Kern CCD reflects on 2021-22 and plans for 2022-23

This week, colleagues from across the District came together for the Chancellor’s Retreat. It was an intense yet fun-filled three days… at least for me 🙂 All three of our colleges and the District office were well represented as we tackled issues facing higher ed and discussed how we at Kern CCD would continue #DaringMightyThings to #CreateTheFuture.

One memorable highlight was a competitive game that felt more like a snowball fight!

It was wonderful to spend the week with so many members of our KernCCD community.

Good morning, friends.
It is June 18, 2022.
The sun shines bright over KernCCD.

Porterville College

Two PC Administrators complete Leadership Porterville program

The Leadership Porterville Class of 2022

The Leadership Porterville Class of 2022 was recently honored by the City of Porterville for their amazing work this year and for completing the leadership program started by former Porterville College Administrator, former Porterville Mayor, and current Porterville City Councilwoman, Virginia Gurolla.

We’re proud to say that among this year’s graduates were Student Life and Leadership Program Manager Jasmin Quiñones and Dual Enrollment & CTE Program Director Refugio “Ref” Rodríguez.  Congratulations to all of the graduates. 

PC helps students “GearUp” for college with new program

The Porterville College Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is now accepting applications from 8th grade students attending Bartlett, Earlimart, and Pioneer Middle Schools in the Porterville Area. 

GEAR UP is a federally funded program designed to elevate the academic achievement, college attendance, and graduation rates of first-generation, low-income, underrepresented, and underserved students.

To receive the services and support of the GEAR UP program, students can apply for FREE at

You can learn more about this new program at

PC to host career jumpstart internships over summer

Beginning this July, Porterville College, along with several higher education and industry partners, will be providing a new resource designed specifically for incoming Central Valley high school seniors (current juniors) with an interest in learning more about careers in Industrial technologies.

The Jump Start into Industrial Careers Internship is a regional partnership between PC, West Hills College Lemoore, College of the Sequoias and Reedley College. It offers 4-week paid internships to students to help them gain the skills they need for jobs with local manufacturing companies.

The goal of the program is to attract and engage the next generation of highly skilled employees needed by local industry and to better prepare them to fill that demand in the future.

Each student in this summer program will receive a $1500 scholarship/stipend for their participation, which is funded by public and private dollars along with corporate sponsorships. The training will cover topics such as OSHA safety, electrical & tech careers.  Students will be given tours of local industry facilities and more.

There are over 12 million jobs in manufacturing in the U.S. alone. By 2030, an estimated 4 million more manufacturing jobs will be needed. This program will help in the development of the talent needed to fill those jobs.

The Jump Start into Industrial Careers Internship program runs from July 5th – July 28th on the PC campus.  For more information, visit

Cerro Coso Community College

CC to Hold Campus Pride Safe Space Training

Friday, June 24, from 1-3 pm

The Campus Pride Safe Space Training Program is a nationally recognized program that provides training and signage for institutions committed to supporting LGBTQ students. A Safe Space Program is one of the measures of a supportive campus on the Campus Pride Index ( We are offering a two-hour online version of the Safe Space Training. This online training prepares individuals to understand the importance of a Safe Space, learn terminology and LGBTQ identities, and how to be a Safe Space. Participants will receive an official Campus Pride Safe Space certificate with their name upon completion of the full two-hour training.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Learn and understand key moments in the LGBTQ civil rights movement.
  2. Explain the difference between sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
  3. Define terminology used to describe sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
  4. Explore and identify ways to be an advocate/ally for LGBTQ people.
  5. Discuss how you can take action as a Safe Space.

If you would like to be registered for one of these training sessions, contact Tanner Barnett at or call 760-384-6249. Cerro Coso will cover the cost of the registration for anyone interested in taking the training for the first time, or in refreshing a previous training, so be sure to register by contacting Tanner.

Date & Time:  Fri, 06/24/2022 – 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Location: Ridgecrest, IWV Campus

Talley Receives Emeritus Status

Retired Cerro Coso Counseling Professor Penny Talley was granted emeritus status by the Kern Community College District (KCCD) Board of Trustees in May.   

Talley retired in December 2021 after 26+ years of service to the college.  Starting off as an office aid in Student Services in 1988 as a temp hourly employee, Penny quickly became a counseling technician.  But, she always knew she wanted to be a counselor at the college. 

After earning her degrees, Penny returned to Cerro Coso in 1995 as an Education Advisor.  She has heled many titles during her career including CARE Coordinator, EOPS Assistant Director, Access Counselor, and Director of EOPS/CARE to name a few.

Regardless of the title, her focus has always been on serving students to help them overcome challenges and helping them to change their lives by achieving their academic goals. 

A lot has changed since Penny first joined Cerro Coso in 1988.  She has seen many advances during her career with us.   But, one thing hasn’t changed…if you treat students with respect and robust expectations, they will return the favor, and they will succeed.  Penny has personally witnessed many students succeed in ways they never dreamed possible and played an important role in their achievements.  Recognizing her outstanding support for students has gained her many awards over the years.  In 2005 her biography was included in the eighth edition of “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers,” a publication that allows students to honor the teacher that has made the most significant impact in their lives.  A student in Penny’s Counseling C102 class – Becoming a Life Long Learner – nominated her for the publication. 

Penny also served as the Advisor of the Special Services United Club for many years.  The club provides students with the opportunity to develop a networking system that is cohesive with the challenges they encounter day-to-day.  It helps students to develop leadership skills through a variety of presentations and activities both on campus and in the community.  The club also seeks to educate the college and community about ethnic-cultural diversity and the needs and contributions of disabled and economically challenged people.  Through the year’s the club has held annual Angel Tree events for program students and their children, Coat Drives, Food Drives, Clothing Drives, and other types of events. 

A 1982 graduate of Cerro Coso Community College – FOREVER A COYOTE, Penny holds a BA from California State University, Bakersfield, and an MS from the University of La Verne. 

Your big heart for Cerro Coso students and dedication, knowledge, and caring attitude will be missed by all.  Thank you Penny we wish you well in your retirement.   

Three Faculty Make Tenure at Cerro Coso

Cerro Coso Community College is proud to announce that the Kern Community College District has granted tenure to Andrew Burch, Biology (ESCC), Melissa Bowen, Social Science (East Kern), and Michael Bonner, Mathematics (IWV)

Andrew Burch, (ESCC Bishop and Mammoth Lakes.) Biology

Originally from San Diego, Biology Professor Andrew Burch spent most of his life in northern, central, and southern California.  After graduating from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Burch and wife Jenny moved to Thailand where he taught science at an international school and she taught elementary school.  While in Thailand, the two spent a fair amount of time traveling within and through neighboring countries.  After finishing their degrees, Burch highly recommends his students consider moving abroad (if circumstances permit) because, “it broadens your worldview, helping you to appreciate the benefits and luxuries associated with living in this great country (some you may not even realize!) It also shows that there are alternative ways to live, and some may find that the way things are done in other countries are an improvement to the way we do things here.” Burch holds a Bachelors and Masters of Science in Biological Sciences from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from the University of California, Davis. 

Melissa Bowen, (East Kern) Psychology and Human Services

Professor Bowen joined the full-time faculty ranks at Cerro Coso as Assistant Professor of Psychology and Human Services in 2018. Previously serving as an adjunct instructor at the college since 2015. Voted “Instructor of the Year” by incarcerated students in the California City Prison in 2018, Bowen’s motto in life is “embrace constructive criticism and introspection, and always improve and grow. Her previous experience in the field includes providing crisis response services for the Navy and at local shelters. Bowen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Mills College, Master’s Degree in Psychology from Walden University, and a Doctorate in Social Work from the University of Southern California.

Michael Bonner, (IWV) Mathematics

Associate Professor Michael Bonner spent 30 years working in the aerospace industry at Edwards Air Force Base. Among his favorite jobs was working as the technical expert for navigation and GPS testing and Director of Engineering for the Global Research Combined Test Force. He also enjoyed teaching navigation and GPS for the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School. Bonner has a passion for teaching and loves mathematics. He taught for Cerro Coso as an adjunct for over 17 years prior to joining the college as a full-time instructor.  He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Northern Arizona University, an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from CSU Fresno, an Online Teaching Certificate from Cerro Coso, and attended Air War College – Maxwell AFB, Alabama

“The faculty at Cerro Coso Community College have exhibited extraordinary dedication to student success, going above and beyond to ensure students have the support they need to navigate many unanticipated challenges,” said President Sean Hancock. “I am proud to represent an institution with such high-quality faculty and I am greatly impressed with the many talents and expertise of this year’s new cohort of tenured faculty.  Our students and our communities have benefited from the knowledge, enthusiasm, compassion, and dedication of these faculty.”

Rising Scholars Program Participates in Laptop Pilot Program

Rising Scholars Program Faculty Jeff Newby, Michael Muhme, Joseph Tipay, Shawn Newsom, Isaias Hernandez and Bryan Hirayama after completing CDCR training.

Bakersfield College’s Rising Scholars Program is taking part in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations’ laptop pilot program. The pilot program will start during the Fall 2022 Semester and will grant students the opportunity to access their assignments, materials, and have correspondence with their instructors through a secure network. This pilot program will take place at all five of the adult institutions that Bakersfield College is currently serving. Select faculty from a variety of disciplines, such as Communication, History, Art, and Psychology, will pilot the first phase of the pilot program. These faculty members recently received onsite training at Wasco State Prison.

Incarcerated college students having access to laptops is an advancement that the state of California is encouraging. This will allow incarcerated students to develop and increase their digital literacy, research skills, and technical communication skills. If all goes well, the Rising Scholars Program anticipates additional courses to utilize the laptops during future semesters. The Rising Scholars Program is excited to take part in this pilot program as we seek to provide our students with all the skills and tools needed to prepare them to thrive as they return to their communities.

Bakersfield College offers tuition-free, non-credit technical theatre courses

Bakersfield College’s Performing Arts Department is currently enrolling for two tuition-free non-credit courses in technical theatre, focusing on lighting and set construction. THEA B61NC (crn 51589) Lighting Lab and THEA B62NC (crn 51590) are currently available to register for anyone interested in building or expanding their knowledge and experience in technical theatre, no experience required. The two courses will meet concurrently Monday through Thursday from 1:00 PM to 3:25 PM, beginning on June 28th and lasting through July 14th.

The courses are described as intensive studies of set construction for theatrical productions and lighting as applied to live performance. Students will receive hands-on experience and instruction on construction equipment, professional protocols in scene shops, study of lighting instruments, and other related topics. The two courses will work together to build the technical aspects of the Performing Arts department’s summer musical.

CAPP’s Annual GPAP Convening

All three college teams traveled to Monterey with some of their high school partners this week for CAPP’s annual Guided Pathways Alignment Project Convening. The team discussed the progress of their CAPP (California Academic Partnership Program) grant partnerships and shared their successes with other teams from throughout the Central Valley. The CAPP grant funding supports our colleges’ and high schools’ efforts to connect our students with college and career by supporting initiatives like Finish in 4, Program Pathways Mapper, Early College, and strengthening our faculty pipeline. 

Thank you BC, CC, and PC teams for representing Kern CCD in Monterey this week and on these collaborative grant projects funded by CAPP. 

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

Bakersfield College is in full swing with summer classes! Campus is bustling with students and faculty as summer courses began this week.

Here are some photos PC President Claudia Habib shared from the Chancellor’s Retreat:

Kimberly Bligh shared this photo from Bridge to BC:

And check out this video from Bridge to BC Opening Week

And Military & Veterans Services from Cerro Coso Community College wished the US Army a Happy Birthday:


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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