Many Things to Celebrate at BC!

Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, October 28, 2017 and a great day to be a Renegade.

fats-domino-9276748-1-402.jpg biography websiteDid you grow up with Blueberry Hill, Your Cheating Heart, ……. I did.  As a little girl listening to my Uncle Raphe, who has since passed, reminiscing over and over again about how he wooed Aunt Shirley when he was in a band and sang Blueberry Hill.  You know families, stories are repeated over and over again.  I loved them all and loved this one about the love story of my uncle and aunt.  And Fats Domino was front and center in this story.  I definitely grieved his passing on October 24, 2017 and read the news items posted on him and listened to his music over and over again on youtube.  Here is a great 5:09-minute video of Fats Domino, Elvis Presley, Johnny Hallyday, Celine Dion & Louis Armstrong in Blueberry Hill

And I love Louis Armstrong as well. Here is my favorite — Louis Armstrong and Barbara Streisand in Holly Dolly.

This is how John Pareles begins his article on October 25, 2017 in the New York Times


For more

BCSGA Power Lunch

Introducing Vince Fong to a room packed with students was one of the best ways I could imagine beginning a new week at BC.


On Monday, we had the 2nd of 3 Power Lunches hosted by BCSGA Legislative Affairs Department. The Power Lunches consist of local legislators from Kern County sharing with the student body how they can be involved and stay up-to-date on what is currently happening within the state. Students also get the great opportunity to learn from the personal stories of our guest speakers.


Michelle Pena, Sonya Christian, Chris, Vince Fong, Heather Pennella, Steve Watkin Oct 23 2017

After the luncheon, it was fantastic to see Renegade football player and student intern in the Marketing Department, Carson Olivas on campus!

Sonya Christian and Carson Olivas October 23 2017

Sonya Christian, Carson Olivas

Disability Awareness Day

October is national Disability Awareness Month including Disability Employment Awareness? On Thursday, we celebrated Disability Awareness Day with various activities and presentations. To kick off the morning, we had an info fair with booths all across the Renegade Crossroads. On-campus and off-campus exhibitors included BC DSPS, BC Student Health Center, BGLAD, Bakersfield City Recreation and Parks: Adaptive Sports, Canine Companions for Independence, CA Department of Rehabilitation, Exceptional Family Center, Epilepsy Society of Kern County, Inclusion Films Workshop, Independent Living Center of Kern County, The Wounded Heroes Fund, Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation, America’s Job Center: Employment Resources for Individuals with Disabilities, Kern Autism Network, Kern Regional Center, LifeSigns, and Sorenson. These organizations are so important to our community and to those with unique needs. They provide such a wide range of accommodations and support services, such as canine companions, community, and other means of assistance.

The activity moved into our Fireside Room for a student panel and awards ceremony. Students spoke about their challenges as a way of sharing that we all endure personal unique struggles, but with success comes inspiration. They made a point to share that access to resources is vital. A special thank you to our students for voicing your stories. You continue to inspire me, your classmates, your professors, your community. Next, we celebrated the DSPS Allies Awards to those who actively support the success of students with disabilities at BC. This special award is for those who truly go above and beyond. Thank you to all the recipients this year:

Outstanding Department: Assessment Department, Department of Public Safety

Outstanding Faculty: Kurt Klopstein, Richard Miles

Outstanding Staff: Dr. Nicky Damania, Elieen Pierce

Outstanding Students: Alysun Seablom, Danita Belmore

Disability Awareness Assessment Center Recepient Speaker Chuck Wall

Dr. Chuck Wall

To close out the afternoon, we welcomed guest speaker, Dr. Chuck wall, a retired Business Admin faculty from BC who overcame the obstacles that go with being blind. He’s received international acclaim for his creation of the “Random Act of Kindness” and he’s appeared on radio shows including the Oprah Show, CNN, The Hour of Power, and he’s been honored by the U.S. House of Representatives for his humanitarian work. Thank you to Terri Goldstein and BC’s DSPS team for all they do to organize, plan, and prepare for this incredible day each year.

All of the photos from this years event are available at The Bakersfield College Smumug.

See my blog about last year’s Disability Awareness Day here.


To honor the month, every year BC’s own WorkAbility III Employment Program for People with Disabilities takes the lead in planning and implementing the Bakersfield Mayor’s HIRE Committee Luncheon celebrating employers who hire and support people with disabilities, as well as their employees with disabilities who are successfully working.

Denise Crawford from BC was interviewed on KGET Tuesday morning to talk about her involvement with organizing a luncheon for Mayor Karen Goh’s HIRE Committee dedicated to helping people with disabilities find employment.

HIRE Luncheon Group Photo

This year’s event was held on Wednesday, October 25th at Hodel’s event center and had its largest annual attendance to date!  Over 120 employers, most from Kern County, employees with disabilities, and the local agencies and colleges who support them attended this exciting afternoon. Highlights of the event include large and small employer business of the year and employee with a disability of the year. Nominated this year was BC’s own Matthew Foster from campus reprographics. The event included inspirational speakers, entertainment by the “World Famous Sit-Down Comic,” Miguel Lugo, and our mayor, Karen Goh.

BC was well represented: Dr. Terri Goldstein, Director of Disabled Students Programs and Services, attended with Rudy Gutierrez, WorkAbility Job Development Specialist and Denise Crawford, WorkAbility Program Manager.  Rudy and Denise, with the BC Workability Program, are both long-time members of the HIRE Committee, a combined effort of colleges, community and state agencies to increase awareness and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

HIRE Mayor Goh, Rudy, Terri and Denise

Mayor Karen Goh, Terri, Rudy, and Denise

The HIRE Committee was originally founded by recently retired Mayor Harvey Hall and community members in 2004, and has a long and successful history. And Mayor Karen Goh continues to support this much needed effort since she was elected Mayor of Bakersfield last year.

Campus Facilities Presentation

IMG_7458We had an excellent forum in Levan Center about Measure J & Facility Master Plan. November 8th will be the one-year anniversary of Measure J, so we want everyone to know what is happening with the half a billion dollars that the wonderful citizens of Bakersfield voted to give Bakersfield College for much needed structural improvements. As honored guest, Trustee Bill Thomas said, “Bakersfield College is going to be renewed.”

We were able to hear from AECOM-Parsons team and the Project Executive, Domingo Camarano, a proud Renegade Alum raised in Bakersfield. He understands our community and is concerned with the future of our students. AECOM-Parsons is working hard to transform our college to better turn our community support into brick-and-mortar structures that align with the education master plan.  During this transformation, I ask all of you for Engagement, Efficiency and Effectiveness.


AECOM was recently in the LA Times for their project on the LA River.

Thank you to all the staff and faculty who attended the forum and especially to Chancellor Tom Burke for taking the time to call in, even as he was travelling to Sacramento; to subcommittee chair Trustee Bill Thomas for being so involved in our transformation, to Bill Potter, Administrative Chair, Pam Kelley, Faculty chair, and Kristin Rabe, Classified Chair and the rest of the members of the Facilities & Sustainability Committee for working diligently on the Facility Master Plan. If you missed the presentation, you can see important dates, campus team leaders and other information in the Measure J & Facility Master Plan Presentation 10/25/2017. This is truly a wonderful time at BC.

National Chemistry Week

Did you know it was National Chemistry Week? We celebrated at BC with an info fair in the courtyard within the SE building! Info was available for students who wants to pursue a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math. National chemistry week gives students the opportunity to see that chemistry can influence things in your life not only in class…. Check out the video created by Manny De Los Santos!

All the photos are available at the Bakersfield College Smugmug.

Pre-Radiologic Technology Orientations

BC PreRad students

93 Students in attendance!

Our Pre-Radiologic Technology Orientation last week was a huge success, with over 93 college and high school students in attendance to learn all about our radiology programs.The event was organized in conjunction with the Health Careers Pathways Initiative and a team lead by counselor Dinorah Castro. Several of our radiologic technology students participated in the orientation, and it was a great opportunity for our staff to answer student questions, dispel any confusion about the program and career pathway, and converse with some of our current and prospective students. Students learned about program prerequisites, application procedures, financial aid opportunities, program curriculum, as well as tips for licensure exam performance and future employment in a radiologic technology career.

Thank you to the Health Careers Pathway Team: Dinorah Castro, Nancy Perkins, Jacy Hill, Venessa Reyes!

Delano CHAP

ChrisDison and Joe Aguierre presenting at CHAPThe BC Delano Campus’ Cultural & Historical Awareness Program (C.H.A.P.) has been busy organizing events for students, staff, and the Delano community this semester. The first event was held on Wednesday, October 18 at the Kern County Library – Delano Branch. This event was hosted by the Kern County Library in conjunction with the One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern project and the book: “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America” by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer.  Professor of English Chris Dison moderated a panel discussion entitled Poverty and Policy in Delano with guest Joe Aguirre, Director of Facilities and Emergency Management for Delano Regional Medical Center (DRMC). Mr. Aguirre is a current Delano city council member and past mayor of Delano. The evening began with a history of DRMC’s Community Garden as a response to the many citizens in need of fresh food for dietary and medical reasons and how the garden operates today in Delano. The DRMC has over 20 acres of land that they now provide to the community, free of charge, in order to provide a venue for horticultural and dietary education, while enabling residents to grow and harvest their own food. The session ended with a call to students and all Delano residents to actively engage in their community and participate in the political process in order to facilitate change.

Robert F Kenndy Delano Campus LobbyA second C.H.A.P. event happened on Wednesday, Oct. 25 (Larry Itliong Day) at the Robert Kennedy High School Lecture Hall.  Entitled Digital Delano: Preserving an International Community’s History, with sponsorship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, this event featured an author presentation and panel discussion of Gabriel Thompson’s new book “Chasing the Harvest: Migrant Workers in California Agriculture” (Voice of Witness 2016).  The award-winning author offered a reading of his book and participated in a panel discussion with some of the subjects interviewed in the book.  The evening was special for the over 200 people in attendance, including local educators, their students and families.

Visiting scholars from CSU Bakersfield, UCLA, CSU Fresno, Chabot College, and other statewide advocacy organizations for farm workers attended.  The entire event was conducted in both English and Spanish, with translation services offered by the moderator, Adjunct History Professor Octavio Barajas (Ph.D. Candidate, Tulane University) and Valerie Gorospe of the Center for Race, Poverty, and the Environment.

Abel Guzman Presenting at CHAPDelano Campus Interim-Director Abel Guzman also spoke, sharing his own family’s intimate connections to farm labor in Delano.  Food was provided by the amazing Fil-Bak Shop in Delano.  Delano Campus librarian Elisabeth Sundby and volunteer librarians harvested local histories throughout the evening, as attendees were encouraged to bring in family history artifacts (photos, letters, memorabilia) to digitize and contribute to the building of a community-based archive available for future use by students and researchers.

Panorama Music Summit –Take 2

The first annual Panorama Creative Music Summit was a big hit! Organized by professors Kris Tiner and Josh Ottum, this collaboration between the Jazz Studies and Commercial Music programs featured performances by BC students, alumni, and faculty along with some talented guest performers.

Panorama band6

Friday’s events began with a workshop in the music lab led by Long Beach composer and producer Chris Schlarb, leader of the band Psychic Temple. Schlarb instructed music technology students in recording techniques honed from decades of experience running his own studio and record label. Friday evening’s performances in the Indoor Theater kicked off with four student songwriters from the Commercial Music program who were chosen by audition to perform at the summit. Luke Duffell, Mason Edwards, Ian Merete, and Trevor Turner wowed the audience with their creations that were inspired by pop, folk, rap and ambient music. Next up was Professor Josh Ottum’s trio featuring BC music faculty member Kyle Burnham on drums and BC alumnus Jared Gardner on bass. Ottum performed a selection of original songs from his solo albums, plus a very well-received tribute to Tom Petty. Chris Schlarb and Psychic Temple closed out the evening with a wonderfully diverse set of original tunes from the album Psychic Temple IV, which continues to appear on the Billboard Americana/Folk charts. The band included multi-instrumentalist Phillip Glenn on violin, accordion, mandolin and keyboard, former Nashville drummer Garrit Tillman on drums, and Leeann Skoda on guitar and backup vocals.


Saturday’s events began with a 2.5 hour workshop led by Japanese percussion wizard Tatsuya Nakatani. Nakatani, who currently lives in New Mexico, travels throughout North America performing with local musicians trained to play his set of giant gongs, using his handmade bows and following his unique conducting system. For this event 14 BC music students were selected to perform with the Nakatani Gong Orchestra. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for both the performers and the audience alike. Saturday evening’s concert began with the Andrew Morgan Quartet. Morgan, who plays drums, is a former BC student and recent graduate of the Jazz Studies program at CSU Northridge. His band was stellar, and consisted of fellow CSUN students along with celebrated LA bassist Jeff Schwartz. Following Morgan’s set, BC Jazz Studies professor and trumpet player Kris Tiner performed in a duo with LA pianist Cathlene Pineda. Tiner and Pineda have collaborated and recorded together frequently since they were students at CalArts, and for this set they performed original material plus music by Leonard Cohen and their shared mentor, the late jazz bassist Charlie Haden. Tatsuya Nakatani brought the evening to an ecstatic finish with a riveting solo performance on the drums, followed by the much-awaited Nakatani Gong Orchestra.

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The next Panorama Creative Music Summit is planned for September, 2018 and I can’t tell you how much Im looking forward to this new campus tradition celebrating creative music at Bakersfield College!

Coach Ferreira

The Renegades volleyball team defeated West LA 3-0 , (25-16, 25-9, 25-10) to improve to 15-5 overall and 3-1 in conference. BC was led by Brooke Horack with 10 kills, while Mandy Sangha added 9 kills. Haley Sanchez led the team in digs, with 7.

With the win Carl Ferreira earned his 400th career victory! Congratulations to Coach Carl.

Coach Carl


Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance

On Tuesday, the Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance hosted a luncheon to recognize the work of volunteers in our local legal community. Among the honorees was Princess Herrera, a BC graduate of our Pre-Law pathway. As a student, Princess was the President of the Pre-Law Society while also completing an internship at GBLA, which included English-Spanish translation of several legal documents and publications. Princess is continuing her Pre-Law studies as a junior at CSUB with plans to enter law school in fall 2019. In the meantime, Princess continues her volunteer work at GBLA.


Pictured are several members of BC’s Pre-Law Advisory Council who continue to support and mentor Princess along her journey toward a legal education: Manny Mourtzanos, Mark Pafford (Chief Deputy District Attorney), David Torres (Criminal Defense Attorney), Princess Herrera, Jay Rosenlieb (Attorney),  Adeyinka Glover (GBLA Executive Director), Bethany Peak (Attorney), Alekxia Torres-Stallings (Attorney), and H.A. Sala (Criminal Defense Attorney). My deepest gratitude goes to the members of our Pre-Law Advisory Council for their faithful dedication, volunteer service, and countless hours of investment in our students’ success. At BC, we are so proud of our graduates.

Grimmway Academy and Bakersfield College

Kimberly Bligh, Cole Sampson, Bernadette Towns, Lindsay Ono

Kimberly Bligh, Cole Sampson, Bernadette Towns, Lindsay Ono

A team from Bakersfield College were invited for a tour and lunch at the new Grimmway School in Shafter. BC was joined by representatives from CSUB, Point Loma, Fresno Pacific, and National Universities.

Shafter Principal, Joanna Kendrick, and Arvin Principal, Cole Sampson, took us on walking tours through the farm centered in the middle of campus, the Learning Lab, several classrooms, and then we dined on fresh produce and yummy tacos in the Edible Classroom.  You see in the photo below Shafter Grimmway School Principal, Joanna Kendrick, explaining a typical, cross-discipline food education lesson in the school’s Edible School Classroom.

Chef Anna Melby, also an adjunct professor for BC, runs the Schools Café.  Casey Yeazel, the Chief Academic Officer for the school, shared the school’s teacher and staff hiring process and intensive professional development practices at the Grimmway Schools. He shared the school’s vision and encouraged teacher training collaboration with Grimmway, local colleges, and the community.

Reps from multiple secondary schools

Casey Yeazel

Casey Yeazel, Chief Academic Officer

Thank you BC team — Kimberly Bligh, Bernadette Towns, Lindsay Ono, for attending.  And thank you Trustee Romeo Agbalog for keeping the focus on education for rural Kern front and center.


Latina Empowerment Day

BC was honored to be able to host Latina Empowerment Day in the Fireside Room on Friday, which provided attendees with important resources for Latinas to engage important leadership roles in the community.

Gabby, Norma, Lisa

Gabby Castaneda, Norma Rojas Mora, and Lisa Kent

Latina Empowerment Day was hosted by the group Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), an amazing nonprofit organization “committed to ensuring political and economic parity for Latinas”, according to their website.

They’ve helped thousands of Latinas with education and development of leadership skills to be successful at the highest level in their communities, while providing important demographic data about Latinas to develop and advocate for government and institutional policies that would increase Latina employment.

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Representatives from HOPE conducted three workshops during Latina Empowerment Day, focused on financial planning, business negotiations and conflict resolution, and energy policy, respectively.

Several representatives from Wells Fargo, one of the sponsors of the event, provided some important guidelines for financial health, maintaining good credit and planning for retirement. Wells Fargo’s Vice President of Community Relations Gabriela Mello praised the HOPE organization and expressed her excitement about Wells Fargo’s partnership with the group. “HOPE has done an amazing job supporting, advocating and helping Latinas throughout the country with their leadership institutes and workshops,” Mello said.

Opening speaker Nayi Arismendi, a Subsurface Lead of Major Capital Projects for Chevron, providing some motivational words for the audience while telling her story of coming to America from Venezuela. “We as Latinas have the power to make our way up,” she said. “Don’t be afraid. If you once failed, it doesn’t mean that you won’t get there. We get to wherever we dream of.”

Norma and GabbyTwo lucky attendees to Latina Empowerment Day got some great prizes. HOPE gave away a beautiful Michael Kors handbag and two round-trip tickets with Southwest Airlines to anywhere the airline serves to attendees who stayed for the duration of the event.

I’d like to give a giant shoutout to Norma Rojas Mora for hosting Latina Empowerment Day. She’s a huge supporter of our campus and an integral part of helping us build and develop Measure J. A few months ago, I posted a picture of Norma with Trustee Thomas and Nicole Parra helping us out with Measure J and put it in the July 1st edition of the blog.

Octavio Martinez and Tim Painton

In last Sunday’s edition of the Californian, reporter Teddy Feinberg highlighted the successes of former Renegade baseball star Octavio Martinez, who now works as a Major League bullpen catcher for the Washington National for eight months a year, returning to Bakersfield off-season to unwind in his hometown.

In the article, coach Tim Painton offers some fond memories of Octavio, who was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 1999 and played professionally for 14 years before becoming the Nationals’ bullpen catcher. Painton remembers Octavio as “a man of high character” and “a very genuine, down-to-earth, good person.”

Painton has had the privilege of coaching three of Octavio’s brothers.

Juan was a standout Renegade who went to Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma before playing in the San Francisco Giants farm organization. He now plays professionally in Mexico. Rolando followed in Octavio’s footsteps and went to Oral Roberts University at the end of his Renegade Career. He plays professionally in Mexico, too. Luis is the youngest brother and is currently a senior infielder with the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners. The Martinez brothers are lucky to be a part of such a great family, and all of us at BC are lucky that this family chose our campus to be a part of their journey.

BC in Seattle:

We had a BC Team in Seattle this week at the very last AACC Pathways Institute.

BC Team at AACC Institute 6 in Seattle

Sonya Christian, Craig Hayward, Grace Commiso, Jennifer Johnson, Zav Dadabhoy, Lesley Bonds, Mark Osea

We focused our work in getting our catalog of courses for degrees and certificates to be represented more visually on the web, as well as scaling up students having a Student Ed Plan.  We are a campus that uses the “high touch – high tech” approach while building systems to guide our 31,000 students.

Team at dinner with Lesley performing magic with this selfie.

In front: Grace Commiso, Lesley Bonds, Mark Osea

At the back: Jennifer Johnson, Zav Dadabhoy, Sonya Christian, Craig Hayward

Selfie of BC Team at dinner Oct 26 2017

Selfies: Mark Osea and Craig Hayward on the Space Needle.  Lesley Bonds, Grace Commiso, Jennifer Johnson at dinner.

Emails worth Sharing

BC Chemistry Professor Deborah Rosenthal emailed to share with me that after four weeks of working with BC students, Standard Middle School students came to campus to present their science topics, visit the organic chemistry lab, and see the beginning of the BC volley ball game.  It’s a great day any time our young future Renegades get to visit the BC campus.

Fun Images

Bob and Vicki Meadows who had their first date at Bakersfield College.

Thanks Tarina for pinging this for me with a message that said: “I have known bob to be involved in MANY community involvement events dating back to even being the emcee at my grandmothers charity (YLI) fashion show.”


Bob & Vicki Meadows:

My beautiful flowers from my sweet husband for the anniversary of our first date. ..43 years ago today. .it was to the homecoming dance at Bakersfield College. Little did I know that 4 years later we would be married! ! Love of my life and my best friend!

 Chief Chris Counts showing off the new Public Safety vehicle.  You can tell he is very pleased and so are our Public Safety Officers.

Chris Counts and Sonya Christian with new car Oct 2017

Chris Counts, Sonya Christian

Jen Garrett’s post after the amazing concert last night

Matt Garrett and Jennifer Garrett Oct 27 2017Tonight I was a part of something very special. I stood on a stage in front of over 350 people, conducting a concert of incredible music, with people that I love and admire so much. Chamber Singers performed their repertoire for a conference in February which is extremely challenging and I am so excited to have performed it and now get to make it more incredible. And College Choir exceeded all expectations by singing more difficult repertoire than ever before and performed with a string quintet and also with harp. Then we ended with french horn, violin, timpani, percussion and Patrick Bender blowing us away on the piano. I’ve never had choirs work as hard as they did for this concert. I have no words to express my gratitude for all of their efforts and the heart they do everything with. I am the luckiest choir director in the world!



Jim Selgrath on twitter


October 27 2017 Jim Selgrath

Sonya Christian walking Neo October 28 2017 cropped


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

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2 thoughts on “Many Things to Celebrate at BC!

  1. Drea October 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm Reply

    That’s a darn fine vehicle and well deserved for our dependable charismatic friend Chief Counts.

  2. Michael O’Doherty October 29, 2017 at 4:59 am Reply

    Great update. I loved the shout to the music too. Congratulations to Bob and his wife. So many great projects and causes.
    Plus 400 wins at anything is incredible, way to go Coach!

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