BC – the week of vaccinations

I was so excited to see how many of our BC faculty and staff were able to get their COVID-19 vaccinations this week. Vaccinations are the first step to getting back to seeing each other in person – and every person I see getting their shot brings a smile to my face as we find hope to end this pandemic.

I’ve especially appreciated some of the notes that have been shared.

“After nearly a year away, I almost cried when I saw Michael Korcok! I was so happy to see my hallmate in person for the first time since March 16th 2020.” – Helen Acosta

Abel Guzman shared that his vaccine was administered by a BC LVN student, Jesus:

Here are some of the other photos of Renegades getting vaccinated:

Please share your COVID-19 vaccination photos to president@bakersfieldcollege.edu so they can be added to our growing gallery.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, February 27, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

How BC Firefighters Land Their Dream Job

Bakersfield College, in collaboration with our City and County Fire Departments, assists students in landing their dream job in the community as firefighters. A key to reaching that goal is the right combination of education and training. Future firefighters receive both instructional and hands-on training.

This training lasts for months, and upon successful completion students are qualified to apply to work at many fire departments. Dean Lora Larkin, FIRE Faculty Charles Truvillion, Chief Mike Lencioni, and Captain Bryce Campbell met to see student progress first hand in a rare opportunity this past Saturday to see our students in a firefighting training. 

Participants included Charles Johnson (KCFD), Victor Reyes (KCFD), Austin Lackey (KCFD), Temo Rojo (KCFD), Chris Wells (KCFD), Johnathan Amaya (KCFD), Bryce Campbell (KCFD), Wyatt Paxton (BFD), and Mike Lencioni (BFD).

What many may not know is that the training through Bakersfield College continues even after a person is offered a job with the Fire Departments. The Recruit Academy is provided through Bakersfield College as well, where all previous education and training are cummulatively built upon and applied in real world scenarios. For many months recruits work long days at the training facility, and study into the night each night. Some of the topics covered are fire behavior, military discipline, auto extrication, and firefighter survival. 

Live fire training provides the students enrolled in the academy the best opportunity to experience what it truly takes to perform the tasks of a firefighter under realistic conditions. This high level of training cannot be simulated through other means. It is the mission of the teaching cadre for the Bakersfield College Firefighter 1 Academy to best prepare the cadets for their future career as firefighters providing both the academic education and the necessary experience in applying what they have been taught.

While the fire service career path can seem daunting at first, supportive staff are there for our students through the entire process. Encourage those within our community to enroll in the Bakersfield College Fire Technology program; you never know where it can take you! 

BC, KCCD Awarded Nearly $2 Million for Kern Regional Workforce Coalition

The Kern Community College District and Bakersfield College have been awarded $1,999,725.30 to convene industry, worker organizations and community around shared interests in energy, workforce, and industry needs of Kern County and the Central Valley. This initiative, known as The Kern Regional Workforce Coalition is a  High Road Training Partnership (HTRP), aimed to create a stronger, healthier, and more economically resilient community by focusing on equity, education, industry security, and job quality.

To meet these objectives, the Kern Regional Workforce Coalition will work with many local community, labor, industry stakeholders and contributing partners including the Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK), The Kern, Inyo, and Mono Counties Building Trades Council, The Kern, Inyo, and Mono Counties Central Labor Council, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce, Kern Taxpayers Association, Farmworker Institute for Education and Leadership (FIELD), and others to conduct research, strengthen and expand regional workgroups, and invest in worker-centered workforce training, development, economic diversification and the right industry sectors to build the region’s foundation for high road training partnerships. 

Umoja Celebrates Black History Month with several events

The Umoja Community program and the Umoja Club held events during February for Black History Month. Highlights include the Club’s third annual conference and the Program’s presentation of East African acrobats.

The conference keynote Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka spoke on “Untangling Racial Trauma.” The DC-based psychohairapist wove hair together as an expression of African culture, with the hair as both symbol and target of marginalization.

Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka

She traced the history of hair oppression from Louisiana forcing formerly enslaved women to cover their hair with a headwrap to today’s students being bullied, not allowed to play sports, or suspended for wearing their hair in braids, locs, or afros. From the 1700s to now “there have been laws and rules how we were allowed to wear our hair,” Dr. Mbilishaka added.

But hair is also a cultural affirmation, a type of self care, and a way to protest. She explained that those escaping enslavement braided maps into their hair: “I don’t want to present a story that is victimizing. We always fought back.”

African drummer Dramane Kone and his group provided energetic drumming and dancing as part of the conference.

Another event was Tanzanian Zuzu Acrobats. Performances included balancing on stacked chairs, riding a unicycle three wheels high, folding into contorted positions, and forming a human pyramid — all to the rhythm of African music. During the post-performance question and answer, choreographer Matiga Koba explained that the moves were from celebration rituals from the Tanzanian tribes represented by the performers.

Kudos to the Umoja Club officers and Umoja Program Coordinator Dr. Paula L. Parks for putting on such celebratory, educational, and engaging Black History Month activities.

2nd Annual Jean Fuller Women in Leadership Panel

Cynthia Giumarra, Rosalina Rivera, Blanca Cavazos, Shannon Grove, and Jean Fuller at the 2019 Women in Leadership Panel.

Bakersfield College will kick off Women’s History Month with a panel, hosted by me and moderated by the fabulous Senator Emeritus, Jean Fuller. The panel will include local women who will share their influences, challenges, and successes along with words of advice for young women. The event will premiere on BC’s YouTube channel at 6 pm on Thursday, March 4, 2021.

The Jean Fuller Women in Leadership Panel features the following guests:

  • Dr. Mary Barlow, Kern County Superintendent of Schools
  • Ms. Katie Russell, Superintendent, Panama Buena Vista Union School District
  • Past Assemblywoman Nicole Parra, Manager, California Government Relations, Marathon Petroleum Corp.

The event is part of BC’s month-long celebration of Women’s History Month. Bakersfield College’s Office of Student Life in collaboration with the Student Government Association is also hosting journalist and activist Elaine Weiss as part of the college’s Distinguished Speaker series on Tuesday, March 2nd.

New Renegade Orientations for High School Seniors Begin

The Outreach & Early College team, along with colleagues from other Student Affairs departments, held their first New Renegade Orientations for matriculation high school seniors. This past week nearly 350 high school seniors attended to learn more about attending Bakersfield College after graduation. During these orientations, seniors have the opportunity to learn more about their transition from high school to college, discover resources and tools for success, and explore their individualized Comprehensive Student Education Plans. Eight more sessions are scheduled for interested seniors to attend.

Visit: https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/outreach/high-school-seniors to learn more!

Tutors for Panorama/SW Campus Host Spring 2021 Virtual Conference

Last Friday, tutors from the Panorama and SW campuses held their Zoom Tutoring Conference for Spring 2021. All tutors were invited to contribute to open discussions on their tutoring experiences in general and their coping mechanisms for tutoring during COVID.

Connie Gonzalez, Director of the MESA Program, was the featured guest speaker, addressing the issue of Emotional Intelligence (EI) and its connection to learning. Her presentation culminated in an insightful questionnaire that assessed the EI of each attendee — helping us see where we might need work on our EI!

Perhaps most impressive thing about this Conference was that it was 100% tutor-run as part of a tutor training course that all tutors are required to take. Tutors expertly organized and implemented every aspect of the Conference. Their ease with technology was evident throughout, and they added the delightful touch of including 2 online games, Kahoot and Skribbl.io.

When all was said and done, each participant left the meeting with a reinforced sense that they were part of a community of peer educators with the mission of providing students the best tutoring experience possible. Their growth mindset is inspiring as they continually embrace new approaches, even during COVID. Looking forward to the next conference!

Virtual Forums: Summer & Fall 2021 Preliminary Plans

On Tuesday, we continued the President’s Virtual Seminar series. This week’s session focused on our preliminary plans for Summer & Fall 2021, as we gradually increase physical access to our campus.

Thank you to our panelists – Billie Jo Rice, VP of Instruction; Rosita Barron, director of the Child Development Center; Jeremy Staat – Welding Professor; and Anna Melby – Culinary Arts Professor; for sharing their insight as we navigate back toward reopening our campus and creating our new normal.

As always, thank you to Earl Parsons for providing programming support, and Todd Coston for providing technical support and serving as our emcee.

You can catch up on all the virtual forums on BC’s COVID-19 website.

Opening Day Spring 2021

Today, I’m sharing a few videos from the second day of programming for our Opening Day Spring 2021 celebration.

We took a look at the Project HireUp program:

We also enjoyed a performance from the Bakersfield College Choir, Chamber Singers, and Renegade Chorus:

You can see all the videos from the Spring Opening Day celebration on the Bakersfield College website.

In the News

Community Voices: Why choose a career in education? Teachers change lives

Kimberly Bligh, Education Department chair, wrote about the importance of teachers in our society, and shared how BC can prepare future – and current – teachers.

“Bakersfield College has one of the top teacher education programs in all of California’s community colleges. We have multiple pathways and programs available for people who want to pursue any type of teaching career. Teaching paths include pre-K, elementary, middle school, high school, community college and university levels. Within those levels, teachers can specialize in early childhood, nutrition, special education, STEM, career and technical fields, education technology, research, curriculum design, administration, counseling and so much more.”

Community Voices: Student government members impact so many on campus

BCSGA Vice President Emma McNellis wrote a Community Voices piece urging students to consider joining student government.

“By joining your student government, you will be given an opportunity to meet several new people, develop strong leadership skills and join a team of several dedicated student leaders. You will meet a variety of students who share the common goal of effectively representing the students to make college life better for all. Additionally, no matter the amount of leadership experience you begin with, I guarantee that student government will enhance your leadership skills, as it has honed my own soft skills for the past two years”

New cafe Nixtamal to support Children First Campaign

Culinary Arts Adjunct Faculty Marah Meek has joined the Nixtamal team, which supports the Children First Campaign in East Bakersfield. The charity is opening a new cafe, and is also selling monthly pastry boxes – which are prepared by students in the BC Culinary Arts Department.

You can find out more about this program in the story on the KGET website.

Sunrise Interview: Early College

Kylie Campbell, Outreach and Early College Director, appeared on KGET News at Sunrise to talk about BC’s partnership with the Kern High School District.

Spotted on Social Media

BC Cheer shared a Throwback Thursday picture from 2016 New Student Convocation:

Cheryl Scott shared this adorable picture of her dogs:

Matt Andrasian-Jones continued his Discern and Draw series with an Allen Wrench Monkey Tail:

Krista Moreland‘s cat took a nap on her desk:

Isabel Castaneda shared an update about the new Renegade in her family:


Jonathan Hunter Receives His Wrestling State Championship Ring

Congrats to last year’s individual wrestling (174lb) state champion and Renegade Athletics Male Athlete of the Year, Jonathan Hunter, on receiving his state champion ring this week. Jonathan dominated his opponents throughout the 2019 wrestling season and quickly worked his way to victory at the state wrestling championships. He will now have this piece of hardware to remind him of his hard work and accomplishments the rest of his life.


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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