Category Archives: Bakersfield College

Another Incredible Week at BC

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, September 30th.  A great day to be a Renegade.

I was exhausted last night after a hectic fast paced week at BC.  For example, just on one day we had the Vice President of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, Tom Epstein, visit in the Levan Center; Senator Jean Fuller talking to our students in the Fireside Room with several dignitaries attending including Trustee Romeo Agbalog; the California Academic Partnership Program (CAPP) community partners meeting in the SGA Board Room; and Trustee Bill Thomas moving Measure J implementation along with individuals from AEComm.  And as Jennifer Marden would say….That’s how we roll at BC!

Tom Epstein Visits Bakersfield College

Tom Epstein with Bakersfield College Student Government Leadership

Vice President Tom Epstein with BC Student Leaders

We were honored to have Board of Governors (BOG) Vice President Tom Epstein visit our campus on Monday to learn what makes the student success initiatives at BC some of the best in the California community college system.


Tom Burke, Tom Epstein, Sonya Christian, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Zav Dadabhoy

Epstein was a big hit among the faculty, staff and students with his down to earth, humble approach in interacting with campus.  He is incredibly sharp with a keen eye to picking out “policy fixes” and “systems fixes”.  And I so enjoyed seeing his interaction with Senator Jean Fuller and Trustee Bill Thomas.  As it turns out Jean Fuller was on the committee that appointed Tom Epstein to his seat on the BOG.  And Tom met Bill in Washington DC when Bill was the Chairman of the Ways and Means committee.  There was genuine warmth and collegiality in these interactions.

Jean Fuller Tom Epstein Sep 25 2017 Cropped

Senator Jean Fuller, Tom Epstein

Tom Epstein, Sonya Christian, Bill Thomas

Tom Epstein, Sonya Christian, Bill Thomas touring the campus


The morning began with our fabulous student leaders’ thoughtful presentation about their experience with BC’s implementation of guided pathways.


SGA President, Dezi Von Manos and SGA Officers, James Tompkins, Alex Apatiga, Jose Cortez, Rayven Acosta Webb, Lawrence Salcido, and Emmanuel Limaco introduced the four pillars of the Guided Pathways project.

In the photos below you have both Tom Burke and Tom Epstein joining the conversation.


i-thzd8zl-x4One of my favorite quotes came from Rayven, who said

The ASL program has taught me that I have not suffered from hearing loss but blessed with Deaf Gain…Deaf can do anything; I can do engineering.

So proud of you Rayven!

Two of our leading data experts on campus, Craig Hayward, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Janet Fulks, Biology Faculty and Data Coach Lead, shared with our guests BC’s focus on several key momentum points focused on student success and completion, including attempting 15 units in the first semester, completion of transfer-level English and math and at least nine units in the student’s core pathway within the first year of completion.

Research indicates that students who are enrolled full-time are more likely to complete their education.

Fulltime Student Enrollemnt Completion Graph image

Craig and Janet also shared some of BC’s initiatives that have helped increase transfer rates to Cal State Bakersfield and the CSU System in general.

BC Students Transfer to CSU Sytem Graph

Academic Senate President Steven Holmes also took some time before one of his classes to explain how we’ve added faculty to meet student demand, while Steve Watkin and Ashlea Ward outlined our assessment and orientation process.

Counseling Dean Grace Commiso and Academic Support Services Director Maria Wright shared pathways and completion coaching philosophies at the core of our student support initiatives. A team of coaches from our Arts, Humanities and Communication meta-major then went through a detailed, holistic look at how they reach out to each of the 1,972 students in their group.

Below is a graphic representing the cyclical nature of our student support services.

Cyclical Nature Cycle Graph of BC Students

After the presentation, Kimberly Bligh led Mr. Epstein, district trustee Bill Thomas and several of us through an abbreviated tour of campus, describing its history and evolution. As the lead for Summer Bridge, Dr. Bligh knows the campus like almost no one else, having led over 1,000 incoming students and over 90 faculty and staff around campus this past summer.

Steven Holmes, Sonya Christian, Tom Epstein, Kimberly Bligh, Bill Thomas

Steven Holmes, Sonya Christian, Tom Epstein, Kimberly Bligh, Bill Thomas

TomEpsteinVisit2It was an honor to have Mr. Epstein on our campus. He recently retired after 15 years as vice president of public affairs of Blue Shield of California, where he led government relations, corporate communications, philanthropy, and corporate social responsibility.  Prior to joining Blue Shield, Epstein was vice president of communications for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and served in the Clinton White House as a special assistant to the president for political affairs.

Thank you Lesley Bonds for taking the lead in planning the day. You are a rock star!


Lesley Bonds

Jean Fuller


Senator Jean Fuller with Bakersfield College Student Leaders Sep 25 2017.jpg

Senator Jean Fuller and Bakersfield College Student Leaders

To continue the action packed day, we had the pleasure of having a fellow Renegade on campus. Senator Jean Fuller attended the BCSGA Legislative Affairs Power Lunch. It was the first Power Lunch for the Fall Semester and kick off for the year! Senator Fuller enjoyed her time here as she reminisced about her path from Bakersfield College to becoming a State Senator.



Senator Fuller’s story was very empowering. She told of the path she chose taking her where she is today and then spent her remaining time answering questions prepared by the BCSGA Legislative Affairs Department as well as questions submitted by the students in attendance. She answered questions regarding our Bakersfield College community, our city, and important legislation, such as DACA.

Overall, it was a great experience and we enjoyed having her here. We look forward to the next BCSGA Power Lunch on October 23rd. The scheduled speaker is Assembly Member Vince Fong. Be sure to save the date!

Thank you to the fabulous Dr. Nicky Damania and Danyel Owens for putting in so much time and passion into our students.

California Academic Partnership Program

On Monday, members of the California Academic Partnership Program committee in Kern County met with representatives from the CSU and CCC Chancellor’s Office to review the collaborative work between the Kern High School District, Bakersfield College, CSU Bakersfield and Kern Foundation. The purpose of the meeting included an overview of outcomes from the current work and discussion about designing the new requests for statewide CAPP grants.


Brenda Lewis at CAPP Sep 25 2017

Highlights of the outcomes included:

  •        work on multiple measures
  •        dual enrollment
  •        accelerated, compressed and stretch remediation
  •        transfer collaboration
  •        increased baccalaureate attainment

The intertwined graduation promises of CSUB, BC and Taft and the overarching Kern Pledge are collaborations designed to increase Bachelor’s degree attainment in Kern County. Compared to the state average Kern County has less than half the number of Bachelor’s degrees which influences the areas economic potential, poverty rates and social mobility. The CAPP committee works on a variety of detailed projects, bringing together movers and shakers from each system to inform, align policy and advance outcomes of education.

I can’t share enough about this important afternoon without also mentioning the incredible lunch provided by BC Food Services and Chef Eric Sabella. The kebabs were amazing and I can’t wait to have them again!



Measure J planning underway

AEComm1On top of everything else that was happening on Monday, Trustee Thomas was on campus to lead members of AEComm, including Domingo Camarano, Diana Johnson, and Lauren Maciel through a spontaneous tour of the campus to discuss a few of the renovations we have lined up thanks to Measure J.

Along with Bill Potter, Trustee Thomas showed the group the future locations of the new Campus Center and Veterans Resource Center while outlining important changes we’ll be making to our Science and Engineering building and athletics facilities, including disability and parking modernizations to Memorial Stadium and the addition of a new field house for our women’s sports teams.


We must bring the BC campus into the 21st Century, and we’re grateful that YOU, Kern County, voted yes on Measure J. THANK YOU for supporting Bakersfield College!


Bakersfield College in the middle of preparing for our accreditation visit

We have an incredible team across campus working on our 7-year accreditation Institutional Self Evaluation Report (ISER).  The team leads for this work are Professor Jason Stratton, Dean Liz Rozell, Professor Jessica Wojtysiak, Dean Bill Moseley.

forum levan center 2

On Tuesday September 26th, BC held our first Accreditation Forum of the semester at the Levan Center. The forum focused on Standard I of the ACCJC Standards for Accreditation. These standards address the mission, academic quality and institutional effectiveness, and institutional integrity of the school. The event was co-hosted by the ISER leads and the AIQ committee.

forum levan center 1

The forum began with a welcome from Liz Rozell and Jason Stratton, ISER Co-lead. Manny Mourtzanos and David Koeth discussed Standard 1A. Kim Nickell and Janet Fulks addressed Standard IB, and they were followed by Nicky Damania and Jennifer Johnson on Standard IC. Each of the presenters worked to engage the audience, providing time to solicit feedback and address questions. Jessica Wojtysiak, AIQ faculty chair, and Jason Stratton, ISER co-lead, attended the broadcast of the forum at the Delano campus.  Thank you Bill Moseley and Matt Jones for taking care of the technology.

forum delano

The next accreditation forum will take place on October 12th. The forum will cover Standard II and be co-hosted by the curriculum committee.

Farewell to Tracy

Tracy Hall-Powell, Administrative Assistant to Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg celebrated her last day at Bakersfield College and is embarking on a new adventure in Washington State. We gathered on Thursday afternoon to wish her well and let her know how much we will miss her.

Thank you to everyone in the executive suite for planning the celebration and to BC Food Services, who  provided a lovely cheese and fruit platter. The room was filled with smiley face cookies, lovely floral arrangements, and best of all, friends and colleagues.


Tracy started working at BC in April 2014, just a few weeks prior to our Centennial Commencement Ceremony. From the start, Tracy has embraced the BC spirit and is leaving an indelible imprint on BC and those of us who had the pleasure of working with her.

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AHC Pathway Fair

On Tuesday, BC’s Arts, Humanities and Communication (AHC) team launched a Pathway Orientation Fair for students who are majoring in Art, American Sign Language, Communication, English, Journalism, Music, Philosophy, Spanish and Theatre. Approximately 400-500 students had the opportunity to talk with faculty from their discipline, as well as meet with staff from Financial Aid, Academic Support Services, Counseling and Student Life. My sincere thanks for the many faculty and staff who volunteered their time to participate in this wonderfully successful event.

Kern County Student Leadership Conference

On Friday morning, we hosted 800 middle school students from around Bakersfield and Kern County to inspire our young people to think about and consider college in their future! Thank you to everyone involved, including the Conference Committee, John Harte, Jovi Mongold, Fruitvale School District, Wall St. Alley T-Shirt, BC Drumline, BC Cheer, Centennial High School, BC Outreach, M&O, and the events office!

Renegades at the Kern County Fair

DSC_6844On Thursday, the Office of Student Life hosted Renegades at the Fair.

In its third year, this has now become a Renegade Tradition. Students who bought the BCSGA sticker received a free ticket to the fair and a parking pass and in partnership with the Kern County Fair, Student Life was able to sell discounted tickets to the BC and Bakersfield community.

Spending the day at the fair is a great way to see the energy and pride that BC has with its community. This time last year we were passing out information on Measure J. Have I said THANK YOU KERN COUNTY?


This year, we thanked the fair patrons for their continued service and passed out a “fair” amount of BC Swag. Looking forward to next year’s Renegade’s at the Fair!


The three legendary individuals at BC

I loved hanging out with Jerry Ludeke, Jack Hernandez and Bob Allison earlier this week.

Sonya Christian, Jack Hernandez, Nan Gomez Heitzeberg, Bob Allison, Jerry Ludeke Sep 28 2017

Sonya Christian, Jack Hernandez, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Bob Allison, Jerry Ludeke

Outreach to K-12

Dr. Debbie Rosenthal was briefing me on her continuing outreach work with Standard Middle School.  Debbie excitely shared with me that two of her BC students who are helping with the outreach told her that they wanted to become teachers.  Enjoy the photos



Pre-Med Club Bake Sales

I recently shared that the BC Pre-med club has started their meetings again this year. The club was re-instated in the fall of 2001 in an attempt to help students interested in all health professions achieve their goals through attending pre-med conferences, internship opportunities ,and volunteer work. They were out on campus raising money for educational field trips by hosting a bake sale. Make sure to swing by if you spot their table!

BC Pre-Med Club Student at Bake Sale

Saturday Kayak Outing with Friends of BC

A few years back, Tom Gelder and his wife offered kayak lessons as part of the auction items during Sterling Silver. I’m happy to share these pictures from last Saturday where Jeff Gutierrez and Jeff Green were out on the water. It looks like they had a blast!

Earthquake: Evidence of a Restless Planet

planetarium1Courtesy of a grant from Chevron, the William M Thomas Planetarium is hosting a geology-theme show for the fall schedule, “Earthquake: Evidence of a Restless Planet” coming up on Thursday, October 5, from 7:30 to 8:30 PM. Narrated by Benjamin Bratt, the show begins with an all digital, recreation of the 7.9-magnitude earthquake, followed by a scientific treatment of the event—including views of the underground fault plane and the propagation of seismic energy waves based on supercomputer simulations. The show ends with a look at the modern building strategies used by scientists and engineers for a safer and better prepared future. For details and ticket information, visit the Bakersfield College website.

Free Community Swimming Lessons

images pool

Bakersfield College Pool

This week, Matt Moon, BC’s head Men’s and Women’s Swimming Coach sent an email about the upcoming community swim lessons. In the email, Matt said:

Ten people drown each day in the United States, 70% of African American children, 60% of Latino children, and 40% of Caucasian children have low or no swimming ability, and participation in formal swim lessons can reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88%. These are some of the statistics dealing with water safety in the United States and the Bakersfield College Swimming Team wants to help!

We will be hosting our annual Free Community Swimming Lessons on October 7th from 8:00am-2:00pm. The swim lessons will be running on a continuous 30 minute cycle so we are able to get as many kids in the water as possible. The focus of the lessons will be on water safety but if your child already knows how to swim they are more than welcome to get a lesson to improve their technique. Please help spread the word and take part in a great opportunity to make Bakersfield a water safe community.

During the swimming lessons the Bakersfield College Swimming team will be taking part in a 6 hour relay. The 6 hour relay will showcase each athlete swimming a portion of the time, so feel free to stick around after the lesson and watch your BC swimming team complete the relay. Donations are greatly appreciated!

For details, visit the event’s page on the BC website!

Kern Shakespeare Festival 2017

BC_33rd-Annual-Kern_Shakespeare_FestivalIt’s always a pleasure to invite our community to the BC campus for arts and performances. The Bakersfield College Performing Arts Department is proud to present two plays for the 33rd Annual Kern Shakespeare Festival: William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Top Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead.
Tickets are $12 for general admission and $8 for Students, Staff, Seniors, and Veterans. Advance tickets are available at, and tickets will also be available at the door. All shows begin at 7:30pm in the Edward Simonsen Outdoor Theatre, with doors opening at 7:00pm.

Stefani Dias at highlighted the Kern Shakespeare Festival in her article No holds Bard at Kern Shakespeare Festival where she states “Of course, Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” is a natural companion to its festival mate, “Hamlet”. Thank you to the staff for advertising this thrilling event. I can’t wait to see you there!

HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK – Directed by Brian J. Sivesind
September 29, October 3, 5, 7 at 7:30pm
“Conscience does make cowards of us all.”
Overcome with grief in the wake of his father’s death, Prince Hamlet’s mourning is interrupted by the unpalatable marriage of his widow-mother to his father’s brother. Hamlet’s woe turns to vengeful anger when his father’s ghost appears and reveals the uncle and newly-crowned King of Denmark to be the murderer. Prince Hamlet struggles to decide his next move: avenge his father’s foul murder or succumb to the anguish of his circumstances.

September 30, October 4, 6 at 7:30pm
“Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.”
Acclaimed as a modern comic masterpiece, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is the fabulously inventive tale of Hamlet as told from the worm’s-eye view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare’s play. In Tom Stoppard’s best-known work, this Shakespearean Laurel and Hardy finally get a chance to take the lead role, but do so in a world where echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, where reality and illusion intermix, and where fate leads our two heroes to a tragic but inevitable end.

The 33rd annual Kern Shakespeare Festival features the following performers:
Colter Allison, Martin Arroyo, Brittany Beaver, Allan Bexton, Anthony Brooks, Stephen Bush, Josh Carruthers, Kara Coughenour, Decymbr’ Frank, Cody Ganger, Kevin Ganger, Amy Hall, Josue Jimenez, Tevin Joslen, Bob Kempf, Crystal Lara, Ryan Lee, Nolan Long, Shelbe McClain, Randy Messick, Ethan Monge, Sammy Noriega, Daniel Ochoa, Brian Purcell, Cheyenne Reyes, Brian Sivesind, John Spitzer, Nancee Steiger, Jose Tenorio, Blanka Trujillo, Salvador Vidaurri, Carlos Vera, and Spirit Wright.

Here is an email from Dr. Manny Mourtzanos, Dean of the Arts who sent this picture from yesterday’s Opening Night with an email encouraging the community to attend. Let’s hear from Manny:

Hamlet Sep 29 2017.JPG

Looking for great live theatre? Look no further than BC! The Theatre Department launched the 33rd Annual Kern Shakespeare Festival on Friday evening with the opening of “Hamlet”, along with “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” on Saturday. This year’s cast and crew members are packed with student talent and supported by our faculty Brian Sivesind (Claudius, Director) , Bob Kempf (Gravedigger, Director), and Colton Allison (Ghost of Hamlet’s Father). We even had the privilege of welcoming back retired Professor of Theatre, Randy Messick, in his role as Polonius . I should also mention that the scenic & lighting design by Kevin Ganger and costume design by Leslie Aldridge are remarkable. Well done, Theatre Department and students. We are so proud you. My gratitude to the numerous faculty and staff who attended opening night. Thank you for supporting our students! These shows will continue to run until October 7. I hope you’re able to attend.

Tailgade: The 2017 BC Alumni Association BBQ

The BC Alumni Association will be hosting a barbecue from 3-6 p.m. before the Renegades football game against Moorpark College. You can purchase a New York steak lunch prepared by Fred’s BBQ Factory for:

  • Adults: $25
  • Students with any school ID: $15
  • Kids 10 and under hot dogs: $10

Local ska/cumbia rock band Mento Buru will be performing, and beer and wine will be available for purchase for anyone over 21.

Purchase Tickets Today!

Tailgader Homecoming Sep 30 2017

As Seen on Facebook


Sep 2017 CTE Auto

Yuki Takeuchi-Chan

Sep 30 2017 post by Yuki Takeuchi Chan

Mary Jo Pasek on the traveling Kaiser Pemanente troope

Mary Jo Pasek Facebook Sep 30 2017

Jennifer Garrett

Jennifer Garrett Sep 27 2017

Renegade Athletics

Renegade Football: On September 23rd BC played at LA Harbor College and we won 47-6.  (Yes!!)  My cousins, Jeff Declase and his wife Toni, who were visiting California from Melbourne Australia, came to the game.  My daughter joined us as well.  It was wonderful enjoying family and seeing the Renegades powering through the game.  It was a treat seeing Peter Reyes there.  For those of you who do not know Peter, he is the legendary flag carrier for the Renegades.  Over 30 years of running in with the BC flag leading the students onto the field.  Here are some photos.

Sonya Christian, Eisha Christian, Toni DeClase, Jeff DeClase Sep 23 2017

Sonya & Eisha Christian; Toni & Jeff Declase


Sonya Christian, Toni DeClase, Jeff Declase Sep 23 2017

Sonya Christian, Toni & Jeff Declase

Trevor Horn, Ken Calvin, Vance Palm, Francis Mayer Sep 23 2017

Trevor Horn, Ken Calvin, Vance Palm, Francis Mayer

Robinson names SCFA Defensive Player of the weekSophomore Bobby Robinson was named the Southern California Football Association, National Northern Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his outstanding performance in BC’s blowout win over LA Harbor in week four. He joins freshman Cam Roberson as BC’s two POTW honorees for week four.

Here’s what the SCFA release said about Robinson’s performance:

Bobby Robinson was a disruptive defensive presence from whistle to whistle in Bakersfield’s 47‐6 win at LA Harbor. Robinson marred the Seahawks’ lone TD by blocking the extra point in the first quarter, returning the momentum back to the Renegades who never relinquished it again. Robinson made sure of that by punctuating the win with a 100 yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Bobby Robinson provided the first and last word in big defensive plays in BC’s win.


Cross Country:

The BC women’s cross country team finished third at the Bakersfield Invitational on Friday.   Lourdes Cruz paced the Renegades, finishing in seventh place overall, with a time of 20:25.  BC had two other runners finish in the top twenty.  Tori Wiley, with a time of 22:45, finished in fourteenth place and Natalie Estrada finished seventeenth with a 23:06 time.

Womens Cross Country Sep 26 2017.jpg

The Bakersfield College men’s cross country team finished second in the Bakersfield Invitational on Friday.  The Renegades had three top-ten finishers, led by Marcos Mulato, who finished third overall, with a time of 21:38.00.  Harrison Wykoff, 21:50, finished sixth and Angelo Benitez, 21:54, finished seventh.

Mens Cross Country Sep 26 2017



Sonya Christian Sep 23 2017 at LA Harbor CollegeThat’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever



The State of Kern County…is Strong!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is “Good Friday” morning.  The start of a three-day weekend leading up to Easter.  Easter, this year, falls on March 27th, my dad Paul’s birthday.  He passed away 10 years ago so Sunday is going to be an extra special day.

A relatively calm week at BC with students away on Spring Break.  Walking the quiet campus yesterday, I enjoyed the grounds and the buildings that were so meticulously planned in the 1950’s when the leadership of the campus and the community decided to bring the 40 year old college from Bakersfield High School to the hill.  1801 Panorama Drive….the Home of the Renegades.  A campus carefully planned by visionary leaders 60 years ago.  Jerry Ludeke sent this email to me on March 22nd emphasizing the point of “big thinking” and “big vision.” (Thank you Jerry for taking care of our archives, a gem at BC). Here is an excerpt from Jerry’s email:

Norm Harris

Norm Harris

The document is a letter written from Norm Harris, Coordinator of Vocational-Technical Education who became recognized nationally in that field.  He was reporting to Ralph Prator, the president assigned to build the new campus, on a conference Harris had with Theron Taber, the Assistant District Superintendent in Charge of Business Affairs who had been interim director of BC in the few months between Grace Bird and Ralph Prator.  In 1952 they were in the visioning stage of campus development.  Norm Harris and Theron Taber had different opinions about the path to take:  Taber was thinking in the Present-Static; Harris was thinking in the Future-Expanding.  Fortunately for us in the 60 ensuing years, the vision Norm Harris had won out.

Now, in 2016, we find ourselves in the same spot.  What do we do to take care of this campus for future generations in the next 50 years–2016 to 2066?  Our Board of Trustees is seriously considering a potential bond on the Nov 8, 2016 ballot.  In fact, this year’s Sterling Silver dinner on March 31st, which is sold out btw, will be at the Petroleum Club instead of the cafeteria.  One of the reasons for this shift is due to the fact that the cafeteria needs fixing. The BC Foundation Executive Director Tom Gelder was on KGET this morning talking about Sterling Silver which will be emceed by Alissa Carlson.  Thank you KGET for being a great partner of Bakersfield College!

Paul Beckworth Ellen Eggert Sonya Christian March 24 2016

Paul Beckworth, Ellen Eggert, Sonya Christian

This past week with most students and faculty not being on campus, the rest of us used the time to catch up on work.  I tried to squeeze in some time to do some writing but alas, how time flies.  On Thursday, Paul Beckworth, Armando Trujillo and I attended the Kern County Veterans Collaborative and heard Ellen Eggert speak about depression, suicide and suicide prevention.  It was a sobering topic and she approached it directly, or as a friend says “through the front door.” I was struck by the significant number of serious tragedies that Eggert herself encountered, yet there she was, pragmatically approaching the topic of depression and suicide and giving us strategies and tools to approach a loved one or a stranger to help support them through these life changing times.   I learned from her that BC’s Student Health and Wellness Director Ray Purcell is bringing her on campus on April 13th.



In her presentation Ellen Eggert referred to the book Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk, published in 2006. The entire presentation weighed on me, which led to several walks yesterday, and then to exploring writeups on this book later in the evening.  I found Shenk’s precursor article in the October 2005 issue of the Atlantic Monthly.  Here it is and here is a powerful quote by Shenk

Abraham Lincoln fought clinical depression all his life, and if he were alive today, his condition would be treated as a “character issue” — that is, as a political liability.  His condition was indeed a character issue: it gave him the tools to save the nation.

The Kern County Veterans Collaborative is an active group dedicated to finding resources for our vets.  After the presentation by Eggert, Randy Dickow, chair of the collaborative called for a moment of silence in remembrance of Vernon Valenzuela who passed away several years ago on March 26th.  Vernon was a Vietnam veteran and after he came back he went to BC and started the Veterans Club at BC in the seventies.  He dedicated his life to veterans issues in Kern County and in fact  helped get the Veterans Court into place.  Armando Trujillo, BC’s student vets advisor, was the very first recipient of the Veterans Court.  Vernon Valenzuela, you are a legend in Kern County….we salute you!

You will enjoy this piece in the Bakersfield Californian by Ashley Fisher on Nov 9, 2011 on Vernon.  I was not able to find a photo of Vernon on the web so if you have one, send it my way and I will upload it on this blog post.

Btw, Randy Dickow asked us to “like” the Kern County Veterans Collaborative’s facebook page at

Talking about my activities on Thursday, March 24th, I attended our downtown Rotary meeting after the Veterans Collaborative meeting.  The presenter was Phil Meyer, President and CEO of Valley PBS.  Meyer is a great story teller and his visuals would have made David Koeth very happy.  He talked about the history of journalism and then moved into the future of journalism.  Loved the stories about the evolution of the New York Times, my favorite newspaper, as well as the impact that social media is having on traditional journalism.


Mick Gleason

On January 27th, I attended, for the very first time, the Kern County Board of Supervisors’ 2016 State of the County address, another area event that put a bright spotlight on the county and its lofty goals and achievements.


Before I even get to the speech delivered by Board Chairman and First District Supervisor Mick Gleason, I have to praise the county for the technical brilliance of their presentation.  As part of a group here at BC who produce large-scale events like Opening Day and graduation ceremonies on a regular basis, I was truly blown away by the grandeur and scope of the county’s event celebrating.  [Detour: you have got to check out my January 23, 2016 blog post Spring Opening Day: The Force is with…BC.  It is a lot of fun and you will see the brilliance of Manny De Los Santos, Francis Mayer, Shannon Musser and Dylan Wang]  The professionalism of State of the County production — from the lighting all the way down to their slick Teleprompter system — made you feel like you were actually at a presidential State of the Union address.


Leticia Perez

Mick Gleason’s speech was great (which you can read in its entirety here or watch video of the speech on the County’s website), and I felt a great sense of pride being part of Kern County.  I repeatedly say that it is a good time to be at BC….and I will say, it is a good time to be in Kern County.


With 2016 serving as the county’s 150th anniversary, Gleason began with an engaging trip through his own personal Irish Catholic upbringing before paralleling that journey with Kern County’s own history over the past century-and-a-half.

Check out the “by the numbers” video the County assembled to drive home the long road Kern has followed to get us to today.


David Couch

Gleason’s walk down memory lane recounted many of Kern’s greatest contributions to the state and the rest of America, from the table grapes and pistachios of its vibrant agriculture industry, to the stunning technological innovations in military aviation and national defense that have sprung from work at the nation’s premier weapons lab and testing ground at China Lake.


While reveling in our 150 years of County accomplishments, Gleason also jumped into the nitty-gritty of Kern County’s position in 2016 — a position that wouldn’t be as sound and reasoned as it is without the Board’s courage of leadership.



Zach Scrivner

“We are truly blessed people with a great story and we need to celebrate our blessings,” Gleason said.

With a recent state of unease surrounding Kern County’s once-booming oil industry, Gleason was quick to warn against writing its epitaph just yet.


“The story of oil in Kern County is still being written and, I assure you, it’s far from finished,” Gleason said.  “We are not defined by the price of a barrel of oil, or how much rain falls from the sky, but rather by the character of the people who live here. We have achieved great things in the past, and we are going to do amazing things in the future.”


Mike Maggard

While we’re all aware we face challenges as a county going forward (but who doesn’t?), it’s comforting to know our fortunes are in the capable hands of men and women like Mick Gleason, Zack Scrivner, Mike Maggard, David Couch, Leticia Perez.  Thank you Kern County Board of Supervisors!

Check out my  blog on the time I attended the Board of Supervisor’s meeting when they approved the funding for the Game Changer project in Arvin, a collaborative project with Mike Turnipseed (Kern Tax), Leticia Perez (Supervisor), Bryon Schaefer (KHSD) and Bakersfield College.

August 4, 2015. Does it take a Village or does it take a County


Faculty Accomplishments: BC Stars Shine

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, March 12, 2016…..A good day to be a Renegade!

Alexx Dominguez and Sonya Christian March 10 2016

With Alex Dominguez

What a hectic week at BC.  Just on one day, March 10th, we had the Board of Trustees for their monthly board meeting on campus, the Houchin Blood Bank drive hosted by SGA on campus, and had a group of 74 Highland High School seniors visiting who completed their Abbreviated Student Ed Plans (ASEPs) on campus.  I was happy to hear Stewart Hathaway, Academic Senate President of Porterville College, do a shout-out to Steve Watkin and our Outreach department.   The day actually started early morning with Corny Rodriguez and me presenting our Facilities Master Plan, in light of a potential bond for the November 2016 ballot, to the newly formed Government Relations Committee (GRC) of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (KCHC).  Most of the members of this group are up and coming young professionals who have already established themselves as leaders in this community.  They are very enthusiastic about Bakersfield College and as Corny and I were leaving we snagged this photo with Alex Dominguez, past SGA president and a member of the GRC.  Jay Tamsi, President of the KCHC is a wonderful partner!   Jennifer Marden commented to me at the end of the day as I was rushing off to Sacramento for the IEPI advisory committee meeting: “Just another normal day at BC”.

Clayton Fowler March 10 2016

Clayton Fowler and team at the Houchin Blood Bank Drive. March 10, 2016

Victor Diaz with Highland  Students March 10 2016

Victor Diaz in action. Outreach Department bringing 74 Highland High Scots to campus

It was wonderful having our Board members on campus along with colleagues from Porterville and Cerro Coso.  Danielle Hillard and Jennifer Marden did an exceptional job planning the day.  We changed the venue from the Indoor Theater to the Gym–lunch was in the Huddle and the Board Meeting on the Mezzanine overlooking the floor of the gym.  Josh Ottum, our new faculty member in music who is launching the Applied and Commercial Music Program and his student Omar performed for the Board. Manny Mourtzanos and John Gerhold were walking around being proud of Josh and the music program at BC.

Josh Ottum and Omar March 10 2016

Josh Ottum and his student Omar

It was wonderful seeing Ron Frolich who sits on the Ag advisory committee and is a strong supporter of BC and BC’s Ag program.  I remember decades ago when I was a rookie Dean and Ag was assigned to me.  It was Bill Kelly and folks like Ron Frolich who taught me about the Ag program and Ag in the Central Valley in California.

Billie Barnes Sonya Christian Ron Frolich March 10 2016

Bill Barnes, Sonya Christian, Ron Frolich

Chef Sabella and team did a phenomenal job and Kristin Rabe and I were commenting that we were so happy after devouring the Cous Cous and Quinoa salad.  I think Kristin actually used the word “euphoric”.  And of course, Todd Coston and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg are always thrilled when we have great vegetarian options available.  Ramon Puga and the facilities crew did an outstanding job.  Thank you!

We had individual Board members briefly tour five of the capital projects that are listed on the proposed bond list–Math Science; Health, PE and Athletics; Student Services neighborhood; Agriculture; and the Veterans Center.  During their Board reports each Board member was complimentary about their tour, and impressed with the faculty and staff.  I enjoyed Trustee Storch‘s comments about his Math Science tour as well as his visit to the Veterans Center.  He played with the STEM umbrella and rearranged the sequence to consider what it would be like with the following arrangement: Math Science Engineering and Technology, or “MSET”.  And then Trustee Corkins jumped in by introducing an “A” for Agriculture — STEAM rather than STEM.  Trustee Meek was very supportive of having a robust Veterans Program.  She highlighted the statewide Guided Pathways summit hosted by BC and acknowledged the presentation by President Jill Board.  Finally she remarked positively on the Arvin Forum that was held the same evening as the Summit.  Trustee Agbalog was very complimentary about his tour, and commended both president Rosa Carlson and Jill Board and the achievements of their students.  Trustee Wright reflected on how much of a positive impact the colleges have on their students as well as on the employees.  He said a very heartfelt “thank you” to all of the faculty and staff at all three colleges.  Trustee Beebe was very appreciative to everyone for their work.  Trustee Carter was also appreciative and acknowledged individuals by name for their wonderful work. Thank you Trustees! 

Three presidents 2 March 10 2016

President Jill Board, President Sonya Christian, President Rosa Carlson

Now, let me take a moment to focus on BC.  There are few blogs I enjoy writing more than those highlighting the amazing accomplishments of BC’s incredible team of educators.  Every time I turn around, I’m finding out about another award, another fabulous achievement, or another incredible event or work produced by a member of our super-talented Renegade family.

Jennifer Garrett

Jennifer Garrett

Jennifer Garrett

BC’s very own director of Choral Activities, Dr. Jennifer Garrett has been honored as the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Collegiate Educator Award, as bestowed by the Kern County Music Educators Association.

In less than three years as a full-time faculty in the Performing Arts Department, Dr. Garrett has built upon the tradition of excellence laid by Dr. Ron Kean, and under the leadership of Performing Arts Faculty Chair Dr. John Gerhold, is propelling the BC choral programs into a prominent spotlight at regional, national, and international venues.

Last summer, Jennifer completed a successful performance tour of Italy with BC’s Chamber Singers and she’s entertaining similar invitations to tour Australia in 2018.  Jennifer very clearly told me where I would be spending June 2018–in Sydney Australia, enjoying our students performing at the Sydney Opera House.  You should mark your calendars as well.  As a member of the BC entourage during that summer tour of Italy, I got a first-hand, front-row view of Jennifer’s incredible dedication to her craft and love of music, as well as her commitment to her students’ success.


Jennifer accepting her 2016 Outstanding Collegiate Educator Award

Of course, no volume of words can ever do the talent of Jennifer’s singers their true justice, so to experience the full scope of her ensemble, check out these samples of recordings by the BC Chamber Singers under Jennifer’s expert direction:

Dr. Garrett’s award is a testament to her amazing talents — and it was only a matter of time before the whole of Kern County knew about them.  Congratulations, Jennifer!  I am so glad you are at BC.

Gina Herrera

Art adjunct professor Gina Herrera was selected to be a featured artist at the Los Angeles Art Association’s The Foolish Game. She was honored by having 2 of her sculptures displayed in the show.

She has also been chosen for 2 fully-funded summer residencies this summer. One will be at Hambidge in Rabun Gap, Georgia, and one is Ox-Bow in Saugatuck, Michigan.

David Koeth was chosen as one of the “Driven by Art” artists for the Bakersfield Museum of Art.  Chicago had the cows, New York had big apples, Lake Tahoe had bears, Sedona had javalinas; Bakersfield has old trucks. David will be painting a fiberglass truck that will be a public art piece.  I can’t wait to see this piece of work.

Delta Kappa Gamma

The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International was organized in 1929.  Its mission statement is that DKG Society International promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education.  The Alpha Alpha Chapter in Bakersfield was organized in 1939.  Over the years many members and DKG leaders have been BC faculty and/or administrators.

They include Grace V. Bird, Margaret (Peg) Levinson, Ruth Maguire, Dorothy Albaugh, Jerry Ludeke, Janet W. Tarjan, Hillary Neumeister, Lynne Hall, Gayle Richardson, Mary Jo Anhalt, and many more.

Dr  Mitchell w-Delta Kappa Gamma leaders

Gayle Richardson and Janet Tarjan, guests BC faculty Valerie Robinson and Pat Smith, and BC Future Teachers Club alumni and CSUB alumni and current teachers Jennifer Garcia (2nd grade) and Tayci Stallings (6th grade), and current BC students and guests Samaria De alba and Maria Holland were among the attendees at an exciting Women’s Networking Open House at the Dezember Reading Room in the CSUB library in February.  Dr. Horace Mitchell, President of CSUB, welcomed everyone and shared stories of commitment to the success of women professional educators at CSUB.

Dr  Deb

Dr. Debby Rosenthal

Debby Rosenthal, our new Chemist presented recently at the Instructional Design Institute held by the State-wide Academic Senate.  Her talk titled Utilizing Technology to Enhance Time-on-task and Critical thinking Skills was well received.  Here is a brief description of her presentation:

Electronic classroom management systems assist in developing “flipped” classrooms or variations of the concept. Pre-chapter quizzes can cover rote terminology and embed videos for concepts that demand mental visualization. When students attend class and encounter the information a second time, lectures and activities are more productive and their confidence is enhanced. Ultimately, the goal is for students to form a deliberate habit of covering material (in all their courses) before it is presented in the classroom.

When attempting to solve higher-level, multi-stop problems, any mental concept that must be addressed is considered a step and often overlooked when teaching. Pre-chapter quizzes can be used to break down problems into questions that instructors naturally ask themselves in order to solve advanced problems.

One objective of the presentations is to encourage instructors to use technology for lower-level instruction to increase time students are exposed to their subject. Instructors will also be asked to be cognitively aware of their own critical thinking skills and model a series of  mental questioning that can introduced to students using technology.

Kimberly Bligh Terence young Feb 2016Kimberly Bligh and a BC team attended the ATD Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.  Kimberly took time out of her schedule to drive from Atlanta to Conyers to spend time with Terence Young, one of our student athletes who got seriously injured playing football for us last term.  Jeff Chudy and Sandi Taylor have been supporting Terence all these months and he is now back in San Diego for his second surgery as a result of his football injury.  I am so proud of all these individuals who go out of their way to support our students.  You inspire me!

Oliver Rosales:  Among a “murderer’s row” of incredible educators, no one at BC throws more of himself and his passions into his work than BC Associate Professor of History Oliver Rosales.  And when that passion lands his work — and BC — front and center of a nationally-televised broadcast…well, that demands some recognition.

In celebration of last fall’s 40th anniversary of the seminal Delano Grape Strike, Oliver coordinated a series of on-campus events and observances of that 1965 occurrence that’s not only one of the Central Valley’s watershed moments of the past century, but one of the most important workers’ rights events in U.S. history.


Oliver Rosales

The specter of what happened in Delano 40 years ago still looms large — so when Oliver brought a fleet of nationally-renowned scholars for a Delano Grape Strike symposium, C-SPAN decided to air that discussion live.

Held in conjunction with our friends at CSU Bakersfield, the symposium drew more than 350 attendees and was viewed nationwide on C-SPAN.  Lorraine Agtang, who participated in the 1965 Delano Grape Strike as a member of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, joined a panel discussion on the strike and its legacy.  The discussion also branched deeper into the formative days of the Farm Workers Movement.

It was a fantastic event that you can still watch on the C-SPAN website.  Fantastic work, Oliver!



Reggie Williams: As with Oliver’s symposium, it’s truly exceptional when work generated right here on our campus can stand on a national stage and be rightfully recognized for its brilliance.

Reggie Williams

Reggie Williams

I wrote here on the blog last October about BC Philosophy Professor Reggie Williams’ thought-provoking talk at the Levan Center about race, wealth and inheritance.  Well, now the rest of America will get a chance to hear his enlightened presentation when Reggie delivers his work at next month’s National Council for Black Studies Conference in Charlotte, NC.

The conference is among the most high-profile of annual events furthering the development of Black/Africana Studies as a respected academic discipline.

Reggie presents his findings collected in pursuit of the central reasons behind America’s overwhelming Black/White wealth gap.  As Reggie discovered, while income disparity does play a role in the gap in wealth disbursement along racial lines, it is much more closely tied to 200-plus years of laws and practices surrounding inheritance in America.

Philosophy…and more

Staying with Reggie and his co-workers in BC’s standout Philosophy Department, I received a great email from Moya bragging about her colleagues.  She says:

I am so proud of my department, and I have to share with you how great they are! Just because I am so vain and humility has its limits.

Here are some highlights of BC’s active Philosophy department:

Reggie Williams and Rene Trujillo are continuing the monthly Gadfly Café sponsored by the Levan Center where faculty, staff, students and the community gather to discuss how relevant issues affect our lives.

Anne Poetker is coordinating the Philosophy Department’s Student Colloquium, where, supported by the rest of the philosophy faculty, students submit papers and read them for the experience of being professional academics and to potentially win a $500 scholarship.

Moya Arthur is leading a book group for faculty and staff reading Jared Diamond’s latest book, Until Yesterday in anticipation of Jared Diamond’s lecture at BC (which is coming up on Apr. 6).

It’s always fantastic when faculty members like Moya reach out about the great work happening in their corner of our BC universe.  First, it’s a perfect way to help keep me up to speed on everything going on on our bustling campus at any given time. There are just too many plates spinning every day to stay intimately involved with each one of them, so I’m a huge fan of the updates!

But more than that, emails like this come to me all the time — and they serve as an inspiring glimpse at the day-to-day quality work happening at BC.  From Philosophy to Biology, from Nursing to Agriculture, from Art to Engineering, every single department at BC is home to its own collection of daily work engaging both students and the broader Kern County community in the pursuit of academic or social enlightenment.

Student colloquia and book groups may not “grab headlines” like a county award or a national television broadcast or presentation audience — but those types of activities are the lifeblood of what make BC so vital, day in and day out.

Across the board, the abundant heart exhibited everyday by the faculty and staff who serve this campus and our students is an inspiration to me.  I couldn’t ask for a better band of colleagues.  We are….BC!

Engaging our Community: Bakersfield Chamber

Good Morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, February 27, 2016…..A good day to be a Renegade!

Jameik Riviere Feb 26 2016

Got back home late last night after watching an incredible Renegade men’s basketball game at Moorpark College, 114 miles southwest from BC.  The Renegades won 96-78 in what was an intense, fast, and smart game.  It was super cool to see the pride on the face of our Athletic Director, Sandi Taylor, and the other fans who came out to Moorpark.

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Below you can see the progression of my tweets as the game unfolded. Each tweet was accompanied by a picture of the game – to see the pictures along with the tweets follow me on twitter @sonyachristian.

@GoGadesGo 18-12 playoff @MoorparkCC #RenegadeBasketball @coachrichhughes @coachstaylor008

@coachrichhughes in action @GoGadesGo powering thru 25-14@MoorparkCC #WeAreBC @coachstaylor008  #RenegadeBasketball

#RenegadeBasketBall on the move 54-39 @MoorparkCC #BCRocks @GoGadesGo @coachrichhughes @coachstaylor008

@coachrichhughes with his winning team team 66-48 @MoorparkCC. Rockin payoff. @GoGadesGo @coachstaylor008 #WeAreBC

#JaneokaRiviere on the move. @GoGadesGo dominate 70-59 @MoorparkCC #BCRocks @coachrichhughes @coachstaylor008

@GoGadesGo playing fast. Playing smart. 80-69 @MoorparkCC @coachrichhughes @coachstaylor008 #WhatAGame @baksports

#LawrenceMoore controls the ball 88-72 with 1:33 min to go. @coachrichhughes @GoGadesGo @coachstaylor008 #WeAreBC

96-78 What a win at the playoff! @GoGadesGo @coachrichhughes @coachstaylor008 #RenegadeBasketball #WeAreBC #BCRocks

The Rooter bus left BC at 4:00 p.m. yesterday to bring out a group of Renegade fans to cheer on their team.  The fans were intense and noisy in their support, and concluded the last 10 seconds of the game with the “We Are…BC” chant.  Needless to say, I have no voice left today.

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Check out the details from Francis Mayer at  

Also for photos by Joe Bergman check out:

Here are my previous blogs on this winning coach and winning team:

February 20, 2016:

February 12, 2016:

Honestly, I am the luckiest person, to be the President of this amazing college with its amazing people.  I wish I had time to do a blog every day….but alas, time is my biggest enemy.  But here are some quick snippets:

Nick Strobel brought us news that on Feb 11, teams using advanced LIGO Project detectors had confirmed the existence of “gravity waves,” ripples in spacetime like ripples on a lake. Quantum theories unify every force except gravity, which is explained by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. (E.g. light has photons, and gravity might have “gravitons,” but we can’t show/explain it yet.) Our new ability to detect gravity waves might even allow new ways of “seeing” the universe with “gravity telescopes”. This is a very big deal – the kind of Nobel-prize-winning, this-made-waves-in-history sort of event – but might well have escaped our attention except for our astronomy detector Nick Strobel.

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Erin Miller’s talk titled Death of Virtue: Citizenship, Race, and Manhood in Colonial America was extraordinary. A scholar and great story teller, we are so fortunate to have Erin at BC. And thank you Norm Levan for your generous gift to BC that supports the Norm Levan Faculty Colloquium.

It was also heartwarming to attend the Bob Elias Hall of Fame event at the Rabobank last week with over 700 people and to see that a significant number of inductees over the years are Renegades.  I also enjoyed connecting with Wesley Lyons, a student vet at BC.

Talking about our students who are veterans, we have seen an increase in the numbers since 2013 and there is so much more we need to do at BC to support this group.  Here is some recent data I received from our IR office.

data veterans feb 2016

Every year, we all say that there’s so much to do and so many events to attend during the holiday season.  But we’re now two months into 2016 and it feels like my events calendar is just as packed as ever.  While I find there’s little time for reading or movies, I’m still satisfied — because the events I DO attend are such a constant wonderful reminder of the best in our community.


Chamber Board

On January 22nd, I had my most recent experience with one of our community’s true crown jewel organizations, the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce.  Their 2016 Board of Directors Installation Gala and Masquerade Ball event was fabulous, with President Nick Ortiz welcoming this year’s new officers, including new board chairman Steve Murray of Murray Family Farms (succeeding outgoing chairwoman, the wonderful Danielle Wade of Bright House Networks).

The evening was delightful, particularly the one-on-one conversations.  I enjoyed meeting Tom and Gina Saba whose son goes to BC.  He is apparently enjoying his experience and appreciated the summer bridge program.  Thank you Kimberly Bligh for expanding Summer Bridge 2015 and to the numerous faculty who participated.  You are creating the first experience for our students as they transition to Bakersfield College.  A very important event in their lives.  Here’s to an even bigger Summer Bridge 2016.

Also enjoyed catching up with Kelly and Greg Chamberlain, you truly know how to have fun.  Check out their picture below.

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I am looking forward to getting to know the Bakersfield Chamber Board members many of whom I have heard by name but never met.  Here is a copy and paste from the Chamber website:

Chairman of the Board
Steve Murray
Murray Family Farms, Inc.

Immediate Past Chair
Danielle Wade
Bright House Networks

Derek Abbott
Tejon Ranch Company

Andy Paulden
Brown Armstrong Accountants

Vice Chair Public Policy and Political Action
Carla Musser

Vice Chair Economic Vitality
Darlene Mohlke
Castle & Cooke California, Inc.

Vice Chair Leadership and Workforce Development
Kathy Miller
Aera Energy LLC

Vice Chair Member Engagement
Karen Goh
Garden Pathways, Inc.

Vice Chair Community and Resource Development
Brooke Antonioni
Trans West Security Service, Inc.

Member at Large
Paul Anderson
Moneywise Wealth Management


Susan M. Benham
Dignity Health Memorial Hospital

Don Bynum
Temblor Brewing Company and Gregory D. Bynum & Associates, Inc.

Greg Chamberlain
Bakersfield College

Dr. Sonya Christian

Bakersfield College

Tasha Clayton
Tel-Tec Security Systems, Inc.

David Dobbs
Imbibe Wine and Spirits Merchant

Scott Guseman
Paramount Farming Company

Derek Jeffery

Ronald Johns
RA Johnsfam dba McDonald’s

Duane Keathley
Cushman & Wakefield/Pacific

Karen King
Golden Empire Transit District

J.P. Lake
Rain for Rent

Pritesh Patel
Valley Republic Bank

Tom Saba
Creative Concepts/Saba Agency

Rick Stevens
Stevens Transportation, Inc.

John Stovall
Law Offices of John F. Stovall

The Chamber has repeatedly backed learning initiatives at all educational levels and emphasized that a better educated workforce not only lifts the business opportunities for their member companies, but improves the fiscal outlook for the county and the region as a whole.

With an abundance of partnership ventures available in 2016 (including a second year of the wildly-successful Vision for the Valley conference), it’s great to know Nick, Steve and the entire Bakersfield Chamber are always ready to dig in and work with Bakersfield College and other community partners on our shared goals for Kern County.


BC’s talented students….and amazing faculty

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, February 20th….A good day to be a Renegade!

This was a short four-day week given that Monday was Presidents’ Day.  But the week was intense.  So many activities on and off campus that last night I fell asleep while watching Shields and Brooks on PBS Newshour talking about the Presidential election.  Crazy….I don’t fall asleep on Mark Shields of the Washington Post and David Brooks of the New York Times.

It was a week where BC held the first statewide Guided Pathways Summit, and the statewide Black Student Caucus thanks to our Student Senator Fitzgerald Graves.  A group of us (Trustee Dennis Beebe, Trustee Kay Meek, Tom Burke, Rich McCrow, Zav Dadabhoy, Steve Watkin, Gustavo Enrique, Juan Torres, Raquel Lopez) attended  a Building Health Communities event in Arvin.  We also had a fabulous student, Sarah, from Arvin attend as well.

Talking about students….. BC students are at it again!

2016 conf champion feb 17 2016


Basketball:  Our Renegade Basketball team won the Western States Conference Championship on Wednesday, Feb 17th!  Do take a moment to enjoy these students and Coach Rich Hughes in my previous blog:

Also check out Francis Mayer’s piece at

and his photo gallery at


Some of our students are putting their abilities on display in a way that can occasionally seem like magic — and in two wildly disparate, but creatively linked disciplines. Two departments, BC’s Digital Illustration and Chemistry, have recently completed projects in which they were able to take purely theoretical ideas and apply their knowledge to producing physical products that are both beautiful and intriguing.



Chemistry: In the Chemistry department, Professor Kenward Vaughan’s students were given a variety of mysterious compounds and, as a group, students conducted experiments to either identify what the compound was or split the compound in order to identify its original components.


I did a June 2014 blog on last year’s OChem Letters.  Check it out:


Some students attempted to change their compounds from solid to liquid, or liquid to gas. While those students were working to identify the compound, others were working backward in an attempt to split the compound. By piecing together all the elements that make up the compound, they could try to uncover what individual components could have been combined in order to create it.

After all those assorted theories and experiments were finished, the students put their findings in writing. Throughout the OChem Letters, students offer up ample detail and the thought processes that ultimately led them to their conclusions.

david koeth

David Koeth

This captivating work of our chemistry students not only offers an engrossing look at the ways of the scientific process, but the ingenuity and creative thinking required of science professionals that may not be obvious to the uninitiated.

(I found this great picture of David Koeth on the website)



Illustration by Karina Hurtado

Digital Illustration: You may not see many clear parallels between organic chemistry and artists, but David Koeth’s Digital Illustration students were confronted with an intriguing challenge of their own — creating visualizations of a trip to Peru expressed only via written word.

Students were given a letter describing the trip, offering descriptive detail about the colored skies, exciting adventures, and even mishaps that took place during the journey.


Illustration by Miguel Fabian

Each student was assigned a “mood” and color pallette to portray and created spot illustrations for different situations found throughout the narrative.

Having only the letter and their own imaginations to rely on, the students were given just three hours to complete the project. Even under that restrictive time crunch, students were able to produce some beautiful art displaying vivid representations of the trip. Our talented students captured and recreated this trip with as much life and imagination as if they themselves had traveled to Peru. Being that no two people are the same, each picture told a unique side of the story.


Illustration by Jaqueline Carmona


The students’ depictions included parties, jewelry, hiking through the forest, laying on the beach and even the author’s wife getting airplane sick. The students allowed the trip to be portrayed in such a way that you could live out the trip as if it were your own.  You can see some of these gorgeous illustrations above.

The students here at BC never fail to impress, and never cease to bring great pride to our campus.  And our faculty…..they are the very best. They are scholars, artists, and athletes in their own right, as well as being dedicated teachers who spend hours with their students.  On Wednesday night, one of our Public Safety Officers, Mason,  who is also a student, gave me a ride from the admin parking lot to the gym for the Basketball game.  During this short ride, he excitedly shared with me stories about his amazing instructor, David Koeth, and how David inspires the best in him.

Friends, this is Bakersfield College.  A place of learning, a place of excellence filled with brilliant and committed faculty and staff. We are…BC!