Transforming Environments, Transforming Lives

Let’s all be Hiromasa today, tomorrow and the next day — open hearted and going to the right path.  Did that get your attention? Read to the very end for the context!

Good Morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, Sep 10th …..another great day to be a Renegade! … topping off a great week to be a Renegade.

  • It was a great week because I woke up to Nick Strobel‘s smiling face in the Californian today discussing the recently discovered exoplanet at our closest star neighbor.
  • It was a great week because Chairman Bill Thomas, Congressman Bill became Trustee Bill Thomas.  Yes, dear friends, on Thursday Bill Thomas was appointed to the Board to finish out Rick Wright’s term.
  • It was a great week because we had the community come out to the College to watch Mayor Harvey Hall cut the red ribbon to the new Aera STEM Student Success Center.
  • It was a good week because of these two community voices pieces in the Californian

Community Voices piece by Cheryl Scott, VP of Kern EDC

http://www.bakersfield.com/news/opinion/2016/09/07/yes-vote-on-measure-j-a-vote-for-economy.html

Community Voices piece by retired faculty Randy Beeman.

http://www.bakersfield.com/News/Opinion/2016/09/07/Measure-J-can-solve-BC-s-infrastructure-woes.html

  • It was the week of opening the doors to the Measure J Campaign Head Quarters on 1675 Chester Avenue.  Thank you Greg Bynum for donating this space to us.
  • It was a week of laughter and tears, exhaustion and exuberance….in other words, life, full, vibrant with all the colors of the palette visible.
  • For me it was also a week of continuing to read poetry from my high school book.  Thanks to a friend who brought poetry back to my life.  Here is an excerpt from my blog two weeks ago. You can find the blog at:https://bcpresidentblog.com/2016/08/27/the-end-of-the-first-week-fall-2016/

Out of the blue, one of my friends this week quoted Rudyard Kipling. “But to stand an’ be still to the Birken’ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew” …a line from Soldier an’ Sailor too.  That got me digging out my poetry book, Panorama, from high school and spending nostalgic evenings reading some of my favorite poems.  I thought about the late and absolutely genius Robin Williams as his role in The Dead Poets Society saying “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry… beauty, romance, love, these… are what we stay alive for.”

This particular blog had the most number of comments as indicated by the data analytics.

Here is Michael O’Doherty’s comment: “Both are great Kipling works but I still like Gunga Din the best.”

Here is Peter Reyes’ comment from Texas: “Hey B C. Greetings from Dallas Texas where I am visiting my daughter and family anticipating – actually counting the hours until the big game: USC vs Alabama …and thinking about the upcoming B C football season. I won’t stay away and will be at no less than 5 Renegade games. B C and the community is awesome..Go Gades Go! PeterRenegade!!”

Here is the most recent of my poetry readings

The Soldier’s Dream
by Thomas Campbell

Our bugles sung truce – for the night-cloud had lowered.
And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky;
And thousands had sunk on the ground, overpowered,
The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die.

When reposing that night on my pallet of straw,
By the wolf-scaring faggot that guarded the slain,
At the dead of the night a sweet vision I saw;
And thrice ere the cock-crow I dreamt it again.

Methought from the battlefield’s dreadful array,
Far, far I had roam’d on a desolate track;
‘Twas autumn – and sunshine arose on the way
To the home of my fathers, that welcomed me back.

I flew to the pleasant fields, traversed so oft
In life’s morning march, when my bosom was young;
I heard my own mountain-goats bleating aloft,
And knew the sweet strain the cornreapers sung.

Then pledged we the wine-cup, and fondly I swore.
From my home and my weeping friends never to part;
My little ones kiss’d me a thousand times o’er,
And my wife sobbed aloud in her fullness of heart.

“Stay – stay with us! – rest! – thou art weary and worn;”
(And fain was their war-broken soldier to stay;)
But sorrow returned with the dawning of morn,
And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.

Saturday, September 3rd:

Many of us headed out to Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria to watch the first Renegade Football game of the season.  Although it was 64 degrees with a breeze, the Renegades were on fire.  Here is my end of the game tweet!

tweet-of-game-win

For more information on the game check out the gogades website at http://www.gogades.com/sports/fball/2016-17/releases/20160903xl2eoz

Sunday, September 4th:

The week started with Mother Teresa being canonized saint. Here is the song sung by Usha Uthup at her canonization.  Beautiful!

 

My cousin Daphne, posted a picture of  my Aunt Dorothy with Mother Teresa.  Aunt Doro was my dad’s oldest sister and we used to call her Mother Teresa for her kindness and gentleness.

aunt-doro-with-mother-theresaYou may know of Mother Teresa as simply a well-known Catholic nun who dedicated her life to humanitarian work, but last Sunday, September 4th, Pope Francis declared this amazing and beloved woman Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Here are two articles in case you missed the news, from KGET  and The New York Times.

Saint Teresa, known as one of our greatest humanitarians of all time largely dedicated her life to serving the people of India – but specifically, the poor, destitute, and dying people. At a young age, she learned piety and compassion from her mother, who always taught her to give to others by saying, “My child, never eat a single mouthful unless you are sharing it with others.”

But, regardless of your creed or beliefs … Saint Mother Teresa’s message was and still is universal today. She demonstrated a life worth living; one of finding deep purpose by serving those in need. She taught the world to embrace the suffering, rather than shun them. Hardships are worldwide and pain is experienced by all people. She taught that we should not compare our pains… but, instead bond and support each other because we can understand each other’s hurt. She taught us that suffering is often intensified by solitude and reaching out in kindness can have a tremendously positive effect. People have abandoned suicides, changed faiths, pursued life goals, and have done incredible things because of small acts of kindness.

Saint Mother Teresa is an inspiration of generosity, persistence, resilience, compassion, and love – love with no boundaries.

Today, Saturday, September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. This week our Bakersfield College Student Health and Wellness has partnered with Kern County Mental Health to continue conversation about the increasing national trend on suicide and offer depression screenings for students. There are so many ways to get involved from practicing self-care, to reaching out and checking on others, caring for friends in need, and getting involved with organizations that help.

Today is an opportunity to open up the conversation about a topic that often is neglected, ignored, and stigmatized in our world. To Write Love on Her Arms is a nonprofit that hopes to share the message that hope and help are real. A blog entry on their website from a few years ago reads, “The more we walk through our struggles in silence, the more we deprive others of the benefit of knowing they are not alone. Knowing the truth about the issues is vital, but we can get it from a textbook or Google in just a moment. Unless it is connected with real people, it lacks the power needed to combat stigma. We have to move beyond an awareness of the issues and become truly aware of each other. Real relationships are the true antidote to the separation that stigma breeds between “healthy” and “sick.” Relationships require us to see the real person who is suffering, struggling, recovering, and healing. They are the place in which we find hope and encouragement to keep fighting, and the place where lies are defeated with truth and compassion. This is the path toward hope and healing—for ourselves and each other—and ultimately, toward a society where stigma, shame, and suicide are struggles of the past.” 

Today, it is my hope that we take some time to learn about the warning signs, talk to friends we may be worried about, take the time to love ourselves, and if needed work towards or accomplish the victory of reaching out for help. Let us not stop at being aware of the issue and really, reach out to support one another.

Tuesday, September 6th:  BC AERA STEM Success Center!

Tuesday morning kicked-off the celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony for BC’s new AERA STEM Success Center. As I begin writing about the event, I can’t help but think back to our press event when we stood inside this empty shell of a building, excited for the future possibilities this transformable learning space could offer.

bc-stem-center-048

The celebration included a program of speakers and dignitaries, including Mayor Harvey Hall, trustees Kyle Carter and Romeo Agbalog, and AERA President and CEO, Christina Sistrunk. Thank you AERA for this worthy gift to our college, community, and students. Christina Sistrunk is am amazing leader during very difficult times.  Her calmness, fearlessness, and compassion sets her apart.

Check out KERO’s news clip on the ribbon cutting http://tinyurl.com/go4rmsz

The AERA Success Center by its very name tells a story for the students. It says that we have an industry partner dedicated to education, building a community, and one that is willing to commit its name to support this effort. And as a success center, it tells the students that this is the place to find faculty, peer mentors, advising, resources, and the inspiration they need to succeed. Our goal for this facility and our dream for the whole campus is to give students a home away from home, where learning is the focus and distractions can be set aside.

aeraribboncutting001

The space where the Success Center stands today was basically a supply closet for Maintenance and Operations for decades, but it was located in a prime spot—flanked by the Math, Science, Engineering and Industrial Technology buildings, right smack in the middle of the STEM neighborhood. With AERA’s gift and the hard work of our faculty, the Success Center will help reverse Southern Kern County’s double-digit unemployment rates and low attainment rates for higher education by empowering a new generation of non-traditional students to pursue degrees in STEM.

aeraribboncutting026

Klint Rogby, Lynn Carithers, Christina Sistrunk, Liz Rozell

As a token of appreciation to AERA, Klint Rigby professor of Industrial Drawing and one of our upper division Industrial Automation faculty for the Baccalaureate degree, designed and built a plaque using a laser cutter and expert woodworking skills. Attendees at the event had the opportunity to sign the letters as a reminder of this momentous day!

 

At BC, there was a team that came together to work on this project including Dean Liz Rozell, MESA director Connie Gonzales, our STEM faculty and staff, Dean for Math and Science Steve Waller, the facilities department, and our district office. Thank you all for your work and dedication to this project!

I’d also like to thank our STEM students for their interest in this project. Our students are the inspiration for everything we accomplish at Bakersfield College.  Jose Chavez, one of our STEM students and a member of the MESA program supporting diversity in math and engineering, spoke candidly about how the STEM programs at BC were an important part of his educational development. A copy of his speech is available online here. https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/download/17554

tweet-aera-center-opening-sep-7-2016We had a great turnout from the community.  Here are some names I remember after my first cup of coffee this Saturday morning: Richard Chapman, Bob Meadows, Vince Fong, Kristen Barnes, ….. Thank you community for coming out.  Thank you faculty, staff and students for coming out.

I’d also like to thank all the media who came out to support BC and share the exciting new things happening on campus. Check out the article from KGET on the AERA STEM Success Center here. Check out Harold Pierce‘s piece on the event at http://tinyurl.com/hjfgowg.  And here is my tweet on his article 🙂

aeraribboncutting039

The work on this project started in March of 2013 under the leadership of Susan Hersberger and CEO Guardie Banister.  Thanks Susan and Guardie for your partnership with BC! Here is a tweet from Guardie after the ribbon cutting.

 

With the opening of the AERA STEM Success Center at Bakersfield College, we’ll be able to change the lives of more people like Jose, and this facility will be a birthplace of transformation for our entire community. Next time you come to BC or drive by on Mt. Vernon and glance over to BC, the sign that says AERA STEM Success Center will be a reminder that this industry giant believes in the transformational power of education and is willing to generously invest in our community and to the education of future generations.

Getting Connected to Service Learning Community Panel

Our Public Health Science students were also in for a treat this week when community leaders from all around town came to speak and discuss topics in the classroom. Coordinated as part of Professor Sarah Baron’s Public Health Science course PBHS21, the goal was to open the minds of students to the world of public health issues.

publichealthpanel

Thank you to Annalisa Robles, California Endowment; Mariel Mehdipour, Kern County Public Health Services; Adrienne Buckle, Kern County Mental Health; Shelley Northrop, American Lung Association; Maria Jaime, Kern Family Health Care; and Chris Romo, youth journalist with South Kern Sol.

The course focuses on community wellness and behavioral change, so Professor Baron invited leaders so they could share their role in the community as well as orient the students to providing service projects at these agencies. Topics discussed were methamphetamine use in our community, promoting tobacco free environments, changing people’s health behavior, Building healthy communities and the effects of health inequities – “a zip code shouldn’t determine how long a person lives but it does.  In fact, health has more to do with the place you live than doctor’s visits.  The odds are stacked against low-income communities and communities of color.”

After the event, Professor Sarah Baron received an email from a student saying, “I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed listening to the speakers today. This was a very interesting and informative day for all of us.”

publichealth2

Bill Thomas

btThe big news that hit on Wednesday was that Bill Thomas was being recommended to be the next KCCD trustee. An article detailed this news in the Bakersfield Californian. You can check it out here.

Bill Thomas has roots with Bakersfield College from his time as a BC professor, and understands from experience the benefit of attending community college. After high school, Bill attended Santa Ana Community College before transferring to San Francisco State University, where he earned his bachelors and master’s degrees in political science in 1963 and 1965 respectively. Mr. Thomas has spoken about his appreciation for community colleges and notes that it’s where he got his foundation for higher education. He said, “Too many successful people hide the fact that they started in a junior college and only mention the university they transferred to. I have always been proud of the role community colleges have played in helping thousands of people, like me, who would not have been able to go to college at all without a tuition-free local college. Of course, there are tuitions charged now, but they are a fraction of the costs of four-year schools.”

billt1

Do you recognize this little boy to the left?

I love this picture.

 

 

It was in 1965 that Bill moved to Bakersfield where he joined the BC Renegade family as a political science professor. In 1974, Bill was elected as California State Assemblyman and in 1978 was elected to Congress representing the 18th Congressional District. Even though he was in Washington, Bill always kept in touch with Bakersfield College and BC and the needs of the college remained on his mind.

bt_planetariumMr. Thomas secured $1 million for the remodeling of the planetarium thru bill HR3061. Here is a picture of Bill at the Planetarium unveiling in November 2006 when it was named in his honor along with his two grandsons.  I was here at BC at the time as a Dean of the STEM area when Nick Strobel and I and many others worked on the proposal for this major Planetarium upgrade. However, I was in Oregon at the completion of the work in 2006.  Also, Nov 2006 was three months after my dad Paul Christian passed away.  It is definitely a time in my life that I have vivid memories.

Bill has done great work not only for our country as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, but for our campus and the city of Bakersfield as well. We continue to see and look forward to the improvements brought on by the Thomas Roads Improvement Project and have the terminal at Meadows Field airport that shares his name. Bill, just simply …thank you!

babyThere’s a new baby Renegade in Bakersfield

It’s my joy to announce that we have a new baby Renegade as part of the BC family. Foreign Language faculty, Tom Moran forwarded an email to me earlier this week from Foreign Language adjunct, Yuki Takeuchi announcing the birth of her baby boy.

The email read, “Thank you all for being very supportive for my pregnancy. I would like to announce that my baby boy, Hiromasa Henry Chan, came to this world in the morning of September 4, just one day before due date. Hiromasa means “open hearted and going to the right path” and Henry came from my husband’s childhood English name.  He is big!! 7 lb 11 oz, 19.5 inches.”

I know that all of BC is overjoyed that both baby Hiromasa Henry Chan and Mom are healthy and doing well. I just love his name and the meaning behind it. Rest well and enjoy your time together. We can’t wait to see you both on campus!

Dual Enrollment Changing Lives

cchs-asbCatching up on my inbox this week brought a few more pictures from last week’s Renegade Signing events. Make sure you read last weeks blog to catch all the great info about these events.

Besides the pics, Gusatavo Enriquez recounted his favorite highlight of the events. He says, “The highlight of my night… When we told the students ‘you are a college student and welcome to the BC family’ a parent turned around and hugged her daughter with teary but very proud eyes.”  We are BC! And our students are the inspiration for all we do.

check-in

IBM Watson at the US Open

I have been watching the promotion of IBM Watson at the US Tennis Open that will be culminating tomorrow. An article titled, “Watson Makes its Debut in the U.S. Open Mobile App, Making Tennis Fans Smarter Than Ever” really peaked my interest. Artificial intelligence is evolving exponentially every day—self-driving cars are only a few years away from becoming a consumer reality, digital personal assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana get smarter with each information request, and Google designed an AI that was able to beat a Korean grandmaster at the ancient, extremely complex board game Go.

But for the first time this year, attendees at the US Open tennis tournament in Queens, New York are able to utilize the power of a supercomputer for unprecedented access to information. The US Open’s companion mobile app Guest Services is integrated with IBM Watson, a question-answering system capable of interpreting natural, conversational language. Originally designed to beat game show contestants at Jeopardy!, Watson is serving as a digital concierge for the US Open, providing audience members at Flushing Meadows with information about transportation, on-site facilities, nearby food-and-drink options and more, as well as updated, moment-to-moment statistics and advanced analytics data about every match on the court.

As artificial super-intelligences like IBM Watson become a reality and part of everyday life, human civilization will change in ways we can’t possibly conceive. On the threshold of the technological singularity, I suspect there will always be the desire to watch a few sets Grand Slam tennis.  Now, how will Watson impact education of the future!

In conclusion let’s all be Hiromasa today, tomorrow and the next day — open hearted and going to the right path”

sonya-thumbs-up-2015

 

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya 

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9 thoughts on “Transforming Environments, Transforming Lives

  1. Nick Strobel September 10, 2016 at 11:18 am Reply

    Another excellent blog entry! I wonder where you find time to put it all together along with all the activities you’re doing as BC President. I especially liked the Soldier’s Dream poem and the commentary on Saint Teresa. Both of them put things into proper perspective of what’s truly important as we scramble around in the craziness of 2016 business.

    • bcpresident September 10, 2016 at 2:43 pm Reply

      I agree. Also loved your piece in the paper today. So proud of all your writings.

  2. Tom Moran September 10, 2016 at 12:15 pm Reply

    I am “Hiromasa”! Thank you, Sonya, for another wonderful slice of our exciting life at BC.

    • bcpresident September 10, 2016 at 2:43 pm Reply

      Thank you Tom! We Are BC!

  3. Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg September 10, 2016 at 12:41 pm Reply

    All students deserve classrooms and technology that are equal to the quality instructional programs BC provides. Let’s make sure that In 2034, when Hiromasa steps onto the BC campus as a freshman, he will able to benefit from the commitment we are making today to pass Measure J. Yes On J!

  4. Michael O'Doherty September 10, 2016 at 1:55 pm Reply

    It’s amazing all the things going on at BC and thank you for the poem, it captured a lot of feelings in just a few words.
    I’m pretty sure anyone who’s found themselves in a really stressful situation has experienced that dream. Wanting to quit and go home, but all the while knowing that quitting, just is not an option.

  5. Mary Jo Anhalt September 10, 2016 at 8:54 pm Reply

    Thank you, Sonya! You’re doing a great job leading BC on to its great potential.

  6. Sarah Baron September 11, 2016 at 3:00 pm Reply

    How fun is it to see a picture of the first set of BC Public Health Sciences (PBHS) students in this week’s blog with our community partners! Very appreciative to the community partners who are working on projects alongside BC students to address public health challenges.

    A reoccurring them in the PBHS community panel, is how a person’s surrounding environment influences their overall well-being. Makes me reflect on how Measure J is so important not only in improving the infrastructure on the BC campus, but how it plays a role in the future well-being of Bakersfield and it’s surrounding communities too.

  7. […] Check out my Sep 10, 2016 blog about the Aera Stem Success Center https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/09/10/transforming-environments-transforming-lives/ […]

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