Collaboration, Community, and Conferences!

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, November 16, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

What a week for Bakersfield College and for education throughout the state! Yesterday, leaders and educators from K12, community colleges, CSU’s, UC’s, and independent colleges together with industry leaders met in Bakersfield, working together to increase educational attainment by reducing barriers and mapping out seamless pathways for students. The sold-out event was a great success thanks to the enthusiasm of our attendees, the generous support of our sponsors, and inspirational leadership of key speakers. I will cover this in detail next week. For now let me share just one signature photo!

Sonya Christian, Lande Ajose, Eloy Oakley, Lupita Alcala, Rudy Salas, Mary Barlow

2019 Champion of Higher Education

On Thursday evening Bakersfield College was honored as a 2019 Champion of Higher Education by the Campaign for College Opportunity. The award recognized our high-touch, high-tech, and focused strategies to both grow and streamline transfer pathways that address baccalaureate attainment.

Samantha Pulido, Sonya Christian, Romeo Agbalog, and Tom Burke were present to accept the recognition

BCSGA President, Samantha Pulido and Director of Student Life, Nicky Damania joined myself, Trustee Romeo Agbalog and Chancellor Tom Burke for the award celebration.

According to data from the California Department of Education, Kern County’s baccalaureate attainment rates are only roughly half the statewide rate. In rural service areas, fewer than nine in every 100 residents holds a bachelor’s degree or higher. This gap is even more significant given the Public Policy Institute of California estimate that statewide by 2030 there will be a workforce shortage of over 1 million workers holding a baccalaureate degree.

Bakersfield College has worked in innovative ways to address the educational attainment shortfall, including:

  • Increasing Associate Degree for Transfer Completion by 637% in five years through the Finish-in-4 agreement with CSU Bakersfield and the development of increased transfer course offerings at Bakersfield College Southwest, a new campus that is colocated with CSU Bakersfield.
  • Motivating degree completion by creating the nationally acclaimed Program Pathways Mapper web tool that aligns curriculum across systems, and gives students a visual map of degree completion.
  • Offering Early College across Kern County, allowing over 11,000 high school students annually the opportunity to complete college credit, certificates, or even an Associates Degree before high school graduation.

At yesterday’s event Chancellor Eloy Oakley said that “There would be no Bakersfield without Bakersfield College.” Our graduates are vital to our communities. Our grads are the nurses, the teachers, the welders, the fire fighters, safety officers, and more.

Michele Siqueriros on the screen with Arnold Schwarzenegger

Partners like the Campaign for College Opportunity are vital to the work we’re doing. They are singularly focused on increasing the number of students that attend college and complete their degree, and they are partners in the shared goal of strengthening California’s future. We owe a special thank you to The Campaign for College Opportunity and CCO President, Michele Siqueiros.

Sharing the Success of Early College at the California Economic Summit

I had the opportunity to attend the California Economic Summit in Fresno, CA, where I was invited to join BC’s partners from the Wonderful Company: Dr. Noemi Donoso, Executive Vice President of Wonderful Education, and Andy Anzaldo, Chief Operating Officer for Wonderful Education, and Victor a student from the first graduating class in 2018. At the Summit we shared the story of the success of the Early College partnership which was started in 2013 with the goal of providing students at Wonderful’s Delano campus an opportunity to complete an Associate of Science in Agriculture Business from BC by the time they graduated from high school. 

The pilot program proved successful when the 2018 graduating class from Wonderful walked across the Bakersfield College graduation stage to receive their associate degrees a week before participating in their high school graduation. All students went on to attend college or enter the workforce. Those who graduated with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above and enrolled full-time in a four-year university were eligible for a renewable four-year scholarship of up to $24,000 per year through the Wonderful Academy. The following year, our number of graduates almost tripled and by 2023, BC expects to award over 1,000 Early College certificates and degrees.

Now, that’s a positive change for the central valley and future generations that we can all be proud of.

Energy Festival

The Kern County Foundation held their annual Kern County Energy Festival on Saturday, November 9, to celebrate the positive impact that energy has on our community.  BC Industrial Automation Bachelor of Science Program Manager, Aubrey Priest,  educated the attendees about the great opportunities the program offers our community in the energy sector. Carlos Medina from Career Education shared information about the different energy-related programs BC offers to support the community and increase the skilled workforce.

Kern County Energy Summit

Attending the 13th Annual Kern County Energy Summit this week offered new insight into ways that Bakersfield College can contribute to building a sound energy future for our community. The event opener Lorelei Oviatt, Director of Kern County’s Planning and Natural Resources Department, who painted a picture of Kern County as a place for energy growth and innovation in a way that is not always recognized outside the county.

Lorelei said she is often contacted by energy innovators in France and Germany, people who consider Kern County to be the first choice when launching energy technologies, inviting her to share Kern’s policies and incentives in their own efforts to to support a comprehensive energy portfolio. Kern County has evolved far beyond the iconic wooden oil derricks from the 1930’s:

  • Kern County is number one in the state and 5th in the nation in oil production.
  • Kern County is a leader in innovating new energy technologies in the fields of solar and wind energy, biomass, hydrogen.
  • Kern County energy sector is upwardly mobile: a person is more able to move from the bottom 20% to the top 20% of wage earners than anywhere else in the country.
  • Kern County leads in the growing need for and development of energy storage—battery storage, water storage, underground energy storage.
Sonya Christian & Stu Witt

At our table, Tony Cordova, BC’s Director of Career and Technical Education, and Klint Rigby, BC Department Chair of Industrial Technology, talked about workforce needs Bakersfield College could fulfill in Kern County. Meanwhile, former Top Gun pilot and new member of the National Space Council, Stu Witt and Dr. Michele Bresso, Bakersfield College Communication Professor, strategized about building partnerships between energy leaders and education.  Stu was discussing the sunset of fossil fuels and the need to restructure education to meet the growth and change in workforce needs for the vast array of energy industries that would emerge in our region. Bakersfield College is well-positioned to fuel the energy industry workforce innovation and growth with its educational programs in Engineering, Industrial Automation, Industrial Technology, Physics, Chemistry and more.

Michele Bresso & Klint Rigby

And, it can’t come a moment too soon, according to the predictions of summit speaker, Dr. Steven R. Bohlen, Energy and Homeland Security Program Director at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Dr. Bohlen offered an exciting perspective about the future when he said that Kern County is the next Silicon Valley in terms of carbon management: turning agriculture waste into biomass energy and other products.

BC Education Department LETS TEACH Conference

BC’s Education Department hosted their 5th FUTURE TEACHERS conference on October 25, 2019. The conference consisted of 16 interactive breakout sessions focusing on Building Bridges for Diversity in Education. Presenters were from the Edison School District, BC faculty John Hart and Michael Westwood, vendors with representatives from our BC programs, K-16 stakeholders, and local organizations that employ future teachers.

A special thanks to Christina Maldonado, Isabel Castaneda, Dr. Kimberly Bligh, and the Education Department peer mentors, as well as the BC CTE and food services staff who assisted with the event!

Early College Team Goes to Central Valley Higher Education Consortium Meeting in Fresno

Last Tuesday, November 12th, Steve Watkin and Kylie Swanson represented BC at the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium (CVHEC) meeting in Fresno, CA, in a regional discussion on Dual Enrollment. Our team was joined by the Kern High School District’s Director of Educational Services, Carla Stallworth. Kylie and Carla were invited to be on one of three panels that took place during the meeting. They shared with our regional partners how we are scaling up dual enrollment and implementing Early College opportunities throughout Kern County. 

Other panels for the day included a discussion on pathway development from West Hills College and their high school partners in Mendota Unified School District, and a focus on data-driven outcomes from a collaboration between Fresno City College, CSU Fresno, and Valley ROP.

Kylie Swanson & Steve Watkin

Thank you for representing BC and Kern County, Steve, Kylie, and Carla!

Cal EPA in Bakersfield

The California Environmental Protection Agency is developing several studies on making our state a carbon neutral economy, and invited stakeholders in Kern County’s energy industry to the Levan Center on Wednesday to discuss their preliminary findings and get feedback from our community about climate change, energy consumption, and vehicle emissions.

Cal EPA and the office of Governor Newsom brought together representatives from Aera, Chevron, the Western States Petroleum Association, and other local energy giants, as well as environmental advocates from organizations like the Sierra Club and the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment. The Levan Center was packed with participants looking to have their perspective heard on this important issues. 

CASFAA Conference

Last week, BC’s Director of Financial Aid, Jennifer Achan, and her team of financial aid experts returned from this year’s California Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (CASFAA) conference, held in Riverside. The focus of this event was to discuss the latest financial aid policy issues; participate in in-depth training and professional development; and engage with peers, policy makers, and other educational partners to better serve California’s expanding college student population.

Rebecca Bumpous, Vanesa Hernandez, Lysander Ramos, and Nick Chidgey (Financial Aid Technicians) excited to attend the 2019 CASFA

Tom Gelder’s Farewell Ice Cream Social

Friends and colleagues wished retiring BC Foundation Executive Director Tom Gelder good luck as he heads into retirement this week, celebrating the occasion with an abundance of Rosemary’s ice cream! Tom has been with the Foundation since 2014.

Speakers at the party included Heather Pennella, Academic President Steven Holmes, Athletic Director Sandi Taylor, and Communications Director Norma Rojas. Tom and his wife, Anthropology Professor Dana Heins-Gelder, will remain in the area and Tom intends to keep closely tied to all things BC. As Dana has expressed on numerous occasions, “I’m too young to retire!” So, she will continue to teach her anthropology and gender courses.

Tom Gelder, Sonya Christian

Mrs. Bakersfield Pageant

Adjunct theater professor Leslie Aldridge was one of the three pageant queens crowned during the competition, judged based on personality, interview skills, and presentation on stage. The theme of this year’s competition was “Service Above Self”, designed to honor veterans, military and first responders. The three pageant queens showed their pride for Kern County’s service members by marching at the Veterans Day parade in downtown Bakersfield on Monday.

Aldridge designs costumes for many of our amazing theater productions, and will be teaching beginning acting at BC next spring. Throughout 2020, she will be accompanying Miss Teen Bakersfield Zoe Gudino and Miss Bakersfield Shelby Moore in attending more than 50 major local events. We couldn’t be more proud of Leslie’s accomplishments and wish her the best of luck during her reign as Mrs. Bakersfield 2020.  You can see more about the story from 23ABC

Fun Photos:

Veterans Parade

BC had our traditional float at the Veterans Parade.

Student Veterans Panel

Earlier this week, BC Veterans Services hosted a Student Veterans Panel for BC’s student veterans to talk about their experiences serving in the military as well as their transition to civilian life and college. BC’s student veterans Aaron Neubert, Ilene Garcia, Josiah Thomas, and Kimberly Rodriguez, BC Veterans Educational Advisor Armando Trujillo, and BC History Professor and Veteran Services faculty Paul Beckworth, talked about their service in the military with the Marines, National Guard, and Navy as well as their experiences serving in the military during their transition to civilian and college life. Our BC student veterans talked about their experiences traveling abroad while stationed in places around the world such as in Australia, Hawaii, Iraq, Japan, and Thailand and talked about the personal growth that they experienced while serving in the military. 

Armando Trujillo discussed the challenges veterans may have due to concerns with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and adjusting to the transition of civilian and college.

California Economic Summit

It was great seeing Van Ton-Quinlivan and Dr. Omid Pourzanjani at the 2019 California Economic Summit in Fresno! 

Sonya Christian, Van Ton Quinlivan, Omid Pourzabjani
Abstract and Nature Photos

Web Content Editor Earl Parsons shared some nature photos he took around campus during the summer and early fall, as well as some abstract photos that he took during various events. For instance, during the most recent Opening Day, he took some photos of speakers through the black gauze that hung over the monitors.  Great photos, Earl!

Renegade Wrestling Claims the 2019 SCWA Title

Coach Brett Clark and his Renegade Wrestling team claimed their third conference title of the last four years this last week at the Southern California Wrestling Alliance Conference Tournament held at our Gil Bishop Sports Center. Taking first in their individual weight classes for the Renegades were Alexis Becerra at 141 lbs., Scott Hokit at 174 lbs., Jordan Annis at 184 lbs., and Ricardo Gonzalez at 197 lbs. Coach Clark and Co-Head Coach Marcos Austin were named SCWA Coaches of the Year. Assistant coaches Joe Espejo, Ryan Meloche and Jessie Urbie were named SCWA Assistant Coaches of the year. Becerra was named the Outstanding Lower Weight Wrestler of the Tournament. Congrats, Brett and team!

Kern Schools Federal Credit Union Renegades of the Week

Ryan Bayne, Volleyball

In two matches last week that clinched the fourth consecutive Western State Conference (WSC) championship for Renegade Volleyball, Ryan totaled 10 kills, 0 errors and 19 attempts for a .526% hitting percentage.

Alexis Becerra, Wrestling

Alexis was the 141. lb champion at last Saturday’s SCWA Tournament in helping the team their third conference championship in the last four years. Alexis was also named the ‘Outstanding Lower Weight Wrestler’ of the tournament.

Student Athlete Spotlight: Keithen Estrada, Wrestling

Enjoy this week’s Renegade Student Athlete Spotlight video on sophomore Keithen Estrada from our Renegade Wrestling team. Keithen took 7th at last years state finals and is looking to top that performance this year. The Wrestling team just won the conference title and is looking to add a state title this year as well. The video was shot and edited by BC digital media student Manny Robinson. Great work, Manny!

Tina Cummings Swim Class

Our very own Tina Cummings celebrated her 55th birthday by swimming 55 x 50 yard laps. Her beginning swim class joined in on the fun and swam 55 x 25 yard laps to celebrate with her. In her own words, “They didn’t think they could do it when they started, but I knew they could. They were awesome! They went from not being able to swim a lap, to swimming 55 of them in a row.” Way to push our students and Happy Birthday, Tina!

Renegade Athletics updates from this past week

Athletic events ‘On the Hill’ this coming week

Be sure to put on your Renegade Red and cheer on our student athletes as they compete this coming week. If you can’t make it in person, check GoGades.com to catch the livestream. Events include:

  • 11/22 at 4pm – Men’s Basketball vs. Cuesta
  • 11/23 at 3pm – Men’s Basketball vs. Napa Valley


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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