Finding our path to peace

The west coast has endured another week of catastrophic wildfires, which have burned more than 3 million acres of land across California this year. For another week, we are waking to reports of loss of life, damages to businesses and family homes, and harmful air quality that continues to force us indoors.

I saw this satellite photo showing the extent of the smoke, which has even extended across the rest of the United States and extending into Europe:

During these times, I think of our firefighters who are in the depths of the inferno ….. let’s pause for a moment in prayer to keep them safe. Across the state, many of those firefighters learned the skills they needed to protect our communities here at BC, through our Fire Technology program.

At Bakersfield College, our Fire Technology faculty are dedicated to protecting life, property and the environment by providing our students the high qualify education in fire science. If you’re interested in saving California’s beautiful forests and parks out on the front lines, we have a Wildland Firefighting Associate of Science degree, which prepares Renegades for a career with a state or federal wildland firefighting agency. At BC, we’re also proud to train our Bakersfield City firefighters through our Fire Fighter I Academy and Chief Fire Officer and Company Officer program.

This year’s wildfire season has highlighted the need for more trained fire professionals in California, so please recommend our Fire Technology program to anyone you think might be a good fit. For more information, check out the BC Fire Technology website.

Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I was also heartbroken last night to read about the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, at 87.

Justice Ginsburg has been a strong voice for women and equality since she was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

There will never be another Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But there will be many more women who will follow in her footsteps and continue the path she began, and change the world.

As we continue to navigate these difficult times, I wanted to share this beautiful poem from my dear friend Jack Hernandez, about the pain we all are facing and the opportunity we have to find and share our own empathy and compassion for one another:

A Time by Jack Hernandez

A time when
smoke mutes
the sun
fires blacken
the forest skin
political rage
burns compassion.

A time when
the heart opens
to refugees from pain
bears the scars
of those severed
from homes
of those struck
by love’s loss
of the stranger
waiting to enter.

A time of burning
A time of sowing
new seeds daring
all to care
as one.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, September 19, 2020…a great day to be a Renegade.

BC Offers Free COVID Testing

From an email from Cindy Collier:

In our continued efforts to help support the health and safety of our community, BC is proud to announce that we will be hosting a Free Mobile COVID-19 testing site on campus on September 22, 2020 from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the parking lot on the corner of Haley and University.

Through our partnership with the Kern County Hispanic Chamber and Kern County Public Health, BC will be hosting the Federally provided Mobile Testing Site which will provide FREE COVID-19 testing for anyone wishing to be tested. Thank you Jay Tamsi!

Jay Tamsi and Sonya Christian

This walk-up clinic will be using the less invasive “Self-swab” test. Pre-registration is required, please register at, but the Mobile Testing unit can accept a limited amount of walk-up participants. Once registered, participants need to bring the appointment voucher with reference number to the appointment.

Thank you Norma Rojas-Mora. Thank you Cindy Collier.

Please help me share this information with students, staff, friends and family. See attached flyers for more information.

Rural HEAL webinar Sep 22nd 1:00 p.m.

You don’t want to miss this webinar on Tuesday, Sep 22nd from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Even if you have just 30 minutes during this time block, go ahead and register here You should be able to get at least one presentation.

International Peace Day

From Krista Moreland.

Now that we are actively working on the Peace Garden Project at BC, International Peace Day seems to hold greater significance.  Peace is something we need to work towards, it will not happen unless we make it happen. And we make peace happen by practicing compassion, kindness, and tolerance. In the spirit of our Peace Garden Project, I would like to share a little about Peace Day with everyone, and I hope it helps bring you a little peace during these tumultuous times.

Monday, September 21st the U.N. International Day of Peace will be observed around the world. This Peace Day was established unanimously by the U.N. in 1981 as a 24hr period for humanity to come together and commit to peace and compassion. Each year on this day, “The United Nations invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.”   This year is also the 20th anniversary the U.N. Resolution of the Program of Action on a Culture of Peace.

This year’s theme for the International Day of Peace is “Shaping Peace Together”, encouraging everyone to practice compassion and kindness and stand together in the face of hardship. The U.N. Secretary-General has “called on all warring parties to lay down their weapons and focus on the battle against this unprecedented global pandemic” as we come together for this global day of peace. The theme of Peace Day fits with the U.N.’s year of ‘listening and learning’, marked by the largest global conversation on fostering peace and prosperity.

Campus Visit

This week, I was able to visit the campus with Bill Potter and Jennifer Marden. I enjoyed being able to connect in person with my colleagues, while keeping our social distance.

The construction work is continuing on campus, and I can not wait until we are able to share the updates with our entire Renegade family, and our Bakersfield community.

KHSD Early College Pathways Program Kicks Off

Our BC Counselor, Jesus Oropeza, guides his 9th grade STDV B6 students through his syllabus on Canvas during their first virtual class meeting.

This week, 354 students from Kern High School District attended their first course from our new KHSD Early College Pathways program. About one third of these students are incoming 9th grade students who are beginning a pathway that will lead to the completion of one of the following associate degrees: Industrial Automation AS, Psychology AA-T, Administration of Justice AS-T, and Public Health AS-T. The rest of the students are 10th, 11th and 12th grade students who are getting a head start on their college education and will graduate from high school with between 9 and 45 college credits. 

The students in these pathways will follow strategically designed educational plans to complete two BC courses in the evenings each term at either KHSD’s new CTEC facility or at our BC Southwest Center.

Psychology adjunct, Tamarah Tallman, welcomes her 10th grade students taking PSYC B1A this Fall with great excitement that they have chosen the Psychology pathway.

Early College continues to be our strategy for getting our students on the correct pathway and for creating a pipeline that will increase and sustain baccalaureate degree attainment in Kern County.

I am so excited to welcome these new cohorts of KHSD Renegades, and I can’t wait to watch them cross our Commencement stage in 2024 with associate degrees. I want to thank KHSD leadership– Superintendent Bryon Schaefer, Assistant Superintendent Dean McGee and Director Carla Stallworth for partnering with BC to make this opportunity possible.

You can read more about these new pathway opportunities in a wonderful piece by Ema Sasic in the Bakersfield Californian:

$3m to BC for Public Health Sciences

Bakersfield College has been awarded $3 million to boost and support graduates in Health Sciences!

The Hispanic Serving Institution Title V grant for Health Sciences was awarded to BC in recognition of their significant work to advance student completion and workforce readiness.

BC will leverage grant dollars to bolster existing efforts designed to address shortages in the health care workforce made more visible due to the COVID-19 pandemic. By expanding the college’s footprint of health sciences pathways through Early College, transfer pathway agreements, and strong partnerships with health care providers and community organizations, BC will systematically strengthen Kern’s education-to-workforce pipeline while improving health outcomes for local residents.

BC to Honor Spring 2020 Nursing Grads

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, BC’s Nursing graduates, family, friends, faculty, and administration will gather remotely on September 19, 2020 at 6:30pm to celebrate the 105th Renegade Nursing Pinning celebration by video on the college’s YouTube channel.

The pinning ceremony usually takes place at the conclusion of each semester and signifies the successful completion of the program for its graduates. This event will focus on the more than 60 Renegade Nursing graduates from spring 2020 of BC’s rigorous two year RN program.

The community is invited to celebrate this new cohort of nurses on our YouTube channel at The program will begin promptly at 6:30pm on Saturday, September 19, 2020.

Renegade Alumni Council

The Renegade Alumni Council at Bakersfield College had a great week starting with 2015’s SGA President, Alex Dominguez sharing his voice in a piece submitted to The Bakersfield Californian.

In his piece, he said “Little did I know our “campus on the hill” would be the place where I find myself, my purpose and determine my future. It was all thanks to the exploration, learning, creativity and freedoms that I know my friends who went away to college did not receive. Not to mention, I also had some amazing faculty including professors Steven Holmes and Ed Borgens.”

On Tuesday, the RAC core team hosted the first Renegade Talk Live on FB. For the show, Alex chatted with 2016’s SGA President, Clayton Fowler. Check out the pic showing this dedicated team at work.

Are you a Renegade Alumni? Connect with this new initiative to come back to BC with RAC and check out the video at

And then today, there was another great piece in the Californian from an alum Jay Boydstun.

Sonya Christian, John Boydstun, Jay Boydstun

“One of my earliest memories is from the 1960s, when my father gave me a BC football schedule coin pouch. I will never forget the smell and feel of those little things. Each year, without fail, my father would distribute the BC football schedule coin pouches as a business promotion, but also because he had a passion for Bakersfield College.”

The first issue of BC’s The Grapevine Journal

From an email from Naomi Rutuku:

I have some exciting news to share with you all. Today is the official launch of the first publication of The Grapevine Journal, a collection of Bakersfield College student work! We (co-editors Rae Ann Kumelos, Keri Wolf, and I) are thrilled to have our first edition published today, digitally, on our website. BC students have worked hard for this accomplishment and we couldn’t be prouder.

I hope that you take a look at our publication on our website (click here) and that you might find useful ways of using the published student work in your classes; examples of former BC student work are always interesting and helpful for our current students. In this first edition of The Grapevine, you will find a table of contents that organizes the work by discipline.

 We are always accepting submissions on a rolling basis, so keep your eye out for some more excellent student work this semester! Thank you for continuing to inspire our students.

BC Faculty Featured

Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio, an adjunct faculty in our Art Department, shared that he was featured on the cover of California English, the quarterly journal of the California Association of Teachers of English. 

I especially loved his quote from inside the journal:

“With life, each individual must find a sense of serenity. For me, to create, to paint and portrait the world, is my purpose, my path to peace.”

In trying times, we must all find our own path to peace.

First “Learning Together” Reading

From an email from Kirk Russell:

Kirk Russell, Library Director

Our first campus “Learning Together” discussion will take place on Tuesday, September 22nd at 4:00 p.m. as part of President Christian’s virtual seminar series.  The first community read is an essay from the June 22, 2020 issue of Time Magazine entitled “The Overdue Awakening” by Justin Worland.  It can be found in the EBSCOhost database at the link below.  You will be prompted for your BC email address and password to gain access.  If you’d like to view the digitized version as it appeared in the original issue of Time, click the PDF Full Text link on the left side of the screen after clicking the link below.

The librarians feel this essay is a timely and fitting introduction to the issues we will be discussing throughout this academic year.  Our discussion on the 22nd will provide time for us to learn, reflect and increase understanding.

Also, the newly-created libguide “Race and Cultural Competence” is now published and available for you to review at 

Submissions from across campus allowed us to include a variety of perspectives on issues of race and equity.  As mentioned before, our hope is that with ongoing input from the campus community this guide will grow during the year.

Kirk also spoke at Opening Day about the Learning Together project:

Opening Day 2020

In addition to “Learning Together”, we have additional projects and initiatives this year at Bakersfield College to address equity and inclusion. We shared some of this at Opening Day, which was held virtually this year.

Below are videos outlining some of the work our colleagues are doing.

Bryan Hirayama, USC Program:

Jennifer Johnson, FCDC:

Rich McCrow, Governance:

Norma Rojas-Mora, Department Commitments:

All the Opening Day 2020 videos can be found on the Opening Day website.

Archives Throwback: An Encouraging Message to Graduates

An editorial in the 1931 edition of the Renegade Rip illustrates how our Core Value of Community is timeless. At the close of another semester, the staff of the Rip left a heartfelt goodbye to their fellow students and encouraged them to become the best version of themselves possible at the next step in their lives.

A few former BCSGA presidents started the Renegade Alumni Council (aka the RAC), to help graduates maintain the bonds of community they established during their time at BC and help them give back to the place that made them who they are today, because now, just like back in 1931, once you become a Renegade, you’re a Renegade for life. 

Check out the editorial from May 21, 1931 below.

Good Luck, Graduates
“As the year draws to a close, we find that many of our friends are leaving Bakersfield Junior College. Many will go on to even higher institutions of learning, but some will be through their school days forever.
“Wherever you go, Graduates, remember that Bakersfield Junior College is backing you to the greatest degree possible. We are proud of you, and we hope that the students will carry on the next years afterward to make this college one that you will be proud to say, ‘I went there for my first two years’.
“Some are not so fortunate. They will not leave for a more advanced college next year. To them, we say, “Come back and we will be glad to see you and help you so that you will be able to continue your advanced work later on.
“If you are to start in this great game called ‘Life’ and put school days behind you, remember that we wish you all the success possible and the best luck in the world!”

Thank you to Earl Parsons for sharing this piece.

#LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation

Today, I am sharing three videos from the June 18th production of Bakersfield College’s Juneteenth programming.

Steve Watkin musical performance:

LaMeka Ross:

Valerie Robinson:

For more, including all the videos, please visit the Bakersfield College Juneteenth website.

Spotted on Social Media

Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh shared this photo of Heather Pennella, Alumni and Donor Relations Manager of the Bakersfield College Foundation. Heather is also a volunteer with the Keep Bakersfield Beautiful Committee, and she helped clean up the Truxtun Lake area:

Michael Lennemann shared this photo:

“This is a picture of some outstanding athletes from the 1972 Bakersfield College State Championship Team.

Included in this pictures are Charles Mackey (7 ft high jumper), Jerlynn Atlas Kendricks, McKinley Mosley, Gary Ray (RIP), Louis Wright (Former Denver Broncos Standout), Vernell Jackson (RIP), John Nichols (RIP) and Stanley Mackey.

The BCSGA has continued with their #ThrowbackThursday posts on Instagram. This week they shared a photo of students on campus in 1975:

Librarian Mindy Wilmot shared a photo of herself practicing the ukulele as part of a Levan Institute course:

Lesley Bonds, Director of Student Success and Equity, shared this photo from our recent Admin Council meeting.

“Today, we repurposed our 2 hour @BAKcollege Admin Council meeting to make time to check-in with students directly via phone and text, and then collectively process lessons learned. 50+ managers contacted hundreds of students!”


Former Renegade Tyrone Crawford Set For Ninth NFL Season

Former Renegade football standout Tyrone Crawford took the field for his ninth NFL season as a member of the Dallas Cowboys this last Sunday. The Cowboys took on the Rams in the opening week of the NFL in the newly built Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles. Crawford started his career at BC in 2008 when he was named All-Conference as a freshman. In 2009 he was named a JC All-American as well as first team All-State and first team All-Conference. He then transferred to Boise State where he spent his final two seasons of collegiate eligibility. In 2011, his senior season, he was named First-Team All-Mountain West. In 2012 with the 81st pick of the NFL Draft, Dallas selected Crawford and he has remained a Cowboy ever since. Although the Cowboys didn’t win the game, we are excited to see our former Renegade competing at the highest level.

Be sure to stay connected to Renegade Athletics on social media:

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC’s Education Department Shines

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, September 12, 2020…a great day to be a Renegade

BC Receives $1.3M to Support Teacher Preparation Pathway

Dr. Kimberly Bligh

Bakersfield College has been awarded $1.3M to support the Education Pathway for future teachers as California continues to face a rising teacher shortage. Specifically, over the next decade, it is projected that 30% of teachers in the state will retire at the same time that a rising number of children will be entering the school system. The Teacher Preparation Program will provide vital support services to 140 new eligible students every year over 5 years.

Dr. Kimberly Bligh, BC’s Title V Director and Chair of the Education Department says, “This pathway offers our community the possibility to create and further develop local teachers, giving them the opportunity to advance in their career and serve our youth. Plus, these are the individuals who understand better than anyone what it’s like to live and learn in the Central Valley.”

Learn more about Teacher Preparation Pathway at Bakersfield College.

Thank you Emma Gallegos for this story in the Bakersfield Californian.

Here’s another beautiful poem from Jack Hernandez:

                                     There is a garden
                                     where we might gather
                                     to walk and talk as one
                                     to find the innocence
                                     of peace with ourselves
                                     and others in love’s
                                     tranquility and forgiveness,
                                     a garden where
                                     all voices are heard
                                     all lives are embraced
                                     in joyful grace.

Jack emailed me this poem, saying he was inspired after reading an amazing article about the new Bakersfield College Peace Garden. Stacey Shepard‘s article appeared front page above the fold in Sunday’s Bakersfield Californian.

Stacey Shepard

I am so excited for the Peace Garden, and I love the ongoing collaboration between Bakersfield College and Dr. Naina Patel. Her guidance and commitment to peace and mindfulness have been an anchor during these turbulent times, and I am grateful that we will be able to provide a permanent place of peace and healing to our Renegade/Bakersfield Community.

It was such an honor when Dr. Naina Patel connected with me to get BC involved in community-wide celebrations, like when Arun Gandhi came to speak in Delano:

I would also like to thank Anthology Professor Krista Moreland and BCSGA Vice President Emma McNellis, who have been integral to the Bakersfield College Peace Garden project.

Outreach & Early College Gear Up to Serve High School Students this Year

The Outreach & Early College Team

The Outreach & Early College team had a virtual planning retreat this week to plan how they are going to serve 50 high school partners and over 12,500 high school students this school year. They are excited to launch a new service model where one Advisor or Counselor from the team is assigned to assist each high school site with all of their Early College and Senior Matriculation needs.

As we continue to begin the on-boarding process as early as the 9th grade, the services provided continue to be student focused and built on the foundation of quality and partnership that the team has built over the last several years.

Stay tuned for more new and exciting things coming to you from our wonderful Outreach & Early College team!

This fun photo shows the team during a virtual ice-breaker activity.
They are trying to spell “BC”, can you see it?

Distinguished Speaker Series Continues with Louie Cruz Beltran

Next week, master percussionist and singer Louie Cruz Beltran will speak to students and the community as part of the BCSGA’s Distinguished Speakers Series.

Thank you to Kris Tiner for coordinating this speaker. 

There will be two sessions on September 16, 2020 via Zoom and BCSGA Facebook.

To register and for details, see the Distinguished Speakers on the BC Website.

Virtual Seminar Series Continues

Last spring, I held a series of virtual forums and seminars to share what Bakersfield College was doing to cope and shift our work during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are continuing these sessions into the Fall 2020 semester.

We have held two seminars so far this fall, on August 22 and September 8.

On August 22, we took a look at what Fall 2020 would look like at Bakersfield College.

Executive Director of Facilities Bill Potter and Interim Health Center Director Cindy Collier shared updates:

We used our seminar block of time the following week to wrap up our Opening Day celebration, and continued with the Virtual Seminar Series on September 8.

Our September 8 presentation focused on Renegade Athletics.

Sarah Lopez, one of our Renegade Athletes on the volleyball team, spoke on the importance of unity as we move through unchartered waters:

Keep a lookout for information about upcoming seminars, and please check back on my blog as I will be sharing videos from forums you may have missed.

We will also be archiving the seminar videos on the BC COVID-19 Resources web page.

Opening Day 2020

Our traditional Opening Day celebration was shifted to a virtual format this year, and our planning team rose to the occasion and provided 5 days of high-quality productions to inform and energize our BC faculty, staff and administration.

Today, I wanted to share this video highlighting the Student Information Desk. Our student services team has gone above and beyond in adapting to our current situation and finding new ways to effectively and efficiently serve our students – from a distance.

You can see all the videos from Opening Day on the Opening Day 2020 website.

In the news: Zav Dadabhoy Appointment President of CSSO Association

Dr. Zav Dadabhoy

Bakersfield College’s Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Zav Dadabhoy has broadened the scope of his leadership by serving as president of the California Community Colleges Chief Student Services Officers (CSSO) Association. The Association focuses on student success, equity, and support for the 2.4 million students attending one of the 116 California Community Colleges.

Since June 2020 when he accepted the role, Dr. Dadabhoy began working directly with the State Chancellor’s Office to broaden services and support initiatives that ensure student success through technology, providing remote assistance to students during the COVID19 pandemic. Dr. Dadabhoy knew the importance that this played at Bakersfield College and wanted to ensure the same successful strategies are implemented statewide. 

At Bakersfield College, leadership was ahead of the curve in March when the campus was physically closed and moved to an online format even before the Governor announced the statewide stay-at-home order. BC’s commitment to academic quality and student support was undiminished in the move due to the use of innovative tools, such as the Student Information Desk (SID). Since its launch in May, the SID has assisted more than 9,000 visitors. 

KGET aired a video piece about Dr. Dadabhoys new role.

#GoodTrouble: The Legacy of John Lewis

Over the past few weeks, I have been sharing videos from BC’s #GoodTrouble production honoring the life of Congressman and Civil Rights leader John Lewis, who passed away in July.

Today I am sharing the final videos from that project.

Julian West Closing Remarks

Jaimi Banks Sings “Lift Every Voice”

You can find all the videos from the John Lewis production on the BC website.


Today I am sharing the last of our videos from the Special Televised Commencement Tribute that aired on July 11. I am deeply grateful for all the work and creativity that went into planning a production to celebrate our amazing Class of 2020.

Rudy Salas

Closing remarks

More information, including all videos, about the special Commencement 2020 Tribute can be found on the BC website.

Spotted on Social Media

Lesley Bonds, Director of Student Success and Equity, was nominated for the Beautiful Bakersfield Awards in the “Young Professional” category!

Dean of Academic Technology Bill Moseley shared these photos of the smoke in Bakersfield this week:

Enrollment Services Director Michelle Pena shared this photo with Admissions & Records Assistant Director Jackie Lau:

The BC Nursing Instagram Page shared these pictures of nursing students practicing with IVs while also engaging in social distancing:

And speaking of nursing, the BC Career Education YouTube page shared this video highlighting Healthcare Simulation Week:


Renegade Athletics Set To Return in Spring 2021

Last week would have been the start to our 2020-21 fall athletics season. As you know by now, all fall sports have been moved to the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) contingency plan, which places all of our fall and spring sports into two separate condensed seasons within this coming 2021 spring semester. Click here to view the contingency schedule. Above is a great shot of our beloved Memorial Stadium this last year that is patiently awaiting the return of all our Renegade athletics teams to action this coming spring.

Be sure to stay connected and up-to-date with Renegade Athletics on social media:

Sonya Christian

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC – two weeks into Fall 2020

Beautiful sunrise photo from the my morning walking partner in Bakersfield Northeast while I walk Bakersfield Southwest.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, September 5, 2020…a great day to be a Renegade

Early College Recruits a New Class of Cougar Renegades

The Early College team has been hard at work hosting virtual application workshops for our new and existing Cougar Renegades.

In partnership with the McFarland High School counseling team, the BC Early College staff held 13 virtual workshops for the upper classmen and 9 workshops for incoming freshman students. After these workshops, BC welcomed over 200 new Cougar Renegade students who will be on the path to complete 60 college units by the time they graduate from high school.

McFarland High School Early College staff, Jill Jimenez and BC Early College staff, Nicole Alvarez and Kelly Moa worked together to assist the McFarland incoming Freshmen students in taking the first step toward college degree completion.

Good luck to our McFarland High School class of 2024 #cougarrenegades! Early College staff will be there every step of the way to help build your success stories.

Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning Classes–Fall 2020

The Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning makes interesting and useful learning experiences available primarily to those 55 and over (although any adult is eligible) who are interested in continuing to gain knowledge throughout their lives. Offerings include both practical and fun topics such as Art: Watercolor Painting, Cooking for the Holidays, and Introduction to Wine Tasting.

This semester’s classes are being offered remotely via Zoom, so students can learn in the comfort of their own homes. Courses vary in length and price. The full list of courses and registration information is available on the Bakersfield College webpage at

Interested individuals are encouraged to sign up today and never stop learning!

Portraits in Their Own Words

English Professor Andrew Bond is seeking students to participate in the Portraits in Their Own Words project, which will uplift the voices of previously incarcerated BC students.

Andrew, along with professors Shawn Newsom and Kristopher Stallworth, were awarded $15,000 from California Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts to fund the project.

Here is an excerpt from my campus-wide email

The goal of this program is to engage with formerly incarcerated students at BC, working with them to create autobiographical narratives that will be paired with their portraits (created by BC student artists) in an exhibit that will have an online presence via an archive connected to the BC Social Justice Institute’s webpage. We are also working on airing recordings of the narratives on local TV for presentation to the general public (this is in lieu of public speaking events by the students that would have been held on campus and in local and out of town venues prior to COVID-19).

Measure J Construction Photos

Check out these amazing drone photos of the slab pour for our new Science and Engineering building. Thank you to Bernards and AECOM/Parsons for sharing these so we can keep everyone updated on how we are building #ABetterBC!

Opening Day 2020

Bakersfield College’s traditional opening day celebration was transformed this year. Instead of a one-day gathering in our beautiful Indoor Theatre, we had 5 days of virtual productions.

Today, I’m sharing three videos from Day 1. These videos highlight Bakersfield College’s commitment to Racial Equity – a theme highlighted throughout all 5 days of presentations.

Abel Guzman, Bryan Hirayama and Vikki Coffee spoke about the work of EODAC – Equal Opportunity & Diversity Action Committee.

Abel Guzman, Executive Director of Rural Initiatives:

Bryan Hirayama, EODAC Faculty Chair:

Vikki Coffee, EODAC Classified Chair:

New BSAD Warehouse Management Course

For the first time ever, Renegades now have the chance to learn about operations, efficiency, and distribution center leadership in the Warehouse Management (BSAD B89a) Business Administration course. BC’s Gary Blackburn shared with The Bakersfield Californian his excitement in an article published Thursday.

Check it out at:

In the News

Financial Aid on News at Sunrise

Jennifer Achan

Did you catch Financial Aid Director Jennifer Achan on 17 News at Sunrise this week?

She shared about how financial aid services have moved online, and how they are able to help students complete their FAFSA applications as deadlines approach.

You can watch her full interview on the KGET website.

For more information about Financial Aid, visit the Bakersfield College website at

Community Voices

Thea Tanicala, BC Chamber Singer’s President, had a piece in the Bakersfield Californian this week. She covers how they held a virtual retreat this year to adapt to the pandemic.

She also shared that there will be a virtual concert on November 6 titled “Becoming Us,” which will be a collaboration between the BC Chamber Singers and BC photography and videography students.

“Music is what drives me and it’s been the source of comfort and motivation during quarantine. Together, it has to be our mission to keep moving forward and to work as hard as we can until one day we can meet with each other and sing side by side.”

#LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation

This summer, Bakersfield College in partnership with Danny Morrison Media created a series of productions titled #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation.

In the June 18 production, we heard from Assembly Member Rudy Salas, City Councilman Andrae Gonzales, and Dr. Brijesh Bhambi.

Rudy Salas:

Andrae Gonzales:

Dr. Brijesh Bhambi:


Here are a few more videos from the Special Televised Commencement Tribute, which aired on July 11.

Assembly Member Vince Fong offered remarks for our graduates:

And here is the final piece of reading the names of our 2020 Graduates:

You can find out more about Commencement 2020 and see all the videos at

Spotted on Social Media

Bakersfield Foundation Executive Director Cheryl Scott with our new Bakersfield College face masks:

The BCSGA Instagram page shared this picture of one of the first editions of The Renegade Rip, published on January 8, 1923:

Kalina Hill, Program Manager, Testing and Placement Center, shared this photo from a recent Zoom training session for the BC Student Information Desk which provides virtual support to our students via zoom:

And Reference Librarian Sondra Keckley showed this mouth-watering bounty from her garden:


Five Renegades Named to the 2019 All-State Academic Team

We are proud to announce that 2019 track and field student athletes Gabriella LugoNoemi EsparzaAdolfo EscuderoJacoby Whitby and Fabian Valenzuela have been named to the 2019 Academic All-State Track and Field team by the CCCCCTCA (California Community College Cross Country & Track Coaches Association). To make the team, cross-country student athletes must complete a minimum of 24 academic units with a 3.5 GPA or higher. These student athletes have certainly taken advantage of their time as Renegades and we know they will represent BC well into the future!

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Bakersfield College – A Peace Garden of Learning, Reflection & Renewal

Have you met Dr. Naina Patel? Well, she is a quiet force in our community promoting peace and wellbeing. I got to work alongside Naina last year as she she was coordinating the Gandhi celebrations here in Bakersfield. During these celebrations, we had the fortune of having Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Arun Gandhi speak to the students in our Early College Program in Delano. What a treat! Check this out in my October 5, 2019 blog titled – Live simply so others can simply live

Here is a 9:31-minute video from Opening Week where we unveiled the Peace Garden project. If you don’t have time to watch the whole video, then start at the 6:56 timestamp and hear the message from Dr. Naina Patel and the Gandhi committee.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, August 29, 2020…a great day to be a Renegade

Friends, let me introduce you to Abel Guzman, BC’s Exec Director of Rural Initiatives. You will see why he is a “20 under 40 to watch”.

If you want to read more check

Community Voices

Romeo Agbalog, Trustee for the Kern Community College District, wrote a great piece in the Bakersfield Californian highlighting the work the college has done to continue providing quality education to our students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the midst of widespread unemployment and economic austerity, now has never been a better time to enroll at Bakersfield College. While most of us are sheltered in place, we can take advantage of this time to upskill or chart a new career path to compete in tomorrow’s job market, or post-COVID-19 economy, and be able to do this all from the comfort and safety of your own home.”

Slowing Down

Here is another poem from the fabulous Jack Hernandez:

He did not notice
his steps were less
quick jaunty
a past tense,
then he heard
he was slowing
down to that pace
reserved for snails
and wobbling legs.

He rejected those words
even as young walkers
passed him as though
a sign stuck in place,
“slow” is a relative
term he thought,
philosophy giving him
the nudge he needed.

Panorama Creative Music Summit Goes Virtual

Presented by the Jazz Studies and Commercial Music programs at Bakersfield College, the Panorama Creative Music Summit is an annual showcase for acclaimed musicians, local performers, and BC faculty, students, and alumni performing original music and exploring a range of styles and creative approaches across the jazz-pop continuum.

Ordinarily the summit takes over our beloved Simonsen Performing Arts Center for a weeklong series of workshops and live concerts. This year, thanks to support from the Lydia Jennings Finlinson and Burns L. Finlinson Endowment of the Bakersfield College Foundation, the music summit is transitioning to an online format that will feature weekly live sessions with guest artists.

Each artist will give a 20-30 minute solo performance followed by an artist talk and Q&A with students. These sessions will be held on Zoom and broadcast free to the public via Facebook Live on the Bakersfield College Jazz Studies page.

Check out Blue Bayou performed by Josh Ottum and Kris Tiner for Opening Week.

#LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation

I am continuing to share videos from Bakersfield College’s #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation productions from June. Today, I am wrapping up with the videos from the June 17th program.

Daron Mackey, Educational Advisor with Outreach & School Relations:

Traco Matthews, Social Pastor and Adjunct Professor:

Please visit the Bakersfield College website to see more videos, testimonials and resources from the #LightACandle project.

BC Foundation presents online newsletter

Did you catch the premiere issue of the Bakersfield College Foundation‘s new newsletter, Panorama?

This first issue includes a welcome from the Foundation’s new executive director, Cheryl Scott. Previously Cheryl served on the foundation’s board of directors for 7 years, and was also active in the Measure J campaign.

Bakersfield College Foundation Executive Director Cheryl Scott and I

I also loved seeing the “Your BC Story” section of the Panorama newsletter. This issue featured Bob Meadows, Class of 1975. Bob wrote about his time writing for the Renegade Rip and how he met his wife Vicki at BC:

“I grew up at BC, I discovered my abilities at BC, I overcame challenged at BC, and I found love at BC. My life’s foundation was built at BC and has supported me ever since. Thank you Bakersfield College.”

“Your BC Story” will be a regular feature in the Panorama newsletter, and I am excited to hear from more of our proud alums. Those interested in sharing their stories can fill out the form on the Foundation website.

You can read the newsletter on the Bakersfield College Foundation’s website. Thank you Cheryl Scott and Heather Penella.

BC’s MESA Program in the news

Bakersfield College faculty and students recap the first week of virtual learning by Tyra Majors

#GoodTrouble: Celebrating the Life of John Lewis

This week, I am sharing two videos from Bakersfield College’s #GoodTrouble: Celebrating the Life of John Lewis production. These videos focus on Congressman Lewis’ political contributions.

R. Allen Bolar, BC Political Science Professor:

Michael Bowers, Vice President of Public Affairs & Government Relations at Centric Health California:

You can see all the videos from the #GoodTrouble production on the Bakersfield College website.

Opening Week 2020

This Thursday, we wrapped up our Opening Day celebration. This year’s celebration was virtual, and ended up spanning two weeks, with five days of productions.

I’d like to share my introductory remarks from Day 1 of the Opening Week festivities:

Commencement 2020

As you may know, this year the Bakersfield College Commencement celebration went virtual with a Special Televised Commencement Tribute broadcast on July 11, 2020 on KGET, Telemundo and steaming on Facebook.

Today, I’d like to share a few videos from that production.

There’s a Pathway for Everyone at Bakersfield College:

Health Sciences Program Spotlight:

Graduates Part 5:

Videos and photos from this year’s Commencement festivities, including the Early College celebration, can be found on the Bakersfield College website.

Spotted on Social Media

I wanted to share this heartwarming post from Jessie Ryan, executive vice president at The Campaign for College Opportunity:

Heart bursting: My daughter asked me to take her to Target tonight to use the allowance she had saved to buy some special school supplies – our first outing in weeks. Unfortunately, Target was closed due to a COVID case. Brooklyn was disappointed but as we drove home she saw an elderly homeless woman. Without thinking twice she produced her $20 bill and said, “Mother pull over and give it to her.” “Are you sure honey, that’s all your savings”. She didn’t hesitate, “Yes, she needs it more than me”

Endee Grijalva, Adult Education Program Manager for South Kern, modeled her new Bakersfield College mask (and fantastic Renegade Red hair!):

And in honor of National Dog Day this week, I’d like to share a few of the posts I caught from our Renegade family. Carlos Medina, Lesley Bonds, and Mindy Wilmot all shared pictures of their pets:


Throwing it back to the beginning of Renegade Athletics

We are just a few years short of the 100th anniversary of Renegade Athletics in the year 2022. Originally with just a football team founded in 1922, the department has grown to its current total of 20 men’s and women’s sports over the last century. In the process our Renegade athletic teams have captured a total of 184 team conference championships, 15 state championships and 10 national championships. In addition they have won countless individual conference and state championships in a variety of sports. Pictured above is the original 1922 Renegade football team (thanks to our fabulous BC Archives team). This makes our football program one of the oldest in the state! 

Jon Baker finds success as an agent

I wanted to share this article from the Bakersfield Californian about Bakersfield native Jon Baker, who is a successful sports agent. Jon was a star athlete at both Foothill High School and Bakersfield College.

Renegade football runs deep in the Baker family – Jon’s father, William Baker was hired as the team’s official doctor in 1979.

And Jon has continued to assist the BC football team. R. Todd Littlejohn, who was hired as BC head football coach in January, is represented by Jon and said that Jon’s connections have been helpful to him in his new role.

“He can point out people to me that I need to get involved with. When you’re gone and you’ve been away for so long, your pool of people might get smaller.

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

2020 Opening Week – BC coming together

Mango is my favorite fruit. Growing up we had 5 mango trees at home. The last week in July, my daughter got me a box of ripe mangoes. They were just fabulous…. the best I have tasted after coming to the US.

I learned from her that mango farming is gaining momentum in California. Check out this article from Sunset Magazine called “Mango Madness,” about how Howard Marguleas successfully brought a thriving mango crop to California. While everyone told him he couldn’t grow mangoes in California, he refused to accept that and managed to find a variety that grew beautifully in the desert of the Coachella Valley. It was a great reminder that even when we are facing obstacles and naysayers, sometimes a little creativity, innovation, and perseverance can lead to great results. And now, my hope is that mangoes will become more of a common fruit here in sunny California.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, August 22, 2020…a great day to be a Renegade

Opening Day

This week we moved our traditional Opening Day celebration to a week-long, virtual format. We met on Zoom on Monday and Tuesday. Technical issues prevented us from being able to share a production on Wednesday – but the Opening Day planning team was able to quickly find a solution, and we moved to a new format on Thursday.

We will be sharing the final pieces of programming over two days this coming week, on Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00 p.m.. I’m so proud of our team for always being able to pivot and adapt to any circumstances. We truly are #RenegadeStrong and #InItTogether

We are still working on getting all of last week’s programming uploaded to the Bakersfield College website, but I wanted to share this sneak peak of Monday’s welcome from our fabulous emcees: Todd Coston, Tommy Tunson, Norma Rojas, and Manny Mourtzanos.

New Student Convocation

This week, Bakersfield College’s annual New Student Convocation moved online.

Thank you to Student Life Director Nicky Damania and everyone whose hard work helped BC continue the tradition of welcoming new students into the Renegade Family. We are BC!

If you missed Tuesday’s presentation, you can catch the entire video on the BCSGA YouTube channel:


All the videos from the special 2020 106th Commencement Televised Event can be seen at

State Senator Shannon Grove addressed our graduates:

Throughout the evening, the production spotlighted various programs at Bakersfield College. One of those was the Public Safety pathway:

We also shared this spotlight on the Early College program:

Speaking of Early College, I’m closing out sharing the Early College Celebration videos this week. I have saved our student speakers for last.

Logan Stout was the student speaker from Wonderful College Prep Academy:

And Nancy Gutierrez was the student speaker from Wasco High School:

You can find out more about the Early College program on the Bakersfield College website.

#GoodTrouble: Celebrating the Life of John Lewis

I am continuing to share videos from the July 29 #GoodTrouble production in partnership between Bakersfield College and Danny Morrison.

Today’s videos are a reflection of the life and legacy of Mr. Lewis.

Cindy Pollard:

Traco Matthews shared John Lewis’ speech on the 50th anniversary of the Selma March:

You can learn more about the production, and see all the videos, on the Bakersfield College website.

#LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation

Continuing to share with you videos from Bakersfield College’s #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation series of events.

Today, I am sharing three videos from the June 17 production.

Christina Springstead, owner of Ideal Exec Business Consulting and Support Services:

Michael Bowers, Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations at Centric Health California:

NaTesha Johnson, President of Upside Productions:

You can find more information and an archive of all the videos on the #LightACandle web page.

Spotted on Social Media

Performing Arts Department Chair Jennifer Garrett‘s family has a new puppy, and I loved getting to see new pictures of Remi this week:

Check out this great photo of Astronomy Professor and Planetarium Director Nick Strobel‘s beautiful family:

Rural Initiatives Executive Director Abel Guzman shared this photo of his team getting ready for the new semester:


Guillory Headed to University of LA College of Divinity

Congrats to our newest Renegade to make the announcement of signing to continue their academic and athletic career to the four-year school level. This week it was Michael Guillory from Men’s Basketball. Michael is headed to University of Los Angeles College of Divinity who were national champions of the Association of Christian College Athletics (ACCA) with a 30-1 record. We are excited for Michael and know he will do well at his next stop!


That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever