Memorial Day 2020

What a week…. a week of highs and lows. SpaceX launches astronauts from American soil into space for the first time in a decade, we crossed the milestone worldwide of 6 million reported COVID-19 cases, we passed a milestone exceeding 100,00 COVID-19 deaths here in the US, we celebrated Memorial Day even though we were sheltering in place, and George Floyd stopped moving at 8:24 p.m. on Memorial Day on the streets of Minneapolis.

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, May 30, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade

Six days ago….

George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man died on Monday, Memorial Day, while he was pinned to the ground, face down, in an unlawful knee-to-throat chokehold by a police officer. (, NY Times published May 26, 2020)

          Lift ev’ry voice and sing
          ‘Til earth and heaven ring
          Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
          Let our rejoicing rise
          High as the list’ning skies
          Let it resound loud as the rolling sea
          Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us
          Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us
          Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
          Let us march on ’til victory is won

The SpaceX launch was certainly a historic moment…check out the video if you did not get a chance to watch the launch live on Saturday, May 30th.

Memorial Day Message from Jenny Frank

Zav Dadabhoy, Armando Trujillo, Paul Beckworth, Sonya Christian and Jenny Frank at the VRC dedication

Jenny Frank, manager of Veteran Services and Programs, sent out a Memorial Day message to our Renegade Community, and I wanted to share it with all of you:

Dear friends, colleagues and fellow Renegades,

Although technical difficulties prevented this message from reaching each of you yesterday, the sentiment remains.

As the sun sets on another beautiful day in America, we are all acutely aware that this Memorial Day is vastly different than most others. While navigating our lives during these uncertain times, it may be easy to focus on the freedoms that have been disrupted. We must not lose sight of all that we do have and of those who have sacrificed to ensure our way of life.

The brave Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and women and Coast Guardsmen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country and its values came from all different walks of life. Yet, they stood side-by-side, united in their cause. I can think of no better way to honor them than to live our lives in the same manner they stood; united.

So, my friends, colleagues, fellow Renegades, as you lay your heads down tonight, remember these brave men and women, today and always. Tomorrow, as we rise, let us all strive to live our lives in a way that would honor their them. It is together that we will overcome any difficulties that face us. Together we will soon enjoy all the freedoms that have been gifted to us.

Please also enjoy Taps played by the Minnesota Orchestra Trumpet Section:


Here is a great poem from Jack Hernandez:

The body ages
steps hesitant
hair ghostly white
the memory cabinet
filling up,
But love knows
nothing of slowing
only of growing
wider in delight.

Virtual Immigration Clinics

Bakersfield College is partnering with the California Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the Foundation for California Community Colleges, the California Department of Social Services and the UFW Foundation to provide Immigration Clinics for Bakersfield College students, staff and faculty. The services will include general immigration consultations as well as assistance on DACA renewals, citizenship, family petitions, FBI and background checks, adjustment of status, and visas.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, all immigration clinics will be held virtually via Zoom or telephone until further notice. These virtual Immigration Clinics will be held every 2nd Tuesday and 4th Thursday of the month from 9 AM to 6 PM.

Read the full story at Bakersfield College launches free Immigration Clinic.

Letting the Times Guide our Creativity

Last March, Kris Tiner from our Jazz department presented during my Virtual Seminar Series about how he changed his teaching methods when classes moved online. He said we must “let the times guide our creativity.”

This week, Jennifer Garrett, our director of choral and vocal studies and Performing Arts Department Chair, continued that sentiment. She wrote a piece in the Bakersfield Californian about how our performance groups have adapted to social distancing.

BC’s performing arts programs have shared these positive attributes with the Bakersfield community for generations and focusing on them can guide us all through these challenging times. The BC performing arts faculty will continue to let the times guide their creativity, offering BC students the best experiences possible.

BC Foundation announces new Executive Director

This past Thursday marked the last BC Foundation Board of Directors meeting of the 2019-20 academic year. In spite of the challenges presented by the impact of COVID-19, the BC Foundation finished strong.

Almost 550 scholarships worth over $500,000 were awarded to our students, an Emergency Student Fund was established to financially help students during unexpected hardships, and over $60,000 was used to support innovative programmatic activities proposed by faculty. In the midst of reflecting on all the good work done during unusual circumstances, we took opportunity to express appreciation for the contributions made by the staff, board leadership, and college administration.

However, the highlight of the meeting was welcoming the new Foundation Executive Director, Cheryl Scott, who will fully come on board July 6th. There was great excitement among the directors, for most have known Cheryl for many years and are acquainted with her community service and economic development work in Kern County. 

You can find out more about the BC Foundation on their website at

Kern Promise Celebrates Transfer Graduates

Kern Promise is celebrating BC class of 2020 transferring to 4-year colleges and universities. You can see a display of these high achievers on the Transfer Celebration page of the BC website.

If you know of a graduate that would like to celebrate transferring, have them submit a Transfer Celebration Form.

Here are just a few of our transfer graduates:

Rotary Club of Kern River Valley Scholarship

Kern Valley Sun announced the Rotary Club of the Kern River Valley’s scholarship recipients including incoming Renegade, Joey Moyer. The article states Joey will pursue a teaching credential and plans to transfer to a four-year university.  Welcome to BC Joey!

Videos from Closing Week

I’m continuing to highlight a few videos from our Closing Week celebration. All our videos are available on our Closing Week 2020 website.

Incoming BCSGA President Gian Gatayao:

Presidential Leadership Awards: Academic Technology:

Manny Mourtzanos, Management Association:

Uplifting student videos from Summer Bridge

BC’s Summer Bridge program is one of our secret student success strategies. Dr. Kimberly Bligh has moved this program to an online format for Summer 2020. Check out these two uplifting videos from our incoming Bridgers

Thank you Kimberly!

Construction on Campus

While we are not able to be on campus, construction is continuing. Check out this photo from Manny De Los Santos:


Sandi Taylor Officially Announces Retirement After 30 Years As A Renegade

This week our fearless Athletic Director Sandi Taylor officially announced her retirement to the community bringing to a close a 30 years career as a Renegade – 23 years as head softball coach and seven as athletic director. As a leader Sandi has consistently kept the Renegade athletics ship on a steady course in the right direction. While she’s ever a kind and gentle soul, she’s also fiercely competitive and was just what Renegade Athletics needed in a leader for the past seven years.

As news of her retirement hit the community, she was immediately was recognized with multiple TV interviews and a front page above the fold article on the sports section of the Bakersfield Californian on Wednesday. The social media posts on her retirement have been swarmed with overwhelming congratulations and well-wishes from former student athletes, coaches, friends and community members. We are glad to have had Sandi for so long and will miss her!

Click below for the stories from our local media on Sandi’s retirement:

Also, as you drive around town, keep your eyes peeled for the billboards honoring Coach Taylor!

And here again is the video of Sandi’s Lifetime Achievement Award

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Find our voice and raise it for others… Memorial Day 2020

Annie Glenn and John Glenn

“Annie Glenn found her voice and then she raised it for others” — Scott Simon, NPR. May 22, 2020.

What better way to start, on this unconventional Memorial Day weekend, than by listening to this 2:35-min segment that aired on NPR this morning, by Scott Simon on the life of Annie Glenn who passed away last week:

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, May 23, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade

Last year at this time we went on a family trip to Lake Arrowhead. I went back and found the blog post with some great photos as well as an inspiring open letter from Paul Beckworth to the campus. Check out this May 20, 2019 blog post:

Have you been to Banff….. I was there, i think it was the summer of 2011… Just beautiful.

And I wanted to share with you all this video of the Bells of Banff that Mary Jo Pasek sent to me earlier this week.

Each day at 1 pm, Heather Jean Jordan rings the bells of St. George-in-the-Pines as a symbol of hope and community for the town of Banff, Canada.

I hope you will take a few minutes and enjoy the sheer pleasure of the sights and sounds in this video:

Work continues to build #abetterbc — BC-SW

This week, concrete was poured at our BC SouthWest campus, all part of our pledge to build #abetterbc.

Videos from Closing Week

I shared a few of the Closing Week videos in my last blog post. I will continue featuring a few every week until I go through them all 🙂

Welcome and Introduction by Todd Coston

Samantha Pullido BC SGA President

President’s Leadership Award for College and District IT

Employment Ready in a Socially Distancing Society

The Radiologic Technology graduates embarked on a successful virtual mock interview campaign to complete their preparation for the job market. It was a daunting task, but it reflected the grit of the program and the vision of the Director, Jacy Hill. Roughly 24 students, multiple zoom rooms, faculty, industry experts, and employers convened to critique the knowledge and employability of the graduates.

Workforce development was layered within the student’s education as they started preparing for employment last fall. Vikki Coffee, the Job Development Specialist for the Health Science Pathway, conducted job readiness trainings and led the mock interview project.

The students put in countless hours preparing and perfecting their resumes, cover letters, and interview presentations. Each student dressed in business attire for the zoom interview and brought their A-game to impress the panel.

Finding our voices and raising it for others

California Humanities Awards BC $5,000 for Inmate Education Students

Andrew Bond
Shawn Newsom

Bakersfield College has been awarded $5,000 for its project “Portraits in Their Own Words” through the California Humanities’ Humanities For All Quick Grant.

The Humanities For All Quick Grant is a competitive grant program supporting locally-initiated public humanities projects. These projects respond to the needs of Californians, encourage greater public participation in humanities programming, particularly by new and/or underserved audiences, and promote understanding and empathy among the state’s residents to cultivate a thriving democracy.

Kris Stallworth

Over the course of the “Portraits in Their Own Words” project, select BC faculty will mentor a group of art students and formerly incarcerated student writers as they create an exhibit featuring portraits of the student writers paired with their autobiographical narratives.

This project is co-directed by BC faculty members Andrew Bond, Shawn Newsom, and Kristopher Stallworth.

For more details about this amazing project, check out the news release on the Bakersfield College website or the read the articles in KERO and the Bakersfield Californian.

Virtual Concurrent Enrollment Support

Our Admissions and Records team guided Kern County high school students through our Early College offerings during a virtual enrollment session on Wednesday. The first concurrent enrollment courses of Summer 2020 will start in June, so we want to make sure students get enrolled as soon as possible to hit the ground running as they begin their higher education journey.

There will be another Concurrent Enrollment Support Session next Wednesday, May 27 starting at 11 a.m. Visit the Bakersfield College News page for a list of all of the dates throughout May and June, or if you’re ready to apply now, visit the Concurrent Enrollment Application page.

Back to College Extends to Summer 2020

We know that a lot of people in our community are struggling with furloughs and unemployment during the COVID-19 crisis, so we’ve extended our Back to College program into the Summer 2020 semester. For Summer 2020, students can enroll in our Tools for College Success and Public Speaking six-week courses, while qualifying for financial aid, academic support services, and all of the tools available to students as part of the Renegade family.

If you or someone you know is ready to get started on a pathway to a new career, as soon as possible, visit the Back to College website for more information, and encourage those close to you to jump start their education at BC to get back on the right track.

Finding our voices and raising it for others

Umoja Community Celebrates graduates, transfer, success

The Umoja Community program held a virtual Celebration to acknowledge student success. Students had an opportunity to thank their mentors for support, and be recognized for completing the composition sequence and for graduating/transferring.

Tahnjanique thanked her mentor for keeping “me going and on track.” She added, “Mrs. Randall has opened my eyes to new ideas and opportunities that weren’t on my radar. She doesn’t sugar coat anything, and I love that about her.”

Umoja mentor and retiring business professor Valerie Robinson received a special thank you from Dr. Paula Parks, Umoja coordinator. “Since I founded Umoja five years ago, Professor Robinson has served as a program mentor and participated in almost every event and celebration. She is such a kind, giving person who will be missed on campus.”

Kelley thanked Dr. Parks and Library Professor Faith Bradham: “Dr. Parks, you are an amazing woman, so full of patience. You taught me so much. When I didn’t want to give it my all, you pushed me and forced me to give it the best I had.”

Students talked about how they persisted through the challenges of moving online. Mercedez, who started BC in January, said she was just getting acclimated to college when she had to study at home. Technology challenges and a chaotic home resulted in her finding that the only quiet place to study was in her car in a shopping center parking lot.

Students acknowledged for graduating this May included Michaela, who said she received “the full Umoja experience” including coursework and trips. She said she never felt she was smart in high school, but found ways to reach her potential at BC through Umoja. She will attend Cal State Fullerton in the fall.

Kierra, who said the Umoja trip to Historically Black Colleges (HBCU), helped her decide that she wanted to attend an HBCU, is planning to attend Texas Southern in the fall as an English major pursuing a career in law.

Virtual attendees including Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, administrators Steve Watkin, Nicky Damania, and Lesley Bonds, Deans Steven Waller, Andrea Thorson, and Marisa Marquez, and advisory board members Addonica Stanley and Kesha Owens, cheered students on using the chat feature.

Said Trustee Nan: “Congratulations Umoja students! You have shown you can take on anything and cross the finish line.”

Kay Meek recognizing Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg with the emeritus designation

Fun stuff…. photos, social media, etc

This week, the Bakersfield Condors mascot, Colonel Claw’d, stopped by campus:

Abel Guzman shared this screenshot from the BC Rural Initiatives team’s Back to College enrollment workshop:

Kalina Hill shared the work of our Guided Pathways team:

And the BC Nursing program shared photos from their their social-distancing celebration for students:

Blast from the past: I stumbled onto my Feb 9, 2014 blog post which was my 100th blog post. I wrote about Marian Triplett who turned 100…check it out.

Sonya Christian with Marian and her granddaughter Cassie Rogers

Blast from the past: stumbled on this 2015 college night video.

Some additional photos from this week in Bakersfield

Bessie and Neo

Renegade Athletics

‘Virtual Tryouts’ Are A Huge Success for Renegade Cheer

Our fantastic Renegade Cheer program adapted and overcame the COVID-19 circumstances in a huge way with virtual tryouts this last week. They had 85 applicants, which is the most they’ve had in over ten years!

Coach Heather Spring and five judges had a busy week working around the clock to get through over 170 video entries. Each student had to answer interview questions as well as submit two videos via the app ‘BAND’.

“We had a very fun and long week of learning with so many incoming high school seniors from our community and even some transferring students with their heart set on making this team. It’s a reason it’s led some to BC, to be part of a continuing legacy”, said Coach Spring on the success of the week’s tryouts.

We very much look forward to another talented group of Renegade cheerleaders driving the energy at many campus events this coming school year.

Renegade Softball Highlight Video

Again our athletics student media intern Jacob Amado put together another captivating highlight video from our Renegade Softball team’s shortened season. Click the link below to watch – you won’t be sorry you did!

Finding our voices and raising it for others

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Closing week — Spring 2020 pandemic semester

Bakersfield College closed out what will go down in the history books as an unusual semester… Spring 2020-the semester of the pandemic. There was much to celebrate this last week… the resilience of our students, the caring nature of our faculty and staff, and much much more. It seemed as it the skies were celebrating the Renegades when the jets flew over the Memorial Stadium this week. Check out the photos capture by 23ABC

Thank you 23ABC photographers Grant Simpson and Javier Posadas. Aircrafts from the 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno flew over the city of Bakersfield in a show of support for nurses and other professionals working to help fight the coronavirus.

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, May 16, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade

Check out the opening photo roll for Closing Week, Day 1, put together by Dylan Wang

Every spring, we hold a Closing Day celebration on campus to reflect on the academic year and honor the accomplishments of our BC faculty and staff.

This year, we took our celebration online and shifted to a shorter format over 4 days. You can visit the Closing Week 2020 website to see videos from each day’s celebration. As part of the BC tradition, I recognize individuals, departments, and teams for leadership from the previous years.

This year, I honored the Academic Technology Department, College and District Information Technology Department, the Public Safety Program Pathway, the Nursing Department, Carlos Barbaran, Student Affairs, the Budget Committee, COVID-19 Response Team, Jennifer Johnson, Todd Coston, and Paul Beckworth (announced in Fall 2019) as recipients of the President’s Leadership Awards.

I also honored retiring Athletic Director Sandi Taylor and retiring Dean Corny Rodriguez with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Bakersfield College will truly miss both of you, and I am grateful for the years of service you both have given to the college.

Sandi Taylor — Lifetime Achievement Award

Corny Rodriguez — Lifetime Achievement Award

Paula Parks and Faith Bradham were announced as the Norm Levan Faculty Colloquium speakers for 2020-2021.

Gayle Richardson and Phil Feldman received the Margaret Levinson Faculty Leadership Award.

Arnie Andrasian was named the Shirley Trembley Distinguished Teacher Award winner.

And of course, the week would not have been possible without the Closing Week planning team. Thank you to Todd Coston, Nicky Damania, Jennifer Serratt, Tarina Perry, Manny De Los Santos, Shannon Musser, Dylan Wang, and Earl Parsons for the hard work you put into our weeklong celebration.

Additionally this week, Chris Doyen (English), Gina Herera (Art), Javier Llamas (History), Josh Ottum (Music) and Kris Tiner (Music) were announced as winners for the Norman Levan Summer Grants.

Check out last year’s closing day at

Early College Virtual Support Events

Early College graduating class of 2019

Early College is holding multiple virtual support events to help onboard students. There are recommended courses lists and information on how to apply/update student applications.

High school students can enroll in tuition-free courses that can be transferred to a 2- or 4-year degree. You can learn more about the Virtual Support Events, or register for the sessions on May 20, May 27, June 3, or June 10, on our website.

You can also visit the Early College website for more information about the program.

Check out last year’s commencement at

BC Nurse inducted into Nurses Honor Society

Debra Strong, RN, our college nurse at the Student Health and Wellness Center, was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurses Honor Society on May 2. ‘You can check out the induction video below:

Nu Upsilon Virtual Induction from Nu Upsilon on Vimeo.

M&O taking care of campus

This week, I received an email from Caroline Walth commending members of our M&O staff, Martha Gonzalez and Ofelia Hernandez, who have been taking great care of our administration building plants while campus is closed.

Thank you Martha Gonzalez and Ofelia Hernandez!

And here is a photo of Caroline Walth from my wordpress photo album. Thank you Caroline for sharing your excitement about your department and staff.

Catherine Rangel, Caroline Walth and Jo Ellen Barnes

Celebrating our students

This semester, our students have risen to the challenges they faced, and they adapted quickly to unexpected changes. I could not be more proud of our student Renegades and all they have accomplished this year. And while we were not able to have our traditional commencement last night, we are finding ways to celebrate our students’ achievements – and we will continue to find more ways. I wanted to share a few of the things we have done so far:

You can visit our BC website to see a page that celebrates our graduates who will be transferring to other institutions.

We have also created a virtual flipbook to celebrate our Honors Students.

Through donor support, 436 students were named for the 545 award opportunities available, and over $500,000 will be awarded for the 2020/2021 academic year.

The Bakersfield College Scholarship program could not be possible without the generous donors that contribute to the Bakersfield College Foundation.

Community Voices

Chris Cruz-Boone from our Communication Department wrote a wonderful piece in the Bakersfield Californian about the shift to online teaching at Bakersfield College, and how how we at BC are continuing to move forward and find innovative ways to serve our students during this pandemic.

“It is a strange moment in history, and I will proudly remember that I was working at Bakersfield College where we are training people for the workforce, to learn a new skill or get credits until they can move on to a university.”

BC Chamber Singers

Performing Arts Department Chair Jennifer Garrett shared this video she put together about the BC Chamber Singers‘ experiences before the pandemic and shelter in place orders.

Amazon presents to Industrial Automation

On May 6th, Career Education welcomed Amazon Representatives to present on their current positions available within their Robotics, Maintenance and Engineering Department. Industrial Automation Students learned about the position qualifications, application process, examination and training opportunities.

Fun Photos

I love this throwback trivia from our Athletics Twitter:

Educational Advisor Isabel Castaneda shared a glimpse into how she spent her last day of the semester:

The library shared their well wishes for our graduates:

And librarian Mindy Wilmot posted this image encouraging us all to keep going:

Nice Facebook post by Matt Garrett about emailing his students.


Our talented media intern in the athletics department, Jacob Amado, put together highlight videos for both our men’s and women’s basketball season this last year. Click below to see his excellent work. Great work, Jacob!

2019-20 Renegade Men’s and Women’s Basketball Highlights

2019-20 Men’s Basketball Highlights: 

2019-20 Women’s Basketball Highlights: 

Dasia Wandick is Headed to Webber International University

Fresh off winning the Renegade Athletics Career Achievement Award this year, Dasia Wandick of Renegade Women’s Basketball has signed and committed to continue her academic and basketball career at Webber International University in Florida. Dasia has been an extremely hard worker and leader for Coach Paula Dahl the last two years and we are excited for the next step in her journey!

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

Celebrating our heroes — Moms, Nurses, …

Happy Mother’s Day to all the fabulous women out there

I was perusing previous Mother’s Day blog posts and thought you would enjoy the one from 2018. In this post I also cover the first graduating baccalaureate class. Check it out.

How about starting Mother’s Day weekend with 5 minutes of beautiful music with the BC Chamber singers.

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, May 9, 2020… A great day to be Renegade

Nurses — Our Heroes

Since this week is Nurses Appreciation Week, I thought it was particularly fitting that an email praising one of our nursing faculty came across my inbox on Thursday. Former BC student Melissa Prendiz wrote a wonderful email about professor Milena Lilles. Here are a few excerpts from her email. Thank you Professor Lilles and all our nursing faculty and students – and all the nurses in our community.

Hello professor, I wanted to reach out to you to thank you for supporting my success by providing a recommendation letter for me. I remember you would express to us students that your class was not an easy class but you wanted to not only prepare us for the nursing program but once we became a nurse – “people’s lives depended on us.” Little did you know you also prepared me for what we are facing now during this pandemic. You would always say, “viruses are the most complicated, it takes a lot of research to understand them.” It all makes very much sense now. I want to be honest during the course of your class there were days I felt proud of myself and days I felt defeated and would literally cry….But through it all you taught me what hardwork and perseverance is and you prepared me and my fellow students what to expect once we got accepted into the nursing program. ….Thank you for all the lessons you have tught me and for you I am truly grateful.

Equally fitting for Nurses Appreciation Week, nursing Dean Carla Gard shared this video that the 1st semester nursing students and faculty made for our 4th semester nursing students, cheering them on to graduation.

Thank you to our fabulous nursing students and faculty!

Here is another video that you will enjoy. Community Colleges are the primary educators of our first responders, and BC has an excellent set of programs within our Public Safety metamajor pathways — Criminal Justice, Administration of Justice, Corrections, Fire Technology, Wildland and Paramedic.

There’s more information about this pathway on our website at

Back to College

We have expanded our Back to College offerings with non-credit courses in Basic Office Skills and ServSafe. These courses are free and open to the public. Visit for more information or to learn how to sign up.

Endee Grijalva, Jaime Lopez, and Anthony Cordova have put in so much time and effort into making this program available for those in our community who are or will be seeking employment. I’m thankful that once again, our BC team has anticipated a need and found a way to help. BC, “playing to where the puck is going to be” rather than “where the puck is.” We are BC!

We are also offering Early College Summer Courses for high school students, to give them a head start on their college careers. Go to to find out more about that program.

Steve Watkin, Ashlea Ward, and Nicole Alvarez did a great job putting this together and making sure the information got out to our students.

Kern Promise: Register Now!

The Kern Promise team put together a fun video to remind students to register for summer and fall.

Thank you to Abraham Castillo, Stephanie Hartfield, Jeff Laforce, and Isabel Castaneda for communicating this important information to our students.

The Kern Promise website has more information about this program to help students complete their Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) within two instructional years through structured support and priority access to courses.

BC Community, local leaders rock their masks

While I was looking through social media this week, keeping connected with our community even while we must maintain physical distance, I kept noticing folks adhering to Gov. Newsom’s guidelines of wearing non-medical masks when in public.

Jessica Wojtysiak, one of our deans of instruction, with her son John out on the Tehachapi loop and wearing masks that her grandmother made and shipped from Chicago:

I here are our student Renegades helping out with the drive-thru Renegade Pantry:

Rudy Salas showed how he and his colleagues at the State Capitol have returned to work with additional safety measures:

TJ Cox also posted a few photos wearing a mask and exercising social distancing:

Virtual Forums Continue

This week, we were able to bring back our virtual forum series, starting with an All-Campus Budget Update on Monday. We had 213 attendees tune in to hear from Mike Giacomini, VP or Finance and Administrative Services; Teresa McAllister, Faculty Chair of the Budget Committee; and Steven Holmes, Academic Senate President; discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic may affect our budget in the years to come, and how Bakersfield College is positioning itself to remain strong in difficult times.

If you missed this or any of our other forums, you can watch videos and find resources at

Project HireUp

This spring semester, Bakersfield College launched Project HireUp, a collaboration between BC, the Mission at Kern County, the faith-based local non-profit City Serve, and industry partners including Adventist Health. The goal of Project HireUp is to decrease homelessness in Kern County through a creative and innovative partnership that supports students who are currently experiencing housing insecurity in continuing their education and securing employment.

Jessica Martinez did a nice job of summing up the first Project HireUp cohort. Read the story Project HireUp Leads the Way for Pathways to Employment.

Teaching Inside in the Time of Corona

MERS Coronavirus Particles” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sara Wallace, English Professor at Bakersfield College has published her third entry for her blog titled: “Reflections from Inside: Teaching in the Inmate Scholars Program” on Medium.

This entry is titled: “Teaching Inside in the Time of Corona” and addresses some of the challenges the program has faced during the past seven weeks.

Virtual Student Information Desk

Amanda Stone and Kalina Hill greeted Aricia Leighton in the virtual lobby this week.

Every week, I continue to be amazed at how the BC team is adapting and coming up with new ways to serve our students in this time of business un-usual.

Our campuses may be closed, but Student Services is ensuring that our experts are still accessible through modern technology. Staff is available to answer your questions Monday through Thursday 10AM-6PM. Read more details at TALK TO AN EXPERT: New Student Information Desk.

Student Life Updates

Student Involvement and Leadership Awards

The Student Leadership and Involvement Awards Ceremony, coordinated by the Office of Student Life, is intended to recognize the accomplishments of student organizations and various student leaders at Bakersfield College. This annual event is a chance for all registered student organizations and student leadership to present their achievements to the rest of the College community and be recognized for their accomplishments.

See the list of Student Involvement and Leadership Awards winners.

The following is the video of the event:

Renegade Pantry

Monday, April 20th the Renegade Pantry served over 300 students with Emergency Food Boxes. Through collaboration with the Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK) Food Bank, the Office of Student Life staff were able to distribute boxes of canned fruits, veggies, pasta, frozen meat, and cheese.

Read about the 300 Households Served in Renegade Pantry.

And if students need assistance, they can still sign up for the Renegade Pantry Drive-Thru at

The Renegade Minute

BC’s Commercial Music students published the third season of the Renegade Minute podcasts. Among their guests are faculty, students and community members. Take a listen to The Renegade Minute/

Fun Photos

Our Academic Technology Department shared how they liven up their Zoom meetings. Thank you Tracy Lovelace, Pamela Rivers, Bill Moseley, David Greenfield, Matt Jones and Anita Karr for bringing some lighthearted fun to our virtual campus this week.

Kris Tiner in our Jazz Studies department is continuing to use technology in different ways to give his students new experiences. They recently had Kozue Matsumoto share the koto, a traditional Japanese instrument, during a Zoom class.

Lesley Bonds, Director of Student Success & Equity, had great company when she headed outside to catch Monday’s budget forum.



RESILIENCE III, the at-home workout plan designed for Renegade student athletes by our very own kinesiology faculty Zack Peters, Matt Moon and Konrad Dahl, was released on Monday. This is the third and final phase of the series of three-week workouts and is meant to get athletes back to normal speeds. You are not too late to get started on the workout yourself! Head to to get started or click this link:

2019-20 Renegade Athletics Annual Awards Announced

The Bakersfield College Athletics Department annually recognizes the accomplishments of its student athletes with both academic and athletic focused awards. As a department during the 2019-2020 year, the Renegades captured a total of three team conference championships (Women’s Volleyball, Soccer and Wrestling) and one individual state championship (Jonathan Hunter, Wrestling). This year’s awards and the winners are featured below. We are proud of not only these award winners, but for all of our student athletes who represent BC so well!

Team Community Service Award

Men’s Golf – Even though they suffered devastating news with more than half their season being canceled this spring due to COVID-19, the Renegade Men’s golf squad led all teams with a total of 614.5 hours of service in the community. As an entire department during the 2019-20 academic year Renegade Athletics teams served 2,021 hours in the Bakersfield community before the COVID-19 shut-down, shattering the beginning of the year department goal of 1,250 hours.

Weight Room Warrior

Yarabi Campos, Women’s Track & Field – A two-year student athlete for Coach Pam Kelley and the Renegade Track & Field program, Yarabi has proven to be a weight room warrior over the course of her BC career. Using the power of strength training to her advantage and being consistent with daily workouts, Yarabi’s work ethic has consistently increased her personal bests in shot, hammer and discuss.

Holden Williams, Football –  A two-year student athlete for Renegade football, Holden committed himself to the strength and conditioning program of Zack Peters, BC Director of Strength and Conditioning, and has seen dramatic results. After finishing the 2019 football season with 26 tackles and 4.5 sacks, Holden signed to continue his academic and football career at Portland State University.

Newcomer of the Year

Ally Dees, Volleyball – In her first year on the Renegade Volleyball Team, Alyson came in as a very reliable middle blocker for Coach Carl Ferreira to help the team to a fourth consecutive WSC Conference Championship. Over the course of the season she had a .411 hitting percentage, totaled 209 kills and 88 blocks. At the conclusion of the season she was named to the 2019 WSC South First Team All-Conference team.

Tyrell Coleman, Men’s Basketball – Breaking onto the court for Coach Rich Hughes, Tyrell was a consistent scoring force for the Renegades all season long. He led the team averaging 17.1 ppg (478 total points) with a 48.9 shooting percentage. At the end of the season he was named to the 2019-20 WSC South First Team All-Conference team.

Individual Performance

Neshara Smith, Women’s Track & Field – In her first meet as a Renegade for Coach Pam Kelley at the AVC All-Comers Meet on January 25, Neshara came out with a commanding performance taking first in the 100M dash (12.95), 200M dash (27.04) and long jump (18’5″, state qualifying mark). At the conclusion of the shortened season she led the state with top marks in the 100M hurdles and long jump.

Alejandro Murillo, Baseball – On February 7th when the Renegades hosted El Camino at Gerry Collis Field, Alejandro threw a 9-inning game collecting 15 strikeouts. The 15 K’s is highest number of batter’s he’s struck out in any one game during his two-year career at BC. Alejandro recently signed to continue his academic and baseball career at the University of Nevada.

Grit Award

Jenna Sampley, Women’s Basketball A freshman coming into the 2019-20 season, Jenna suffered a severe set-back when she broke her foot in summer training going into the season. Despite the misfortune, she stayed strong in her treatment reporting consistently to the athletic training room, helping in any way she could and overall maintaining a positive attitude. She was able to make it back to the court in December, immediately bringing energy, leadership and a spark to the team.

Adolfo Escudero, Men’s Cross Country and T&F – Adolfo has been a consistent two-year runner for Coach Pam Kelley for both the Renegade Cross Country and Track and Field programs. Deaf since birth, he has excelled in the classroom, earning 2019 Academic All-State Honors and is on track for 2020 Academic All-State Honors, all the while being a steady force for the team on the course and on the track. 

Career Achievement

Dasia Wandick, Women’s Basketball In her two year’s at BC, Dasia has been a consistent and dominant scoring machine for Coach Paula Dahl. In the 2018-19 season Dasia led the team with 14.5 points/game (363 total points) and 7.6 rebounds/game (189 total rebounds). At the conclusion of the season she was named to the WSC South All-Conference team. In the 2019-20 season she continued to lead the team with 15.3 points/game (428 total points) and 8.1 rebounds/game (227 total rebounds). At the end of the season she was once again named to the WSC South All-Conference team.

Edgar Gonzalez, Men’s Soccer Edgar was a solid and dependable bright spot for Coach Vayron Martinez during his two years on the Renegades Men’s Soccer team. In the 2018 season he played in all 20 games scoring seven goals with four assists and was named to the 2018 WSC First Team, 2018 CCCSCA All-Region Team and the 2018 CCCSCA All-State Team. In the 2019 season he was a key factor propelling the Renegades to their first conference championship in program history scoring six goals with seven assists. At the end of the season he was named to the 2019 WSC South First Team All-Conference, the 2019 CCCAA South Region Team and was honored as the 2019 WSC South Offensive Player of the Year.

Most Valuable Renegade

Penelope Zepeda, Women’s Volleyball – In 2019-20 Penelope led the Women’s Volleyball team to their fourth straight WSC Conference Title and into the second round of the CCCAA State Playoffs. A two year starter for Coach Carl Ferreira, Penelope was also an active participant in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. At the conclusion of the 2019 season she was named the WSC South Conference Player of the Year. In addition she was named to the 2019 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) 2nd Team All-American, the 2019 CCCAA 1st Team All-State and the 2019 Southern California 1st-team All-State. This coming fall she is headed to go to school and play volleyball at Western Oregon University.

Christian Gonzalez, Men’s Soccer – In 2019-20 Christian helped lead the Men’s Soccer team to the team’s first ever WSC Conference Championships in program history. A two year starter for Coach Vayron Martinez, he also actively participated in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. At the conclusion of the season he was named the 2019 WSC South Co-Defensive Player of the Year. In addition, he was named to the 2019 WSC South First Team, 2019 CCAA South Region Team and the 2019 CCCAA State Team. This coming fall he is headed to go to school and play soccer at Humboldt State University.

Scholar Athletes of the Year

Emily Lostetter, Women’s Soccer – Emily played as a Midfielder/Forward for Coach Scott Dameron the past two seasons. A Psychology major, Emily accumulated a 3.92 GPA in the classroom the last two years while scoring six goals with five assists in the 2018 season and four goals in the 2019 season.

Ryan Darbee, Baseball – Ryan has been part of Coach Tim Painton’s baseball program the last three years earning all-conference honors in 2018 and using a red-shirt year in 2019. An Administration of Justice major with a 3.75 GPA, Ryan has consistently excelled in the classroom and been a leader on the baseball team during his time as a Renegade.

Athletes of the Year

Penelope Zepeda, VolleyballPenelope Zepeda, Women’s Volleyball – In 2019-20 Penelope led the Women’s Volleyball team to their fourth straight WSC Conference Title and into the second round of the CCCAA State Playoffs. A two year starter for Coach Carl Ferreira, Penelope was also an active participant in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. At the conclusion of the 2019 season she was named the WSC South Conference Player of the Year. In addition she was named to the 2019 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) 2nd Team All-American, the 2019 California Community College Athletics Association 1st Team All-State and the 2019 Southern California 1st-team All-State. This coming fall she is headed to go to school and play volleyball at Western Oregon University.

Jonathan Hunter, Wrestling – Jonathan’s first season as a Renegade was one for the record books. As a 174 lb. wrestler for coaches Brett Clark and Marcos Austin, SCWA Coaches of the Year, Jonathan battled injury to help the team win its third conference title in the last four years. He would then go on to make quick work of his bracket at the state finals and claim an individual state championship and also be named a CCCAA All-American.

President Sonya Christian in front of a Bakersfield College wall.

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC – Responding to the unexpected

Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect – Margaret Mitchell

This quote has stuck with me the whole week as I kept up with my readings on pandemics, health data metrics, contact tracing apps and the development of a potential short term workforce, V-shaped rebounding of the economy, to now economists discussing a more protracted, or potentially, L-shaped recovery.

Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, May 2, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade

This week, President’s Cabinet rolled a fun video message for our BC students thanks to Dena Rhoades. Check it out.

BC Answers call for PPE

Darren Willis and our students at the Creative Design Center used our 3D printer makerspace to create face shields and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Cindy Collier presented Clinica Sierra Vista with 50 face shields on Wednesday, and we delivered another batch of face shields to the Bakersfield Family Medical Center.

Cindy Collier presents face shields to her daughter, Casey Wilkerson, who is a BC RN graduate and VP of clinical services at Bakersfield Family Medical Center

Visit the Bakersfield College website for more details about how our students are using 3D printers to help our healthcare workers, and check out the Creative Design Center page for more information about the longest-running makerspace in Kern County.

Thank you to Darren Willis and our Industrial Technology students for answering the call during these important times, and thank you again to the BC nurses on the frontlines of COVID-19.

Thank you also to The Bakersfield Californian, KGET, and KERO, for their coverage of this story.

And check out this video from Darren about how the PPE is made:

Virtual Forums. April 13th speakers

Let’s check out the videos from the Virtual Forum on April 13th.

California State Assemblyman Rudy Salas

Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

David Bynum

You can find archived videos of our virtual forums, and information about our response to COVID-19 on our COVID-19 website.

Virtual student events

This week, we have continued to be active with events to help our students succeed and to celebrate their talents.

Express Enrollment

The Office of Outreach and School Relations organized a Virtual Express Enrollment event on Wednesday. Each participant received the help they needed to complete all of the enrollment steps, including counseling, registering for classes and financial aid.

Thank you to the 45 staff members and student workers who were rockstars. Thnx to our Counseling, EOPS/Cal-SOAP, Financial Aid, A&R, and Marketing for collaborating with Outreach and Early College to ensure we were fully staffed and able to help those who attended. All around amazing teamwork… We are BC!

Visit the Registration Rocks page for more information about the next Express Enrollment event.

Virtual Transfer Day

Counselors from universities across the country engaged with BC students through Zoom at the 2020 Virtual Transfer Fair on Tuesday. Counselors like Ched Salasek from Grand Canyon University spoke with students on a one-to-one basis to walk Renegades through all of the programs and facilities that their schools have to offer.

Thank you to the Transfer Team for putting together this important chance for our students to continue their education. Read more information on the BC website or visit the Transfer Pathways page for more information about how to set yourself up for success when you graduate from BC.

Virtual Industrial Automation Day

Thursday’s Virtual Industrial Automation Day offered our community the chance to learn more about our innovative baccalaureate program. Staff members from the Industrial Transportation and Technology Pathway guided students through all of the career opportunities available with a degree in automation.

Thank you to Carlos Medina and the Career Education Team for working with the Industrial Transportation and Technology Pathway to put together this important expo for our students.

Virtual Performance of “Metamorphoses”

This weekend, the Bakersfield College Performing Arts Department presents an audio-only, virtual performance of “Metamorphoses,” a play based on the Myths of Ovid and written and originally directed by Mary Zimmerman.

The play is directed by Cody Ganger and edited by Kevin Ganger.

The audio-only performance will be available on the BC Performing Arts website until 10 pm on Sunday night.

The cast of “Metamorphoses” meets over Zoom

Grow With Google Small Business Seminars

The BC Launchpad is hosting a free series of digital skills webinars from the Business and Entrepreneurship Sector of California Community Colleges. The webinars are organized and hosted by Grow with Google, a small business initiative and relief fund.

The first webinar on April 23 focused on Reaching Customers Online with Google. On Thursday, the Grow with Google team hosted a webinar on using Google Search and Maps to optimize your business.

If you’re interested in the final webinar on May 14 about using data to drive business growth, which will be hosted by Corissa Saint Laurent, register through GoToWebinar.

To learn more about BC’s collaborative efforts to support entrepreneurs in Kern County, visit the BC Launchpad.

BC In the News: Craig Hayward on KGET

Craig Hayward, dean of Institutional Effectiveness, was featured in an investigative piece by KGET’s Karen Hua regarding data related to COVID-19.

He simply yet eloquently explained statistical principles in sample selection in data modeling.

#BC Goes Online

I’d like to share a few of the social media posts I found from our BC facutly and staff this week.

Our nursing students and staff are still working hard to keep our community safe. The BC library has been giving us a peek into their personal libraries. The old Memorial Stadium scoreboard was recently leveled. We’re working on a website to track our transfer-bound students (look for more on that in the coming weeks). And the 2020 Student Leadership & Involvement Award Ceremony went virtual this year.

Archives Throwback: Student Housing at Bakersfield College

In the 1960s, the Home of the Renegades was a literal home for many of our students who lived on campus. The dormitory for men was behind the Campus Center and had their own live-in maid named Eleanor. The women’s dormitory also had a live-in “den mother” named Miss Snell. The two houses were active in student activities and had their own associated fraternities and sororities.

Earl Parsons collected a few passages about on-campus housing from the 1966 Raconteur that offers a glimpse of life for those student residents. Check it out on the BC website for more details.

Student Perspective Corner

Our Marketing student workers Juan Reyes and Ramon Carreido have been attending some of the student life virtual events to check in on how our students are engaging with each other on remote platforms. Here are some of the events they’ve covered.

Renegades Surf the Web Earth Day Challenge

BCSGA used Facebook and Instagram to host an Earth Day challenge featuring our students’ creative appreciation and support for our environment. Students were encouraged to share art, music, poetry or anything to express their appreciation for the Earth.

Danny Escobar was announced as the BCSGA winner along with his friend, Brittany the Turtle, enjoying a sweet fruit and veggie salad while expressing their Earth Day pride.

Video Game and Netflix Streams with Student Life

The Office of Student Life is using video games to help Renegades stay connected while sheltering in place. On Monday, students logged in to Discord to organize matches through the competitive survival horror game Dead by Daylight. Benny Balderrama, Samantha Pulido, and Perla Villegas moderated the virtual chat and encouraged students to play together any way they could. On Thursday, the Office of Student Life streamed “Fallout: New Vegas” with students.

The Office of Student Life continues to stream the popular reality show “Tiger King” and engage with students through the Netflix Watch Party feature.

Cooking with BCSGA: Pancakes From Around the World

BCSGA students showed off their culinary skills at the end of Virtual Spring Fling week on Friday, April 24, during the Pancakes From Around the World event. Students flocked to the BCSGA YouTube account to watch their peers cook mouth-watering pancake dishes, including potato pancakes from Poland, Japanese souffle pancakes, and Venezuelan arepas.

The Office of Student Life posts their upcoming events on their website.


Next Level Gades!

We are excited to see another Renegade student athlete sign to move on to the next level this week. Ryan Bayne from Renegade Volleyball is headed to Humboldt State this fall. Ryan has been a part of Coach Carl Ferreira’s volleyball program for the last two years in winning back-to-back conference championships during her time. We are excited for Ryan and wish her all the best up north!

Former Renegade Solo Ajayi Signs with the Cleveland Browns

We were also excited to see a former Renegade football student athlete sign an undrafted free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns this last week.

Solo Ajayi had a great few seasons as a linebacker at BC from 2015-2016. Afterwards he moved on to play at Liberty University before his signing with the Browns.

We are rooting for you Solo!

Cheer Announces Virtual Tryouts for the 2020-21 Season

The BC Cheer team has announced it will be going forward with virtual tryouts for the 2020-21 season. The tryouts will take place the week of May 18th-21st with prospects submitting videos of their tryout. The team will primarily use the app ‘BAND’ for video sharing purposes.

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever