Our BC family gives to the community!

Have you voted yet? And did you vote Yes on Measure J? #MeasureJ 🙂

I did vote on October 30th, a rainy Sunday morning and then dropped off my ballot at the Post Office.  Here is my proof!


Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, November 5, 2016…..A great day to be a Renegade.

This past week was busy on campus with many events including Vet Fest, the Levan Faculty Colloquim, a special FCDC meeting where faculty positions for next year were presented as well as a quick trip to Orange County to present the work on California Guided Pathways at the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges Fall Plenary.  In addition, the Campaign Head Quarters for Measure J was buzzing with activity as the volunteers were shifting gears to the last lap of this marathon.  Four more days to November 8th!

Here we have Prof. Harlan Hunter volunteering his time to lead a team of volunteers to promote Measure J.

Harlan Hunter and volunteers return after precinct walking Nov 5 2016.jpg


So proud of our faculty, staff and students:

Paula Parks and ASTEP:

BC’s ASTEP Program, under the leadership of Prof. Paula Parka, won first place in the Black365 Knowledge Bowl!  Just phenomenal.

Parks says on Facebook:

My students studied their Black history!!! #umojaconf All the ASTEP Umoja students in attendance cheered our team to victory! They all make me so proud!!


Anna Poetker and the Levan Faculty Colloquim:


Anna Poetker, Susan Pinza

Philosophy professor Dr. Anna Poetker presented her research findings on her work with undocumented students at Bakersfield College at the Norm Levan Faculty Colloquium (the longest running program of the Levan Center). Her talk The Struggles and Success of Undocumented Latino/a College Students on Friday, November 4th was a combination of the theoretical background of the philosophical and psychological foundations of the problems facing  undocumented students, personal stories told to her by her undocumented students, and practical ways we can support our undocumented students.


Nick Strobel emailed me:
She gave us the mental framework of the process undocumented college students go through in forming their own identity—“self authorship”. In some ways it is like the maturing process we all go through as we transition from learning values and identity from our family and society as children and then constructing our own identity as young adults in late high school and early college years. However, the consequences for undocumented students can be much more significant for our undocumented students because they are “sewn with two threads” (as one student put it).
They entered this country as very young children, so their values and background are primarily of the United States with a more distant familial connection to the country they came from, but they are not citizens of the U.S. with all the rights thereof. The undocumented students can face strong negative pressures against going to college from society and even from their own families. As young adults, the undocumented students that Anna shared stories about had gone through the phase of tearing down/blasting away the externally constructed identity  shaped by the society and family and then constructing their own identity internally from within.
There are practical ways we can support these students. It starts with acknowledging them and their special needs as undocumented students, being supportive with even something as simple as a smile and listening ear, and letting them know about the resources and rights given to them through the California Dream Act and DACA for attending college and remaining in the U.S.
Alex Gomez prepared a nice spread of Mexican food for attendees to enjoy after the talk.
For more about what BC is doing to support our undocumented students see https://bcdreamers.wordpress.com and https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/president/project-dream-act .
For more about the Faculty Colloquium series, see https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/levancenter/programs#colloquia. The Faculty Colloquium committee needs nominations from faculty for faculty who have done research on interesting topics and would
be good speakers. Contact Susan Pinza with your suggestions.

Flu Shots


According to the CDC, the “flu season” can begin as early as October and last until May. During these months, the flu viruses circulate at a higher rate and an annual flu vaccine is the best way to reduce chances of catching the flu and spreading it to others. Students and faculty from BC’s Allied Health provided free flu shots to BC students and staff on Tuesday morning at the Collins Conference Center. Way to go BC!

Student Volunteers at Allensworth Park


allensworth_houseEvery year, the volunteer coordinator for the CA State Parks invites BC students to a one-day volunteer event at Allensworth State Historic Park. Not only is this a great way to give back, but students also learn about the amazing Colonel Allensworth State Park, tour of the park, and a chance to talk to park Rangers.

This year, they had two groups since so many students wanted to attend. One group dusted the insides of historic homes and the other painted a historic house. Pictured above are BC students Andrea Moreno, Salvador Murillo, Krista Nolan, Payton Brandon, and Mitchell Switalki with the park ranger.

Alongside these students, many others also volunteered. It’s great to know so many of our students are getting involved, helping out, volunteering, and learning about local history!

Thank you to Erin Miller and Krista Moreland for helping to facilitate these great experiences!

Vet Fest at BC!


Veterans Day is a reminder of the price paid for the liberties we enjoy, but it’s also time to reflect on the burden we all share in ensuring our future generations enjoy those same freedoms. We must never forget that it is the strength of our armed forces that has brought us to this point, and it is the strength that will continue to ensure peace.

leticia-perez-at-vet-fest-2016Between now and Veterans Day on November 11th, people throughout America will gather to remember and give thanks to those who have served in our armed forces. But at Bakersfield College, our veterans are our family… you are our friends, classmates, students, staff, and faculty.  Today we honor you and we thank you for your courage, strength, and soul.

Thank you to all of our speakers and guests, especially Supervisor Leticia Perez for her generosity and her commitment to Bakersfield College and to our student veterans.  Our keynote speaker JR Browning was fabulous. A copy of JR Browning’s speech is available here.

You can see more photos in our online gallery at https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/Vet-fest.

Thank you to KGET for the coverage http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/vet-fest-returns-today-at-bakersfield-college

Check out my blog on last year’s Vet Fest.


The Kern Housing Authority

I attended the fundraising gala put on by the Kern Housing Authority and Norma Rojas-Mora.  This is a great organization that does great things for our community.  Here are a few pictures from the event.

Row 1: Here I am with friends of Measure J and friends of Bakersfield College.  NaTesha Johnson, Nicole Parra and Karen Goh.

Row 2: Selfies with Norma Rojas-Mora and Andrea Navarro a culinary graduate of Bakersfield College.  Andrea is currently working at the Padre and reminder me that she taught me the right way to cut vegetables.


A little something:

When this note from Professor Dave Neville found its way to my desk on Wednesday afternoon with its attached project, I just knew I had to share it with you. It says, “Could you find an appropriate time to return this project that Lesley did as a student for my Spanish 2 class at North High School. I was going through papers that I had saved as prime examples of student work and came across this.”

I should add that Lesley Bonds is our director of Student Success and Equity and she’s a graduate of North High, right here in Bakersfield.


The highly educational story that Lesley wrote as a high school student follows a girl named Rosa who accidentally cut herself while running with a knife. Rosa’s doctor could not save her and her friends and brother were very, very sad. Throughout the rest of the story, Juan decides to educate other children about knife safety and he even takes the steps necessary to make his own kitchen safer for his little boy.  You can see in the end, the child cries because the knife drawer is locked, but grows up to be a strong and healthy young man.

Our professors at BC are great people who go the extra mile to let our students, past and present, know that they care… and that’s only one reason why I love this story. BC is Bakersfield… our staff, faculty, and administration love this community. We are Bakersfield and… We are BC!

Also wanted to do a quick shout out to Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Tracy Hall, deans, and Faculty Chairs and Directors who do a phenomenal job every day making sure we have the classes available to our students and also making sure that our students are successful in those classes.  Here are two pictures from the FCDC meeting on Friday, Nov 4th, where the chairs were presenting their requests for faculty positions.  Thank you Corny Rodriguez for getting me these photos.  And thank you FCDC!

Measure J support continues:

As we continue with the campaign for Measure J (#MeasureJ), I want to thank our volunteers for this week:

October 30: Cynthia Munoz, Maria Wright, Jamal Wright, Steve Waller, Ramona Benavidez, Tom Gelder, Dana Heins-Gelder, Ivan Valdez, Marisa Marquez, and Kaylana Demmin.

October 31: Stephen Waller, Steve Watkin, Emmanuel Mourtzanos, Todd Coston, Michelle Pena, Jennifer Achan, Sandi Taylor, Liz Rozell, Corny Rodriguez, Janet Fulks, Shannon Musser, Nicky Damania, Lesley Bonds, Zav Dadabhoy, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Tom Gelder, Bill Potter, Shanell Tyus, Maria Wright, Sarah Baron, Ivan Valdez, Rob Parsons, David Koeth, Paul Beckworth, Nick Strobel, Loy Salarda, and Laura Longo.

November 1: Jackie Lau, Michelle Pena, Todd Coston, Isabel Stierle, Christine Saldivar, Joe Saldivar, Dena Rhoades, Terri Goldstein, Grace Commiso, Heather Skibinski, Ivan Valadez, Kathy Howarth, Manny Mourtzanos, Zav Dadabhoy, Steve Watkin and Stephen Waller.


November 2: Eileen Pierce, Kaitlyn Kirkland, Alexa Rivera, Chris Cruz, Felicia Scott, Maria Wright, Ivan Valadez, Savannah Andrews, Manuel Muralles, Claudio Felix, Brian Nava, Russel Tetzschner, Randi Tetzschner, Danny Verdugo, Debi Anderson, Raul Leon, Shanell Tyus, Marshall Compton, Loy Salarda, Alberto Munoz, Juan Cillarreal, Cain Perez, Connor Turner, Jorge Reyes, Juan Hernandez, Ashlea Ward, Edwin Bernal, Carlos Melendez, Lokai Borthel, Reese Weltman, Edgeir Morcio, Julia Crayton, Josie Guillen, Carlos Barbaran, Heidi Forsyth, Lori Williams, Jose Chavez, Tom Gelder, Kalina Hill, Jackie Brouillette, Steven Watkin, Chris McCraw, Greg Cluff, Heather Baltis, Araceli Navarro, Bill Kelly, Tracy Lovelace, Janet Thomas, Lindsay Ono, and Steve Waller.



November 3: Yadira Guerrero, Gabriel Torres, Brigid Mady, Josh Shackleford, Tom Gelder, Evette Lara, Jackie Lau, Salvador Gomez, John Means, Steve Waller, Paul Beckworth, Grace Commiso, Cristian Gutierrez, Valerie Robinson, Ivan Valadez, Rob Parsons, Chris Cruz, Shanell Tyus, Manuel Muralles, Kristina Whitmore, Todd Coston, Ashlea Ward, Steven Watkin, Terri Goldstein, Maria Wright, John Means, Matt Frazer, and Lawrence Salardo.



November 4: Todd Coston, Carlos Barbaran, Evette Lara, Matt Frazer, Pedro Ramirez, Keesha Collins, Danyel Owens, Paulette Rodriguez, Peter Rodriguez, Emmanuel Limaco, Nicky Damania, Chris Glaser, Lesley Bonds, Sam Moreno, Heidi Allison, Bob Allison, Shanice Watson, Dalton Jones, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Zav Dadabhoy, and Rob Parsons.



Community Voices in the Bakersfield Californian

The support we have received in recent months for Measure J (#MeasureJ) has been spectacular and we’re on a four day countdown to when our community decides whether to invest in the future of the Kern Community College District, including BC’s campus, infrastructure, our mission, vision, and values.

Here are two Community Voices pieces that were published this last week and one letter to the editor.

November 1, 2016. Measure J will help those working in the field by Professor Oliver Rosales. Check out his piece in the Bakersfield Californian.

Here are a few excerpts:

There are tremendous needs in this community and, conversely, tremendous opportunities for making a real impact on people’s lives. I have always enjoyed challenges. Delano is a challenge for Bakersfield College. That’s why the center was built in the first place: to educate the children of farm workers. It is a campus center in the middle of the fields, surrounded by high levels of poverty, poor health outcomes, and low educational attainment.

BC Delano is also surrounded, though, by fields of dreams. My Delano students are the reason I love going to work every day. They ground me and keep me content, “working in the fields” every day as I jokingly tell my wife…

Rosales concludes:

Measure J expands opportunities to teach students of the field. The Bakersfield College Delano campus has been around for more than four decades, first located on Randolph Street (now the Wonderful Academy) and now located west of Highway 99 next to Robert Kennedy High School. Measure J will expand the BC Delano campus by developing additional physical space for students to study, collaborate with faculty, and learn. It is not far-fetched to say that students at BC Delano literally study in the fields.

Let’s pass Measure J and continue to give them the opportunity to dream big and change their communities for the better for decades to come.


November 2, 2016: The Bakersfield Californian published Measure J supports a long-held community vision  (#Measure J) by Sonya Christian 🙂

Check out the web version at http://tinyurl.com/h2m3f8o.

Here is an excerpt

In the early 1900s, our people had a dream, a shared goal and a vision, to make the Central Valley a place of opportunity and unbelievable growth, and they did it. In 1913, a then-isolated and relatively small community decided to open a college campus that initially served only 13 students. …..

and another excerpt

Today, our generation is at a pivotal point. We are facing a challenge to prepare and provide for the next 50 years of growth and evolving education. In the 1950s, that generation of leaders had the courage and foresight to make the investments that have paved the way for strengthening our community. Now it is up to us; it’s our turn to look forward.

and I conclude with:

Let your name be listed alongside, for your children and grandchildren, who, when they look through the historic archives, will say, yes, my parent or grandparent was one of the leaders who look care of me and our community.

I ask you to vote yes on Measure J.




November 3, 2016. Letter to the Editor. Yes on J: Local Health Care needs Educated Workforce by Gitest Patel.

Gitesh Patel Nov 3 2016.png


david-torres-californian-nov-4-2016November 4, 2016. BC is community’s ears, ears; but what about bones? by David Torres

Check out the full article at  http://tinyurl.com/gsafm5r

Here are a few excerpts:

Every day, I see where our community struggles, but more often, I see where it comes together and succeeds. Often, the nexus of that success emanates from our area’s community college: Bakersfield College.

I am a father of five and four of my children have attended BC. Two of my daughters earned their AA degrees at BC. Another started college their before transferring to CSUB and one is currently attending BC in order to satisfy requirements for entrance into medical school. I am also a veteran, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve. I have seen first-hand the innovative ways that BC interacts with its vets and supports their success. BC means a great deal to me and to our community…..

I see the students of Bakersfield College as the eyes and ears of the institution: they see and hear, they learn. The faculty is the heart of BC.

What about the body, the bones? The infrastructure of BC’s campus overlooking the bluffs is 60 years old and it’s starting to show. Put another way, 21st Century learning can’t happen in mid-century facilities. Just think of the advances in architecture, building construction, disability access, and learning technology that have been introduced in the last 50 years.

Our community’s college is in dire need of replenishment, and the time to provide that is now. Measure J, on the Nov. 8 ballot, is the best, most direct way to provide BC with the badly needed funds to carry this venerable, cherished community institution further into the 21st Century.

I urge you support the many needs of our community and the success of your children and neighbors. Join me in voting yes on Measure J.


Thank you to all who have shared your opinions and voices with the community!

List of endorsements for Measure J:

Over 2000 individuals have endorsed Measure J.

Here are a few

Cathy Abernathy, Cathy Abernathy Consultants
Romeo Agbalog, KCCD Trustee
Joe Aguirre, Former Delano Mayor
Dennis Beebe, KCCD Trustee
Sue Benham, Former Bakersfield City Council Member
Kevin Burton, President, SJCH Foundation
Kyle Carter, Bakersfield Mayoral Candidate/KCCD Trustee
Ricardo Chavez, Delano Mayor
John Corkins, KCCD Trustee
Stephanie Cortez, Porterville Chamber of Commerce CEO/President
David Couch, Kern County Supervisor
Ed Davis, S&E Farms
Robert de la Rosa, Ola Raza Director
Jose Flores, Arvin Mayor
Fran Florez, Shafter City Council Member
Mick Gleason, Kern County Supervisor
Karen Goh, Bakersfield Mayoral Candidate
Doug Greener, Bakersfield Fire Chief
Shannon Grove, California State Assembly Member
Jose Gurrola, Arvin City Council Member
Virginia Gurrola, Porterville Councilwoman
Harvey Hall, Bakersfield Mayor
Cam Hamilton, Porterville Vice Mayor
Harold Hanson, Bakersfield Vice Mayor
Chad Hathaway, Hathaway LLC
Ruben Hill, Delano City Council Member
JP Lake, Rain for Rent
Pauline Larwood, Former KCCD Trustee/
Kern County Supervisor

January Lau, January & Associates
Mike Maggard, Kern County Supervisor
Terry Maxwell, Bakersfield City Council Member
Michelle McLean, Arvin Union School District Superintendent
Kay Meek, KCCD Trustee
Liz Morris, 
Delano City Council Member
Arnold Morrison, DJUHS Board Member
Steve Murray, Murray Family Farms
Chris Parlier, Bakersfield City Council Member
Nicole Parra, Former California State Assembly Member
Ruben Pascual, Delano City Council Member
Leticia Perez, Kern County Supervisor
Christy Porter, Jasmine Cetner Inc.
Leticia Prado, Lamont Water District Member
Fred Prince, Omega Financial & Insurance Services
Janet Rabanal, Delano Chamber of Commerce Director
Rosalina Rivera, Delano Union Elementary School District Superintendent
Willie Rivera, Bakersfield City Council Member
Jazmine Robles, Arvin City Council Membre
Rudy Salas, California State Assembly Member
Mary K. ShellFormer Bakersfield Mayor & County Supervisor
Bob Smith, Bakersfield City Council Member
Mark Storch, KCCD Trustee
Milt Stowe, Porterville Mayor
Jay Tamsi, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President
Rob Taylor, Stafford’s Chocolates
Bill Thomas, Retired U.S. Congressman, KCCD Trustee
Grace Vallejo, Delano City Council Member
Jon Van Boening, Dignity Health
Greg Williamson, Bakersfield Police Department Chief
Keith Wolaridge, Panama Buena Vista Union Trustee
Dr. James Young, Retired KCCD Chancellor
Donny Youngblood, Kern County Sheriff
Milt Younger, Attorney
Mark Zaninovich, Sunview Vineyards

Here are some organizations that have endorsed Measure J:

The Bakersfield Californian
Bakersfield City Firefighters Association
Bakersfield College Alumni Association
Bakersfield Downtown Business Association
Building4SUCCESS Inc
California City Chamber of Commerce
California Teachers Association
Delano Camber of Commerce
Democratic Women of Kern
Dolores Huerta Foundation
Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce
Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council
KCCD California School Employees Association
KCCD Community College Association
KCCD Management Association
Kern Agriculture Foundation
Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce
Kern County Democratic Party
Kern County Farm Bureau
Kern County Firefighters Union
Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Kern County Young Republicans (PAC)
Kern Economic Development Corporation
Kern Taxpayers Association
Latina Leaders of Kern County
Murray Family Farms
Ola Raza
Porterville Democratic Club
RA Johnsfam
Renegade Helmet Club
Sikh Women’s Association of Kern County
Veterans of Foreign Wars District #6
Veterans of Foreign Wars #97
Wendale Davis Foundation

4 more days Bakersfield!

November 8th is an important day – make sure your voice counts. To find your nearest polling location, visit http://elections.co.kern.ca.us/elections/Voterinfo/Address.asp


Here is a video that the Bakersfield College Student Government Association (BCSGA) under the leadership of President Matthew Frazer created to Get Out the Vote!  Check it out.

And let’s make sure we follow the advice of Mayor Harvey Hall and retired Congressman Bill Thomas.



There’s so much to celebrate and it’s a great time to be at BC!



That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever

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4 thoughts on “Our BC family gives to the community!

  1. Vickie Spanos November 6, 2016 at 6:57 am Reply

    I look forward to reading your blog each weekend. Thank u so much for making us all in the community feel part of your BC family.


    • SonyaChristian November 6, 2016 at 7:14 am Reply

      Thank you Vicky Spanos for taking time to write a comment this morning. You are doing great work in advancing the educational attainment rate in Kern County.

  2. Sue Vaughn November 6, 2016 at 8:12 am Reply

    Vickie and Sonya – Two hard working, dedicated leaders for student success!

  3. Nick Strobel November 6, 2016 at 6:48 pm Reply

    Now two more days! Great to se pictures of all of the people helping out. Shows the broad support of the community for the stuff BC is doing to make Kern County a better place to live.

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