Welcome Families, Faculty, and Friends to Fall 2018


Good morning Bakersfield. 
It is Saturday, August 18th …. a great day to be a Renegade!

Convocation 1 Aug 14 2018.jpg

Convocation Photo by Diana Martinez

Opening week at BC is the week before the students come back for their fall semester.  This is the week where faculty, staff and administrators spend five days together attending a variety of workshops and gearing up to greet our students and provide the very best learning environment for them.

Fall 2018 Opening Week was particularly good with a great slate of workshops.  On Tuesday, August 14th we welcomed not only incoming Renegades, but their families as well to The Family Bridge To BC: Open House and New Student Convocation. Turnout was amazing.  Check out the opening act.

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Students and their families swarmed the BC campus where they fanned out on a scavenger hunt, ate a delicious meal prepared by our fabulous Food Services team, and overall could see what the BC life is all about. Afterwards, a short program was held in the Outdoor Theater where over 200 faculty and staff stood to give an oath of support to the incoming class of 2020!

Here is Dr. Jen Garret conducting the National Anthem with the amazing Chamber Singers.


Kimberly Bligh at Convocation

Sonya Christian at Convocation.jpg

A huge thank you to Dr. Nicky Damania in Student Life for putting the convocation together, as well as Kimberly Bligh and the Summer Bridge team for making it such a memorable evening.

I am already so impressed with our incoming students, and the dedication that they have demonstrated  by attending the evening event.  We are Bakersfield, and we are BC!

Kimberly Bligh shared an email she recieved From Prof. Don Turney after the event which read,

Last night was simply amazing. I was moved to my core watching the families navigate BC. The parents were bursting with pride as they well should have been, so proud of their children.


I thought you might like this quote from George Hebert Mead, the University of Chicago “father” of Social Psychology. It reminded me of Summer Bridge:

“One of the most important determinants of people is their perception of the future. What people believe they can become is far more important that what they have been. People’s hopes and dreams figure far more significantly in what they are in the present than behaviorists and Freudians would dare admit.”

 Shout out to Janet Tarjan who was everywhere that evening! Here she is with Emmanual Limaco, on stage, and chatting with Jerry Ludeke and me!

Convocation Janet and ChadAt the end of the evening, Janet Tarjan sent me this photo and text – “Chad Hidalgo is very active in SGA Office, past Calculus Student, proud grandfather of two and a future recipient of the BS degree 2019!!  Just finished a wonderful summer internship with Wonderful Citrus. He and I closed down the parking lot last night about 9:30 pm along with Andrea Thorson and Helen Acosta

Friends, have I told you lately that I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever?!

And to top it off, I got to sit in the BC race car! Auto Tech faculty, Rony Recinos is the best!

ConvocationSonya Christian and Rony Recinos

Love these photos taken by Diana Martinez, our student photographer in Student Life.  Check out this article on her https://bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/local-dog-owner-turns-fundraiser-into-business-venture

Student Body President James Tompkins and Vice President Ashley Harp.

Convocation 2 Photo by Diana Martinez.JPG

Convocation Photo by Diana Martinez.JPG

SGA VP and Sonya Christian

Ashley Harp, Sonya Christian

2018 Opening Day

Each semester before the school year begins, BC faculty and staff commemorate the beginning of the academic year with the annual Opening Day Celebration. During the program, faculty and staff are invited to hear the State of the College, Vice President, Liz Rozell welcomes new employees and various representatives give out annual awards and remarks. A fantastic breakfast buffet was provided by Chef Stephanie and BC Food Services before faculty and staff began filling the Indoor Theater to hear opening remarks from BCGSA president James Tompkins.


Dean Steve Waller and crew has started a tradition of attending Opening and Closing days in matching tie dye fashion.See their photo at fall 2017 Opening Day in my blog post from last year. Let’s look at some of the photos from this year’s morning on the plaza.

Opening Day - Steve Waller and Crew Tiedye

i-mxrc3cg-x4Incoming SGA President, James Tompkins noted that he is only in the position to lead SGA this year because he followed through on an assignment in a class here at BC that he didn’t want to do, but did anyway and found he has a tremendous passion for advocacy, which led him to want to serve in this capacity on our campus.

Throughout the different presentations of the morning, I had the opportunity to discuss the state of BC, highlighting a select number of accomplishments from the past year and outlining where our Strategic Directions are taking us in 2018-2019. One of the things I am particularly passionate about this past year is our Institutional Self Evaluation Report (ISER). I believe it is the best report of any institution I have been a part of and I have a team to thank that made it all happen, particularly Nick Strobel, Sondra Keckley, and Lesley Bonds.  As we are going through the accreditation process, I also reminding the entire campus to mark their calendars for Oct. 1-4, as these are the days we will be visited by the accreditation team. Todd Coston reminded us to all read through the ISER before they visit, so we can all be the best BC ambassadors to the visiting team.

Opening Day 2018

i-brbj6bk-x4I am happy to report that the Office of Institutional Effectiveness is fully staffed and this year, we have a new lineup of President’s Cabinet members. With all of the parking lot construction going on around campus, I have set forth the “President’s Challenge” to all  faculty, staff and students to carpool, be dropped off, ride the bus or bike to campus the first month of school. By modeling these efforts ourselves, we will help ease the parking situation throughout the beginning of the semester. 

Nicky Damania shared about the upcoming Renegade Express Shuttle coming to the Panorama Campus to help with parking during the first four weeks of school as well. 

Nicky Damania on Opening Day 2018

Victor Diaz filled in for the Academic Senate President Steven Holmes on behalf of Academic Senate, and shared that Bakersfield College awarded over 2000 degrees this last academic year. Sue Vaughn took a moment of the program to recognize all of our managers who may work behind the scenes, but do so much to make sure our college moves forward into the future. As we were sitting down through most of the morning, periodically Todd Coston and Zach Peters, the Director of Strength and Conditioning in Athletics, led us all in a variety of stretches to keep our minds active.

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Bill Potter, Todd Coston, and Tamara Baker filled everyone in on the details of the coming Measure J improvements across campus. Did I mention Todd Coston was funny?! To show you what I mean, check out a few of Todd, Tamara, and Bill’s vacation pictures they shared during the presentation.

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To know more about the improvements please visit our Better BC website.

Zav Dadabhoy, Nick Strobel, and Theresa McAllister shared important information about the funding formula and how important it is that BC remains committed to enrollment management, curriculum development, and guided pathways.

Each year we enjoy taking the time out of Opening Day to recognize our new employees. Liz Rozell energetically welcomed each of our new faculty, managers and classified employees to campus. We are glad to have them all on board as Renegades.

New Faculty

This year’s Shirley Trembley Distinguished Teaching award was presented to Andrea Garrison by Isabel Stierle who shared some thoughts and insights about her friend:

Andrea Garrison and Isabel Stierle“When I started 17 years ago, Andrea Garrison served as my faculty friend; as my mentor. I was able to sit in on her classes in general biology. She shared her teaching materials with me, gave support and advice. I was honored when, Over time, she even incorporated some of my ideas into the lab manual that is shared by some faculty in our department. I felt I was made an intricate part of the department. This relationship, that Andrea and I have shared over the years, has allowed us to hold many conversations about education.

Andrea continued to mentor new faculty over the years and she gave the same level of support and guidance to everyone over the years that sought out her advice.This was expressed by all the faculty who wrote letters recognizing Andrea for the Trembley award. We all found her accessible, and she would take the time to consider the details of each question and to give her best answer, based on the many experiences she has had here at the college.

Just as caring and supportive as she has been with her colleagues, she used this same openness and compassion with her students. A quote from one of her former students reads

“When I took her challenging biology course two years ago, understanding the course material and staying on track was a struggle. Professor Garrison noticed that I was having such a difficult time and constantly talked to me privately, wanting to understand my situation. Once the semester ended, she contacted me, suggesting that I retake the course with her.

Fast-forward one year and I became her lab assistant. She stood by my side and pushed me out of my comfort zone and never gave up on me.”

When we think about teaching, we must recognize that it goes well beyond the classroom environment., There are other components to education that we don’t often think about, those moments that are behind-the-scenes. Sharing an office next door to Andrea, I was able to get a glimpse of some of the student visits to Andrea’s door. Maybe they needed help with a biology topic; sometimes they were making up exams, maybe it was a personal issue or a health matter. She always had her door open, and would often be in her office longer than most. She wanted to be there to support her students.

In addition to the office hours, she would often participate in or guide field trips, she’d hold open lab time (what is sometimes done in lab courses) giving students that extra opportunity outside of the normal class hours to review and build technical skills. Sometimes, Andrea would work on revamping teaching displays to make sure that were accurate and up-to-date. She might work on designing a new lab experiment to better illustrate scientific method. She would also serve on numerous committees as well as an advisor in student clubs.

I think one individual  who mentored with Andrea for the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship on campus summarized her most accurately with the following:

“I recently went to an InterVarsity Alumni reunion where I met many former students who attended Bakersfield College. Many of them told me stories of Professor Garrison’s investment in the college that has continued for years. Andrea is the epitome, to me, in terms of commitment and investment. She is not content to merely fulfill her duties. Rather, she wants to see students fall in love with learning, see them succeed and holistically grow into well rounded people.”

He went on to say, “Andrea loves her craft, loves the people she teaches, loves her coworkers and loves her campus. This is evident if you have anything longer than a five-minute conversation with her.”

With that last statement, I hope that she is given more than 5 minutes to express her acceptance of this award. So I would like to recognize My friend and colleague, Professor Andrea Garrison.”

Andrea Garrison and Isabel Stierle

During her acceptance remarks, Andrea encouraged us all to get to know our colleagues and become friends with them – to eat lunch with other faculty/staff and sit in on the lectures of newly hired faculty. Lastly, before we broke for the amazing grab and go lunch provided by food services, we heard from Susan Pinza who presented the Norm Levan Colloquium award to Rayann Kumulos. 

Susan Pinza at Opening Day 2018

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I have to give a shoutout to our favorite emcee, the brilliant, charismatic, and funny Todd Coston.


Many thanks to all who attended as well as all those who tirelessly worked together to put together yet another great Opening Day event. Wishing all the best to our entire community of BC faculty and staff and we start strong another chapter in the history of Bakersfield College.  

Tech Team for Opening Day 2018

Tech Team for Opening Day 2018

Opening Day - Planning Team

Opening Day - Ushers

Wonderful Ag Prep Celebration

39072703_10155741500319352_349049170352406528_nLast Saturday, August 11th, I had the honor to represent community colleges involvement in the Wonderful Company’s Agricultural Career Prep program at a ceremony in Delano. We celebrated a record breaking, history setting group of graduates.

The program gives students at select area high schools the opportunity to earn 60 units of tuition-free college credit in agriculture business management, agricultural technology and plant science. Last week’s graduation ceremony received generous media coverage from across the Valley, being featured four times on KERO’s broadcast, appearing twice on KGET, as well as an article written in BakersfieldNow, the website for KBAK/KBFX Eyewitness News. Reports of the graduation ceremony were also featured in Fresh Fruit Portal, a publication that covers fruit industry news, as well as The Packer, a fruit and vegetable industry trade publication. 

During my remarks, the graduates stood with me to thank Lynda and Stewart Resnick for their passionate investment to education and the future of Kern County.

Let’s listen to these bright young graduates share what they have in store for their futures…


I’m so proud of all the students who made it through this transformative and important program, as well as everyone in Wonderful Education who worked so hard to inspire the agricultural leaders of tomorrow.


There were so many dignitaries there.  I managed to snag the following pictures

Selfie with Stewart Resnick, Sonya Christian with Frank Gornick

Adjunct Faculty Orientation

At this weeks Adjunct Faculty Orientation, 70 new additions to the Renegade family attended to participate in canvas training, and see presentations on BC enrollment, DSPS, and Starfish. Bill Moseley provided this photo of Maria Wright sharing important details about Student support which leads to student success at the Home of the Renegades.

Adjunct Faculty Orientation Maria Wright

Flexweek 2018 

The start of the 2018-19 academic year is right around the corner, so to get our faculty and staff ready for the flood of students returning to campus, we hosted a series of Flex Week professional development workshops for new and returning staff to prepare themselves for the start of another exciting school year.

The week kicked off with the New Faculty Seminar on Monday in the library, introducing all of our incoming faculty to BC. Lesley Bonds led a thorough review of our Institutional Self-Evaluation Report and talked about preparing for our upcoming Accreditation site visit, and Cindy Collier and California Career Pathways Program Director Bonita Steele hosted a workshop about all of the ways that the guided pathways framework is increasing the career-readiness of all students, from kindergarten to adulthood.

Other notable workshops included an overview of the Program Mapper tool led by Craig Hayward and Counseling Department staff members Brynn Schock, Mark Osea, Jonathan Schultz and Eleonora Hicks; a workshop about the Adult Education Block Grant and other adult education initiatives hosted by Endee Grijalva and Jaime Lopez; and a seminar on supporting the diverse ethnic and gender identities of our students and people in our community, led by Helen Acosta.

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Flex Week workshops are always a unique opportunity to get everyone in the right mindset during the lead-up to the new academic year, and I hope everyone who attended the workshops learns something that they can use to grow and improve in their role.

Athletics Department Meeting

Athletics also held their annual department meeting where all coaches, faculty, and staff gather to celebrate, plan, and kick off another successful year of Renegade Athletics. Special thanks to Sandi Taylor, Keith Ford, and Brandon Urry.

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Tori Wiley Signs with CSU San Bernardino

Tori WileyIt has been exciting each week this summer to hear about the various universities our student athletes are moving on to. This week we are happy to hear track & field/cross country athlete Tori Wiley has signed to continue on her education and playing career at CSU San Bernardino. In her career as  Renegade Tori graduated from BC in 3 semesters and took 4th in the state in javelin, 7th in So Cals regionals in heptathlon and 4th in javelin (qualifying for state in both). Tori also competed in cross country in her time there. In addition, Tori was named All-American in javelin. Good luck to Tori. We know you will make us all proud as you move on to CSU San Bernardino.

Athletics Events This Coming Week

With the start of the new semester our athletes will be in competition mode with a few sports having their first games this coming week. Come out and support our hard-working student athletes as they represent our college. Show up to games, wear red and be loud! Home and away games this coming week are listed below. Good luck to all our Renegade teams!

8/22 – Football scrimmage vs. Antelope Valley | Memorial Stadium |6pm | This event is free and open to the public. Don’t forget the first 200 fans in attendance will get a free 2018 fall sports schedule poster. Be there to get yours. (image attached)
8/24 – Women’s soccer | Memorial Stadium | 7pm

8/24 – Men’s soccer at LA Harbor | 2pm
2018 Fall Athletics Schedules

Veterans Resource Center

This week, Navy veteran and Renegade student A.J. Meza and Paul Beckworth excited about the the soon-to-be brand new BC Veteran Resource Center!

AJ Meza and Paul Beckworth VRC COnstruction

A.J. Meza and Paul Beckworth

Umoja Summer Orientation

Umoja Orientation 2018This week, I stopped by the Umoja Community African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence (ASTEP) summer orientation. Umoja Community is a program designed for African-American students and includes coursework in English and student development, tutoring support, mentoring, academic and cultural trips, and counseling support to stay on track to graduate and transfer. BC’s program is part of the state-wide Umoja Community. I offered words of support and encouragement to the students and took questions. The students were so excited to meet and hear from her.  Umoja Coordinator Dr. Paula Parks gifted me with a one-of-a-kind Umoja ASTEP cap.

Umoja Summer Orientation 2018


The two-day orientation covered the Umoja practices, tips on being successful, and financial aid basics and included discussions on culture and activities to build community.  Explained Ladaeja Johnson: “These last two days have provided me with nothing but positivity and ways to succeed.” And Daryl Maiden said, “From these two days, people that were complete strangers to me became my family and friends.”  Charles Hale added,” These past two days for me have been an awesome experience, and I am excited to learn more about my culture. I also believe that the Umoja Community can push me to my full potential.”

Keon Warren summed it all up with, “Dr. Parks is so passionate and motivated about this program that it makes me not only want to do well for myself but for her and the entire Umoja Community as well.”

Summer Drawing

Diego Monterrubio worked on this very cool project with his independent art studies students over the last couple days in preparation to kick off the new school year!! The sign will be on campus during the first week of school. Make sure to take your own selfies with it! #WeareBC!

Renegade Selfie Sign

Panorama Music Summit

@BCJazzStudies on Twitter shared that we have an exciting and diverse lineup of artists for this years upcoming Panorama Creative Music Summit at BC! Mark your calendars now!

Panorama Music Summit

Spotlight on Kris Tiner

Kris Tiner Summer Tour 2018Kris Tiner, BC’s Director of Jazz Studies, toured the midwest in July with Tin/Bag, his 15-year collaboration with NYC guitarist Mike Baggetta. The duo’s performance at the FMRL series in Nashville was the Nashville Scene Critics’ Pick, and music editor Stephen Trageser described their blend of jazz, country, and art music as “ingenious.” Other tour stops included Barking Legs Theater in Chattanooga, Pilot Light in Knoxville, Jimmy Can’t Dance in Louisville, Filament in Columbus, State Street Pub in Indianapolis, the District Library Concert Series in Ann Arbor, and Elastic Arts in Chicago. Tin/Bag will be releasing their fifth album of original music on Big Ego Records next year, a studio recording that was supported by a Levan Faculty Summer Grant. Learn more at one of the links below.

Special Kudos to Professor Rosenthal

Debbie RosenthalBC has amazing faculty, like professor Deborah Rosenthal who has been specially asked to submit information for an upcoming American Chemical Society (ACS) book! The American Chemical Society was founded in 1876 and chartered by the U.S. Congress. According to the official website, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and their mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people.

In the Media: BC’s Child Development Center Outdoor Classroom

Joseph Luiz of the Bakersfield Californian was on campus to learn more about BC’s Outdoor Classroom at the Child Development Center. His article seen here, recognizes the partnership of Community Action Partnership of Kern to produce the first classroom of its kind in Bakersfield. If you are a Bakersfield College student and would like to sign your child up for care at the Child Development Center this fall, you can pick up an application at bakersfieldcollege.edu/cdc or call 661-395-4386.

Remembering Renegades

Ron Allsman suffered a severe stroke up at Angels Camp, his beloved retreat for many years. He was brought to Bakersfield where he passed on the morning of August 10.  Ron was first hired into the BC Life Science division in the spring of 1962 and taught at BC for 43 years. He served as Faculty Senate (then called Faculty Council) president for two terms, helped initiate the BC nursing program, taught a wide variety of life science courses, from Microbiology, Bacteriology, and General Biology to Pharmacology,  Pathophysiology, and a Personal Finance course. Ron received the Shirley Trembley Award for Excellence in Teaching. He and his wife Margot, who died in 2016, were avid travelers. Both of their sons were student body presidents at Bakersfield College and I knew Ron during my years as a faculty member at BC. Service details have not yet been announced.

Lynne Mercer succumbed to cancer on August 14.  Lynne grew up in Bakersfield and, after graduating with a BSN from Fresno State, she became a Captain in the US Army.  After her Army stint, she specialized in obstetrical registered nursing and taught in the Bakersfield Registered Nursing Department for many years.  While teaching at BC she earned a master’s degree in education from Pepperdine University.

BC Southwest Book Delivery

BCSW Book Delivery

Angela Medina with BC Bookstore personally delivered textbooks to the SW so students attending the SW would only need to drive there.  Thank you Fernando Lara and Angela for your efforts.

Fun Photos from this week

During Opening Day prep, Todd Coston and Tamara Baker took this fun picture while Tarina Perry stood by with her headset!

Erin Auerbach and Monika Scott took a selfie after their Flexweek presentation.

Monika Scott and Erin Auerbach

Convocation Group Photo

Zach Quiroz and Somaly Boles at the IEPI Conference!



Mike Maggard on Facebook

Facebook Aug 16 2018 Mike Maggard BC Rides Free.png


Friends, We are BC! Welcome, everyone to Bakersfield College for fall 2018!

Sonya Christian at Convocation Aug 14 2018 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 “Welcome Families, Faculty, and Friends to Fall 2018

  1. Olivia Garcia August 19, 2018 at 4:01 pm Reply

    So awesome to read about Tori Wiley!! My husband and I met her when she participated in a youth leadership program we are involved in called Devil Pups. At the time, she was a student at Highland High School. She did awesome in the program, and we are beyond proud to see that she is continuing to trail blaze at BC and beyond!

  2. […] Last May, thirty-eight Wonderful Ag Prep Renegades walked the stage at Memorial Stadium in recognition of earning a college degree from BC through the Early College program a few weeks prior to receiving their high school diploma. Then later that August, the amazing team at Wonderful Education hosted a special celebration for their graduates and families and I was fortunate to share some remarks at this life-changing event. I first shared this in my blog on August 18th, 2018 and you can see the original post here. […]

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