A busy Homecoming Week at BC!

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“I don’t think there’s any jobs like back then.” – Bob Thompson

Two years ago, in 2014, The Washington Post published a story following Bob Thompson, a man from Southern California who had never gone to college, but as a young man in his hometown of Downy in the 1960’s it was easy to find a decent job. Since it was the proud hub of aerospace manufacturing, he quickly secured a job at a local plant with no higher education.

At the end of the video clip, he said, “Today’s world – I don’t think there’s any jobs like back then. Today’s world – you have to be educated… college educated, or trades, something like that. But to just go out and get a job, a nice paying job, I think those days are over with.You can check out the short video clip here on Washingtonpost.com.

His words have stuck with me over the past week… Especially as I’ve witnessed the amazing dedication from individuals who persistently support BC and Measure J. It is BC’s goal to provide necessary job skills for the people of this community for the next 50 years.


Michael Turnipseed supporting Measure J

Georgetown University, in its Job Growth and Educational Requirements Through 2020, has predicted that, “By 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the economy will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school” and “The United States will fall short by 5 million workers with postsecondary education- at the current production rate- by 2020.” https://cew.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Recovery2020.ES_.Web_.pdf

Bakersfield College – and community colleges nationwide – are the pipeline to prepare the workforce for both middle-skill jobs and transfering to higher levels of educational obtainment and the highly-skilled workforce. A lot has changed since the 1960s, and the demands for more education will increase, right along the increasing number of students. The success of our community, the success of our local economy, and the health of our people depend on locally and technically trained prepared students to meet this upcoming demand.  #MeasureJ


David Torres supporting Measure J

This was made clear at the Kern Workforce Summit on October 19th organized by Supervisor Leticia Perez, Teresa Hitchcock and a team of business and industry partners.  Unfortunately, I did not take my own pictures at the event, so here is a collage from Karen Goh’s facebook page.  Thanks Karen!



Supervisor Leticia Perez supporting Measure J

David Womack, a retired USAF colonel, is the senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente in Kern County.


David Womack

Have you seen his piece in the Community Voices section of the Bakersfield Californian? He says,

Measure J has the potential to transform our region and create a tipping point for generations to come. Here is how your vote will make a difference.

He concludes with:

Desmond Tutu once said, “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they are falling in.” Measure J is our upstream opportunity. You can choose to invest in the health of our community and wellbeing of our veterans.

You can choose to vote Yes on Measure J.

Find out how by checking out his letter at http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/community-voices-how-measure-j-can-improve-kern-s-health/article_4516a34e-973f-527d-a569-256b8f93fa9b.html

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Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, October 22nd …. Homecoming at Bakersfield College and an amazing day to be a Renegade.  An amazing day following an amazing week of activities both on-campus and off-campus.

And why would the week not be great when we had Scott Cox in it 🙂

First Look with Scott Cox


Scott Cox, Marlene Heise, Bill Thomas, Sonya Christian

Retired Congressman and KCCD Trustee, Bill Thomas and I were guests on First Look with Scott Cox this past week to talk about Measure J.  It was really a lot of fun.  Also notice Hop, Mike Hopper, with the Measure J sign.  We was wonderful and so funny.  Thank you Marlene Heise for making this happen.

A recording of the live video is available on First Look’s Facebook page at


Measure J Update


The Kern County Farm Bureau Endorses Measure J.  See press release


Thank you President Jeff Rasmussen and Beatris Espericueta Sanders and each member of the Board for your support of Measure J.


Beatris Espericueta, Heather Baltis, Sonya Christian



Doug Starr of the Kern Ag Foundation supports Measure J

Over 1800 individuals have endorsed Measure J.  Check out the list at http://www.yesonj2016.com/endorsements.html

Here are some examples in alphabetical order:

Kevin Burton, President, SJCH Foundation
Kyle Carter, Bakersfield Mayoral Candidate/KCCD Trustee
David Couch, Kern County Supervisor
Jose Flores, Arvin Mayor
Karen Goh, Bakersfield Mayoral Candidate
Doug Greener, Bakersfield Fire Chief
Shannon Grove, California State Assembly Member
Harvey Hall, Bakersfield Mayor
Harold Hanson, Bakersfield Vice Mayor
Mike Maggard, Kern County Supervisor
Kay Meek, KCCD Trustee
Terry Maxwell, Bakersfield City Council Member
Chris Parlier, Bakersfield City Council Member
Leticia Perez, Kern County Supervisor
Leticia Prado, Lamont Water District Member
Willie Rivera, Bakersfield City Council Member
Rudy Salas, California State Assembly Member
Mary K. Shell
Bob Smith, Bakersfield City Council Member
Jay Tamsi, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President
Bill Thomas, Retired U.S. Congressman
Greg Williamson, Bakersfield Police Department Chief

Milt Younger

What’s happening at the Measure J Head Quarters?

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Volunteers are coming from all around to give their time and talent to ensure Measure J is a success!

Here are some smart, beautiful and talented women who support Measure J

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January Lau-CEO January & Company (Bakersfield)

Norma Rojas-Mora-President Latina Leaders of Kern County (Bakersfield)

Pauline Larwood-Retired Kern Community College Trustee/Kern County Supervisor (Bakersfield)

Connie Perez-CPA (Bakersfield)

Sue Benham-Retired Bakersfield City Council (Bakersfield)

Mariela Gomez-student ( Bakersfield)

Carolina Espinoza-student (Bakersfield)

Raji Brar-Owner Countryside Market & Restaurants (Bakersfield)

Tina Miller-Host “Open Up” talk show (Bakersfield)

And here is the fabulous Nicole Parra.  I love this picture.


Nicole Parra supporting Measure J

At the headquarters this week, I had a minute to chat with Malique McClanaan, a high school student volunteering with his mom who also wants to take dual enrollment classes at BC.


I also saw smiling faces like Manny De Los Santos and Venessa Reyes, who made phone calls to voters.


Manny De los Santos, Vanessa Reyes

I snagged a selfie with adjunct faculty, Kaureen Brady. And Kenneth Mireles, Carlos Baraban and Paul Beckworth also hit the phones and chatted with potential supporters.


Sonya Christian, Kaureen Brady


It was great to also see Ken Byrum, a local attorney, a member of our Board of Directors and a strong supporter of Bakersfield College phone banking out on behalf of Measure J.


Ken Byrum phone banking

Check out our Academic Senate Vice President volunteering her time phone banking.

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Andrea Thorson phone banking Oct 19, 2016

Here is Dena Rhoades, Kathy Howarth, and Kristin Rabe counting and preparing Measure J yard signs!


Dena Rhoades, Kathy Howarth, Kristin Rabe

Matt Stahl and I took a look at the voters map for walking precincts.


Sonya Christian, Matt Stahl

BC is a family and so it was refreshing to see Grace Comisso downtown at Measure J headquarters with her whole family, even the baby in tow! Marissa Marquez and her daughter Clarissa were on hand to help with whatever was needed!

The Delano crew also got together. The committee meeting for lunch and “walk” planning took place – Here is Raquel Lopez, Alma Feathers, Carolina Madrigal; Juan Torres; Gustavo Enriquez; Abel Guzman; and Helen Calip.


Shout out to Volunteers:

Tuesday, October 18th:

Terri Goldstein, Michelle Pena, Keri Kennedy, Adel Shafik, Amanda Rangel, Lesley Bonds, Ashlea Ward, Claudio Felix, Shanell Tyus, Manuel Muralles, Josie Guillen, Steven Watkin, Debi Anderson, Tom Gelder, Paul Beckworth, Jackie Lau, Yadira Guerrero, Chris Glaser, Steve Waller, Cynthia Munos, Jay Rosenlieb

Wednesday, October 19:

Jackie Lau, Carlos Banbaran, Pat Smith, Heather Barajas, Tracy Lovelace, Kristin Rabe, Loy Salarda, Lisa Kent, Kathy Howarth, Dena Rhoades, Somaly Boles, Chris Glaser, Steve waller, Keesha Collins

Thursday, October 20:

Lesley Bonds, Lisa Kent, Brenda Silva, Silvia Silva, Jason Page, Mark Osea, Keesha Collins, Terri Goldstein, Michelle Pena, Linda Cordobam, Josh Shackelford, Jackie Lau, Sergio Maldenado, Salvador Gomez-Pantoja, Shohreh Rahman, Matt Hinson, Sam Moreno, Steve Waller, Chris Glaser, January Lau, Tom Gelder, Janet Tarjan

Friday, October 21:

Stephen Waller, Keesha Collins, Kalina Hill, Jackie Brouillette, Shanell Tyus, Pedro C. Ramirez, Tom Saba, Janet Tarjan, Elina Garcia, Maria Duenas, Brenda Silvia, Sam Moran, Daulton Jones, Shanice Watson, Liz Rozell, Kate Pluta, Ruben Chavez, Mariah Earl, Iris Gonzalez, Loy Salarda, Nicky Damania, Teresa McAllister, Chase McAllister, Lucero Cisneros, Andrea Lopez, Lesley Bonds

And a little birdy told me that some people didn’t sign in – you know who you are!

Homecoming 2016!

School spirit is alive at 1801 Panorama Drive! The week was off to a magical start with our campus’s first “Quidditch Tournament!” Students drew a crowd as they participated in the magical sport created by J.K Rowling in her Harry Potter series. Teams were formed, competitions began, and no one walked away empty handed! You have to see the pictures to see a glimpse of how this whimsical sport was a fantastic start to Homecoming Week at BC!

On Tuesday, BCSGA set up bumper ball soccer for students! Large plastic balls were inflated for one person and that’s how the games began! Student booths for Student Life and BCSGA were on hand to get students involved and assist with the bumper games.

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Wednesday was all about fun and food with a special event Tacos & Tie-Dye out in the Renegade Crossroads. As you can imagine, tie-dye was incredibly messy and the tacos from the Taqueria el Roble del Leon Taco Truck are always a hit with the students.



Campus was fired up on Thursday in preparation for the big weekend. Students listened to music and enjoyed pancakes at the traditional Pep Rally and Pancake Feed! The BC Cheerleaders and BC Drumline raised the excitement and our campus spirit with stellar performances.


It’s an exciting time to be on campus, and this evening is the best chance to reconnect with your community college – Bakersfield College! Homecoming 2016 is going to be the best one yet and it all takes place tonight starting with the Big Red Dinner! You don’t want to miss the parade and big game vs. Cerritos College.

I hope to see you up at “the campus on the hill” tonight! For Homecoming 2016!!

Third Thursday

There were two events this past Thursday, October 20th — the third thursday prayer group luncheon for public sector leaders and the Downtown Business Association’s event in the evening.  Our mayor Harvey Hall was recognized at both events.

I enjoyed hearing the McKinley School Choir perform and found this youtube video of them receiving a check from Robin Mangarin on behalf of Dignity Health.

Another event that happened Thursday evening was the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government.  Thank you JP Lake for having me as your guest. I did not take photos but found this collage on Karen Goh’s Facebook.  Thank you Karen Goh!


Creative Experiences at BC

BC at Via Arté

It is through the music and art curriculum and experiences that BC students are prepared for a myriad of creative fields. From professional music to drawing, painting, ceramics, architecture, digital media and more, our students accomplish great things. Each year, the Bakersfield Museum of Art presents Via Arte at The Marketplace where artists recreate a traditional Italian street painting festival with original chalk art.

Check out these incredible pics from Art adjunct faculty, Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio and BC Art student, Emily Lloyd.


BC Chamber Singers

On Monday, our BC Chamber singers were featured on First Look with Scott Cox. If you missed this wonderful highlight of Dr. Jennifer Garrett and a portion of the BC Chamber Singers, make sure to check out this link for the recording!


Yesterday, on Friday evening, this group of talented students took the stage along with the entire BC Chamber Singers, BC College Choir, Lucy Adams on french horn, Naomi Rivera from Marvin Ramey’s Experience Dance, and one of our own BC students Linda Snoddy on bagpipes. The beautiful Indoor Theater was filled with talent and the evening’s theme was one to remember: Life and Death.

Here is the Director’s Note to us:


Dr. Jen Garrett emailed me… “I have done quite a few concerts in my life, but I don’t think any of them have meant as much to me as this one.  I thought of the idea just over a year ago on the day my Mom passed away and I had to do a rehearsal with College Choir immediately after I arrived home from traveling to see her one last time.  I knew then that I wanted to do something to honor her.”

I did not take photos but saw Cara Jackson at the vent.  When she gets her pictures to us, I will go ahead and add them to this blog.  So check back.

Here are two of my favorite songs from the evening and since I did not take a video of the BC Choir performing, I found the songs on youtube take a few moments to close your eyes and listen and see the amazing Jen Garrett with her choir, in her pale but bright blue dress with a delicate black vest.

We Rise Again:

Peace Like a River

All of the choir members have made dedications to people that have influenced their lives–both people still living and those that have passed on.” The BC Choral program is constantly working to bring light to our community through performance, art, and music. The next performance is December 2nd for “Winter Around the World” – you don’t want to miss it.  We love you Jen Garrett!

Lucian Ban & Mat Maneri:

Tomorrow, Sunday October 23rd at 6:00pm, the BC Jazz Program presents a unique evening with Transylvanian born, NYC-based pianist Lucian Ban and Grammy nominee Mat Maneri, who will share their musical discoveries. Admission is free, open to the public and also for our students. Performing Arts adjunct faculty, Susan Scaffidi shares more about these incredible artists in her article on Bakersfield.com.

I hope you’ll check it out.

Traveling to Mars at BC


BC’s planetarium director, Nick Strobel, presented a Mars Travel Guide on Thursday at BC’s very own William M. Thomas Planetarium on Thursday. This special show covered the hazards of the months-long flight to Mars, properties, the atmosphere and geology, weather, and the history of our explorations on the surface of Mars from Viking to Curiosity.

planetarium1Nick said, “To give it proper justice would probably require a whole semester’s worth of a class or at least a six-hour show but most people, I suspect, would find that a tad too long.”

Just a tad, he said!

What a fabulous gift for the community at BC – the gift of knowledge and education concerning one of our most interesting subjects – space!

Check out this link for more about the Bakersfield College Planetarium or click here to read one of Nick’s biweekly Bakersfield Night Sky articles.

Student Initiatives

African American Mentor Program:

Making a transition to a new environment such as college can be overwhelming, especially for first-time and first-generation college students. That’s why Bakersfield College strives to offer many diverse student organizations and initiatives. One initiative in particular, the African American Mentor Program, is one that incorporates drop-in mentors, peer mentors, resiliency guidance, and general assistance to encourage students to be motivated in their studies.

Julian West is the coordinator for AAMP and he has said, “A big part of what AAMP is for and what I do, is to ensure that African American students feel like they belong at BC and get them comfortable with using these services. We have a network of dedicated staff and community members that are addressing the unique issues faced by African American students.”


The group holds weekly meetings with dedicated black tutors, or “real talk” sessions in which students can speak their mind and talk about any issues on or off campus.

The most recent “Real Talk” was conducted by Danny Morrison of Hot 94.1 radio, who runs Project Dynamo, helping children strive in school. I’m told Danny spoke on how important it is to break the cycle of black stereotypes and how it must strive from motivation to change and its talks like this that help motivate our students and keep them on track.

The mentors of AAMP make note of and reach out to students when they are missing items like educational plans or financial aid paperwork. They incorporate a very intrusive approach to educational advising including outreach and even text message reminders!

BC is a family and nothing makes us more proud than to see students accomplish their goals and better their future; services like AAMP on campus allow us to do that.

If students want to get involved, find contact details and more at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/student/aai/aamp

Spotlight On: The Grace Van Dyke Bird Library


This week, I’d like to take a moment to focus on our fabulous library.  This is the newest building on campus, built in 1996.  Most of the other buildings were built in 1956.

The Bakersfield College library is a tremendous academic resource to students in need of books, reference books, articles, research assistance, research workshops, or just a quiet place to study.  The library subscribes to 12 online research databases and offers access to 150,000 electronic books in addition to the 80,00 print volumes housed in the library. The library staff consists of 5 full-time librarians, 3 adjunct librarians, and 4 support staff. The library is open 62 hours each week, including Saturdays.

Each semester librarians teach 2-3 sections of Library B1 (Introduction to Library Research), almost 70 research workshops, and well over 100 discipline-specific library orientations. In Spring 2016, a small library was opened at the Delano Campus, staffed by both adjunct and full-time BC librarians.

The Delano library is open 24 hours each week.

There are a total of 70 library workshops available to students every semester. These workshops help students learn research strategies, which give tips on how to find information about a certain topic by using key words; find books, including e-books and using the library catalog, as well as using EBSCOhost and other scholarly sources needed for researching. To find the schedule of all library workshops, visit the website: https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/library/workshops


The library hosts an annual Cerro Author Lecture, thanks to the generous bequest of Dolores Cerro. This year, we’re pleased to host Andy Weir, author of “The Martian”, which is now a major motion picture.

This book portrays the story of a young astronaut, Mark, left stranded by his crew after being presumed dead during a sand storm on Mars.

Left with only broken machinery, and no way to contact Earth, Mark is left to rely on his intuition and knowledge to survive. The book has proven to be a page-turner and hard to put down!

Weir will present programs to our students, faculty and staff on October 25th and 26th. On October 25th, he will also present a public program at 7 pm at the Indoor Theatre – all are welcome to this free event! For more information visit the Bakersfield College Librarian desk, or see https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/library/cerro-authors.


You can follow the library on both Instagram (bc_library) and Twitter (LibraryatBC)

Celebrating our favorite red!


The days are ticking down to Nov. 8th, and a few short days later, Jennifer Marden will be saying “I do!”

Last weekend, it was a great thing to see so many friends and colleagues take the time out of our busy lives on a Saturday afternoon to celebrate with Jennifer and her soon-to-be-husband, Mark. Stepping out into the patio at the Pyrenees Café was like stepping into a Tuscan retreat.

The food was delicious, including the gorgeous cake made by BC’s Rad Tech Dept. Assistant, Anita Karr.  Thank you to the special party planners, Kathy Howarth, Tracy Hall, Cynthia Munoz, and Becky Dargatz.

Jennifer’s wedding website says that even with an ocean, the 2nd largest city in America, and a mountain range between their homes, they did everything possible to spend as much time together and now their wedding is quickly approaching! There’s so much to celebrate at BC, but I’m glad last Saturday afternoon was all about Jennifer. Congratulations Jennifer Marden and Mark Serratt – I can’t wait to share a picture from the joyous occasion in a few short weeks!

Sonya and Pam in Singapore

Sonya Christian, Pam Christian

That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — 

reading Jenn’s note about her mom made me go back through old pictures.  Here I am with Pam Christian in Singapore many years ago.

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9 thoughts on “A busy Homecoming Week at BC!

  1. Carlos Barbaran October 22, 2016 at 11:57 am Reply

    It was a great night to help calling to let our community know about that J it was a big help to be bilingual I m feel it is our responsibility to be involved with our college and support our president of BC so let everyone go out and put your little time to make this community because we all do for our kids

    • SonyaChristian October 25, 2016 at 6:28 am Reply

      Thank you Carlos for the hours you have put in volunteering your time for Measure J.

  2. Nick Strobel October 22, 2016 at 2:00 pm Reply

    Thanks for the note about the Planetarium show! The show sold out so I’m glad there were plenty of people to take the trip with me.

    • SonyaChristian October 25, 2016 at 6:30 am Reply

      Happy you took the time to write a comment Nick!

  3. Jennifer Marden October 22, 2016 at 4:31 pm Reply

    Wow – never short of amazing what wonderful things are happening at BC!

    • SonyaChristian October 25, 2016 at 6:30 am Reply

      Yes indeed. We are BC!

  4. Jennifer Marden October 22, 2016 at 4:33 pm Reply

    Well, this week’s blog post by @Sonya Christian made a little teary!

  5. Marlene Heise October 23, 2016 at 6:59 pm Reply

    Every day, every hour, every minute there is something going on at, or with, Bakersfield College — truly AMAZING!

    • SonyaChristian October 25, 2016 at 6:30 am Reply

      Thank you Marlene for being a great supporter of BC.

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