Moments that take our breath away – March 2023

This week, I was at UCLA at the STEM Transfer Pathways meeting and as I was settling down for the evening, I heard the Westminster Clock strike 8:00 p.m. and paused and to remember that familiar sound in my home, as a young girl, in Quilon, India.  My dad would wind the clock regularly and the richness and vibration of the sound has since them been comforting… Moments that take my breath away.

The Westminster Chimes, or Westminster Quarters, is a melody for a set of four quarter bells to mark each quarter hour. It was originally written in 1793 for a new clock in Great St. Mary’s in Cambridge. In 1851, the chime was adapted for a new clock at the Palace of Westminster – where the Big Ben bell is. Its popularity spread, and it is now one of the most commonly used clock chimes.

Listen to it here on YouTube:

And while on the topic of music, I watched the movie La La Land with beautiful music and visuals. Here are two songs from the movie that keep repeating in my head and tugging at my heart. Enjoy.

Mia & Sebastian’s Theme Song

City of Stars

And here is photo #2 of the tree that I’m watching leaf out that I mentioned in last week’s blog. The story of the tree again – over the last five years I have been watching a beautiful tree in our neighbor’s front yard go through the cycle of shedding leaves in the fall, going dormant in the winter, coming back to life in spring, and providing glorious shade in the hot summers. I enjoy this tree each morning and evening during my Neo walks. I have started taking photos to chronicle its annual rebirth. First photo, March 15, 2023, second photo March 23rd.

Life Is Not Measured By the Number of Breaths We Take,
But By the Moments That Take Our Breath Away


Good morning friends.
It is March 25, 2023.
The sun shines bright over Kern CCD.

Porterville College

PC Day at Stafford’s

The community celebrated Porterville College day at Stafford’s Chocolates in downtown Porterville last week with free medium drinks and one-on-one help from PC Staff.

A steady flow of potential students came into the shop looking for a warm drink on a cold and wet day and spent time talking about their futures.

“We really enjoy these events in the community. It gives us a chance to meet with people one on one and really tailor our help to their specific needs. Whether someone needs help applying to PC so they can get their degree for transfer, or they just want to see if they can take a few classes, or earn a certificate so they can move up in their current career, we have something to help everyone at PC,” said Roger Perez, Director of Communications and Community Relations for Porterville College.

We would also like to remind everyone that all PC Students & Staff get 10% off at Stafford’s Chocolates every day. Just show your Campus ID at the checkout!

“PC Family” Honored on the City Wall of Fame

Maria C. Roman and Milt Stowe were recently inducted onto the City of Porterville Wall of Fame, along with Don Dowling, David Gong, and Cam Hamilton. They both hold special places in our “Pirate Hearts” as they are part of our Pirate family with Stowe being a PC Alumnus and PC Hall of Fame Athlete, and Roman being a PC Alumnus and now a Professor Emeritus for the institution.

The city recognized these individuals for their significant efforts and service to the community. With the addition of this year’s nominees, there have been a total of 69 honorees inducted since the inception of the program.

This year’s honorees

Councilmember Don Weyhrauch said a few words about former Porterville Mayor and councilmember Milt Stowe before presenting him with the honor. He said, “Milt Stowe’s love for the community goes beyond all barriers, and it would be hard to find someone more universally beloved than Milt Stowe. He is an inspiration to colleagues, friends, and citizens.”

Stowe was inducted into the Porterville College Athletic Hall of Fame for his achievements on the baseball diamond. He has worked for years in Porterville Parks and Leisure Services and has worn many hats during his long, distinguished career in community service. Stowe was a Division 1 basketball official for 30 years. He has been involved with the Porterville Breakfast Lions Club for years and is involved with many major service projects.

He has coached in various capacities throughout the years, including as an assistant coach with the Monache softball team. He’s also on the PC Foundation Board and Hall of Fame Committee.

He was Porterville Mayor from 2014-2018 and completed two terms on the City Council, where his efforts were extensive and contributions are legendary with so many accomplishments and successes,

Vice Mayor Kellie Carrillo then said a few words recognizing Maria Roman, “She has always been guided by principles of compassion, equity, and inclusion, and sharing that with everyone she encounters.”

Her hard work and friendly personality has earned her several leadership roles over the years. She immigrated with her family from Mexico at a young age. She was raised in Porterville, attended local schools, and went on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Roman spent the majority of her professional career at Porterville College, spending 34 years helping students with financial aid, and as a professor and counselor. In 2021 she retired and was awarded the prestigious title of Professor Emeritus by the Kern Community College District. She also provided the Tule River Tribe with 30 years of exceptional service to tribal residents in financial aid and educational counseling.

At PC she was the lead for many departments and clubs related to helping Hispanic and other minority students, notably with EOPS/CARE and CalWORKs.

Maria continues to serve on the board of PC’s Cultural and Historical Awareness Program (CHAP), is on the Board of Directors of Imagine Arts Center, is involved with the Tule River Parkway Association, and is an active member of the Latina Leadership Program (LLN). Her motto has always been “faith, family, and friends”. She said she’s grateful for the nurturing and successful life she has experienced in her beloved City of Porterville, with her husband, Rudi, and their large family.

Congratulations to the Wall of Fame honorees.

Cerro Coso Community College

Spring at Cerro Coso

It is officially Spring! The hills around Cerro Coso Community College in Ridgecrest are full of beautiful wildflowers! Some great locations to check out local wildflowers are the Rademacher Hills, Lone Ridge Trail, Brady’s Trail, and College Blvd. Loop. Spring truly is a magical time of year for Ridgecrest

Virtual Open House

Can’t make the in-person Open House on April 6th? No worries! We are holding a Virtual Open House on Tuesday, April 4th from 6 PM to 7:30 PM! Be sure to take advantage of these awesome resources to help you get registered for Summer/Fall 2023!

Please use this zoom link to register and connect.

Bakersfield College

BC’s Ballet Folklorico Ritmo y Sabor Place in First Competition

On March 18th, Ballet Folklorico Ritmo y Sabor represented Bakersfield College in their first ever dance competition in Los Angeles. Our dancers competed in three different categories and placed in two of them. Performing danses from the region of Jalisco, our dancers brought home 3rd place, and performing danses from the region of Baja Norte California, our dancers brought home 2nd place. The competition was close with over 30 other dance companies in attendance. BC students also won scholarships through this event, including Kimberley Villatoro who won a dance scholarship. We are so proud of our students and their well deserved achievements! 

Industrial Automation Buzzing with Activity

Over the last month, BC’s Industrial Automation Department has continued to make industry connections and garner support from local partners like Aera Energy.

A Boeing representative from Everett, Washington also visited the Bachelor of Science in IA program students to discuss internship and employment opportunities with their company! BC students made up the largest group in the nation of applicants to the Boeing summer internship program. Boeing was so impressed with our students’ drive and the BS in IA program that they have asked to become more involved with BC’s program and expand their partnership! 

Celebrating Title IX

It was my great pleasure to bring together student athletes, coaches and faculty from across the county for a conference recognizing the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark legislation that established equal rights for women in education and athletics. Kern CCD’s celebration of Title IX was an inspiring, joyful day of recognizing how far women have come in sports and higher education.

The young women at the conference were especially delighted to meet and hear from Hall of Fame basketball star Cheryl Miller, who was also the first woman to be an NBA analyst for national television. Other panels during the day featured local athletic legends like WNBA assistant coach Nikki Blue and softball phenom Megan Langenfeld. Prof. Olivia Garcia brought a historical component into the proceedings with a panel on Patsy Mink, the author of Title IX and the first woman of color to serve in Congress. The panel featured UC Irvine professor Judy Wu and Patsy’s daughter Gwendolyn Mink.

I’d like to thank everyone who put together the conference, especially Tarina Perry and Stephanie Vega for coordinating the programming and logistics. I’d also like to thank Stan Green from the Kern High School district for bringing 181 student athletes to the conference, as well as our additional sponsors from the Kern County Superintendent of Schools and Ordiz-Melby Architects. I hope all of the women who attended our Title IX celebration were given motivation they need to be successful in the classroom and on the field.

Thank you Coach Paula Dahl for coming up with the idea and getting some of the national athletic starts to come to our event. Thank you Athletic Director Emeritus Sandi Taylor for being such a great advocate for Title IX and putting in so much time into the planning. Thank you Michelle Miller-Gallaz, president of AAUW, for coming up with the idea of inviting Gwendolyn Mink and Judy Wu to the event to talk about the work of Patsy Mink.

Check out this video from CBS Sports about Patsy Mink’s contributions.

Department Of Energy visits Kern CCD

This week, two top officials from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management visited Kern CCD. Assistant Secretary Brad Crabtree and Deputy Assistant Secretary Noah Deich came to the District Office and held public meetings in Arvin and Taft to talk about a vision for carbon management in Kern County.

From California Renewable Energy Laboratory (CREL) Executive Director Nicole Parra:

Thank you Asst. Sec Brad Crabtree & Deputy Asst. Sec Noah Deich from the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management & Sarah Forbes, Director, CCUS – Council on Environmental Quality Executive Office of the President -for spending the day in Kern County with us.

Our meetings in Arvin, Bakersfield, and Taft were informative, engaging and our community came out in numbers. With over 75 people representing government agencies, labor, non-profit organizations, industry leaders, Grandma Whoople, students, national labs (NREL) and community members- who all came together to hear about our Carbon management future and opportunities.

I want to thank the County of Kern Supervisors Zack Scrivner and Leticia Perez and Lorelei Oviatt County of Kern Director of Planning and Natural Resources for speaking-Taft Mayor Noerr, Arvin Mayor Trujillo for hosting us, Les Clark Director Taft Westside Recreation Center, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, CRPE, OpenDoor, Greenfield Walking Group and local Pastors, Dee Slade and so many others for attending.

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

From the Red Cross of Central California’s Twitter account (@RedCrossCCR)

Mason Anthony is a graduate of @PCollegePirates & his Communications internship came full circle this week while volunteering at the Red Cross shelter at his former school. He’s been helping share evacuees’ stories while they receive comfort & care from @RedCross volunteers.

The Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recognized Nicole Alvarez in their Celebrating Latinas in Business & Leadership series:

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is proud to introduce you to Nicole Alvarez, as part of our Annual Latinas in Business & Leadership spotlight series.
Nicole Alvarez is a Program Director in the Office of Student Life at Bakersfield College. She has worked at BC for 3 years and in higher education for 15 years. During her career in higher education she has served in diverse roles ranging from faculty to college director. In her current role Nicole oversees student organizations and clubs, co-advises for BC Student Government Association, assists the Dean of Students with special projects, and runs the Student Life social media accounts (IG:@BCSGARENEGADES TikTok:@BCSGA).
Nicole enjoys working directly with students to mentor, advise, guide, and create equitable opportunities for them. She believes that higher education should be affordable, accessible, and attainable for everyone. It was her own struggle obtaining higher education and being lost in the application processes and procedures that ignited this desire to help others and simplify the process as much as possible. Nicole has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration & Leadership.
Nicole was born and raised in Bakersfield and moved away for 10 years before relocating back in 2018. She has been married to her husband Alex, a US Air Force Veteran and IT Professional, for 16 years. They have one son, Isaac, who is the perfect mix of his mother’s outgoing personality and his father’s determination. Nicole is the 5th of 5 children and the first in her family to earn a Master’s Degree. When she is not working she enjoys spending time with her family, watching Bravo’s Real Housewives Franchise, and exercising on her Peloton. Nicole’s motto is #shesepuede and she is proud to be featured in this series among fellow Latinas in Business and Leadership!

Nick Strobel shared this photo –
Past, present, and future Renegades at the Spring 2023 Equinox party. First Equinox party since Fall 2019!

Chris Cruz Boone – first generation students who became faculty. 


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

The future is bright at Kern CCD.

a joyful and grateful Chancellor


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