Category Archives: Uncategorized

Spring: The Rebirth of Life

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 20, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Happy Easter!

This weekend, millions of people are celebrating Easter, which symbolizes the end of the fallow winter and the rebirth of life that comes with spring.

The traditional christian celebration of Easter observes the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as described in the New Testament, but people have been celebrating the spring equinox for thousands of years. Most of the non-christian iconography of Easter, including the use of eggs and rabbits, goes back to an equinox celebration named after the Germanic goddess of spring.

Easter in Germany

In the US, Easter celebrations include an Easter egg roll on the White House lawn, a tradition that has been going on for 141 years.

Children in Finland and Sweden celebrate Easter by dressing up as witches and asking for chocolate door-to-door, which is very similar to Halloween. Devout Catholics in the Pampanga region of the Philippines volunteer to be nailed to wooden crosses on Good Friday, and Germans light giant bonfires at sunset on Holy Saturday. You can read more about Easter traditions around the world in an article published by the UK Evening Standard.

When I was growing up, Easter, like Christmas, was full of family fun, church activities, and food. This year, Easter will be with with my daughter, cooking family dishes and our traditional catholic Easter mass. I am sure we will squeeze in time to take Bessie to the dog park and generally take long walks along the beach.

However you choose to celebrate Easter, my wish for you is that it’s a beautiful, happy day for you and your family.

BC Drumline Wins Gold at WGI Competition

For the first time in the BC Drumline’s history, they are world champions!!  Our amazing Renegades competed in the WGI World Championship Competition in Dayton, Ohio last weekend, where they beat out 15 other times to win the Gold medal.  There are not enough words to convey how proud we are of our Drumline students and their director Tim Heasley.

Check out this piece that KGET did on our World Champions. Also the piece by Ema Sasic in The Bakersfield Californian. Congratulations! We are BC!

BC Drumline: World Champions!!
Another great shot of our World Champs.
Go Renegades, Go!
BC student holding award trophy
WGI Award Trophy
BC Drumline performing.
Performing at the WGI Competition
BC drumline performing

American Association of Community Colleges 2019 National Convention

Last week I presented at the American Association of Community Colleges 2019 National Convention on Bakersfield College’s guided pathways implementation.  BC originally began working with AACC in 2015 as one of 30 colleges nationally participating in the AACC Pathways Project.  The discussion focused on lessons about leadership for transformational change, the commitment to achieve equity in student outcomes, and overcoming challenges in scaling guided pathways work.

Panelists at the American Association of Community Colleges 2019 National Convention
Rob Johnstone. Alex Johnson, Sonya Christian, Davis Jenkins

My co-presenters included:

  • David Jenkins, Senior Research Scholar at the Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University (and co-author of Redesigning America’s Community Colleges which BC read in book panels in fall 2015)
  • Rob Johnstone, Founding President & CEO of the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement
  • Kay McClenney, Senior Advisor to the President & CEO, AACC
  • Alex Johnson, President of Cuyahoga Community College

I thank the American Association of Community Colleges for supporting guided pathways and scaling it across the nation.

Sonya Christian, Kay McClenney, & Davis Jenkins

KCCD Trustee Agbalog on Terry Maxwell’s KNZR 1560AM Radio Show

On Tuesday, KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog was a guest on Terry Maxwells radio show on AM 1560. Check out the interview where Trustee Agbalog speaks about education in Kern County and BC’s Early College partnerships.

KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog

SimRig Ribbon Cutting at KCCD

Last week, the Public Safety Training department unveiled its new SimRig! The SimRig is built to precisely mimic a real ambulance. It gives the students a firsthand look and experience of being in a unit while working on patients. The back door and bumper are built to the actual specifications of road-ready ambulances to allow students to efficiently practice loading and unloading stretchers, and perform life-saving procedures in a limited space.

Sim Rig unveiling

We are very thankful to those who made this EMT and Paramedic simulation training possible: Dean Carla Gard, Director Tony Cordova, PSTP Dean Rich McCrow, PSTP Director Tommy Tunson, Chancellor Tom Burke, Associate Chancellor Cindy Collier, PSTP Dept. Assistant Karen Mattox and Weill Facilities and Maintenance Manager Don Birdwell.

SimRig Ribbon Cutting at KCCD

Kaiser Permanente Awards $30K Grant to BC

Kaiser Permanente awarded $30,000 to Bakersfield College as a part of its mission to provide high quality affordable healthcare and improve the lives of our members and our communities.  Kaiser Permanente provides grants local organizations to partner with them in helping meet the health needs of the most vulnerable citizens in Kern County. This year Kaiser Permanente is providing $260,000 in grants to ten local organizations.

BC’s Dr. Sarah Baron, Dr. Marvin Campos, Area Medical Director for Kaiser Permanente, Sherry Mounts, Chief Administrative Officer for Kaiser Permanente, David Womack, Senior Vice President & Area Manager for Kaiser Permanente presenting the $30k grant.
Presentation of $30k grant check

Speaking of Bakersfield College and health partnerships in the community, BC and the Delano Reproductive Health Task Force will pilot and bring to scale a peer health education (PHE) program on reproductive and sexual health education. We’d like to thank the Kern County Superintendent of Schools who conducted the initial 12 hour training!  

Gadfly Cafe

The final Gadfly Café of the semester on Secularism, Nihilism, and the Need to Believe took place on Wednesday, April 10. Thank you to Reggie Williams for offering these opportunities for our students to learn, be inspired, engage in conversation, and walk away with a newfound outlook on life.

Nick Strobel’s COMMUNITY VOICES: A way to transform our relationships and world

Check out this must read by our very own Nick Strobel in The Bakersfield Californian. Make sure to it out “A way to transform our relationships and world.”

Nick Strobel

MESA Conference

On April 6, the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program and Bakersfield College hosted an annual conference on the Panorama Campus that was geared to educate the community about Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM), and Pre-Med education.  The conference was designed to allow participants to network with professionals in STEM and Pre-Med and explore careers.

STEM and Pre-Med Conference flyer
Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference

Participants engaged in workshops, a resource fair, and heard from keynote speakers, college advisors, financial aid counselors, industry leaders, and student organizations.

Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference
Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference

The goals of the conference included a special focus in STEM and Pre-Med, improve community and industry partnerships, and further developing local talent of minorities and within underrepresented communities.

Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference
Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference

Special thanks to our conference sponsors for helping to make this event happen, including California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, Infrastructure Engineering Corporation, Grimmway Farms, UCLA Undergraduate Admission, University of California, Berkeley, UC Davis, and the US Department of Agriculture.

Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference

New World of Work Training

Bakersfield College Career Education Department recently hosted the New World of Work (NWoW) 21st Century Skills Training where we had 40 different educators from our Central Region participate in a two-day instructor training. At the end of the training, participants earned non-credit certificates of completion for instruction in 21st Century skills that they can implement into their classrooms.

Bakersfield College Career Education Department at New World of Work (NWoW) 21st Century Skills Training

GAF Glass Mat Plant Ribbon Cutting in Shafter

GAF Glass Mat Plant in Shafter reopened its operations with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday April 17th. The GAF plant has gone through a multi-million dollar facility upgrade to better serve growing demand. Those in attendance at the ceremony were Shafter’s Mayor Gilbert Alvarado and Representatives from the office of TJ Cox and Rudy Salas. This restart of operations at the plant means more jobs for our community and more future opportunities for our students from various programs. GAF has been a great partner to our INDA program by offering facility tours, contributing to the INDA senior project and hiring interns from our Baccalaureate students.

GAF Glass Mat Plant ribbon cutting ceremony and tour.

Spotlight: Outreach/Welcome Department

With the expansion of Dual Enrollment and Early College opportunities at BC, the work of our Outreach and School Relations team has become more important than ever.  They’ve risen to the occasion in the 2018-19 academic year, spreading the word about our innovative curriculum and academic support while clarifying the path for thousands of students.

Steve Watkin & Kylie Swanson at the McFarland Early College Launch.

The Outreach and School Relations Department at BC works closely with the local high schools to help aspiring students with enrollment and familiarizing themselves with our campuses. They’ve successfully assisted 3,368 high school seniors with the matriculation process this academic year, up 31 percent from last year. The team coordinated Registration Rocks events at 28 high schools on the second day of priority registration, and with the help of 100 BC employees and student workers, 2,386 students were registered for classes, a 250% increase from the Registration Rocks events held in the Fall 2017 semester.

Savannah Andrews and Ashlea Ward in the Welcome Center

Outreach hosts a High School Counselor Conference every year to inform the high schools about new initiatives and onboarding processes at BC.

Members of the BC Outreach team with Sonya Christian.
BC’s Outreach Team

Thank you to everyone in Outreach for working so hard to make the dream of college a reality for thousands of people in Kern County.  

Ashlea Ward & Steve Watkin leading some training.

National Student Employee Appreciation Week

This year’s Spring Break happened to fall on National Student Employee Appreciation Week, so the Student Employment Office recognized our student workers last week before the break.

Bakersfield College currently employs 495 students on campus. Students gain valuable work experience to put on their resume, build key relationships with their supervisors who can provide a reference or letter of recommendation. At the heart of the program is strengthening students’ work ethic and interpersonal skills that employers need.

National Student Appreciation Week!
Stephanie Baltazar

Thank you to Stephanie Baltazar and her team at Student Employment for all of their hard work in helping to prepare our students for their careers.

Measure J Updates

We currently have 14 (yes, 14!!) Measure J projects underway.  The Bakersfield College Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center is under construction, and will be completed in early December 2019.  

Construction at the Veterans Resource Center
More construction at the Veterans Resource Center

Demolition has concluded for the Campus Center, with construction scheduled to begin in May.

Campus Center construction
More Campus Center construction shots.

Also this week, some of the cement work along the pool was replaced to be ADA compliant.

Cement work near pool
Additional shot of cement work

The Memorial Stadium construction has begun as well, with the first phase beginning in early April.   Also, check out this piece that 23ABC did on the Memorial Stadium renovations!

Aerial footage of the Memorial Stadium construction

We cannot wait to share these completed projects with our students and community! You can get updates at Measure J project schedule.

Thank you Bakersfield community for voting Yes on J!

Entree to Employment

The Career Education Department collaborated with the BC Education Department for an Entrée to Employment grand dinner event. The event brought together education experts with BC students who are interested in pursuing a career in teaching  elementary, secondary, or college education in the fields of Math, Science, Special Education, Automation, Agriculture, Welding, and Engineering.

BC Culinary Arts student hard at work
BC Culinary Arts student baking

BC future teachers networked with education experts over a delicious meal served by the BC  Culinary Arts students in the Renegade Room. Twenty-three BC students participated along with representatives from BC, Kern K-12 districts, and local institutions including BCSD, KHSD, KCSOS, and the University of La Verne.

BC Culinary Arts student baking
Fruit and vegetable plate
Chocolate cake
Caprese skewers
Soup prepared by BC Culinary Arts students

A special thanks to the event team: Stephanie Baltazar, Jessica McGrath, Carlos Medina, Domenica Trinidad, Suzanne Tangeman , Christian Flores (and student Culinary Arts team), Rosa Perez, Kimberly Bligh, Isabel Castaneda, our table facilitators, and our field experts!

BC’s Career and Technical Education Department
Guests at the dinner table for the Entree to Employment event
Guests at the dinner table for the Entree to Employment event

Kimberly Bligh, Faculty Chair over the emerging Education Department received this email from Vicky Spanos, director of the Kern High Teacher Residency Program after the event:

Vicki Spanos in the middle

Hi Kimberly –

Thank you so much for inviting me to the wonderful event you put on for future teachers. I loved being a part of it and enjoyed every minute. The meal was delicious, and the conversation at our table was interesting and uplifting. Debbie Anderson did an excellent job facilitating our discussions.

The young man who spoke at the end, who had returned to teach the culinary students (Christian) was a student of mine. I did not recognize him right away because of the beard, but he recognized me and spoke on the way out. Thrilling to bump into a former student who is doing well, isn’t it? It was just icing on an already pretty terrific cake!!


Make sure to check out the Facebook album to see all of the great photos!

Fun Photos: Spring Pop Up Art Show

We had 104 art pieces for the Spring Pop Up Art Show outside of Fine Arts building last week!  Art faculty member Diego Gutierrez sent over some photos, where he said his students exhibited their Figure Drawing work from this semester.  Great job everyone!

Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show
Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show
Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show
Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show
Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show

Fun Photos: Ellucian Impact Award

BC’s Director of Admissions & Records Michelle Pena sent some photos from the Ellucian Live 2019 conference in New Orleans last week.  Bakersfield College was named a finalist for the 2019 Ellucian Impact Award, where we received a $5,000 institution grant! Thanks for representing us, Michelle!

Board showing BC as a finalist for the Ellucian Impact Award
Michelle Pena, Director of Enrollment Services and Becky Weaver, Weaver and Fox Consulting presenting Plan, Nudge, and Schedule- The Integrated Approach to Student Success
Michelle and Becky’s presentation

Fun Photos: Jackie Robinson’s 100th Birthday Celebration

Manny Mourtzanos and his son celebrated the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson, a baseball legend and agent of social change, at Dodgers Stadium for what would’ve been his 100th birthday. All players wore number (#42) in Robinson’s honor. While there, Manny ran into our very own Robby Martinez!  Looks like it was a great time!

Manny Mourtzanos, his son Andrew, and Robby Martinez at the Dodger game.

Fun Photos: What do professors do on Spring break?

What do professors do on Spring break? They do yard work and meet at Greenway to dump limbs!  Deb said that Helen was wearing a BC shirt or she might not have noticed her!

Deb Rosenthal and Helen Acosta at Greenway

Fun Photos: Executive Office Birthday Celebrations

The BC Executive Office held a potluck this past Wednesday to celebrate March and April birthdays. We celebrated the birthdays of Tarina Perry and Catherine Rangel with some delicious food!

Happy Birthday Renegades!

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (4/7-4/13) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week

Kayleen Sanchez, Women’s Tennis – Kayleen played her toughest conference match of the year, going 3 sets against teammate Paige Darstein to win the WSC singles championship 3-6, 6-2, 6-1. That same day, she partnered with Darstein to win the WSC doubles championship with a commanding 6-0, 6-1 victory. Kayleen also collected All-Conference First Team honors in singles, All-Conference Second Team honors in doubles, and was named the WSC Player Of The Year.

Tyson Hays, Men’s Golf – Tyson shot even par (72) at the CCCAA Men’s Golf SoCal Preview at Los Serrano’s Country Club to lead the Renegade’s to their lowest team score of the season.

Softball Clinches Back-to-Back WSC North Championships

Coach Casey Goodman and her 2019 softball squad are now back-to back Western State Conference (WSC) North Division Champions after this week’s 15-1 victory over LA Pierce! They are undefeated at 14-0 and pitcher Kylee Fahy is on track to finish leading the state in strikeouts for a second year in a row. Congrats to Coach Goodman and good luck in the upcoming state playoffs. We would love to see them advance to the state finals as Bakersfield College is the host site for the California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) state softball finals.

BC Softball 2019 Western State Conference Champions

Women’s Tennis Dominates the WSC Championships

BC Women’s Tennis student athletes Kayleen Sanchez and Paige Darstein faced off against each other in the 2019 WSC Women’s Tennis singles championship. Sanchez came away victorious after defeating Darstein in three sets, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 to take the women’s singles title.

They both then teamed up as doubles partners to smooth through their semi final match against Chacon/Ghazaryan from Glendale College, 6-3, 6-2. In the finals they cruised to a dominating victory over Stanisavljevic/Sakato from College of the Canyons, 6-2, 6-0.

Kayleen Sanchez and Paige Darstein promo photo

The team also cleaned up in WSC Conference awards as follows:

  • All-Conference First Team
    • #1 Singles – Kayleen Sanchez
    • #2 Singles – Paige Darstein
  • All-Conference Second Team
    • #4 Singles – Katelyn Wernhart
    • #5 Singles – Zoe Butter
    • #6 Singles – Ashlyne Aguilar
    • #1 Doubles – Sanchez/Darstein
    • #2 Doubles – Strange/Zavala

Conference Player of the Year: Kayleen Sanchez

The team will next compete at the CCCAA State Championships at The Ojai Tournament that will take place April 25-28. Good luck ladies!

Kayleen Sanchez promo photo

Roundup of Athletics Events This Week

As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click for the story on

Stay Connected to Renegade Athletics

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media. On Facebook find us under ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’, on Twitter – @GoGadesGo and on Instagram – @gogadesgo.

Athletics social media handles

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Spring Into Action!

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 13, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

We live in exciting times….

On Wednesday, April 10, we were able to see something that has never been captured before: an actual photograph of a black hole.  For years, scientists could only imagine what an actual black hole looked like, and now that has been turned into a reality.

Our own Nick Strobel posted about the black hole on his Facebook page. Take a look!

Black Hole Facebook screenshot

The image released to the world on Wednesday shows an orange and red ring around the dark shadow of a black hole, the edge separating the light that escaped and reached the Earth from 55 million light-years away, from the light that could not escape the intense gravity of the black hole.

Having the ability to see black holes opens up new areas of research into the physics our our universe. We truly live in exciting times!

KCCD Board of Trustees Meeting

On Thursday, BC welcomed the Kern Community College District Board of Trustees to the Panorama campus for their annual April board meeting at BC.

Our Maintenance and Operations staff put up a beautiful tent in the CSS Lawn for the Trustees and BC leadership to enjoy lunch before the board meeting, and Food Services prepared a delicious meal of enchiladas and chile verde. During lunch, Todd Coston and Monika Scott took a moment to celebrate all of our classified staff members who work hard behind the scenes to keep our campus beautiful and ensure that our students have a wonderful educational experience.

People sitting at round table

Traditionally, our lunches before the April board meetings have highlighted instructional departments such as Industrial Automation or Culinary Arts, but this year, we thought it would nice to show our appreciation for some of BC’s unsung heroes among our classified staff. Financial Aid Technician Rebecca Bumpous took the podium to described the ways that she has helped her department with funding our students’ dreams, awarding $44 million in Title IV funding and $3 million in state funding for the 2018-19 academic year.

Woman speaking
Rebecca Bumpous, Financial Aid Technician
Man speaking
Carlos Barbaran, Custodian I

Carlos Barbaran proudly spoke of his 24 years of service as a custodian in Maintenance and Operations, keeping 72,000 square feet of instructional facilities clean for our students every day.

Woman speaking
Shauna Turner, Department Assistant III

Shauna Turner gets to pursue her passion for providing opportunities for disadvantaged and first-generation students as a Department Assistant for Student Success and Equity, and Systems Support Specialist Israel Mendoza is honored to service 3,000 electronics devices across Panorama and Delano campuses and BC SouthWest to ensure that our students have the tools they need to finish their assignments.

Man speaking
Israel Mendoza, Systems Support Specialist I
Woman speaking
Mirian Fuentes, Food Service Worker III

Watch the video below to see all the speeches.

At the end of the classified staff testimonials, Todd Coston shared a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that epitomizes our BC staff’s dedication to our students.

“The purpose of life… is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

After lunch, the Trustees moved over to the Levan Center for the Board meeting. The Board presented awards to retiring BC employees and emeritus faculty. Chancellor Tom Burke took a moment to explain the history of the word emeritus, which started as a Latin title bestowed to ancient Roman soldiers after their tour of service but evolved to refer to college professors who are distinguished in their dedication to students and academia. The Board of Trustees gave emeritus recognition to Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Rafael Espericueta, Andrea Garrison, Catherine Freeman, Susan McQuerrey, Ann Wiederecht, Kate Pluta, Kathleen Rossellini, Januet Lewis, Joyce Kirst, Odella Johnson, Rachel Vickrey, Becki Whitson, Scott Wayland and Daniel Johnson.

Here are the individuals who received emeritus status.

Here are the seven of the 18 retiring BC faculty and staff. It’s always sad to see such talented people leave BC, but they will always remain a part of the Renegade family. Our retirees have served a total of 456 years of service to BC and touched the lives of an estimated 91,000 students.

Penny Loos and Theresa Rodriguez were an integral part of Food Services as a Department Assistants, navigating the department through decades of changes.

Fred Smith has been an athletic trainer for Renegade student athletes since 1984, and an estimated 10,000 students’ lives were impacted by his support for about 4,000 athletic events.

Sally Sterns earned two degrees from BC and decided to stick around as a Horticulture Lab Tech, and she has directly contributed to the growth of Garden Fest, one of the largest horticulture events in Kern County, an event that brings 7,000 people to our campus every year.

Rebecca Mooney has proudly shared her passion for literature and writing with students as a professor in the English department, and Nancy Perkins was selected to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work as Director of Radiologic Technology for 39 years. Finally, math professor Bernard Scanlon will be remembered by generations of students for his great, booming voice and his cutting-edge work developing interactive lecture materials for students since the mid-90s.

I would like to thank Maintenance and Information Technology for their support of this year’s Board of Trustees meeting, as well as Todd Coston and Monika Scott for taking the time to celebrate our classified staff during lunch. And a big thank you to everyone from the Executive Office who helped plan and coordinate the meeting.

I hope you enjoy these photos from Manny De Los Santos and Dylan Wang.

Kern County Board of Supervisors

Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Teresa Hitchcock, Brian Bell, JP Lake, Aaron Resendez, Liz Rozell, and Jean Fuller
L-R: Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Teresa Hitchcock, Brian Bell, JP Lake, Aaron Resendez, Liz Rozell, and Jean Fuller

On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, academic partners from Bakersfield College and McFarland Unified School District presented their unique Early College collaborative program to the Kern County Board of Supervisors. Jean Fuller and Liz Rozell, representing Bakersfield College, presented along with Aaron Resendez, Superintendent of McFarland Unified School District, and Brian Bell, Principal of McFarland High School.

Brian Bell, Aaron Resendez, Jean Fuller, Liz Rozell
Jean Fuller presents to the Kern County Board of Supervisors.
JP Lake speaking at podium
J.P. Lake speaks to the Board in support of Early College.

J.P. Lake, on behalf of the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government, also spoke to the Board of Supervisors supporting Early College as an effective educational program. Thanks to Teresa Hitchcock, County Administrative Office on Economic Development, and Romeo Agbalog, KCCD Trustee and Executive Director of Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government, for coordinating this opportunity.

Accreditation Certificate Received

This week, BC received an important document in the mail: our most recent accreditation certificate! This document is only made possible by the hard work, dedication, and commitment of so many hands, hearts, and minds that make up BC’s faculty, staff, and administration. Thank you to each and every one of you who contributed to the accreditation process and site visit.

Accreditation Certificate

Check out my past blog entries which highlight all the work which went into accreditation including BC: A place where dreams are made and fulfilled.

Lunch with Lance Izumi

Lance Izumi holding up his book
Lance Izumi holding up his new book, ‘Choosing Diversity.’

Lance Izumi is Koret Senior Fellow in Education Studies and Senior Director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for California Community Colleges and the former chair of the Board of Governors for the California Community Colleges.  Izumi is an accomplished author, having published multiple books and produced several films on education. In his latest book, Choosing Diversity: How Charter Schools Promote Diverse Learning Models and Meet the Needs of Parents and Children, Izumi highlights Grimmway Academy Shafter as a model that meets the needs of Rural America.

Lance Izumi, Jean Fuller, Sonya Christian, Romeo Agbalog
Lance Izumi, Jean Fuller, myself, and Romeo Agbalog are all smiles.

On Friday, April 5, Izumi joined local educational and political leaders to discuss the findings from his new book and to lead a panel of practitioners in a discussion of charter schools and the educational landscape in California.  Panelists included: Senator Emeritus Jean Fuller, Shafter Education Partnership Director David Franz, Chief academic Officer of Grimmway Schools Casey Yeazel, and the Kern County Economic and Workforce Developmentís Teresa Hitchcock.

Izumi also showed an amazing video at the event.  Watch the video on YouTube.

Thank you to Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government and Grimm Family Education Foundation for organizing this event.

Distinguished Speaker Series: Eric Schlosser

On Thursday, April 4, Rolling Stone journalist and New York Times bestselling author Eric Schlosser gave a series of presentations at BC about the development of “Fast Food Nation” and his other books.

Eric Schlosser
Eric Schlosser speaks about ‘Fast Food Nation’ and his other works.

Schlosser was the person most recently featured in BC’s Distinguished Speakers series for the 2018-19 academic year, which has brought other notable speakers such as Temple Grandin, Clementine Wamariya, and Christina Sommers to campus.

Schlosser started his journalistic career writing a series of articles about the labor abuses of those working in California strawberry fields, which lead to writing about fast food for Rolling Stone. “Fast Food Nation” describes the history of the fast food industry, which started in Southern California in the 1950s when the McDonald brothers developed a divided system of restaurant labor based on industrial assembly line practices. The book goes on to describe the ways agriculture and meat packing industries, as well as American eating habits, have been transformed since the first McDonald’s opened up in 1955.

“Fast Food Nation” is required reading in many high school and college classes, including English B1A. Schlosser also wrote about nuclear weapons in the book “Command and Control” and is working on a book about the prison system.

Eric Schlosser speaking on stage
The audience was entranced during Schlosser’s presentation.
Reggie Williams
Reggie Williams addressing the group

Thank you to the Office of Student Life, the Levan Center and everyone who helped bring Eric Schlosser to campus.

BC L.E.T.S. Teach Conference a B.I.G. Success!

Students who attended the L.E.T.S. Teach Conference on March 29 at the BC Panorama campus participated in interactive workshops held by field experts about what being a teacher/educator entails.

Group of four women smiling

According to “A 2016 survey of 211 (California) school districts by the Learning Policy Institute revealed that nearly three-quarters could not find enough qualified teachers to fill their classrooms. Instead, schools hired thousands of underqualified teachers. In 2016-17, more than 12,000 provisional intern permits, limited assignment teaching permits, waivers and intern credentials were issued in California. About half of these went to math, science and special education teachers: subject areas with the most acute shortages, according to the research.”

Collage of conference swag

There were a total of 5 workshops provided to participants throughout the morning, then participants gathered for networking lunch catered by our BC Food Services department. Our main goal for this conference was to reach those students who are thinking of pursuing teaching in the field of STEM or CTE.  High school students were also invited to attend this event.

Collage of conference attendees

The workshop titles were as follows:

  • Joe Saldivar, Biology Professor – “Basic Genetics and Celebrity Children”
  • Michael Frendenberg, Mathematics Professor – “Five Faces of Teaching Math”
  • La’Stevia Dixon & Fay Sandoval, Edison School District – “Teaching From the Heart”
  • Bettye Stachowiak, University of LaVerne – “Mindfulness”
  • Vendor Recourse Fair 15+ Universities and employers
Man with hipster beard and woman holding flowers

This was the fourth BC conference sponsored by the Education Futures grant and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and hosted by Leaders and Educators for Tomorrow’s Students (L.E.T.S. Teach). Our goal is to continue offering these conferences in the future to raise awareness of the need for teachers and the value of being a part of this profession.

Two men posing for camera

In addition to this conference, L.E.T.S. Teach holds FREE monthly huddles for Bakersfield College students considering the field of Education. These are an opportunity to network with like-minded students, current professionals, and ask questions about the path to becoming a teacher (or principal, counselor, and more).

Collage of conference attendees

The last Spring 2019 huddle is on Thursday, April 25 from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm in CSS 135 (upstairs from counseling).  Evening tea & cookies will be provided. RSVP here! We would like to thank the L.E.T.S. Teach coordination team: Dr. Kimberly Bligh, Director; Christina Maldonado, Department Assistant; Isabel Castaneda, Education Advisor; Teresa McAllister, Education Faculty and Huddle Lead; and Jessica McGrath, Job Placement Specialist. We would also like to thank our volunteers, Education Department Peer Mentors, and student graphic designer Evelyn Torres.

Delano Career Expo

The Career Education department coordinated their first Spring Career Expo at the Delano Campus on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. With efforts from our Job Development Specialist, 28 vendors from various industries such as Agriculture, Law Enforcement, Health Services, Corrections, and Education, joined us to expose our students to different career pathway opportunities.

Bakersfield College tent and booth

Several students took advantage of the event between classes to network with vendors discussing open positions, internships, and career opportunities within their company. Many students commented on how excited they were to see the variety of vendors and the networking opportunities they received.

Two people at Delano Career Expo booth
Bolthouse Farms booth

Special thanks to Domenica Trinidad, Job Developer, the Career Education Department Staff, and Veronica Lucas, Counselor for the Delano Campus, for all of their support along the way to help make this a successful event.

Victor Diaz: Hall of Famer

Last Saturday night, Victor Diaz was inducted into Foothill High School Hall of Fame.  An excerpt from that night’s program describes Victor’s many accomplishments, both in life and on the football field:

Vic’s love of football began at Mt. Vernon Elementary School, when he quarterbacked the flag football team to a league championship, then through Jack Frost football in junior high school, and finally into high school, where he again secured the quarterback position on the JV team.

Victor Diaz and Corny Rodriguez
Victor Diaz and Corny Rodriguez celebrating Victor’s Hall of Fame induction.

In 1991, as a junior quarterback, he led the Trojans to victory over their long-time rivals, the BHS Drillers, eliminating them from advancing to the playoffs.  Instead, Foothill moved on to the league playoffs for the first time in 10 years. That same year in a playoff game against defending Valley Champs Clovis High, Vic threw for 321 yards and 3 touchdowns.  For his hard work and leadership, he received the MVP award, as well as being named Second-Team All Area Quarterback.

Man speaking at podium
Victor Diaz gives a rousing speech during his Hall of Fame induction.

In 1992, during his senior year, Vic led his team to another record-breaking season by defeating the perennial powerhouse West High Vikings, leading to a much-anticipated showdown with the BHS Drillers.  Moved to Bakersfield College, the BHS game drew huge city-wide attention, attracting 17,575 fans and setting a new state record for a high school football game. While the Trojans lost this closely-contested game, they would continue on to the playoffs, taking on Tulare Western, a game in which Vic completed 14 of 19 passes for 261 yards and 2 touchdowns.

He ended his football career as a First-Team All Area quarterback.  Vic also lettered in varsity baseball during his freshman and sophomore years.  Throughout his high school career, Vic won numerous awards and recognitions, including Jockey Athlete of the Month Award, Channel 17, Football Extra, and Hometown Sports.  Now, after more than 25 years, Vic still holds the Foothill Trojan record as a quarterback with the most passing yards and touchdown passes, totaling 3,828 yards and 39 touchdowns with 18 wins.

Close up of Vic Diaz photo on poster
Here’s a cool photo of Victor Diaz during his playing days.

Entering Bakersfield College after graduation and trying out for the football team, he discovered that he would rather pursue an academic career.  Upon completing his B.A. and Masters in Educational Counseling, Vic returned to Bakersfield College as Athletic Academic Counselor, where he currently serves as Academic Senate Vice President and Counseling Department Chair.

Congratulations on all your success, Vic!  We are BC!

Remembering Terri Nuckols

Superintendent Terri Nuckols will always be remembered as a local champion of education. An article from The Delano Record shared more details about her legacy by saying the following:

Delano Joint Union High School District employees were notified by email from Superintendent Jason Garcia on March 29 of the death of Dr. Terri Nuckols.

Terri L Nuckols funeral program cover

“It is with deep regret and a heavy heart,” said Garcia, “that I must share the passing of Dr. Terri Nuckols. She was an educator for more than 35 years and served the Delano Joint Union High School District from 2006 until her retirement in October 2018.

Dr. Nuckols began her work in education as a substitute teacher in the Porterville Unified School District and was eventually hired as an English instructor at Monache High School.

In July 2006, she came to Delano as learning director at Cesar E. Chavez High School. In 2009, she was named principal at Delano High School and became director of the Delano Adult School in July 2011.

In November of 2015, she was named Delano Joint Union High School District superintendent. Under her leadership the district has continued to thrive and its schools have consistently ranked within the top schools in both Kern and Tulare counties.

There has been significant increase in college partner relationships as the district has overhauled its CTE pathway classes to better align with its college partners.

Nuckols’ vision and leadership helped to make the change while creating seamless transitions for students. She was instrumental in collaborating with Bakersfield College to begin the new Industrial Automation Pathway at Robert F. Kennedy High School.

In addition, Dr. Nuckols was a leader in moving the district’s dual enrollment program forward, providing students with the opportunity to earn valuable college credits while attending classes on their high school campuses.

Elaine Moreno Goes on Deployment

Elaine Moreno
Elaine Moreno is headed overseas and we wish her a safe journey and return!

A few weeks ago, I shared in my blog that Renegade Elaine Moreno is headed overseas to Baghdad. I am continually inspired and amazed by the stories of our active men and women in service and especially those who remain committed to their education while overseas. Here’s to wishing Elaine all the best, to keeping her and her unit safe, and beginning the countdown for her safe return.

Elaine Moreno waiting to board plane

Blessing of the Bikes

The R.E.D. Friday Motorcycle Group held their fifth annual Bakersfield Blessing of the Bikes event at St. Joseph’s Church this past weekend.  With more than 120 motorcycles at the event, they were able to donate $1,000 to the Bakersfield College Veterans’ Club, as well as $2,000 to a family who has a child fighting cancer.

Row of motorcycles

Their group consists of military veterans, law enforcement, and those who have a passion to ride. Their rides are designed to honor those who are in, and have been, in the military and serve our country.  They have motorcycle rides to escort new military recruits and honor our fallen heroes. I’m honored that R.E.D. gives back to our veterans by choosing Bakersfield College Veterans’ Club as one of their recipients.

People standing and clapping

I’d like to give a very special thanks to Trudi Blanco for working with the club to secure the $1,000 donation.

Alpha Phi Alpha

BC faculty and staff and Umoja Community African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence (ASTEP) students were pleased to attend the festive Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Scholarship Gala.

Group of students at Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Scholarship Gala

Keynote speaker Tony Magee, author of Can’t Shove a Great Life into a Small Dream, was entertaining and insightful.  He shared three inspiring tips: 1. Find your purpose, 2. Cultivate your self worth, and 3. Boost your creative thinking. The Umoja students enjoyed his message and took notes. The tips on self worth that they found particularly helpful were compliment yourself, compliment others, and increase your gratitude. What a treat for them to be able to participate in this community event with BC faculty and staff!

Student speaking into microphone

Scholarship recipients included Giovanna Blakey, who attends Stockdale High School; Jeremiah Riggins, who attends Independence High School; Jahi Hudgins, who attends Highland High School; and Amaya Lawton, who also attends Highland High School. They all have grades from 3.5 to more than 4.0 and plan to attend out-of-town universities in the fall.

Student speaking into microphone

Hank Washington, former art teacher at South High School, and Alma Nealy, educator, and founding member of the local Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Links, Inc. chapters were honored with the prestigious Community Service awards. They are both examples of Black excellence through many years of professional achievements and community service.

Three people smiling next to podium

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. founded in 1906, is the oldest Greek letter organization founded by African-American men on the campus of Cornell University. The annual scholarship gala presented by the local chapter is only one of their many programs that give back to and engage the African-American community.

Student speaking into microphone

The Umoja Community program at BC is coordinated by Dr. Paula Parks and includes coursework in English, student development, and library research. Other program components are mentoring, academic and counseling support, and college trips.  

Thanks to Director of Outreach Steve Watkin, English Professor/Umoja Coordinator Dr. Paula Parks, Business Professor Valerie Robinson, Counseling staff Mrs. Mandalyn Hobbs, Educational Advisor Mr. Daron Mackey, and Umoja students for representing BC so well at this community event!

BC’s Annual Grad Fair

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Bakersfield College held its annual Grad Fair so all students could obtain their caps and gowns in preparation for Commencement. Commencement will be held on May 10 at 7 p.m. at Rabobank Arena this year due to construction on the football field.

Graduation display at BC bookstore

For students who plan to participate in next year’s commencement, summer applications are due on July 1.

Male graduate in gown holding cap

I would like to thank the bookstore staff for helping students with their commencement needs. I hope to see everyone at the graduation ceremony on May 10.

Professional Etiquette Lunch & Learn

On Tuesday, Director of Student Life Dr. Nicky Damania taught students proper business etiquette in the Levan Center in preparation for the Business Pathway Career Expo on April 24.

Nicky Damania shaking hands with male student
Dr. Nicky Damania displays proper handshake etiquette.

Dr. Damania went over some of the most important ways to conduct oneself in a business dinner. It’s important to put your napkin on your lap once you sit at your table, avoid eating everything on your plate, cut your salad into bite-sized pieces with a fork and knife, and follow the host’s lead during drinks.

Nicky Damania pulling imaginary ball out of basket
Dr. Nicky Damania shows proper table etiquette.

These guidelines may seem self-evident, but many of our students have not had business dining experience and may feel intimidated in these settings.

I’d like to thank Dr. Damania for taking the time to teach professional etiquette, and I hope to see everyone in the CSS Lawn Area for the Business Pathway Career Expo on April 24.

Latina Empowerment Panel

The Latinas Unidas Club held a panel featuring Latina Leaders in Kern County in the Levan Center on Wednesday for Dolores Huerta Day.

Five women sitting on a panel

The panel included BC history professor Olivia Garcia, ACLU Southern California Community Engagement and Policy Advocate Rosa Lopez, CSUB political science professor Ivy Cargile, Wonderful Company Director of Environmental Health and Safety Isabel Bravo, and UFW Foundation lawyer Amber Tovar.

Two women sitting at table

Latinas Unidas moderated the panel, asking questions about how they were able to overcome the struggles that come with being first-generation college students, as well as how they balanced the expectations of women in the Latina community. These women depended heavily upon the support of their friends and family, and had to learn time management to overcome obstacles on their journey through undergrad and graduate programs, as well as their careers.

Sonya Christian and others sitting

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the event along with Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and it was inspiring to hear from these strong, successful women.

Three women sitting at table and looking to their right for some reason

I’d like to thank Latinas Unidas and the Levan Center for organizing the Latina Leadership Panel, and I hope it motivates our students to see their education through to the finish line.

Si, Ella Puede!

While civil rights icon Dolores Huerta was celebrating her 89th birthday in Sacramento by commemorating a national holiday in her name, BC honored Huerta’s contributions to social justice and farm worker rights with a discussion of her most powerful speeches.

Stacey Sowards
Dr. Stacey Sowards speaks at the Levan Center.

On Wednesday, Dr. Stacey Sowards, a professor and chair of the Communication department at the University of Texas in El Paso, gave a presentation in the Levan Center based on her book “Si, Ella Puede!”, which examines the rhetorical impact of Dolores Huerta’s inspiring oratory style during the UFW grape and lettuce boycotts of the 1960s. Sowards analyzed 40 boxes of unprocessed videos, news articles and speech transcripts from the United Farm Workers archives at Wayne State University in Detroit as research for “Si, Ella Puede!”

Stacey Sowards

The Social Justice Institute organized Sowards’ presentation to celebrate Dolores Huerta Day. Sowards notes that Huerta’s ability to deftly switch between Spanish and English to reframe her message depending on her audience, as well as her use of audience participation and repetition of gritos such as “Si, Se Puede” helped people connect with the UFW’s fight for fair wages for agricultural laborers. She was also a master of using her role as a mother of 11 children to elicit sympathy for the farm worker cause, and her Catholic faith influenced her passion and relentless bravery shown in her work.

I’d like to thank Oliver Rosales and everyone who helped organize this very special presentation in honor of Dolores Huerta.

It’s ‘All in the Timing’

The Black Box Theater played host to a collection of eight one-act plays directed by Brian J. Sivesind and written by David Ives, with scenic and lighting design by Kevin Ganger.  These wildly funny short plays focused on language, wordplay, the meaning of life, and complications in romantic relationships.

All in the Timing poster

Two separate casts performed the production over five days from April 10-14, including two matinee performances on April 13 and 14 at 2 p.m.  Congratulations to all who participated for putting on these wonderful plays!

Industrial Technology and Transportation Career Expo

Our future workforce was out in full force at the Huddle Lawn Courtyard last Thursday for the Industrial Technology and Transportation Career Expo.  Several employers took advantage of this wonderful opportunity to share industry insight, promote employment or internship opportunities, and meet students interested in their industry. Employers also showcased their products and some of the equipment they work with.

ITT Career Expo tents and booths

Students from all of our ITT programs were present at the event, including Automotive, Electronics, Engineering, HVAC, Industrial Automation, Water Technology, Architecture, Construction, Industrial Drawing, Manufacturing, Occupational Safety & Risk Management, Welding, and Woodworking & Cabinetmaking.  I’m hopeful these students were able to gain some valuable knowledge to move forward in their careers.

ITT Career Expo tents and booths

I’d like to thank Carlos Medina and Katie Makaiwi for helping to make this event happen.  We are BC!

KCMEA Jazz Day

The Kern County Music Educators’ Association and the Bakersfield College Jazz Studies Program put on the fourth annual KCMEA Jazz Day at Bakersfield College on Thursday, April 11. This all-day event featured student jazz ensembles from throughout Kern County performing in the Simonsen Performing Arts Center Indoor Theater, with a showcase performance by the BC Jazz Ensemble.

BC Jazz students performing on stage
BC Jazz student playing guitar

This year’s head clinician was Dr. Ray Briggs, an accomplished saxophonist and highly-esteemed jazz educator who co-leads the Jazz Studies program at CSU Long Beach. He is also Department Chair of the Jazz Studies program at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, and coordinator of the Instrumental and Vocal Jazz Workshop supported through CSU Summer Arts. Dr. Briggs worked with each student ensemble and performed with the BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble.  They all made beautiful music together!

BC Jazz Ensemble performing on stage

MPR’s Eric Carillo was able to capture a great video of the BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble performing. Also, here’s another video of Centennial High School students performing. Check them out!

BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble playing horns

Performing with the BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble was Jazz Day head clinician and special guest Dr. Ray Briggs, who is an Associate Professor of Music and Assistant Director of Jazz Studies at California State University, Long Beach, where he coordinates the jazz combo program and teaches courses in jazz history and ethnomusicology.

Woman with interesting fashion sense singing

Master of Ceremonies Laura May from KCMEA had some great things to say about Bakersfield College, including several compliments about our programs and facilities.

I’d like to thank Kris Tiner and the entire BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble and all of the music students from throughout the county who showed up to perform at this event.  Your amazing musical ability really struck a chord with me!

‘A Taste of BC’ and the BSO Symphony

The BSO symphony concert took place after our ‘A Taste of BC’ event, where we hosted middle school students before they went to the concert. A part of the ‘A Taste of BC’ program included the student recitals.

Manny, Ira Cohen, Kari Heilman
Manny Mourtzanos with Ira Cohen (BSO Board member mastermind behind BSO Next) and Kari Heilman, Executive Director.
Manny and Dr. Scott Dirkse
Manny Mourtzanos with Dr. Scott Dirkse, one of our adjunct faculty in Music, and also a dual enrollment instructor at Stockdale High School.

Dr. Scott Dirkse, one of our adjunct faculty in Music, and also a dual enrollment instructor at Stockdale High School. He’s helping me pilot a Marching Band dual enrollment course that I hope we can scale up to all the high schools. Stockdale High admin has been very supportive. Scott does the pre-concert lectures for the BSO.

Manny and Richard Chapman, KEDC
Manny Mourtzanos schmoozing with Richard Chapman, KEDC. We’ve developed a really good relationship with our Entrepreneurship initiatives.

Check out these great videos of some of the performers!

Mauro Laris (below) is a second semester Applied Music Major. His family has a very popular local mariachi group and he has been performing most of his life. He studies with Peggy Sears who teaches at BC and CSUB. Mauro works incredibly hard, is always on time and always prepared. He is the vice-president of the College Choir and a member of the Chamber Singers. He is part of the group that traveled to Australia to perform in the Sydney Opera House last July. Mauro is not only talented but he also he a friend and support to all who know him and his huge smile and bright personality light up anyone’s day.

Patrick Bender (below) is one of our collaborative pianists at BC. He plays the piano for the choirs and the Applied Music Voice Majors.. He is incredibly talented and very dedicated to the students and the program at Bakersfield College. The choral department and Applied programs rely on Patrick and he is respected and loved by all. He also works with students at CSUB and plays the piano for the Liberty High Choirs. He has a wife and two young boys and grew up here in Bakersfield.

Fun Photos: Jen Garrett Conducts the Bakersfield Youth Symphony

Screenshot of Jen Garrett's Facebook post
Award for BCSD guest conductor 2019
Jen Garrett was the guest conductor of the Bakersfield Youth Symphony at the Rabobank Arena.
Group of symphony students

Hackathon Has Huge Turnout

The 3rd annual BC Hackathon Health and Social Justice had the largest number of competing teams to date. In less than 48 hours more than 60 students came together to create innovative tech solutions to address public health and social justice issues affecting Kern county residents.  The community panelist and judges were impressed with BC students drive for improving their communities. Judges mentioned they would gladly employ many of these students, so this was also a workforce opportunity and also an opportunity to add to student’s resumes. Overall, the Hackathon represents an opportunity for students to have a platform to stand up and help change the future of the communities. Every team that completed the competition will be receiving a certificate at the next Entrepreneurship Club meeting and their work will be highlighted in a Hackathon report to the community. Check out some of projects from the top Hackathon Winners. Congratulations to all the teams.

Group shot of Hackathon participants

Bakersfield College Artificial Intelligence (BCAI) team created the Kernal project which aims to overcome the issues that have prevented food security within Kern County. This will be done through a number of means some of which include; providing information on the documents required by various food banks, furthermore it will allow a user to enter their location and choose from the selection of food crates upon which a volunteer will deliver a food crate to the user at an agreed upon location, similar to the way apps like Lyft and Uber Eats work. The user will first be asked to complete a survey. This survey will provide the information necessary to determine which services the user is eligible for. The user will have to provide proof of eligibility upon delivery.

Students hacking on a computer

Kern Catalog for Mental Health team created a searchable and interactive catalog of all mental health resources in Kern County. Kern County citizens can search resources like “mental health screening” or “eating disorder treatment” then set filters based on their age, gender, insurance, and location. This way they’ll find resources suited just for them. By making an account on this app, they’ll also be able to bookmark favorite resources, save search filters as profiles for later use, and give feedback on resources they tried to access. The feedback system will be powered by push notifications. The app will track the resources they look into, and later send a push notifications to ask if they were able to make appointments, attend appointments, and describe their experiences at their appointments. If at any point they face obstacles, they’ll identify whether the obstacles were personal (transportation, childcare, or work schedules), or if they occurred on behalf of the resource provider (poor customer service, lack of communication, etc.) so that we can  address how to resolve these obstacles.

Students looking at laptop computer

Coding Clean Air Team proposed a concept for Coding clean airs final product is a website that will host a youth made curriculum based around making low cost affordable air monitors. Working with technical assistance we will guide youth in the process of making a curriculum about producing personal air monitors. The low cost of production will make air monitors available to nearly anyone. Aside from the curriculum, the website will also have an interactive map to upload the data from the air sensors to create community driven data with high degrees of accuracy.

Two Hackathon students holding trophies

Peer Health Educators team proposed a tab into the existing BC Renegade App, which will focus on student wellness and resources at the BC Health Center.  Bakersfield College students have claimed that they are unaware that the college provides resources for these concerning factors (e.g. the Wellness Center giving out free condoms to students) and that they are eligible to receive these services that are covered with their semester health fee. Through the addition of this tab, these services will be promoted so that students could choose to live a better quality of life.

Hackathon students and staff

Changing Perspectives is creating an innovative website that groups the most needed websites into one area. There is a specialized questionnaire that gives users the ability to narrow down which resource they need. By just answering a few questions the questionnaire will recommend a specific resource or an organization that can get them the things they need. Along with the website, a simple kiosk with a similar questionnaire will be strategically dropped in areas where the there is a high population of people at risk. Changing Perspectives will include a fingerprint scanner that will allow users to log in with the touch of a finger. A unique “chat with us” option will allow users to get help utilizing the website or kiosk, as well as get additional information about how to use the resources.

Evening in the Garden

On Thursday, I attended an Edible Schoolyard fundraising event called An Evening in the Garden, which featured an elegant dinner inspired by the flavors of the season.

Sonya Christian, Jean Fuller, Romeo Agbalog, and others

Chef Gino Valpredo of Luigi’s restaurant designed a custom menu, featuring provisions from Redhouse Beef, Bakers Outpost, Broadfork Acres, Flowers Winery, Zeal Pressed Juicery, and Gino’s Gelato.

Gino Valpredo

All ticket sales and donations from the event directly benefited the Edible Schoolyard Mobile Kitchen Classroom.

Group of people at Evening in the Garden event

The goal of Edible Schoolyard is to teach our students how to grow and cook fresh seasonal produce so they can cultivate a positive relationship with healthy food.  Donations help expand edible education throughout Kern County with their new mobile kitchen classroom. This classroom-on-wheels provides students in our community with the opportunity to experience hands-on edible education.

Evening in the garden menu

Thank you to Gino Valpredo and everyone involved for providing such delicious food! Thank you Barbara Grimm Marshall for all that you do for our community.

Fun Photos: BC MEChA Noche de Cultura

Two men standing by Latin artwork
Four men standing by Latin artwork

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11 a.m., check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include BC soccer players Cameron Jimenez and Reagan King who are moving their careers to the next level at New Mexico Highlands University and the University of Louisiana-Monroe respectively, and BC Soccer Coach, Scott Dameron.

Segment with Cameron Jimenez & Reagan King

Segment with Zack Peters

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (3/31 – 4/6) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week.

Renegades of the Week

Paige Darstein, Women’s Tennis

At the WSC Conference Tournament this past weekend, she defeated the #2 and #3 seeds en route to the finals. Darstein also moves into the semifinal round of the doubles conference tournament with partner Kayleen Sanchez.

Jacob Whitby, Men’s Track & Field

Won both the hammer and discus at Vaquero Invite this past weekend. Obtained huge personal record in hammer with a throw of 47.0m (B standard), almost 2 meters over second place. Also took 2nd place in shot put.

23ABC features Softball’s Kylee Fahy’s story of defying the odds

Watch the story done this week by 23ABC sports reporter Kari Osep on the incredible story of Kylee Fahy’s premature birth and overcoming the odds to become the most dominant pitcher at the community college level in California. Kylee led the state in strikeouts last season with 289 and leads the state this season with 223.

Softball currently leads the Western State Conference North Division and is looking to clinch the conference championship in the coming weeks.

Roundup of Athletics Events This Week

As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click/tap for the story on

Stay Connected to Renegade Athletics

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media.

  • On Facebook – ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’
  • On Twitter – @GoGadesGo
  • On Instagram – @gogadesgo
Sonya speaking and smiling at the lectern with the Bakersfield College seal.

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Renegades enjoying spring time activities

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 6, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

BC Attends Farm Day in the City 2019

Last week, BC attended the two-day event Farm Day in the City, which was held at the Kern County Fairgrounds.  The Kern County Farm Bureau sponsored the day to help acquaint children with agriculture and the importance that it has in our community.  Over 4,000 students in grades 2-4 attended where they were introduced to farm machinery, livestock, and commodities, as well as interactive demonstrations of ag-related issues of water, safety, and pesticide use. Thanks to our Career Technical Education (CTE) group Carlos Medina, Jessica McGrath, and Denise Crawford for attending and letting students know what BC offers in regards to agriculture.  Also, thank you to Mayor Karen Goh for her unwavering support of education in our city.

BC’s Carlos Medina, Jessica McGrath and Denise Crawford with Mayor Goh.
Love these photos!

BC Hosts Faculty from Engineering University of Nicaragua

The Bakersfield College Family embraced colleagues from Central America this month when it hosted three faculty members from the National Engineering University of Nicaragua (Uni). The three professors included Donal Perez Palma from Uni’s Department of Energy, Emmanuel Jose Canda Toledo from the Department of Applied Theoretical Mechanics, and Pablo David Trejos Aguilar from the Department of Engineering in Economics and Business. The three came at the invitation of Kern Community College District Vice Chancellor of Educational Services John Means. The goal of this hands-across-the-miles outreach is to develop global and academic exchange opportunities for both faculty and students and to build understanding between the institutions.

BC Dean of Instruction Michele Bresso show visiting faculty from National Engineering University of Nicaragua the first of several stops around the 152-acre campus.

Uni leaders were especially interested in Bakersfield College’s Baccalaureate Program in Industrial Automation. As a result, the faculty members’ visit included a campus tour led by Michele Bresso, Dean of Instruction; a tour and overview of the Industrial Automation Program by BC’s Industrial Automation Lead Faculty Manny Fernandez, presentations by Industrial Automation faculty Tom Rush and Industrial Automation students Yasmeen Reyes and Jose Manriquez; an overview of the California Community Colleges by John Means, and a closing session with various BC faculty and staff to explore ways the institutions can partner in the future. At the end of the visit, Industrial Automation Program Manager Aubrey Priest presented each guest with goodie bags of Bakersfield College items as a memento of their visit.

Industrial Automation Program Lead Faculty Manny Fernandez explains the power of robots and automation in local industry to visiting faculty from Nicaragua.

We all look forward to more opportunities to work with the National Engineering University of Nicaragua as Bakersfield College models its mission to help students engage productively in the community and the world.

BC Industrial Automation student Jose Manriquez instructs visiting faculty member Donal Perez Palma on the finer points of robot control in the BC Robotics Lab.

Preparing for Hackathon

On Thursday evening, teams of students visited the Levan Center to register for this year’s Hackathon. The room was packed wall-to-wall with teams of engaged and excited students! The weekend long event encourages college students to create technology-based tools that support healthy communities, and culminates with a contest that involves each team pitching, programming, and presenting their functioning app.

This interdisciplinary collaboration inspires students from all backgrounds including technology, graphic design, communication, STEM, social science, and more to respond to specific community needs. I’m looking forward to hearing about the tools designed at this year’s competition.

Special thanks to Sarah Baron, BC’s Public Health lead faculty and champion, and special guests including Kiyoshi Timono of Adventist Health, Brynn Carrigan of Kern Public Services Health Services, Edgar Aguilar of Dignity Health, Raul Gallardo of Community Action Partnership of Kern, and Kristin Weber of Kaiser Permanente.

BC Culinary Arts Cooked for Cioppino Feed and Live Auction

Last week, BC Culinary Arts provided the food for a live auction charity benefit put together by the Bakersfield West Rotary.  Culinary Arts students prepared cioppino, an Italian-American stew originating from San Francisco that uses fish and crab meat for the charity benefit that raised approximately $80,000 for local non-profit organizations.  BC puts its unique spin on the dish with a secret sauce you can only taste from BC Culinary Arts. KGET covered the ciopinno feed and live auction in a video piece last week.

BC Chefs Alex Gomez & Susan Tangeman with Mayor Goh.

Cioppino is just one of the delectable dishes put together by our amazingly talented Culinary Arts students under the direction of faculty chefs Alex Gomez and Susan Tangeman. There are only a few more weeks left to enjoy their dishes in the Renegade Room before the end of the Spring 2019 semester. Next week, you can try their pulled pork sandwich, Thai chicken salad or meatloaf and mashed potatoes during the Wednesday lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 10, or you can go all in on their Thursday evening buffet from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on April 11, which will be themed around Pacific Rim cuisine.

BC’s Culinary Arts students
The entire BC Culinary Arts team
Chef Susan Tangeman & Michael O’Doherty

After Spring Break, there will only be two more weeks of service in the Renegade Room, and you’ll have to wait until next fall before you get the chance to try our world-class cuisine again, so make a reservation as soon as possible by calling (661) 395-4441.

Learning & Career Pathways Hosts Spring Pathways Fair

On Monday, representatives from our ten Learning and Career Pathways hosted an informational fair in the CSS Lawn Area to raise awareness of all the career opportunities available to students at BC.

BC’s Nursing Rad Tech table

Our Spring Pathways Fair also had booths for all of our student affinity groups and academic support organizations, as well as Financial Aid. Students from Industrial Automation brought a remote-controlled vehicle to pilot around the CSS Lawn, and the Mechanized Agriculture Department parked two large excavators for students to check out the type of equipment they might use if they choose to follow a Mechanized Agriculture pathway. Automotive Technology also showed off a prototype of the race car created by students in their pathway, and they’ll be driving the real car in a race with other schools at the end of the year.

Thank you to everyone who made our Spring Pathways Fair a huge success, and I hope that the students who participated learned about BC pathways to help them make an informed decision about their education.

BC Adult Ed Presents the Job Spot at CCCAOE 2019

BC Adult Ed representatives Program Manager Endee Grijalva and Educational Advisor Lupe Aguirre presented on the Job Spot this past Wednesday, along with Mark Wyatt (Principal of Bakersfield Adult School), Jodi Loeffler (BAS Supervising Admin), and Terrence Banks (Job Spot Admin). The presentation was held during the CCCAOE Spring 2019 Conference and provided some insight into the co-location serving South Bakersfield.

For those who don’t know, Job Spot brings together multiple service providers, community-based organizations and post-secondary institutions to serve adults in a 21st century learning environment. This innovative, creative space, was designed to serve community needs with a & “one stop shop” for educational (Adult School/College) and employment resources, in a setting that promotes student success.

Bidder’s Open House at Bakersfield College

The Kern Builders Exchange held its Bidder’s Open House in the BC gym on Thursday, which was a great opportunity for local contractors to come learn about over $1 billion in local construction and maintenance projects, many of which will be ready to bid on soon.  Attendees saw projects of all sizes and for all trades at the event. Bidders were also able to learn how to qualify for public work projects, obtain a timeline of upcoming projects, and gain access to resources.

Thank you to Traffic Management Incorporated for assisting with parking, and for all of the guests for attending!

We were extremely happy to facilitate this event as it was a great opportunity for attendees to network with experts and hear about all of the great projects coming up at BC. Thank you to Kern County Builders Exchange Executive Director Mikin Plummer for holding the event on BC’s campus and for keeping our local contractors informed on the various projects available.

President Christian & Mikin Plummer
President Christian & Albert Prince
Mikin Plummer, Nick Hernandez & Tamara Baker
AECOM/Parsons team
Attendees at the breakout session
Christina Springstead & Tamara Baker
John Spaulding & President Christian

Comedian Jeff Horste Visits BC

April Fool’s Day featured a comedy show for the Bakersfield College Community this year! The campus welcomed Jeff Horste and his friend and opener, Ron Taylor, for an hour of laughs. Jeff was highly sought out due to being handpicked by Kevin Hart to appear on his specials on comedy central and to open for him in the past. The audience loved Jeff’s humor and jokes, and Jeff truly enjoyed coming to our campus!

Jeff Horste performing at BC.

English Fair Meet and Greet

BC English faculty hosted a meet and greet in the Levan Center on Tuesday to inform students about all of the programs and services available through the English program.

Several booths lined the inside of the Levan Center with information about courses focusing on everything from Shakespeare, Latino literature and the Bible as literature, to English B2, which teaches advanced composition and critical thinking using J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. There were also representatives from student organizations such as the Umoja Community and the newly-created English Club. Attendees got the opportunity to participate in a raffle contest and a scavenger hunt, and there was a photo booth in the corner where people could pose with cutouts of famous literary figures.

Love this book archway!

Thank you to the English Department and everyone who put together the English Meet and Greet event. It was a wonderful chance for students to learn more about the opportunities available to them in an English pathway.

Check out all the pics at BC’s Smugmug!

Mental Health Screening at BC

On Thursday, thirteen MSW students, three faculty, and four community professional volunteers provided a Mental Health Screening Day for BC students. The screening provided students with an opportunity to find out how they scored on two different spectrums – Depression (PHQ9), and Anxiety (GAD7), and then they had the opportunity to talk at more length, including suicide assessment as needed, with the screener regarding resources and coping skills that may be beneficial to the student. In doing the screening we were able to make referrals to BC’s Student Health and Wellness Center for follow up appointments with the clinical staff there.

This is the second screening day that MSW students have provided this school year. In the fall 93 students were screened, and on Thursday they reached 102 more. That is nearly 200 BC students who have received education and resources regarding mental health and suicide prevention!

MSW students and staff at the Mental Health Screening event

I want to thank the MSW student interns who coordinated this effort this year: Natalia Hatley, Anabel Jimenez, and Jennifer Shockley. It was due to their tremendous effort and dedication to this event that it was so successful.

Emergency Responder Seminar

Public Safety Officer Jason Mattheus gave a seminar on BC’s emergency response protocol in the Levan Center on Tuesday.  Each building on campus is assigned a building marshall in the event of an emergency to ensure that everyone leaves the building and moves to designated evacuation zones. There are several alternates in the event that the designated building marshall is not present, and employees are expected to be adept in providing any kind of emergency response that is needed.

Officer Mattheus presenting at the Emergency Responder Seminar.

Each marshall has a red bag with flashlights, first aid kits and other types of emergency equipment. In an emergency event, the marshall performs a scan of the building to clear it out via a safe evacuation route and ensure that there is no structural damage, and then assigns a runner to report their findings back to the central command center in the library.

Office Mattheus demonstrating the red bag to attendees.

While the Public Safety department is able to provide support for areas of the campus that are suffering the most damage, they can’t be everywhere, so it’s up to all faculty and staff to be informed about the emergency response protocol and render first aid if necessary. Public Safety checks the emergency red bags annually, but departments should also do periodic checks of their red bags throughout the semester and report to Public Safety if anything is missing or whether the flashlight needs new batteries.  Thank you Public Safety for hosting this important seminar and everything they do to keep our campus safe.

Bakersfield College Fire Technology Department Passes Accreditation

The Bakersfield College Fire Technology Department passed its accreditation review with flying colors, according to the report by the office of the California Fire Marshall.

Mayor Goh, Tommy Tunson & President Christian at Vet Fest

On March 18, Deputy State Fire Marshall Caryn Petty visited BC’s Fire Technology facilities along with Dean Rich McCrow, Public Safety Training Director Tommy Tunson, and chiefs from the Bakersfield and Kern County fire departments, as well as Fire Academy Coordinator Alexander Clark and Fire Tech staff members Janet Mason and Karen Mattox.

The Deputy Fire Marshall reviewed BC’s Self-Assessment Report and toured all Fire Tech classrooms and training facilities. The accreditation report praised BC’s “flourishing relationships with fire agencies in Bakersfield and Kern County” and noted that the Fire Technology staff “possessed a strong devotion to complete student development from entry-level firefighters to career advancing leadership.”

I’d like to thank the Office of the State Fire Marshall for ensuring that California firefighters are adequately equipped to keep our forests and cities safe, as well as our Fire Technology and Public Safety Training departments for their dedication to teaching the next generation of heroes in the Central Valley.

Blue & Gold Day

BC has a strong commitment to helping students transfer! In Last week’s blog, I shared a bit about Blue and Gold day, but have some extra photos to share this week.  Over 20 CSUB departments and/or programs were in attendance for the day, with giveaways, raffles and lunch provided to 150 BC students, staff and faculty.  It was a fun-filled afternoon on the BC campus, with Transfer and Graduation on students’ minds. BC and CSUB partnered to celebrate students who have been admitted to CSUB for Fall 2019 and connected them to resources and programs on the CSUB campus, as well as introducing prospective students to the possibility of what lies ahead! Transfer In Triumph, Renegades!

CSUB representing at BC.
CSUB Cheerleaders
Future Roadrunner!

BC’s College Council

College Council is a collegial consultative oversight body designed to serve the good of the College. The group facilitates timely, factual, and clear communication between constituents and the President. It provides recommendations to the President on college-wide matters. The Council oversees implementation of the Strategic Direction’s Plan and ensures institutional quality using ongoing and systematic planning and evaluation to refine key policies and processes, and to improve student learning.

College Council filled the Levan Center on Friday, April 5th
College council gathers for the meeting
Steven Holmes, Academic Senate President presents at College Council

Festival for Peace and Non-Violence

Last Saturday, the Office of Student Life supported and attended the Festival for Peace and Non-Violence at CSUB in celebrating of Mahatma Gandhi’s 105th birthday. The festival was a huge success with over 600 people participating!

Fun Photos on the Farm

Professor Deborah Rosenthal invited friends from BC to her farm to interact with the animals. Tracy Lovelace from BC’s Academic Technology department shared some fun photos from the afternoon. Professor Glen Samples from Fire Tech and Professor Matthew Garrett brought little ones to see the horses.

BC’s Matt Garrett with his daughter
BC’s Matt Garrett with his daughter
Janet Thomas and her grandson

Fun Photos with Eric Schlosser

This week BC welcomed Eric Schlosser to campus to speak with BC students and the community. More to come in next week’s blog on his presentations, but for now check out these fun photos from his arrival day. Special thanks to KGET for the interview and BC’s team including Dr. Nicky Damania, Michele Pena, and Imelda Simos-Valdez for treating Mr. Schlosser to a great meal at La Costa Mariscos.

Eric Schlosser, Imelda Simos-Valdez, Nicky Damania, Michele Pena & Chelsea Eqbias
Eric Schlosser speaking with our local news.

Fun photos at Happy hour

Dean of Instruction Corny Rodriguez organized a special happy hour at La Mina. It has been a while since I have hung out with colleagues in a non-work setting. Yikes! Corny, we have got to do this more often.

Corny Rodriguez, Michele Bresso, President Christian, Liz Rozzell, Stephen Waller and friends at happy hour.

More fun photos of family time

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (3/24-3/30) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

Joycelind Currie, Track & Field – Won the 400m and was on the winning 4 x 400m team which got the B standard. She also ran on the 4 x 100m team which finished second and individually finished 4th in the 200m.

Blake Keesey, Men’s Golf – Posted a 2 under 70 at WSC match at Spring Valley Lakes CC which put him in the top 4 of all conference players. Blake currently sits in the top ten in all conference WSC golfers (78 players).

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11:00am, check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights included segments with new Centennial High School Football Coach Richard Starrett and BC Athletics Equipment Coordinator, Pete Maglieri.

Mayor Goh Supporting Men’s Golf

We love the support we receive from our local community. This past Monday Mayor Karen Goh came out to kick off the Rig City Classic hosted by our Renegade Men’s Golf Team at Bakersfield Country Club. She welcomed all the participating teams and gave some words of encouragement to these student athletes. Thank you, Mayor Goh!

Mayor Goh with the Renegade Men’s Golf Team

Roundup of Athletics Events this week

As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click for the story on

Stay Connected to Renegade Athletics

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media. On Facebook find us under ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’, on Twitter – @GoGadesGo and on Instagram – @gogadesgo.

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

2019 Sterling Silver

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, March 30, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Annual Foundation Sterling Silver Dinner

Chancellor Tom Burke, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Sonya Christian, and Stewart and Lynda Resnick

The 11th annual Sterling Silver Dinner, held last Saturday, recognized exceptional support and service to the BC Foundation and to the College. The beautiful event, at Seven Oaks Country Club, directly supports the Bakersfield College scholarship program providing educational opportunities for Renegades today and tomorrow.

The event brought together college supporters, donors, alumni, and friends for an evening of live entertainment featuring Kris Tiner and the BC Jazz Ensemble and culinary delights from Seven Oaks Executive Chef Paul Burzlaff and the BC Culinary Arts students.

Sonya Christian, Kris Tiner, and Trumpet Player in the Renegade Jazz Band
Sonya Christian, Kris Tiner, and Trombone Player in the Renegade Jazz Band
Five BC Culinary Arts students pose at Sterling Silver
BC Culinary Arts students pose at Sterling Silver
Sonya Christian, Lynda Resnick

It was great to see Renegade supporters like Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Mayor Karen Goh, Senator Shannon Grove, and Assembly Member Vince Fong.

Karen Goh, Shannon Grove, Vince Fong
Karen Goh, Shannon Grove, Vince Fong
Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sonya Christian, and Kiyoshi Timono
Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sonya Christian, and Kiyoshi Timono

This year, our 2019 recognition’s included:

Lynda and Stewart Resnick as Individual Philanthropists of the Year

Sonya Christian, Stewart and Lynda Resnick, and Tom Gelder
Sonya Christian, Stewart and Lynda Resnick, and Tom Gelder

Lynda and Stewart Resnick have championed education, health care and community development across the Central Valley. Together, they have transformed the lives of countless students by making college an achievable goal through generous scholarships and a robust education program. Their long-standing support for Bakersfield College has provided significant opportunities for youth throughout the region.

Aera Energy as Corporate Philanthropist of the Year

Tom Gelder, Christina Sistrunk of Aera Energy, and Sonya Christian
Tom Gelder, Christina Sistrunk of Aera Energy, and Sonya Christian

Aera Energy has supported Bakersfield College and students throughout Kern County with consistent and generous donations, creating opportunities and spaces such as the Aera STEM Success Center, inspiring young people to pursue STEM education and careers with their involvement in BC’s MESA program, ensuring Bakersfield’s success with participation in advisory boards, and offering internships as a vital part of a hands-on education.

featuring Christina Sistrunk of Aera Energy
Tom Burke, Kevin McCarthy, Christina Sistrunk, Sonya Christian, Tom Gelder
Tom Burke, Kevin McCarthy, Christina Sistrunk, Sonya Christian, Tom Gelder with the recognition for Aera Energy.

Jerry Ludeke as BC Foundation Service Medal Winner

Jerry Ludeke has served the Renegade community for over 60 years, starting with her position teaching English and Art and eventually teaching in the Learning Center, receiving the Margaret Levinson Faculty Leadership Award, the Shirley Trembley Outstanding Teacher Award, and the Distinguished Service Award presented by the Kern Community College Board of Trustees. More recently, Ludeke spends her time giving back and preserving history with the BC Archives department.

Tom Burke, Kevin McCarthy, Jerry Ludeke, Sonya Christian, Tom Gelder
Tom Burke, Kevin McCarthy, Jerry Ludeke, Sonya Christian, Tom Gelder
Kimberly Bligh, Sonya Christian, Nicky Damania, Janet Tarjan
Lynnette Zelezny, Sonya Christian, Norma Rojas-Mora
Lynnette Zelezny, Sonya Christian, Norma Rojas-Mora
Kevin McCarthy speaks at Sterling Silver
Congressman and Renegade Kevin McCarthy
The BC Team with Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Assemblymember Vince Fong
(L-R) Janet Tarjan, Norma Rojas-Mora, Sonya Christian, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Vince Fong, Tom Gelder, and Nicky Damania
Norma Rojas Mora, Lynnette Zelezny, Karen Goh, Sonya Christian, Lynda Resnick, Heather Pennella, Noemi Donoso
Norma Rojas Mora, Lynnette Zelezny, Karen Goh, Sonya Christian, Lynda Resnick, Heather Pennella, Noemi Donoso
Meagan Bynum, Sonya Christian, David Bynum
Sonya Christian, Jay Rosenlieb, Cindy Pollard
Sonya Christian, Stephen Waller, Adele Waller and the AECOM Parsons team

Thank you KGET for covering our event, see the KGET Video.

Thank you Tom Gelder, Norma Rojas-Mora and team for the 2019 Sterling Silver. Thank you Heather Penella for leading this effort. Thank you Tamara Baker and Dylan Wang for the social media support for the evening. We are BC!

Check out all the pictures by the talented April Massirio Sterling Silver Dinner on BC’s Smugmug.

Betty Younger

Sonya and Betty.
Sonya Christian, Betty Younger

Local sculptor and community arts supporter Betty Younger passed away at the age of 88 — see the article by Steven Mayer in the Bakersfield Californian on Thursday. Betty was a champion for Bakersfield College along with her husband Milt, and dedicated her sculpture “Circle of Friends” in honor of Dr. Jim Young to the Panorama campus in 2014.

Circle of Friends sculpture is 4 abstract figures symbolizing people on a circle base.

Back in 2014, I wrote about the dedication of Betty’s “Circle of Friends” sculpture. It’s a beautiful symbol of what higher education is all about – providing an environment where information and experiences are shared to make our community stronger and cultivating a better understanding of the world around us. “Circle of Friends” was created in honor of Jim Young, a KCCD Chancellor from 1978 to 1999 – you can visit the sculpture yourself on the hill between the Humanities building and the Child Development Center on Panorama Drive.

The Circle of Friends by Betty Younger - Honor James C. Young, Ed.D. Chancellor of Ker Community College District 1978-1999 A gift from Milt and Betty Younger March 2014 plaque in front of sculpture.

Betty’s history with the Renegades goes back as far as the 1940s and 50s, as her aunt Hattie Hoenshell was a chemistry teacher at BC when Betty was a young girl. Betty later attended classes at BC before embarking on a career as a painter and sculptor, as well as a patron and connoisseur of art in Kern County. Jerry Ludeke recalls that legendary BC administrator Grace Van Dyke Bird purchased one of her paintings.

I also wrote about Milt Younger at his passing in 2017 in the blog Bakersfield College – A Place of Dreams. The Renegade family misses Milt and Betty Younger, but their legacy lives on everywhere you look in Kern County, from BC, to CSUB, home of her sculpture “Owl of Knowledge”, to the Bakersfield Symphony and all of the wonderful programs and non-profit organizations that they supported.

Dual Enrollment: Helping all Students Gain Access to College

The first week of April is the first-ever Dual Enrollment Week across the state of California, and I want to observe the occasion by highlighting the amazing work our Dual Enrollment team is doing to make a college education more accessible for high school students.

Dual Enrollment First student to sign up in 2016

BC offers UC/CSU transferable courses and Career Technical Education to more than 30 high schools, reaching approximately 10,000 students. BC’s Dual Enrollment program is estimated to be the largest in the state and within the California Community College system. The program started as a grant partnership with the Wonderful Company providing an Associate of Science in Ag Business to high school students in the Wonderful Academy. It has now expanded to four local high school districts, saving students and their families more than $2 million in education expenses.

Dual Enrollment Week was approved by the California state legislature last year to raise awareness of programs that give high school students the opportunity to earn transferable college credit at no cost. During Dual Enrollment Week, KCCD has invited the Get Focused…Stay Focused program to give an overview workshop at the Larry E. Reider Education Center at 2000 K Street on Friday, April 5. Get Focused…Stay Focused is a course for high school freshmen to learn more about college and make a ten-year plan for their education and career. Visit the Academic Innovations website to register and learn more information about the workshop.

Summer Bridge

As the Bridge to BC sessions for Summer 2019 are rapidly approaching, I thought it would be a great time to highlight Joseph Luiz’s article in the Bakersfield Californian from last year about the phenomenal growth in our orientation program for incoming freshmen and their families.

Last year, 1,200 students participated in the Bridge to BC program, and we expect even more students this summer. Bridge to BC, which is offered as a one-day class titled Academic Development B55: First Year Student Success, has been instrumental in getting our students ready for college and, with an emphasis on reaching out to first-generation students of color, easing the anxiety many students feel about starting their college journey.

Staff gather a Summer Bridge tent holding a sign.

During Bridge to BC, students are given a tour of the campus and information about financial aid, counseling and other resources. They also form teams and create a poster representing the path they’ll take from high school graduation to BC Commencement and beyond. “We want [students] to understand how to be a successful person in college and also how to successfully navigate our resources,” says Kimberly Bligh, faculty director of the program.

Registration for Bridge to BC sessions in Summer 2019 are available now. Visit the Bridge to BC website for more information.

Early College Launch in Shafter

Abel Guzman and Trustee Romeo Agbalog at Early College Info Event in Shafter
Abel Guzman and Trustee Romeo Agbalog at Early College Info Event in Shafter

Thursday night, the incoming Shafter High Class of 2023 flooded the Shafter High auditorium in a kick-off event for 9th-grade registration. When Shafter High School Principal Russel Shipley took the stage to tell incoming students and their families about the opportunities they would have in high school, he had an amazing new opportunity to share with them — Early College. Head Counselor Juan Leyva explained to the high school students that they would have the opportunity to earn college credits during and after the traditional school day right on their own high school campus. To assist with the program debut, Kern Community College District Trustee Romeo Agbalog was invited to share some remarks.

“We are committed to improving access and opportunities for Shafter High students to reach their academic and career goals, as well as supporting the college going culture in the community of Shafter. Through the Early College program, each student will be on a guided path to earn college credit while in high school,” said Agbalog. “These efforts translate directly into time and tuition savings for the student, savings for the taxpayers, and securing a brighter future through the power of education,” he added.

BC Staff at Bakersfield College Early College tables of bags, laniards, folders and giveaways at Shafter High.

Following the presentations in the auditorium, students went into the quad to learn more about the opportunities they would have in high school. Staff from BC’s Rural Initiatives, Dual Enrollment, and Outreach teams (Jaime Lopez, Kylie Swanson, Steve Watkin, Debra Anderson, and Jessica Garcia) were present from BC to share with both incoming 8th graders and current high school students and their parents about the Early College program and the jump start that it provides students for their college education and career.

Adult students also learned about the many evening course options being offered in collaboration with Shafter High School on their campus. Working at the forefront of the partnership between BC and Shafter, Executive Director of Rural Initiatives Abel Guzman shared:

“The City of Shafter is an incredible partner of BC, committed to the success of students throughout the community. Together, as we incorporate more educational opportunities and offerings, like the Early College program, we will level the playing field. And by bringing college closer within grasp for these students, we are granting them a head start towards a college degree and successful career.”

Starting in the 2019-2020, Shafter High School’s incoming 9th-grade students will follow a plan to complete over 30 general education units prior to their high school graduation through a combination of dual and concurrent enrollment courses. Students will also have access to additional CTE dual enrollment opportunities in the areas of agriculture, welding, and woodworking. As the partnership between BC and Shafter High continues to grow, the goal is for students to be able to complete complete college-level certificates and degrees during their time at Shafter High School.

For more information on the Early College work being done at Shafter High, visit BC’s Early College at Shafter

Adios Amore Screening

Filmmaker Laurie Coyle came to BC for a screening of her documentary about one of the forgotten heroes of the 20th-Century farm worker rights movement in the Indoor Theater on Thursday night. Coyle hosted a panel with five BC DREAMer students to talk about how they related to the story of Maria Moreno, a farm worker with 12 children and a second-grade education who became a spokesperson for a nationwide agricultural union.

Woman on microphone.
Professor Jessica Martinez moderating the screening and panel.

The film, titled “Adios Amor: The Search for Maria Moreno”, documents the search for Maria’s family and details about her life through photographs, news articles reel-to-reel audio tapes and video footage recovered in attics, archives and museums across the United States and Mexico. Years before the grape boycott and before Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta led the work that would blossom into the United Farm Workers organization, Moreno was picked to be a spokesperson for the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) was funded by the AFL-CIO. Moreno would travel the nation telling stories about the extreme poverty her family faced in the fields of the Central Valley and how her oldest son once became blind from starvation when their family didn’t have enough to eat.

Moreno standing in a dirt lane between bunk houses, black & white picture.
“Adios Amor” screenshot

Moreno eventually disappeared from public records after the collapse of AWOC, and Coyle wasn’t able to find the rest of Moreno’s story until one of Moreno’s granddaughters reached out to her. After leaving the organization, Moreno became a Pentecostal preacher who travelled the desert between Mexico and the American Southwest feeding the poor and hungry in every town she stopped at. Some of the most powerful moments of the documentary are when Moreno’s family are reconnected with old photographs and footage of their mother and given the chance to visit their childhood home.

Audience in the indoor theater.

Production costs for “Adios Amor” were funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the film has been screened across the American Southwest. Coyle said she was surprised that the Endowment would fund the film since they usually only fund projects about well-known historical figures, but Moreno’s story as an immigrant Mexican woman organizing a labor union was an important one to document.

BC Dreamer student speaks with microphone, 2 panelists looking at him.
left to right: Jovana Espinoza, Jesus Arias, Pedro Coata

After the film, BC students Jovana Espinoza, Jesus Arias, Pedro Coata, Edith Mata and Maria Jaimes sat on a panel with Coyle to talk about how they related to Moreno’s story as the children of first-generation immigrants themselves. Many of the students saw glimpses of their own mothers in Moreno’s strength and resolve in the face of adversity, and the women on the panel felt empowered by the ways that Moreno challenged the norms of how women were expected to act in traditional Mexican culture and were inspired to speak up against injustice regardless of the consequences.

The Dreamer panelists and director sit at an onstage table with Bakersfield College cloth.
left to right: Maria Jaimes, Edith Mata Jovana Espinoza, Jesus Arias, Pedro Coata, Laurie Coyle

Coyle encouraged people in the audience to find stories about people in their community that aren’t being told in any medium available to them. “History is about how we get by, and the values that we take with us wherever we go,” Coyle said. “Does your family have a story that isn’t being represented?”

Woman speaking into microphone.
Director Laurie Coyle

I’d like to thank the Social Justice Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Director Laurie Coyle, moderator Jessica Martinez, and the five DREAMer students who spoke for making this event a huge success.

Jovana speaks in microphone as the others smile at her.
left to right: Edith Mata, Jovana Espinoza, Jesus Arias and Pedro Coata.
Retired broadcaster Jose Gaspar asks a question during the Adios Amor panel.

Adios Amore in Community Voices

Oliver Rosales’ latest op-ed for the Community Voices section of the Bakersfield Californian helped spread the word about Thursday’s screening of “Adios Amor: The Search for Maria Moreno” in the Indoor Theater.

Dr. Oliver Rosales

Rosales wrote that the film sheds light on one of the forgotten heroines of the agricultural farm labor movement of the mid-20th Century.
Rosales describes “Adios Amor” as “a beautiful mosaic of borderlands history” that provides an important resource of representation for first-generation college students and immigrant families to connect with the story of the California farmworkers’ movement. Rosales wrote, “these stories offer a vital link to past struggles for civil rights and inclusion.”

Blue and Gold Day

It’s never been easier for BC Renegades to transition into CSUB Roadrunners, and CSUB hosted Blue and Gold Day in the CSS Lawn Area on Thursday to inform BC students about all of the transfer services and educational opportunities that are available to them.

A CSUB staff member at the Financial Aid table talks to students.

The CSUB Student Transfer Center hosted a tent in the middle of the lawn with information about Finish-in-Four and the California Promise, and representatives from CSUB’s social science, STEM and graduate studies departments lined the perimeter with booths about all of their degrees and programs. There were also representatives from CSUB Financial Aid, the Veterans Center and various student organizations to get the word out about all of the support that our students can receive when they decide to join the Roadrunner family.

7 students and staff in CSUB t-shirts hold up flags about CSUB.

I’d like to thank everyone at CSUB who made this event possible, as well as BC’s Transfer Initiatives team for facilitating the creation of Blue and Gold Day. As we continue to develop our partnership with CSUB and begin construction of the new BC SouthWest Center on the edge of the CSUB campus, informational events like these will only become more important.

BC Art Student Exhibition

Collage of colorful images as a backdrop to a skeleton framed in bright pink with a rose vine hanger.
“Go to Sleep” by Jessica Campos

BC students are showing off their talents in a variety of media during the 2019 BC Art Student Exhibition in the Wylie and May Louise Jones Gallery inside the library. The annual gallery event celebrating the best work created in BC art classes is running from now until May 2 during the Jones Gallery from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. An opening reception was held on March 14.

Black and white image of two black birds flying over a church-like building against a cloudy sky.
“The Apostle” by Nicolas Zuniga

Everything from paintings, illustrations, photographs and sculptures to mixed media, collage, digital art and video projects are on display in the exhibition, and everyone is encouraged to take time to celebrate our students’ creativity .

Black and white water color of woman with bloodshot eyes, whole in forehead and eyeballs in background.
“Uzamaki” by Scott Johnston
Painting of child standing under flowery sheet next to a window on canvas.
“Good Morning Clem” by Keiolani Mahinan-Brockenbrough
Aztec style clay sculpture of a dragon head hung on a wall.
“Quetzalcoatl Head” by Jovani Rodriguez
Tea pot and 2 vases.
A variety of vases from David Ekern’s Ceramics class are displayed in the Jones Gallery.

Former SGA President Encourages East-High LUPE Students

This week BC’s LUPE students were inspired by the success story of Ms. Danitzia Romo – (BC Alumni and former SGA President). Her uplifting presentation revolved around working diligently to succeed in college, and her appreciation for the educational opportunities BC has to offer.

Ms. Romo urged students to bring their parents’ hardworking mentality into their current and future studies and to persevere through any obstacles that may come their way. Students were inspired by her humble beginnings as an immigrant, her professional development, and successful career path. Ms. Romo addressed the significance of community involvement, embracing hard work, and the importance of portraying the success of immigrants, regardless of their immigration status.

18 hispanic students mostly in LUPE t-shirts.

Building upon the momentum from the STDV B2 class, LUPE students conducted a student panel at East Bakersfield High School where they addressed graduating AB540/Dreamers/DACA seniors and spoke about their personal success stories and strategies, barriers, and challenges, persevering through adversity, and the importance of not letting their immigration status negatively impact their educational goals.  The panel was made possible through the assistance and collaboration of the entire EHS Administration & Counselors, CSUB’s ETS Trio Program, CalSOAP, EOP&S, and above all, the fantastic LUPE students.

Lupe students pose in front of the East Bakersfield High School sign.
Lupe students pose in front of the "Home of the Blades" sign.
Students of the panel discussing issues.
A full classroom listening to the panel.
Staff and students take a selfie with piece signs.

World Autism Month

April is World Autism Month and April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day, so I wanted to take a few moments and share a quick story about a colleague, Nicholas Hernandez.  If you haven’t met Nick, he works at the District Office as a Construction Project Manager.

Nick has a grandson named Nicholas (or Bubba) who was officially adopted almost one year ago. Bubba has autism and they are trying to raise the needed funds for an Autism Service Dog. I’m a major fan of dogs and especially these service dogs. You can read about their story, and donate to the cause if you’d like, at Paws for Bubba

Multiple photos of a boy dressed for thanksgiving, with a backpack, in a car seat, at the beach, with a toy, playing with blocks and smiling.

Nick’s granddaughter also came up with the idea to make “Paws for Bubba” bracelets as a way to help raise funds and to promote Autism awareness in general.  We hope that Bubba gets his Autism Service Dog!

Autism Awareness on plastic bracelets.
Paws for Bubba Bracelets
3 men.
L to R: Nick Hernandez with Bill Potter and John Smith

Email Worth Sharing: BC Student Heading to Baghdad

I wanted to share this email I received from Paul Beckworth this week:

Hello all,

Just a heads up that one of our BC students, Elaine Moreno @00[…], is being deployed with the National Guard to Baghdad.  She is currently in Georgia training up to go overseas. She is a nursing major and has been at BC since fall 2017. Here is a clip of her from last semester.

She knew she was being called up so she did not enroll for spring but did call Armando yesterday to ask about taking summer online BC classes from Iraq.  Quite a resiliency, if you ask me!

I will let the veterans know tomorrow so we can get some care packages sent out to her soon.

Fun Photos: Chief Student Services Officers Conference in LA

Michelle Pena, Dan Hall, and Becky Weaver (consultant) presenting: Plan, Nudge, and Schedule: Using Ed Plans, ALERT’s, and the Course Schedule the Ultimate Integrated Approach to Student Success.

2 women at a podium.
Becky Weaver (consultant) and Michelle Pena
Man presenting Pillar IV: Ensure Learning.
Dan Hall
Group stands of people in hotel lobby.
L-R: Abel Guzman, Imelda Valdez, Zav Dadabhoy, Angelica Vasquez, Marisa Marquez, Michelle Pena, Lisa Robles, Dan Hall

Fun Photos: Circle of Friends

Just to show how much the Circle of Friends is a part of the Bakersfield College Campus, here are some fun photos taken during the IT/Marketing retreat last summer.

4 men and a woman with arms held out like the sculpture.
Clockwise from top: DO’s Justin Wallace, MPR’s Dylan Wang and Aricia Leighton, IT’s Zach Wharton and Ian Mason
5 people with arms held out like the sculpture.
Clockwise from top: IT’s Chris Leithiser, Judy Ahl, Yin Vang, MPR’s Earl Parsons and IT’s TJ Mason

Fun Photos: Abel Guzman at the Beat

3 men in a radio studio.
L-R: Danny Morrison, Sal Avalos, Abel Guzman

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (3/17-3/23) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week.


Sarah Lopez and Isaiah Muhammad Renegades of the week sponsored by Wells Fargo.

Sarah Lopez, Beach Volleyball – Went 2-0 last week with partner Lanie Camarillo, with wins over Glendale and Victor Valley.

Isaiah Muhammad, Men’s Track & Field – Finished 1st in his first time out in the 110 hurdles with a 15.79, which ranks 5th in the conference. He also finishes 2nd in the 400m hurdles, which moved him into the 7th place ranking in the conference.

Jeremy Staat Selected for the 2019 CCCAA Hall of Fame Class

Jeremy speaking at podium.

Former Renegade Football and Track and Field student athlete and current BC Welding Instructor, Jeremy Staat has been selected as a member of the 2019 California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Hall of Fame Induction Class.

Staat, a native of Bakersfield who has returned to his hometown where he’s a welding instructor at Bakersfield College, was a three-time state champion discus and shot put thrower for the Renegades while also earning Western State Conference MVP accolades and setting school records in both.

Jeremy stands with other inductees in front of a CCCAA screen.

He lent his prowess to the football team as well, helping Bakersfield to a 20-2 record and two Potato Bowl championships over his two-year career, while adding all-conference recognition both seasons. Staat was selected as Bakersfield College’s Freshman Athlete of the Year in 1995 and, subsequently, was the Most Outstanding Sophomore Athlete a year later.

Jeremy with parents and 2 children.

After a standout football career at Arizona State, Staat was second-round NFL Draft Pick in 1998 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, beginning a professional tenure that lasted until his retirement in 2003. He then followed the inspirational lead of former ASU teammate Pat Tillman and joined the Armed Forces. Staat served a tour in Iraq before returning to finish his education and begin the Jeremy Staat Foundation. He is also currently a sought after motivational speaker.

Jeremy poses with Keith Ford, Assistant director of athletics, Sandi Taylor, director of athletics, his son and another man.

“The CCCAA Hall of Fame induction to me is the pinnacle of achievement for my junior college career.” Staat said, “I am so grateful to my family and to Bakersfield College, my coaches, and teammates that supported me during my time here at Bakersfield College. Bakersfield College was the catalyst that propelled me to achieve everything in my life up to this point. Bakersfield College helped make it happen and I am very thankful, honored, and blessed to have been selected for such a prestigious honor.”

Staat, along with four other inductee’s, was honored at a ceremony on Wednesday, March 27 at the Hilton Concord during the CCCAA’s annual convention. Read the CCCAA press release.

Cynthia Maner selected to the CCCAA Scholar Athlete Honor Roll

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce that former swimming student athlete, Cynthia Maner has been selected as a member of the 2018 California Community College (CCCAA) Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll.


Cynthia with parents, Keith Ford and Sandi Tayor, Assistant director and director of BC athletics.

Being selected as a member of the Student Athlete Honor Roll is an accomplishment only a handful of the over 24,000 student athletes in the CCCAA system receive annually. Manor was honored at a luncheon on Wednesday, March 27 at the CCCAA Celebration of Scholar-Athletes Luncheon in Concord, CA as part of the CCCAA’s annual convention.

Man presents plaque to a woman.

Athletics Roundup

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Spring is here bringing new life and beauty

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 20, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

The gift of music which can move us

The sound of music has profound power to inspire, stir the soul, and move us in ways that simple words could not. I was blessed to hear the BC choir at St. Francis this week as they sang Nearer my God to Thee and Wind Beneath My Wings, led by the talented Jen Garrett. In fact Msgr. Craig Harrison was wanting to keep the BC Choir at St. Francis forever 🙂

The BC Choir getting ready to sing at St. Francis
BC Choir performing Nearer my God to Thee at St. Francis on March 20, 2019
BC Choir directed by Dr. Jen Garrett performing Wind Beneath my Wings on March 20, 2019 at St. Francis

Early College Team Presents in Madera

We are taking our Early College story on the road! KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Liz Rozell, Abel Guzman, Aaron Resendez (McFarland Unified Superintendent), and Brian Bell (McFarland HS Principal) traveled to Madera to present at the “California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley” quarterly meeting. The partnership brings together experts and leaders committed to the same purpose- sustainable economic development, environmental stewardship, and human advocacy.

Group Photo in Madera
Abel Guzman, Liz Rozell, Romeo Agbalog, Aaron Resendez, and Brian Bell

Those in attendance heard from Dr. Jean Fuller via a pre-recorded video, and learned from the BC and McFarland Early College team members in attendance about how the project came to be, and where we are headed.

The reaction and feedback was extremely positive. One particular member in attendance asked that the partnership have more presentations that provide information on innovative solutions to problems in the Central Valley, and stated that our team’s presentation was a great example. Stay tuned for more stories about where we take our Early College story.

Equity Conference

Early this week, our BC Equity team traveled to the University of Southern California (USC) Center for Urban Education (CUE) to participate in the Student Equity Planning Institute.  Led by Dr. Estela Bensimon, the USC CUE team prepared a working institute so college teams could spend time reviewing our student data, analyzing our strategic planning documents and processes, and consider the alignment with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Vision for Success goals.

BC Team at USC Equity Conference
BC Team at the Southern California (USC) Center for Urban Education

I was the keynote speaker on Day 2, sharing with attendees how student-centered legislation has paved the way for major gains in student outcomes.  I highlighted some of our key work at BC, including our Completion Coaching Communities, the Umoja Program, our Kern Promise Finish-in-4 transfer pathways, our placement practices, and our Early College program.  A special thank you to Shawn Whalen with the College Futures Foundation for his investment in the institute. And thank you to our equity team attendees for your engagement: David Buitron, Terri Goldstein, Abraham Castillo, Lisa Robles, Steven Watkin, Imelda Valdez, and Lesley Bonds.

Check out updates like this one from Shawn Whalen and other attendees across California at #SEPI19 on Twitter.

Educational Systems and Intersegmental (ESIP) Task Force

The Educational Systems and Intersegmental Pathways (ESIP) Task Force’s second face-to-face meeting was at the CSU Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach, CA on March 21st. The group continued work on its two main goals: 1) advancing the intersegmental curricular data organized in the Pathways Program Mapper tool for clarifying student journeys and 2) aligning usability and feasibility for California’s future Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS).

Vikash Lakhani, Assistant Vice President for Student Success, CSUB Ben Perlado, Director of Admissions & Records, CSUB
Vikash Lakhani, Assistant Vice President for Student Success, CSUB Ben Perlado, Director of Admissions & Records, CSUB

Patrick Perry, Chief Information Officer at the CSU Office of the Chancellor, welcomed representatives from over 14 groups across the state to engage in the conversations. Vikash Lakhani, Assistant Vice President for Student Success at CSUB, Ben Perlado, Director of Admissions & Records at CSUB, and Faust Gorham, Associate Vice President for Information Technology Services & Chief Information Officer at CSUB presented plans for utilizing Pathways Program Mapper at CSUB while integrating program maps with current BC programs.

Steven Glyer, Workforce Development Consultant
Steven Glyer, Workforce Development Consultant

Workforce Development guru, Steve Glyer, provided updates on the CTE code alignment between K12 career pathways and Community College TOP Codes as well as future plans on expanding the Program Pathways Mapper. Craig Hayward, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness at Bakersfield College reported that 11 community colleges in California are currently working with the Program Mapper. As many as 20 Colleges and district will join the second wave of within in the coming weeks.

Craig Hayward, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness

Justin Curtin, CSU IT Support

Erica Menchaca, BC Faculty
Craig Hayward, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness
Justin Curtin, CSU IT Support
Erica Menchaca, BC Faculty
Darla Cooper, Executive Director, RP Group
Darla Cooper, Executive Director, RP Group

There were two presentations to update the group on progress being made statewide. Concentric Sky CEO Wayne Skipper presented on work being done regarding Open Standards and the Quantification of Learning. (BC and CCCCO worked with Concentric Sky to build Program Mapper.)
Research fellow Jacob Jackson of the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) presented on their work in convening a Data Collaborative that discusses future data needs and possible outcomes.

Ben Perlado, Director of Admissions & Records, CSUB

BCSGA Renegades in Washington, DC

BC’s Student Government (BCSGA) representatives visited Washington, DC recently with Director of Student Life, Nicky Damania. I enjoyed reading what Mustafa Barraj, BCSGA’s Director of Legislative Affairs, wrote about their travels and experiences:

BCSGA Team in Washington
BCSGA Team in Washington

My time at Washington DC was an enjoyable, educational, and enlightening experience. I was given the great opportunity to attend the American Student Association of Community Colleges (ASACC) National Student Advocacy Conference and listen to the wonderful Ralph Nader speak on how to better our nation and our community. As a child of Lebanese immigrants, his words were able to inspire and evoke a sense of servitude in me to better my community.

The ASSAC conference also provided me the opportunity to speak and learn from an array of diverse students and gather useful information and resources to take and better my student government. I was able to learn things such as advocacy, lobbying and how to properly speak on issues to my representatives. With these skills, I and other fellow students were able to speak to representatives from Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s Office, Congressman Garamendi, and was even given the opportunity to speak on issues regarding California Community Colleges with Kevin McCarthy himself.

I also had the extraordinary opportunity to visit some of America’s great landmarks such as the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and a collection of different museums from the Smithsonian. As an English and Political Science Major, I was able to find the most pleasure in two museums. The first was the Folgers Shakespeare Museum where I was able to look at literature that dates back to the Elizabethan era and that has the only confirmed drawing of William Shakespeare. The Second was the Library of Congress where my group and I and the life-changing experience to see the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution with our very own eyes.

This trip was a life-changing experience forever be grateful to Bakersfield College and Nicky Damania for giving me the opportunity to visit the City of Magnificent Distances. This was not only a learning experience for myself but also a transformative one that I will forever remember.

BCSGA Team meets with Kevin McCarthy

Exhume and Release

As part of the “Women in War” theme of BC Women’s History Month programming for 2019, local poet Portia Choi hosted an open mic about war in the Levan Center on Wednesday night and recited some of her poetry about surviving the Korean War as a young girl in the 1950s.

Jessica Martinez introduces Portia Choi

English professor Jessica Martinez organized the event, titled “Exhume and Release”, in conjunction with the Women’s History and More Committee. It was a unique opportunity for local artists to have their work celebrated on the BC campus. During the open mic portion of the event, authors Anke Hodenpijl, Anna Marco and Julie Jordan Scott shared some of the writing about the effects of war on their lives, and musician Fabian Tolan performed a cover of “Peace Song” by Never Shout Never on ukulele. There was also a drawing on display from BC student Crystal Appleton, as well as Gita Lloyd’s cover illustration for Choi’s poetry book “Sungsook”.

Gita Lloyd's cover for Portia Choi's poetry book "Sungsook" is displayed in the Levan Center next to a drawing by BC student Crystal Appleton.
Gita Lloyd’s cover for Portia Choi’s poetry book “Sungsook” is displayed in the Levan Center next to a drawing by BC student Crystal Appleton.

After a brief overview of the history of the Korean War, Choi talked about her personal experience of fleeing her home after being displaced by the conflict. Choi’s family was one of millions who fled North Korea and crossed the 38th parallel to South Korea on foot – a distance equivalent to the stretch of land between Los Angeles and San Francisco – with nothing more than the clothes on their back and a few family heirlooms. Many members of Choi’s family were unable to leave North Korea during the war, and they’ve been unable to contact their North Korean part of the family for over 60 years. Her family moved to the United States when she was 8 years old, Choi said.

Portia Choi talks about fleeing North Korea as a child in the 1950s before coming to the US with her parents at the age of 8.
Portia Choi talks about fleeing North Korea as a child in the 1950s before coming to the US with her parents at the age of 8.

Choi’s poetry juxtaposes the desolation and horror of the war with idyllic, childlike images of the Korean countryside and long springs spent playing with dolls and enjoying her grandmother’s cooking. She shared a poem she wrote based on the story of Neil Vance, a local veteran who fought in the Korean War and saw four of his friends from Bakersfield get killed in the conflict.

Choi has been writing poetry for 35 years, and is an active member of the poetry community in Kern County. Since 2010, she helps organized the events for National Poetry Month in Kern County every April, and she hosts the First Friday Poetry Open Mic at Dagny’s Coffee every month.

Thank you to Jessica Martinez, Portia Choi, and the Women’s History and More Committee for organizing this event, as well as all of the artists and open mic performers for sharing their work with the campus community.

Poet Anke Hodenpijl recites a poem she wrote about Indonesia and growing up as an Indo-Dutch woman in America.
Poet Anke Hodenpijl recites a poem she wrote about Indonesia and growing up as an Indo-Dutch woman in America.

BC’s Welding visits the future site of the McFarland Early College Welding Program! 

the BC team visits Mcfarland welding shop
BC team visits the future home of BC Welding in McFarland!

Last wednesday, Klint Rigby (Industrial Technoligies Department Chair) and Jeremy Staat (Welding Department Dual Enrollment Laison) met with McFarland dual enrollment instructor, and BC graduate, Miguel Martinez to tour the welding facilities at McFarland High School and discuss the future of the program. Early College students in McFarland will have the opportunity to complete 14 units towards a variety of Welding certificates and degrees. Collaborations like this are building the bridge for our students from high school to college, beginning in the 9th grade. The Welding pathway is one of six CTE pathways being offered through the Early College program starting at McFarland High School this Fall. You can learn more about these pathways at the BC website. #pathway2college

McFarland Welding Shop M
McFarland Welding Shop

Spotlight on Industrial Automation

Robot in BC's Robotics Lab
Robot in BC’s Robotics Lab

Reporter Noelle Lilley from ABC 23 spotlighted the Industrial Automation program at Bakersfield College earlier this month, featuring Renegade and Industrial Automation senior, Chad Hildalgo. The article and video clip features how this BC program is preparing students for job opportunities, which Chad described as, “the present meeting the future.”  Love that! Check out the video clip and article at

Staying Safe through Education and Awareness

Erin Aucherbach Portrait
Erin Auerbach, Faculty lead for the Renegade RIP

BC’s student newspaper, the Renegade RIP, has a history of quality writing and journalism on campus and in the community for over 85 years. Led by journalism faculty Erin Auerbach, the Renegade RIP recently published an article titled “Public Safety at Bakersfield College Conducts an active shooter training.” The article, by Haley Duval, offers insight into the seminars and workshops regularly held by Chief Chris Counts and BC’s Public Safety officers.

Public Safety Group Photo
Public Safety Group Photo

Keeping students, faculty, staff, and the community safe is an ongoing effort. These informational sessions are key to familiarizing ourselves with the best practices, drills, exercises, and preparation. If you have not yet had the opportunity to attend, I hope you will find time to mark one on your calendar. Check out the article at

Women’s Month Feature: Who Is The Mystery Woman?

Grace Van Dyke Bird Silouette

Many of you follow Bakersfield College on Instagram and you may have caught the #TBT post this past Thursday. So, who is she?

“I think of the 20s as a period of great energy, exciting drive, and bursting imaginations. The faculty and the students had the buoyancy of youth.” —???

Our mystery woman embodied that same “buoyancy” she spoke of all those years ago. Let’s take a moment to honor a Renegade that is very special to BC. You’ll know why she’s so extraordinary in these excerpts from The Bakersfield College Century (a book published for our centennial celebrations).

It was with reservations that Grace Van Dyke Bird came to Bakersfield in 1917 after graduating from the University of California at Berkeley (a Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in architecture and French)…Bakersfield’s reputation as a ‘gun-slinging,’ western town had preceded it…

In 1920, Kern County Junior College introduced the state’s first woman dean of a junior college. Grace Van Dyke Bird was the ‘right person for the job,’ agreed Mr. Vander-Eike and Principal Ludden when Mr. Vander-Eike decided to take a leave of absence to concentrate on the nursery he owned just south of Bakersfield. So at the age of 25 and in an era when most women did not explore careers outside the home. Miss Bird became acting dean of the junior college and part-time vice principal of the high school.

“I thought very little about being made an administrator of a small college where I already knew personally each student who was in the college and all the faculty,” Miss Bird reflected years later.

A few months later Miss Bird was appointed permanent dean…Grace Bird was an extraordinary woman who would lead the budding junior college through its infancy and growth to develop Kern County Junior College into a fine academic institution.

“I was transformed overnight from a cardboard dean into the real thing. There was no actual metamorphosis since I kept on doing what I had already been doing: trying to keep the college on an even keel…I had become a dean by accretion and not by a ‘big bang,’ as an astronomer might say.’”

Miss Bird went on to be appointed Principal of the Kern County Union High School after a car accident killed Principal Ludden in 1922. Grace Van Dyke Bird would spend the next 30 years keeping education standards high at BC. She’d oversee the college through the 20’s, the Depression, and war. In 1949 she again changed the course of BC’s history.

In a rare breach of protocol, Miss Bird began a quiet campaign for a home [for BC] on higher ground. She called her good friend Carl Melcher, president of the Kern County Land Company, for an “off the record chat” to discuss the possibility of a parcel of land on the China Grade bluffs. When Miss Bird received a phone call in the Spring of 1950 from Mr. McCuen telling her that the Board had purchased the land on the bluffs and that plans for the new free-standing $11 million junior college were moving forward in earnest, she recalled that “my neighbor heard my ‘whoop’ and came to ask about the excitement. I answered, ‘A whole new world of promise has just come to the lower San Joaquin Valley.’”

It’s incredible to think of the gravity of her legacy. Women’s History IS Bakersfield College’s history.

Fun Photo: Kimberly Bligh

Midweek, Kimberly Bligh sent this photo and titled the email “Love Runs Deep.” It is a photo of her and a future little Renegade.

Little future Renegade looks up at Dr. Kimberly Bligh

Fun Photos from Hope Through Mentoring

Hope Through Mentoring Conference in BC Forum
Hope Through Mentoring Conference

Last week on Friday, BC hosted the Hope Through Mentoring event featuring keynote speaker, CNN Hero Award recipient Teresa Goines. Multiple workshops were held with a focus on supporting youth. Special thank you to Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery services for all their work to put on the event and to Mayor Karen Goh for attending.

Mayor Karen Goh
Mayor Karen Goh
Teresa Goines and Lisa Kent
Teresa Goines and Lisa Kent

Fun Photo of Steve Holmes and Trustee Meek

Dean of Instruction, Corny Rodriguez surprised me with a rare and great photo of Steve Holmes standing beside KCCD Trustee, Kay Meek.

Lookin’ sharp Steve. 🙂

Steve Holmes and Trustee Kay Meek

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11a, check out the segments from this week’s show which went live from the 50-yard line at Memorial Stadium. Guests included former BC football student athletes Stane Greene and Jeremy Staat along with football coach Jeff Chudy and Athletics Communications Manager Brandon Urry.

Segment with Stan Greene

Segment with Jeff Chudy

Segment with Jeremy Staat

Segment with Brandon Urry

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (3/10-3/16) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week.

Kayleen Sanchez and Daniel Nichols
Kayleen Sanchez and Daniel Nichols

Kayleen Sanchez, Women’s Tennis – Won four matches to continue her unbeaten streak this season and on Friday against Canyons, crushed the only other unbeaten conference opponent, 6-1, 6-0.

Daniel Nichols, Men’s Track & Field –  Made a season best and took first in the high jump at the BC Relays with a jump of 1.85m (6’ 0.75”)

Women’s Soccer Players Moving On

Renegade Women’s Soccer student athletes Drew Hallum and Jacki Zavala are moving on to compete at the four-year level after completing successful BC careers. Hallum has signed and already started school at Emerson College this spring and Zavala has signed and will begin school this fall at West Virginia Wesleyan. Congrats and make us proud!

Jackie Zavala and Drew Hallum

Renegades Named to 2019 CCCWBCA All-Academic Team

A total of four Renegades have been named to the 2019 California Community College Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (CCCWBCA) All-Academic Team. The four include: Victoria Trevino – Forward, Ridgview HS, Aubrey Stone – Forward, Ridgeview HS, Bianca Zamora – Guard, Shafter HS, Brianna Mendez – Forward, Arvin HS. We love to see our student athletes receive recognition for their hard work in the classroom as well!

2019 CCWBCA Team Graphic
2019 CCWBCA Team

Athletics Roundup

All these and more at!

Clint Walker, Janet Tarjan, Sonya Christian, Pam Christian

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever