Inspirational Speakers, Visitors, and Guests on Campus

Good morning Bakersfield…..

41 Plumeria_previewIt is Saturday, March 10th and a great day to be a Renegade.  I started last week’s blog travelling to an accreditation visit and today, I am travelling again, with my blog to keep me company.  What a good way to pass the time.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,

but by the moments that take our breath away.


BC was active this week and let me start with Anita Hill’s visit to the campus.

Anita Hill at BC

On International Women’s day this Thursday, we were lucky to have Anita Hill in the Indoor Theater to talk about reimagining equality for the 21st Century and how the national conversation about sexual harassment has evolved both before and after her remarks during Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings in 1991.

Anita Hill at BC

Anita Hill at BC

Hill, who is currently a professor of law and women’s studies at Brandeis University said she was inspired by the countless women before her who had worked to find justice for workplace sexual harassment in the 70s and 80s, culminating with the Supreme Court’s decision in the 1986 case Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, ruling for the first time that sexual harassment was a violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Hill’s testimony inspired women around the country to bravely speak up about sexual harassment and abuse in their homes and workplaces. Over 25 years later, the #MeToo movement is rapidly spreading across the nation.


The audience in the Indoor Theater gives a standing ovation for Anita Hill before she took the stage.

Hill also stressed the importance of tackling issues of racial injustice along with injustices facing women, as progress on both issues tends to happen hand-in-hand with each other. In the 21st Century, we need to envision equality not as an abstract philosophical concept, but as a practical part of our personal development that grows and evolves with us every day.  “Dare to be a catalyst for change,” Hill said. “We are living in a moment in time where we are being pushed to live out our ideals of equality.”


left to right: Levan Center Director Jack Hernandez, social studies professor Olivia Garcia and Anita Hill talk before Hill’s speech in the Indoor Theater on March 8th.

I’d like to recognize Jack Hernandez and the Levan Center for bringing Anita Hill to BC, Olivia Garcia for her beautiful introduction speech, and all of the people in the community for coming out to engage in a conversation about equality on International Women’s Day. See at the photos at Smugmug. 



MESA STEM and Pre-Health Conference

Last weekend, our Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) Department held a conference on the BC campus to show high school and college students that anyone can develop the skills needed to earn a career in STEM or healthcare fields.

Steve Waller

Dean Steve Waller

The MESA STEM and Pre-Health conference last Saturday brought together industry leaders and educators in the community and throughout California to showcase all of the career options available to someone with an education in math, science or pre-health. The conference started with students packing the Indoor Theater for the opening festivities, and Dean Steven Waller emphasized the importance of developing one’s competence in math, as it establishes the foundation for thousands of potential job opportunities.

“As you plan your career, be sure to keep math in focus,” Waller said. “It’s possible to be successful without math, but with it you can be even more successful.”

Waller then introduced keynote speaker Dr. Jose Antonio Diaz, an Arvin High graduate who went on to study microbiology and genetics at UC Berkeley, Stanford and UC Davis, where he’s currently a post-doctorate research fellow studying the prevention of cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

Diaz’s mother contracted Valley Fever when he was a child, which inspired him to pursue a career in biology in order to help others suffering from serious debilitating illnesses. Diaz pushed himself outside of his comfort zone throughout his career, both as a first-generation college student moving from Arvin to Berkeley for undergraduate studies, and by transitioning fields from biology to medicine once he realized that it would help expand his research.


Diaz, who gave his keynote speech in Spanish and English, sought to motivate the audience to push themselves outside of their comfort zone like he did. “Be ambitious with setting your goals, and take chances,” Diaz said. “Embrace change, and don’t be afraid of failure.” Diaz was part of the team that discovered Nest RNA, which determines resistance to microbial infections in mice. He is now working with a CRISPR gene editing machine to test whether he can safely modify human cells with Nest RNA in order to prevent diseases such as Valley Fever and salmonella.


After Diaz’s presentation, students broke up into groups to attend a series of workshops in the Science and Engineering and Math and Science Buildings. Representatives from UCLA, CSUB and Fresno Pacific University hosted seminars on how to apply in the STEM and nursing programs at their respective universities, and many other workshops were hosted by members of the BC family, such as counselor Mark Osea’s presentation about STEM Guided Pathways, educational advisor Pedro Ramirez’s workshop on BC’s LUPE program and resources for DREAMers, professor Dillon Giblin’s seminar about career opportunities in STEM, and BC nursing graduate Stephanie Perez talking about how her time in our program helped prepare her for a career in health care.


CSUB’s Chevron FAB LAB also hosted a maker space in the AERA STEM Success Center where students could watch a toy prototype being made on a 3D printer, as well as a virtual reality sandbox projected using the motion sensor on an Xbox One Kinect.

While MESA volunteers handed out lunch to students in the patio area of the Science and Engineering building, several organizations hosted a resource fair with booths for students to visit and learn more information. Participating organizations included BC’s Pre-Med and Engineering clubs, Univision, Kern Medical Center, the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Center, and the American Society of Civil Engineering.

Thank you to all our MESA staff, especially Connie Gonzales as well as all of our industry and education partners for inspiring young people our community to achieve careers in healthcare and STEM. I look forward seeing some of the students from this year’s conference taking STEM and pre-health classes at BC.



BC and BCSD Youth Summit

At the March 3 event, the Bakersfield College African American Mentor Program (A.A.M.P.) partnered with the Bakersfield City School District to put on its first-ever Youth Summit.  The Youth Summit hosted over 150 African American middle school students at Bakersfield College to emphasize the importance of education, highlighting education as a tool for developing knowledge and character.  The summit invited keynote speaker Ken Morris who delivered a memorable speech about his family history: Ken is a direct descendant of Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass. He moved the audience with his description of what his great grandfathers had to overcome in order to receive an education, and closed his presentation with a message of perseverance and hope.



Professor Kimbrough

After the keynote the middle school students joined small group workshops on education, black culture, and community service. One of the most notable workshops was led by Bakersfield College’s own professor of African American history, Ishmael Kimbrough. Professor Kimbrough talked about the most important elements of the Black community and the importance of good role models of Black culture.  The group of students hung onto Kimbrough’s every word, were enjoying themselves, and the positive energy in the room allowed for a lots of engagement. Kimbrough highlighted some of the negative portrayals of Black culture that are in the media and explained how they perpetuate negative stereotypes. Kimbrough goes on to state, “Success is not flashing cash and gold teeth, that’s a false idea of success”, “the basis of black culture is family, culture, and common goals.”  


Kimbrough concluded his workshop with a message that we have it within our power as a community to topple steep obstacles and inaccurate depictions in the media by learning about what our culture truly is. He emphasizes that despite the negative stereotypes of black culture, African-American boys and girls are not problems that need to be solved—they’re assets.

Tejon Tribe Visits BC

It was a packed house, with students, faculty, and the community coming out to hear tribal member Sandra Hernandez talk about the Tejon Tribe’s culture and history. The Tejon tribe is the only recognized tribe in the Bakersfield area, and its members are made up of Kitanemuk, Chumash, and Yokuts people, the first people in southern San Joaquin valley.

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Sandra opened up the presentation with a warm welcome in the Kitanemuk language, (the language of the indigenous Indians of Kern County) and then began to share her story and their plans for their future. Sandra spoke powerfully of her ancestors struggle and how their land and their status of a tribe were taken from them by the settlers who came here after them. She explained that in the early 1900’s their Chief Juan Lozada began the fight to get back their status as a tribe and hopefully be able to rebuild what was lost.

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Sandra Hernandez and Matthew Solis

When Chief Juan Lozada was asked by the US government how long his tribe has been here, he replied, “We been here since the first time the sun’s come up.” This set off a spark with the Tejon Tribe and ever since then, as a group and as a family, they have been fighting the government to be reaffirmed. Most recently, at the forefront of this fight, was Tejon Tribal chairwoman Kathryn Montes Morgan (Granddaughter of Chief Juan Lozado) who helped end this case as a victory for the Tejon Tribe. Sandra was proud to tell us that as of January 2012 the United States of America reaffirms the Tejon Tribe.
Although this was an exciting moment for the Tejon Tribe Sandra says the rebuilding has just begun. Being federally recognized is a huge step in the right direction, they now have to rebuild their Tejon Tribe community. She also adds, The Tejon Tribe will do this by reaching out to our neighborhoods, to educate them on our culture, heritage and history of our family, while also encouraging our youth to experience our way of life as a Tejon Tribe.

Thank you to Krista Moreland, Sandra Hernandez, and everyone who made this event a reality. 



Mini Science Olympiad

I loved seeing these photos from BC’s involvement at the Greenfield School District. Daniel Ahn, Chris Benker and a dozen BC STEM and Education majors helped 46 fifth-graders with various learning, but fun activities! It is a four week program. Meg Stidham helped along with the fantastic Deborah Rosenthal

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Activities included a Tallest Bridge Competition and I heard Chris Benker will do a skateboard demo at the end. During Week 4, the students will come to BC for astronomy fun.  Thank you to all our BC volunteers for bringing the Renegade spirit to our local Greenfield School District.

Mini Science Olympiad Student Volunteers

Ximena’s baby Leo

Thank you Debby Rosenthal for sending me this picture.

Ximena and baby Leo.

BCSGA Power Lunch

Romeo Agbalog

Romeo Agbalog

Romeo Agbalog, the Kern Community College District Trustee representing Delano and surrounding rural areas, sat down with BC students in the Fireside Room on Tuesday to share the story of how he overcame being a first-generation college student and young father on his path to advocating for students in public office. BCSGA hosted Agbalog as part of its Legislative Affairs Power Lunch series, in which public officials from the community tell their stories and answer questions from students. The Legislative Affairs Department of SGA, which is responsible for informing BC students on any new or developing laws pertaining to their education, has previously hosted state senator Jean Fuller, as well as Vince Fong and Rudy Salas from the California Assembly.


Agbalog credits political science professor Stephen Holmes with recognizing his potential and inspiring him to develop an interest in public service and administration. With Holmes’ inspiration, he went on to work behind the scenes for several Kern County campaigns, but he never thought he could hold public office. Eventually, after some strong persuasion by local political leadership, he realized that he had an opportunity to be actively engaged with improving his son’s education by serving on his local school board. At the age of 24, he campaigned door to door in his community and spoke directly with voters to beat out two incumbents for a spot on the Delano Union School District board.

Rayven Acosta Webb and Romeo Agbalog

Rayven Acosta Webb and Romeo Agbalog

After serving the Foundation for BC’s Delano Campus, Agbalog now advocates for rural students on the KCCD board, helping to expand services at the Delano Campus while bringing post-secondary education to Arvin and Shafter.  Throughout his discussion, he imparted the value of taking advantages of every opportunity presented to you, in life and in education. “When times get tough and you’re ready to quit, I want you to think about the people who have seen things in you that you didn’t see in yourself and use that for motivation,” Agbalog said. “Prove to those people you were worth the investment.”

SGA Power Lunch

Blood Drive on Campus

BC students gave back to their community at Campus Center on Wednesday and Thursday, donating to the Houchin Community Blood Bank during our annual blood drive. Students signed up to donate blood in front of the Fireside Room before walking over to one of Houchin’s three buses parked in front of the Campus Center.


Active Shooter Response Trainings at BC

Last month, another school shooting tragedy took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida which claimed the lives of 17 people. This week, the Department of Public Safety and Chief Chris Counts hosted several Active Shooter Response Training workshops to teach our students and staff what to do in the event that an active shooter situation happened on our campus.

Chief Counts 2

Public Safety Chief Chris Counts broke down the proper response into three parts: “Run, Hide, Fight”. The first thing you should do if you hear gunfire is to evacuate the area as far as you can and try to take as many people with you. If that’s not possible, choose a location to hide out of the shooter’s view where you’re protected and you’re movement isn’t limited, then use furniture or heavy equipment to barricade entrance into that area. If you can’t run or hide, then your last resort is to remain calm while acting as aggressively as possible to fight for your own life and the lives of others.

In the overwhelming majority of active shooter cases, there was some indication that the attack was going to occur before it happened. In order to prevent these attacks, Counts stressed the importance of reaching out to authorities if there’s an indication that other people’s lives may be in jeopardy. Our Public Safety Department’s motto is “If You See Something, Say Something and Do Something About It”, and recognizing the signs of a potential attack is key to preventing it.

There will be three more Active Shooter Response Trainings on March 21 st at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 6 p.m. in the Indoor Theater. If you haven’t attended one of these training before, I recommend going as soon as possible in order to stay educated on how to respond to one of these emergencies. It may save your or someone else’s life.

Manny DeLosSantos even spotted friend and supporter of BC, Adam Alvidrez at the training this week.

Adam Alvidrez

Adam Alvidrez at BC

Leading from the Middle

Craig Hayward, Mark Osea, Billie Jo Rice, and Jennifer Johnson are currently attending the Leading from the Middle Academy being held at the Kellogg West Conference and Hotel in Pomona.  The project that they are tackling is how to represent our pathways programs using 21st century visual tools.  Can’t wait to see the end result of their yearlong work together as a team.

Craig Hayward Mark Osea Billie Jo Rice Jennifer Johnson

Craig Hayward Mark Osea Billie Jo Rice Jennifer Johnson

Jen Garrett on Scott Cox Show

Jen Garrett was on the Scott Cox Show Wednesday morning advertising for our big Sydney Bound Benefit Concert this Saturday! Only a few more days to buy tickets. You don’t want to miss this!

Jen Garrett and Scott Cox

Jen Garrett and Scott Cox

Seen on Instagram

Thank you to Lydia Ranger and Monty Byrum for their continued support of the BC Chamber Singers

Lydia Ranger on Instagram

Lydia Ranger on Instagram

Capitol Weekly Spotlights Bill Thomas

An article in Capitol Weekly published on March 1st examined how Trustee Bill Thomas’ influence in the House of Representatives continues to be felt more than a decade after retiring as the Congressman for California’s 22nd District.

bill-thomas-croppedDorothy Mills-Gregg wrote about how Thomas mentored two of the most powerful people in Congress right now—House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Thomas’ direct successor, and Oversight Committee Chair Devin Nunes, who Thomas inspired to run for Congress while helping him with campaign strategy along the way. The article also looks back on Thomas’ career and accomplishments while in Congress. I especially love the photo they used with the big YES ON J poster behind him.

“The only tools I ever had was listen to what people want, build a coalition and pass legislation,” Thomas was quoted as saying in the article. Florida Congressman Mark Foley was also quoted about Thomas’ tenacity and passion for serving voters. “Thomas is also known for losing his temper when people are unprepared, earning a reputation for sharp interrogations,” Foley said.

Thank you Trustee Thomas for all you’ve done to support BC, Bakersfield, and Kern County.

International Women’s Day

Sonya Christian and Tom Burke

Sonya Christian and Tom Burke

On Thursday, KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke emailed all KCCD Employees sharing some inspirational quotes. He said, “Today is International Women’s Day, so in acknowledgment of this day I thought I would share with you some inspiring quotes from several women who have had an impact on society.”  These are the quotes he shared:

  • Golda Meir said you should, “Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” I agree that everyone in our District has the ability to succeed.
  • If Rosa Parks believes, “Knowing what must be done does away with fear”, then we ALL can succeed by pushing ourselves during those difficult moments”
  • “Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.” Oprah Winfrey  Imagine what we could become.
  • “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” Following the words of Mother Teresa, the experiences during our day-to-day interactions can create a much healthier environment for students, staff, and faculty.
  • Sonia Sotomayor said, “A surplus of effort could overcome a deficit of confidence.” I need everyone to be a part of our District’s success.
  • Joan Rivers once said, “I was smart enough to go through any door that opened.” Take every opportunity that is offered to you!
  • I will end with this quote: “We need to start work with the idea that we’re going to learn every day. I learn, even at my position, every single day.” – Chanda Kochhar

Chancellor Burke ended his message by saying, “There are great things happening every day at the colleges and the district office. On this International Women’s Day, I celebrate all of your accomplishments, dedication to the Kern Community College District, and look forward to the things to come!”  Thank you Tom Burke!

24th Norman Levan Faculty Colloquium

dsc02596-x4On Friday, the Levan Center for the Humanities held the 24th annual Norm Levan Faculty Colloquium in honor of the current Norman Levan Faculty Colloquium Award recipient, Oliver Rosales, and all past award recipients.  Oliver presented his lecture on Bakersfield into U.S. Civil Rights History: Exploring Multiracial Social Activism in the American Far West. The presentation was followed by a question and answer session, presentation of his award, and refreshments in the Norman Levan Center for Humanities.

Thank you to the Norm Levan Faculty Colloquium Committee, Susan Pinza, Chair, Bob Allison, John Gerhold, Alex Gonzalez, Donna Starr, Jack Hernandez, Richard Marquez, and Erin Miller. Also, thank you to the many others who help put on this event, including the Students of the Renegade Room for the refreshments, Manny De Los Santos and Kristin Rabe for the media arrangements,  FCDC and Archives Association.



Susan joked that for those that were able to attend the Reimagining Equality: Inclusive Communities in Post-Obama America lecture the night before, Anita Hill was the opening act for Oliver’s lecture. We are so fortunate to have these opportunities to bring such important people to BC.

dsc02636-x4Did you know that Oliver is a Renegade? He received his AA here at BC and went on to get his BA at UC Berkeley, his Master at CSUB and his PhD at UC Santa Barbara. He then returned to be a Renegade and brought with him his education, his excellence and his drive to find and publish the contentious historiography of activism that touches many of our students and our community. He is also a supporter of the National Endowment for the Humanities and recently returned from DC where he met with congress concerning the NEH budget. Oliver’s award is well deserved. Can you see why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

Celebrating Jeannie Parent


Jeannie Parent

Jeannie Parent, a BC faculty member who teaches English for Multilingual Students, will be mentioned at the Wendy Wayne Ethics Awards on March 21st. Cal State Bakersfield’s Kegley Institute of Ethics hosts an awards ceremony every year recognizing people who make positive contributions to the community. Jeannie is being honored for her work as the founder of the non-profit organization Kern Welcoming and Extending Solidarity to Immigrants (KWESI), a group of volunteers who visit immigrants in detention at Mesa Verde Detention facility in Bakersfield, and advocate for justice on their behalf.

She tells me that the organization is connected to a larger, national network called CIVIC, which is committed to ending the isolation of immigrants in detention. and she says “Many of the people we visit are asylum seekers, and we not only visit them in order to end the isolation they feel when they are imprisoned for months on end (sometimes indefinitely), but we support them if and when they are released on bond or when they win their cases; this may include helping with temporary housing, transportation, food, clothing, and phones, as well as communicating with families and finding legal assistance for them. I started visiting people weekly three years ago when Mesa Verde opened.”

You can read a full list of the Wendy Wayne Ethics Awards recipients in an op-ed written by Michael Burroughs in the Community Voices section of the Bakersfield Californian.

Student Resources in The RIP


Paige Atkinson

Student Reporter, Paige Atkison wrote a beautiful article for The Renegade RIP highlighting the various student services offered at BC.

She said, “Whether or not you believe you need to find extra academic or health resources, it can be useful to familiarize yourself with the programs made available to you by Bakersfield College.” Check it out at

Photo from

Let me conclude my blog with my trip to Guam.

Long flight — about 6 hours to Honolulu and then another 8 hours to Guam.  We were a team of 10.  Standing: Susan Kazama, Sylvia Dorsey-Robinson, Bill Hirt, Vernoica Ogata, Susan Murray, Laurie Huffman, Gene Huff, Charles Sasaki. Sitting: Sonya Christian, Lesley Bonds



Sonya Christian MArch 6 2018 GuamMost of my time was spent on accreditation work but I did get out for regular early morning walks. After a regular 3:00 a.m. zoom video call with Jennifer and the Vice Presidents, I headed out for my walk north on San Victores all the way to the point and then back to the hotel on the beach.

At 4:00 am it is very quiet – ocean breezes and unpredictable rain showers. At 5:00 am the runners start, looking serious, maybe training for the Guam Marathon coming up on April 8th.

After the official visit I did get in a driving tour around the southern half of the island. The island coastline is very beautiful, white beaches, great diving and full of history from war in the Pacific Theater. Guam is 6000 miles from the US west coast, 3 hours from Japan, on the edge of the Philippine Sea and 210 miles from the Marianas Trench – the deepest part of the oceans of the world.36 Talofofo Bay_preview.jpeg

The island reminded me in some ways of Kerala, India, with its contrasts in wealth and three-story cinderblock shopping complexes, except Guam as part of the US has building codes that don’t allow the maze of electrical wires that you see in southern Indian villages. The island is seeing a resurgence of the indigenous Chamorro culture, and is over 80% catholic so my driving tour included many beautiful churches that in some ways reminded me of the tropical churches of Kerala as well.

30 Cocos Isl from Merizo_preview.jpeg

Spent my last evening on The Beach (on Gun Beach Road).  Guam’s largest Bar and Grill is located on this beach front property.  However, there are secluded nooks that make this part of the island the best place to witness the sunset….. a spectacular, romantic, spiritual and most perfect sunset. A piece of heaven certainly descended on this part of the world that memorable evening.  Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Sunset on last evening March 9 2018 on The Beach (Gun Beach).jpg

Sunset March 9 2018 Gun Beach.jpg

Loved the Plumeria and the Flame of the Forest Trees.

Thank you Susan Murray for some of the great pictures.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.

Sonya Christian early morning walk on the beach March 8 2018


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Celebrating Special Days, Friends, and BC Family!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, March 3rd…. on a long flight this morning to chair an accreditation site visit ….

Where do I begin? With Nan of course!

Celebrating her retirement with Nan …. not really retiring, or at least not completely – I see her continuing her service to BC and KCCD… just wondering what that next role will be?

Nan with wand

Nan says “Make it so!”

“Be the first one to arrive and the last one to leave. I never did figure out that first one, but I’ve got that last one down pat.” Anyone that’s been at BC for any length of time will tell you that, evening after evening, a few vehicles would remain in those expansive (and soon to be resurfaced) parking lots. Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg’s was always one.

The Bakersfield College that you see, read about, and experience today, would not be the same Bakersfield College without her graceful touch and bold leadership. Many of the changes and things you see around you, from the colors of countless BC publications to securing Measure J funds, were expertly transformed by what must have been her magic wand or sparkling fairy dust. Or maybe it was just years of wisdom, a knack for instinctual transcendence, and many, many evenings of a lone vehicle in that parking lot while work was being perfected here on campus.

So this past Wednesday, our Executive Offices prepared a celebration day for Nan, and what an adventure! Picture it: Zav, Don, Jennifer, Wendy, June, Somaly, Tarina, Chris, Zach, and myself huddled in Nan’s office minutes before she arrived. The floor, lush with multicolored roses, we covered our faces with the photos of various Nans (yes, even the “bob cut years”), lined the decorative “The Legend has Retired” balloons, and waited. Until…

Nans CelebrationNan said, “You guys!” And I think her face says it all!

From there we, we prepared a (nearly) all vegetarian lunch in A5, just how Nan likes it. There was falafel, Liz Rozell’s fruit salad, Flame-N-Skewers’ hummus, and this delicious treat Chef Sabella calls a Vegetarian Napoleon.

Tom Burke, Nan, and Danielle Hillard-Adams, Executive Assistant to Tom.

Tom Burke, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and Danielle Hillard-Adams

Trustee Bill Thomas stopped by to say hello

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Bill Thomas Feb 28 2018

Being surrounded by friends and her work family really brought a unique radiance, even for Nan.

But with that the afternoon was far from over. Nan requested a flash mob… so you remember her wand?

See more photos from the afternoon at BC’s Smugmug.

Passing the Torch

Liz passing the torch to Jason

Liz passing the torch to Jason

We also celebrated the promotions of Liz Rozell, new Interim Vice President of Instruction, and Jason Dixon, who will be taking Liz’s place as the dean in charge of the Engineering and Industrial Technology and Business Management and Information Technology departments.

Liz has been an ambitious leader for her department, which oversaw the implementation of our Baccalaureate Degree in Industrial Automation during her tenure. Her effervescent personality and inspirational words of guidance brought the best out of everyone on her team, and BC has been lucky to have her, but I’m confident that Jason will be able to fill her shoes and continue the tradition of excellence that Liz has created over at Engineering and Industrial Technology.

Mary Webb and the Industrial Tech department  hosted a dinner for Liz and Jason’s respective promotions, and Liz passed a literal torch to Jason after Mary said a few words congratulating them both. Moments like this reminds me why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever.

Liz and Nan

Liz and Nan

Sterling Silver

The 10th Annual Sterling Silver Dinner was held on campus on February 24th. The library was a beautiful setting for the 200 guests that attended to mix and mingle during the reception, while enjoying hors d’oeuvres. The Jones Art Gallery was open for the evening with a collection of student art on display for guests to view. The Archives Department expertly curated a variety of artifacts from BC’s past for attendees to enjoy.

It was great to see friends, supporters of BC, and our Trustees Romeo Agbalog and Bill Thomas at the event.

Romeo Agbalog, Sonya Christian, Bill Thomas

The Bakersfield College Drumline did a fabulous job of calling guests to make their way to the gorgeous tented dining area. The focus of the evening was to celebrate three benefactors of Bakersfield College and Nick James – KGET Sports Reporter, served as emcee for the evening.


Marko B. and Theo Zaninovich were honored as the Outstanding Individual Philanthropists of the year and they shared the importance of education and the reasons they support BC.

BCSterlingSilver Tom Gelder, Sonya Christian, Theo Zaninovich, Marco Zaninovich.jpg

Kern Schools Federal Credit Union received recognition as the Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist, and Steve Renock – President/CEO of KSFCU, spoke to the long history of partnership between Kern Schools and BC.

Tom Gelder, Sonya Christian, Steve Renock

Tom Gelder, Sonya Christian, Steve Renock


Tom Gelder, Sonya Christian, Kenneth Byrom

The BC Foundation honored Kenneth M. Byrum with the inaugural Bakersfield College Foundation Service Medal. Ken has been on the Foundation board since its inception in 1975 and continues to serve and support Bakersfield College. The Byrum family came in full support for the evening with members coming to town from coast to coast.

BCSterlingSilver The Byrums.jpg

Thank you all who were generous in sponsoring the 2018 Sterling Silver which was a sold out event.

Thank you Senator Jean Fuller for squeezing the Sterling Silver event into your busy calendar

BCSterlingSilver Sonya Christian and Jean Fuller

Thank you Mayor Karen Goh, Cathy Abernathy, Jay Rosenlieb, Mary Jo Pasek and Tom Pasek.

Jay Rosenlieb, Karen Goh, Sonya Christian, Cathy Abernathy, Mary Jo Pasek, Tom Pasek

Jen Garrett and Matt Garrett.  Lily Agbalog and Trustee Romeo Agbalog

The fabulous John Gerhold with the beautiful Wendy Gerhold

Two academic senate presidents — Corny Rodriguez (now dean) and Steven Holmes (current academic senate president)

Jerry Cook and Lauraine Cook.  Olivia Garcia and Heather Penella

With the fabulous Monty Byrom who traveled back from Fresno just to support Dr. Jen Garrett and our BC choir for their trip to Australia.  So happy to be standing by this talented man.

BCSterlingSilver Sonya Christian and Monty Byrom

Love having Mayor Goh at these events.  Here we are with three of the awardees for the evening – Ken Byrum and Marco and Theo Zaninovich.

Marco and Theo Zaninovich, Karen Goh, Sonya Christian, Ken Byrum.jpg

And thank you for our students who were helping out driving carts during this very cold evening.  #WeAreBC

BCSterlingSilver Sonya Christian and Student Workers




Sterling Silver DesertThe expertly prepared four=course meal and wine pairings were a highlight of the evening. I must say that I tend to avoid desert most evenings, but the desert at Sterling Silver was to die for. Stars of local cuisine such as Chef Thomas Chairez of Bakersfield Country Club, Chef Eric Sabella of Bakersfield College, Chef John Pilling of Trilogy Resort, and Chef Stephanie Caughell-Fisher of Gimmee Some Sugar worked together to plan the evening’s menu, and guests were treated to a delicious feast.

See all the photos by April Massirio at BC’s Smugmug.

BC Choir in Sydney Opera House

If you have not bought your tickets yet for this event, do so now.  Monty Byrom, Lydia Ranger, BC Chamber singers all in one evening — March 10th at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets are $100 each.  Email me now please or call the BC Foundation or purchase tickets directly from the Music Hall of Fame.


Tarina Perry was out this Sunday helping Kyle Carter and Lydia Ranger sell tickets to the March 10th concert at churches.

Thank you Trustee Kyle Carter for all your support of this event!

Lydia Ranger, Kyle Carter, Tarina Perry March 4 2018.jpg

Black History Month Parade

“Staying Connected to Preserve Our Heritage” was the theme of this year’s Black History Parade in downtown Bakersfield. Bakersfield College was proud to participate and march in the parade last weekend.

Black History Month Parade

Great to see BC’s Cheer Team with Heather Foss and the Drumline with Tim Heasley.

Sonya Christian, Heather Foss, Tim Heaseley.jpg

Staff brought out their children and students.  Here is Endee Grijalva with her daughter Ava and Prof. Ish Kimbrough with his daughter.  Love this selfie with Kimbrough’s two students Destiny and Michael.


BC’s Drumline performed at the parade and even took home first place trophy! Congratulations!!!!

See all the pictures at BC’s Smugmug.

Special Day of United Worship

Last Sunday, familiar faces gathered at St. Peter Restoration Community Christian Ministries for a morning of prayer, worship, connecting, and honoring one another. Part of the day was to Honor Dr. Horace Mitchell for all that he’s done for our community. The Master and Mistress of Ceremony were Steve and Kimberly Watkin. 

Steve and Kimberly Watkin

It was a beautiful celebration, with so many friends and supporters of education and BC in our community. Among the friendly faces, I saw Chief Lyle Martin, Brenda Lewis, Ramon Hendrix, Ronda Williams, Dee Slade, and more. Dee shared with me information about which is a campaign by California Community Colleges to make sure Californians know how affordable community colleges can be.  Dee was a true supporter of Measure J and she is a true supporter of local community colleges.  What a gem for our community.

Sonya Christian and Dee Slade

Sonya Christian and Dee Slade

Sonya Christian at St Peters with Chief Lyle Martin

Dr. Horace Mitchell Shares his Story

BC students and faculty got the opportunity to hear CSUB President Dr. Horace Mitchell reflect on his 50-year career in higher education in the Fireside Room on Tuesday, and to ask him a few questions before he retires in June.

The African-American Initiatives group invited Dr. Mitchell as the last speaker for our Black History Month programming in February, and he talked extensively about how he worked to create safe spaces and a welcoming atmosphere for minority students throughout his career as a university administrator, which included stints at UC Irvine and UC Berkeley before he became the first black president of CSUB, a position which he’s held for the last 14 years.

Dr. Horace Mitchell and BC's Team

Dr. Horace Mitchell and BC’s Leadership

Dr. Mitchell has had the opportunity to shatter many barriers in academia. While studying his Ph.D. In Counseling Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, Mitchell got his first job in college administration when he was selected to be the associate dean of arts and sciences. During that time, Dr. Mitchell recognized the advantage he had over his peers in understanding the needs that are specific to students of color, and in academia, he saw the ways that traditional psychological studies of the time were blind to structural biases facing people of color. He was persistent in his advocacy for university policies that reduce the difficulties students of color face while promoting more diverse hiring of faculty to reflect the diversity of the student body.


Attendees listened to Dr. Mitchell

“Throughout my career, it has been about increasing student potential,” Dr. Mitchell said. “We push our students to define what is important to them, then work to see how we can make it a reality.”

Dr. Mitchell went on to become the first African-American vice chancellor and the first non-physician to become a dean of medicine at UC Irvine on his path to becoming the Vice Chancellor of Business and Administrative Services at UC Berkeley. Despite working in the administration at one of the most prestigious universities in the country, Dr. Mitchell was excited to take the president’s job at CSUB because he recognized the opportunity he had to transform the community here and expand CSUB’s diversity outreach.

During Dr. Mitchell’s tenure, CSUB has reformed general education requirements, expanded to Division I athletics, added programs in engineering and agriculture business and a doctoral degree in educational leadership in response to the community’s needs. He’s also expanded partnerships with industry leaders, the Kern High School District, and with BC, helping us add CSUB counselors at the Panorama campus to assist our Renegades in smoothly transferring to become Roadrunners.

Dr. Horace Mitchell and BC Students

Dr. Horace Mitchell and BC Students

During the Q&A session with students, Dr. Mitchell stressed the importance of following the Associate Degree for Transfer programs closely in order to successfully transfer and graduate with a baccalaureate degree in four years.

“Look at what you need, be clear about what you need to do, and stay focused,” Dr. Mitchell said.

KernPromiseEven-042817s Karen Goh Sonya Christian Horace Mitchell

Thank you, Dr. Mitchell for sharing your time with BC’s students. More photos are available at BC’s Smugmug.

Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month and Bakersfield College Women’s History and More (WHAM) committee is hosting numerous events. Anita Hill will be lecturing on Reimagining Equality: Inclusive Communities in Post-Obama America on Thursday next week. We will also be showing the film Dolores: Rebel. Activist. Feminist. Mother. followed by discussion with Delores Huerta and some of her adult children on Monday, 3/12. Later in March, there will be a Frida Kahlo painting event and Dr. Lydia Otero will discuss her work as part of our Distinguished Speakers Series. During all of March, Grace Van Dyke Bird Library will feature the display Local & Widespread Female Activism on the main floor with various titles from the library that focus on female actives in California and specifically in Kern County, prepared by Faith Bradham, Reference Librarian. You can see all of the details for the events on BC’s Women’s History Month.

I would like to thank all of the faculty and staff involved in organizing and holding these events on campus including: Erin Miller, Olivia Garcia, Tina Mendoza, Jessica Flores, Faith Gradham, all of the members of WHAM, Nicky Damania, and Jack Hernandez.

Our own Olivia Garcia, History and Journalism faculty, wrote an article published in Wednesday’s Bakersfield Californian. She details what to expect from a few of the events including why we are so fortunate to have activists Anita Hill, Dolores Huerta and Dr. Lydia Otero at BC.  Read “BC celebrates Women’s History Month with series of events.”

Womens History Month - Californian

Cindy’s New Digs

I was at the District for the accreditation subcommittee meeting and popped in to check out Cindy’s new digs. Though we miss her, she’s not far away.


Cindy Collier in her new space at the District Office.

Bakersfield Lifestyle Magazine

What a treat to see artwork by Duane Anderson, Architecture faculty on the front cover of Bakersfield Lifestyle Magazine. On his website,, he says:

Twenty-five years ago my love of painting led me to leave architecture, my chosen profession, to focus on architectural illustration. That proved to be a rewarding decision as I was able to blend my love of painting with my interest in architecture.

Thirteen years ago I had the opportunity to pursue another dream – to teach at my Alma Mater, Bakersfield College. I am presently a tenured Professor of architecture. I teach perspective drawing and presentation graphics. When not in class, I enjoy teaching drawing and watercolor workshops whenever the opportunity presents itself.​

Seen on Twitter

Thank you to Reyna Harvey @ReynaHarveyB, weekend anchor at KBAK for this tweet!

Reyna Harvey

An Evening with Laura Bush

Laura Bush was at the Kern County Fairgrounds last Tuesday in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Kern County. She discussed the importance of literacy and education in advancing opportunities for America’s youth, and in fostering healthy families and communities. I was fortunate to be Jean Fuller‘s guest for this lovely dinner event. See the article “Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County welcome Laura Bush to Bakersfield” on 23ABC.

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Get Focused, Stay Focused


Dr. Lauren Wintermeyer

On Monday morning, some of our counselors got the opportunity to learn about a program that teaches students how to prepare for the career of their dreams.

Dr. Lauren A. Wintermeyer Ramirez, a counselor at Ventura College, broke down the components of “Get Focused…Stay Focused!”, an initiative she co-founded to teach high school students and college freshman about how to choose the right career based on their interests, and how to develop the financial literacy, education and job skills necessary to reach that career.

After working closely with English language learners as a high school teacher, Wintermeyer Ramirez was inspired to create “Get Focused…Stay Focused!” when she realized that many of her students were picking their college of choice without thinking about the career opportunities that college could provide. Using guided pathways as a framework, Wintermeyer Ramirez helped develop a course dedicated to career and financial literacy that could be offered during each year of high school for college credit, or as a 3-unit course for college freshmen that would be transferrable to a CSU or UC.

The first part of “Get Focused…Stay Focused!” involves pinpointing three potential careers that each student would be interested in, which involves a series of budget and financial planning exercises to help students identify a career that could support their lifestyle, as well as psychoanalytic frameworks such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs or Myers-Briggs Personality Types to clarify students’ strengths.

The financial planning portion of “Get Focused…Stay Focused!” is the largest and most eye-opening part of the curriculum, Wintermeyer Ramirez explained, since many young people have never lived on their own and often aren’t familiar with the basic costs of living.

Once students have the three careers that they’re interested in, Wintermeyer Ramirez has each student visit the Career Center at her college. She then assigns students with contacting someone in the community with one of those careers for job shadowing, in which the student follows that person around for a day to learn the ins and outs of their career. These job shadow assignments have led to internships and job opportunities for several of Wintermeyer Ramirez’s students, she said.

Letty Garza and Marisa Marquez

Letty Garza (left), the Curriculum and Technical Support Advisor for Academic Innovations, LLC, goes over the workbook for the course created by the “Get Focused…Stay Focused!” initiative with BC counselor Marisa Marquez.

By the end of the course, each student in “Get Focused…Stay Focused!” picks one career and creates a ten-year plan outlining how they’ll reach and sustain their goals. They’re able to plan out what classes they’ll need to take in each semester of college, and other skills they’ll need to develop to impress their future employers.

Students can give their ten-year plans to counselors and educational advisors at the end of the course, and examining the aggregate data gathered by students’ ten-year plans can help institutions make decisions about developing new programs of study that match up with their student population’s interests and community needs.

“Get Focused…Stay Focused!” is primarily integral for the first two pillars of guided pathways—helping to clarify the best educational pathway for each student and giving them the information they need to enter that path with the right college courses—but the ten-year plans also give students the motivation they need to stay on the path and do the work required of them to ensure learning. Dr. Davis Jenkins, a senior scholar with the Community College Research Center who wrote the book on guided pathways, is currently looking at “Get Focused…Stay Focused!” as a case study, Wintermeyer Ramirez said.

I’d like to thank Dr. Wintermeyer Ramirez—as well as Curriculum and Technical Support Advisor Letty Garza from Academic Innovations, LLC—for taking the time to teach our counselors about this important program. We’re looking into how we can incorporate elements of this program into our curriculum, and we hope that something similar can be enacted at the high-school level along with our multiple measures and dual enrollment partnerships.

FIELD Institute at BC

The FIELD Institute held a meeting at Bakersfield College in the Levan Center this week to move forward work related to The Career and Technical Education Initiative. I attended the announcement event back in December and shared it in my blog post, “Busy Between Semesters at BC.

Thank you David Villarino for your leadership in pulling together this consortium of colleges and universities. You have been always been committed to providing opportunity and family-wage jobs for the most under-served populations.

Pictured below are leaders and supporters of this initiative including,
David Villarino, FIELD; Dr. Stephen Schoonmaker, President Siskiyous College District
Dr. Horace Mitchell, President CSUB, Liz Rozell, VP Instruction BC, and Dr. Sean Hancock, President of Palo Verde.

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Guided Pathways Workshops

In last week’s blog, I highlighted Julian West’s participation in the Guided Pathways workshops hosted by the CCCCO. This week, both Grace Commiso and Maria Wright presented in the Fresno and Oakland workshops. Grace and Maria highlighted the success that Bakersfield College has experienced through the Guided Pathways efforts. A larger group including Billie Jo Rice, Brent Burton, Erica Menchaca, Janet Fulks, and Eleonora Hicks participated in the Fresno workshop. The presentation included some of the following highlights:

  1. The number of students successfully completing the matriculation steps has increased over the past couple of years. Specifically, the follow-up services have doubled from 30 to 60 percent since the 2014-2015 Academic Year.
  2. Bakersfield College has documented a 34.4 percent growth rate in the last five years.
  3. The number of students successfully completing an associate’s degree has increased by 450 in the last six years.
  4. The number of students successfully completing a certificate has increased by 476 in the last six years.

BC Awards

In addition, Grace and Maria hosted plenary sessions on the development of early steps and the importance of incorporating the student voice through Guided Pathway efforts.

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Beat Goes On at BC!

BC’s Music department was highlighted by Susan Scaffidi in The Bakersfield Californian. See the online article here. 


Twice a Year Budget Forum

Budget Forum 2018

On Monday, we had our first of two all campus budget forums for 2018. Teresa McAllister, Budget Committee Faculty Co-Chair kicked off the informative session. Other speakers included myself, Don Chrusciel, VP of Finance and Administrative Services, and Steven Holmes, President of Academic Senate. 

The purpose of these biannual all campus  forums  is to give a high-level status report. This second forum is coming up within the following months.  Thank you to Somaly Boles for coordinating the event. 

Teresa McAllister

Teresa McAllister


Budget Forum.jpg

College Council

On Friday, College Council met to address college-wide issues through a collaborative, integrative approach, promoting greater communication that is accessible to the college campus at large, and to facilitate timely and effective decision-making efforts. The fantastic Lesley Bond presented on Guided Pathways and the Innovation Award Proposals.

Leadership Academy at BC


Cindy Collier, Liz Rozell, John Means

Special guests on campus Friday were members of this years KCCD Leadership Academy. The day started with a welcome to our guests by KCCD Vice Chancellor, John Means. An overview of the BC campuses, centers, and our programs was given by Deans of Instruction, Rich McCrow and Corny Rodriguez. The next activity was an overview of the Program Mapper led by Jennifer Johnson and Mark Osea. Other activities included learning about BC’s Baccalaureate Program, Industrial Automation led by Manny Fernandez, Guided Pathways by Lesley Bonds, and Dual Enrollment by Anna Laven, Corny Rodriguez, and Cindy Collier, Strong Workforce by Anthony Cordova, and last but not least, a facilities update by Bill Potter. 

The Kern Community College District is committed to supporting professional development that informs employees’ leadership abilities. Hence, the Kern Community College District Leadership Academy works to develop classified, faculty and management employees to prepare for leadership roles at every level of the organization. Through experiential learning opportunities in day-long workshops from September through April each school year, the KCCD Leadership Academy offers employees the opportunity to interact with district executives, KCCD trustees, state-level education leaders and others. Participants generate a greater understanding of our geographically expansive district and build cross-district relationships with co-workers. The program includes workshops held at each of our college campuses, conference travel, and team projects that address goals identified in the KCCD Strategic Plan. .

Leadership Academy (3)

Corny Roriguez and Cindy Collier

A full campus tour by cart was offered, thanks to our drivers, Chris Glaser and Wendy Lawson. 

BC Ag Advisory

On Thursday, Eric Garcia spoke at BC’s Ag Advisory.  Eric is Advisory Chair, works at Discoll, and is a Bakersfield College Alum.


Ag Advisory (1)


Sonya Christian at Sterling Silver Feb 24 2018


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Bright Futures start with Good Teachers

Feb 10 2018 Neo Live Laugh LoveGood morning Bakersfield.  

It is Saturday, February 24, 2018 and a great day to be a Renegade.

This was a short but action packed week.  I traveled to Santa Rosa to present at the Association of California Community College Administrators (ACCCA).  The drive was long to Santa Rosa and back.  There were several high points in this trip, including (1) hearing from the President of Santa Rosa College of how they supported the community during and after the fires and (2) crossing the bay on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

We have all been impacted by the California fires…. here is a poignant piece by Thomas Fuller in the California Today section of the NYTimes about Santa Rosa.


From the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Feb 21 2018.jpg

Photo snapped from the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Feb 21 2018

The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge is the northernmost bridge crossing over the San Francisco Bay.  I, like everyone else likes to ride the train and enjoy bridges.  Apparently, this 5.5-mile engineering feat was rejected by Frank Llyod Wright for its aesthetics. Wright must have taken after Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg,  who tolerates everything and anything with a gentle soul but is unforgiving when it  comes to poor design and bad colors.  I don’t remember where this photo was snapped, but all I can say is that this I stay quiet when Nan is in a serious art conversation with David Koeth.

Nan Gomez Heitzeberg

The Conference held at Santa Rosa is the annual ACCCA conference and I was invited to present at the opening plenary.  As I walked in I spotted Gustavo Enrique and Jaime Lopez from Bakersfield College.

Gustavo Enrique, Sonya Christian, Jaime Lopez Feb 21 2018


BC is such a large campus, and I am always surprised and delighted to see us all over the state.  I spot BC administrators, faculty and staff presenting at different statewide conferences via tweets and posts on facebook and other social media.  #WeAreBC

Here are my fellow presenters at the ACCCA — Reagan Romali, President of Long Beach City College; Joe Wyse, President of Shasta College; and Willy Duncan, President of Sierra College.  We are in the photo with Susan Bray, Executive Director of ACCCA who is in the middle.

Sonya Christian, Reagan Romali, Susan Bray, Joe Wyse, Willy Duncan Feb 21 2018

Sonya Christian, Reagan Romali, Susan Bray, Joe Wyse, Willy Duncan

So now for few of the very many activities on campus…..

Judge Raymonda Marquez

Judge Raymonda Marquez

Yesterday, we held the 3rd annual YES! Youth Empowering Success Conference. The all-day event began with a welcome and introduction from Judge Raymonda Marquez of the Kern County Superior Court. She spoke of how there are people in our lives who believe in us, even when we sometimes doubt ourselves.

An article from last November titled “Families changed for the better on National Adoption Day in Bakersfield” mentions Judge Marquez. She introduced the keynote speaker by saying, “With all of the adversity he faced in life, his experiences inspired him to dedicate his life to helping troubled youth and adults overcome the negative challenges within their own lives and discover that they have greatness within them.”

The keynote speaker of the morning, Mark Anthony Garrett, opened with a video recounting how his third grade teacher is “his hero.” The video can be seen on his website, Mark shared his life story in a compelling, motivational, and inspiring talk that pumped up the audience before the smaller breakout sessions.


Mark Anthony Garrett

It brings great joy to our campus to provide a place for events like this that not only inspire, but empower our young students to achieve greatness. As Mark said,

Everyone is brought to this world with a special gift. When one discovers what that gift is, they must let it shine so that others lives will become brighter. Teachers shine that light every time they impart knowledge to a student.

Special thank you to Kern County Superintendent of Schools Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program, Human Services, Kern High School District, and QPI. Special thank you also to Aracelli Navarro, and the team from BC who worked so hard to make the event a success.

BC Team at YES Conference

Child Development CenterChildCare2The Child Development Center provides a hands-on laboratory experience for our students as they pursue their certificate or degree in child development.

Beyond the educational opportunities the Child Development Center provides, it also offers a child care for students with small ChildCare1children so they can go to their classes  — knowing that their child is well taken care of. The proximity of their children helps our students access campus services and study opportunities while their children are safe and sound right here on campus.


As a traditional Child Development Center, our center provides important direct laboratory experiences and opportunities for students in child development programs and allied health programs. Students have access to supplies and materials, trained teachers who mentor them through the experience, a quality physical environment with vibrant classrooms, and low student-to-child ratios. Together, these benefits make for a quality facility for children and an outstanding educational environment for our students.

Calling Future Teachers

Are you inspired to teach? Learn about the programs at BC that lead to careers in education of all ages. Two upcoming events will answer all your questions so you can know what’s needed to qualify to become a teacher at a variety of levels. Events take place March 3rd at the Delano Campus and March 20th on the Panorama Campus. Learn more here.

Kern County Career Expo

Career Expo 2018

The Kern County Career Expo took place on Thursday night and BC was represented in a HUGE way! #WeAreBC

This career awareness event geared towards the students and employers of Kern builds career awareness for tomorrow’s workforce. Employers from Kern County had the opportunity to promote the different career opportunities that are available within their companies through interactive booths. I loved seeing BC students in this clip on ABC 23.

It is exciting to see all the various departments at BC sharing their programs with the future generations of Renegades. I especially love seeing how the Engineering programs and Industrial Automation brought out the robotics and 3D printing machinery to inspire visitors. Nursing and RAD tech were out in full force and so was the team from Adult Education and our Rural Initiatives team. Special thanks to the CTE team for their work on organizing BC’s involvement with this fantastic event. #WeareBC!

Can you see why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever?


Engineering and INDA Booths at the Career Expo


Rony Recinos and Automotive Tech Students

And a tweet from Pam Gomez

Pam Gomez tweet Feb 2018.png

CHAP at Allensworth

Laura Hooton and Oliver Rosales

Laura Hooton and Oliver Rosales

On Saturday, Feb 10, the Bakersfield College Delano Campus Cultural and Historical Awareness Program (CHAP) participated in a Black History month event at Allensworth State Historical Park located just northwest of the Delano Campus in Tulare County.  Allensworth is the only state historic park in California dealing exclusively with the history of African Americans.  The CHAP program hosted a booth at the event in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities Common Heritage grant “Digital Delano: Preserving an International Community’s History.”

Professors Oliver Rosales, Paula Parks, Michelle Hart, and Librarian Elisabeth Sundby were joined by BC students Danielle Wiley, SGA Photographer and Christian Bravo, SGA Mascot, as well as PhD Candidate Laura Hooton from UC Santa Barbara, an expert on rural African American History in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, to visit the historic Allensworth site in the goal of spreading information about the digital history effort at the Delano Campus to “harvest local and family histories” related to the San Joaquin Valley.  A number of contacts were made among attendees, particularly community members with familial ties to Allensworth and historic black families from Tulare County.

Elisabeth Sundby , Laura Hooton and Oliver Rosales

Elisabeth Sundby , Laura Hooton and Oliver Rosales

What makes Allensworth unique as a space of historical significance is it draws African Americans from across the state for its annual celebrations.  Folks from San Diego, Oakland, Richmond, Los Angeles, and elsewhere visit Allensworth because it represents a place of great importance to the history of African Americans in the United States.  If you haven’t made the trek to Allensworth, the entire CHAP team strongly recommends attending one of Allensworth’s annual events. More information can be found at the Allensworth SHP Website.

Bridging the Racial Divide

Students had a great opportunity to talk to leaders from local law enforcement agencies across Kern County, who were all in the same room for a special forum in the Levan Center on Tuesday. BC criminal justice professor and former Arvin police chief Tommy Tunson moderated the forum, titled “Transformational Policing: Bridging the Racial Divide”, which addressed how the community policing model is evolving nationwide in response to several high profile officer-involved shootings in Baltimore, Ferguson, Missouri and other cities over the last few years.

left to right FBI Special Agent Bennett O. Scott, Kern County Assistant District Attorney Scott Spielman, McFarland Police Department Chief Scot Kimble, CHP Commander Ron Seldon, Bakersf

left to right: FBI Special Agent Bennett O. Scott, Kern County Assistant District Attorney Scott Spielman, McFarland Police Department Chief Scot Kimble, CHP Commander Ron Seldon, Bakersfield Police Department Chief Lyle Martin and BC criminal justice professor Tommy Tunson talk about restoring the public’s faith in law enforcement on February 20th in the Levan Center.

Tommy Tunson,

Tommy Tunson, a criminal justice professor at BC and the former Chief of the Arvin Police Department, moderates a discussion on transformational policing in the Levan Center on February 20th.

Before giving the floor over to the panel—which included police chiefs from McFarland and Bakersfield, a California Highway Patrol Commander, a Kern County Assistant District Attorney and a field agent from the local FBI office—Tunson showed video from a police brutality protest, pointing out that every officer on the field is one cell phone video away from being on the national news, no matter how small the city that they’re tasked with keeping safe. He then outlined the Transformational Policing Model (TPM), a two-pronged approach to law enforcement that emphasizes using data analysis to target areas where agencies can serve the public better, as well as community and media outreach to restore the public’s faith in the people who protect and serve them every day.

Bakersfield Police Department Chief Lyle Martin talked about the work he’s done during his time as chief to keep the lines of communication open with the public and the media. When something controversial happens around one of the officers in his department, he is proactive in reaching out to local media before they reach out to him, and he’s leveraging the power of social media to reach out to the increasing number of people who don’t read the newspaper or tune into local news.

Bakersfield Police Department Chief Lyle Martin

Bakersfield Police Department Chief Lyle Martin outlines the importance of proper law enforcement training at the Transformational Policing Forum on February 20th in the Levan Center.

“When you mess up, you’ve got to dress up and fess up,” Martin said, adding that the BPD’s motto for this year is “Change the Experience”.

California Highway Patrol Commander Ron Seldon described his department’s Public Trust Initiative, a series of assessments in which the CHP is graded on its public relations and community outreach by a third-party organization and given advice on how to improve.  “Are we treating the public as we’d like to be treated?” Seldon asked.

McFarland Police Chief Scott Kimble said that outreach efforts such as his “Ice Cream with the Chief” event have been crucial in changing the culture in McFarland, which sits at the border between California’s Norteno and Sureno street gangs, making it a potential hotbed for violent crime. Kimble credits the restoration of trust between law enforcement and the community for McFarland’s inclusion on the National Council for Homeland Security’s list of the 100 safest cities in California. McFarland, ranked at number 60, is the only city in Kern County on the list, with only 33 violent crimes committed in the area in 2016.

Kern County Assistant District Attorney Scott Spielman

Kern County Assistant District Attorney Scott Spielman speaks on the importance of separating one’s emotional response to a traumatic case from the duties required to mete out justice during the Transformational Policing event at the Levan Center on February 20th.

Assistant District Attorney Scott Spielman reiterated the importance of maintaining the bond between law enforcement and the community. If people don’t feel comfortable with reporting a crime or serving as a witness for the prosecution, then it makes it more difficult on the District Attorney’s office to deliver justice. Regardless of whether law enforcement officials feel that the public’s mistrust is justified, agencies must strive to create a perception of fairness, and it’s important to understand the history of the relationship between the police and the community that lead up to where we’re at today in order to change that relationship.

FBI Special Agent Bennett O. Scott shared information about an anonymous tipline that people in the community can use to report crimes without fear of reprisal and described how the local FBI office collaborates with local authorities on counter-terrorism and gang violence prevention. With only 11 FBI agents for all of Kern County, it’s important for the federal office to be in constant communication with local police and county sheriffs.

Students and local media

Students and local media pack the Levan Center for the Transformation Policing Forum on February 20th.

I’d like to thank Dr. Tunson and Steve Watkin for helping to organize this important and educational event for our students as part of Black History Month. For more about the Transformational Policing forum, you can read Steven Mayer’s article published in the Bakersfield Californian on Wednesday.

HBCU Visits BC

Last week, representatives from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) set up tables in the Renegade Crossroads to offer scholarships and registration at schools across the country. HBCUs provide an opportunity  for students to learn within their peer group, and we were honored to have the HBCU Caravan back for another year.


We also had representatives from historically black fraternities and sororities to provide information about how students can find support from their peers at the four-year institution of their choice, not just at HBCUs. I’d like to thank Lisa Kent from Student Success and Equity, as well as Steve Watkin from Outreach, for helping to put the HBCU event together. It’s an extremely valuable resource for our students, and I can’t wait to see how the opportunities provided by these HBCUs will help our students grow after they graduate BC.

Renegade Athletics


Tucker Eenigenburg

For the month of January, BC’s Tucker Eenigenburg averaged 23.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and two assists per game over the course of nine games.  He shot 52.4 percent from the floor, 53.4 percent from three-point range and 91 percent from the free-throw line. Eenigenburg had a career high 51 points, in an 87-81 win, against College of the Canyons on Jan. 27.  In that game, he was 13 of 21 (61.9 percent) from the floor, 8 of 12 (66.7 percent) from three-point range and 17 of 17 (100 percent) from the free-throw line. See the CCCAA website for more. 

Military Ball

Bakersfield College was out in full force at the 8th Annual Military Order of the Purple Heart Military Ball, held at the Doubletree Hotel last Saturday night.

Paul Beckworth, Steve Watkins, Lisa Kent, Sandra Beckworth, Olivia Garcia, Sgt. Julio Garcia.

Paul Beckworth, Steve Watkins, Lisa Kent, Sandra Beckworth, Olivia Garcia, Sgt. Julio Garcia

Mayor Karen Goh and Zav Dababhoy

Mayor Karen Goh and Zav Dababhoy

One of the organizers of this event had a busy week, Professor Tommy Tunson, retired Army.  As last year’s recipient of the Ball’s Veteran Support Organization of the Year, BC was well represented by Dr. Zav Dadabhoy, who handed off this year’s award to Chevron, in honor of the company’s support of veterans in Kern County. And thank you Mayor Karen Goh for the great photos!

According the their website, “Chartered by Congress in 1958, The Military Order of the Purple Heart is composed of military men and women who received the Purple Heart Medal for wounds suffered in combat. Although our membership is restricted to the combat wounded, we support all veterans and their families with a myriad of nation-wide programs by Chapters and National Service Officers.”  The Order’s mission is to foster an environment of goodwill and camaraderie among combat wounded veterans, promote patriotism, support necessary legislative initiatives, and most importantly, provide service to all veterans and their families.

While a good time was had by all, the night’s theme was a somber one; remembering America’s POWs and MIAs from the Vietnam War.  The United States still has over 1,600 unaccounted-for personnel from the conflict that divided this nation.  As a part of the ceremony to honor America’s missing, a POW/MIA table was set.

According to tradition, the POW/MIA table is smaller than the others, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner alone against his or her oppressors. This table is separate from the others and can be set for one to four place settings to represent each service participating in the event.

Honor TableThe white tablecloth draped over the table represents the purity of their response to our country’s call to arms. The empty chair depicts an unknown face, representing no specific Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine, but all who are not here with us.The table itself is round to show that our concern for them is never ending. The Bible represents faith in a higher power and the pledge to our country, founded as one nation under God. The black napkin stands for the emptiness these warriors have left in the hearts of their families and friends. A Purple Heart medal can be pinned to the napkin. The single red rose reminds us of their families and loved ones. The red ribbon represents the love of our country, which inspired them to answer the nation’s call. The yellow candle and its yellow ribbon symbolize the everlasting hope for a joyous reunion with those yet accounted for. The slices of lemon on the bread plate remind us of their bitter fate. The salt upon the bread plate represent the tears of their families. The wine glass, turned upside down, reminds us that our distinguished comrades cannot be with us to drink a toast or join in the festivities of the evening.

The significance of the POW/MIA table is called to attention during the toast of the evening. This is an important part of many military banquets to remind us that the strength of those who fight for our country often times rests in the traditions that are upheld today.  These men, these women are not forgotten.

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Creating Lasting Guided Pathways

The CCCCO is conducting a series of 7 workshops on Creating Lasting Guided Pathways. Bakersfield College is being highlighted at each of the 7 events around the state as one of the first colleges that has data in California showing benefits to students.

Julian West

Julian West was part of a plenary panel on that data and followed up with a breakout on student voices and equity. He shared statistics from Spring 2018 such as:

  • 783 African-American Students Total Enrolled
  • 414 Students Have Completed Less Than 30 units
  • 136 Students started Fall or Summer 2017
  • 89 Students started Spring 2018

He shared how BC’s high tech, high touch level of support is truly making a difference for our students.

AAI Outcomes

Grace Commiso and  Maria Wright will be presenting at plenary panels and reporting on BC’s completion coaching teams and student voices.  Janet Fulks is presenting Bakersfield’s Outcomes over the next two weeks and presenting Guided Pathways 101 breakouts. These early outcomes and distinctive work at Bakersfield will help other colleges plan strategies to successfully help their students complete programs of study.

So proud of the incredible work being done by the BC staff, faculty, and completion coaching teams.

Cheryl Scott

Kern Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Cheryl Scott wrote an op-ed in the Bakersfield Californian on February 12th urging business leaders in the community to build partnerships with teachers and students at all levels of school.

Darren Scott and Cheryl Scott

Darren Scott and Cheryl Scott

“Kern County’s future workforce is entrusted largely to our local educators,” Scott writes, outlining how important it is for business leaders to reach out to the schools and let educators know the exact skills they’re looking for. Many Kern County businesses have to look outside of the Valley for job applicants with the advanced skills that they need, and developing these partnerships at the primary, secondary, and post-secondary educational levels will create more home-grown applicants for those positions, which leads to upward mobility for individuals and their families in the process.

“Bringing business into the classroom can give students a leg up in their future careers and sets them up for success by equipping them with the skills and information employers need, “ Scott writes, highlighting the work done by the CSUB School of Business and Public Administration Student Professional Development Initiative, as well as Independence High School’s Energy and Utilities Academy as examples of programs that are creating effective mentorship opportunities for students looking to join the skilled labor force after graduation.

Chancellor Tom Burke Seen on Twitter

i-k66vmpv-lAs one of the nation’s largest networks of higher education, California community colleges were well represented in Washington, DC at the 2018 National Legislative Summit hosted by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) last week.

KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke represented the Kern Community College District at the annual summit, which raises awareness of the issues impacting community colleges across the country while allowing opportunities for community college leaders to meet with congressional representatives to advocate for policies that would benefit them, according to the FAQ page on the National Legislative Summit’s website. Burke, who can be seen in the tweet towards the back on the right, met with Congressman Kevin McCarthy at his office in Capitol Hill during the summit.

Jake Tapper, CNN’s Chief Washington Correspondent and the host of The Lead with Jake Tapper, was the keynote speaker for the opening event on February 12th. US Department of Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta also spoke about the importance of workforce education to close the skills gap in the nation’s labor market, and Carroll Doherty of the Pew Research Center gave statistics that provided context for the political divide in higher education and reasons behind misperceptions many members of the public have about the value of community colleges.

Thank you to our Chancellor, Tom Burke for representing our district at this year’s National Legislative Summit. You can find a list of legislative priorities from the summit on the ACCT’s website, which include reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, investment in education and workforce development, and a path to citizenship for DREAMers. During the summit, California Community College Chancellor Eloy Oakley was also quoted in an article from the Washington Post regarding the president’s comments about vocational schools.

Congratulations to Professor Chris Ennis

EnnisCongratulations to Adjunct Architecture Professor Christopher Ennis, recipient of the American Institute of Architects California Council’s Emerging Educator of the Year.

The official article states, “The Educator Award recipient is also a member of the Golden Empire Chapter. Chris Ennis, AIA, is faculty at a community college and experiences difficulties and roadblocks different than his peers in the four-year university system. The jury applauded his efforts to ignite passion and interest in students who may not otherwise be exposed to possibilities in the field of architecture before they transfer.” Check it out here.

Spotted on Media

Say these two articles in the Bakersfield Life Magazine this morning.

Dr. Jeet Singh is on the Bakersfield College Foundation Board of Directors and is doing incredible work in service to this community.

Jeet Singh Feb 24 2018


And here is our very own Prof. Olivia Garcia

Olivia Garcia Bakersfield Life Magazine Feb 24 2018.jpg

And finally let’s support our choir students

Get your tickets now for an incredible night of collaborative music between some of Bakersfield’s finest musicians. Local celebrities Monty Byrom and Lydia Ranger are coming together with the BC Chamber Singers to perform in a benefit concert at the Music Hall of Fame.  Email me!

Chamber Singers-Poster-3_preview

Feb 10 2018 Sonya Christian Walking Neo 2


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

So Many Things to Celebrate in our Community

Good morning Bakersfield.  

Sonya Christian Bitmoji Good Morning

It is Saturday, February 17, 2018….anticipating SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy west coast launch (the best of times) and the week when 17 individuals were shot dead in Florida (the worst of times).

Let’s take a moment to go back and see their faces and read about them.  Here are two of those beautiful faces — Alaina Petty (14) and Peter Wang (15) from the website

For more:


Lincoln Day

two students delivering food to the pantry

Students delivering food to the pantry

Yesterday, campus was quiet as we’re celebrating Presidents Weekend. I recently came across this great article by William Lambers about bringing back the Lincoln Friendship Train to help feed starving countries. He says “Peace and freedom cannot be founded on empty stomachs.”

It brought to mind how lucky we are at Bakersfield College to have the Renegade Pantry. The Renegade Pantry focuses on alleviating food insecurity, hunger and poverty among BC Students. Just another reminder of why I am so proud of Bakersfield College and why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever.

Read William Lambers’ We Need Abraham Lincoln’s Friendship Train again article.

Valentines Day Performances on campus

Students from BC’s Performing Arts classes delivered a special theatrical production for Valentine’s Day in the Campus Center. Such a treat.  Have I mentioned yet that I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever?


BC Performing Arts Students on Valentines Day

See all the photos of the lovely performances at BC’s Smugmug.

Engineer It, Girl!

The Engineering Girl event was well received, a fantastic program promoting engineering for girls ages 4-6. The event is hosted through Valley Public Broadcasting Service (VPBS) located in Fresno and by Engineering for kids of Kern County.

February 10, 2018 was one of the two days this will be hosted at BC. The second day will be on May 10, 2018 that will offer projects in all types of engineering. MESA was a volunteer partner along with other entities. Our MESA students volunteer assisting in the environmental engineering project for over 100 attendees. MESA had over 8 volunteers helping promote engineering to little girls and the next generation of engineers.

After the event, Suzanne Galindo, from the KCCD District Office sent an email of appreciation for the event and said how much her granddaughter and friend loved it.

Suzanne Galindo Granddaughter

Future Renegades, Annalise Aguirre and  Mila Perez with the MESA crew at BC

Industrial Automation Info Sessions Coming Up

BC is hosting three public events at the end of February for members of the community to learn more about our Baccalaureate Degree in Industrial Automation.

Students in the Industrial Automation program, which teaches the design, operation and management of automated machinery used in manufacturing and agricultural production, are able to graduate with a four-year degree that prepares them for a career in a high-paying, high-demand field. The sessions will be held on February 20th at 1 p.m. in SE 56, February 24th at 10 a.m. in SE 46, and February 27th at 6 p.m. in SE 46.

Thank you to both KGET and 23ABC for mentioning these upcoming sessions.

We’re excited to have our first-ever Baccalaureate students in Industrial Automation walk across the stage during our 104th Commencement ceremony this May.


BC Industrial Automation students

BC Fight Song Remastered

dsc01621-x3On Thursday morning, members of famed local band Mento Buru were on campus to record the voice track to the updated version of the BC Fight Song. Matt Munoz, Cesareo Garasa and Jay Smith of Mento Buru joined Commercial Music Professor Josh Ottom’s class and collaborated on the vocals. Josh Ottom used the session as a lab for the class. Matt Munoz came to the Foundation in June with the concept to revive the BC Fight Song and after much research from the Archive Department, General Counsel Chris Hine, Chancellor Tom Burke and others, the project received the green light just prior to TailGade in October. The instrument tracks were laid down in December with Josh Ottom’s help. Keep your ears open for the new and improved BC Fight Song in the near future…Fight, Fight, Fight!!!


See all the photos from the afternoon on BC’s Smugmug.

BC Adult Education

The first issue of BC’s Adult Education Newsletter was released this week. It’s so wonderful to hear the fantastic things happening to empower our adult students. The Bakersfield College Adult Education program  serves students in North and South Kern
County in collaboration with local adult schools, and in various locations such Delano, Wasco, and McFarland adult schools, and most recently, the Bakersfield Adult School (BAS). The newsletter is available on BC’s Website. 

Special thank you to Endee Grijalva and the whole Adult Education Team. #WeareBC!

AEBG students visit BC main campus in October 2017

AEBG students visit BC main campus in October 2017

Recognizing BC Art Faculty

David Koeth Selfie Sep 2016

David Koeth

It’s always exciting to share stories that highlight BC’s talented faculty. During the weekend of January 26, 27 and 28, David Koeth participated in the stARTup Art Fair in Venice Beach. David tells me that while art fairs are not a new concept, they are a great community alternate to showing work in a gallery. Most art fairs require the artist to be represented by a gallery but stARTup is juried and intended for artists who are independent of the gallery system. To be nominated, David had to submit a portfolio of his work to be shown to a select panel of judges to decide on which artists would be invited.

This year stARTup took place at the Kinney, and each artist had a room that was then transformed into a gallery space for the duration of the fair which was well attended, with hundreds of visitors from the public coming to the event space. David showed two pieces of art called “Citrus Series” and “Drought Series”.

You can see his art on his Facebook page: and also on his Instagram:

This event provided opportunity both for art buyers and curators to view his artwork, as well as to engage with the art community.

Nano Rubio

nano1Another BC faculty also recently showed pieces at an different art show. Nano Rubio, an adjunct instructor of Art at Bakersfield College, was recently invited to include his work in the LA Art Show. This show was held at the LA Convention Center as part of a group show titled Eyes Forward, and was curated by LaunchLA Gallery in partnership with the California African American Museum. The group show included artists April Bey, June Edmonds, Duane Paul, Ana Rodriguez, Holly Tempo, Chukes, Loren Holland, Miles Regis, and Tim Washington.  Work at the Show also included master works from Monet, Picasso, Chagall and many others. To celebrate diversity the LA Art Show worked with local and international museum curators and galleries to develop innovative programs, engaging dialog and showing cutting-edge exhibitions with an ecumenical resonance.

Rubio brings his work to students at BC and at the Kern High School District and says, “I share my professional experiences with students to show them that the profession of being an Artist in the 21st Century is very much alive and has room for more voices.”

Gadfly Cafe

Gadfly Cafe Roundtable discussions

Reggie Williams leading the discussion at Gadfly Cafe

Engaging student experiences is one of the highlights of being a student at BC. Philosophy Professor, Reggie Williams hosted his first installment of this year, Gadfly Café, with War: Causes, Consequences, and Costs as the topic.

The hour-long, round table discussion this past Wednesday, February 14th, was jam-packed with a fun, diverse crowd that included students, faculty and staff, of all ages and backgrounds, and not afraid to voice their opinions when called on.

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Conversation kicked off with an eye-opening statement. “Did you all know, that during the last century, 100 years, from all the War’s during this time frame, that there were 123 million total deaths caused from these wars alone?”

Hands went up and the conversation  lively. Thank you to Professor Reggie Williams for hosting this discussion and for all the BC’s students, staff and faculty for participating. Mark your calendar for the next Gadfly Café event on Wednesday, 3/14/2018 with the topic of Truth: Objective, Invented, and Esteemed.

Gadfly Cafe logo

Jack Hernandez

BC’s Jack Hernandez has a published piece in the Community Voices section of The Californian. You can see it online, “The Parable of the good cake baker with a clear conscience.

Jack Hernandez

BC Superstar, Connie Gonzales

Connie at Univision

Connie Gonzales (right) at Univision

Connie Gonzales was recently featured on Univision to share the exiting news that MESA’s STEM and Pre-Health Conference is returning for a second year to the BC Campus on March 3rd, from 8 am to 2 pm.

The interview was in Spanish, and she’s proud to promote STEM among the Spanish speaking community, inviting them to come to BC and get exposure to different STEM careers with this conference.

The conference is a joint effort with UCLA and other industry partners. Interested in learning more or getting tickets? visit the Eventbrite page for more.

Bakersfield DBA State of Downtown

On Thursday morning, I attended the Bakersfield DBA Breakfast as a guest of Bob Bell. (Thank you Bob for the invitation.) At our table was Bill Thomas, Shannon Grove and several individuals from the City of Bakersfield.  Here is a picture of the team with Mayor Karen Goh.  Thank you Mayor Goh for posting great pictures celebrating the people of Bakersfield.  I snagged many of them for my blog 🙂

City of Bakersfield award receipient with Mayor Goh.jpg

I sat near Dianne Hoover, director for Bakersfield Parks and Rec.   I am so thankful for the investment in parks in Bakersfield.  I told Dianne that the first thing I noticed when I returned five years ago after a 10-year stint in Oregon was the investment in parks.  I use them so many times a week.  It is a critical component of healthy communities.

It’s exciting to hear the plans to revitalize our city and the downtown district. So much care and love is being poured into our downtown area so local community, businesses and development can thrive. Robert Price covered the morning in-depth in his article, “At DBA breakfeast, nothing but good news about downtown’s growth.”

Also, the City of Bakersfield is considering a Property-based Business Improvement District (PBID) for parts of downtown Bakersfield.  Bakersfield Colelge’s Weill Institute and the KCCD District Office will be included in the PBID and our Chief Finance Office Debbie Martin is a member of the Steering Committee.


For more information check out:

KC Career Expo Happening Next Week!

On February 22, 2018, join us for a night of Career Exploration and Educational Programs that will give you an opportunity to learn the expectations, work ethic, certificates and degrees needed to join the workforce. Speak directly with over 100 Kern County Employers from different industry sectors and engage with activities that will help you decide what career is right for you! Don’t forget! The Event is February 22, 2018, 4:30-7:30 pm at Rabobank Arena & Convention Center.


Renegade Athletics

Jon Mettus of The Bakersfield Californian did a nice article on BC’s Spring Sports.
Check it out here:

BC Tennis with Coach Nick Jacobs February 2018.jpg

BC Tennis with Coach Nick Jacobs. Photo from TBC

Fun pictures:

Welcoming Baby Leo.  Mom Prof. Ximena Da Silva Tavares and baby are doing well.

Baby Leo Feb 16 2018

As I was heading back from the cafeteria having picked up some chicken strips for lunch, I saw a lot of activity in the campus center with Julian West, Lisa Ken and Steve Watkin.  I so enjoyed it and snapped this picture.

Julian West, Lisa Kent, Steven Watkin Feb 2018.jpg


Loved this selfie that Liz Rozell took with Horace Mitchell at the Chamber’s Leadership Bakersfield Education Day.

Liz Rozell and Horace Mitchell at Leadership Bakersfield Feb 16 2018

Liz Rozell joined colleagues from CSUB, University of LaVerne, Point Loma University, and  Wonderful Education to discuss trends in education with participants in the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Leadership program. It was an honor to speak with Horace Mitchell, CSUB President who is retiring at the end of this academic year. John Nikon, CSUB Trustee, moderated the event. And Heather Pennella, who is a member of the Leadership Bakersfield Class of 2018, cheered the team along.

Thank you Heather Pennella for this photo of the group of presenters

Leadership Bakersfield Feb 16 2018.jpg

On twitter, here is a post from Dr. Joe Saldivar with his premed students visiting Geffen Med School at UCLA

Joe Saldivar with premed students Feb 2018.jpg


students had a great time visiting Geffen Med School

March 10 – Monty Byrum and Lydia Ranger – Buy your tickets now and support our choir!

Get your tickets now for an incredible night of collaborative music between some of Bakersfield’s finest musicians. Local celebrities Monty Byrom and Lydia Ranger are coming together with the BC Chamber Singers to perform in a benefit concert at the Music Hall of Fame.

Chamber Singers-Poster-3_preview

The concert will assist the Chamber Singers with their final fundraising effort for their tour to Australia(!), where they will perform in the Sydney Opera House this coming July.

It promises to be a great evening of music and for such a good cause. Mark your calendar now! March 10 at 5 pm and 7:30 pm. The 5 pm concert tickets are $35 and the 7:30 pm concert tickets are $50-$100. Tickets can be purchased at the Music Hall of Fame website or by calling or emailing Courtney Carter at the BC Foundation at 395-4800 or Come enjoy the music and support the BC Chamber Singers.

Here is a post from Jen Garrett on FAcebook:

Today is a day I will always remember. I conducted the finest performance of my career with the hard working choir I’ve ever had the privilege of conducting.

We auditioned and were selected last year to be one of the performing choirs at the California All State Music educators conference in San Jose. This is a great honor and we wanted to bring our best.

While we performed in this gorgeous basilica it felt like we were all carrying each other. I was nearly emotional in the sound check and many emotions surfaced during the performance and after we finished. I’m still in a high.

Thank you Chamber Singers for going in this wild adventure with me. I know it nearly involved blood, sweat, and tears but I hope it was worth it all. I am so grateful for your dedication and willingness to let go. We have so many more adventures to take this year and more mind blowing music to make. Australia here we come! BC Chamber Singers: All Day……Every day!

Come on out to the William M. Thomas Planetarium

Nick Strobel

Nick Strobel

Here is an exerpt from Dr. Nick Strobel’s article in today’s Californian

Thursday was the first show of the William M. Thomas Planetarium’s spring lineup as “Black Holes” played to an audience eager to see a beautiful star field with the Goto Chronos projector and take a flight through the Milky Way into the supermassive black hole at the center. This coming Thursday is “Supervolcanoes,” which after a tour of the night sky will explain what happens in the most powerful eruptions on Earth (thousands of times more powerful than Mt St Helens). Supervolcanoes put so much ash, gases and other material into the atmosphere that they can cause global mass extinctions through the very dramatic climates changes. Fortunately, these types of eruptions are rare!

Read the whole piece at:

Took Neo to work yesterday since the campus was closed.  Here we are checking out the Future Home of the Veterans Resource Center.  He is 11 months old today, February 17, 2018 and weighs 85 lbs.  Can’t wait for his first birthday on March 17th.

Feb 16 2018 Neo and Sonya Christian at Bakersfield College.jpg

Was happy to see Coach Bob Covey when he stopped by the office

Bob Covey and Sonya Christian Jan 26 2018

Sonya Christian Bitmoji Feeling Lucky


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC Celebrating Black History Month. We Are BC!

Good morning Bakersfield!

Could not wake up this morning when my alarm went off after a looong, hectic and fun filled week at Bakersfield College.  But then, as Jennifer Marden would say,  this is how we roll at BC.

Thank you Steve Watkin for putting together a robust series of events for Black History Month. #WeAreBC

Sonya Christian and Steve Watkin Feb 9 2018

Warning, this is going to be a long blog…but remember it is only the tip of the iceberg of what goes on at this college that serves over 31,000 students at campus on Panorama, and at locations in Delano, Wasco, McFarland, Shafter, Arvin, Lamont and now, in southwest Bakersfield at the corner of Stockdale and Buena Vista.

Yes, We Are BC!
And we are your college!

Before I get into the Bakersfield College activities, I want to recognize the passing of the husband of a dear friend Cathy Abernathy.  Mark Abernathy has been a public figure in this community for a long time and this piece by James Burger in the Jan 29th Californian gives us a glimpse of his life.

Cathy Abernathy and Mark Abernathy TBC Photo.jpg

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson at Bakersfield College

A major highlight for the week was having author, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson on campus for a jam packed Thursday at BC.  hosting four events on the campus to talk about racial inequality and the ongoing journey for restorative justice in African-American communities.


Dr. Dyson at BC’s Indoor Theater

Dyson, a sociology professor at Georgetown University, an author of 19 books, a radio show host, and a frequent guest on several nationally-broadcast political roundtable shows, addressed a packed Indoor Theater on Thursday night to talk about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and his influence on African-American leadership in the 21st Century.

i-jnmw4xp-x4Although Dr. King never ran for elected office, Dyson argues, his gift for motivating others through rhetoric and his great vision for what America could be, he enabled that vision to come slightly closer to reality.

“All [Dr. King] asked for was for America to be what is said it was on paper,” Dyson said. While talking about the riots and police brutality of the ’60s that created the civil rights movement, Dyson emphasized that King sought to take on the structural biases that held all marginalized people back, and that for Dr. King’s work to continue, we must also fight against sexism and homophobia in order to fight back against racism.

Dyson packed the Fireside Room to capacity for the two open-discussion forums on latest book “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America”, as well as a question and answer session with Paula Parks and the students in BC’s Umoja community.


Dr. Paula Parks and Dr. Dyson

During the book discussions, Dyson kept the conversation focused on the contemporary debate about police brutality, cultural appropriation of black artists, kneeling for the National Anthem and how to engage in dialogue about racial issues with people who aren’t able to relate to the struggles facing African-Americans and might be resistant to the message.


Inspired by his 2016 New York Times op-ed titled “Death in Black and White,” “Tears We Cannot Stop” is about the need for an honest, unrestrained dialogue about race that doesn’t pull punches about the hardships marginalized groups have had to endure in order to carve out their place within the American Dream.

Between the open forum discussions on “Tears We Cannot Stop”, Dyson sat down for an interview with Paula Parks and the students in our Umoja Community to talk about how predominately-white educational institutions have evolved to incorporate and empathize with students from marginalized groups, as well as Dyson’s inspiration to continue writing and giving his perspective over the past 30 years.

Nan and Zav

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Zav Dadabhoy at Dr. Dyson. Love this picture.

“I write to save my life and the lives of others, and sometimes for the dynamic privilege of saying something well,” Dyson said. “I believe in explaining stuff to white people.” Dyson’s tone was very humorous despite talking about the serious issues plaguing the African-American community today. Dyson was one of the first academics to examine the literary themes of hip-hop music, and he often spoke of the intergenerational struggles expressed through African-American music.


BC’s Choir performed before Dr. Dysons evening performance

Through the candid, authentic persona and fiery oration, Dyson has redefined what a public intellectual can be. Thank you to the partnership of the Office of Student Life’s Distinguished Speaker Series and the Cerro Author program for bringing Dr. Dyson to BC.


Dr. Dyson with OSL and Student Life

Manny DeLosSantos found Ralph Bailey in attendance for the evening presentation.

Manny DeLosSantos and Ralph Bailey

Manny DeLosSantos and Ralph Bailey

And Earl Parsons spotted Dr. Jackie Fisher, alumnus, former faculty, former Dean and retired president of Antelope Valley College.


Dr. Jackie Fisher visiting Bakersfield College

Danyel Owens snapped this photo of the the overflow in the Fireside Room. It’s great to see the community coming out to events such as this.

Fireside Room during presentation by Dr. Dyson

Fireside Room during presentation by Dr. Dyson


Revitalizing the Campus thought Measure J.  Thank you Kern County!

Since the passing of Measure J in November of 2016 by a 65% vote by the Bakersfield community, BC has partnered with  AECOM-Parsons to plan for the major renovation and expansion of Bakersfield College’s campuses, including the Delano-Timmons campus and the much anticipated Arvin campus. AECOM, a company that has worked with many educational institutions, together with Parsons, who has been working on the Thomas Roads Improvement Project for the last decade, are working together with BC faculty and leadership to update our Facilities Master Plan based on our needs.



The presentation, led by Todd Coston pointed out that we are still in the planning stages and since “a plan is a plan,” we can expect changes to come as we get further into the details of architecture and construction. AECOM-Parsons has worked diligently to maximize the square footage of renovations and construction of buildings in the shortest amount of time to maximize our dollars. They are considering our needs, what exists, and where savings can be made. AECOM has also partnered with the Department of State Architecture (DSA) for a more efficient and faster way for construction approval and they are using BC Measure J Facilities Master Plan renovations and construction as part of a pilot program to implement construction in a fast pace.


Nick Strobel in the audience alongside Aricia Leighton

Leveraging funds from Measure G and the state with Measure J funding, the plan is to renovate approximately 224,000 square feet and construct 266,000 square feet of new buildings over the next 6 years. The Veterans Resource Center is in the design phase and we look forward to breaking ground soon. AECOM-Parsons and BC are working on strategies for effectively accomplishing the master plan, such as planning the construction sequence being mindful of swing space, when construction goes to market locally, construction staging areas and rerouting of traffic while minimally impacting our students.


Sonya Christian and Romeo Agbalog

Sonya Christian and Trustee Romeo Agbalog

Todd Coston was our entertaining and eloquent emcee and did a wonderful visualization of taking a “stroll into 2024” as a new student on the new Panorama campus without having the actual details of what the architecture will look like in the future. Thank you Trustee Bill Thomas for supporting Measure J, helping bring it to fruition, continuing your support, and attending our update. Thank you Trustee Romeo Agbalog for attending the update and supporting the needs of our rural campuses. I want to thank Trustee Kay Meek and Chancellor Tom Burke for being a part of this work, although they were unable to attend. I would also like to thank the AECOM-Parsons team, Scott Preston, Jill Kurth, and Yvonne Hidle.

During the afternoon, Trustee Thomas brought up an interesting fact regarding the proposed “New Entry for Campus off Panorama” was actually the original entry when the campus was first built in the 1950’s. Knowing our history is very important in planning our future. Looking ahead, as we improve the facilities, we are striving to not only accommodate our needs now, but anticipate our needs in the future.

Bringing BC to Arvin #BCArvin

Arvin and BC Leadership

We know how much education can affect a family,” said Abel Guzman, BC Director of Rural Initiatives. “Imagine how much a college can affect a city.”  After the presentation on the Panorama campus, a team from BC, together with Arvin Mayor Jose Gurrola shared details and plans for the BC center in Arvin at the Veteran’s Hall.

Bill Potter in Arvin

Bill Potter presenting in Arvin, CA


Jose Gurrola, Sonya Christian, Future Rengades

Jose Gurrola, Sonya Christian, and future Arvin Renegades

It was exciting to provide the community an opportunity to hear the plans for the new BC Arvin Facility and give them a platform to voice their expectations for the campus. Facilitated by Director of Rural Initiatives, Abel Guzman, community Leaders from every level including Mayor Jose Gurrola, City Manager Al Noyola, and Arvin Chief of Police Jerry Breckinridge, came out in support.

Abel Guzman, Director of Rural Initiaives talked about the programming BC has brought to Arvin the last four years.  Thank you Supervisor Leticia Perez for $400K to increase educational attainment rates in this community thought the Game Changer program.  Thank you Mike Turnipseed and Superintendent Bryon Schaefer.

Enrollments last year topped 1000.  Can’t wait to see the numbers for 2017-2018.

Enrollment Growth in Arvin Bar Graph.png


Trustee Bill Thomas told the audience that BC in Arvin is a “promise kept,” while Bill Potter, was able to paint a visual of the campus for the audience. 40-50 attendees were present including former chancellor and Arvin resident Jim Young, BC Adjunct faculty Amalia Ojeda, Dean Richard McCrow and BC Rural Initiatives Program Management team Raquel Lopez, Gustavo Enriquez, Endee Grijalva, and Jaime Lopez. Director Abel Guzman ended the forum with a reminder that BC in Arvin is like adding to the Arvin sense of “familia” in the community and has been and will continue to be a constant presence.

harold-pierce Feb 5 2018 Measure J draft plan roll outThank you Harold Pierce

Thank you also to Harold Pierce from the Californian for your articles.

The Bakersfield Californian is a local treasure and has a remarkable history. This newspaper has withstood a revolutionized industry, new technologies, and serves an expanding community that continues to grow, yet at the same time, it has kept that traditional “hometown content” that we’ve come to love.  A salute to the Californian and all its reporters.

Talking about Harold Pierce, I have been impressed with his coverage of Valley Fever and the efforts by our political leaders in Sacramento — Rudy Salas, Jean Fuller, Vince Fong.  See his piece in today’s Californian


A Wonderful Visit to Lost Hills

The Wonderful Company recently extended an invitation to BC leadership to engage in discussion to investigate possibilities to make local higher education a reality for the residents of Lost Hills. As you may know, Bakersfield College continues our commitment to serve neighboring rural communities by providing access to higher education.

Wonderful Tour Group Photo

Our morning began by visiting the various school sites in Lost Hills and seeing the college students of tomorrow beginning their educational journey on the right step.


The Learning Garden was one of our favorite stops and the children there are growing both delicate herbs and hearty veggies such as cauliflower and broccoli.


After visiting the school sites of Wonderful College Prep Academy, Wonderful Preschool, and the future permanent site of Wonderful College Prep Academy, the group visited Wonderful Park and Community Center in Lost Hills for a brainstorming lunch and discussion.  The Wonderful Company takes wellness seriously, just like BC and the lunch they provided was fresh and delicious.


Beautiful lunch of salads, cauliflower rice, and salmon

Thank you to Trustee Romeo Agbalog and Lynda Resnick for joining the leadership from BC, and leadership from Wonderful Education and The Wonderful Company.




I look forward to more discussion and planning to bring college closer to home for the residents of Lost Hills.


You should check out David Brook’s piece in the NYTimes in 2016 on lost Hills and Lynda Resnick

Julian West Community Voices

BC Mentoring ArticleI recently shared that Julian West presented at BC’s Spring Opening Day where he addressed the audience about how he’s able to keep 600 students in our African-American affinity group engaged and striving for their highest level of excellence, using a combination of data analysis and “real talk” face-to-face mentorship to ensure that none of our African American students are falling through the cracks. See Julians full remarks here.

It brought a smile to my face on Friday morning when I saw Julians piece published in the paper. This inspiring and informative piece is an incredible piece of writing that shares a glimpse of the work taking place at BC. Julian writes, “To be effective in accomplishing equitable transformation, we address issues beyond what we see in the classroom. Scholastic results, or lack thereof, are rooted in issues students face outside the classroom. At BC, we address these issues in our African American Mentoring Program (AAMP) meetings during a component we call “Real Talk.” Real Talk is the facilitation of honest conversations, “Truth-telling conversations.” Sometimes that involves unpacking very complex issues such as masculinity. What does it really mean to be a man? What does it really mean to be a black man?”  See the whole article here.

And in case you missed Julians presentation on Opening Day:

Student Challenge

Speaking of student success… Jamie Garza, a sophomore in our Radiologic Technology program, won second place in the Student Challenge at a Radiologic Technology Educators’ Conference in Las Vegas. He was the only California community college student to place in the top three awards for the challenge, held at the 43rd annual Conference of the Association of Collegiate Educators in Radiologic Technology (ACERT). Over 500 students were in attendance for the conference, which holds a sample mock registry exam called the Student Challenge to prepare students for the licensure certification exam in radiologic technology.

Radiologic Technology Students that participated in the challenge

Jamie Garza (holding certificate), myself (directly behind her to the right and the other 8 Radiologic Technology Students that participated in the challenge

Garza was one of the nine BC students who attended the conference with four other faculty members from BC, and she was awarded a certificate of recognition and a monetary award for her efforts. Jamie is scheduled to graduate this May with her Associate of Science degree, and plans on taking the licensure exam and seeking employment in Radiologic Technology immediately after Commencement, according to our Radiologic Technology Director Nancy Perkins.

Lydia Ranger, Monty Byrom, BC Chamber Singers …Buy your ticket now

As I mentioned each week the last two weeks, I am personally involved in helping sell tickets to the benefit concert on March 10th at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets are $100 each to help our students go to Australia.  Email me now or call the BC Foundation for your tickets.  We have to sell 231 more tickets.

Chamber Singers-Poster-3_preview

Financial Aid Awareness Month Kicks Off

Did you know February is Financial Aid Awareness month? The Office of Financial Aid held a special kick-off event in the Renegade Crossroads on Monday with financial aid technicians teaching our students how to get a head start on their FAFSA paperwork for next semester. This year’s kick-off event had a NASCAR theme, with technicians passing out pizza and distributing information behind a checkerboard flag. There were also booths with specialized information for veterans and DREAMers to apply, and the BC drumline performed to kick off the morning’s festivities.

While the deadline for students to apply for a Federal Student Aid identification number (FSA ID) and complete the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) is June 30th for the 2018-19 academic year, according to Financial Aid Assistant Adriana Vega, it’s important for students to get their information processed as soon as possible so that our pit crew at the Financial Aid office can deal with any complications that may arise. We want all of our students to be able to sprint ahead with their application as soon as the green flag of the Fall 2018 semester is waved. We are encouraging students to apply for aid before March 2nd, the priority filing deadline and the deadline for Cal Grant consideration for the 2018-19 academic year.

The Office of Financial Aid is working on streamlining the processing of awards for next year and digitizing financial aid forms for easier access to students while reducing the carbon footprint and storage space necessary for paper applications, Vega said.

Thank you to Kevin Ott, Vanesa De La Madrid, Gina Hunter, Heather Skibinski, Mark Llanes, Adriana Vega, Lucy Perez-Dykes, Evette Lara, Victoria Koiyan, Walter Rivas, Rebecca Bumpous, Connie Garza-Singh, Valerie Mackey, Pedro Ramirez, and the various departments who contributed to the resource fair:
From EOP&S: Bobby Baylon, Bradley Parrot and Jessica Cortez.
From DSPS: Rudy Gutierrez, Denise Crawford, and Diane Allen.

Student Employment: Vicki Coffee and Beth Harrison.

African American Community Leadership Breakfast

The campus activities for Black History Month also continue and on Wednesday morning, African American leaders in our community gathered in the Fireside Room. The morning was an opportunity to connect, discuss student success and initiatives that are making a difference.

AA Leadership Breakfast.jpg



It was great to hear from Tommy Tunson as he shared a story of visiting Palm Springs and meeting Rosa Parks. Chelsea Esquibias, Danny Morrison, Julian West, and Rayven Acosta-Webb also presented about the Inmate Scholars Program and all the incredible transformation brought about because of the opportunity to obtain an education.


June Charles and Michael Bowers


And thank you Michael Bowers for your continued support of Bakersfield College.  You introduced me to some stellar members of our community during the campaign for Measure J.


Michelle Hart at our Delano Campus shared with me this photo and said,

We had 26 students attend! They laughed, were engaged throughout, and were super appreciative of being given the opportunity to “attend” the event! In fact, afterward, Anhelica Perez, SGA Delano Campus Programmer, Elisabeth Sundby, Delano Campus Librarian, and I were able to have brief conversations with them about the issues discussed and about offering more events like these in the future.


Welcoming Mr. Finzel in Delano

U.S. Congressman David Valadao’s field representative, Perry Finzel, reached out to Gustavo Enriquez hoping to learn more about the Delano campus. On Wednesday, February 7th, Delano staff had the pleasure of providing a tour and updating Perry Finzel on all of our rural initiatives. He was truly impressed with all of the work happening in the rural areas.

U.S. Congressman David Valadao is the Representative for California’s 21st District which includes Kings County, western Fresno County, southwestern Tulare county, and northwestern Kern county, including Delano. The Congressman is a proponent of education and supporter of Career Technical Education legislation. Thank you Gustavo for welcoming the Congressman’s field representative.


Perry Finzel and Gustavo Enriquez

Agriculture Career Exploration Day

The BC cafeteria was brimming with Future Farmers of America Friday morning for the Agriculture Career Exploration Day. Around 200 excited students from local high schools with an interest in a future in agriculture attended this first Career Day focused on Agriculture at Bakersfield College.


Jeff Rasmussen and Corny Rodriguez

Jeff Rasmussen and Corny Rodriguez

This event was made possible by the Kern County Farm Bureau, Kern High School District and the many industry partners including JG Boswell, Sunview Vineyards, Syngenta, Grimmway Farms, Cargill-Nutrena and Wonderful Farms. It was Jeff Rasmussen, past president of the Kern County Farm Bureau, BC alumnus and great friend and supporter of agriculture education, who first approached me about having this event. I’m happy to say that we were able to come together and have this first of many career days for Ag.


Ag faculty Feb 9 2018 Photo by Mary Jo Pasek

Thank you Jeff for coming to me with this wonderful idea. I want to give a special thank you to BC faculty Heather Baltis for taking the lead in putting this event together.  Thank you to all of the Ag department that were involved with this event: Corny Rodriguez, Matt Riley, Lindsay Ono, Dr. Greg Cluff, Department Chair, Dr. Jim Selgrath, Catherine Jones, Leann Riley, Bill Kelly, Billy Barnes, Dr. James McEnroe, Chris McCraw, and Sally Sterns. Thank you Eric Sabella and food services staff for providing the delicious food and Mary Jo Pasek for arranging and coordinating the event locations. And last, but not least, thank you Ralph Mendes, Kern High School District Ag Coordinator, for all of your work in making the event happen from the high school side.

Rudy Salas

Assemblymember Rudy Salas speaking at BC

We were delighted to have special guest Assemblymember Rudy Salas, District 32, join us and encourage the students to let him know if BC didn’t show “how Ag is cool.” Assemblymember Salas led the charge in saving agriculture education and was instrumental in bringing back programs in schools when the government removed FFA. The state is now investing millions in Ag education.

Jeff Rasmussen told an engaging parable about a water bearer trying to cheer up his cracked pot by showing the pot the wonderful flowers that grew along the pathway he walked every day to bring water back to his masters house. He told the students that we all have cracks, that we may not see the benefits of our cracks, and we may need a water bearer to show us the benefits. For him, Bill Kelley was a water bearer. Bill encouraged him when he was having problems with math and English and convinced him that he could transfer to Cal-Poly, where he earned a degree in Ornamental Horticulture. Bill helped him see his pathway.



Mike Riel, Grimmway Farms

Did you know that careers in Ag are growing? Because of feedback from the Ag industry and the high schools, we realized that the demand for education that leads to jobs in these industries is important. This resulted in BC’s Ag department doubling over the last few years.

This Agriculture Career Exploration Day is so impactful on our future students. It gives them the opportunity to meet the water bearers of Ag Mechanics, Plant Science, Agribusiness, Forestry and Animal Science to help them down the Ag pathway. After all, we are an agricultural community and education is the key to sustaining the future of agriculture and a strong economy in our community.

Manny at the Ag Expo

Manny DeLosSantos hanging out

Industrial Automation

Clovis Community College has launched a new short-term course in Mechatronics to prepare its students for a career in industrial automation, according to a report by

Clovis professor Matthew Graff has been working closely with the Central Valley’s Strong Workforce Consortium on Industrial Automation, of which BC is a part, to develop the course, which teaches students about manufacturing and agricultural automation technologies.

For the last few years, BC has been leading the way on industrial automation programs at community colleges, with our first baccalaureate class in Industrial Automation getting the chance to walk across the stage and graduate this May, and it’s exciting to see other community colleges in our area developing curricula that will meet the growing demand for industrial automation professionals in San Joaquin.


KC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Gala

KCHCC Group PhotoIt was a wonderful evening of familiar community faces and much deserved recognition as the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a longtime Bakersfield College supporter, recently honored 7 local leaders and businesses that are making a difference in our town. California State University Bakersfield President Dr. Horace Mitchell who retires in June was among the honorees. He received the businessman of the year award, and in giving his speech, he credited educational success to various institutions — corporations, schools, and business chambers — working together as partners in community excellence.  “It’s all about all of us working together in improving our community,” he shared with the audience. Thank you, Horace, for highlighting the power of education and its lasting, positive impact on our community.


Other honorees from the evening were: Pam Alvarez of Beautiful You Medical Aesthetics as business woman of the year; Beverly Camp of Catholic Diocese of Fresno Charities as community service of the year; Trans-West Security, Inc., as corporation of the year; Luis Aguilar who recently retired from his longtime business, El Pueblo restaurant in Lamont, as large business of the year; Godinez Law as small business of the year; and Patriots of Kern, led by Dick Taylor, as nonprofit of the year. Even more special for Bakersfield College was that three of our very own were installed as officers to this year’s Hispanic chamber board and its foundation.

History Professor Olivia Garcia was appointed to the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce executive board of directors. Dean of Instruction Cornelio “Corny” Rodriguez and Lisa Kent, Equity Program Manager, were both named to serve on the Hispanic Chamber’s Business Education Foundation. Kudos also goes to Chevron’s Adam Alvidrez who was honored as the returning chair of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce board. Thank you, Adam, Chevron, Jay Tamsi and the Hispanic chamber for your continued support of BC and the Energy Academy.


Jesse Oropeza, Olivia Garcia, Endee Grijalva, Octavio Barajas, Heather Pennella, and Lisa Kent

The event was indeed a sellout, and familiar faces were many, including Mayor Karen Goh, Assembly members Vince Fong and Rudy Salas, Senator Andy Vidak, Chair of the Board Supervisor Mike Maggard, Bakersfield Council members Andrae Gonzales and Chris Parlier, and Delano City Councilwoman Liz Morris, along with newcomers, such as Clinica Sierra Vista’s Brian Harris and his wife, Gisela, among many others. Brian began as the new CEO of Clinica on Jan. 29, replacing its founder and longtime CEO, the much-respected Stephen Schilling.

Second Annual Pathway to Success Conference.

The second annual Pathway to Success Conference took place yesterday for students with less than a “Good” Academic Standing. The conference was full of facts on how your Academic Standing can affect your financial aid, steps to take to get back to Good Standing, and tools to help you be successful here at BC.

Grace Commiso and Tanner Dyrness

Grace Commiso and Tanner Dyrness

Grace Commiso kicked off the event with an enlightening  presentation that was well received. She said, “Get Connected! The more you communicate with your professor, classmates, and advisers, the more successful you will be in class.”

She also relayed to us, that we all need to find our Why?! Finding out the ‘why you are here’ will help inspire you to get good grades and stay involved. She shared with students that it took her a few years to find her why, but when she did, she was able to thrive in academia and was able to become who she is today.

Tanner Dyrness, Mary Jo Pasek, Michael McClenic

Tanner Dyrness, Mary Jo Pasek, Michael McClenic, and Fabiola Johnson

Presenting for Assemblyman Vince Fong was field Representative Tanner Dyrness. He also shared with us that he too, had trouble finding his “why,” but when he finally figured it out, he knew his destiny was being in politics. Mr. Dyrness also presented a Certificate of Recognition to Bakersfield Collage on behalf of the State of California.


I would to give a special thank you to Fabiola Johnson for her amazing presentation and all her hard work. Thank you to Dr. Michael McClenic and Grace Commiso for hosting the Second annual Pathway to Success Conference.

Clarifying Paths from BC to CSUB

This week, approximately 70 CSUB and BC faculty and leaders gathered in BC’s Huddle to create 4-year default pathways for each degree. During the morning, the group compared coursework and aligned the classes. Our goal is to have a validated 4-year pathway for each of our ADTs in the next college catalog and a big event to come at CSUB announcing the created pathways.

We know that by working together, we can increase completion rates for all of our students and get them guarantees for transferring their course work. Thank you to Shawn Whalen from College Futures Foundation for announcing a grant to continue our work on transfer alignment. And thank you to the admin team from CSUB including Jacqueline Mimms and Vernon Harper.

4 Renegade Football Players Sign to Play at the Next Level

Wednesday was National Signing Day and four Bakerfield College football players signed to play at the next level.  Tyrrel Eddington, Jeffrey Jones and Ernest Harris signed to play at the Division I level while Cristion Brown signed to play at the Division II level.  

Tyrrell Eddington will be playing at Eastern Michigan University (Mid-American Conference), Jeffrey Jones will be playing at The University New Mexico (Mountain West Conference), Ernest Harris will be playing at Sam Houton State (Southland Conference) and Cristion Brown will be playing at Fort Lewis College (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference).

Renegade Basketball

The BC women’s basketball team (10-13, 4-2) used a balanced attack to defeat Santa Monica last night.  Four Renegades scored in double-figures, led by Jasmyn Rodriguez with 20 points.  Brianna Mendez added 14 points and 8 rebounds, while Bianca Zamora chipped in 12 points.  Angie Kroeger recorded here 5th double-double of the season.

The Renegades will be on the road Saturday when they travel to West LA for a 1:00 PM tip-off.

The Bakersfield College men’s basketball team (13-11, 4-2) defeated Santa Monica 81-53 on Wednesday night.  Jaylunn English led the Renegades with 29 points.  Henry Galinato added 17 pooint and Johnathan Murray scored 15 points and had 10 assists.  

BC at Garden Pathways

Garden Pathways Billie Jo Rice, Karen Goh, Liz Rozell, Grace Commisso, Endee Grijalva

Billie Jo Rice, Mayor Karen Goh, Liz Rozell, Grace Commiso, Endee Grijalva

Heart of the Country_Social_TextThe Garden Pathways “Heart of the Country” event held Thursday and we saw people from every part of the community in support of the amazing organization and the people it serves.

Bakersfield College was proud “Arbuckle Sponsors” with Liz Rozell, Bill Jo Rice, Grace Commiso and Endee Grijalva in attendance representing BC.

Highlights included Invocation by the honorable Mayor and Garden Pathways President Karen Goh, Program Graduate Awards/ Recognition, live entertainment and of course, KGET-TV 17’s Maddie Janssen as the MC for the evening.

Heart of the (1)


On Thursday, Lesley Bonds and I headed out to LA for the Accreditation Evaluation Team Training.  There were six teams heading out in March to six different colleges that are up for their accreditation comprehensive site visit.  And guess what….. all six teams had a BC person on it.  How cool is that.  BC is everywhere in our community, in our state, in our region.  In the photo below – Bill Moseley, Jessica Wojtysiak, Janet Fulks, Lesley Bonds and me.  We did not see Don Chrusciel at that time and therefore we were not able to get him into the photo.

BC at ACCJC Team Training

And thank you Mary Jo Pasek for all that you do to support and bring these great events to Bakersfield College.

Mary Jo and Tom Pasek Aug 2 2016




Feb 10 2018 Neo Live Laugh Love

Sonya Christian Feb 7 2018


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever