A Whole New World!

Aladdin – A Whole New World
Life Is Not Measured By the Number of Breaths We Take, 
But By the Moments That Take Our Breath Away

I had just completed one year teaching math as a faculty at BC when the Blockbuster animated movie Aladdin was released in 1992, right in time for the traditional Thanksgiving movie marathon. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, the star attraction was Robin Williams doing the voice of genie and he was recognized both at the MTV awards and the Golden Globe awards. Most of you who know me know that Robin Williams, by far, is my favorite movie star and it was a tragedy losing him so young. But it spotlighted the fragility of the human mind, and his passing had a positive impact in diminishing the stigma associated with mental illness. The New York Times had 14 pictures of Robin Williams organized as a slide show when he passed. Check it out.

So, of course, when the 2019 live-action remake of Disney’s “Aladdin” came out with another of my favorites, Will Smith playing genie, I had to go check it out. Here is my favorite song done by Will Smith from the film!  The movie was directed by Guy Ritchie, an English filmmaker who is probably best known for the late ’90s heist movies “Snatch” and “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.” Ritchie was also married to Madonna for a period of time.

I loved Robin Williams rendition of the genie and did not want to go to the movie being super critical of Will Smith. As it turns out he was good. The genie character is an essential part of the Aladdin mythology since the folk tale was added to “The Book of One Thousand and One Nights” in the 18th Century. Genies, or jinn, are supernatural beings that many Arabs worshiped and feared before the dawn of Islam in the 7th Century AD.

When Antoine Galland created the first European translation of “The Book of One Thousand and One Nights” in French, he added the story of Aladdin to his translation based on a tale he heard from a Syrian storyteller named Antun Yusuf Hanna Diyab. Galland translated the Arabic “jinn” into “genie”, and European readers imagined the guardian angels and muses from their mythological traditions instead of the ancient creatures made of fire and air that the Quran describes.

In Disney’s 1992 rendition of “Aladdin”, Robin Williams portrays the genie as a slapstick trickster inspired by American vaudeville and performers like the Marx Brothers. Will Smith continues with this comedic portrayal in 2019, bringing a more contemporary coolness to the character. Check out this great video showing the amazing impressions that Robin Williams did in the film.

BC Presents at eLumenation Conference

BC’s Amber Hroch, Kimberly Nickell Kristin Rabe, David Greenfield and Bill Moseley attended and presented at the eLumenation User Conference in Pasadena July 17-18.  The 2-day conference included panel discussions on innovation; colleague presentations, sharing experiences across a variety of topics including designing innovative curriculum, connecting instruction and student support, promoting student equity, and facilitating institutional change; partner presentations on integrating resources; and eLumen User Experience, and hands-on workshops covering a variety of topics on the applications of eLumen in curriculum, catalog, assessment, and program review. The conference even included a totally awesome 80’s themed get-together.

Amber Hroch, Kimberly Nickell, and Kristin Rabe

Bill Moseley presented with Matt Coombs, MS, Chief Operating Officer, eLumen, on An Integrated Approach to Catalog Management. The emphasis of the presentation was on updating and publishing the catalog and how eLumen can take what is often a labor-intensive process and turn it into a seamless step in the curriculum process.

Amber, Kristin, and Kim presented Closing the Loop: Using Institutional Research to Provide a Driven Approach to Program Review. The focus was on data and how it is incorporated into the annual Program Review process to provide a foundation for a narrative for planning future needs to improve student learning and success and the Closing the Loop, illustrating how resource allocation is connected to BC’s Strategic Goals and drives planning for future change.

Amber, Kristin and Kim presenting

State of the City Video

In my blog from last week, I shared the annual State of the City luncheon highlights. Here is Norma Rojas-Mora representing BC in a video put together by Dignity Health.

Community Voices: Bakersfield is what you make of it

This week, BC Journalism professor Erin Auerbach wrote a Community Voices about living in the place we call home. She explains the common misperceptions and bad rap are somewhat understandable, but she also shared the love and excitement that comes with each day. She says “In Bakersfield, I wake up every morning excited for the challenges of the day. This is easy to do when you work for a place like Bakersfield College, which is so fully invested in raising up the community with early education partnerships, an inmate scholars program, collaborations with Cal State Bakersfield to ensure students graduate from both schools in four years and rural initiatives to provide learning, trade and skill development opportunities to underserved people and areas.” 

BC is fortunate to have such incredible faculty like Erin, who love their job, love their community, and love their students.  Check out Erin’s writing at The Bakersfield Californian.

Early College Leadership Workshop

On Thursday morning, a group of BC’s incredible staff gathered in the Levan Center for a presentation on Early College and supporting our High School Renegades to and through college! The presentation, led by Kylie Swanson, Ashlea Ward, and Steve Watkin reviewed topics like orientation, multiple measures, and keeping students on the most efficient and affordable path to a college degree. Thank you Earl Parsons for the photos!

Steve Watkin
Steve Watkin
Kylie Swanson
Ashlea Ward Graham

Washington Post Article Garners Bakersfield National Attention

Earlier this week in an article by Washington Post reporter Scott Wilson he wrote a national news story about the exponential growth and changing demographics in Bakersfield.  If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, I highly recommend taking a look!

As millennials continue to be priced out of coastal regions, the article describes how Bakersfield and other cities in the Central Valley are transitioning from the butt of jokes from late-night talk show hosts to ideal destinations for young urban professionals. The article quotes representatives from the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, the local tourism bureau, and assistant city manager detailing the revitalization of the downtown area over the past decade and how our community is changing to become more welcoming to the tech industry and large corporations while maintaining the strength of its agricultural and petroleum sectors.

BC Hosts Chevron STEM Academy Camp

The Chevron Summer STEM Academy is coming close to the finish line, with only two more camps left for the season.  Last week, middle school students got hands-on experience designing houses. This week, high school students got the chance to participate in the architecture and design camp, utilizing all of their knowledge in STEM to build tiny houses using computer programs. The last camp of Summer 2019 will take place at the Weill Institute and focus on alternative energy.

Once again, I’d like to thank Chevron, Project Lead the Way, and the Industrial Technology Department here at BC for providing this important space for young people to develop a passion for STEM. Take a look at all of the great photos so far!

CTE Students Placed in Summer Internship Program

Career and Technical Education placed 9 welding interns this summer at Lower Loop Canyon Ranch in Keene, CA. These students were selected by their instructor, Jeremy Staat, to participate and apply what they have learned in class to the real world. Their project is set to be completed by the end of this month and the students are already seeking additional work on the property.  Way to go, Renegades!

Information Technology 2019 Retreat

BC’s IT department celebrated their annual retreat day with team building and activities for the IT staff last week! The day’s activities included teams building 1/12th scale models of some of the rooms in the library out of cardboard, competing to solve a series of lateral puzzles, as well as competing in corn hole (bean bag toss).  Each employee was asked to share out information about themselves so team members would be able to get to know each employee better. The day ended with a rousing round using a Kahoot to see how much they learned about their peers.

This special day full of team building exercises is a great experience for our IT department. Special thanks to Todd Coston for planning the various activities.  Check out all of the videos from the day in this google drive account

Measure J Updates

BC has been hard at work this summer, particularly on the Memorial Stadium, Vernon Valenzuela Veteran’s Resource Center and the Campus Center.  The construction teams have been busy demoing and then building from the ground up. I’m very excited for our students to see the progress when they return in the Fall.  Also, don’t worry Renegade football fans! The stadium will be ready to play on in time for our first home game in September. 

Thanks to Manny De Los Santos for putting together the awesome video below to highlight the Veterans Resource Center and Campus Center construction!  You can see all of the current Measure J projects that are in progress and their details on the A Better BC website

First Inaugural STEM Workshop 

BC held its first ever STEM workshop for incoming students at the AERA STEM Center this week. This inaugural event was planned by STEM counselor Laurel Mourtzanos. Dr. James McGarrah (Professor of Chemistry) spoke about “STEM Readiness” and Marisa Marquez (Transfer Center Director) provided information about “Planning the Perfect Transfer” and “Transfer in 2.” We also had Leo Ocampo (Educational Advisor) who provided information about the “Finish in 4” program. The attendees learned about the many resources to support STEM students as well opportunities for campus involvement, including the MESA program.  Thank you to Manny Mourtzanos for sharing, and I can’t wait to see what happens at the future workshops! 

CVHEC Workshop for Dual Enrollment

On Monday, July 22, 2019, BC’s Billie Jo Rice and Steve Watkin joined KCCD’s Trudy Gerald and Bonita Steele at the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium (CVHEC)’s one-day workshop in Clovis to discuss Best Practices and Strategies for Dual Enrollment. The CVHEC is a non-profit organization comprised of 27 accredited public and private colleges, universities, and community colleges that serves over 250,000 students in the Central Valley, and nine-county region.

Billie Jo Rice, VP of Instruction; Bonita Steele, Director, Career Pathways & Highs School to College Transitions Programs (KCCD); Trudy Gerald, Associate Vice Chancellor, Economic and Workforce Development (KCCD); Steven Watkin, Director of Outreach & Early College

North of the River 2019 Economic Summit

BC’s Tamara Baker attending this year’s North of the River (NOR) Economic Summit, presented by the NOR Chamber of Commerce alongside Amanda Frank of Dignity Health. 

Women’s Basketball Academies Bring In A Crowd 

This years BC Women’s Basketball Academies brought in a host of youth from throughout Kern County to participate in the first week-long camp. Attending campers were taught the fundamentals of the game by Head Coach Paula Dahl and her staff of assistant coaches and past players. This next week will be the Elite Academy aimed at athletes with a higher skill level. Thanks to Coach Dahl for welcoming the community to Bakersfield College this summer!

Jasmyn Rodriguez Headed to Cal Maritime

In front of a crowd on-looking summer basketball campers this week in the BC Gym, Renegade Women’s Basketball standout, Jasmyn Rodriguez signed her letter of intent to continue her academic and athletic career at Cal Maritime Academy in Vallejo, CA. Rodriguez was a key player in this last year’s team. We wish her the best and thank her for representing the college with pride the last two years.

Spotlight:  Paula Dahl

We are extremely glad to have Coach Dahl teaching and coaching in our athletics department. Coach Dahl is entering her 26th year as the coach of Renegade Women’s Basketball. As coach at BC, her teams have won two Western State Conference (WSC) championships and she has been named WSC Coach of the Year three times. She has coached one player named All-American Honorable Mention (Nakia Page, 2015) and had two conference MVP’s (Jausecca Cockeral, 2012 and Nakia Page, 2015). She has many players who have gone on to successful careers as attorneys, physicians assistants, engineers, nurses, teachers, coaches, professors, radiation technologists, school counselors and college counselors. Thank you Paula and Go Gades!

Life Is Not Measured By the Number of Breaths We Take, 
But By the Moments That Take Our Breath Away

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4 thoughts on “A Whole New World!

  1. Gayle Richardson July 28, 2019 at 10:15 am Reply

    Happy birthday to a truly amazing woman!
    We are so fortunate to have you as our incredible president of Bakersfield College.❤️

    Gayle Richardson, Professor

    • SonyaChristian July 30, 2019 at 4:21 am Reply

      Gayle, so happy to see your comment. It is a good time to be at Bakersfield College.

  2. Robert Price July 29, 2019 at 5:40 pm Reply

    Robin/Genie’s Jack Nicholson impression is one for the ages. Nice article by Erin, and a fine catch by Norma

    • SonyaChristian July 30, 2019 at 4:21 am Reply

      Agree… agree….and lol yes.

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