open House.jpg

We were honored to have Mark Delmarter from Klassen Construction with us as we showcased the ways in which this new state of the art facility serves as inspiration for the first stage of projects made possible by your support in Measure J. This new facility fully supports BC’s environmental sustainability, efficiency objectives, and came in on budget and on schedule with no change orders.


Rod Paine, Mark Delmarter, Katie Angevine, and Mike Meyer from Klassen Corp.

Everyone was pleased to tour the new space and I saw many smiles during the morning.  The speakers included Chancellor Tom Burke, Aaron Kidwell and Mark Delmarter.


Aaron Kidwell speaking at the M&O Open House

In his opening remarks, Bill estimated that the M&O department has had to move about 30 times while expressing gratitude about the accommodations at his department’s permanent new home.

Thank you to all who attended including Chancellor Tom Burke, Vice Presidents Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Don Chrusciel, and Zav Dadabhoy, all our staff and faculty from BC who came out to support and tour the facility, our architects, and Rod Paine, Mark Delmarter, Katie Angevine, and Mike Meyer from Klassen Corp.


This is just the first of many exciting developments to come. It’s a great time to be at BC! Thank you for your unending support of Bakersfield College.

See the gallery of photos at: https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/2017/Oct3MaintenanceandOperations/

Kern Shakespeare Festival

i-6cmhfxx-x3The Bakersfield College Performing Arts Department has done an incredible job presenting two plays for the 33rd Annual Kern Shakespeare Festival: William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Top Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead. I’ve heard overwhelmingly positive feedback about both of the shows, especially that the banter between Kevin Ganger and Cody Ganger was very made the crowd laugh many times during performances of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

Thank you for all the crew and featured performers that made the 33rd annual Shakespeare festival so special: Colter Allison, Martin Arroyo, Brittany Beaver, Allan Bexton, Anthony Brooks, Stephen Bush, Josh Carruthers, Kara Coughenour, Decymbr’ Frank, Cody Ganger, Kevin Ganger, Amy Hall, Josue Jimenez, Tevin Joslen, Bob Kempf, Crystal Lara, Ryan Lee, Nolan Long, Shelbe McClain, Randy Messick, Ethan Monge, Sammy Noriega, Daniel Ochoa, Brian Purcell, Cheyenne Reyes, Brian Sivesind, John Spitzer, Nancee Steiger, Jose Tenorio, Blanka Trujillo, Salvador Vidaurri, Carlos Vera, and Spirit Wright.

And a special thank you to the two directors, Brian J. Sivesind, Director of Hamlet, and Bob Kempf, Director of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

Strong Workforce Initiative

As a part of the statewide Strong Workforce initiative, Bakersfield College has taken the lead on a Central/Mother Lode Regional Collaborative project for BC’s Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Automation.

With the help of the Advanced Manufacturing Deputy Sector Navigator, Gurminder Sangha, we established a regional collaborative group to align and articulate the lower division electronics courses required for admission to the Bakersfield College baccalaureate program.

SWF (1)On Friday, September 22, 2017, with over 22 faculty and deans from College of the Sequoias, Fresno City College, West Hills Community College, Modesto Community College, Delta College, Taft College, Clovis College, Yosemite Community College, and Bakersfield College. There was broad discussion on curricular rigor and automation platforms prior to splitting into groups for in-depth collaboration on articulation packages. This collaborative will serve to create clear pathways for students in our regional community colleges to have seamless transfer into BC’s baccalaureate degree program. Much thanks to our regional partners!!


SHPE National Conference

BC’s Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement Program (MESA) and the Engineering Department are sponsoring four students to attend The SHPE National Conference on November 1-5 in Kansas City, MO, conference.  Leah Altman, Ashley Anderson, Christian Rodriguez and Lizbeth Sanchez.  The students will be chaperoned by Math professor Joshua Lewis.

The SHPE National Conference on November 1-5 in Kansas City, MO, is the largest gathering of Hispanic student and professional STEM talent in the United States. The conference covers topics such as, Empowering Latinas in STEM Workshops; a distinguished lecture series, Nissan Design Competition, Engineering Science Symposium, Hackathon Competition, and a Career Fair & Graduate School Expo. On the official website for the conference, it says “SHPE changes lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development.”

Ashely Anderson, Leah Carter, Elizabeth Sanchez, Christian A. Gutierrez, Mathematics Professor Joshua Lewis

Ashely Anderson, Leah Carter, Elizabeth Sanchez, Christian A. Gutierrez, Mathematics Professor Joshua Lewis

CCCCO Guided Pathways Workshop

CCCOLast Monday, Janet Fulks, Cindy Collier, Jonathan Schultz, and Manny Mourtzanos attended a workshop in Fresno to learn more about the CCCCO’s one-time investment of $150 million to support the implementation of the Guided Pathways framework at community colleges across California (pictured here with our Vice Chancellor of Educational Services, John Means). Janet Fulks did an exceptional job as a featured panelist discussing BC’s experience implementing Guided Pathways. Thank you, team, for representing BC!

CCCO_GuidedPathways Group Shot

BE THE MATCH on campus

be the matchOn Tuesday, we welcomed Paula Schwartz, a representative from BE THE MATCH on campus with an informational booth and presentation to find potential donors for bone marrow. Did you know every four minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer? This was one of the astonishing facts from the day. Patients are most likely to match someone who shares their ancestry, and hispanic and latino backgrounds combined only make up 10% of the registry. BE THE MATCH is seven million members strong with an additional five million potential donors. It’s incredible to think that you can save a life by just swabbing the inside of your cheek.

Community Voices by Reggie Williams

Reggie WilliamsOn Monday, the Bakersfield Californian published an op-ed from philosophy professor Reggie Williams about the symbolism being conveyed through body language on both sides of the national debate about athletes kneeling during the National Anthem.

Williams states that the significance behind whether athletes choose to stand, kneel or lock arms during the National Anthem embodies “deeply held values that we all endorse but weight differently.” However you feel about the debate—which started with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel before the anthem last year in protest of racial injustice and police brutality, upsetting some people who interpret this symbolic gesture as an act of disrespect to the military and the principles our nation stands for–Williams’ article in the “Community Voices” section of the Californian asks that you think critically about the rationale behind your opinion while considering the perspective of African Americans who have fought in the military while being disproportionately affected by slavery, lynching, Jim Crow and discrimination.

At the end of his op-ed, Williams makes a call for unity. “If the US is going to live up to its name—to be united—we must understand each other,” Williams said. “We must understand each other’s symbols, histories, contributions and experiences as Americans.”

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2017

In an article from his “Bakersfield Night Sky” column on February 20th, 2016, BC’s own Nick Strobel accurately predicted this year’s winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics.

You can see the official press release in regards to the 2017 winners here.

Nick Strobel

Nick Strobel

Nick wrote about the work published by Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne of the LIGO/VIRGO Collaboration on observing the universe’s gravitational waves for the first time. The waves, predicted by Albert Einstein 100 years ago, were produced from a collision between two black holes on September 14th, 2015. Describing the results confirmed by a peer-reviewed study published in the Physical Review Letters journal, Nick wrote that two black holes traveled toward each other for 700 million to 1.6 billion years at the speed of light. The collision caused a mass three times that of the sun to convert into gravitational wave energy, producing 50 times more energy than all of the stars in the rest of the universe combined.

In his post, Nick said simply that “gravitational waves are a very big deal,” while the Nobel committee’s press release declared that “gravitational waves are an entirely new way of observing the most violent events in space and testing the limits of our knowledge.”

In his Bakersfield Night Sky article published this week, Nick focuses on two more recent developments in black hole studies, including theories about how supermassive black holes are at the center of most galaxies, and the discovery of gravitational waves from three different detectors, which enabled researchers determine the location of the black holes merging with ten times more accuracy than previous observations.

Spotted on Facebook

It was awesome to see a crew from the Men’s BC Soccer team out at the St. Vincent De Paul Annual Fall BBQ. In an article by Lisa Kimble at The Bakersfield Californian, she said, “As the local homeless population grows, centers like St. Vincent de Paul, which receives no federal funding, have been scrambling to keep up with the need. Today, an estimated 400 homeless men, women and children receive two hot meals a day at the center. They also have access to four restrooms, two showers, basic social and mail services, a covered patio and lush grounds in which to spend a few hours of their chaotic day in a peaceful, secure and park-like environment.”


Thank you Renegades for supporting our community — and thank you Bakersfield and Kern County for always supporting BC.

BC and Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra

On Wednesday, Dr. Jen Garrett, Chef Suzanne Tangeman and Manny Mourtzanos met with several community leaders to develop a fine dining experience in the Renegade Room for approximately 55 local elementary students, followed by an evening of live music at Rabobank Arena by the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. On Saturday, November 4, students will enjoy delicious food prepared by our own BC Culinary Arts students. Following the BSO concert, students will have the opportunity to interact with Conductor Stilian Kirov and members of the Orchestra. Bakersfield College is proud to partner with the BSO to serve the needs of our community.

BC and Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra Collab

Pictured here: Paul Meyers, District Superintendent – Standard School District, Morgan Clayton, President – Tel-Tec Security Systems, Inc., Ira Cohen, Senior Vice President – UBS Wealth Management, Suzanne Tangeman, Chef and Professor of Culinary Arts – Bakersfield College, Dr. Jennifer Garrett, Professor of Music – Bakersfield College, Stilian Kirov, Conductor and Music Director – Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Manny Mourtzanos, Dean of Instruction – Bakersfield College, and Jorge Barrientos, Marketing Director – Chain|Cohn|Stiles Law Offices

Uplifting Notes from Former Students

My daily inspiration often comes from those who surround me, including incredible faculty, staff, and students. Our ASL team is one of a kind and this email came across my desk which really showcases their hard work, dedication, and unified approach which yields dividends that continue to inspire.

Tom Moran and the entire ASL department  touch their student’s lives in an important and fundamental way. I’d like to share one email that came in this week from former student, Alyssa Paul. She, in turn, has touched the lives of numerous Deaf people in a small but meaningful way. She has the skill to become an interpreter or a deaf ed teacher. I know her professors and I hope that her studies will lead her there.

View More: http://shelbydaniellephotography.pass.us/alyssagrad2017

Alyssa Paul

Hey professor! It’s Alyssa Paul from… about a year ago now?? I took your ASL B1 class during the Spring (: I just wanted to tell you that I will be attending College of the Canyons in the Spring 2018 in pursuit of an associate degree in sign language.

I also wanted to let you know that since I learned sign language, I have been using it SO MUCH during work. There have been many deaf people that come into my work that request a pen to write their order, & they are so surprised & happy when I tell them that I know some sign language (: I’ve learned a few more words that are related to my work so I could better communicate with them, but I’ve decided to major in it so I could learn even more to better communicate with everyone outside of my job. I’m still not 100% comfortable with starting a conversation, but I’m much more confident when a deaf person comes into my work wanting to order something (:

BC Passings

This week, BC Archives shared that we have news of three more deaths among our former colleagues.

As I previously shared in my blog here, JESS NIETO died September 21. You may remember that Jess wore lots of different hats at BC, from classroom teacher to first Latino Dean of Delano Center.  He started the Chicano Cultural Center and Chicano Studies program at BC.  After leaving BC, he became a respected activist for civil rights and educational attainment.

RICHARD WISE, a professor in the Biology and Physical Science Departments for almost 28 years, died in June. We have now received word that his widow, KATHY AIELLO-WISE, died at the end of August.  A nurse, she was an adjunct faculty member for many years teaching Health, Safety, and Nutrition both in the classroom and online.

Hank Webb just wrote us that JIM CARDEN died July 15th following a stroke a few weeks earlier.  Hank’s note said that Jim’s “adopted son Robert said Jim didn’t want any fuss, but Robert has agreed  to a service at St Paul’s Episcopal soon. Date to be announced. Jim started out as a student at BC and was freshman class president, sang in the choir, and reported sports news for the Rip.  Later he was the resident adviser in the Men’s Residence Hall.  In 1970 he joined the faculty and was a much beloved friend and very active, admired, and enjoyed counselor for many years.

Child Development Entrepreneurial Workshop

On September 26, 2017 Bakersfield College hosted its first Child Development Entrepreneurial Informational Workshop about starting their own small business, in-home daycare. The primary focus of the event is to inform students who are interested in becoming a licensed family child care provider and how to start their own business. Guest speakers included Jamie LaFavor, Community Connection for Child Care, Kelly Bearden, Director, CSUB Small Business Development Center and Alese Campbell, Small Business Deputy Sector Navigator, Central Valley & Mother Lode Region. We had around 100 students attend, taking full advantage of the services/opportunities presented to them.

CTE Child development WorkShop Event photo

I would like to thank our Event Staff for helping make the day a success! Israel Mendoza, Support System Specialist I, Stephanie Baltazar, Interim Program Manager; Antonio Alfaro, Interim Dual Enrollment PM, Martin Perez, Program Manager, Pam Gomez, CTE Educational Advisor; Beth Harrison, Job Development Specialist, Cindi Swoboda,  Department Assistant III, Rosa Perez, Student Worker, Gracie Magallanes, Student Worker, Lupe Aguirre, Job Development Specialist Dominica Dominguez, CTE Ed. Advisor

Also, special thanks to Alese Campbell, Small Business Deputy Sector Navigator, Central Valley & Mother Lode Region for providing the funding.

Renegade Athletics


I enjoyed watching our amazing volleyball team with our Coach Ferreira on Friday, October 5th, against Ventura.  We won 3-0; 25-17, 25-22, 24-14

Loved this tweet from @Gogades

Gogades Tweet Oct 5 2017 about Sonya Christian watching volleyball game

From the www.gogades.com website

Softball in Santa Monica Oct 2017The Bakersfield College Volleyball team (#5 in California, 11-4) was already facing a stacked deck when arguably their star player, Alex Paris, went down with an injury Friday. But they couldn’t have predicted the next obstacle they’d be dealt just a day later.

We learned that three of our players were in Las Vegas at the Country music festival during the terrible event that unfolded over the weekend,” Coach Carl Feirerra said.

The three athletes and one athlete’s parents didn’t get back to Bakersfield until Tuesday, just one day before their match against a Santa Monica (5-4) squad coming off four straight wins.

But Coach Carl placed no expectations on the athletes.

“If they didn’t feel like playing, ‘no big deal’, if they wanted to play ‘great’, and the fact that they end up playing incredibly well, and felt so good about just being out there, shows they are just amazing  young ladies,” Feirrera said.

And play well, they did. Bakersfield broke Santa Monica’s four game wininng streak with authority, 25-17, 25-15, 25-21.

“This was easily the greatest win of my career,” Feirrera said, “What the human spirit does, just consistently amazes.”


Softball October 6 2017

Men’s Cross Country:

Mens Cross Country October 3 2017The men’s cross country team finished second at the Western State Conference Preview meet.  The Renegades had three runners finish in the top 25.  Marcos Mulato finished 10th overall, with a time of 22:47.7, to lead  with Renegades.  Harrison Wykoff (23:31.3) finished 22nd overall and Angelo Benitez (23:36.2) finished 23rd overall.


Trevor Horn opened his article in The Bakersfield Californian with

Two plays may very well define how the first half of the season is perceived for the Bakersfield College football team.

Down 17-7 with less than five minutes left, BC scored two touchdowns within 49 seconds and beat El Camino 21-17 on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

Sep 30 2017 from The Bakersfield Californian


It was a great game.  We had BPD and the Fire Department out at Memorial Stadium.  Mayor Karen Goh did the coin toss.  I don’t have the photos yet.  When I get them, I will update this blog post.

Make sure you come to the Alumni BBQ (3:00 p.m.) prior to the homecoming game (6:00 p.m.)

Tailgader Homecoming Sep 30 2017

Fun family time pictures I came across:

Jennifer Garrett

Jennifer Garrett Oct 7 2017 Hamlet

Sandi Taylor

Sandi Taylor Oct 7 2017

Olivia Garcia

Olivia Garcia Oct 7 2017

Joe Saldivar

Joe Saldivar Oct 8 2017

Jennifer Marden

Jennifer Marden in Kernville Oct 6 2017

So what about Neo

Six and a half months old. Here are photos from October 4, 2017.


Sonya Christian at M&O Open House cropped


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Another Incredible Week at BC

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, September 30th.  A great day to be a Renegade.

I was exhausted last night after a hectic fast paced week at BC.  For example, just on one day we had the Vice President of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, Tom Epstein, visit in the Levan Center; Senator Jean Fuller talking to our students in the Fireside Room with several dignitaries attending including Trustee Romeo Agbalog; the California Academic Partnership Program (CAPP) community partners meeting in the SGA Board Room; and Trustee Bill Thomas moving Measure J implementation along with individuals from AEComm.  And as Jennifer Marden would say….That’s how we roll at BC!

Tom Epstein Visits Bakersfield College

Tom Epstein with Bakersfield College Student Government Leadership

Vice President Tom Epstein with BC Student Leaders

We were honored to have Board of Governors (BOG) Vice President Tom Epstein visit our campus on Monday to learn what makes the student success initiatives at BC some of the best in the California community college system.


Tom Burke, Tom Epstein, Sonya Christian, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Zav Dadabhoy

Epstein was a big hit among the faculty, staff and students with his down to earth, humble approach in interacting with campus.  He is incredibly sharp with a keen eye to picking out “policy fixes” and “systems fixes”.  And I so enjoyed seeing his interaction with Senator Jean Fuller and Trustee Bill Thomas.  As it turns out Jean Fuller was on the committee that appointed Tom Epstein to his seat on the BOG.  And Tom met Bill in Washington DC when Bill was the Chairman of the Ways and Means committee.  There was genuine warmth and collegiality in these interactions.

Jean Fuller Tom Epstein Sep 25 2017 Cropped

Senator Jean Fuller, Tom Epstein

Tom Epstein, Sonya Christian, Bill Thomas

Tom Epstein, Sonya Christian, Bill Thomas touring the campus


The morning began with our fabulous student leaders’ thoughtful presentation about their experience with BC’s implementation of guided pathways.


SGA President, Dezi Von Manos and SGA Officers, James Tompkins, Alex Apatiga, Jose Cortez, Rayven Acosta Webb, Lawrence Salcido, and Emmanuel Limaco introduced the four pillars of the Guided Pathways project.

In the photos below you have both Tom Burke and Tom Epstein joining the conversation.


i-thzd8zl-x4One of my favorite quotes came from Rayven, who said

The ASL program has taught me that I have not suffered from hearing loss but blessed with Deaf Gain…Deaf can do anything; I can do engineering.

So proud of you Rayven!

Two of our leading data experts on campus, Craig Hayward, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Janet Fulks, Biology Faculty and Data Coach Lead, shared with our guests BC’s focus on several key momentum points focused on student success and completion, including attempting 15 units in the first semester, completion of transfer-level English and math and at least nine units in the student’s core pathway within the first year of completion.

Research indicates that students who are enrolled full-time are more likely to complete their education.

Fulltime Student Enrollemnt Completion Graph image

Craig and Janet also shared some of BC’s initiatives that have helped increase transfer rates to Cal State Bakersfield and the CSU System in general.

BC Students Transfer to CSU Sytem Graph

Academic Senate President Steven Holmes also took some time before one of his classes to explain how we’ve added faculty to meet student demand, while Steve Watkin and Ashlea Ward outlined our assessment and orientation process.

Counseling Dean Grace Commiso and Academic Support Services Director Maria Wright shared pathways and completion coaching philosophies at the core of our student support initiatives. A team of coaches from our Arts, Humanities and Communication meta-major then went through a detailed, holistic look at how they reach out to each of the 1,972 students in their group.

Below is a graphic representing the cyclical nature of our student support services.

Cyclical Nature Cycle Graph of BC Students

After the presentation, Kimberly Bligh led Mr. Epstein, district trustee Bill Thomas and several of us through an abbreviated tour of campus, describing its history and evolution. As the lead for Summer Bridge, Dr. Bligh knows the campus like almost no one else, having led over 1,000 incoming students and over 90 faculty and staff around campus this past summer.

Steven Holmes, Sonya Christian, Tom Epstein, Kimberly Bligh, Bill Thomas

Steven Holmes, Sonya Christian, Tom Epstein, Kimberly Bligh, Bill Thomas

TomEpsteinVisit2It was an honor to have Mr. Epstein on our campus. He recently retired after 15 years as vice president of public affairs of Blue Shield of California, where he led government relations, corporate communications, philanthropy, and corporate social responsibility.  Prior to joining Blue Shield, Epstein was vice president of communications for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and served in the Clinton White House as a special assistant to the president for political affairs.

Thank you Lesley Bonds for taking the lead in planning the day. You are a rock star!


Lesley Bonds

Jean Fuller


Senator Jean Fuller with Bakersfield College Student Leaders Sep 25 2017.jpg

Senator Jean Fuller and Bakersfield College Student Leaders

To continue the action packed day, we had the pleasure of having a fellow Renegade on campus. Senator Jean Fuller attended the BCSGA Legislative Affairs Power Lunch. It was the first Power Lunch for the Fall Semester and kick off for the year! Senator Fuller enjoyed her time here as she reminisced about her path from Bakersfield College to becoming a State Senator.



Senator Fuller’s story was very empowering. She told of the path she chose taking her where she is today and then spent her remaining time answering questions prepared by the BCSGA Legislative Affairs Department as well as questions submitted by the students in attendance. She answered questions regarding our Bakersfield College community, our city, and important legislation, such as DACA.

Overall, it was a great experience and we enjoyed having her here. We look forward to the next BCSGA Power Lunch on October 23rd. The scheduled speaker is Assembly Member Vince Fong. Be sure to save the date!

Thank you to the fabulous Dr. Nicky Damania and Danyel Owens for putting in so much time and passion into our students.

California Academic Partnership Program

On Monday, members of the California Academic Partnership Program committee in Kern County met with representatives from the CSU and CCC Chancellor’s Office to review the collaborative work between the Kern High School District, Bakersfield College, CSU Bakersfield and Kern Foundation. The purpose of the meeting included an overview of outcomes from the current work and discussion about designing the new requests for statewide CAPP grants.


Brenda Lewis at CAPP Sep 25 2017

Highlights of the outcomes included:

  •        work on multiple measures
  •        dual enrollment
  •        accelerated, compressed and stretch remediation
  •        transfer collaboration
  •        increased baccalaureate attainment

The intertwined graduation promises of CSUB, BC and Taft and the overarching Kern Pledge are collaborations designed to increase Bachelor’s degree attainment in Kern County. Compared to the state average Kern County has less than half the number of Bachelor’s degrees which influences the areas economic potential, poverty rates and social mobility. The CAPP committee works on a variety of detailed projects, bringing together movers and shakers from each system to inform, align policy and advance outcomes of education.

I can’t share enough about this important afternoon without also mentioning the incredible lunch provided by BC Food Services and Chef Eric Sabella. The kebabs were amazing and I can’t wait to have them again!



Measure J planning underway

AEComm1On top of everything else that was happening on Monday, Trustee Thomas was on campus to lead members of AEComm, including Domingo Camarano, Diana Johnson, and Lauren Maciel through a spontaneous tour of the campus to discuss a few of the renovations we have lined up thanks to Measure J.

Along with Bill Potter, Trustee Thomas showed the group the future locations of the new Campus Center and Veterans Resource Center while outlining important changes we’ll be making to our Science and Engineering building and athletics facilities, including disability and parking modernizations to Memorial Stadium and the addition of a new field house for our women’s sports teams.


We must bring the BC campus into the 21st Century, and we’re grateful that YOU, Kern County, voted yes on Measure J. THANK YOU for supporting Bakersfield College!


Bakersfield College in the middle of preparing for our accreditation visit

We have an incredible team across campus working on our 7-year accreditation Institutional Self Evaluation Report (ISER).  The team leads for this work are Professor Jason Stratton, Dean Liz Rozell, Professor Jessica Wojtysiak, Dean Bill Moseley.

forum levan center 2

On Tuesday September 26th, BC held our first Accreditation Forum of the semester at the Levan Center. The forum focused on Standard I of the ACCJC Standards for Accreditation. These standards address the mission, academic quality and institutional effectiveness, and institutional integrity of the school. The event was co-hosted by the ISER leads and the AIQ committee.

forum levan center 1

The forum began with a welcome from Liz Rozell and Jason Stratton, ISER Co-lead. Manny Mourtzanos and David Koeth discussed Standard 1A. Kim Nickell and Janet Fulks addressed Standard IB, and they were followed by Nicky Damania and Jennifer Johnson on Standard IC. Each of the presenters worked to engage the audience, providing time to solicit feedback and address questions. Jessica Wojtysiak, AIQ faculty chair, and Jason Stratton, ISER co-lead, attended the broadcast of the forum at the Delano campus.  Thank you Bill Moseley and Matt Jones for taking care of the technology.

forum delano

The next accreditation forum will take place on October 12th. The forum will cover Standard II and be co-hosted by the curriculum committee.

Farewell to Tracy

Tracy Hall-Powell, Administrative Assistant to Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg celebrated her last day at Bakersfield College and is embarking on a new adventure in Washington State. We gathered on Thursday afternoon to wish her well and let her know how much we will miss her.

Thank you to everyone in the executive suite for planning the celebration and to BC Food Services, who  provided a lovely cheese and fruit platter. The room was filled with smiley face cookies, lovely floral arrangements, and best of all, friends and colleagues.


Tracy started working at BC in April 2014, just a few weeks prior to our Centennial Commencement Ceremony. From the start, Tracy has embraced the BC spirit and is leaving an indelible imprint on BC and those of us who had the pleasure of working with her.

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AHC Pathway Fair

On Tuesday, BC’s Arts, Humanities and Communication (AHC) team launched a Pathway Orientation Fair for students who are majoring in Art, American Sign Language, Communication, English, Journalism, Music, Philosophy, Spanish and Theatre. Approximately 400-500 students had the opportunity to talk with faculty from their discipline, as well as meet with staff from Financial Aid, Academic Support Services, Counseling and Student Life. My sincere thanks for the many faculty and staff who volunteered their time to participate in this wonderfully successful event.

Kern County Student Leadership Conference

On Friday morning, we hosted 800 middle school students from around Bakersfield and Kern County to inspire our young people to think about and consider college in their future! Thank you to everyone involved, including the Conference Committee, John Harte, Jovi Mongold, Fruitvale School District, Wall St. Alley T-Shirt, BC Drumline, BC Cheer, Centennial High School, BC Outreach, M&O, and the events office!

Renegades at the Kern County Fair

DSC_6844On Thursday, the Office of Student Life hosted Renegades at the Fair.

In its third year, this has now become a Renegade Tradition. Students who bought the BCSGA sticker received a free ticket to the fair and a parking pass and in partnership with the Kern County Fair, Student Life was able to sell discounted tickets to the BC and Bakersfield community.

Spending the day at the fair is a great way to see the energy and pride that BC has with its community. This time last year we were passing out information on Measure J. Have I said THANK YOU KERN COUNTY?


This year, we thanked the fair patrons for their continued service and passed out a “fair” amount of BC Swag. Looking forward to next year’s Renegade’s at the Fair!


The three legendary individuals at BC

I loved hanging out with Jerry Ludeke, Jack Hernandez and Bob Allison earlier this week.

Sonya Christian, Jack Hernandez, Nan Gomez Heitzeberg, Bob Allison, Jerry Ludeke Sep 28 2017

Sonya Christian, Jack Hernandez, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Bob Allison, Jerry Ludeke

Outreach to K-12

Dr. Debbie Rosenthal was briefing me on her continuing outreach work with Standard Middle School.  Debbie excitely shared with me that two of her BC students who are helping with the outreach told her that they wanted to become teachers.  Enjoy the photos



Pre-Med Club Bake Sales

I recently shared that the BC Pre-med club has started their meetings again this year. The club was re-instated in the fall of 2001 in an attempt to help students interested in all health professions achieve their goals through attending pre-med conferences, internship opportunities ,and volunteer work. They were out on campus raising money for educational field trips by hosting a bake sale. Make sure to swing by if you spot their table!

BC Pre-Med Club Student at Bake Sale

Saturday Kayak Outing with Friends of BC

A few years back, Tom Gelder and his wife offered kayak lessons as part of the auction items during Sterling Silver. I’m happy to share these pictures from last Saturday where Jeff Gutierrez and Jeff Green were out on the water. It looks like they had a blast!

Earthquake: Evidence of a Restless Planet

planetarium1Courtesy of a grant from Chevron, the William M Thomas Planetarium is hosting a geology-theme show for the fall schedule, “Earthquake: Evidence of a Restless Planet” coming up on Thursday, October 5, from 7:30 to 8:30 PM. Narrated by Benjamin Bratt, the show begins with an all digital, recreation of the 7.9-magnitude earthquake, followed by a scientific treatment of the event—including views of the underground fault plane and the propagation of seismic energy waves based on supercomputer simulations. The show ends with a look at the modern building strategies used by scientists and engineers for a safer and better prepared future. For details and ticket information, visit the Bakersfield College website.

Free Community Swimming Lessons

images pool

Bakersfield College Pool

This week, Matt Moon, BC’s head Men’s and Women’s Swimming Coach sent an email about the upcoming community swim lessons. In the email, Matt said:

Ten people drown each day in the United States, 70% of African American children, 60% of Latino children, and 40% of Caucasian children have low or no swimming ability, and participation in formal swim lessons can reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88%. These are some of the statistics dealing with water safety in the United States and the Bakersfield College Swimming Team wants to help!

We will be hosting our annual Free Community Swimming Lessons on October 7th from 8:00am-2:00pm. The swim lessons will be running on a continuous 30 minute cycle so we are able to get as many kids in the water as possible. The focus of the lessons will be on water safety but if your child already knows how to swim they are more than welcome to get a lesson to improve their technique. Please help spread the word and take part in a great opportunity to make Bakersfield a water safe community.

During the swimming lessons the Bakersfield College Swimming team will be taking part in a 6 hour relay. The 6 hour relay will showcase each athlete swimming a portion of the time, so feel free to stick around after the lesson and watch your BC swimming team complete the relay. Donations are greatly appreciated!

For details, visit the event’s page on the BC website!

Kern Shakespeare Festival 2017

BC_33rd-Annual-Kern_Shakespeare_FestivalIt’s always a pleasure to invite our community to the BC campus for arts and performances. The Bakersfield College Performing Arts Department is proud to present two plays for the 33rd Annual Kern Shakespeare Festival: William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Top Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead.
Tickets are $12 for general admission and $8 for Students, Staff, Seniors, and Veterans. Advance tickets are available at www.vallitix.com, and tickets will also be available at the door. All shows begin at 7:30pm in the Edward Simonsen Outdoor Theatre, with doors opening at 7:00pm.

Stefani Dias at Bakersfield.com highlighted the Kern Shakespeare Festival in her article No holds Bard at Kern Shakespeare Festival where she states “Of course, Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” is a natural companion to its festival mate, “Hamlet”. Thank you to the Bakersfieldnow.com staff for advertising this thrilling event. I can’t wait to see you there!

HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK – Directed by Brian J. Sivesind
September 29, October 3, 5, 7 at 7:30pm
“Conscience does make cowards of us all.”
Overcome with grief in the wake of his father’s death, Prince Hamlet’s mourning is interrupted by the unpalatable marriage of his widow-mother to his father’s brother. Hamlet’s woe turns to vengeful anger when his father’s ghost appears and reveals the uncle and newly-crowned King of Denmark to be the murderer. Prince Hamlet struggles to decide his next move: avenge his father’s foul murder or succumb to the anguish of his circumstances.

September 30, October 4, 6 at 7:30pm
“Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.”
Acclaimed as a modern comic masterpiece, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is the fabulously inventive tale of Hamlet as told from the worm’s-eye view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare’s play. In Tom Stoppard’s best-known work, this Shakespearean Laurel and Hardy finally get a chance to take the lead role, but do so in a world where echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, where reality and illusion intermix, and where fate leads our two heroes to a tragic but inevitable end.

The 33rd annual Kern Shakespeare Festival features the following performers:
Colter Allison, Martin Arroyo, Brittany Beaver, Allan Bexton, Anthony Brooks, Stephen Bush, Josh Carruthers, Kara Coughenour, Decymbr’ Frank, Cody Ganger, Kevin Ganger, Amy Hall, Josue Jimenez, Tevin Joslen, Bob Kempf, Crystal Lara, Ryan Lee, Nolan Long, Shelbe McClain, Randy Messick, Ethan Monge, Sammy Noriega, Daniel Ochoa, Brian Purcell, Cheyenne Reyes, Brian Sivesind, John Spitzer, Nancee Steiger, Jose Tenorio, Blanka Trujillo, Salvador Vidaurri, Carlos Vera, and Spirit Wright.

Here is an email from Dr. Manny Mourtzanos, Dean of the Arts who sent this picture from yesterday’s Opening Night with an email encouraging the community to attend. Let’s hear from Manny:

Hamlet Sep 29 2017.JPG

Looking for great live theatre? Look no further than BC! The Theatre Department launched the 33rd Annual Kern Shakespeare Festival on Friday evening with the opening of “Hamlet”, along with “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” on Saturday. This year’s cast and crew members are packed with student talent and supported by our faculty Brian Sivesind (Claudius, Director) , Bob Kempf (Gravedigger, Director), and Colton Allison (Ghost of Hamlet’s Father). We even had the privilege of welcoming back retired Professor of Theatre, Randy Messick, in his role as Polonius . I should also mention that the scenic & lighting design by Kevin Ganger and costume design by Leslie Aldridge are remarkable. Well done, Theatre Department and students. We are so proud you. My gratitude to the numerous faculty and staff who attended opening night. Thank you for supporting our students! These shows will continue to run until October 7. I hope you’re able to attend.

Tailgade: The 2017 BC Alumni Association BBQ

The BC Alumni Association will be hosting a barbecue from 3-6 p.m. before the Renegades football game against Moorpark College. You can purchase a New York steak lunch prepared by Fred’s BBQ Factory for:

  • Adults: $25
  • Students with any school ID: $15
  • Kids 10 and under hot dogs: $10

Local ska/cumbia rock band Mento Buru will be performing, and beer and wine will be available for purchase for anyone over 21.

Purchase Tickets Today!

Tailgader Homecoming Sep 30 2017

As Seen on Facebook


Sep 2017 CTE Auto

Yuki Takeuchi-Chan

Sep 30 2017 post by Yuki Takeuchi Chan

Mary Jo Pasek on the traveling Kaiser Pemanente troope

Mary Jo Pasek Facebook Sep 30 2017

Jennifer Garrett

Jennifer Garrett Sep 27 2017


Renegade Athletics

Renegade Football: On September 23rd BC played at LA Harbor College and we won 47-6.  (Yes!!)  My cousins, Jeff Declase and his wife Toni, who were visiting California from Melbourne Australia, came to the game.  My daughter joined us as well.  It was wonderful enjoying family and seeing the Renegades powering through the game.  It was a treat seeing Peter Reyes there.  For those of you who do not know Peter, he is the legendary flag carrier for the Renegades.  Over 30 years of running in with the BC flag leading the students onto the field.  Here are some photos.

Sonya Christian, Eisha Christian, Toni DeClase, Jeff DeClase Sep 23 2017

Sonya & Eisha Christian; Toni & Jeff Declase


Sonya Christian, Toni DeClase, Jeff Declase Sep 23 2017

Sonya Christian, Toni & Jeff Declase

Trevor Horn, Ken Calvin, Vance Palm, Francis Mayer Sep 23 2017

Trevor Horn, Ken Calvin, Vance Palm, Francis Mayer

Robinson names SCFA Defensive Player of the weekSophomore Bobby Robinson was named the Southern California Football Association, National Northern Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his outstanding performance in BC’s blowout win over LA Harbor in week four. He joins freshman Cam Roberson as BC’s two POTW honorees for week four.

Here’s what the SCFA release said about Robinson’s performance:

Bobby Robinson was a disruptive defensive presence from whistle to whistle in Bakersfield’s 47‐6 win at LA Harbor. Robinson marred the Seahawks’ lone TD by blocking the extra point in the first quarter, returning the momentum back to the Renegades who never relinquished it again. Robinson made sure of that by punctuating the win with a 100 yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Bobby Robinson provided the first and last word in big defensive plays in BC’s win.


Cross Country:

The BC women’s cross country team finished third at the Bakersfield Invitational on Friday.   Lourdes Cruz paced the Renegades, finishing in seventh place overall, with a time of 20:25.  BC had two other runners finish in the top twenty.  Tori Wiley, with a time of 22:45, finished in fourteenth place and Natalie Estrada finished seventeenth with a 23:06 time.

Womens Cross Country Sep 26 2017.jpg

The Bakersfield College men’s cross country team finished second in the Bakersfield Invitational on Friday.  The Renegades had three top-ten finishers, led by Marcos Mulato, who finished third overall, with a time of 21:38.00.  Harrison Wykoff, 21:50, finished sixth and Angelo Benitez, 21:54, finished seventh.

Mens Cross Country Sep 26 2017



Sonya Christian Sep 23 2017 at LA Harbor CollegeThat’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever



Enriching Lives through Campus & Community


This was one of the sights to be seen at last night’s Grand Opening Ceremony for the 1st Annual Arvin Hispanic Month Celebration. It was met with energy and excitement for the unveiling of the new Garden in The Sun Park for families of the Arvin community.

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, September 23…a fabulous day to be a Renegade….a fabulous week to be a Renegade….a fabulous year to be a Renegade.  Thank you Bakersfield. Thank you Kern County for always being there for your college.

Assemblyman Rudy Salas, Alfonso Noyola, City Manager, Jose Gurrola Jr., Mayor City of Arvin , Jazmin Robles, Mayor Pro Tem City of Arvin, Erika Madrigal, Council Member City of Arvin, Gabriella Martinez, Council Member City of Arvin Jess Ortiz, Council Member City of Arvin, all touched base on the outlook of the City of Arvin and the added value to the community.

Nate Meeks, Quad Knopf Engineering spoke to the effort and design of the Park itself.
Assembly member Rudy Salas also spoke and shared his perspective of the surrounding Kern Communities, and the value of bringing in a positive influence.  It was great having BC and KCCD represented in great strength.  Chancellor Tom Burke and Trustee Bill Thomas came out to support the event.

Kern Community College District Board Trustee,  Bill Thomas, spoke last, announcing KCCD plans for the new Bakersfield College Satellite campus and painting a picture of the beautiful Kern mountains creating a perfect setting for incoming students. The ROTC color-guard led a presentation of the flag, and there was a ribbon-cutting for the park, followed by a community parade with the Arvin Police Department, folkloric dancing, and the chanting of “We are BC” heard in the background.


Bakersfield College presence continued through the evening with multi-department collaborations from Delano Campus, Outreach, Student Life, EOPS, Counseling and Adult Education. Thank you to all our volunteers and BC staff who showed up to support BC, including Abel Guzman, Endee Grijalva, Nicky Damania, Steve Watkin, Beth Harrison, Alyse Braaten, Dinorah Castro, Amalia Ojeda, Stephanie Baltazar, Jesse Oropeza and more! Thank you Abel Guzman, Jennifer Marden, and Bill Potter for the planning that went into this effort.


DACA: Now What? A Community Forum

A DACA Community Forum reached approximately 300 students and community members on Thursday evening. A team of six immigration and defense attorneys volunteered their time to address questions regarding the recent announcement of a decision to rescind the Deferred Action for  Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative.

Panelists at the DACA Community Forum

Panelists at the DACA Community Forum

My heartfelt thanks to our panelists:

  •        H.A. Sala
  •        Win Eaton
  •        Vanessa Sanchez
  •        Edyta Grant
  •        Andrew Fishkin, and
  •        Sarah Rice

Assemblyman Rudy Salas was also in attendance. A very special ‘thank you’ to Mr. Salas for his participation and contribution.


After the panel, our incredible panelists made themselves available for individual questions and answers. Here is Andrew Fishkin taking time with one of the attendees.

I can’t thank everyone enough for providing this opportunity for our students and our community.

A recording of the panel discussion is available here.

A big thank you to Dr. Manny Mourtzanos for making this happen.

Distinguished Speaker Series

After the community forum, we invited student leaders to stay and listen to Yemeni grad student and public speaker, Orubba Almansouri to tell the story of how she was able to accomplish her educational goals while honoring her Muslim community’s faith and traditions.

Joe Salvadar and Orubba Almansouri

Joe Salvadar and Orubba Almansouri

Joe Saldivar was introduced Orubba, whose impassioned speech as the Salutatorian at the City College of New York’s commencement ceremonies led to an invitation to speak at last year’s United States of Women conference by none other than former First Lady Michelle Obama. From a young age, Orubba had a passion for learning, even though the tribe where her family comes from in Yemen traditionally forbids teaching girls. But after years of demonstrating to her family that her pursuit of education won’t lead her to reject her traditions or identity, she said, her family became her biggest supporters, even escorting her to speaking engagements in accordance with Muslim law. “My journey was never an individual one,” Orubba said. “I am taking my family and my community on this journey with me, whether they like it or not.”

While she had to learn the art of compromise to accomplish her goals, Orubba has provided a blueprint for other Muslim women to follow in her footsteps if they choose. “The best change, for me, is change that comes gradually,” she said. “Small changes, when sustained, can uplift generations. It infiltrates the system until it becomes the system itself. “Changing our attitudes toward education will only benefit us and our communities,” she said. Now a graduate student at NYU, Orubba has started working on a project about the influence of the Muslim mother/daughter relationship in boosting Arabic literacy rates among adult Muslim women.

Thank you to our fantastic Office of Student Life for organizing this event with such an important national figure.

230th Birthday of the U.S. Constitution

Did you know that U.S. Constitution was created on September 17, 1787, now celebrating its 230th birthday? Each year on Constitution Day, the Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Mary Barlow and the Kern County Bar Association including Bonnie Thompson, Executive Director, organize an opportunity for local legal professionals and educators to speak to elementary students about the Constitution, its history, and application for kids.

This year, Manny Mourtzanos was invited to speak to over 100 students in the 4th and 5th grade at Beardsley Elementary School. Many thanks to Teresa Twisselman, KCSOS Coordinator of English and Language Arts and Tammy Barrera,Principal at Beardsley Elementary for making this incredible event possible.

Bakersfield College is very grateful for strong professional relationships with community partners such as KCSOS and KCBA.

Manny Mourtzanos Presenting

College Night

On September 11, BC was at the 18th Annual Kern County College Night at the Rabobank Convention Center. Over 100 BC staff, faculty, administrators, and students were there to represent the college, surpassing our representation from last year!

Over the course of the evening, students and parents had the opportunity to inquire about the academic and student support programs offered at BC. From the large crowd at the convention center, over 1,300 submitted an interest card requesting additional information from the college. BC is a vital option for our Kern County residents, and it definitely showed on this day! A special thanks to Bakersfield College’s Outreach team (Ashlea, Debi, Josie, Manuel, Pedro, Roseanne, and Savannah), led by Director Steven Watkin, for putting this event together. We Are BC!

College Night 2017

Child Development Center

The start of the fall semester has been busy for our childcare children and their parents. There are currently 133 students enrolled in our seven classrooms.  I’m told there are still a few openings for three and four year old’s if you know any student parents who need child care. We were very happy to see our Public Safety Department ensuring the safety of our arriving children on Monday, August 21.  Our Department of Public Safety is incredible.

CDC Crossing Guard Public Safety

All of our teachers are required to have updated CPR Training so in early August many of staff members came on a Saturday to participate in pediatric First Aid and CPR training provided by our partners at CAPK Head Start. And on September 14, KAPK also provided a petting zoo for our children to enjoy after their parents met with their teachers to get to know each other.

Last Week at The Renegade Football Game

At last Saturday’s game against Riverside, the BC Renegades honored Jonathan Garcia by displaying his Jersey on the sidelines.

Jonathan Garcia's JerseyAnd the BC Choir sang the Star Spangled Banner. You have to take a listen.

Thank you Dr. Kimberly Bligh for the video.

Trustee Romeo Agbalog and family were at the game and, and graciously agreed when Francis Mayer and Vance Palm invited him to be the half-time guest.

Romeo Agbalog and Vance Palm half time Sep 16 2017

Vance Palm, Trustee Romeo Agbalog

Romeo Agbalog and family Sep 16 2017

Dr. Zav Dadabhoy, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, daughter Victora, Lily Agbalog, Jennifer Achan, Kushnur Dadabhoy


What I love most about Renegade Athletics is that it is about family and friends. In the photo above is Trustee Agbalog, his wife Lily, daughter Victoria.

Here are the great nephews of our Athletics Director Sandi Taylor Brody Breitweiser (6) and Aidan Breitweiser (4) during and after Renegade Football.

This Week on Facebook

I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever, and BC students always inspire me.  This week on Facebook, I saw our BC Pre-Med Club inviting fellow Renegades to their club meeting on Thursday. The Pre-Med Club at BC takes the hopes and dreams of students interested in all aspects of medicine and turn them into realities. PMC addresses the crisis our country faces of a shortage of doctors by giving our members opportunities to excel. Their mission is to solidify the decision and assist students’ journeys towards a future in medicine. PMC’s goal is to help our community in whatever way they can, which not only includes the healing professions they choose, but also volunteering and offering time for great causes. Can you see why I say I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever?


This Week on Twitter

Grimmway Farms hosted an internship event for students on Tuesday in the Fireside Room as part of the Bakersfield Career Series. I saw a flurry of social media about this great event. Students interested in agriculture, business, food science and industrial technology got to learn about Grimmways’ hiring, application and recruiting processes while networking with important business leaders in the community. Thank you Heather Baltis, Chris McCraw, and Pam Gomez for the great posts!

The Maker Space

The Maker Space in the Faculty Technology lab is up and running.  The Academic Technology team, including Bill Moseley, Matt Jones, and Pam Rivers is kicking off this space with 3D printing workshops open to all faculty. This is a very cool new addition!

TailGade Coming Soon!

TailGade logo

Homecoming is right around the corner on October 14th. It will be a day filled with all things Renegade. I am looking forward to TailGade! What is TailGade you ask? It is the new name for the BC Alumni BBQ. TailGade will take place from 3:00pm-6:00pm, before the Homecoming game against Moorpark and will be a great way to start the celebration. Local favorite, Mento Buru will be playing their mix of Ska, Reggae, Mambo, Jazz and World Beat Dance Sounds. A delicious NY Steak lunch expertly prepared by Fred’s BBQ Factory is included and there will be beer and wine available for purchase. Your ticket to TailGade will also get you into the game. This is a community event and you don’t need to be alumni to attend. Come join old friends, make new friends and enjoy a wonderful time. Tickets are available through Vallitix.

Jess Nieto

I received news from Corny Rodriguez on Friday morning about the passing of local legend, Jess Nieto. Gonzalo Santos at CSUB, sent the following email:

Bakersfield just lost its most persistent and dedicated veteran activist, our preeminent Chicano educator, founder of Chicano Studies at BC in the 1970s, a tireless community organizer, an advocate and champion of international and local just causes since the 1960s, including the Chicano movement and the historic farm worker strikes and boycotts. He was someone that built bridges of understanding and solidarity with the peoples of China, Cuba, Chile, El Salvador, Venezuela, and Mexico. He was also a devoted husband and loving family man who generously mentored generations of our local Latino youth, a comrade in the trenches of the immigration movement, and a co-founder of the formidable coalition that organized the historic immigrant marches of 2006 in Bakersfield (the largest ever).

His family roots – the Nietos – go back to the Californio settlers of what is today Long Beach, California. Their rancho home, which prior to the U.S. annexation managed that entire area, still stands and is a museum. He drew great strength from knowing his family history before and after the Anglos dispossessed them and usurped their land.

He had a Ph.D. in Anthopology, was a learned scholar with a sharp, cosmopolitan mind, but never flouted it. He was the most formidable but humble of public intellectuals in our area.
He was also my “travieso” friend, who I greatly enjoyed visiting at his home with his life-long compañera and wife Peggy, and spend evenings plotting how best to counter the entrenched legacy of apartheid in Bakersfield still visible today, and the flawed imperial foreign policy of this country, still wrecking so much havoc in the world.

For above all, Jess was an internationalist, a citizen of the world, loyal only to social justice and human understanding.  I will greatly miss him. I am honored and grateful to have known him.

Here is a Facebook post from Prof. Oliver Rosales

Jesse Nieto Sep 2017

I found this great picture of Jess Nieto and me at the gym 21 months ago, Jan 2016, in the gym.  It was just wonderful talking to him and hearing all the stories of some of BC’s defining moments.  Check out the post at https://sonyachristianblog.com/tag/jess-nieto/

Jess Nieto and Sonya Christian Jan 9 2016

Sonya Christian, Jess Nieto



This week I presented, along with Dr. Darla Cooper, in San Diego at the NALEO policy conference.  This was my first time at NALEO and I got to appreciate the quality of the work that they do.  Their website describes the organization:

NALEO Educational Fund is the nation’s leading non-profit, non-partisan organization that facilitates full Latino participation in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.

Trustee Romeo Agbalog attended the conference.  Here he is with Chancellor Eloy Oakley, who was the opening speaker at the conference.

Eloy Oakley Romeo Agbalog Sep 22 2017

Chancellor Eloy Oakley, Trustee Romeo Agbalog

It was great to hear from Michele Siqueiros, CEO of the Campaign for College Opportunities (CCO).  Talking about CCO, thank you Linda Vasquez for the photos you snapped of me presenting.

I enjoyed presenting with the fabulous Darla Cooper.  We had fun and I think the audience did too.

Darla Cooper and Sonya Christian NALEO

Our dedicated faculty

Dr. Deborah Rosenthal, one of our new Chemistry faculty is just tireless in her outreach to students in middle school and high school.  Getting students to think about Science in their future.  Dr. Rosenthal was excited when she shared with me that one of the BC students whispered to her as they walked into the middle school classroom–“They remember our names!”  The Standard Middle School kids were yelling out hellos as the BC team walked in.  I wondered how Debbie finds time to do all this…she said “no matter how tired I am on Friday afternoon, this is supercool for everyone.”  You see why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?


Dr. Jennifer Garret‘s post on Facebook

.Choir Sep 19 2017 Ready to sing in honor of Jonathan Garcia

Tonight in Chamber and last week in College Choir we were visited by members of the 1965 Bakersfield College Choir that won first place at the Eisteddfod Choral festival in Wales. They also sang for the Pope and the president of the United States. It was inspiring to hear their words. It caused me to reflect on the choirs I am fortunate to work with. Last week College Choir lost one of our members to a car accident. They immediately responded by wanting to honor him. And so since he also played football we learned the National Anthem in one day and most of the choir rearranged their schedule so they could be at the football game to honor our member who is now blessing lives in another place.

Chamber Singers gives and gives and I only ask for more. From 4 hour rehearsals, to sectionals, to ridiculous memorization, and trying to raise $140,000! Why do we do this thing called music? Because it’s who we are and how we express ourselves. It allows us to say things that cannot be said, feel things that cannot otherwise be felt, and share our deepest desires, greatest joys, and most bitter disappointments. Music is one of the greatest gifts of life. The best part is sharing it with these amazing people and then getting to share it with the world. Music is truly living.

Choir with Ramona Gia and Mrilyn Wilson Sep 19 2017.jpg


Kern Literacy Event:

The Kern Literacy Council held their “Read for Success Breakfast” this week on September 21st at Hodel’s Country Dining. It was a wonderful event with delegates attending from both local and state agencies in support of literacy in Kern County. Attendees included Senator Jean Fuller, KCCD Chancellor, Tom Burke, KCCD Vice Chancellor, John Means, and delegates from multiple community supporters and political constituencies who represent Kern County.



Kimberly Bligh, BC faculty director, Senator Jean Fuller, and Isabel Castenada, BC Education Advisor enjoyed catching up on BC Pathways initiative

Dr. Kimberly Bligh, Senator Jean Fuller, Isabel Caseaneda

The Kern Literacy Council‘s mission is “Empowering individuals to improve their quality of life through literacy education.” Programs include Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language, GED Preparation, Family Literacy, and Citizenship Tutoring. Kern Literacy Council’s sponsors include Aera Energy LLC, Chevron, Grimmway Farms, Don and Dianne Lake, and John and Sheila Lake. Supporters include Bakersfield Adult School, State Farm, and Trans-West.

The breakfast program focused on a panel discussion with Dr. Mary Barlow, Kern County Superintendent of Schools, and Barbara Grimm-Marshall, co-owner of Grimmway Farms.

Dr. Mary Barlow: The Bakersfield Californian reported when Dr. Mary Barlow took her new position, “Barlow has spent the majority of her career in education, working her way up from teaching into the superintendency at KCSOS. In her role as superintendent, Barlow will serve as the top education official in Kern County, providing daily operational oversight of county-run programs, as well as divisions that support the county’s 47 schools serving more than 180,000 students.”

Barbara Grimm-Marshall: Jed Wallace, President and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association shared about Barbara, “As co-owner of Grimmway Farms, one of the largest and most respected agriculture companies in California, Barbara has been dedicated to support schools in and around Bakersfield, not only for her company’s employees, but for all students in the region.” Barbara has help to create two Grimmway Academy charter schools in Kern County in Arvin and Shafter.


KCCD Chancellor, Tom Burke, Mayor Karen Goh, Kimberly Bligh, and KCCD Vice Chancellor John Means

Chancellor Tom Burke, Mayor Karen Goh, Dr. Kimberly Bligh, Vice Chancellor John Means

After a kick-off welcome by Board of Director President, Robin Fleming, the moderator for the breakfast panel discussion, Treasurer Joel Sherman took over asking questions of the two panelist about how literacy has impacted their personal lives and how they see the importance of literacy in Kern County.

The discussion gave the audience insight into just how pervasive literacy is in the lives of Mary and Barbara.  Many of their points hit home with the breakfast attendees, often bringing head nodding, smiles, and even laughter.

Joel shared as he opened the discussion, “Literacy is the original form of thought transfer.” He added that the Kern Literacy Council “helps people overcome one of the greatest barriers to life.”

When Barbara was asked about how literacy impacted her life, she stated that “Reading has been the foundation for all of the opportunities I’ve had in my life.” Mary shared stories about her childhood, sharing anecdotal stories about her father’s reading genres that made the audience giggle and empathize in many cases. She said that reading has had a positive impact on her life, her children’s lives and how important it is to our community. Barbara made a point that resounded in the hall. She said because books and information are abundantly available online, we need to make the internet more accessible in all of our Kern communities.



Barbara Grim-Marshall and MAry Barlow discuss importance of literacy in their lives and in our community

Barbara Grimm Marshall, Mary Barlow

Both panelist agreed that literacy starts at infancy and lasts a life time. Literacy should be the number one commitment to our community. Books should be provided to families and tutoring should be provided to all who need that resource.

The closing speaker was a young man tutored by a  Kern Literacy tutor. Gilberto George closed the program sharing his story of learning to speak English with the help of the free services offered by the Kern Literacy Council. He shared a day in his life of waking at 5 am , working in the fields until 2 pm, studying English with his tutor, then going to his second job at Carl’s Jr. by evening and working until 12 or 1 am then starting over the next day.  He thanked the Kern Literacy Council staff for assisting him achieve his goal and learning a second language and shared his excitement that with his new fluency in English that he hopes to be a shift manager at his job soon. Literacy has changed his life. He was proud and emotional when he thanked his tutor as the audience applauded his achievements.


Gilberto George

Gilbert George

Every dollar donated to the Kern Literacy Council stays in our county to assist residents with Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language, GED Preparation, Family Literacy, and preparation for their United States Citizenship test.

For more information: http://www.kernliteracy.org/


Spotted in The Californian

Steffani Dias of The Bakersfield Californian highlighted our fantastic culinary arts program and students in the article, “Renegade Room raring to go this fall.”  She mentions that from now until November 30th, “the student-run facility will serve dinners on Tuesday and Thursdays and lunch on Wednesdays.” For the complete menu and details, visit The Bakersfield College Website.


Thank you Steffani for the highlight – check it out here!


Renegade Athletics

Volleyball: The 4th ranked Renegades defeated 9th ranked El Camino (25-21, 25-27, 17-25, 25-17, 15-13) Wednesday night to improve their record to 8-1 on the season.

volleyball sep 2017

This was truly a team effort for the Renegades.  Alex Paris led the team with 16 kills and 16 digs, Sarah Armendariz had 14 kills and 8 digs,  Brooke Horack had 13 kills and 4 digs, Jourdon Muro, who led the team with 17 digs, also recorded 8 kills, Reece Stevenson had 7 kills and 16 digs and Haley Sanchez recorded 12 digs.

Great video shot by Francis Mayer of Coach Carl Ferreira right after the game


Renegade Wrestling:

The Bakersfield College Wrestling team placed third at the Sac City Tournament as a team, and sent three wrestlers to the top of the podium over the weekend.

Wrestling Sep 16 2017.jpg

From gogades.com —  Pedro Corona, reigning All-American, took the top spot at 133.

184 pounder Jeremy Maas and Heavyweight Romero Macias both also brought home gold.

But the champions weren’t the only ones to climb the podium; BC placed at almost every weight class.

Zavion Roberson (197) placed third, Bradley Harper (165) placed fourth, while Nick Correa (125), Pedro Ramirez (149), and Esteban Corona all placed in the top six.

Neo on September 21, 2017 — he turned 6 months on Sep 17th.

September 21 2017 Neo

Sonya Christian Sep 22 2017


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC – a campus and community of incredible support

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, September 16, 2017 and a great day to be a Renegade.

Jonathan GarciaOur campus and community was hit with devastating news regarding the tragic passing of 17 year old, Renegade athlete and student, Jonathan Garcia.

Dr. Jen Garrett commented:

As a music major, Jonathan’s bright smile, warm heart, and big voice was a wonderful addition to the BC Choir. His countenance and spirit lifted those around him and made them want to be better people. The students and faculty of the Performing Arts Department are grieved by the loss of such a wonderful young man. But Jonathan would want to be remembered for his life and not his passing. The Bakersfield College Choir and Chamber Singers celebrate his spirit, and will carry his memory in the music we make this semester and beyond.

Sandi Taylor, BC’s Athletics Director said,

The best part of athletics is that we win and lose together…as a team and a community. That is the small comfort we take as we remember the loss of our Renegade Jonathan Sebastian Garcia.  Before Jonathan was ever a Renegade, Rebel, or “Tank”, he held the greater titles of first-born son to his mother and two younger brothers. We ask that you remember and support his mother and family in their hour of incredible grief and loss.

An incredibly moving article and report was created by Tabatha Mills at KGET titled “A Labor of Love.

The BC Choir is dedicating the October 27th concert to him, titled “The Music of Living.”

Remembering 9-11

Last Monday was the 16th anniversary of the day that changed all of our lives. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th altered the course of this nation’s history, and everyone remembers where they were when they first saw or heard about it.


Here in Bakersfield, 3,000 miles away, a 22-foot girder from the North Tower of the World Trade Center stands in front of the fire station on Buena Vista Road in honor of all those who lost their lives that day, as well as the emergency service personnel who helped save lives. I had the honor of attending the memorial and unveiling last year and shared it on my blog. If you have not seen this local memorial in person, I encourage you to stop by and remember the brave men and women in New York that day.

Renegade Football

Renegade football is off to a fabulous 2-0 start to the season after beating Chaffey College 46-13 last weekend in Rancho Cucamonga. The Renegades dominated the game from the first whistle, according to Trevor Horn’s report in the Californian, holding the Chaffey Panthers to just one touchdown in the first 55 minutes while scoring boatloads of points off of a balanced offense on the air and ground.

Coach Chudy still feels like the ‘Gades could do a lot to improve, but is satisfied with the depth and versatility he has on this year’s squad.

Hancock at BC_18

“We have a lot of speed and trying to utilize that speed and take advantage of matchups,” Chudy said. “Mismatches is really what we are trying to do. We are afforded that luxury to do that because we have good competition at a lot of spots.”

Last week, Horn wrote another article highlighting ‘Gades linebacker Desmond Ramseur, a six-year veteran of the US Marine Corps Forces Reserve. After serving with the Combat Logistics Batallion 451 in South Carolina, Ramseur moved to Bakersfield in 2015.

Ramseur, who Coach Chudy nicknamed “Marine”, recorded a team-high 14 tackles in BC’s 21-6 Week 1 victory at home against Allan Hancock.

Many of us headed over to Chaffey battling crazy I-5 and 210 traffic.  In fact we joked that we had almost as many in the stands as the home team.  Below are some photos.

Renegade Football is a great opportunity to support the Renegades and reconnect with incredible friends. I saw Ray Maranda and Chris Hitchcock supporting the team. He is a former Renegade athletic trainer and she is a former office manager in A&R and has served on the Foundation Board. And Rob Parsons was there supporting the ‘Gades!

Renegades at Chaffey

Ray Maranda and Chris Hitchcock



Rob Parsons and Sonya Christian

I also love seeing our incredible cheer team, led by coach Heather Foss. They always bring the Renegade spirit!



BC Cheer Team


Dr. Bill Baker our team doctor is at all Renegade Football games as well. I mentioned last year in my blog post: “Here is a gang of regulars at the games. Sharon Baker and Bill Baker (The Renegade Football doc) come to all the games. It always warms my heart to see both Dr. Baker and Dr. Tivnon out there with our student athletes.” Thank you Bill and Sharon Baker for all that you to for Bakersfield College and our student athletes.


Here is Dr. Bill Baker and Stig Jantz, Academic Advisor on the field.

I was so delighted to see Raquel Lopez with her daughter, Thalia Solorio, at the game.  I remembered Rich McCrow proudly sharing stories about Thalia’s achievements and it was a delight seeing her with her mom Raquel who is so dedicated to BC and our students.  Raquel was at Chaffey to support her son Mario Solorio #50 on the Renegade Football team.

Thalia Solorio, Sonya Christian, Raquel Lopez Sep 9 2017

Thalia Solorio, Sonya Christian, Raquel Lopez

For all things Renegade Athletics, visit http://gogades.com.

Community Partners Supporting Students

Kern Federal Credit Union LogoThe incredible people at Kern Federal Credit Union (KFCU) have partnered with the BC DACA Response Team to communicate the details of their emergency loan program to the community.  KFCU will automatically approve all current DACA beneficiaries for $500 emergency loans toward DACA renewal fees, with no credit underwriting required.  Additionally, the San Francisco-based non-profit Mission Asset Fund (MAF) is offering $495 scholarships to cover renewal fees. Thank you Kern Federal Credit Union for the support of BC students.

To learn more about this and other resources and info, please consider attending the DACA Community Forum on September 21st in BC’s Fireside Room. Guest panelists include local attorneys Win Eaton, H.A. Sala, Sarah Rich, and Vanessa Sanchez.  For all the details on this, please visit the BC website

Talking about DACA, our student trustee, Rayven Acosta-Webb on the KCCD board addressed the DACA issue will the board on Thursday, Sep 14th. She talked about the 1000 students across KCCD (about 40 at Cerro Coso, 100 at Porterville, and 800 at BC). Here is a photo I snapped of Rayven while she was making her remarks sitting next to Trustee Romeo Agbalog.  Also, Lawrence Salcido, who is there as an interpreter for Rayven.



The fire alarm went off right before the board meeting and while everyone was outside I snapped this great picture of these three student leaders — Rayven Acosta, Lawrence Salcido, and Dezi Von Manos.

Rayven Acosta Webb, Lawrence Salcido, Dezi Von Manos Sep 14 2017


Gadfly Cafe

In conjunction with this year’s “One Book” event, the first Gadfly Café of the semester engaged students in a debate about poverty.

Gadfly Reggie and Jack

Jack Hernandez and Reggie Williams

The Levan Center was filled for this month’s Gadfly Café, a round-table student discussion about complex issues held three times a semester and organized by BC philosophy professor Reggie Williams, with many voices contributing to the conversation. Williams opened with a few statistics about poverty and the wealth gap in the United States, and stepped away to let students express their own opinions about the issue, chiming in occasionally to clarify some information or make connections with other students’ comments.

While there were many voices in the discussion and several differing points of view, students tended to agree that some combination of education, advocacy and personal responsibility were key to fighting against poverty, and that while there are many structural issues that help to create and sustain poverty, there is no simple, one-size-fits-all solution to the problem. Thank you Reggie for taking the time to keep the Gadfly Café going, as well as Jack Hernandez and all at the Levan Center for providing a space where students can exercise their critical thinking skills.

Transfer Day

At BC, we continually work to open doors of opportunities for our students! This Fall’s Transfer Day was a great example of this with over 40 UC’s, CSU’s, private, and out of state colleges and universities on campus inspiring students to go forth with their dreams after Renegade Commencement. Marisa Marquez, Director of Transfer Center, said on the flier “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop. Come talk to college and university reps today!”

Transfer Day 2017 (1)

Thank you to all the visiting campuses:

Academy of Art University

Alliant International University

Arizona State University

Brandman University

CA Baptist University

California Health Sciences University

Colorado State University

CSU Bakersfield

CSU East Bay

CSU Fresno

CSU Northridge

CSU Sacramento

CSU Stanislaus

DeVry University

Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising

Fresno Pacific University

Grand Canyon University

Pepperdine University

San Francisco State University

Sonoma State University

Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts-Fresno

Holy Names University

Hope International University

Humboldt State University

Laguna College of Art and Design

Los Angeles College Music

Montana Tech

National University

New School of Architecture

Northern Arizona University

Notre Dame de Namur University

U.S. Air Force

U.S. Army

U.S. Marines

U.S. Navy


UC Berkeley

UC Davis

UC Irvine

UC Los Angeles

UC Merced

UC Riverside

UC San Diego

UC Santa Barbara

UC Santa Cruz

Union Institute and University

University of Alaska, Fairbanks

University of La Verne

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

University of Nevada, Reno

University of San Francisco

University of the Pacific

Westmont College

William Jessup University



Saw Bernadette Martinez looking happy and fully engaged.  This is why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever.  I snapped this picture of her and you can see the pure joy on her face having fun and taking care of our students. #WeAreBC.

Berna MArtinez at Transfer Day

Grimmway Academy in Shafter

Grimmway Academy Ribbon Cutting in Shafter Sep 16 2017.jpg

Mayor Karen Goh at ribbon cutting

Mayor Karen Goh at Ribbon Cutting

Grimmway Academy held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its school in Shafter. Although the school officially opened its doors to students last month, they invited the community to celebrate the opening of the charter school’s new location on Saturday, September 16. Dignitaries, parents, students, and community members attended the event on a beautiful Saturday morning.

After opening remarks from Executive Director, Paul Escala, several others spoke about the vision of the school. Among those who spoke was Barbara Grimm-Marshall, Founder and CEO of Grimm Family Education Foundation.

Barbara Grimm Marshall Sep 16 2017

After the ribbon cutting ceremony, Grimmway Academy staff led tours of the facilities. Community members learned about the edible school yard program, as well as the other innovative projects happening at the school.

Casey Yeazel, Abel Guzman, Paul Escala

Casey Yeazel, Abel Guzman, Paul Escala

Bakersfield College is proud to partner with Grimmway Academy at both their flagship site in Arvin, and now in Shafter.

“One Book” Kickoff

On Wednesday, we were honored to host the kick-off event for this year’s “One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern” project, which will hopefully kick off a number of enlightening and productive conversations about how to fight poverty in our community.

This year’s book, which is being read in classes at BC, Taft College, Cal State Bakersfield and the Kern High School District, will be “$2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America”, a series of case studies about the survival strategies of various people living under extreme poverty.

One Book (1)To help bring issues about poverty into proper perspective, BC student Emmanuel Limaco told a powerful story about being homeless, incarcerated and living in transitional housing facilities before coming to BC, and how his education here and the assistance he received from the Renegade Pantry empowered him to be ready for new opportunities. Now he’s working on an engineering degree and is employed at the Renegade Pantry, helping other students that were in the same situation as he was.

“For a book like this to come out, it helps bring in the reality of the situation,” Limaco said. “These themes apply to us locally.”

The “One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern” project is one of the most successful shared reading programs in the country, according to Emerson Case, an English professor and First Year Experience Coordinator at CSUB who helped organize this year’s program and attends national conferences about community shared reading projects. No other “common reads” are coordinating between all 24 county library branches, high schools, and multiple 2-year and 4-year institutions across different districts, Case said. The choice of reading material, as well as the comprehensive nature of our “One Book” program, will help set the table for debates about how to combat poverty for decades to come.

“[Reading ‘$2.00 A Day’] gives us a chance to raise awareness of positive, productive ways to deal with this issue,” Case said. “A hungry student is a student who’s not concentrating on their learning.”

One Book (2)

Case also took a moment to praise the Renegade Pantry program at BC, adding that it’s inspired CSUB to look into pantries, edible food gardens and other options to provide nutrition to its most desperate students. KHSD Director of Instructional Services Vickie Spanos was excited to share “$2.00 A Day” with 12th grade English students in the hopes of preparing them for college-level reading material, while Taft College’s English and Arts Division Chair Kamala Carlson announced a number of exciting events they’ll be hosting around the book.

Kern County Library Interim Director, Andie Apple also announced several other events surrounding the month and a half of “One Book” project, culminating in a book signing and visit from “$2.00 A Day” authors Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer at CSUB’s Icardo Center on November 1st.

2017-2018 Art Faculty Exhibition

The creative and talented art faculty have their work on display at the Jones Gallery as part of this year’s BC Art Faculty Exhibition.

The gallery held a reception with the artists on Thursday to kick off the gallery, displaying a myriad of different kinds of art in all mediums, from traditional drawing, painting and sculpture to photography, video and digital media.

Jones Art Gallery (5)

Diego Gutierrez had one of his Frida Kahlo paintings shipped to Bakersfield especially for this event, and it’s a gorgeous celebration of a very special and influential woman. Here is a teaser from Facebook when Diego shared that he’d be bringing the piece to campus.


If you are on campus, please consider visiting the 2017-2018 Art Faculty Exhibition inside the library from now until October 13th. It’s a great opportunity to see the variety of different art forms that our faculty can teach you. Hours are Monday/Wednesday from 2:30 to 4:00PM and Tuesday/Thursday from 1:00-4:00PM.


And a special thank you to all involved: Andrew Borrego, Cameron Brian, Jamee Eaton, Darrin Ekern, Glen Gustafson, Diego Gutierrez, Gina Herrera, Jeffrey Huston, David Koeth, Christopher Lessley, Armando Rubio, Adel Shafik, Kristopher Stallworth, Dacey Villarreal, and Ronald Wrest.

I am indeed the luckiest and happiest college president ever.

So proud of our Ag department

Thank you Sally Sterns for sending me this link.  I am sure you will enjoy Billy Barnes as much as I do.  Great Ag faculty and a trustee on the KCSOS Board.

And here is a tweet from one of our brand new faculty in Agriculture, Jim Selgrath

Jim Selgrath Tweet Sep 14 2017


This Week on Facebook

sarah-baron-feb-18-2017-californianI’m always inspired by the faculty and staff at BC and the incredible things accomplished and achieved. Sarah Baron, Public Health Sciences faculty posted this on her Facebook.

This crazy thing happen to me yesterday. I got this email out of the blue..an article I published last year was selected for an award. How cool is that?

‘I am pleased to notify you that your article, “License to Let Go in Transitional Kindergarten Programs: Supports and Barriers of Play-Based Strategies” has been selected to receive the 2017 American Association for Teaching and Curriculum Francis P. Hunkins Distinguished Article award in our category of curriculum. All nominated articles were evaluated on the following criteria: how the article contributes to the field; the means and extent to which it provokes dialogue; its implications for improving educational practice; its cogency.’”

A preview of the article is available here. Congratulations from everyone at BC – it’s a great thing to see amazing faculty recognized for their hard work.

Spotted in The Californian

Richard Beene mentioned the recent Pickleball tournament in his Bakersfield Observed column. He said, “Congratulations to Nick Jacobs, who staged a successful inaugural Renegade Cup Pickleball tournament up at Bakersfield College this weekend. Jacobs, head tennis coach at BC, said he had more than 100 players from Fresno, Visalia, Lancaster, Hanford and Phoenix attend the tournament.” Check it out at Bakersfield.com.

Central California World Language Project (CCWLP) hosts their conference at Bakersfield College.

Thank you Maritza Carlisle for organizing the event.  Thank you Susan Guenette for sending me these photos.


September 15 2017 Neo

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever