Spring: The Rebirth of Life

Happy Easter!

This weekend, millions of people are celebrating Easter, which symbolizes the end of the fallow winter and the rebirth of life that comes with spring.

The traditional christian celebration of Easter observes the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as described in the New Testament, but people have been celebrating the spring equinox for thousands of years. Most of the non-christian iconography of Easter, including the use of eggs and rabbits, goes back to an equinox celebration named after the Germanic goddess of spring.

Easter in Germany

In the US, Easter celebrations include an Easter egg roll on the White House lawn, a tradition that has been going on for 141 years.

Children in Finland and Sweden celebrate Easter by dressing up as witches and asking for chocolate door-to-door, which is very similar to Halloween. Devout Catholics in the Pampanga region of the Philippines volunteer to be nailed to wooden crosses on Good Friday, and Germans light giant bonfires at sunset on Holy Saturday. You can read more about Easter traditions around the world in an article published by the UK Evening Standard.

When I was growing up, Easter, like Christmas, was full of family fun, church activities, and food. This year, Easter will be with with my daughter, cooking family dishes and our traditional catholic Easter mass. I am sure we will squeeze in time to take Bessie to the dog park and generally take long walks along the beach.

However you choose to celebrate Easter, my wish for you is that it’s a beautiful, happy day for you and your family.

BC Drumline Wins Gold at WGI Competition

For the first time in the BC Drumline’s history, they are world champions!!  Our amazing Renegades competed in the WGI World Championship Competition in Dayton, Ohio last weekend, where they beat out 15 other times to win the Gold medal.  There are not enough words to convey how proud we are of our Drumline students and their director Tim Heasley.

Check out this piece that KGET did on our World Champions. Also the piece by Ema Sasic in The Bakersfield Californian. Congratulations! We are BC!

BC Drumline: World Champions!!
Another great shot of our World Champs.
Go Renegades, Go!
BC student holding award trophy
WGI Award Trophy
BC Drumline performing.
Performing at the WGI Competition
BC drumline performing

American Association of Community Colleges 2019 National Convention

Last week I presented at the American Association of Community Colleges 2019 National Convention on Bakersfield College’s guided pathways implementation.  BC originally began working with AACC in 2015 as one of 30 colleges nationally participating in the AACC Pathways Project.  The discussion focused on lessons about leadership for transformational change, the commitment to achieve equity in student outcomes, and overcoming challenges in scaling guided pathways work.

Panelists at the American Association of Community Colleges 2019 National Convention
Rob Johnstone. Alex Johnson, Sonya Christian, Davis Jenkins

My co-presenters included:

  • David Jenkins, Senior Research Scholar at the Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University (and co-author of Redesigning America’s Community Colleges which BC read in book panels in fall 2015)
  • Rob Johnstone, Founding President & CEO of the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement
  • Kay McClenney, Senior Advisor to the President & CEO, AACC
  • Alex Johnson, President of Cuyahoga Community College

I thank the American Association of Community Colleges for supporting guided pathways and scaling it across the nation.

Sonya Christian, Kay McClenney, & Davis Jenkins

KCCD Trustee Agbalog on Terry Maxwell’s KNZR 1560AM Radio Show

On Tuesday, KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog was a guest on Terry Maxwells radio show on AM 1560. Check out the interview where Trustee Agbalog speaks about education in Kern County and BC’s Early College partnerships.

KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog

SimRig Ribbon Cutting at KCCD

Last week, the Public Safety Training department unveiled its new SimRig! The SimRig is built to precisely mimic a real ambulance. It gives the students a firsthand look and experience of being in a unit while working on patients. The back door and bumper are built to the actual specifications of road-ready ambulances to allow students to efficiently practice loading and unloading stretchers, and perform life-saving procedures in a limited space.

Sim Rig unveiling

We are very thankful to those who made this EMT and Paramedic simulation training possible: Dean Carla Gard, Director Tony Cordova, PSTP Dean Rich McCrow, PSTP Director Tommy Tunson, Chancellor Tom Burke, Associate Chancellor Cindy Collier, PSTP Dept. Assistant Karen Mattox and Weill Facilities and Maintenance Manager Don Birdwell.

SimRig Ribbon Cutting at KCCD

Kaiser Permanente Awards $30K Grant to BC

Kaiser Permanente awarded $30,000 to Bakersfield College as a part of its mission to provide high quality affordable healthcare and improve the lives of our members and our communities.  Kaiser Permanente provides grants local organizations to partner with them in helping meet the health needs of the most vulnerable citizens in Kern County. This year Kaiser Permanente is providing $260,000 in grants to ten local organizations.

BC’s Dr. Sarah Baron, Dr. Marvin Campos, Area Medical Director for Kaiser Permanente, Sherry Mounts, Chief Administrative Officer for Kaiser Permanente, David Womack, Senior Vice President & Area Manager for Kaiser Permanente presenting the $30k grant.
Presentation of $30k grant check

Speaking of Bakersfield College and health partnerships in the community, BC and the Delano Reproductive Health Task Force will pilot and bring to scale a peer health education (PHE) program on reproductive and sexual health education. We’d like to thank the Kern County Superintendent of Schools who conducted the initial 12 hour training!  

Gadfly Cafe

The final Gadfly Café of the semester on Secularism, Nihilism, and the Need to Believe took place on Wednesday, April 10. Thank you to Reggie Williams for offering these opportunities for our students to learn, be inspired, engage in conversation, and walk away with a newfound outlook on life.

Nick Strobel’s COMMUNITY VOICES: A way to transform our relationships and world

Check out this must read by our very own Nick Strobel in The Bakersfield Californian. Make sure to it out “A way to transform our relationships and world.”

Nick Strobel

MESA Conference

On April 6, the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program and Bakersfield College hosted an annual conference on the Panorama Campus that was geared to educate the community about Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM), and Pre-Med education.  The conference was designed to allow participants to network with professionals in STEM and Pre-Med and explore careers.

STEM and Pre-Med Conference flyer
Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference

Participants engaged in workshops, a resource fair, and heard from keynote speakers, college advisors, financial aid counselors, industry leaders, and student organizations.

Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference
Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference

The goals of the conference included a special focus in STEM and Pre-Med, improve community and industry partnerships, and further developing local talent of minorities and within underrepresented communities.

Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference
Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference

Special thanks to our conference sponsors for helping to make this event happen, including California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, Infrastructure Engineering Corporation, Grimmway Farms, UCLA Undergraduate Admission, University of California, Berkeley, UC Davis, and the US Department of Agriculture.

Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference

New World of Work Training

Bakersfield College Career Education Department recently hosted the New World of Work (NWoW) 21st Century Skills Training where we had 40 different educators from our Central Region participate in a two-day instructor training. At the end of the training, participants earned non-credit certificates of completion for instruction in 21st Century skills that they can implement into their classrooms.

Bakersfield College Career Education Department at New World of Work (NWoW) 21st Century Skills Training

GAF Glass Mat Plant Ribbon Cutting in Shafter

GAF Glass Mat Plant in Shafter reopened its operations with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday April 17th. The GAF plant has gone through a multi-million dollar facility upgrade to better serve growing demand. Those in attendance at the ceremony were Shafter’s Mayor Gilbert Alvarado and Representatives from the office of TJ Cox and Rudy Salas. This restart of operations at the plant means more jobs for our community and more future opportunities for our students from various programs. GAF has been a great partner to our INDA program by offering facility tours, contributing to the INDA senior project and hiring interns from our Baccalaureate students.

GAF Glass Mat Plant ribbon cutting ceremony and tour.

Spotlight: Outreach/Welcome Department

With the expansion of Dual Enrollment and Early College opportunities at BC, the work of our Outreach and School Relations team has become more important than ever.  They’ve risen to the occasion in the 2018-19 academic year, spreading the word about our innovative curriculum and academic support while clarifying the path for thousands of students.

Steve Watkin & Kylie Swanson at the McFarland Early College Launch.

The Outreach and School Relations Department at BC works closely with the local high schools to help aspiring students with enrollment and familiarizing themselves with our campuses. They’ve successfully assisted 3,368 high school seniors with the matriculation process this academic year, up 31 percent from last year. The team coordinated Registration Rocks events at 28 high schools on the second day of priority registration, and with the help of 100 BC employees and student workers, 2,386 students were registered for classes, a 250% increase from the Registration Rocks events held in the Fall 2017 semester.

Savannah Andrews and Ashlea Ward in the Welcome Center

Outreach hosts a High School Counselor Conference every year to inform the high schools about new initiatives and onboarding processes at BC.

Members of the BC Outreach team with Sonya Christian.
BC’s Outreach Team

Thank you to everyone in Outreach for working so hard to make the dream of college a reality for thousands of people in Kern County.  

Ashlea Ward & Steve Watkin leading some training.

National Student Employee Appreciation Week

This year’s Spring Break happened to fall on National Student Employee Appreciation Week, so the Student Employment Office recognized our student workers last week before the break.

Bakersfield College currently employs 495 students on campus. Students gain valuable work experience to put on their resume, build key relationships with their supervisors who can provide a reference or letter of recommendation. At the heart of the program is strengthening students’ work ethic and interpersonal skills that employers need.

National Student Appreciation Week!
Stephanie Baltazar

Thank you to Stephanie Baltazar and her team at Student Employment for all of their hard work in helping to prepare our students for their careers.

Measure J Updates

We currently have 14 (yes, 14!!) Measure J projects underway.  The Bakersfield College Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center is under construction, and will be completed in early December 2019.  

Construction at the Veterans Resource Center
More construction at the Veterans Resource Center

Demolition has concluded for the Campus Center, with construction scheduled to begin in May.

Campus Center construction
More Campus Center construction shots.

Also this week, some of the cement work along the pool was replaced to be ADA compliant.

Cement work near pool
Additional shot of cement work

The Memorial Stadium construction has begun as well, with the first phase beginning in early April.   Also, check out this piece that 23ABC did on the Memorial Stadium renovations!

Aerial footage of the Memorial Stadium construction

We cannot wait to share these completed projects with our students and community! You can get updates at Measure J project schedule.

Thank you Bakersfield community for voting Yes on J!

Entree to Employment

The Career Education Department collaborated with the BC Education Department for an Entrée to Employment grand dinner event. The event brought together education experts with BC students who are interested in pursuing a career in teaching  elementary, secondary, or college education in the fields of Math, Science, Special Education, Automation, Agriculture, Welding, and Engineering.

BC Culinary Arts student hard at work
BC Culinary Arts student baking

BC future teachers networked with education experts over a delicious meal served by the BC  Culinary Arts students in the Renegade Room. Twenty-three BC students participated along with representatives from BC, Kern K-12 districts, and local institutions including BCSD, KHSD, KCSOS, and the University of La Verne.

BC Culinary Arts student baking
Fruit and vegetable plate
Chocolate cake
Caprese skewers
Soup prepared by BC Culinary Arts students

A special thanks to the event team: Stephanie Baltazar, Jessica McGrath, Carlos Medina, Domenica Trinidad, Suzanne Tangeman , Christian Flores (and student Culinary Arts team), Rosa Perez, Kimberly Bligh, Isabel Castaneda, our table facilitators, and our field experts!

BC’s Career and Technical Education Department
Guests at the dinner table for the Entree to Employment event
Guests at the dinner table for the Entree to Employment event

Kimberly Bligh, Faculty Chair over the emerging Education Department received this email from Vicky Spanos, director of the Kern High Teacher Residency Program after the event:

Vicki Spanos in the middle

Hi Kimberly –

Thank you so much for inviting me to the wonderful event you put on for future teachers. I loved being a part of it and enjoyed every minute. The meal was delicious, and the conversation at our table was interesting and uplifting. Debbie Anderson did an excellent job facilitating our discussions.

The young man who spoke at the end, who had returned to teach the culinary students (Christian) was a student of mine. I did not recognize him right away because of the beard, but he recognized me and spoke on the way out. Thrilling to bump into a former student who is doing well, isn’t it? It was just icing on an already pretty terrific cake!!


Make sure to check out the Facebook album to see all of the great photos!

Fun Photos: Spring Pop Up Art Show

We had 104 art pieces for the Spring Pop Up Art Show outside of Fine Arts building last week!  Art faculty member Diego Gutierrez sent over some photos, where he said his students exhibited their Figure Drawing work from this semester.  Great job everyone!

Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show
Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show
Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show
Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show
Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show

Fun Photos: Ellucian Impact Award

BC’s Director of Admissions & Records Michelle Pena sent some photos from the Ellucian Live 2019 conference in New Orleans last week.  Bakersfield College was named a finalist for the 2019 Ellucian Impact Award, where we received a $5,000 institution grant! Thanks for representing us, Michelle!

Board showing BC as a finalist for the Ellucian Impact Award
Michelle Pena, Director of Enrollment Services and Becky Weaver, Weaver and Fox Consulting presenting Plan, Nudge, and Schedule- The Integrated Approach to Student Success
Michelle and Becky’s presentation

Fun Photos: Jackie Robinson’s 100th Birthday Celebration

Manny Mourtzanos and his son celebrated the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson, a baseball legend and agent of social change, at Dodgers Stadium for what would’ve been his 100th birthday. All players wore number (#42) in Robinson’s honor. While there, Manny ran into our very own Robby Martinez!  Looks like it was a great time!

Manny Mourtzanos, his son Andrew, and Robby Martinez at the Dodger game.

Fun Photos: What do professors do on Spring break?

What do professors do on Spring break? They do yard work and meet at Greenway to dump limbs!  Deb said that Helen was wearing a BC shirt or she might not have noticed her!

Deb Rosenthal and Helen Acosta at Greenway

Fun Photos: Executive Office Birthday Celebrations

The BC Executive Office held a potluck this past Wednesday to celebrate March and April birthdays. We celebrated the birthdays of Tarina Perry and Catherine Rangel with some delicious food!

Happy Birthday Renegades!

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (4/7-4/13) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week

Kayleen Sanchez, Women’s Tennis – Kayleen played her toughest conference match of the year, going 3 sets against teammate Paige Darstein to win the WSC singles championship 3-6, 6-2, 6-1. That same day, she partnered with Darstein to win the WSC doubles championship with a commanding 6-0, 6-1 victory. Kayleen also collected All-Conference First Team honors in singles, All-Conference Second Team honors in doubles, and was named the WSC Player Of The Year.

Tyson Hays, Men’s Golf – Tyson shot even par (72) at the CCCAA Men’s Golf SoCal Preview at Los Serrano’s Country Club to lead the Renegade’s to their lowest team score of the season.

Softball Clinches Back-to-Back WSC North Championships

Coach Casey Goodman and her 2019 softball squad are now back-to back Western State Conference (WSC) North Division Champions after this week’s 15-1 victory over LA Pierce! They are undefeated at 14-0 and pitcher Kylee Fahy is on track to finish leading the state in strikeouts for a second year in a row. Congrats to Coach Goodman and good luck in the upcoming state playoffs. We would love to see them advance to the state finals as Bakersfield College is the host site for the California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) state softball finals.

BC Softball 2019 Western State Conference Champions

Women’s Tennis Dominates the WSC Championships

BC Women’s Tennis student athletes Kayleen Sanchez and Paige Darstein faced off against each other in the 2019 WSC Women’s Tennis singles championship. Sanchez came away victorious after defeating Darstein in three sets, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 to take the women’s singles title.

They both then teamed up as doubles partners to smooth through their semi final match against Chacon/Ghazaryan from Glendale College, 6-3, 6-2. In the finals they cruised to a dominating victory over Stanisavljevic/Sakato from College of the Canyons, 6-2, 6-0.

Kayleen Sanchez and Paige Darstein promo photo

The team also cleaned up in WSC Conference awards as follows:

  • All-Conference First Team
    • #1 Singles – Kayleen Sanchez
    • #2 Singles – Paige Darstein
  • All-Conference Second Team
    • #4 Singles – Katelyn Wernhart
    • #5 Singles – Zoe Butter
    • #6 Singles – Ashlyne Aguilar
    • #1 Doubles – Sanchez/Darstein
    • #2 Doubles – Strange/Zavala

Conference Player of the Year: Kayleen Sanchez

The team will next compete at the CCCAA State Championships at The Ojai Tournament that will take place April 25-28. Good luck ladies!

Kayleen Sanchez promo photo

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 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 find us under ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’, on Twitter – @GoGadesGo and on Instagram – @gogadesgo.

Athletics social media handles

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