Celebrating our heroes — Moms, Nurses, …

Happy Mother’s Day to all the fabulous women out there

I was perusing previous Mother’s Day blog posts and thought you would enjoy the one from 2018. In this post I also cover the first graduating baccalaureate class. Check it out. https://sonyachristianblog.com/2018/05/12/a-commencement-of-firsts/

How about starting Mother’s Day weekend with 5 minutes of beautiful music with the BC Chamber singers.

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, May 9, 2020… A great day to be Renegade

Nurses — Our Heroes

Since this week is Nurses Appreciation Week, I thought it was particularly fitting that an email praising one of our nursing faculty came across my inbox on Thursday. Former BC student Melissa Prendiz wrote a wonderful email about professor Milena Lilles. Here are a few excerpts from her email. Thank you Professor Lilles and all our nursing faculty and students – and all the nurses in our community.

Hello professor, I wanted to reach out to you to thank you for supporting my success by providing a recommendation letter for me. I remember you would express to us students that your class was not an easy class but you wanted to not only prepare us for the nursing program but once we became a nurse – “people’s lives depended on us.” Little did you know you also prepared me for what we are facing now during this pandemic. You would always say, “viruses are the most complicated, it takes a lot of research to understand them.” It all makes very much sense now. I want to be honest during the course of your class there were days I felt proud of myself and days I felt defeated and would literally cry….But through it all you taught me what hardwork and perseverance is and you prepared me and my fellow students what to expect once we got accepted into the nursing program. ….Thank you for all the lessons you have tught me and for you I am truly grateful.

Equally fitting for Nurses Appreciation Week, nursing Dean Carla Gard shared this video that the 1st semester nursing students and faculty made for our 4th semester nursing students, cheering them on to graduation.

Thank you to our fabulous nursing students and faculty!

Here is another video that you will enjoy. Community Colleges are the primary educators of our first responders, and BC has an excellent set of programs within our Public Safety metamajor pathways — Criminal Justice, Administration of Justice, Corrections, Fire Technology, Wildland and Paramedic.

There’s more information about this pathway on our website at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/public-safety-training.

Back to College

We have expanded our Back to College offerings with non-credit courses in Basic Office Skills and ServSafe. These courses are free and open to the public. Visit https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/backtocollege for more information or to learn how to sign up.

Endee Grijalva, Jaime Lopez, and Anthony Cordova have put in so much time and effort into making this program available for those in our community who are or will be seeking employment. I’m thankful that once again, our BC team has anticipated a need and found a way to help. BC, “playing to where the puck is going to be” rather than “where the puck is.” We are BC!

We are also offering Early College Summer Courses for high school students, to give them a head start on their college careers. Go to https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/earlycollege to find out more about that program.

Steve Watkin, Ashlea Ward, and Nicole Alvarez did a great job putting this together and making sure the information got out to our students.

Kern Promise: Register Now!

The Kern Promise team put together a fun video to remind students to register for summer and fall.

Thank you to Abraham Castillo, Stephanie Hartfield, Jeff Laforce, and Isabel Castaneda for communicating this important information to our students.

The Kern Promise website has more information about this program to help students complete their Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) within two instructional years through structured support and priority access to courses.

BC Community, local leaders rock their masks

While I was looking through social media this week, keeping connected with our community even while we must maintain physical distance, I kept noticing folks adhering to Gov. Newsom’s guidelines of wearing non-medical masks when in public.

Jessica Wojtysiak, one of our deans of instruction, with her son John out on the Tehachapi loop and wearing masks that her grandmother made and shipped from Chicago:

I here are our student Renegades helping out with the drive-thru Renegade Pantry:

Rudy Salas showed how he and his colleagues at the State Capitol have returned to work with additional safety measures:

TJ Cox also posted a few photos wearing a mask and exercising social distancing:

Virtual Forums Continue

This week, we were able to bring back our virtual forum series, starting with an All-Campus Budget Update on Monday. We had 213 attendees tune in to hear from Mike Giacomini, VP or Finance and Administrative Services; Teresa McAllister, Faculty Chair of the Budget Committee; and Steven Holmes, Academic Senate President; discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic may affect our budget in the years to come, and how Bakersfield College is positioning itself to remain strong in difficult times.

If you missed this or any of our other forums, you can watch videos and find resources at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/covid19.

Project HireUp

This spring semester, Bakersfield College launched Project HireUp, a collaboration between BC, the Mission at Kern County, the faith-based local non-profit City Serve, and industry partners including Adventist Health. The goal of Project HireUp is to decrease homelessness in Kern County through a creative and innovative partnership that supports students who are currently experiencing housing insecurity in continuing their education and securing employment.

Jessica Martinez did a nice job of summing up the first Project HireUp cohort. Read the story Project HireUp Leads the Way for Pathways to Employment.

Teaching Inside in the Time of Corona

MERS Coronavirus Particles” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sara Wallace, English Professor at Bakersfield College has published her third entry for her blog titled: “Reflections from Inside: Teaching in the Inmate Scholars Program” on Medium.

This entry is titled: “Teaching Inside in the Time of Corona” and addresses some of the challenges the program has faced during the past seven weeks.

Virtual Student Information Desk

Amanda Stone and Kalina Hill greeted Aricia Leighton in the virtual lobby this week.

Every week, I continue to be amazed at how the BC team is adapting and coming up with new ways to serve our students in this time of business un-usual.

Our campuses may be closed, but Student Services is ensuring that our experts are still accessible through modern technology. Staff is available to answer your questions Monday through Thursday 10AM-6PM. Read more details at TALK TO AN EXPERT: New Student Information Desk.

Student Life Updates

Student Involvement and Leadership Awards

The Student Leadership and Involvement Awards Ceremony, coordinated by the Office of Student Life, is intended to recognize the accomplishments of student organizations and various student leaders at Bakersfield College. This annual event is a chance for all registered student organizations and student leadership to present their achievements to the rest of the College community and be recognized for their accomplishments.

See the list of Student Involvement and Leadership Awards winners.

The following is the video of the event:

Renegade Pantry

Monday, April 20th the Renegade Pantry served over 300 students with Emergency Food Boxes. Through collaboration with the Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK) Food Bank, the Office of Student Life staff were able to distribute boxes of canned fruits, veggies, pasta, frozen meat, and cheese.

Read about the 300 Households Served in Renegade Pantry.

And if students need assistance, they can still sign up for the Renegade Pantry Drive-Thru at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/pantry.

The Renegade Minute

BC’s Commercial Music students published the third season of the Renegade Minute podcasts. Among their guests are faculty, students and community members. Take a listen to The Renegade Minute/

Fun Photos

Our Academic Technology Department shared how they liven up their Zoom meetings. Thank you Tracy Lovelace, Pamela Rivers, Bill Moseley, David Greenfield, Matt Jones and Anita Karr for bringing some lighthearted fun to our virtual campus this week.

Kris Tiner in our Jazz Studies department is continuing to use technology in different ways to give his students new experiences. They recently had Kozue Matsumoto share the koto, a traditional Japanese instrument, during a Zoom class.

Lesley Bonds, Director of Student Success & Equity, had great company when she headed outside to catch Monday’s budget forum.



RESILIENCE III, the at-home workout plan designed for Renegade student athletes by our very own kinesiology faculty Zack Peters, Matt Moon and Konrad Dahl, was released on Monday. This is the third and final phase of the series of three-week workouts and is meant to get athletes back to normal speeds. You are not too late to get started on the workout yourself! Head to GoGades.com to get started or click this link: http://gogades.com/general/2019-20/releases/20200504hpsdec

2019-20 Renegade Athletics Annual Awards Announced

The Bakersfield College Athletics Department annually recognizes the accomplishments of its student athletes with both academic and athletic focused awards. As a department during the 2019-2020 year, the Renegades captured a total of three team conference championships (Women’s Volleyball, Soccer and Wrestling) and one individual state championship (Jonathan Hunter, Wrestling). This year’s awards and the winners are featured below. We are proud of not only these award winners, but for all of our student athletes who represent BC so well!

Team Community Service Award

Men’s Golf – Even though they suffered devastating news with more than half their season being canceled this spring due to COVID-19, the Renegade Men’s golf squad led all teams with a total of 614.5 hours of service in the community. As an entire department during the 2019-20 academic year Renegade Athletics teams served 2,021 hours in the Bakersfield community before the COVID-19 shut-down, shattering the beginning of the year department goal of 1,250 hours.

Weight Room Warrior

Yarabi Campos, Women’s Track & Field – A two-year student athlete for Coach Pam Kelley and the Renegade Track & Field program, Yarabi has proven to be a weight room warrior over the course of her BC career. Using the power of strength training to her advantage and being consistent with daily workouts, Yarabi’s work ethic has consistently increased her personal bests in shot, hammer and discuss.

Holden Williams, Football –  A two-year student athlete for Renegade football, Holden committed himself to the strength and conditioning program of Zack Peters, BC Director of Strength and Conditioning, and has seen dramatic results. After finishing the 2019 football season with 26 tackles and 4.5 sacks, Holden signed to continue his academic and football career at Portland State University.

Newcomer of the Year

Ally Dees, Volleyball – In her first year on the Renegade Volleyball Team, Alyson came in as a very reliable middle blocker for Coach Carl Ferreira to help the team to a fourth consecutive WSC Conference Championship. Over the course of the season she had a .411 hitting percentage, totaled 209 kills and 88 blocks. At the conclusion of the season she was named to the 2019 WSC South First Team All-Conference team.

Tyrell Coleman, Men’s Basketball – Breaking onto the court for Coach Rich Hughes, Tyrell was a consistent scoring force for the Renegades all season long. He led the team averaging 17.1 ppg (478 total points) with a 48.9 shooting percentage. At the end of the season he was named to the 2019-20 WSC South First Team All-Conference team.

Individual Performance

Neshara Smith, Women’s Track & Field – In her first meet as a Renegade for Coach Pam Kelley at the AVC All-Comers Meet on January 25, Neshara came out with a commanding performance taking first in the 100M dash (12.95), 200M dash (27.04) and long jump (18’5″, state qualifying mark). At the conclusion of the shortened season she led the state with top marks in the 100M hurdles and long jump.

Alejandro Murillo, Baseball – On February 7th when the Renegades hosted El Camino at Gerry Collis Field, Alejandro threw a 9-inning game collecting 15 strikeouts. The 15 K’s is highest number of batter’s he’s struck out in any one game during his two-year career at BC. Alejandro recently signed to continue his academic and baseball career at the University of Nevada.

Grit Award

Jenna Sampley, Women’s Basketball A freshman coming into the 2019-20 season, Jenna suffered a severe set-back when she broke her foot in summer training going into the season. Despite the misfortune, she stayed strong in her treatment reporting consistently to the athletic training room, helping in any way she could and overall maintaining a positive attitude. She was able to make it back to the court in December, immediately bringing energy, leadership and a spark to the team.

Adolfo Escudero, Men’s Cross Country and T&F – Adolfo has been a consistent two-year runner for Coach Pam Kelley for both the Renegade Cross Country and Track and Field programs. Deaf since birth, he has excelled in the classroom, earning 2019 Academic All-State Honors and is on track for 2020 Academic All-State Honors, all the while being a steady force for the team on the course and on the track. 

Career Achievement

Dasia Wandick, Women’s Basketball In her two year’s at BC, Dasia has been a consistent and dominant scoring machine for Coach Paula Dahl. In the 2018-19 season Dasia led the team with 14.5 points/game (363 total points) and 7.6 rebounds/game (189 total rebounds). At the conclusion of the season she was named to the WSC South All-Conference team. In the 2019-20 season she continued to lead the team with 15.3 points/game (428 total points) and 8.1 rebounds/game (227 total rebounds). At the end of the season she was once again named to the WSC South All-Conference team.

Edgar Gonzalez, Men’s Soccer Edgar was a solid and dependable bright spot for Coach Vayron Martinez during his two years on the Renegades Men’s Soccer team. In the 2018 season he played in all 20 games scoring seven goals with four assists and was named to the 2018 WSC First Team, 2018 CCCSCA All-Region Team and the 2018 CCCSCA All-State Team. In the 2019 season he was a key factor propelling the Renegades to their first conference championship in program history scoring six goals with seven assists. At the end of the season he was named to the 2019 WSC South First Team All-Conference, the 2019 CCCAA South Region Team and was honored as the 2019 WSC South Offensive Player of the Year.

Most Valuable Renegade

Penelope Zepeda, Women’s Volleyball – In 2019-20 Penelope led the Women’s Volleyball team to their fourth straight WSC Conference Title and into the second round of the CCCAA State Playoffs. A two year starter for Coach Carl Ferreira, Penelope was also an active participant in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. At the conclusion of the 2019 season she was named the WSC South Conference Player of the Year. In addition she was named to the 2019 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) 2nd Team All-American, the 2019 CCCAA 1st Team All-State and the 2019 Southern California 1st-team All-State. This coming fall she is headed to go to school and play volleyball at Western Oregon University.

Christian Gonzalez, Men’s Soccer – In 2019-20 Christian helped lead the Men’s Soccer team to the team’s first ever WSC Conference Championships in program history. A two year starter for Coach Vayron Martinez, he also actively participated in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. At the conclusion of the season he was named the 2019 WSC South Co-Defensive Player of the Year. In addition, he was named to the 2019 WSC South First Team, 2019 CCAA South Region Team and the 2019 CCCAA State Team. This coming fall he is headed to go to school and play soccer at Humboldt State University.

Scholar Athletes of the Year

Emily Lostetter, Women’s Soccer – Emily played as a Midfielder/Forward for Coach Scott Dameron the past two seasons. A Psychology major, Emily accumulated a 3.92 GPA in the classroom the last two years while scoring six goals with five assists in the 2018 season and four goals in the 2019 season.

Ryan Darbee, Baseball – Ryan has been part of Coach Tim Painton’s baseball program the last three years earning all-conference honors in 2018 and using a red-shirt year in 2019. An Administration of Justice major with a 3.75 GPA, Ryan has consistently excelled in the classroom and been a leader on the baseball team during his time as a Renegade.

Athletes of the Year

Penelope Zepeda, VolleyballPenelope Zepeda, Women’s Volleyball – In 2019-20 Penelope led the Women’s Volleyball team to their fourth straight WSC Conference Title and into the second round of the CCCAA State Playoffs. A two year starter for Coach Carl Ferreira, Penelope was also an active participant in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. At the conclusion of the 2019 season she was named the WSC South Conference Player of the Year. In addition she was named to the 2019 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) 2nd Team All-American, the 2019 California Community College Athletics Association 1st Team All-State and the 2019 Southern California 1st-team All-State. This coming fall she is headed to go to school and play volleyball at Western Oregon University.

Jonathan Hunter, Wrestling – Jonathan’s first season as a Renegade was one for the record books. As a 174 lb. wrestler for coaches Brett Clark and Marcos Austin, SCWA Coaches of the Year, Jonathan battled injury to help the team win its third conference title in the last four years. He would then go on to make quick work of his bracket at the state finals and claim an individual state championship and also be named a CCCAA All-American.

President Sonya Christian in front of a Bakersfield College wall.

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

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One thought on “Celebrating our heroes — Moms, Nurses, …

  1. Professor Gayle Richardson May 9, 2020 at 9:33 am Reply

    Happy Mother’s Day, Sonya!🌹


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