Student Success is Wonderful News!

Good morning Bakersfield. Here is a Calla Lily for you.

Calla Lily June 9 2018

It is Saturday, June 9, 2018 and a great day to be a Renegade.

It appears that I have been prolonging BC’s 104th commencement in every blog since the May 11th event.  Here I go again…..

Wonderful Graduates

Last week, I recognized all of BC’s 2018 Baccalaureate graduates and this weekend, I wanted to highlight our group of approximately 40 Wonderful Academy Dual Enrollment students who received their Associates degree from Bakersfield College on May 11th before graduating high school.

Orange County Event Photography

1st graduating class with Noemi Dinoso, Bill Thomas, Sonya Christian, Romeo Agbalog

Before the 104th Commencement, this group of young college graduates were met by Kern Community College District Trustee Romeo Agbalog for congratulatory remarks and to be recognized for their ambition and hard work.

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Trustee Agbalog addressing the graduates

May 11th was a huge day for these graduates and their families. It started with the Delano Pre-Commencement Celebration where most of them were greeted and congratulated by Chancellor Tom Burke and their day concluded with the 104th Commencement which took place in a packed Memorial Stadium.

Tom Burke at Delano Pre commencement Celebration May 11 2018

Chancellor Tom Burke (center) surrounded by select Dual Enrollment and Delano graduates

Orange County Event Photography

Congratulations to these brilliant young people. Each of them is a trailblazer and they have incredibly bright futures. They have been supported each step of the way by their families, their professors, their friends, each other, the Wonderful Education leadership, and our entire community. Let’s continue to root for these young men and women – they can and will do “Wonderful” things!

Orange County Event Photography

Dual Enrollment at BC

Speaking of the wonderful success of dual enrollment, Anna Laven wrote an opinion piece published in the Bakersfield Californian on Sunday about BC’s entire dual enrollment program, which offers college credit courses at more than 25 high schools throughout Kern County that are transferrable to BC, a CSU or UC.

Anna Laven June 1 2017“Dual enrollment gives our community and our young people the opportunity to experience college level courses and gain confidence in their academic success,” Laven said. The article also describes our partnership with the Wonderful Prep Charter Academy, which offers students the opportunity to receive an Associate Degree in agriculture in four years while working on their high school diploma.

“Bakersfield College is grateful for the hard work and commitment of our partners, whose efforts have resulted in developing a college going culture among rural Kern County communities,” Laven said.

Student Success Stories

I received an email last Monday from Don Turney about very exciting news concerning one of our recent graduates. His email is as follows:

Hi Sonya,

You probably already know this but just in case you don’t…this is pretty cool.  For the last year-and-a-half I’ve been driving up to the Wonderful College Prep Academy in Delano to teach high school juniors and seniors Psyc B1.  I also taught them a Psyc B20 class, “Social Psych.”

I got the greatest phone call last week.  Xochitl Morales, a junior student at the time I taught her those two courses, called to let me know she got into…Harvard!  Not only that, she got a “full-ride” scholarship.  Not only THAT, she was named a Bill and Melinda Gates scholar and all of her expenses will be covered.  Finally, she’s chosen to major in psychology and thanked me for helping her find her “path.”   How about that?

And they pay me to do this job.  Most days, I’d do it for free. Hope you are well and happy.  See you in the fall.

XochitlMorales

Xochitl Morales (center) with her parents

I knew I had to share this extraordinary student’s success with all of you. Xochitl Morales is a poet and musician raised in Delano. She has an exceptional gift for communicating her experiences and her plight as a Latina struggling with her identity in modern day America through music and the written word. She also shows an extraordinary drive to be active in her own education.

When Paramount Bard School, which later became Wonderful College Preparatory Academy, cut back on funding for Art education, Xochitl was instrumental in raising a campaign to bring back the arts through video communication and working with teacher and administration advocates. Her initiative and success became a featured article on California Alliance for Arts Education. I encourage you to read about her Student Advocacy Success Story. Her creativity and advocacy have not stopped at the school. She has recorded her poetry with music about the central valley and struggles of the Latin community.  NBC News wrote this article on the viral video and includes the Latin-Americans: The Children with a Dark Past video. You can watch this video Xochitl Morales Interview which captures wonderful shots of the Delano area.

 

Xochitl says that she’s very thankful for the opportunity that she had from Bakersfield College through the Wonderful Academy. She advises other high school students to take advantage of the dual enrollment classes to explore different academic topics to study in higher education. Taking 55 units of college credits helped her decide to major psychology and expanded her “academic circle.”

She also recommends the classes for the extra challenge and to explore different skills. Taking dual enrollment classes can help students make themselves unique, and extinguish themselves from other applicants at universities with challenging admission criteria. In fact, it was interest in philosophy that helped in writing her essay for her Harvard application. She was also thankful for the opportunities BC gave her as she met all of her academic mentors through BC and our faculty assisted her in getting acceptance to Harvard through their letters of recommendation.

When asked if she would be a first-generation college grad, she said she would have been until last year. Her father went back to school and graduated college last year so that Xochitl and her siblings would have no excuse for not attending college. What an excellent way to teach by example and how a college education is connecting families.

It is such a pleasure and a joy to hear success stories such as these and I am so proud that Bakersfield College was a part of this remarkable young woman’s journey to Harvard. I am a lucky president to have such wonderful faculty that inspire greatness in our students. I expect great things from Xochitl and all our BC Renegades.

Strong Workforce Stars

Bakersfield College recently received Strong Workforce Stars Gold recognition for the Radiologic Technology program. Students who participate in this program boost their earnings by 329%; 100% of them attain the regional living wage, and 100% of students get a job in their field of study.

Radiologic Technology Class of 2018

BC’s most recent graduates of Radiologic Technology: Class of 2018

Program Professor and Director Nancy Perkins attributes students’ strong workforce outcomes to multiple characteristics. For example, the RT Program regularly collects feedback from its students with satisfaction ratings on the program, courses, clinical training, and we ask students what are the program’s strengths and areas for improvement. From employers, the program collects employer satisfaction based on the technical and job skills that BC RT students have demonstrated. According to Ms. Perkins, the data collected have been valuable in developing a strong program for students.

Nancy Perkins

Nancy Perkins

The RT program utilizes a student cohort model, where students enter and progress through the RT curriculum together. Ms. Perkins identified the cohort model as a strength as students bond, assist on another, and study together. The cohort model also provides RT faculty the opportunity to know their students very well. The RT program has an Education Advisor for their students, who regularly meets with students to discuss their academic progress and monitors the students’ education plans. Additionally, workshops on Habits of Mind, note-taking, and time management are integrated with RT curriculum. In order to prepare students for a competitive job market, the RT program provides resume writing and job interview training.

EOP&S Region V Professional Development Conference

BC’s Extended Opportunities Program and Services (EOP&S) department hosted a professional development conference for all of the schools in Region V of the California community college system to share their strategies for providing assistance to first-generation and other educationally and financially disadvantaged students.

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Imelda Simos-Valdez

Imelda Simos-Valdez, director of BC EOP&S, Care, CalWORKs and Cal-SOAP programs, kicked off the conference in the Fireside Room by thanking all of the college representatives for traveling to Bakersfield for such an important professional development opportunity. Each member of the EOP&S staff also walked to the front of the Fireside Room and introduced themselves to the audience.

Vice President of Student Affairs, Zav Dadabhoy gave a brief introduction expressing his gratitude for community college EOP&S programs, adding that the EOP&S process should be the model for student success for all student populations. He also spoke of the transformation happening on campus with the construction and renovation funded by Measure J. “Everyone who works in education is changing people’s lives every day,” Dadabhoy said.

Dr. Zav Dadabhoy

Dr. Zav Dadabhoy

After Dadabhoy’s speech, the audience passed a microphone around the tables in the Fireside Room introducing themselves and told everyone the job title at their college. Simos-Valdez then gave some demographics information about BC’s student population and the locations of all our satellite campuses.

EOP&S Counselor Patricia Ramirez, went over the review packet and shared our process for registering students and determining eligibility for EOP&S programs. For the rest of the afternoon, the group spread out across the campus to attend several workshop sessions about topics such as CARE and CalWORKs collaborations, strategies to support foster youth, and guided pathways momentum points for EOP&S students. The group also went on a tour of BC’s EOP&S office and had an opportunity to network with each other after lunch.

 

 

Thank you to everyone who organized and attended the Region V Professional Development Conference and a big thanks to everyone who works hard to provide educational opportunities for these students across California.

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Fireside Room at Bakersfield College was packed on Thursday, June 7

 

Beautiful Bakersfield Awards

The 2018 Beautiful Bakersfield Awards Gala recognizes the individuals, organizations, and businesses for their efforts that improved the community’s quality of life last year.   This annual event recognized 128 nominees across 15 categories. The banquet and awards gala was broadcast live on KGET-TV 17’s Facebook page on June 3, 2018, at 7 p.m.

MESA Presentation

Connie Gonzalez and Jonathan Kim

Connie Gonzalez and Jonathan Kim

The Beautiful Bakersfield Awards Gala is sometimes known in our community as the “Oscars of Bakersfield” and it was amazing that BC’s Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement program was nominated. The kudos was for the First Annual MESA Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Pre-Health Conference that happened in April 2017 which welcomed over 300 students onto campus to explore careers in the STEM and Pre-health guided pathways.  The conference was held in partnership with UCLA MEDPEP and undergraduate admissions, USDA Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program, BC’s Chemistry, Engineering and Math Faculty, Grimmway Farms, Kern Medical, Aera Energy employees, Infrastructure Engineering Corporation and other industry partners that donated time and money.  The Awards were attended by Dr. Stephen Waller, Consuelo Gonzalez, MESA Director on the left and Jonathan Kim, MESA student.

Shout out to Hodels

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Photo from hodels.com

Over the Summer break, while BC’s Food Services department has been closed, the amazing Hodel’s has provided meals for our retreats and Summer Bridge students.

Sonya Christian and Bob Hodel Fall 2015

Sonya Christian, Bob Hodel

The Hodel family and their connection to Bakersfield College goes back to the 1920s. Hodel’s Country Dining started in 1967, but Lydia Hodel Wiebe used to work with the Weill family, a local retailer who helped found the Kern Community College District’s Weill Institute in downtown Bakersfield. If you visit Hodel’s today, you’ll see plaques for Renegades football adorned on the walls of the waiting area, and when we requested something a little bit different than their regular catering service, current owner Bob Hodel was more than happy to oblige because as Kasey told us, it’s “because you are BC!”

Hodels staff at BC

Hodels staff at BC

Hodels (3)

Delicious Food from Hodels

Hodel’s classic country recipes, including its creamy mashed potatoes and gravy and juicy fried fish, were created by Lydia Bartel Hodel, known as “Mom” Hodel, who moved her family from the Dust Bowl in 1921 at the age of 16. “Mom” cooked for hay harvesting crews working with the Kern County Land Company before becoming the personal cook of Arthur S. Crites, a local property investor and chef who had political connections in the Calvin Coolidge administration. Crites recognized her natural predilection for culinary excellence, and he taught her several recipes that were being used by Coolidge’s personal chef in the White House.

Abel Guzman

Abel Guzman

“Mom” would become the manager of the Greeley School Cafeteria in the 1940s and started her second career as the head cook of Hodel’s after retiring in the spring of 1967. Hodel’s started in the Valley Plaza and opened several locations before renovating and centralizing to the Olive Drive location and adding two banquet rooms in the 90s and 2000s, according to the Hodel’s website.

I’d like to thank the Hodel family and Hodel’s Country Dining for their decades of supporting BC, and for their amazing hospitality to cater Summer Bridge and our retreats for President’s Cabinet and Finance and Administrative Services.

Spotlight on Student Employment and Internships

National Student Employee Appreciation week 2018

National Student Employee Appreciation week 2018

Did you know Bakersfield College employs close to 500 student employees each year? Each of them contributes significantly to the day-to-day operations of the on-campus departments while earning on the job experience that they will take with them once they graduate. In April, we recognized students for their outstanding performances during National Student Employee Appreciation Week and I covered this in my blog on April 14th. Special thank you to Stephanie Baltazar and all in CTE and Student Employment who facilitate some incredible employment opportunities for our students.

Remembering Renegades

Jerry Ludeke in the BC Archives has notified us that Bob Wickey passed away on June 5th. Jerry said,

Bob was well loved on campus for his happy smile and his easy way, almost a pixie sense of humor.  He and his wife Jean had friends who were a cross section of the faculty and staff.  He was originally listed in the college directories as teaching Engineering and Industrial Drawing and later Physical Science.  Bob came to BC in 1965 and stayed for around 27 years.  They retired in Bakersfield.

Bob was instrumental in building a strong chemistry program at our College, and our current chemistry faculty stand on the foundation of his efforts. In March, Dean of Instruction, Stephen Waller ran into a BC chemistry grad, and she was asking about Bob, who inspired her to become a chemist.

President’s Cabinet Retreat

President's Cabinet

On Monday, President’s Cabinet met to discuss goals and work plans for the 2018-2019 academic year. This group is comprised of direct reports to the president of Bakersfield College, as well as other members who serve at the discretion of the president. President’s Cabinet provides the president of Bakersfield College a forum for vetting decisions prior to implementation.​

President's Cabinet Summer Retreat June 3 2018

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Todd Coston, Lesley Bonds, Abel Guzman participating in a game a jeopardy organized by Manny at Cabinet June 4 2018

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Abel Guzman speaking at Cabinet June 4 2018

Todd Coston speaking Cabinet Retreat June 4 2018

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Manny Mourtzanos speaking at Cabinet.jpg

Corny snapped these two pictures of me enjoying time with the members of Cabinet.

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Accreditation Commission Meeting:

The following day I left for the accreditation commission meeting in San Francisco.  At these meetings I am always reminded of how committed the commissioners are in ensuring academic quality and integrity in Higher Education.   We also have a great staff at ACCJC led by CEO Richard Winn.  I forgot to snap photos.  But here are a few, starting with the view from my room and a second one with Ian Walton, the incoming chair of ACCJC who was toasting Richard Mahon who had completed a six-year term as commissioner.  The commission has a term limit of 6 years.

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Ian Walton toasting Richard Mahon June 6 2018

Fun Photos

Paul Beckworth, Angelica Perez, and Armando Trujillo at Porterville College

Paul Beckworth, Angelica Perez, and Armando Trujillo

Bakersfield College Veteran Services were on hand to support Porterville College as it unveiled its Veterans Monument this past Wednesday morning.

If this is not a face looking to create trouble then I am not sure what is….  and then there are the times that he is calm and relaxed.  My most relaxing evenings are when I am in the backyard reading or working and Neo is on the edge of the porch calm and surveying his kingdom–the backyard.

 

 

Finally got back to the gym after 8 weeks of hiatus.  Yes!

Sonya Christian on treadmill after 8 weeks of hiatus June 7 2018

It is a great time to be at BC!

Sonya Christian heading to commission meeting June 6 2018

 

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 “Student Success is Wonderful News!

  1. Paul B. June 9, 2018 at 9:39 pm Reply

    BC is moving forward thanks to a great team of administrators, faculty and staff! Kudos to all the hard workers! Well done EOP&S, Care, CalWORKS, and Cal-SOAP for all their work! Imelda and her team are top notch!

  2. Janet Tarjan June 10, 2018 at 7:49 pm Reply

    What a delight it is to read the BLOG and learn about so many people working in so many ways to make our world a better place! Thank you, all!

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