A Busy Week at BC!

Good morning from Sacramento my dear friends and colleagues in Bakersfield.  Let me share a great sunrise as I sit by the window seat at the Sheraton and pull together the week’s happenings at Bakersfield College.  It is Saturday, Jan 28, 2017 and a great day to be a Renegade!

Sunrise in Sacramento 7 15 on Jan 28 2017.JPG

And what a busy second week of the term!  For much of the time I was on the road….to Newport to do a workshop with Kay McClenney and Rob Johnstone and then to Costa Mesa for the IEPI 2-day workshop on Guided Pathways where over 250 individuals from 39 colleges and organizations came together to understand this integrated and powerful approach to enhance student success.  The Guided Pathways System (GPS) acts like the GPS (Geographic Positioning System) that we have all grown to rely on.

Here is the BC team that attended IEPI.


Reaching out to our Vets

On Tuesday, the Office of Student Success and Equity, in collaboration with Armando Trujillo, Veteran Educational Advisor, has sent out the first Veterans Resource Center’s postcard to returning veterans in Kern County!

Wveteranspostcarde hope to increase our student veteran’s enrollment by reaching out to all recently discharged vets to let them know that BC is here and is ready to serve them in their educational goals for success! I loved hearing that once the prints came in, Armando ran over to the SSE office, pulled a poster from the stack, grabbed a sharpie to jot down info and sign it for the BC archives. As far as he is tracking, this is the first time BC has ever intentionally connected with veterans this way. Thank you to the fabulous work of the Office of SSE, Armando Trujillo, Dylan Wang, and Lisa Kent!


FFA High School Students Visit BC

It’s always a joy to have high school students visit our campus and explore their options for higher education. On Wednesday morning, local students visited campus as part of the FARMS Leadership Program to meet with the Ag Department faculty and learn about careers in the industry.


picture-1-ffa-leadership-high-schools-jan-25-2017The FARMS (Farming, Agriculture, and Resource Management for Sustainability) Leadership Program serves over 230 youth from 30 high schools across the state and participants spend an average of 35 hours engaging with farms, wildlife areas, agriculture, and related businesses. It’s a great opportunity for young people to get real life experiences to explore opportunities.  Madeline Abernathy was one of the students in the group and I look forward to seeing Madeline as a future Renegade 🙂

Thank you to all who made this happen, especially – Ralph Mendes, Bill Kelly, Heather Baltis, Dr. Cluff, Dylan Klawitter, Kaitlyn McCoy, and Colleen Taber. Check out this fantastic program at http://landbasedlearning.org/farms.

Dual Enrollment Student Success Story

cruzverdozamedina_artshowThis year, one of our Dual Enrollment HS students have been selected to showcase one of his drawings in the BC Student Art Show. Congratulations to Cruz Verdoza Medina.

Cruz is enrolled in Armando Rubio’s dual enrollment art class with BC and has submitted several drawings this year. Armando told me via email, “I have worked very close with this student in the Drawing 1 Dual Enrollment course offered at Central Valley. I encouraged him and helped to submit images to the BC Student Art Show. I am very proud of his accomplishment in being selected to show his work. Cruz is very talented and quiet, but his work is very intricate, detailed, and expressive. Only great work comes from a good work ethic and Cruz Verdoza has demonstrated this while taking the Drawing course for BC.”

And Kristopher Stallworth, our Art Department Chair let me know that, “His work was selected by an outside juror, Robey Clark and judged alongside all of the student work submitted from all levels of BC art courses. Armando Rubio has been an adjunct art instructor for the department for several years and recently began teaching Drawing I as a Dual Enrollment course. This is what we hope for when we have dual enrollment, students have opportunities that they would not have otherwise, and their work stands alongside that of our traditional students.

The Opening Reception is Thursday, February 2nd from 3:00 – 7:00. The exhibit will be up through February 1st – 28th. Stop by and check out the art!

BC Athletics News

Join me in congratulating Coach Paula Dahl for her 300th game! In this picture is Sandi Taylor, Athletic Director, Coach Paula, and Keith Ford, Associate Athletic Director.



While browsing the news to keep up with all things BC Athletics, I came across a Bakersfield.com article which said, “A near-capacity crowd watched Jamar Hammonds score 32 points on an emotional night on which the team honored Coach Brian Carter and his surviving family with a jersey and other mementos.” A near-capacity crowd!  Our BC Athletes are so fortunate to have such a loyal and dedicated community and our fans are always rewarded with a great game. Have you been to a BC game recently? There’s always so much excitement!

Here is a tweet by Kimberly Bligh:

Kimberly Bligh's tweet about Coach Brian Carter Jan 21 2017.png

If not, check out the article at  http://www.bakersfield.com/sports/bc-men-win-double-ot-thriller/article_348dff1c-7b9e-5473-96e0-74b27f8faccd.html and check our sports schedules and news at http://www.gogades.com/.

It was wonderful seeing a packed gym for the two games.  It was great to see Coach Vayron Martinez and his girlfriend Lexy Farmer.  Coach Martinez is our Men’s Soccer coach and fully engaged with his student athletes.


On the upper deck of the gym, this family had come out to support their granddaughter and great granddaughter Kennedy Nielson.

David Gallagher, Pat Gallagher and Phyllis Adams are shown here, and you can see Kennedy in action in the two pictures below.  And check out Dave’s t-shirt.


And there is an adorable picture of Janet Tarjan with her grandson Jackson


oliver-rosales-croppedDr. Oliver Rosales will speak at the University of Washington

 When I received notice that Dr. Oliver Rosales had been invited to offer a keynote address at the University of Washington in early June, I was thrilled. The Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington has secured funding from the Mellon foundation in partnership with area community colleges in the greater Seattle area to focus on “Reimagining the Humanities PhD”.  I look forward to sharing with all of you about Dr. Rosales’s trip and experience afterwards. Stay tuned!

96th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting

 trb-1The 96th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting and David Eisenhower Showcase is a required meeting for our six fellowship recipients.  It offers the opportunity to showcase their research on the Department of Transportation projects; allows senior transportation managers to greet our Eisenhower fellowship recipients and provide remarks about the future transportation workforce.  This meeting also provides opportunities to network with fellow students and transportation professionals from across the nation and the around the world.  The 96thTransportation Research Board Annual Meeting and David Eisenhower Showcase travel cost for the students will be covered by the Eisenhower grant from the US Department of Transportation. Students will be accompanied by Dr. Patrick Aderhold, engineering faculty.

This provides extraordinary opportunity for our students and faculty, and I’d like to share with you the full text of an email that he sent to me on the event.


I have to admit that, prior to last year, I had never heard of the Transportation Research Board (TRB). When I was informed that some of our students had received a fellowship and were travelling to the annual meeting, I was expecting to usher them into a small corner room with a few dozen people rubbing elbows and quietly discussing traffic or highway safety. You can imagine my surprise when I walked into the palatial Walter E. Washington Conference Center and was immediately absorbed into the cauldron of activity as attendees from all parts of the US and several places beyond surged back and forth from expos to lectures.

This year I was better prepared to supervise the six students of ours that were selected to participate in the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program (DDETFP), but it was still exciting to be a part of 13,000 attendees that were sharing wisdom on everything from buses in South America to bike lanes in San Francisco. The five-day event would be overwhelming even for seasoned veterans, but the DDETFP staff worked hard to put on a curated set of events that allowed DDETFP fellows to listen, observe, network and showcase their own research. I was very impressed by the attention that TRB puts into the recruitment and development of young members, as the executive director himself spoke about the need for young professionals, the value of equity and inclusion and his desire to replace the old model of a small number of “gray-beards” running the show.

I believe our students represented BC well, as the they were thrown “into the deep end” so to speak. They and their peers have been performing their own research on local transportation issues for the last few months, but the DDETFP program exposed them to several talks by doctoral students as well. As proud as we are of students doing part-time, local research, I think it is valuable to expose them to the highest levels of R&D happening nation-wide. A fifteen-minute talk by a Ph.D. candidate outside your field is a sure-fire way to walk away feeling stupid (which is a good thing in my mind), but our students didn’t shy away. They showed genuine interest, reaching out to speakers with extra questions after the talks.

One of our own, Alia Brost, was selected to present a poster this year. She laid out her ongoing research on air quality on local GET bus routes and received some tough questions about equipment, methodology and goals and held her own quite well. It was an intimidating atmosphere, but she already looked the part of a confident, but skeptical researcher and I hope she saw this as the first of many chances to learn and share in a professional setting.

trb-5Though I grew up in the Midwest, I understand that most of our students at BC are born and raised in Bakersfield and few have the financial resources to spend a week absorbing life in a different climate and culture 2600 miles away. I’m proud of the work that BC does in the community, but I also know there is a great value in exposure to things that are big, far, confusing and uncomfortable and a professional meeting on the east coast meets all those criteria. It’s important to see what happens “behind the curtain” and to have a first-hand look at what it takes to be part of a large, diverse organization doing important things on the national scale. For some, this may be the first foot in the door to a career in transportation, for others a greater appreciation for the complexity of problem solving at the scale of thousands of cars or millions of tons of freight. I’m sure this event will have long-lasting benefits, whether they be professional, intellectual… and maybe even personal (like warm memories of an impromptu snowball fight before dinner). On behalf of all the students, I want to thank Connie Gonzalez and the MESA staff for encouraging them to apply for this program and all time and effort that goes into organizing a cross-country trip.


I’m sure they’re eager to share their experiences with you all so seek out Alia Brost, Jose Chavez, Johnson Her, Andrea Hernandez, Evaleena Reyes and Sharina Washington and ask them about their trip, I’m think you’ll get an earful.

Renegade Passings

Each passing brings back memories and relationships.  I’d like to share ten more notices that I received from Jerry Ludeke, notices of Renegades who have recently passed, so that we can remember them and their wonderful contributions . If you have any special memories, please leave a comment. I would love to read your stories.

NANCY EDWARDS taught English at BC from 1968 to 2009 and was a leader in poetry circles in Kern County and beyond.  Nancy and Howard Quilling, also now deceased, collaborated on many performances of original poetry set to music.  An on-campus memorial is being planned.  We will announce it when a date is confirmed.

RALPH KRAFVE, who died January 16, was the successful, well liked BC basketball coach from 1973 to 1985.  Ralph coached the 1977-1978 team that won BC’s only basketball state championship.  Previously he was the championship coach at East High for 12 years.  He was inducted into the Bob Elias Kern County Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.  Dolly, his wife and survivor, was active in the Faculty Wives and Women group.

CAROL MARSHALL passed away December 22 in Seattle.  Carol was a tutor in the Learning Center helping recent immigrants, mainly Vietnamese, learn to read English.  She and her husband Rod Marshall, now deceased, came in 1968 when he joined the BC faculty in Supportive Services, after a career in the Armed Services which took them to Germany and the Pentagon.

DAN NYSTROM, 88, died on December 12.  He was a BC zoology teacher from 1958 until 1984.  He and Arleen were married for 47 years and raised three children.  After Arleen died in 1998, Dan married  Mary Horst in 2000 and they had 16 years together before she passed away earlier in 2016.

DALENE OSTERKAMP, 84, passed away on December 27th.  Dalene was a distinguished BC art teacher (listed in Who’s Who of American Women and, in 1989, given the First Annual Service to Women Award from the American Association of Women in Community and Junior Colleges.)  Primarily a print maker, she retired to Glennville and worked in prints, stained glass, mosaics, etching, pottery, and jewelry making.  At BC she was also a counselor and worked with the Women’s Studies Department.

RONDA VALDEZ died December 8.  A member of the classified staff, Ronda served in several different departments on the BC campus in her years at BC from 1969 to 1997, ending in the Public Information Office.

CLYDE VERHINE died on December 12 in Oregon at age 95.   A Social Studies and Economics professor, Clyde was active in campus activities, served as the Academic Senate President, and was known for his cheerful greetings and demeanor.

EDDIE WARD passed away on January 1 in Arizona.  He retired in 2008 after 34 years as Grounds Supervisor at Bakersfield College.

ALEJANDRA “Nicki” WILKERSON lived with many years of dialysis and passed on shortly after finally receiving a kidney and liver transplant.  She served 25 years in M&O first at BC and then at the District, 1986-2011.

THOMAS H. DAVIS, III passed away on Sunday, Nov. 13th. His partner, Nam (Chauncey Yao) told the BC archives that he had suffered from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. With Nam’s help, Tom was able to live at home until the previous Friday.

I have so much more to write about from this week but am running out of time.  It is Sunday now and I have not published my blog yet and I have so many deadlines to meet this coming week.

So let me wrap up with my song of the week – Linda Ronstadt’s Blue Bayou.

sonya 2 convocation aug 18 2016


That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: