Higher Ed in the spotlight in CA

Look who has come to visit. Bessie has arrived from the Marina and will be in Bakersfield for the next month.

Bessie relaxing poolside – one of her favorite spots.
Oct 9, 2021

And Neo is very pleased that his best friend is here.


What an amazing week for Higher Education in California. On Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed college affordability and accessibility legislation while highlighting the historic $47.1 billion higher education package.

A few notable bills that he signed into law –

Assembly Bill 927 makes permanent and expands the pilot program that allowed 15 community colleges throughout the state to offer baccalaureate degrees. One of those initial colleges is Bakersfield College, which offers a Baccalaureate Degree in Industrial Automation. I’m excited that more of our state’s students will be able to experience the success BC’s Industrial Automation cohorts have enjoyed over the past several years.

Assembly Bill 928 helps to streamline the transfer process for our students. It requires the CSU and UC systems to consolidate their general education transfer pathways to a singular pathway, allowing students to save time and money while meeting admission requirements for both systems.

The Higher Education Package includes ongoing funding for the UC, CSU and California Community Colleges systems, as well as investments to make higher education more affordable for more students – including expanding the Cal Grant program to additional community college students.

I’m so grateful for the investment and support of higher education in our amazing state. When we work together and invest in our students, we are truly investing in all our futures.

I am sure you will enjoy this email from Cerro Coso Community College President Sean Hancock as much as I did.

On Monday, October 11th, Cerro Coso Community College joins communities throughout the nation in recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day, honoring the resilience, history, traditions, and cultures of Native American peoples.   This day serves to honor and celebrate the lives, traditions, and stories of Indigenous people.    

I encourage you to learn more about the history of our Native people in the United States. Often presented through the lens of colonizers, ignoring indigenous perspectives and experiences, everyone is encouraged to take the opportunity to learn about the lives of Native communities through their lens, and support our Native people telling their own stories.

By understanding who we are and how we came to be, we eliminate the false narratives or lack of knowledge that has devalued and harmed Native people. This re-education and filling in the blanks of history benefits everyone in our communities.  We’re seeing the manifestations of these developments in our social consciousness across our nation. In protests, rallies, and through advocacy, people are eager to bridge divides, acknowledge the past, and address areas of social inequalities such as those suffered by our Native Americans throughout our nation’s history.  These actions and recognitions will echo in time and pave a path forward that will influence future generations of citizens. 

My hope is that these acknowledgements further opportunities for engagement and serve as another step on our journey towards becoming an educated and inclusive society.  There is still a tremendous amount of work ahead as we continue our endeavors in cultivating meaningful relations with our Native communities. 

To our Native staff, students, and communities, we stand with you in honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Dr. Sean Hancock

Good morning, friends…
It is October 9, 2021.
The sun shines bright over KCCD.

This week, the Pirates, the Coyotes, and the Renegades continue to 

PC Transfer Fair shares virtual space with gamers

COVID-19 has changed the game for just about everything. Like many large-scale crises, it has led to innovation by necessity in unexpected places.

A perfect example is the Transfer Fair at Porterville College (October 21 from 10 am to 2 pm). This event is now hosted in one of the most unexpected places: a video gaming chat platform called Discord.

You might be thinking, “Wait, did you just write ‘video gaming’ and ‘transfer fair’ in the same sentence?”

That’s right. No Zoom. No Teams Chat. No typical virtual conferencing. Porterville College has collided with the gaming community.

What exactly is Discord? As noted by Digital Trends, it’s essentially a chat application (similar to Slack) that was launched in 2015 to cater to gamers. The founders of the company, who were diehard gamers themselves, noted how the chat options in the gaming world were out of date. They wanted to build a modernized platform where gamers could more readily share media and chat in any format they wanted (i.e. typing, voice, or video) with ease and privacy. Things took an interesting turn for the company when non-gaming users began using Discord for other purposes such as community organizing or simply a place to be with friends and share memes.

Besides expanding beyond gaming, the company has created a slick chat platform that—wouldn’t you know it—lends itself well to the vendor-and-booths context of a college fair in which students must virtually stop by multiple stations to chat with different schools. In fact, Porterville College may be one of the first (if not the first) community college in California to use Discord for this purpose.

Porterville College’s Discord Server

When Stephanie Olmedo explored the Discord option for the event, she realized she needed to give students something different than the typical Zoom set-up: “Zoom just felt disorganized, and I didn’t want to lose students between visits to reps presentations or give them Zoom fatigue.”

Stephanie Olmedo

Olmedo is a long time gamer and Discord is a venue that is often used by gamers who play MMORPGs to organize game events such as raids and instances. She uses Discord as an option for students to use for counseling meetings or just to message her.

Students use one link to go to PC’s server, and then they have access to all the college booths live. If they have any questions or tech issues, staff members are there in the Discord server with them so they can assist them immediately.

Discord CEO Jason Citron summarized the original vision of the platform this way: “Video games are about people. They have the power to bring together people, from different walks of life, from different parts of the world, united by something they love. They help create memories filled with laughter, nostalgia, frustration, achievement, and togetherness. This is why we originally created Discord: we wanted a simple and easy way to capture and enable these feelings we experienced growing up playing games with friends.”

Transfer Fairs are about people too, and this is why PC is using Discord: the college wants a simple and easy way to capture the real-world Transfer Fair experience for their students in a way that will be memorable and helpful.

You can visit PCs Discord server at https://discord.com/invite/EVrPYv7
The PC Transfer Fair will be held virtually on Thursday, October 21st from 10 am to 2 pm.

PC partnership with JC Penny helps to “Suit-Up” students

Students often find themselves needing new outfits for showing up and looking their best during their time in school. It is vitally important that students have the proper attire for socials and award ceremonies, and of course, job interviews. Unfortunately, business suits and dresses can be expensive and hard for students to afford.

Because of this, the Porterville College Job Entrepreneur and Career Center (JEC), in collaboration with JCPenney, hosted a virtual version of Suit-Up, an exclusive shopping event for PC students this week from October 4-8.

“First impressions in job interviews and internships are important,” said Ashley Land, JEC Coordinator and Organizer of the virtual event.

Ashley Land

The Virtual event allowed PC students the chance to purchase professional attire at up to 60 percent off ticketed prices. Students were able to shop from a wide variety of men’s and women’s business clothing at JC Penny online. They were also able to save on items like jewelry, shoes, handbags, professional headshots and salon appointments.  

According to the JC Penny corporate website, “JC Penney is committed to helping students look and feel their best as they embark on their career journeys. We know it can be difficult to find appropriate and affordable career clothing that is also stylish, so we are delighted to assist these students with our virtual Suit-Up events.”

For more information about the event or future “Suit-Up” events, contact Ashley Land at ashley.land@portervillecollege.edu.

Rotaract Club Comes to PC

With in-person learning in full swing and the return of students to campus, many student clubs have been able to grow and expand this Fall semester.  Not only have many of our long-standing clubs made their return, but many new clubs have been added to student life roster as well, like the recently created PC Rotaract Club – the first of its kind in the Porterville area.

Rotaract is a service club for students who attend Porterville College. The members are dedicated to finding innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges while developing leadership skills and making friends from around the world.

Rotaract club members are also members of Rotary International. Students in the PC club will work with the local community and local Rotarians to complete a community project.  They will also partner with an international Rotary club and help develop an international project, all the while networking with local business owners and community leaders to develop new skills.

Stephanie Cortez

According to PC Rotaract’s faculty advisor, Stephanie Cortez, “Rotaract Club offers a professional meeting set with by-laws, agendas, and minutes. There is a Board of officers, and a committee. There is a Rotaract outstanding project award that can be nominated by the Rotary group and if chosen, the Rotaract club is invited to present their project at the annual Rotaract Preconvention. Rotaract members may also earn scholarships from participating in the club. Ultimately, this will develop new leaders for our community.”

Cerro Coso Community College

Cerro Coso to Hold COVID-19 Information Session for Faculty

Cerro Coso has about 50 instructors who are teaching in-person classes this term across all sites, 26 of whom are full-time. To support those faculty who have been physically working directly with students, the Instruction Office is hosting a virtual COVID-19 information session during college hour on Tuesday, October 12 from 12:30-1:30 p.m., and another session will be held on Friday, October 15th from 10:30-11:30 a.m. 

Dr. Chad Houck, Dean of Instruction; Nicole Griffin, Dean of Career Technical Education; and Kevin King, Program Manager for Safety and Security will host the dialogue/working session with instructors via Zoom. 

Instructors are encouraged to submit questions to be addressed in advance and to come prepared to share their unique experiences so far. The session will cover the importance of the KCCD App in our COVID efforts and the way in which to respond to a “red pass” from the app. They will answer questions submitted prior to the event, and host a Q & A in response to what was shared, and talk about their experiences.  Members of the COVID-19 Response Team will also be in attendance. 

The event will be followed up with an email that documents the important points of the session and a Zoom link to the sessions for other faculty to watch. While progress has been made since the beginning of the pandemic, concerns for health and safety still significantly impact the way we work. 

As faculty on campus continue to adapt to evolving circumstances in their work environment, the college wants to reach out and offer support and address their individual questions. 

Coyote Safe. Coyote Strong.   

Coyote Athletes Give Back to the Community

Many young students dream of one day playing sports professionally and grow up regarding star athletes as their heroes. 

Though very few students go pro, many continue to value athletics for a lifetime. This is often because playing a sport provides opportunities that nothing else can, even opportunities outside of athletics.  School pride creates a more positive environment, and athletics is often a building block for promoting this pride. 

Cerro Coso could not be more proud of its Coyote baseball team. Every year the IWV Youth Baseball League runs a fall instructional clinic to help their players learn and build on their skills for the upcoming season. The Coso baseball team volunteers players each day to support and provide instruction to the community youth. 

Creating an important connection between the league and Cerro Coso’s program. These Coyotes not only helped these youth improve their skills for the upcoming season, they demonstrated their values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership in the form of community service making them the real star athletes.

Go Coyotes!

Transfer Awareness Week at CC

Transfer is a central mission of Cerro Coso Community College and we honor that mission by providing a week of transfer-related services that educate our students about the transfer process and encourage them to consider all of their transfer options.  

This year’s activities kicked off on Monday with a presentation on preparing to transfer, the transfer process, Cerro Coso programs, and timelines. In the spirit of Transfer Week, staff were encouraged to represent their alma mater by wearing their college gear as an opportunity to celebrate and build excitement around the college transfer process. 

Tuesday featured a CSU Application Workshop to go over the application and provide assistance with completion. 

Wednesday was a workshop to help students get a jump-start on the UC Application. The workshop helped student with getting started and what to expect when filling out the UC application. 

Thursday a workshop was held to provide students guidance on how to answer “Personal Insight Questions” and demonstrated what UC’s are looking for and what to consider while answering the questions. 

The week’s activities culminated on Friday with a workshop explaining what a transferable GPA is and taught students how to calculate their own GPA. It also went over the California Virtual Campus website.  All of these transfer activities were presented by Counseling staff, and held via Zoom for all campuses to attend. Transferring to a four-year college or university can be easy with the expert help of Cerro Coso’s counselors and transfer staff.  

Contact the college Transfer Center for more information.  Explore. Inspire. Go.

Bakersfield College

Grand Opening of BC’s First Outdoor Learning Area: The Peace Garden

On Monday, Bakersfield College hosted the grand opening of the first Peace Garden on the BC campus and announced the second garden, to be located outside the Humanities building on the Panorama campus.

The Peace Garden Project, which was funded by a generous donation by the Ravi and Naina Patel Foundation, is designed to create intentional spaces for wellness and personal development throughout our campus. The first Peace Garden, known as the Learning Garden, is located in front of the Panorama Campus library.

Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Senator Shannon Groves rep Christopher Quinones

Several members of our local Rotary International chapters funded the development of the peace pole inside the Learning Garden, which has the phrase “may peace prevail on Earth” inscribed in English, Spanish, Hindi, and Tagalog.

Look at the amazing craftsmanship on the first Peace Pole to grace the Bakersfield College campus – many thanks to Klint Rigby, chair of the Industrial Technology department.

And enjoyed this article by Sam Morgen for the Bakersfield Californian highlighting the garden featured #FrontPageAbovetheFold

The Scoop on Renegade Athletics

Women’s volleyball team huddles on the court

Last week, Women’s Volleyball hosted their first western conference game against College of the Canyons, making a sweep for their 34th straight home win and their 26th conference win. I’m told the team hasn’t lost a home game since 2017, which is incredible. The women will be back at home on Friday, October 8th to take on Antelope Valley at 6:00PM. 

BC’s Men’s Cross Country team finished 3rd out of 14 teams. The team was led by Mario Gutierrez, a Freshman, who won the race with a time of 21:03 at the WSC preview. Coach Pam Kelley says we have not had a first place winner in over 25 years. 

On Saturday, Football won big at Memorial Stadium! The Renegades defeated the visiting team from San Bernardino Valley College, 52-8. The Gades have now won 4 out of 5 games this season and will return home for the Homecoming game on October 16th.

Renegade Spotlight on Jana Richardson

Jana Richardson came to BC in the fall of 2017 from Kern County Public Health, EMS division. Not only is this her first tenured semester, but she has recently taken on the role of Paramedic Training Coordinator and will be leading us through the accreditation process. Jana has served on the Assessment Committee since starting at BC and is responsible for developing the paramedic program as a hybrid program. This was an essential development that filled a training need for our local fire departments. Her forward thinking led to the awarding of a grant from the Renegade Innovation Fund that will be used to create more real-world scenarios for students in developing their EMT and Paramedic skills.

Renegade Spotlight on Officer Francisco Salazar

While serving at BC as a Campus Safety Officer, Francisco Salazar has also continued to serve our country as a Specialist in the US Army. On August 15th, Officer Salazar was presented with the 729th Transportation Company Detachment’s first unit coin for his outstanding professionalism, commitment, leadership, positive attitude and dedication to 729th Detachment. Salazar also recently passed the Non-Commissioned Officer board exam for an upcoming promotion to Sergeant. His performance as a US Army Specialist mirrors the same high level of dedication and professionalism that he displays daily as a BC College Safety Officer. 

BC Alumni Association Board of Directors elects new members

A warm welcome to the Bakersfield College Alumni Association Board of Directors’ newest board members – Mia Cifuentes and Rick Anthony.

And stay tuned – the board is planning a unique event for BC alums and the entire community for the spring!

Poetry Corner

Please enjoy this poem from Jack Hernandez:


I have lived
in many places,
tree shaded streets
during summers
when I wheeled
my bike,
baseball mitt swinging
from its handlebars,
the corner coffee house
where words come
from caffeine and memories
of the ocean’s infinity,
the snow purifying
a nearby mountain,
places where I have walked
stood and waited,
places that made me
sass and sigh,
laugh and long
for love’s touch,
places of my life
now pictures
on the walls
of my mind.

In the News

Bakersfield College in Valley Ag Voice

Check out this article in the Valley Ag Voice spotlighting BC’s new Professor of Animal Science, Julie Beechinor.

“Being a teacher has been the most humbling experience of my entire life. My students are ‘my kids.’ They are my life. Each night as I leave school and lock the door to my room I always turn back and look one last time before I close the door. As I quickly capture the image of this empty room and the stillness of life that was present earlier that day, I always say thank you for being allowed to do the one thing that brings me such great joy.” – Julie Beechinor

PC Nursing Student earns Sierra View scholarship

Cassandra Sandoval, who has been accepted into the PC Registered Nursing Program with plans to graduate in Spring 2023, received one of four scholarships from the Sierra View District Hospital Volunteer League last week.

According to the article in The Porterville Recorder, Sandoval has been with Sierra View for four years and is currently an endoscopy technician.

The Sierra View District Hospital Volunteer League awarded a combined $8,000 in scholarships to four employees of Sierra View Medical Center.

Fun Photos/Spotted on Social Media

Ariel Dyer rides her bike to work

Jessie Ryan, Executive Vice President for the Campaign for College Opportunity, shared this photo of a few of us at CSU Northridge for Governor Newsom’s historic bill signings on Wednesday:

Sonya Christian, Marc Berman, Michele Siqueros

BC Outreach and Early College show new advisors around campus and check out the beautiful new Peace Garden on Monday:

Porterville College President Claudia Habib shared this post from the CenCal WESTP Seminar this week:

And here’s Bakersfield College’s Tarina Perry keeping her positive attitude:



That’s a wrap for now.
See you next Saturday!

The future is bright at KCCD.

a joyful and grateful Chancellor


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