April 2022 — Season of roses and poems

I have been savoring my walks with Neo as the world around me has been bursting out in bloom …. and roses everywhere.

April is also poetry month and April 2022 is particularly significant to me since Ms. Eula, my high school English teacher, who taught me to love poems, passed away.

Ms. Eula, Mount Carmel Convent

Ms. Eula, this excerpt from John Keats Ode to Melancholy is for you. Keats gives us permission to grieve deeply.

But when the melancholy fit shall fall

       Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,

That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,

       And hides the green hill in an April shroud;

Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,

       Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,

               Or on the wealth of globed peonies;

Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,

       Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,

               And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.


Good morning, friends…
It is April 9, 2022.
The sun shines bright over KernCCD.

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

Porterville College

PC draws largest attendance ever for High School connection event

The Porterville College Student Services Department hosted over 500 students and their parents for the 2022 PC Connection High School Senior registration event this past week on campus. 

Students and community members from 11 local high schools lined up on campus on Wednesday and Thursday, April 6th and 7th to register for Summer and Fall classes at PC. President Dr. Claudia Habib spent time visiting with students at the event.

PC Connection is an annual event held each spring by the Student Services office to provide on demand registration services and to help local high school students get a jump on Summer and Fall classes with priority registration, advising and counseling.  Food was provided for all those in attendance.  This year’s turnout was larger than we’ve ever seen before with over 500 attendees over a 2 day period.

PC Celebrates Poetry Month with web resources and open mic event

Porterville College is celebrating the Academy of Poets National Poetry month with a curated page of poetry videos, links and other resources.  You can find these resources at https://www.portervillecollege.edu/national-poetry-month

The success of Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March led to the initiation of National Poetry Month in April by the Academy of American Poets.

The first-ever National Poetry Month was celebrated in 1996, but the history of poetry itself goes back thousands of years. Dating back to 2100 B.C., the “Epic of Gilgamesh” is cited as the first-ever written piece of poetry, which tells an epic tale of a hero in ancient Mesopotamia.

We will also be closing out the month with Poem in Your Pocket Virtual Open Mic event to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day.  It will be held on April 29th from 12 pm to 1 pm and feature students, faculty, and staff reading, sharing, and celebrating poetry together. This year’s theme is Personal to World Justice: Poems of Conflict, Unity, and Peace.

Poem in Your Pocket Day was initiated in April 2002 by the Office of the Mayor in New York City, in partnership with the city’s Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education. In 2008, the Academy of American Poets took the initiative to all fifty United States, encouraging individuals around the country to participate. In 2016, the League of Canadian Poets extended Poem in Your Pocket Day to Canada.

Visit www.portervillecollege.edu for more information.

PC Student Athlete becomes first ever to sign 4-year letter of intent for Cross Country

Noah Aparicio (center) poses with his parents and Cross Country
Coaches Mike Kasimoff (pictured left) and Jordyn Zorn (pictured right)  

PC congratulates Cross Country Athlete, Noah Aparicio for becoming the FIRST Cross Country Athlete at Porterville College to sign a letter of intent to run Cross Country at a four year school following his time here at PC! 

The Porterville College freshman cross country standout has signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his academic and athletic career at the University of Providence.

Located in Great Falls, Montana, the University of Providence Argos compete at the NAIA level and are a member of the Frontier Conference. Aparicio is set to compete for head coach Tony Arntson this upcoming fall 2022 season.

Aparicio was honored on Monday, April 4th with a signing ceremony inside the PC gymnasium in front of family, friends, teammates, and the campus community.

Noah is also a member of the Pirate’s Baseball team so you can still catch him on the field this Spring.  Great job Noah and  good luck with the Argos!

Noah Aparicio signs his letter of intent as  coach Mike Kasimoff looks on.

Cerro Coso Community College

CC Career Day – Roadmaps to Success

Indian Wells Valley highs school students toured Cerro Coso’s Ridgecrest Campus, enjoyed refreshments in the Sculpture Garden, and explored employer exhibits at Cerro Coso’s Annual Career Exploration Day held on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. 

Business and agency exhibits lined the gymnasium floor promoting their businesses as they would normally do during an average career fair, giving high school and college students and community members a chance to visit with each company checking out job opportunities with their organizations and provide information on careers.

The goal is to inspire students to connect the dots between the classroom and real world opportunities and create relationships between companies and future employees. 

“I’m excited because students have missed out on face-to-face networking over the past two years,” said Outreach Director Katie Bachman.  “It is important that students have this opportunity to interact personally with employers and college programs that provide real-world connections.”

Employers spoke with students about the types of jobs they offer, the skills, certifications or degrees needed to obtain a position, and helped students understand what a day-in-the-life looks like.

Each student was provided with an interactive survey that helped guide the student through the career exploration process. 

Participants interact with different companies to learn about local careers, their work environment, necessary skill sets, earning potential, and the training needed to become employed.  Career Exploration day is a roadmap to success for students and the community. 

Cerro Coso offers NEW Classes in Addiction Studies

Are you interested in the growing field of drug and alcohol dependency treatment, prevention, and education?  Cerro Coso Community College is offering NEW classes in Addiction Studies this fall. 

Professor Melissa Bowen will instruct three new online courses in Addiction Studies this fall. 

ADST C101 – Introduction to Addiction Studies is a career-oriented course that introduces historical and sociological perspectives on the use, abuse, and social control of psychoactive, psycho-pharmaceutical, and/or psychotropic drugs.  Students receive information about the bio-psycho-social nature of addiction; the impact of addiction on children, families, and society; contemporary treatment and prevention approaches; and the addiction counseling profession. 

ADST C102X – Physiological Effects of Addiction presents an overview of the physiological processes and impacts of psychoactive drugs on the person, including risk factors related to addiction, acute and chronic health problems, communicable diseases, and fetal impacts.  Issues related to synergistic risk factors, detoxification, and withdrawal are also reviewed. 

ADST C103X – Addiction Prevention, Intervention, Treatment, and Recovery covers the philosophies, practices, policies, and outcomes of the most generally accepted and scientifically supported models of prevention, intervention, treatment, recovery, and continuing care for addiction and other substance-related problems.  Professional and ethical codes of conduct and behavior are also reviewed and emphasized. 

The Addiction Studies Program offers a contemporary and comprehensive study of addiction through the primary lens of Psychology.  Students will explore both theoretical and evidence-based concepts, practices, and policies of Addiction and Recovery.  Coursework will look at the mental and behavioral impact of substance use, addiction and recovery on individual, families, and communities while also considering how problems and solutions must meet the concerns of multicultural and diverse populations. 

Students interested in further pursuing an education in Addiction Studies are encouraged to contact the college Counseling Department at 760-384-6219 or email counseling_forms@cerrocoso.edu

To Bee, or Not to Bee

Did you know there are around 1600 species of bees that are native to California alone, many of which can be found in your own backyard? During spring break, Cerro Coso Professors Claudia Sellers and Guck Ooi participated in the native bee identification conference, organized by the College of the Canyons (CoC) Biodiversity Initiative. The two-day workshop covered a comprehensive approach to native bee identification, collection and pinning practices, and data input.

This workshop is part of the CoC Campus as a Living Lab (CALL) initiative, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The aim is to use college campuses as a living laboratory where students can research native bee biodiversity – all of which is crucial research needed to address the current rapid loss of biodiversity affecting pollination services and ecosystem stability.

Fifteen faculty members from ten California Community Colleges attended the Bee Conference to kick- start the CALL Initiative. CALL provides opportunities for underrepresented community college students to engage in undergraduate research in a local context, while also integrating Cerro Coso as a part of a future network of colleges that can collaborate and share both resources and class experiences. The first part of the project will document existing campus bee biodiversity and to identify species gaps. Collected research data will be shared among participating colleges through public databases to promote ongoing pollinator research and to create more undergraduate research opportunities. Subsequently, a habitat enrichment plan will be developed to transform the campus landscape into stable habitat islands that our native bees can thrive in.

Now that Spring is in full bloom with bees buzzing around, in the coming weeks two Cerro Coso students – Danielle Armstrong and Elajae Lee – will be trapping and identifying bees around the campus. Their work will be a mentored research as part of a larger project funded by the NSF. Bee active y’all!

Bakersfield College

STEM Conference Recap

The STEM and Pre-Health conference took place this past Saturday, April 2nd. Participants learned about opportunities to further their careers in STEM or pre-health. The conference goal was to educate and inform the community about what STEM and Pre-Health education is like. 

Financial aid counselors, college advisors, industry leaders and student organizations all attended the conference to answer questions from participants. This event was open to members of the community and served to provide career exploration support for those interested in STEM or Pre-Health education via workshops, keynote speakers and a resource fair.

Celebrating the Life of Jack Hernandez

In November 2021, the city of Bakersfield lost a legend – Jack Hernandez. It is hard to put into words how tremendous his impact on Bakersfield College and our Bakersfield community has been over the past 60 years. 

Jack joined Bakersfield College as a faculty member in 1961, and served the academic community there in several prominent roles until his retirement in 2017. He was a prolific writer, penning Community Voices pieces for the Bakersfield Californian and writing many, many poems on just about every topic in life – from love to loss and memories we leave behind. He will be greatly missed.

This past Friday, April 1st, BC and KCCD staff, administrators and faculty, along with community members from across Kern County, came together to celebrate his life and legacy. 

Reggie Williams, Director of the Levan Center, joined me in announcing a new award named in his honor – the Jack Hernandez Phronesis Award – and a new lecture series that will also bear his name, the Jack Hernandez Lecture Series. ​

​In this video to announce the award, Laura Ehlers, Jack’s daughter, speaks to his practical and impractical nature and the particular appropriateness of this award being named after her father.

I also wanted to share this touching tribute that BC English Professor Neal Stanifer wrote about Jack.

“But Jack proved something to me, as he turned a reader into a scholar, as he instilled in me humility, charity, and curiosity, qualities I hadn’t really possessed before. He proved to me that a man can pass the profits of his labors on to others. And I’m living proof.”

BC attends CCCAOE Spring 2022 Conference “Strengthening Community Inclusion and Engagement”

Tony Cordova, Jackie Stoner, Kylie Campbell, Berenice Arellano, Martin Perez, Alma Feathers, Carlos Medina

BC was well represented this week at the CCCAOE Spring 2022 Conference in beautiful Sacramento. Staff from our Career Education, Early College, Rural Initiatives, and Health Sciences teams joined together with representatives from California Community Colleges and career education partners to focus on the conference theme “Strengthening Community Inclusion and Engagement”. 

This important engagement with partners enables us to strengthen our services for our student populations from high school through adult learners. As industries continue to innovate and automate, the team at BC is connected and ready to shift to meet the new demands. Thank you to CCCAOE for being the statewide advocate for administrators and educators carrying out this work across the state.

Congratulations to Dean Tony Cordova for being voted in as the 2022-2023 CCCAOE Regional Vice-President for the central region! We know you will represent our students, colleges, and industry partners well.

BC Foundation’s Alumni Hall of Fame Set for June 23

The BC Foundation, in partnership with the Bakersfield College Alumni Association, will honor alums who have made a significant impact and have proven to be an outstanding example of Renegade excellence. The nomination period recently closed and inductees will be announced soon. The Hall of Fame dinner is set for June 23rd, 2022, at Seven Oaks.

Since its establishment in 1913, Bakersfield College has produced countless graduates and attendees who have taken their knowledge and skills into the world to make a significant and positive influence.

This is the first Hall of Fame event presented by the BC Foundation. However, during BC’s 109-year history, alums have been honored in a variety of ways, including the previously presented “BC Alumni Association Hall of Fame” between 1987 and 2013. In 2021, the BC Athletics Department introduced the Bakersfield College Athletics Hall of Fame. Their second annual event will be held in October.

Chancellor’s Seminar Series

On Tuesday, we had part 2 of the Chancellor’s Seminar Series on Personal Reflections and Visions of Teaching and Learning. Robert Simpkins moderated the panel, and this week we were joined by Jaclyn Kessler and Karen Oeh from Cerro Coso Community College; Alex Rockey and Matt Andrasian-Jones from Bakersfield College; and Dustin Acres and Elisa Queenan from Porterville College.

To give you a taste, here is Question 1 from the panel discussion:

I also shared a Chancellor’s Brief:

You can see all the videos from this week’s seminar, as well as previous seminars, at https://www.kccd.edu/chancellors-office/chancellors-communications/chancellors-seminar-series.

In the News

Community Voices: Giving our best to young Black men

I enjoyed this piece from Keith Wolaridge in The Bakersfield Californian reflecting on a recent panel sponsored by the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce to “inspire, instruct and invigorate” the students in the Project Best program.

“Our society tends to award and provide accolades when men of color jump high, run fast, score or entertain, but few discuss their value outside their gifts…We can all do better by recognizing these young men as future business owners, scholars, scientists, farmers, physicians, elected officials, fathers, husbands and pastors.”

Keith Wolaridge

Community Voices: Partnership builds next generation of automotive professionals

John Pitre wrote this piece for The Bakersfield Californian about the partnership between the Greater Bakersfield New Car Dealer Association and Bakersfield College’s Automotive Technology program, which will open the Automall Bakersfield College Training Site on April 21.

“It’s important for the GBNCDA that we continue to support homegrown talent that will help Kern County thrive, even through changing times. We aim to employ local, train local, skill-up local, and grow our own. Over the years, the faculty and staff at Bakersfield College have done an incredible job of giving local dealers and industry professionals a voice at the college in regard to what we need in the trade and in the workforce.”

John Pitre

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

Stephen Waller shared this from the STEM Pre-Med Conference:

Eddie Alvarado shared this from a recent day trip:

Todd Coston shared that his family got his a Discovery flight for his birthday – check out the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6r4DaJlHI0.

Check out Corny Rodriguez with a 52 Chevy!

Nicole Parra shared this from the Latina Leaders of Kern County mixer:

And here are a few photos from the 6th Annual Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast.

The event honored Superior Court Judge Honorable Marcos Camacho, who is the most prominent Farmworker Institute for Education and Leadership Development (FIELD) graduate. Marcos was initially placed in remedial classes in high school, but an attentive teacher guided him to advanced placement courses and he graduated top 5 in his high school. He spent 2 years at Fresno State before leaving to work with Cesar’s UFW as a paralegal. Marcos went on to pass the bar on his first try, and eventually became General Counsel for Cesar himself.

Today he serves as a judge for the Kern County Superior Court.

The event also recognized community members and organizations for their hard work and dedication to FIELD.

KernCCD Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg accepted a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the district.
Kern CCD Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Wasco Mayor Alex Garcia, FIELD President/CEO David Villarino, Kern County Superior Court Judge Wendy Avila


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

The future is bright at KernCCD.

a joyful and grateful Chancellor


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