Spring Into Action!

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 13, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

We live in exciting times….

On Wednesday, April 10, we were able to see something that has never been captured before: an actual photograph of a black hole.  For years, scientists could only imagine what an actual black hole looked like, and now that has been turned into a reality.

Our own Nick Strobel posted about the black hole on his Facebook page. Take a look!

Black Hole Facebook screenshot

The image released to the world on Wednesday shows an orange and red ring around the dark shadow of a black hole, the edge separating the light that escaped and reached the Earth from 55 million light-years away, from the light that could not escape the intense gravity of the black hole.

Having the ability to see black holes opens up new areas of research into the physics our our universe. We truly live in exciting times!

KCCD Board of Trustees Meeting

On Thursday, BC welcomed the Kern Community College District Board of Trustees to the Panorama campus for their annual April board meeting at BC.

Our Maintenance and Operations staff put up a beautiful tent in the CSS Lawn for the Trustees and BC leadership to enjoy lunch before the board meeting, and Food Services prepared a delicious meal of enchiladas and chile verde. During lunch, Todd Coston and Monika Scott took a moment to celebrate all of our classified staff members who work hard behind the scenes to keep our campus beautiful and ensure that our students have a wonderful educational experience.

People sitting at round table

Traditionally, our lunches before the April board meetings have highlighted instructional departments such as Industrial Automation or Culinary Arts, but this year, we thought it would nice to show our appreciation for some of BC’s unsung heroes among our classified staff. Financial Aid Technician Rebecca Bumpous took the podium to described the ways that she has helped her department with funding our students’ dreams, awarding $44 million in Title IV funding and $3 million in state funding for the 2018-19 academic year.

Woman speaking
Rebecca Bumpous, Financial Aid Technician
Man speaking
Carlos Barbaran, Custodian I

Carlos Barbaran proudly spoke of his 24 years of service as a custodian in Maintenance and Operations, keeping 72,000 square feet of instructional facilities clean for our students every day.

Woman speaking
Shauna Turner, Department Assistant III

Shauna Turner gets to pursue her passion for providing opportunities for disadvantaged and first-generation students as a Department Assistant for Student Success and Equity, and Systems Support Specialist Israel Mendoza is honored to service 3,000 electronics devices across Panorama and Delano campuses and BC SouthWest to ensure that our students have the tools they need to finish their assignments.

Man speaking
Israel Mendoza, Systems Support Specialist I
Woman speaking
Mirian Fuentes, Food Service Worker III

Watch the video below to see all the speeches.

At the end of the classified staff testimonials, Todd Coston shared a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that epitomizes our BC staff’s dedication to our students.

“The purpose of life… is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

After lunch, the Trustees moved over to the Levan Center for the Board meeting. The Board presented awards to retiring BC employees and emeritus faculty. Chancellor Tom Burke took a moment to explain the history of the word emeritus, which started as a Latin title bestowed to ancient Roman soldiers after their tour of service but evolved to refer to college professors who are distinguished in their dedication to students and academia. The Board of Trustees gave emeritus recognition to Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Rafael Espericueta, Andrea Garrison, Catherine Freeman, Susan McQuerrey, Ann Wiederecht, Kate Pluta, Kathleen Rossellini, Januet Lewis, Joyce Kirst, Odella Johnson, Rachel Vickrey, Becki Whitson, Scott Wayland and Daniel Johnson.

Here are the individuals who received emeritus status.

Here are the seven of the 18 retiring BC faculty and staff. It’s always sad to see such talented people leave BC, but they will always remain a part of the Renegade family. Our retirees have served a total of 456 years of service to BC and touched the lives of an estimated 91,000 students.

Penny Loos and Theresa Rodriguez were an integral part of Food Services as a Department Assistants, navigating the department through decades of changes.

Fred Smith has been an athletic trainer for Renegade student athletes since 1984, and an estimated 10,000 students’ lives were impacted by his support for about 4,000 athletic events.

Sally Sterns earned two degrees from BC and decided to stick around as a Horticulture Lab Tech, and she has directly contributed to the growth of Garden Fest, one of the largest horticulture events in Kern County, an event that brings 7,000 people to our campus every year.

Rebecca Mooney has proudly shared her passion for literature and writing with students as a professor in the English department, and Nancy Perkins was selected to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work as Director of Radiologic Technology for 39 years. Finally, math professor Bernard Scanlon will be remembered by generations of students for his great, booming voice and his cutting-edge work developing interactive lecture materials for students since the mid-90s.

I would like to thank Maintenance and Information Technology for their support of this year’s Board of Trustees meeting, as well as Todd Coston and Monika Scott for taking the time to celebrate our classified staff during lunch. And a big thank you to everyone from the Executive Office who helped plan and coordinate the meeting.

I hope you enjoy these photos from Manny De Los Santos and Dylan Wang.

Kern County Board of Supervisors

Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Teresa Hitchcock, Brian Bell, JP Lake, Aaron Resendez, Liz Rozell, and Jean Fuller
L-R: Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Teresa Hitchcock, Brian Bell, JP Lake, Aaron Resendez, Liz Rozell, and Jean Fuller

On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, academic partners from Bakersfield College and McFarland Unified School District presented their unique Early College collaborative program to the Kern County Board of Supervisors. Jean Fuller and Liz Rozell, representing Bakersfield College, presented along with Aaron Resendez, Superintendent of McFarland Unified School District, and Brian Bell, Principal of McFarland High School.

Brian Bell, Aaron Resendez, Jean Fuller, Liz Rozell
Jean Fuller presents to the Kern County Board of Supervisors.
JP Lake speaking at podium
J.P. Lake speaks to the Board in support of Early College.

J.P. Lake, on behalf of the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government, also spoke to the Board of Supervisors supporting Early College as an effective educational program. Thanks to Teresa Hitchcock, County Administrative Office on Economic Development, and Romeo Agbalog, KCCD Trustee and Executive Director of Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government, for coordinating this opportunity.

Accreditation Certificate Received

This week, BC received an important document in the mail: our most recent accreditation certificate! This document is only made possible by the hard work, dedication, and commitment of so many hands, hearts, and minds that make up BC’s faculty, staff, and administration. Thank you to each and every one of you who contributed to the accreditation process and site visit.

Accreditation Certificate

Check out my past blog entries which highlight all the work which went into accreditation including BC: A place where dreams are made and fulfilled.

Lunch with Lance Izumi

Lance Izumi holding up his book
Lance Izumi holding up his new book, ‘Choosing Diversity.’

Lance Izumi is Koret Senior Fellow in Education Studies and Senior Director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for California Community Colleges and the former chair of the Board of Governors for the California Community Colleges.  Izumi is an accomplished author, having published multiple books and produced several films on education. In his latest book, Choosing Diversity: How Charter Schools Promote Diverse Learning Models and Meet the Needs of Parents and Children, Izumi highlights Grimmway Academy Shafter as a model that meets the needs of Rural America.

Lance Izumi, Jean Fuller, Sonya Christian, Romeo Agbalog
Lance Izumi, Jean Fuller, myself, and Romeo Agbalog are all smiles.

On Friday, April 5, Izumi joined local educational and political leaders to discuss the findings from his new book and to lead a panel of practitioners in a discussion of charter schools and the educational landscape in California.  Panelists included: Senator Emeritus Jean Fuller, Shafter Education Partnership Director David Franz, Chief academic Officer of Grimmway Schools Casey Yeazel, and the Kern County Economic and Workforce Developmentís Teresa Hitchcock.

Izumi also showed an amazing video at the event.  Watch the video on YouTube.

Thank you to Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government and Grimm Family Education Foundation for organizing this event.

Distinguished Speaker Series: Eric Schlosser

On Thursday, April 4, Rolling Stone journalist and New York Times bestselling author Eric Schlosser gave a series of presentations at BC about the development of “Fast Food Nation” and his other books.

Eric Schlosser
Eric Schlosser speaks about ‘Fast Food Nation’ and his other works.

Schlosser was the person most recently featured in BC’s Distinguished Speakers series for the 2018-19 academic year, which has brought other notable speakers such as Temple Grandin, Clementine Wamariya, and Christina Sommers to campus.

Schlosser started his journalistic career writing a series of articles about the labor abuses of those working in California strawberry fields, which lead to writing about fast food for Rolling Stone. “Fast Food Nation” describes the history of the fast food industry, which started in Southern California in the 1950s when the McDonald brothers developed a divided system of restaurant labor based on industrial assembly line practices. The book goes on to describe the ways agriculture and meat packing industries, as well as American eating habits, have been transformed since the first McDonald’s opened up in 1955.

“Fast Food Nation” is required reading in many high school and college classes, including English B1A. Schlosser also wrote about nuclear weapons in the book “Command and Control” and is working on a book about the prison system.

Eric Schlosser speaking on stage
The audience was entranced during Schlosser’s presentation.
Reggie Williams
Reggie Williams addressing the group

Thank you to the Office of Student Life, the Levan Center and everyone who helped bring Eric Schlosser to campus.

BC L.E.T.S. Teach Conference a B.I.G. Success!

Students who attended the L.E.T.S. Teach Conference on March 29 at the BC Panorama campus participated in interactive workshops held by field experts about what being a teacher/educator entails.

Group of four women smiling

According to edsource.org: “A 2016 survey of 211 (California) school districts by the Learning Policy Institute revealed that nearly three-quarters could not find enough qualified teachers to fill their classrooms. Instead, schools hired thousands of underqualified teachers. In 2016-17, more than 12,000 provisional intern permits, limited assignment teaching permits, waivers and intern credentials were issued in California. About half of these went to math, science and special education teachers: subject areas with the most acute shortages, according to the research.”

Collage of conference swag

There were a total of 5 workshops provided to participants throughout the morning, then participants gathered for networking lunch catered by our BC Food Services department. Our main goal for this conference was to reach those students who are thinking of pursuing teaching in the field of STEM or CTE.  High school students were also invited to attend this event.

Collage of conference attendees

The workshop titles were as follows:

  • Joe Saldivar, Biology Professor – “Basic Genetics and Celebrity Children”
  • Michael Frendenberg, Mathematics Professor – “Five Faces of Teaching Math”
  • La’Stevia Dixon & Fay Sandoval, Edison School District – “Teaching From the Heart”
  • Bettye Stachowiak, University of LaVerne – “Mindfulness”
  • Vendor Recourse Fair 15+ Universities and employers
Man with hipster beard and woman holding flowers

This was the fourth BC conference sponsored by the Education Futures grant and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and hosted by Leaders and Educators for Tomorrow’s Students (L.E.T.S. Teach). Our goal is to continue offering these conferences in the future to raise awareness of the need for teachers and the value of being a part of this profession.

Two men posing for camera

In addition to this conference, L.E.T.S. Teach holds FREE monthly huddles for Bakersfield College students considering the field of Education. These are an opportunity to network with like-minded students, current professionals, and ask questions about the path to becoming a teacher (or principal, counselor, and more).

Collage of conference attendees

The last Spring 2019 huddle is on Thursday, April 25 from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm in CSS 135 (upstairs from counseling).  Evening tea & cookies will be provided. RSVP here! We would like to thank the L.E.T.S. Teach coordination team: Dr. Kimberly Bligh, Director; Christina Maldonado, Department Assistant; Isabel Castaneda, Education Advisor; Teresa McAllister, Education Faculty and Huddle Lead; and Jessica McGrath, Job Placement Specialist. We would also like to thank our volunteers, Education Department Peer Mentors, and student graphic designer Evelyn Torres.

Delano Career Expo

The Career Education department coordinated their first Spring Career Expo at the Delano Campus on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. With efforts from our Job Development Specialist, 28 vendors from various industries such as Agriculture, Law Enforcement, Health Services, Corrections, and Education, joined us to expose our students to different career pathway opportunities.

Bakersfield College tent and booth

Several students took advantage of the event between classes to network with vendors discussing open positions, internships, and career opportunities within their company. Many students commented on how excited they were to see the variety of vendors and the networking opportunities they received.

Two people at Delano Career Expo booth
Bolthouse Farms booth

Special thanks to Domenica Trinidad, Job Developer, the Career Education Department Staff, and Veronica Lucas, Counselor for the Delano Campus, for all of their support along the way to help make this a successful event.

Victor Diaz: Hall of Famer

Last Saturday night, Victor Diaz was inducted into Foothill High School Hall of Fame.  An excerpt from that night’s program describes Victor’s many accomplishments, both in life and on the football field:

Vic’s love of football began at Mt. Vernon Elementary School, when he quarterbacked the flag football team to a league championship, then through Jack Frost football in junior high school, and finally into high school, where he again secured the quarterback position on the JV team.

Victor Diaz and Corny Rodriguez
Victor Diaz and Corny Rodriguez celebrating Victor’s Hall of Fame induction.

In 1991, as a junior quarterback, he led the Trojans to victory over their long-time rivals, the BHS Drillers, eliminating them from advancing to the playoffs.  Instead, Foothill moved on to the league playoffs for the first time in 10 years. That same year in a playoff game against defending Valley Champs Clovis High, Vic threw for 321 yards and 3 touchdowns.  For his hard work and leadership, he received the MVP award, as well as being named Second-Team All Area Quarterback.

Man speaking at podium
Victor Diaz gives a rousing speech during his Hall of Fame induction.

In 1992, during his senior year, Vic led his team to another record-breaking season by defeating the perennial powerhouse West High Vikings, leading to a much-anticipated showdown with the BHS Drillers.  Moved to Bakersfield College, the BHS game drew huge city-wide attention, attracting 17,575 fans and setting a new state record for a high school football game. While the Trojans lost this closely-contested game, they would continue on to the playoffs, taking on Tulare Western, a game in which Vic completed 14 of 19 passes for 261 yards and 2 touchdowns.

He ended his football career as a First-Team All Area quarterback.  Vic also lettered in varsity baseball during his freshman and sophomore years.  Throughout his high school career, Vic won numerous awards and recognitions, including Jockey Athlete of the Month Award, Channel 17, Football Extra, and Hometown Sports.  Now, after more than 25 years, Vic still holds the Foothill Trojan record as a quarterback with the most passing yards and touchdown passes, totaling 3,828 yards and 39 touchdowns with 18 wins.

Close up of Vic Diaz photo on poster
Here’s a cool photo of Victor Diaz during his playing days.

Entering Bakersfield College after graduation and trying out for the football team, he discovered that he would rather pursue an academic career.  Upon completing his B.A. and Masters in Educational Counseling, Vic returned to Bakersfield College as Athletic Academic Counselor, where he currently serves as Academic Senate Vice President and Counseling Department Chair.

Congratulations on all your success, Vic!  We are BC!

Remembering Terri Nuckols

Superintendent Terri Nuckols will always be remembered as a local champion of education. An article from The Delano Record shared more details about her legacy by saying the following:

Delano Joint Union High School District employees were notified by email from Superintendent Jason Garcia on March 29 of the death of Dr. Terri Nuckols.

Terri L Nuckols funeral program cover

“It is with deep regret and a heavy heart,” said Garcia, “that I must share the passing of Dr. Terri Nuckols. She was an educator for more than 35 years and served the Delano Joint Union High School District from 2006 until her retirement in October 2018.

Dr. Nuckols began her work in education as a substitute teacher in the Porterville Unified School District and was eventually hired as an English instructor at Monache High School.

In July 2006, she came to Delano as learning director at Cesar E. Chavez High School. In 2009, she was named principal at Delano High School and became director of the Delano Adult School in July 2011.

In November of 2015, she was named Delano Joint Union High School District superintendent. Under her leadership the district has continued to thrive and its schools have consistently ranked within the top schools in both Kern and Tulare counties.

There has been significant increase in college partner relationships as the district has overhauled its CTE pathway classes to better align with its college partners.

Nuckols’ vision and leadership helped to make the change while creating seamless transitions for students. She was instrumental in collaborating with Bakersfield College to begin the new Industrial Automation Pathway at Robert F. Kennedy High School.

In addition, Dr. Nuckols was a leader in moving the district’s dual enrollment program forward, providing students with the opportunity to earn valuable college credits while attending classes on their high school campuses.

Elaine Moreno Goes on Deployment

Elaine Moreno
Elaine Moreno is headed overseas and we wish her a safe journey and return!

A few weeks ago, I shared in my blog that Renegade Elaine Moreno is headed overseas to Baghdad. I am continually inspired and amazed by the stories of our active men and women in service and especially those who remain committed to their education while overseas. Here’s to wishing Elaine all the best, to keeping her and her unit safe, and beginning the countdown for her safe return.

Elaine Moreno waiting to board plane

Blessing of the Bikes

The R.E.D. Friday Motorcycle Group held their fifth annual Bakersfield Blessing of the Bikes event at St. Joseph’s Church this past weekend.  With more than 120 motorcycles at the event, they were able to donate $1,000 to the Bakersfield College Veterans’ Club, as well as $2,000 to a family who has a child fighting cancer.

Row of motorcycles

Their group consists of military veterans, law enforcement, and those who have a passion to ride. Their rides are designed to honor those who are in, and have been, in the military and serve our country.  They have motorcycle rides to escort new military recruits and honor our fallen heroes. I’m honored that R.E.D. gives back to our veterans by choosing Bakersfield College Veterans’ Club as one of their recipients.

People standing and clapping

I’d like to give a very special thanks to Trudi Blanco for working with the club to secure the $1,000 donation.

Alpha Phi Alpha

BC faculty and staff and Umoja Community African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence (ASTEP) students were pleased to attend the festive Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Scholarship Gala.

Group of students at Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Scholarship Gala

Keynote speaker Tony Magee, author of Can’t Shove a Great Life into a Small Dream, was entertaining and insightful.  He shared three inspiring tips: 1. Find your purpose, 2. Cultivate your self worth, and 3. Boost your creative thinking. The Umoja students enjoyed his message and took notes. The tips on self worth that they found particularly helpful were compliment yourself, compliment others, and increase your gratitude. What a treat for them to be able to participate in this community event with BC faculty and staff!

Student speaking into microphone

Scholarship recipients included Giovanna Blakey, who attends Stockdale High School; Jeremiah Riggins, who attends Independence High School; Jahi Hudgins, who attends Highland High School; and Amaya Lawton, who also attends Highland High School. They all have grades from 3.5 to more than 4.0 and plan to attend out-of-town universities in the fall.

Student speaking into microphone

Hank Washington, former art teacher at South High School, and Alma Nealy, educator, and founding member of the local Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Links, Inc. chapters were honored with the prestigious Community Service awards. They are both examples of Black excellence through many years of professional achievements and community service.

Three people smiling next to podium

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. founded in 1906, is the oldest Greek letter organization founded by African-American men on the campus of Cornell University. The annual scholarship gala presented by the local chapter is only one of their many programs that give back to and engage the African-American community.

Student speaking into microphone

The Umoja Community program at BC is coordinated by Dr. Paula Parks and includes coursework in English, student development, and library research. Other program components are mentoring, academic and counseling support, and college trips.  

Thanks to Director of Outreach Steve Watkin, English Professor/Umoja Coordinator Dr. Paula Parks, Business Professor Valerie Robinson, Counseling staff Mrs. Mandalyn Hobbs, Educational Advisor Mr. Daron Mackey, and Umoja students for representing BC so well at this community event!

BC’s Annual Grad Fair

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Bakersfield College held its annual Grad Fair so all students could obtain their caps and gowns in preparation for Commencement. Commencement will be held on May 10 at 7 p.m. at Rabobank Arena this year due to construction on the football field.

Graduation display at BC bookstore

For students who plan to participate in next year’s commencement, summer applications are due on July 1.

Male graduate in gown holding cap

I would like to thank the bookstore staff for helping students with their commencement needs. I hope to see everyone at the graduation ceremony on May 10.

Professional Etiquette Lunch & Learn

On Tuesday, Director of Student Life Dr. Nicky Damania taught students proper business etiquette in the Levan Center in preparation for the Business Pathway Career Expo on April 24.

Nicky Damania shaking hands with male student
Dr. Nicky Damania displays proper handshake etiquette.

Dr. Damania went over some of the most important ways to conduct oneself in a business dinner. It’s important to put your napkin on your lap once you sit at your table, avoid eating everything on your plate, cut your salad into bite-sized pieces with a fork and knife, and follow the host’s lead during drinks.

Nicky Damania pulling imaginary ball out of basket
Dr. Nicky Damania shows proper table etiquette.

These guidelines may seem self-evident, but many of our students have not had business dining experience and may feel intimidated in these settings.

I’d like to thank Dr. Damania for taking the time to teach professional etiquette, and I hope to see everyone in the CSS Lawn Area for the Business Pathway Career Expo on April 24.

Latina Empowerment Panel

The Latinas Unidas Club held a panel featuring Latina Leaders in Kern County in the Levan Center on Wednesday for Dolores Huerta Day.

Five women sitting on a panel

The panel included BC history professor Olivia Garcia, ACLU Southern California Community Engagement and Policy Advocate Rosa Lopez, CSUB political science professor Ivy Cargile, Wonderful Company Director of Environmental Health and Safety Isabel Bravo, and UFW Foundation lawyer Amber Tovar.

Two women sitting at table

Latinas Unidas moderated the panel, asking questions about how they were able to overcome the struggles that come with being first-generation college students, as well as how they balanced the expectations of women in the Latina community. These women depended heavily upon the support of their friends and family, and had to learn time management to overcome obstacles on their journey through undergrad and graduate programs, as well as their careers.

Sonya Christian and others sitting

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the event along with Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and it was inspiring to hear from these strong, successful women.

Three women sitting at table and looking to their right for some reason

I’d like to thank Latinas Unidas and the Levan Center for organizing the Latina Leadership Panel, and I hope it motivates our students to see their education through to the finish line.

Si, Ella Puede!

While civil rights icon Dolores Huerta was celebrating her 89th birthday in Sacramento by commemorating a national holiday in her name, BC honored Huerta’s contributions to social justice and farm worker rights with a discussion of her most powerful speeches.

Stacey Sowards
Dr. Stacey Sowards speaks at the Levan Center.

On Wednesday, Dr. Stacey Sowards, a professor and chair of the Communication department at the University of Texas in El Paso, gave a presentation in the Levan Center based on her book “Si, Ella Puede!”, which examines the rhetorical impact of Dolores Huerta’s inspiring oratory style during the UFW grape and lettuce boycotts of the 1960s. Sowards analyzed 40 boxes of unprocessed videos, news articles and speech transcripts from the United Farm Workers archives at Wayne State University in Detroit as research for “Si, Ella Puede!”

Stacey Sowards

The Social Justice Institute organized Sowards’ presentation to celebrate Dolores Huerta Day. Sowards notes that Huerta’s ability to deftly switch between Spanish and English to reframe her message depending on her audience, as well as her use of audience participation and repetition of gritos such as “Si, Se Puede” helped people connect with the UFW’s fight for fair wages for agricultural laborers. She was also a master of using her role as a mother of 11 children to elicit sympathy for the farm worker cause, and her Catholic faith influenced her passion and relentless bravery shown in her work.

I’d like to thank Oliver Rosales and everyone who helped organize this very special presentation in honor of Dolores Huerta.

It’s ‘All in the Timing’

The Black Box Theater played host to a collection of eight one-act plays directed by Brian J. Sivesind and written by David Ives, with scenic and lighting design by Kevin Ganger.  These wildly funny short plays focused on language, wordplay, the meaning of life, and complications in romantic relationships.

All in the Timing poster

Two separate casts performed the production over five days from April 10-14, including two matinee performances on April 13 and 14 at 2 p.m.  Congratulations to all who participated for putting on these wonderful plays!

Industrial Technology and Transportation Career Expo

Our future workforce was out in full force at the Huddle Lawn Courtyard last Thursday for the Industrial Technology and Transportation Career Expo.  Several employers took advantage of this wonderful opportunity to share industry insight, promote employment or internship opportunities, and meet students interested in their industry. Employers also showcased their products and some of the equipment they work with.

ITT Career Expo tents and booths

Students from all of our ITT programs were present at the event, including Automotive, Electronics, Engineering, HVAC, Industrial Automation, Water Technology, Architecture, Construction, Industrial Drawing, Manufacturing, Occupational Safety & Risk Management, Welding, and Woodworking & Cabinetmaking.  I’m hopeful these students were able to gain some valuable knowledge to move forward in their careers.

ITT Career Expo tents and booths

I’d like to thank Carlos Medina and Katie Makaiwi for helping to make this event happen.  We are BC!

KCMEA Jazz Day

The Kern County Music Educators’ Association and the Bakersfield College Jazz Studies Program put on the fourth annual KCMEA Jazz Day at Bakersfield College on Thursday, April 11. This all-day event featured student jazz ensembles from throughout Kern County performing in the Simonsen Performing Arts Center Indoor Theater, with a showcase performance by the BC Jazz Ensemble.

BC Jazz students performing on stage
BC Jazz student playing guitar

This year’s head clinician was Dr. Ray Briggs, an accomplished saxophonist and highly-esteemed jazz educator who co-leads the Jazz Studies program at CSU Long Beach. He is also Department Chair of the Jazz Studies program at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, and coordinator of the Instrumental and Vocal Jazz Workshop supported through CSU Summer Arts. Dr. Briggs worked with each student ensemble and performed with the BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble.  They all made beautiful music together!

BC Jazz Ensemble performing on stage

MPR’s Eric Carillo was able to capture a great video of the BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble performing. Also, here’s another video of Centennial High School students performing. Check them out!

BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble playing horns

Performing with the BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble was Jazz Day head clinician and special guest Dr. Ray Briggs, who is an Associate Professor of Music and Assistant Director of Jazz Studies at California State University, Long Beach, where he coordinates the jazz combo program and teaches courses in jazz history and ethnomusicology.

Woman with interesting fashion sense singing

Master of Ceremonies Laura May from KCMEA had some great things to say about Bakersfield College, including several compliments about our programs and facilities.

I’d like to thank Kris Tiner and the entire BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble and all of the music students from throughout the county who showed up to perform at this event.  Your amazing musical ability really struck a chord with me!

‘A Taste of BC’ and the BSO Symphony

The BSO symphony concert took place after our ‘A Taste of BC’ event, where we hosted middle school students before they went to the concert. A part of the ‘A Taste of BC’ program included the student recitals.

Manny, Ira Cohen, Kari Heilman
Manny Mourtzanos with Ira Cohen (BSO Board member mastermind behind BSO Next) and Kari Heilman, Executive Director.
Manny and Dr. Scott Dirkse
Manny Mourtzanos with Dr. Scott Dirkse, one of our adjunct faculty in Music, and also a dual enrollment instructor at Stockdale High School.

Dr. Scott Dirkse, one of our adjunct faculty in Music, and also a dual enrollment instructor at Stockdale High School. He’s helping me pilot a Marching Band dual enrollment course that I hope we can scale up to all the high schools. Stockdale High admin has been very supportive. Scott does the pre-concert lectures for the BSO.

Manny and Richard Chapman, KEDC
Manny Mourtzanos schmoozing with Richard Chapman, KEDC. We’ve developed a really good relationship with our Entrepreneurship initiatives.

Check out these great videos of some of the performers!

Mauro Laris (below) is a second semester Applied Music Major. His family has a very popular local mariachi group and he has been performing most of his life. He studies with Peggy Sears who teaches at BC and CSUB. Mauro works incredibly hard, is always on time and always prepared. He is the vice-president of the College Choir and a member of the Chamber Singers. He is part of the group that traveled to Australia to perform in the Sydney Opera House last July. Mauro is not only talented but he also he a friend and support to all who know him and his huge smile and bright personality light up anyone’s day.

Patrick Bender (below) is one of our collaborative pianists at BC. He plays the piano for the choirs and the Applied Music Voice Majors.. He is incredibly talented and very dedicated to the students and the program at Bakersfield College. The choral department and Applied programs rely on Patrick and he is respected and loved by all. He also works with students at CSUB and plays the piano for the Liberty High Choirs. He has a wife and two young boys and grew up here in Bakersfield.

Fun Photos: Jen Garrett Conducts the Bakersfield Youth Symphony

Screenshot of Jen Garrett's Facebook post
Award for BCSD guest conductor 2019
Jen Garrett was the guest conductor of the Bakersfield Youth Symphony at the Rabobank Arena.
Group of symphony students

Hackathon Has Huge Turnout

The 3rd annual BC Hackathon Health and Social Justice had the largest number of competing teams to date. In less than 48 hours more than 60 students came together to create innovative tech solutions to address public health and social justice issues affecting Kern county residents.  The community panelist and judges were impressed with BC students drive for improving their communities. Judges mentioned they would gladly employ many of these students, so this was also a workforce opportunity and also an opportunity to add to student’s resumes. Overall, the Hackathon represents an opportunity for students to have a platform to stand up and help change the future of the communities. Every team that completed the competition will be receiving a certificate at the next Entrepreneurship Club meeting and their work will be highlighted in a Hackathon report to the community. Check out some of projects from the top Hackathon Winners. Congratulations to all the teams.

Group shot of Hackathon participants

Bakersfield College Artificial Intelligence (BCAI) team created the Kernal project which aims to overcome the issues that have prevented food security within Kern County. This will be done through a number of means some of which include; providing information on the documents required by various food banks, furthermore it will allow a user to enter their location and choose from the selection of food crates upon which a volunteer will deliver a food crate to the user at an agreed upon location, similar to the way apps like Lyft and Uber Eats work. The user will first be asked to complete a survey. This survey will provide the information necessary to determine which services the user is eligible for. The user will have to provide proof of eligibility upon delivery.

Students hacking on a computer

Kern Catalog for Mental Health team created a searchable and interactive catalog of all mental health resources in Kern County. Kern County citizens can search resources like “mental health screening” or “eating disorder treatment” then set filters based on their age, gender, insurance, and location. This way they’ll find resources suited just for them. By making an account on this app, they’ll also be able to bookmark favorite resources, save search filters as profiles for later use, and give feedback on resources they tried to access. The feedback system will be powered by push notifications. The app will track the resources they look into, and later send a push notifications to ask if they were able to make appointments, attend appointments, and describe their experiences at their appointments. If at any point they face obstacles, they’ll identify whether the obstacles were personal (transportation, childcare, or work schedules), or if they occurred on behalf of the resource provider (poor customer service, lack of communication, etc.) so that we can  address how to resolve these obstacles.

Students looking at laptop computer

Coding Clean Air Team proposed a concept for Coding clean airs final product is a website that will host a youth made curriculum based around making low cost affordable air monitors. Working with technical assistance we will guide youth in the process of making a curriculum about producing personal air monitors. The low cost of production will make air monitors available to nearly anyone. Aside from the curriculum, the website will also have an interactive map to upload the data from the air sensors to create community driven data with high degrees of accuracy.

Two Hackathon students holding trophies

Peer Health Educators team proposed a tab into the existing BC Renegade App, which will focus on student wellness and resources at the BC Health Center.  Bakersfield College students have claimed that they are unaware that the college provides resources for these concerning factors (e.g. the Wellness Center giving out free condoms to students) and that they are eligible to receive these services that are covered with their semester health fee. Through the addition of this tab, these services will be promoted so that students could choose to live a better quality of life.

Hackathon students and staff

Changing Perspectives is creating an innovative website that groups the most needed websites into one area. There is a specialized questionnaire that gives users the ability to narrow down which resource they need. By just answering a few questions the questionnaire will recommend a specific resource or an organization that can get them the things they need. Along with the website, a simple kiosk with a similar questionnaire will be strategically dropped in areas where the there is a high population of people at risk. Changing Perspectives will include a fingerprint scanner that will allow users to log in with the touch of a finger. A unique “chat with us” option will allow users to get help utilizing the website or kiosk, as well as get additional information about how to use the resources.

Evening in the Garden

On Thursday, I attended an Edible Schoolyard fundraising event called An Evening in the Garden, which featured an elegant dinner inspired by the flavors of the season.

Sonya Christian, Jean Fuller, Romeo Agbalog, and others

Chef Gino Valpredo of Luigi’s restaurant designed a custom menu, featuring provisions from Redhouse Beef, Bakers Outpost, Broadfork Acres, Flowers Winery, Zeal Pressed Juicery, and Gino’s Gelato.

Gino Valpredo

All ticket sales and donations from the event directly benefited the Edible Schoolyard Mobile Kitchen Classroom.

Group of people at Evening in the Garden event

The goal of Edible Schoolyard is to teach our students how to grow and cook fresh seasonal produce so they can cultivate a positive relationship with healthy food.  Donations help expand edible education throughout Kern County with their new mobile kitchen classroom. This classroom-on-wheels provides students in our community with the opportunity to experience hands-on edible education.

Evening in the garden menu

Thank you to Gino Valpredo and everyone involved for providing such delicious food! Thank you Barbara Grimm Marshall for all that you do for our community.

Fun Photos: BC MEChA Noche de Cultura

Two men standing by Latin artwork
Four men standing by Latin artwork

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11 a.m., check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include BC soccer players Cameron Jimenez and Reagan King who are moving their careers to the next level at New Mexico Highlands University and the University of Louisiana-Monroe respectively, and BC Soccer Coach, Scott Dameron.

Segment with Cameron Jimenez & Reagan King

Segment with Zack Peters

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (3/31 – 4/6) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week.

Renegades of the Week

Paige Darstein, Women’s Tennis

At the WSC Conference Tournament this past weekend, she defeated the #2 and #3 seeds en route to the finals. Darstein also moves into the semifinal round of the doubles conference tournament with partner Kayleen Sanchez.

Jacob Whitby, Men’s Track & Field

Won both the hammer and discus at Vaquero Invite this past weekend. Obtained huge personal record in hammer with a throw of 47.0m (B standard), almost 2 meters over second place. Also took 2nd place in shot put.

23ABC features Softball’s Kylee Fahy’s story of defying the odds

Watch the story done this week by 23ABC sports reporter Kari Osep on the incredible story of Kylee Fahy’s premature birth and overcoming the odds to become the most dominant pitcher at the community college level in California. Kylee led the state in strikeouts last season with 289 and leads the state this season with 223.

Softball currently leads the Western State Conference North Division and is looking to clinch the conference championship in the coming weeks.

Roundup of Athletics Events This Week

As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click/tap for the story on GoGades.com):

Stay Connected to Renegade Athletics

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media.

  • On Facebook – ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’
  • On Twitter – @GoGadesGo
  • On Instagram – @gogadesgo
Sonya speaking and smiling at the lectern with the Bakersfield College seal.

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3 thoughts on “Spring Into Action!

  1. Sean Caras April 13, 2019 at 6:18 pm Reply

    Sonya, I appreciated your words about Terri Nuckols. This was the first I heard about her passing. I was one of many faculty and administrators that worked with her to expand Industrial Technology programs into the Delano high schools. She was very passionate about their students getting the best chance for higher education as possible. It was definitely a “lead from the top” situation, as she worked to ensure her site administrators were on board, then she supported the teachers who were involved. The RFK High School pathway program into the Industrial Automation program provides FOUR college-level classes in Electronics Technology, meaning that the students involved can get 12 units of Electronics taken care of (almost half of the lower-division technical courses for the INDA baccalaureate) prior to graduating from high school. Over the coming years, there will be dozens of future INDA bachelor degree graduates that have Terri to thank for their early start. Just a part of her legacy.

  2. […] Last month, at the April KCCD Board of Trustees meeting, some classified staff spoke during the luncheon to highlight the extraordinary work they and their colleagues do.  For example, Financial Aid Technician Rebecca Bumpous took to the podium to described how she has helped her department with funding our students’ dreams, awarding $44 million in Title IV funding and $3 million in state funding for the 2018-19 academic year. Carlos Barbaran proudly spoke of his 24 years of service as a custodian in Maintenance and Operations, keeping 72,000 square feet of instructional facilities clean for our students every day. See the full piece in my blog from April 13th titled “Spring Into Action!” […]

  3. Summer at BC | Sonya Christian's Blog June 15, 2019 at 6:42 am Reply

    […] a past blog post, I talked about BC student Elaine Moreno’s deployment to Baghdad.  We have created a page on […]

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