Student Success is Wonderful News!

Good morning Bakersfield. Here is a Calla Lily for you.

Calla Lily June 9 2018

It is Saturday, June 9, 2018 and a great day to be a Renegade.

It appears that I have been prolonging BC’s 104th commencement in every blog since the May 11th event.  Here I go again…..

Wonderful Graduates

Last week, I recognized all of BC’s 2018 Baccalaureate graduates and this weekend, I wanted to highlight our group of approximately 40 Wonderful Academy Dual Enrollment students who received their Associates degree from Bakersfield College on May 11th before graduating high school.

Orange County Event Photography

1st graduating class with Noemi Dinoso, Bill Thomas, Sonya Christian, Romeo Agbalog

Before the 104th Commencement, this group of young college graduates were met by Kern Community College District Trustee Romeo Agbalog for congratulatory remarks and to be recognized for their ambition and hard work.

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Trustee Agbalog addressing the graduates

May 11th was a huge day for these graduates and their families. It started with the Delano Pre-Commencement Celebration where most of them were greeted and congratulated by Chancellor Tom Burke and their day concluded with the 104th Commencement which took place in a packed Memorial Stadium.

Tom Burke at Delano Pre commencement Celebration May 11 2018

Chancellor Tom Burke (center) surrounded by select Dual Enrollment and Delano graduates

Orange County Event Photography

Congratulations to these brilliant young people. Each of them is a trailblazer and they have incredibly bright futures. They have been supported each step of the way by their families, their professors, their friends, each other, the Wonderful Education leadership, and our entire community. Let’s continue to root for these young men and women – they can and will do “Wonderful” things!

Orange County Event Photography

Dual Enrollment at BC

Speaking of the wonderful success of dual enrollment, Anna Laven wrote an opinion piece published in the Bakersfield Californian on Sunday about BC’s entire dual enrollment program, which offers college credit courses at more than 25 high schools throughout Kern County that are transferrable to BC, a CSU or UC.

Anna Laven June 1 2017“Dual enrollment gives our community and our young people the opportunity to experience college level courses and gain confidence in their academic success,” Laven said. The article also describes our partnership with the Wonderful Prep Charter Academy, which offers students the opportunity to receive an Associate Degree in agriculture in four years while working on their high school diploma.

“Bakersfield College is grateful for the hard work and commitment of our partners, whose efforts have resulted in developing a college going culture among rural Kern County communities,” Laven said.

Student Success Stories

I received an email last Monday from Don Turney about very exciting news concerning one of our recent graduates. His email is as follows:

Hi Sonya,

You probably already know this but just in case you don’t…this is pretty cool.  For the last year-and-a-half I’ve been driving up to the Wonderful College Prep Academy in Delano to teach high school juniors and seniors Psyc B1.  I also taught them a Psyc B20 class, “Social Psych.”

I got the greatest phone call last week.  Xochitl Morales, a junior student at the time I taught her those two courses, called to let me know she got into…Harvard!  Not only that, she got a “full-ride” scholarship.  Not only THAT, she was named a Bill and Melinda Gates scholar and all of her expenses will be covered.  Finally, she’s chosen to major in psychology and thanked me for helping her find her “path.”   How about that?

And they pay me to do this job.  Most days, I’d do it for free. Hope you are well and happy.  See you in the fall.

XochitlMorales

Xochitl Morales (center) with her parents

I knew I had to share this extraordinary student’s success with all of you. Xochitl Morales is a poet and musician raised in Delano. She has an exceptional gift for communicating her experiences and her plight as a Latina struggling with her identity in modern day America through music and the written word. She also shows an extraordinary drive to be active in her own education.

When Paramount Bard School, which later became Wonderful College Preparatory Academy, cut back on funding for Art education, Xochitl was instrumental in raising a campaign to bring back the arts through video communication and working with teacher and administration advocates. Her initiative and success became a featured article on California Alliance for Arts Education. I encourage you to read about her Student Advocacy Success Story. Her creativity and advocacy have not stopped at the school. She has recorded her poetry with music about the central valley and struggles of the Latin community.  NBC News wrote this article on the viral video and includes the Latin-Americans: The Children with a Dark Past video. You can watch this video Xochitl Morales Interview which captures wonderful shots of the Delano area.

 

Xochitl says that she’s very thankful for the opportunity that she had from Bakersfield College through the Wonderful Academy. She advises other high school students to take advantage of the dual enrollment classes to explore different academic topics to study in higher education. Taking 55 units of college credits helped her decide to major psychology and expanded her “academic circle.”

She also recommends the classes for the extra challenge and to explore different skills. Taking dual enrollment classes can help students make themselves unique, and extinguish themselves from other applicants at universities with challenging admission criteria. In fact, it was interest in philosophy that helped in writing her essay for her Harvard application. She was also thankful for the opportunities BC gave her as she met all of her academic mentors through BC and our faculty assisted her in getting acceptance to Harvard through their letters of recommendation.

When asked if she would be a first-generation college grad, she said she would have been until last year. Her father went back to school and graduated college last year so that Xochitl and her siblings would have no excuse for not attending college. What an excellent way to teach by example and how a college education is connecting families.

It is such a pleasure and a joy to hear success stories such as these and I am so proud that Bakersfield College was a part of this remarkable young woman’s journey to Harvard. I am a lucky president to have such wonderful faculty that inspire greatness in our students. I expect great things from Xochitl and all our BC Renegades.

Strong Workforce Stars

Bakersfield College recently received Strong Workforce Stars Gold recognition for the Radiologic Technology program. Students who participate in this program boost their earnings by 329%; 100% of them attain the regional living wage, and 100% of students get a job in their field of study.

Radiologic Technology Class of 2018

BC’s most recent graduates of Radiologic Technology: Class of 2018

Program Professor and Director Nancy Perkins attributes students’ strong workforce outcomes to multiple characteristics. For example, the RT Program regularly collects feedback from its students with satisfaction ratings on the program, courses, clinical training, and we ask students what are the program’s strengths and areas for improvement. From employers, the program collects employer satisfaction based on the technical and job skills that BC RT students have demonstrated. According to Ms. Perkins, the data collected have been valuable in developing a strong program for students.

Nancy Perkins

Nancy Perkins

The RT program utilizes a student cohort model, where students enter and progress through the RT curriculum together. Ms. Perkins identified the cohort model as a strength as students bond, assist on another, and study together. The cohort model also provides RT faculty the opportunity to know their students very well. The RT program has an Education Advisor for their students, who regularly meets with students to discuss their academic progress and monitors the students’ education plans. Additionally, workshops on Habits of Mind, note-taking, and time management are integrated with RT curriculum. In order to prepare students for a competitive job market, the RT program provides resume writing and job interview training.

EOP&S Region V Professional Development Conference

BC’s Extended Opportunities Program and Services (EOP&S) department hosted a professional development conference for all of the schools in Region V of the California community college system to share their strategies for providing assistance to first-generation and other educationally and financially disadvantaged students.

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Imelda Simos-Valdez

Imelda Simos-Valdez, director of BC EOP&S, Care, CalWORKs and Cal-SOAP programs, kicked off the conference in the Fireside Room by thanking all of the college representatives for traveling to Bakersfield for such an important professional development opportunity. Each member of the EOP&S staff also walked to the front of the Fireside Room and introduced themselves to the audience.

Vice President of Student Affairs, Zav Dadabhoy gave a brief introduction expressing his gratitude for community college EOP&S programs, adding that the EOP&S process should be the model for student success for all student populations. He also spoke of the transformation happening on campus with the construction and renovation funded by Measure J. “Everyone who works in education is changing people’s lives every day,” Dadabhoy said.

Dr. Zav Dadabhoy

Dr. Zav Dadabhoy

After Dadabhoy’s speech, the audience passed a microphone around the tables in the Fireside Room introducing themselves and told everyone the job title at their college. Simos-Valdez then gave some demographics information about BC’s student population and the locations of all our satellite campuses.

EOP&S Counselor Patricia Ramirez, went over the review packet and shared our process for registering students and determining eligibility for EOP&S programs. For the rest of the afternoon, the group spread out across the campus to attend several workshop sessions about topics such as CARE and CalWORKs collaborations, strategies to support foster youth, and guided pathways momentum points for EOP&S students. The group also went on a tour of BC’s EOP&S office and had an opportunity to network with each other after lunch.

 

 

Thank you to everyone who organized and attended the Region V Professional Development Conference and a big thanks to everyone who works hard to provide educational opportunities for these students across California.

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Fireside Room at Bakersfield College was packed on Thursday, June 7

 

Beautiful Bakersfield Awards

The 2018 Beautiful Bakersfield Awards Gala recognizes the individuals, organizations, and businesses for their efforts that improved the community’s quality of life last year.   This annual event recognized 128 nominees across 15 categories. The banquet and awards gala was broadcast live on KGET-TV 17’s Facebook page on June 3, 2018, at 7 p.m.

MESA Presentation

Connie Gonzalez and Jonathan Kim

Connie Gonzalez and Jonathan Kim

The Beautiful Bakersfield Awards Gala is sometimes known in our community as the “Oscars of Bakersfield” and it was amazing that BC’s Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement program was nominated. The kudos was for the First Annual MESA Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Pre-Health Conference that happened in April 2017 which welcomed over 300 students onto campus to explore careers in the STEM and Pre-health guided pathways.  The conference was held in partnership with UCLA MEDPEP and undergraduate admissions, USDA Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program, BC’s Chemistry, Engineering and Math Faculty, Grimmway Farms, Kern Medical, Aera Energy employees, Infrastructure Engineering Corporation and other industry partners that donated time and money.  The Awards were attended by Dr. Stephen Waller, Consuelo Gonzalez, MESA Director on the left and Jonathan Kim, MESA student.

Shout out to Hodels

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Photo from hodels.com

Over the Summer break, while BC’s Food Services department has been closed, the amazing Hodel’s has provided meals for our retreats and Summer Bridge students.

Sonya Christian and Bob Hodel Fall 2015

Sonya Christian, Bob Hodel

The Hodel family and their connection to Bakersfield College goes back to the 1920s. Hodel’s Country Dining started in 1967, but Lydia Hodel Wiebe used to work with the Weill family, a local retailer who helped found the Kern Community College District’s Weill Institute in downtown Bakersfield. If you visit Hodel’s today, you’ll see plaques for Renegades football adorned on the walls of the waiting area, and when we requested something a little bit different than their regular catering service, current owner Bob Hodel was more than happy to oblige because as Kasey told us, it’s “because you are BC!”

Hodels staff at BC

Hodels staff at BC

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Delicious Food from Hodels

Hodel’s classic country recipes, including its creamy mashed potatoes and gravy and juicy fried fish, were created by Lydia Bartel Hodel, known as “Mom” Hodel, who moved her family from the Dust Bowl in 1921 at the age of 16. “Mom” cooked for hay harvesting crews working with the Kern County Land Company before becoming the personal cook of Arthur S. Crites, a local property investor and chef who had political connections in the Calvin Coolidge administration. Crites recognized her natural predilection for culinary excellence, and he taught her several recipes that were being used by Coolidge’s personal chef in the White House.

Abel Guzman

Abel Guzman

“Mom” would become the manager of the Greeley School Cafeteria in the 1940s and started her second career as the head cook of Hodel’s after retiring in the spring of 1967. Hodel’s started in the Valley Plaza and opened several locations before renovating and centralizing to the Olive Drive location and adding two banquet rooms in the 90s and 2000s, according to the Hodel’s website.

I’d like to thank the Hodel family and Hodel’s Country Dining for their decades of supporting BC, and for their amazing hospitality to cater Summer Bridge and our retreats for President’s Cabinet and Finance and Administrative Services.

Spotlight on Student Employment and Internships

National Student Employee Appreciation week 2018

National Student Employee Appreciation week 2018

Did you know Bakersfield College employs close to 500 student employees each year? Each of them contributes significantly to the day-to-day operations of the on-campus departments while earning on the job experience that they will take with them once they graduate. In April, we recognized students for their outstanding performances during National Student Employee Appreciation Week and I covered this in my blog on April 14th. Special thank you to Stephanie Baltazar and all in CTE and Student Employment who facilitate some incredible employment opportunities for our students.

Remembering Renegades

Jerry Ludeke in the BC Archives has notified us that Bob Wickey passed away on June 5th. Jerry said,

Bob was well loved on campus for his happy smile and his easy way, almost a pixie sense of humor.  He and his wife Jean had friends who were a cross section of the faculty and staff.  He was originally listed in the college directories as teaching Engineering and Industrial Drawing and later Physical Science.  Bob came to BC in 1965 and stayed for around 27 years.  They retired in Bakersfield.

Bob was instrumental in building a strong chemistry program at our College, and our current chemistry faculty stand on the foundation of his efforts. In March, Dean of Instruction, Stephen Waller ran into a BC chemistry grad, and she was asking about Bob, who inspired her to become a chemist.

President’s Cabinet Retreat

President's Cabinet

On Monday, President’s Cabinet met to discuss goals and work plans for the 2018-2019 academic year. This group is comprised of direct reports to the president of Bakersfield College, as well as other members who serve at the discretion of the president. President’s Cabinet provides the president of Bakersfield College a forum for vetting decisions prior to implementation.​

President's Cabinet Summer Retreat June 3 2018

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Todd Coston, Lesley Bonds, Abel Guzman participating in a game a jeopardy organized by Manny at Cabinet June 4 2018

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Abel Guzman speaking at Cabinet June 4 2018

Todd Coston speaking Cabinet Retreat June 4 2018

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Manny Mourtzanos speaking at Cabinet.jpg

Corny snapped these two pictures of me enjoying time with the members of Cabinet.

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Accreditation Commission Meeting:

The following day I left for the accreditation commission meeting in San Francisco.  At these meetings I am always reminded of how committed the commissioners are in ensuring academic quality and integrity in Higher Education.   We also have a great staff at ACCJC led by CEO Richard Winn.  I forgot to snap photos.  But here are a few, starting with the view from my room and a second one with Ian Walton, the incoming chair of ACCJC who was toasting Richard Mahon who had completed a six-year term as commissioner.  The commission has a term limit of 6 years.

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Ian Walton toasting Richard Mahon June 6 2018

Fun Photos

Paul Beckworth, Angelica Perez, and Armando Trujillo at Porterville College

Paul Beckworth, Angelica Perez, and Armando Trujillo

Bakersfield College Veteran Services were on hand to support Porterville College as it unveiled its Veterans Monument this past Wednesday morning.

If this is not a face looking to create trouble then I am not sure what is….  and then there are the times that he is calm and relaxed.  My most relaxing evenings are when I am in the backyard reading or working and Neo is on the edge of the porch calm and surveying his kingdom–the backyard.

 

 

Finally got back to the gym after 8 weeks of hiatus.  Yes!

Sonya Christian on treadmill after 8 weeks of hiatus June 7 2018

It is a great time to be at BC!

Sonya Christian heading to commission meeting June 6 2018

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

 

Remembering, Celebrating, and Planning

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, June 2, 2018 …a great day to be a Renegade.

On Monday, we spent the day reflecting on the men and women who gave their lives fighting to protect the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that our nation was founded on. Every year on Memorial Day, we honor the US soldiers who died in military service with the greatest sacrifice an individual can make for their country. Originally known as Decoration Day, Americans started commemorating loved ones who died fighting the Civil War during the second half of the 18th Century, but it wasn’t recognized as an official holiday until a declaration by an act of Congress in 1971. It’s important to note that Memorial Day is intended to honor soldiers who have died in military service—Veterans’ Day in November honors the contributions of all current and former armed service members, while Armed Forces Day celebrated all currently-serving military personnel on May 19 this year.

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In honor of Memorial Day, Bakersfield College Veteran Services helped out this past Saturday making care packages for deployed service personnel with Good Samaritots, directed by Brooke Whitehead-Tolles.  This organization fosters compassion and social responsibility through tot-friendly community service projects.

Samaritots

Brooke reading from “H is for Honor”.

 

In this picture, we all stopped working while Brooke read to the children a book called H is for Honor.  This book explores the branches of the armed forces and speaks from the heart about the honor, privileges and sacrifices of military families everywhere.

Many of us were at the 1000 Flags event at Riverwalk.  Thank you Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary for hosting and sponsoring this event.

Sonya Christian Memorial Day May 28 2018

Sonya Christian at Thousand Flags

And here is Carlos Barbaran

 

 

And Paul Beckworth with his dogs, Toccoa and Clemson, at the very beautiful and poignant Thousand Flags at River Walk, on Memorial Day.

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Paul Beckworth at Thousand Flags

Paul Beckworth’s Message: Remember.

Paul Beckworth did some research in the archives with Jerry Ludeke and VA work-study Chris Yrena and found some incredible documents. I received an email this week where he shared them with me and included this message:

“I have put out rather intense Memorial Day messages the past few years but did not this year.  However, when I saw the World War II list of BC dead I realized I did have a rather intense Memorial Day message.

That message is:
Remember

Wow…  Let us take a moment and reflect on these handwritten lists of BC students killed or MIA in action from World War II. Paul mentioned one of them died in a POW camp after being captured and these lists may or may not be comprehensive. But regardless, these lists are very telling — they are our history.

 

SSSC31-KM-318053013280Celebrating Veterans on Campus

Paul also updated the list of faculty who have served in any branch of the military. If you are not listed here, but should be added, please contact Paul Beckworth or leave me a comment. 

United States Marine Corps

Armando Trujillo
Felix Ramirez (retired), 22 years of service
Jason Mattheus, 6 years of service
Jeremy Staat, 4 years of service
Juan Torres, 6 years of service
Luke Thomas

 

United States Navy

David Whalen, 5 years of service
Di Hoffman, 3 years of service
Diana Alcala, 6 years of service
Eddie Rangel, 3 years of service
Jahnea Palfrey, 4 years of service
Manuel Fernandez, 11 years of service
Paul Beckworth, 10 years of service
Richard McCrow, 30 years of service
Robert Torres, 4 years of service
Tony Cordova

United States Army

Charlie Fivecoat, 3 years of service
F. Javier Llamas, 8 years of service
Joe Escalante, 4 years of service
Pat Smith, 5 years of service
Patrick Coyle, 5 years of service
Patrick Fulks, 2 years of service
Rex Gonzales, 2 years of service
Richard Castallon, active

 

United States Air Force

Bernadette Martinez, 4 years of service
Christine Dunn, 3 years of service
Malissa Buggs, 21 years of service
Myron Patton, 4 years of service

United States Coast Guard

Glen Gustafson, 6 years of service
Thomas T. Rush, 4 years of service

 

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Continuing to highlight the 104th Commencement

I want to highlight each of the seven graduates who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Bakersfield College

 

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Back Row: Chancellor Tom Burke, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Trustee Kyle Carter, Trustee Bill Thomas, President Sandra Serrano, President Sonya Christian, President Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, President Greg Chamberlain, President Bob Allison, Vice President Zav Dadabhoy, and Vice President Liz Rozell

Front Row: Richard Van Horne, Miguel Ceja, Kori Masilon, Griselda Flores, Dawn Mosley, Timonthy Carrillo, and Armando Gutierrez

This history setting group was part of many firsts on May 11th, you can read about in my in-depth commencement coverage in the blog piece  from Saturday, May 12th titled “A Commencement of Firsts.”

I wanted to take a time to recognize each of these incredible graduates.

Richard Van Horne

 

Miguel Ceja

 

Kori Masilon

 

Griselda Flores

 

Dawn Mosley

 

Timothy Carrillo

 

Armando Gutierrez

 

Our community will celebrate the accomplishments of these 7 graduates for many years to come as I know they will continue to give back to the communities in which they live, giving of their knowledge, skills, and talents. Congratulations to these men and women for their accomplishment. i-dssfs7p-x3

 

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Chamber Singers will perform on June 30th before heading to Australia

Let’s get together in the Indoor Theater on June 30th to bid farewell to our Chamber Singers as they start their Australian performance tour ending with the Sydney Opera House.  And I heard that both Monty Byrom and Lydia Ranger will be joining the performance on June 30th.

Bridge Over Troubled Waters with Monty Byrom and Lydia Ranger

BC’s Public Safety

I wanted to take a moment to recognize our Public Safety Department for all they do to keep this campus safe 24 hours a day.  Here is a comparison of Public Safety’s responsibilities in 2018 compared to 2013 given BC’s explosive growth in students across our service area.

2013 2018
Panorama Campus

 

Delano Timmons Campus

Panorama Campus
Delano Timmons Campus
Weill Institute Campus
SouthWest Campus
RFK High School Campus
Sites where BC has evening classes:
Shafter High School
Arvin High School
McFarland High School
Wasco High School
Delano High School
Olive Drive Training Facility (Bakersfield)
West Tec Campus (Shafter)

On top of patrolling the campus with a watchful eye, and escorting students, faculty and staff to their cars at night, Public Safety also hosts informational seminars about proper emergency response, rape aggression defense, and what to do in the event of an active shooter situation on campus. The next seminar is open to the public and free of charge. This 3-part RAD class (Rape Aggression Defense) will take place beginning June 1st at 8AM. If you plan to attend, please wear comfortable gym clothes and tennis shoes. This program is part of BCs Public Safety Department’s commitment to enhancing safety through education and prevention.

Our campus officers do an incredible job creating a safe and welcoming atmosphere for everyone who comes to our campus. They are visible, approachable, and helpful. If you see anything you wish to report, please do. As Chief Counts teaches us, “If you see something, say something, and let’s do something about it!”

Here is the newest group photo that shows 31 of the 50 employees within the department. Thank you – all of you, for what you do!

Public Safety Group Photo

First National Telecast of the CCCAA Track and Field Championship

A national telecast of the 2018 California Community College Athletic Association Track & Field Championships debuted on ELEVEN SPORTS USA on Wednesday evening. The 2-hour edited show from the 68th state meet at Bakersfield College is scheduled to re-air June 5th from 7:00AM – 9:00AM (P.T.).

trackThe show opens with a ceremony involving Jim Ryun that commemorates his world record 3:51.1 mile set on the Bakersfield Stadium track just over a half century ago. Featured in conjunction with that ceremony is a message from another mile world record breaker, Sebastian Coe, now the President of the International Association of Athletics Federations. He emphasized the importance of running and pointed to the twenty-four mile races which will be run in each time zone around the world on Global Running Day, June 6.

The telecast was sponsored by the California Community College Cross Country and Track Coaches Association, with underwriting by Wall2Wall Sport. It was produced by Fred Baer, College of San Mateo Sports Information Director. Host announcer was George Devine, Jr., with interviews by Gary Dilley (retired CSM athletic director) and commentary by Mark Covert (retired Antelope Valley Coach) and Baer. The edited program can be viewed, on demand, on that Silicon Valley network’s website.

This event was truly spectacular. Thank you Jim Coggins, Bill Potter, Antero and others who made it happen in beautiful Memorial Stadium! Special Thanks to Mary Jo Pasek for all her dedicated work facilitating the attendance of Jim Ryun and his wife Ann. Of course, it would not have been possible if not for the hard work from the Athletics staff and student workers! Thank you, Coach Kelley, Coach Courtney, Coach Sanchez, Keith Ford, Todd Hansen, Darrell Ballard, Fred Smith, Mike Medeiros & Tricia Gay.

Renegade Volleyball

Last Sunday, the Bakersfield Californian reported about the three student-athletes on our volleyball team who got scholarships to play at four-year universities.

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Alex Paris of BC gets the dig in the match against El Camino, photo from Felix Adamo of The Bakersfield Californian

Outside hitter Alexis Paris got accepted to play NCAA Division I volleyball for Niagara University in New York, while libero Haley Sanchez will be a Sooner for the University of Oklahoma in the NCAA’s Big 12 Conference. Middle blocker Brooke Horack also got accepted to Marymount California University in Ranchos Palos Verdes.

BC volleyball coach Carl Ferreira is quoted in the article expressing pride in his players’ accomplishments.

“These three kids are gonna walk into their schools mature, experienced and really ready to contribute because of the ability to know how to control their minds on a day-to-day basis,” Ferreira said.

The article includes two stunning photos by by Felix Adamo, one of our towns best photo journalists.

Fun Retreat Day Photos

EAC met for a special retreat day at BC SouthWest on Tuesday. The morning included many operational training activities and even time for a power walk at Riverwalk park, across the street, along with structured time for sharing and discussion. 

EODAC Retreat 2018

Academic Technology visited an Escape Room to develop team building and shared the following photo with me after their great escape! This amazing crew does so much for so many students who use academic technology for online courses.

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Tracy Lovelace, Bill Moseley, Pam Rivers, Anita Karr, and Matt Jones

Dual Enrollment Workshop

Campus came together on Thursday in Levan Center to celebrate successes so far, issues to tackle, and create a plan of action for 2018-2019.

 

Abel Guzman and Corny Rodriguez shared some data and I could not believe the growth we have had in dual and concurrent enrollment with students in High School.   We are BC!

Here is a graph that captures student enrollment divided by BC’s 10 meta major pathways.

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Check out the growth from one year to the next

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And then this year we graduated the first cohort of students from Wonderful Academy with an Associates Degree at the same time they graduated from high school.  Here is the timeline:

Time line to first graduating class from Wonderful Academy.png

 

Calling all Homeschoolers!

Bakersfield College will be hosting our first ever Express Enrollment with a special homeschool/concurrent enrollment track. On June 19, starting at 8:00AM at the Panorama Campus, any high-school homeschool students who are ready to begin tackling college-level work can complete all the steps needed to become a Renegade in just one day.

Concurrent enrollment is free (not including books / materials), and allows students to complete classes for high school and college credit simultaneously, while getting a taste of what college classes are like. Interested students should bring their parents (this is required for concurrent enrollment paperwork), and plan on spending most of the day at BC. If you have any sort of transcript or record of the work you have completed, it wouldn’t hurt to bring that with you so counselors can help you choose the best classes.

The homeschool track also includes a special parent session, to help you find answers to your questions and provide you with some ways you can support your student as they begin college classes. If you would like to join us for this Homeschool Concurrent Enrollment Event, we would appreciate it if you can fill out the following form, so we know you are coming!

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Parking Lot Renovation Project is Moving Along

Bill Potter, BC’s Director of Maintenance and Operations, has told me in a recent update that the Parking Lot Renovation project is ahead of schedule. Check out this collage of photos as together, we build A Better BC!parking

Celebration at Nick Strobel’s on completing BC’s Institutional Self Evaluation for Accreditation

ISER Team at Nick Strobel's House June 2 2018.jpg

Sonya Christian, Jessica Wojtysiak (son John), Jason Stratton, Sarah Baron, Sondra Keckley, Liz Rozell, Nick Strobel

Nick Strobel and Sondra Keckley June 2 2018

The families who supported their loved ones who worked late nights to get the ISER completed.

ISER Team with their families.jpg

Loved seeing this opinion piece by Reggie Williams in Friday’s Bakersfield Californian

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Sonya Christian at 1000 Flags Riverwalk May 28 2018That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Summer Bridge Begins at BC

 

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, May 26, 2018 and a great day to be a Renegade.  And why wouldn’t it be…. I woke up to BC everywhere in The Bakersfield Life Magazine.

On page 12 a spotlight on our new Vice President of Instruction, Liz Rozell.  Just love her gorgeous smile.

Liz Rozell in Bakersfield Life Magazine May 18 2018

And then on page 41 a picture of Tina Mendoza. faculty at Taft College, and Nicky Damania, Director of Student Life.

Tina Mendoza and Nicky Damania in Bakersfield Life Magazine May 18 2018

On page 21 there was Tamara Baker, a dining diva, who is right now at KEDC and will be starting at Bakersfield College shortly.  Sorry, Richard Chapman and Cheryl Scott 🙂

Tamara Baker with Dining Divas on page 41 of the Bakersfield Life Magazine May 26 2018

And finally, on page 76, a two-page recognition of our Renegade Baseball team and our amazing student athlete Zach Williams.  Coach Tim Painton is so proud of his players.

Zach Williams Renegade Baseball Athlete in Bakersfield Life May 26 2018

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104th Commencement for the third week in a row.  

This time let’s listen to Dr. John Gerhold sing our national anthem.

 

Summer Bridge at BC

With the 2017-18 academic year wrapped up, BC is transitioning to getting our students ready for summer and fall.

We’ve kicked off the largest year ever for the Summer Bridge to BC program, an interactive day-long orientation that gives incoming freshmen the opportunity to engage with faculty one-on-one and in group settings while touring the BC campus with experienced and knowledgeable student mentors.

I love seeing the new groups of students throughout the summer touring the campus.

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As of last Thursday, there were only two open seats for students to enroll in Summer Bridge, which is offered as a course titled ACDV B55 – First Year Student Success. It’s an incredible time to be at BC!

More on Jim Ryun and the State Track Meet at BC

It was great to see friends and supporters out at the State Championships last weekend at Memorial Stadium. Dean Lofgren from El Camino College sent me the following photo with a lovely message.  He said:

We have always enjoyed coming to the well-hosted Bakersfield College meet(s). Over the many years, the Bakersfield College staff of Pam Kelley (and formerly Bob Covey) have a superb job in staging these major events. Having the infamous Jim Ryun attend this year was an added bonus. Thanks again and hope to be back again soon.

 

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See my friends, if you haven’t been to the campus on the hill in a while, it’s a great time to visit. BC is an incredible place of talent, dreams, and champions.

Here are some more photos from Nick Ellis of The Bakersfield Californian

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Bob Covey, Jim Ryun, Ann Ryun, Bill Thomas, Pam Kelley

Bill Thomas May 18 2018

Bill Thomas

Jim Ryun May 18 2018

Jim Ryun

Here are two photos I snapped: A selfie with two men from Bakersfield College who met up at Congress — Bill Thomas and Jim Ryun.

Bill Thomas and Jim Ryun May 18 2018

Was happy to see faculty member Jeremy Staat helping out Coach Pam Kelly for the statewide meet.  Here he is with Sandi Taylor

Sandi Taylor, Jeremy Staat at Jim Ryun event

Thank you Nick Ellis for this great picture

Sandi Taylor, Sonya Christian Photo by Nick Ellis

Sandi Taylor, Sonya Christian

 

MESA Awards Banquet

The students in the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program at BC got an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments with their peers during an awards banquet on Wednesday in the Fireside Room.

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Dean Stephen Waller

Dean Stephen Waller gave a brief speech before attendees enjoyed an Italian dinner catered by Frugatti’s, reminding MESA participants that although the majority of them are first-generation college students, their hard work representing BC’s STEM program and helping organize events such as the MESA STEM and Pre-Health Conference have established a high reputation both for themselves and BC’s MESA program.

Mesa celebration May 2018

Graduating student Sharina Washington gave a testimonial about her time in the MESA program, expressing her heartfelt gratitude to MESA Director Connie Gonzales for pushing her to reach her highest potential and giving her the tools to earn the PG&E Black Engineering Scholarship and the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship.

Connie Gonzales Mesa May 2018

The evening’s keynote speaker was Jose Salinas, a former MESA participant who graduated from UC Davis with a degree in mechanical engineering and currently works for Northrup-Grumman, one of the largest aerospace and defense contractors in the world. After struggling at Cuesta College, Salinas’ participation in BC’s MESA program reinvigorated his love of mathematics and gave him the assistance he needed as a first-generation college student. Salinas would go on to become a tutor for the MESA program and participate in a workshop at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, an experience which helped him realize his passion for the aerospace industry. After graduating from UC Davis, Salinas got accepted to USC for the master’s program in astronautical engineering.

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Wayne Cooper

After the keynote speech, representatives from the US Department of Agriculture announced the MESA students who earned the summer and fall STEM internships with the National Resource Conservation Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The organization also won the award for MESA Sponsor of the Year. BC chemistry professor Wayne Cooper presented awards for the A+ Scholars program, which provides financial resources to help STEM students transfer to four-year universities. He also announced all of the MESA students who are graduating or transferring before being presented with MESA’s Professor of the Year award.

My heartfelt thanks for everything that our MESA program does to help first-generation STEM students at BC, and I wish all of the graduates the best of luck as they transition to the college or career of their dreams.

Inmate Scholars Program

On Tuesday, activist and media personality Danny Morrison wrote an article on his website praising BC’s Inmate Scholars program, writing that “inmate education could be the elixir to some of the most deeply-rooted, long-standing systemic barriers plaguing our most marginalized communities.”

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Danny Morrison and Sonya Christian, photo from dannymorrisonmedia.com

Morrison, who hosts a radio show on 103.9 FM The Beat, as well as “The Danny Morrison Media Show” on The Beat and Canoodle Studios, went into intense detail about the Inmate Scholars program, praising BC’s Program Manager Chelsea Esquibias and its success rates, as well as the program’s efforts toward reducing recidivism and encouraging adult participation in higher education courses.

In his article, he shared the success rates and made the comment that the “numbers don’t lie.”

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“This comprehensive program should serve as the template for correctional facilities all throughout the country,” Morrison said. “In my personal experiences with the program, I have seen growth within some of the most hardened inmates like you never thought possible.”

Brandon Johnson of ABC 23 also recently shared how “inmates up and down Kern County are getting a second chance courtesy of Bakersfield College.”  The news clip can be seen on Facebook here.

Celebrating Hall EMT Grads

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Photo from the Hall EMT Facebook

The Bakersfield Californian’s Steven Mayer covered the Hall EMT academy graduation in an article which he started by announcing, “Hundreds of family members and friends gathered to watch Tuesday as 30 recruits graduated from the Hall EMT Academy to become Kern County’s newest first responders.” On hand for the celebration was KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke.

Titled, “First time ‘without our boss,’ Hall EMT academy graduates 30,” Mayer’s article combined both a tribute to Harvey Hall  with a celebration of the hard work and accomplishments of these new EMT’s. He said, “During their 350 hours of training — done in partnership with Bakersfield College — the entire spectrum of emergency medical services is covered, including airway, respiration & ventilation; cardiology & resuscitation; trauma; and EMS operations. Upon completion of the coursework, they are prepared to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam.” See the full article here.

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BC Umoja Grads

PaulaParksPaula Parks has a piece in the local Bakersfield News Observer spotlighting the BC Umoja Grads by covering the end of the year Umoja celebration. You’ll want to read it for yourself by clicking here. I loved her statement, “In essence, culture and community are empowering. I am committed to the success of our students because I know their potential.”

This, my friends is one of the many reasons why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever.

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Information Technology Rocks at BC

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Jennifer Serratt and Todd Coston

On Thursday morning, I heard of a student currently in the Air Force stationed overseas who was having some IT connection issues with their online classes and needed support to troubleshoot. Jennifer Serratt sprung into action calling on the IT Director Todd Coston who didn’t hesitate to look into the existing case details and work to find a solution. Jennifer assured the student we would work on having a solution for them the next day! (It was 11:30PM overseas!) By 8AM local time for the student, a solution had been created by our IT staff on campus and at the District Office. Here’s to two rock stars who work hard for our students!

And speaking of Todd Coston and the IT department, they celebrated their annual retreat day with team building and activities for the IT staff, graphic designers, and web content editors! The day included a photo scavenger hunt where the teams had to be creative and take specific photos on campus. The groups also built boats, raced toy cars, and competed in an exercise that involved stacking cups using a rubber band attached to strings.

This special day full of team building exercises is a great experience for our IT department. Special thanks to Todd Coston, Monika Scott and Hernando Mondragon for planning and hosting the various activities.

 

Fun Photos CSEA Appreciation Week

This week, BC celebrated Classified School Employee Week and had a luncheon on Tuesday afternoon. On Thursday appreciation grams were delivered around campus bringing smiles to many. California’s Legislature recognized the important contributions of classified school employees by naming the third full week of May “Classified School Employee Week” (CSEW) in honor of their contributions. Classified school employees play crucial roles in education.  Here are some photos from the luncheon:

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Joint Committee on the Arts Informational Hearing

On May 16th, Dr. Oliver Rosales spoke in Sacramento at the Joint Committee on Arts regarding California and the Humanities: Building Bridges and Amplifying Voices. You can view the clip online and Dr. Rosales begins speaking at 1:36:50.

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Recognizing that the Arts contribute significantly to the quality of life in California, and play an important role in the identity, innovation and economy of this state, and citing the dramatic decline in arts education programs in the state’s public schools, the Joint Committee on the Arts was formed in 1984. The Committee is authorized and directed to study, investigate and analyze:

  • Goals appropriate to the future of the arts and cultural life of California and the role the Legislature and state government should play in achievement of these goals;
  • Arts legislation in other states and at the federal level and recommendations for legislation in this state;
  • The status of arts education in California;
  • The economic impact of the Arts in California; and
  • The budget and programs of the California Arts Council.

President’s cabinet

On Monday of this week, President’s Cabinet started its first of a series of retreats to evaluate last year and start planning for next year.

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This is a great group of individuals who are on call 24-7 — dedicated to our students, to the college, and dedicated to the community.

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It is a great time to be at Bakersfield College.  

 

 

Sonya Christian, Jim Ryun Selfie May 18 2018

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Unity in Our Community

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, May 18th and woke up this morning to the very sad news of the passing of a legend in our community, Mayor Harvey Hall.

Unity in Our Community

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Harvey Hall speaking on behalf of Measure J

When we hear the phrase Unity in Our Community the face that comes to mind is that of Mayor Harvey Hall.

Joseph Luiz says in his article in The Bakersfield Californian:

One of the main phrases he used during that time was “Unity in Our Community,” reflecting his desire to recognize accomplishments, the city’s diverse population, celebrations and more.

Harvey Hall was a die hard Renegade. Most recently, Mayor Hall was the chair of the Measure J bond for Bakersfield College, KCCD.  He did a great Community Voices piece for The Bakersfield Californian.

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The picture below was taken at the opening event of BC’s Social Justice Institute which Harvey Hall was the founding co-chair, along with Milt Younger.

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Mayor Hall, RIP, I thank you for your steadfast and unwavering support of Bakersfield College.

Now, onto other topics….

Woke up this morning to two pieces in the Californian authored by BC faculty.  BC’s Japanese faculty member Yuki Takeuchi wrote a community voices piece on teaching in the prison.  (https://tinyurl.com/ycfwozjb)

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The second piece was Nick Strobel’s Stargazing article.  Nick Strobel took a moment to recognize the historic significance of last week’s Commencement before promoting the Kern Astronomical Society’s free public star party tonight at Barnes and Noble on California Avenue.

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Tonight, star gazers will be able to view Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest planets in the solar system, at about the same altitude above the horizon but at opposite sides of the sky. Nick’s column also talks about the Mars InSight lander currently flying toward the Red Planet with the hope of being able to relay information back to Earth by utilizing the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter already on the planet.

In June, the Kern Astronomical Society will be meeting for another stargazing at Panorama Park, then the group will be at the Park at River Walk for July’s event.

Find the article at: https://tinyurl.com/y94st4xp

Em and Chef Suzanne

Chef Suzanne and Emily Dec 2017

And then I received this email from Darlene Mohlke of Castle and Cook who also serves with me on the Homeless Shelter Board and the Chamber of Commerce Board.  Her granddaughter Emily Aldritt was recognized as the California Student Volunteer of the Year.

Here is the interview we discussed today. https://tinyurl.com/y82v4xz4.   If it were not for the two wonderful mentors Emily has in Leah Carter and Suzanne Tangeman there would not be a story or a Governor’s Award.  The BC Kitchen, and her BC chef’s uniform are proudly on display!

Emily Aldritt, you inspire us!

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More on the 104th Commencement

I am still reminiscing about BC’s 104th Commencement last weekend. The evening was surely one to remember. We celebrated student accomplishments, transformation, and life changing moments with graduates and their families. It is ceremonies like May 11th that make visible the way that lives are changing in this community one degree at at time.

Check out this video created by Manny De Los Santos covering five of the 104th commencement speakers.  You can definitely see Manny’s creative touch.  Love the music in the background.

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CommencementDr. Robert Allison served as President of Bakersfield College from 1997-1998, but he has a long history of heart and contribution to the college in a multitude of roles. In an email earlier this week, he was also reminiscing about the incredible evening of May 11, 2018.

He said,

I want to thank you for including me in the magnificent graduation ceremonies last Friday evening. You should know that the experience was very special to me. As I sat on the podium and gazed at the massive crowd, which must have been at least 10,000, I reflected on the 55 years that I have been a part of Bakersfield College. I thought about the record number of graduates as compared with the number in 1964 and other graduations and, of course, the significance of our first bachelor’s degrees awarded – and that I was there to be a part of that.

I thought about the many changes we have seen but that essentially BC is, as it always was, about bringing educational excellence to our communities. Margaret Levinson, whose job I later filled, was the dean of instruction in 1963. She made it clear to us neophyte instructors that BC’s academic standards were as high as any university and we should not forget it. Our curriculum was not based on Berkeley’s for nothing!

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Chancellor, Trustees, Past Presidents, Vice Presidents, and graduates of the 2018 Baccalaureate Class in Industrial Automation.

Congratulations to BC Firefighters!

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On May 15, we celebrated the graduating class of 2018 Firefighter I graduates. The Bakersfield College Fire Science program was first set up by joint efforts of Chief Phil Pifer of the Bakersfield Fire Department and Norman Harris, coordinator of technical vocational education at Bakersfield college in 1956.

A special curriculum was designed for Bakersfield city firefighters which included academic courses required for an associates of arts degree, the on-the-job training included the use of all types of fire fighting equipment, and the use of motorized fire equipment under emergency conditions.

This fire science program developed into an in-service program for all fire agencies in Kern county. The main agencies involved were Bakersfield fire department and Kern County Fire Department.

 

Welcoming Jim Ryun to Memorial Stadium

Jim RyunBakersfield College is honored to host the 2018 CCCAA Track and Field Championships this weekend and we are privileged to welcome Jim Ryun back to Memorial Stadium where he shattered the world record for fastest mile with a blazing fast 3:51.1 mark on June 23, 1967. A crowd of 10,000 cheered him on that evening.

 The Bakersfield Californian highlighted this week’s festivities with track-and-field legend Jim Ryun. Ryun who also served as a member of the House of Representatives from 1996 to 2007, hosted a meet-and-greet at the Sheraton Hotel on Thursday and signed autographs.

See the video of Jim Ryun at Memorial Stadium on youtube!

 

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Bob Covey and Ron Jones, photo from http://theleanberets.com

Bob Covey brought some historical details about the event in 1967 to campus and shared them with Athletic Director, Sandi Taylor and Sandi, in turn shared them with me! Bob Covey coached over 40 years for Bakersfield College, Oregon State, and USA olympic development. It’s amazing to learn about the rich history that has taken place at the Home of the Renegades. Bob has shared more about the history of Track at Bakersfield College in a Podcast at theleanberets.com! Listen here.

79th Track and Field Championships by Bob Covey

Mary Jo Pasek organized a meet and greet on Thursday evening and it was a great evening of story telling.  Thank you Joseph Bergman for the photos.

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Stig Jantz, Sandi Taylor, Sonya Christian, Ann Ryunm Jim Ryin, Mary Jo pasek

BC Selected as Recipient of Innovation Award

Jessica Wojtysiak and Lesley Bonds riding the train May 14 2018

Jessica Wojtysiak, Lesley Bonds

It’s an exciting time to be at BC and it’s an exciting time for California Community Colleges. BC was selected by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office as one of 11 community colleges to be awarded a share of $20 million to further development and implementation of programs that strengthen student success.

For the innovative design and mapping of transfer pathways through technology and systems integration, Bakersfield College was named the recipient of $2,300,000. The funding aims to advance implementation of high-tech, high-touch guided pathways strategies that ensure all students have access to fully mapped and well-designed transfer pathways no matter at what point from which they are accessing the institution.  Nick Strobel, Jessica Wojtysiak, Lesley Bonds and I rode the train to Sacramento to accept the award.

Nick Strobel and Sonya Christian on train

Nick Strobel and Sonya Christian on train

BC continues a strong commitment to not only opening our doors to students from all backgrounds, but also to intentionally and systematically support them through a Guided Pathway to degree and certificate completion once they’re here. This award will provide a continuation of efficiently and effectively clarifying the path towards degree and certificate completion which in turn, leads to sustainable jobs regardless of background.  The health of our community depends on an educated and well-prepared workforce.

It’s an exciting time at the home of the Renegades!!

 

Cecilia V. Estolano

As the four of us were waiting for the announcement at the Board of Governors (BOG) meeting in Sacramento, we followed the deliberations and discussions on the various items.  I was struck by the level of engagement and rigor in the discussions among the members of the BOG. Topics ranged from equity, to student completion, accountability of budgets, technology innovation and integration, transfers – both to CSUs and UCs, and preparing a strong workforce for our state. At this meeting Executive Vice Chancellor Van Ton-Quinlivan and Visiting Vice Chancellor Omid Pourzanjani presented the heavy lift from CCCCO to integrate technologies at the systems level but with the necessary flexibility at the local college level to customize functionality. During the presentation, Dr. Pourzanjani specifically called out the Pathways Program Mapper to make his point.  Cecilia V. Estolano is the President of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and I was really impressed with how she ran a tight and engaging meeting. The full list of the Board of Governors is available on the website along with short biographies if you’re looking to read more.

So proud of our faculty and staff:

Armando Trujillo: On Friday, May 11th, our very own  Veterans Educational Advisor Armando Trujillo, graduated from the University of Southern California, earning a Masters of Social Work Degree with a Military Social Work and Veterans Services sub-concentration.

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Armando Trujillo with daughter Alina (who will attend CSU Monterey Bay) and son Adam

Armando is an inspiration to the student-veterans and military-connected students he serves.  He is a prime of example of what a student-veteran can accomplish.  Armando enlisted in the Marine Corps while still in high school.  In 2003 he fought in Iraq with 3rd ANGLICO (Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company) as a forward observer.  After his service he became a correctional officer.  Several years later he began attend college, culminating in his masters degree.

Armando Trujillo USC MSW

Armando’s work with veterans at Bakersfield College has paid dividends for his students, with well over 40% of BC veterans completing/transferring within three years.  His holistic, intrusive, guided pathways model approach has made Armando an invaluable member of BC, getting student-veterans on the right path and keeping them on it.  Those students he works with know they have a compassionate, and professional advisor who understands their struggles as both veterans and students.

Armando Trujillo USC

The picture above was snapped when Armando was presented with a USC cake in the Veterans Lounge upon completion of his MSW work a few weeks before graduation

Bakersfield College says to Armando Trujillo, MSW, “Well done Devil Dog!  Semper Fi.”

And thank you Paul Beckworth and Armando Trujillo for all that you do for our student veterans.

Oliver Rosales was at the capitol to advocate for the importance of humanities education and collaborative partnerships in California and especially in the Central Valley.

 

Oliver Rosales presenting at the capitol May 16 2018

Summer Bridge

We are off and running again with our Summer Bridge.  Kimberly Bligh who leads this effort is scaling up this program every summer.  Here is a great picture of three faculty at the Wasco Summer Bridge.

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Erica Menchaca, Teresa McAllister, Jessica Wojtysiak

Express Enrollment at BC SouthWest

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With our 2018 Commencement in the rearview mirror, it’s incredible to think that Summer courses at BC SouthWest begin next week! Hosted by Outreach with support from Financial Aid, Counseling, and more, the May 15th Express Enrollment at BC SouthWest helped new students enroll and get classes they need. The crew helped 80 new, continuing and returning students register for classes at our BC Southwest campus, and there are three more express enrollment events planned for this summer at the BC main campus on June 19th, July 10th and August 7th from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Students will also be assisted with enrollment during our on-campus Summer Orientation events at the main campus from 1-5 p.m. on June 5th, July 24th, and August 14th.

Outreach spreads the good word about BC’s  academic programs and student support services as they reach out at local high schools and various community events, supporting future students, assisting them through the application and matriculation process through orientations and enrollment events.

During the orientation and enrollment events, prospective students learn about our supportive faculty and caring staff, our Student Life and athletic programs, about the affordability of BC compared to 4-year and private institutions, and all of the campuses we have available throughout Kern County, including at BC Southwest, the Weill Institute downtown, Delano, Shafter, Wasco and online.

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The Outreach Team at Bakersfield College

Starfish Training

Dean of Instruction, Andrea Thorson worked with Pam Rivers to get the presentation ready for Monday morning. Over 45 faculty attended the afternoon training and I heard they left wanting more!  There are more trainings to be added for staff and faculty throughout the summer as we unveil this powerful high-tech, high-touch tool.

 

BC Students on a Sacramento Legislative Trip

Last Thursday, May 17, 58 students (including students from Delano campus) left at 4 a.m. to head up to the state capitol for the Annual Sacramento Legislative Trip, returning to campus the same day only after 11:30 p.m. They were accompanied by Biology Department Chair, Dr. Joe Saldivar, classified staff members Theresa Rodriguez, Rosa Castro, and Public Safety Officer Jason Mattheus, ASL interpreter Natasha Bailey, and administrators Dean Grace Commiso and Dr. Nicky Damania.

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BC Group in front of capitol

This one-day event takes students and staff to our state capitol to tour the Capitol Building, meet our local legislators in their work environment, and also to explore downtown Sacramento and Old Sacramento. This year, the attendees started their exploration of legislative processes by viewing the State Senate in session. They were greeted by Senator Andy Vidak who graciously introduced them to the State Senate, and by Senator Jean Fuller recognizing the leads Ms. Ashley Harp, Bakersfield College Student Government Association Vice President, Ms. Grace Commiso, Dean of Student Success and Counseling, and Dr. Nicky Damania, Director of Student Life and Advisor to the Bakersfield College Student Government Association.

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Ryan and Annette

They then met with Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin and her Chief of Staff, Ryan VanZuylen, regarding Assembly Bill 705. They discussed many aspects of the bill from conception, to planning, implementation, and the hopes of the bill serving to support community college students. As they shared the value of the bill, many students expressed their struggles as an entering community college student and how if this bill had been implemented before, they would have been able to progress further/sooner in their educational goals. As shared by Annette Brasher a communication and human services major “If you wanna start at the beginning basics, for instance math, then you can, but in my instance I was placed there but I should have been placed in College Level Statistics which I feel I was ready for, but was not given the chance.” Annette has been attending BC part-time for the past eight years, during which time it has taken her four semesters to get to transfer level math. Before closing, Ryan shared his personal career path to working for Assemblywomen Irwin’s office and giving advice to our students who are interested in the field of legislative policy.

Leaving Irwin’s Office, the attendees went to the Assembly Floor to meet with Assembly Members Mr. Rudy Salas and Mr. Vince Fong. The Assemblymen shared what their passions are and what big policy reforms they are leading. Assemblyman Salas discussed his passion for the awareness of valley fever and Assemblyman Fong responded to a student question regarding community healthcare. Once again, Assemblyman Salas took an extra moment and pointed out to the students some unique characteristics of the Capitol building that only the insiders know about. He does this annually for our students. After that everyone went to lunch and upon return participated in a private extensive tour of the Capitol building which also included historical facts not only about the building but the legacy of the Office of the Governor. The day concluded with everyone traveling from the capitol building to Old Sacramento while enjoying the downtown area and grabbing a bite to eat before heading back home.

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Group with Assemblymen

Historically, this annual trip has been funded and hosted by the Center for Kern Political Education under the purview of the late Jack Brigham, who was a faculty member in Political Science. In 2016, the Office of Student Life started hosting the annual event. Since then the Bakersfield College Student Government Association has funded this trip on behalf of the Center for Kern Political Education knowing its value and keeping the legacy of Professor Brigham alive.

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THANK YOU BAKERSFIELD

IMG_1097It’s a great honor to be selected by our community as the Favorite of 2018 in the “Best College/Higher Learning Source” category of the Bakersfield Californian’s annual Readers’ Choice Poll. While BC did not win the Best of 2018 title, which went to Cal State Bakersfield, it’s still amazing to have the hard work being done by our educational system recognized for the impact to our community.

Congratulations CSUB! I’m so thankful for our collaboration with The Kern Promise Finish in 4 and all the student success and completion initiatives we accomplish together.

Talking about CSUB,  Steve Mayer of The Bakersfield Californian did a great piece on Horace Mitchell  who is retiring this year.  Check it out: https://tinyurl.com/ydxhr2cs.  

The article ends with comments from me.  Here is an excerpt:

Sonya Christian, Horace MitchellSonya Christian, president of Bakersfield College, said Mitchell’s impact has indeed been felt in the larger educational community.

“Generations of Kern County and Bakersfield students will benefit from the seeds of vision, hard work, and dedication planted by … Mitchell,” she said.

 

“The Kern County educational system has never been more connected, more efficient, or more collaborative than now. College transfer rates from Bakersfield College to CSU Bakersfield have bloomed significantly and collaboration between our institutions has strengthened and grown.”

During the 2016-2017 academic year, transfers from BC to CSUB increased nearly 22 percent from the year prior, Christian said, and efforts made in collaboration with Bryon Schaefer and the Kern High School District to increase college attendance directly from high school have been highly effective.

 

Finish in 4“The Kern Promise and the newly adopted Finish in 4 program is substantial evidence of Dr. Mitchell’s footprint which will benefit this community and its students for generations to come,” she said.

Mitchell is proud that the university’s relationship with local industry has grown under his leadership, and not just in financial support. The university’s very curriculum and structure has changed to support new majors, new degrees and even new directions in the areas of agribusiness, petroleum and associated engineering.

…………..

The university even has an office at BC to help make the path between the two institutions easier and more successful for students.

“It has truly been a privilege to partner with Horace during his presidency at CSUB,” Christian said. “He has been a true champion for excellence and student success outcomes. His commitment and dedication to diversity and equity has made an indelible impact on our Kern County educational system and is the legacy of his presidency. His transition into a well-deserved and hard earned retirement is one to be celebrated.”

 

Another Great Partnership Between BC & CSUB

On Tuesday, a group of community leaders from Bakersfield College and CSU Bakersfield got together to have a collegial conversation at a community favorite coffee shop, Dagny’s Coffee Company. The group included Octavio Barajas, a BC History Adjunct Faculty, Dr. Michael Burroughs, the Executive Director of the CSUB Kegley Institute of Ethics and Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Ian Anderson, Education/Development Consultant and a BC adjunct faculty in Political Science, Dr. Nate Olson, Associate Director for Campus Programs, Kegley Institute of Ethics, Heidi Forsythe, a BC and CSUB Adjunct Faculty in Communication, and Dr. Nicky Damania, BC Director of Student Life.

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The group discussed various topics and initiatives that revolved around methods of creating community awareness and education regarding previously incarcerated students. All members of the group are hosting various events next year to shine a light on the needs of previously incarcerated students. The Kegley Institute of Ethics will be hosting Father Gregory Boyle for their 2018 Fall Lecture on November 13 at the CSUB Dore Theater. The Office of Student Life hopes to host a speaker on September 13th in conjunction with their Distinguished Speaker Series which is also in collaboration with the Kern County Library One Book Project.  Also included in the events as a keynote speaker is author Baz Dreisinger who wrote this year’s One Book Project book, Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World.

What great partnerships BC and CSUB build upon.

 

Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government

On Thursday, May 17th, I was delighted to spend the afternoon with Chancellor Tom Burke, President of the KCCD Board of Trustees, Kay Meek, and Trustee Bill Thomas at the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government (KCFSG) luncheon speaker series.

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Executive Director of KCFSG Romeo Agbalog introduced the two speakers.

 

Matt Patterson talked about the Janus v. AFSCME case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Patterson is a graduate of Columbia University and coaches California’s local elected officials on financial sustainability, government transparency and economic prosperity. He is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Washington Times and FoxNews.com among many others. He has served as researcher for Charles Krauthammer, was senior fellow in labor policy for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and was executive director of the Center for Worker Freedom at Americans for Tax Reform.

Mayor Chuck Reed talked about the pension reform efforts in San Jose that he led.  Mayor Reed has been recognized for this effort nationally and by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, other national media, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities. The story of his work in San Jose has been noted in Michael Lewis’s Boomerang and Fate of the States by Meredith Whitney.

sonya and Mayor Hall

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

 

A Commencement of Firsts

This blog is dedicated to all Mothers

Happy Mother’s Day

Eisha Christian, Pam Christian, Sonya Christian Dec 24 2017

 

Good morning Bakersfield!

I woke up today to the front page article by Joseph Luiz in the The Bakersfield Californian, above the fold, titled Record Breaking: BC graduates biggest class in school history.  Read all of it at https://tinyurl.com/ybnmz7a8.

Commencement Photo by Henry Barrios TBC May 12 2018

May 12, 2018 front page. Photo by Henry Barrios

TBC article May 12 2018 Front Page Joseph Luiz Photo by Henry Barrios

104th Commencement Historical Celebration

dsc06615-x3Congratulations to the Bakersfield College Class of 2018! Last night we had a record breaking historical evening. Our college has grown so much over the century.

In 1913 we began with thirteen students and this year we have almost thirty-two thousand students. And last night we celebrated the highest number of eligible graduates to obtain an associates degree in our history. With more than 2,000 students eligible for graduation this year and nearly half of them walking the stage, Memorial Stadium was packed with family and friends of class of 2018 graduates for the 104th Commencement.

Last night there were many firsts: we celebrated the first Dual Enrollment class from the Wonderful Academy, graduating with their Associates Degrees before they even complete high school; and we celebrated the first graduating cohort of the Kern Promise, a select group of students who piloted a Guided Pathways model of shared responsibility and support to complete their degree within 2 years.

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And, this year Bakersfield College became the first community college in the State of California to award a four-year baccalaureate degree (!) to seven graduates of the Industrial Automation program.

Here is a little more about the class of 2018:

  • 1,522 graduates are transferring to a four-year college or university to continue their education
  • 1,226 earned an Associate of Arts degree
  • 979 earned an Associate of Science Degree
  • Over 1,095 guaranteed their ability to transfer to a four-year university by obtaining an Associate of Art or Science for Transfer
  • Over 1,027 have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above

It was a beautiful event for such a monumental occasion in our students’ lives. Also in attendance were Presidents Greg Chamberlain and Sandra Serrano, and two who served as presidents in an interim capacity, Bob Allison and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg. Three trustees attended – Trustee Agbalog, Trustee Carter, and Trustee Thomas.  Chancellor Tom Burke also attended. We were fortunate to have lovely weather, and what a fantastic fireworks display.

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Dr. Jennifer Garrett, the Sam McCall award winner could not be there, so she recorded this powerful message for the class of 2018.

Commencement is such a large event and takes a lot of teamwork to pull it all together. Chances are if you saw someone with a Renegade Red shirt and black pants or skirt, they were working the event.

I would like to thank the College Commencement Committee: Karimeh Amin, Gayla Anderson, Paul Beckworth, Ralph Burnette, Cheryl Caswell, Christopher Counts, Victor Diaz, John Gerhold, Christy Haycock, Eryn Justice, Jennifer Marden Serratt, Gabriele Martin, John Menzies, Rachell Morehouse, Michelle Peña, Jack Pierce, Ramon Puga, Kristin Rabe, Corny Rodriguez, Monika Scott, Marco Sifuentes, Pearl Urena, Sue Vaughn, Angelica Vasquez, and Steve Watkin for all their hard work and planning. I also want to thank the many staff and faculty needed for details, preparation, and who participated in Commencement.

See the gallery and article at Bakersfield.com!IMG_1036

Congratulations Industrial Automation Baccalaureate Students!

Before we celebrated the historic accomplishment of BC’s first graduating class of baccalaureate students during our main commencement, the recipients of our Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Automation had their own special Pre-Commencement Celebration in Renegade Park. During the Industrial Automation Pre-Commencement, many of the faculty who worked closely with our seven baccalaureate graduates got an opportunity to speak about how proud they were of their students’ accomplishments and what they had to overcome to complete this new degree program.

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Through our Industrial Automation program, which focuses on the engineering and development of assembly line and manufacturing technology, BC is giving members of our community an opportunity to train in one of the most important skill sets of the future workforce. Employers say that our Industrial Automation program is on par with similar programs offered at other major universities in California and across the country. Industrial automation is an important part of almost every industry in Kern County, including agriculture, oil production, and alternative energy, as well as the major corporate retail distribution centers in our area that rely on machine automation technology to get their products ready for shipping across the United States. Our graduating students are already being flooded with job offers.

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I’d like to thank the Engineering and Industrial Technology Department for organizing this pre-commencement ceremony, and I can’t wait to see how our baccalaureate program is going to support and help transform the economy of the Central Valley.

Congratulations Delano Students!

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Chancellor Tom Burke visits Delano

While many of our faculty and staff were engaged with our Closing Day ceremony on Friday morning, students who attended classes at the Delano Campus had their own pre-commencement ceremony in the Robert F. Kennedy Auditorium. Graduating students walked across the stage of the RFK Auditorium for all of their friends and family to celebrate the monumental task of earning a college degree and discovering the tools to increase their earning potential and provide a better life for their children and the Delano community.

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Trustee Romeo Agbalog address the students at the Delano Pre-commencement Ceremony

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Chancellor Tom Burke, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg were on hand to congratulate all of the Delano graduates. I’d like to thank Gustavo Enriquez and all of the faculty and staff at the Delano Center for organizing this Pre-Commencement ceremony and all they do for students in rural Kern. Eventually, we’ll be hosting Pre-Commencement at BC Southwest, Arvin and all of our current and future satellite campuses.

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Congratulations Veteran Students!

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Eleven of our graduating veteran students got one last opportunity to have sacrifices that they made to our country be recognized and honored by BC faculty and staff in the Levan Center, capping off an academic year that included BC committing to building a new Veterans Resource Center and expanding educational services to the military men and women in our community. Graduating veterans were treated to a celebration ceremony where they each got to shake hands with Veteran Center director Paul Beckworth before heading to the Gymnasium for dinner.

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A big thanks to Paul Beckworth and the Veterans Resource Center for organizing the Veterans Pre-Commencement Celebration, and check back at this blog for more information about the Veterans Resource Center construction as it develops.

Congratulations Chicano/Latino Students!

Chicano and Latino families from across Kern County filled the Outdoor Theater before the main Commencement ceremony to rejoice in the accomplishments of their students who graduated from BC, and many of those who participated are first generation – first in their families to graduate from college.

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SGA President, Dezi Von Manos

The Chicano/Latino Pre-Commencement Celebration is BC’s oldest pre-commencement event, started by Dean Cornelio Rodriguez over 20 years ago to recognize BC’s Chicano and Latino graduates. Since that time, it’s grown rapidly as Chicano and Latino students are a majority of BC’s student population.

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Dean Corny Rodriguez

I’d like to thank everyone who helped organize the Chicano/Latino Pre-Commencement Celebration, as well as the faculty and staff members who donated money at the last minute to help students that needed assistance in order to participate. It’s amazing to see all of the ways the community continues to support its students.

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Congratulations African American Students!

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Graduating African-American students got the opportunity to fellowship with each other and celebrate their accomplishments with their friends and family in the Indoor Theater on Friday afternoon before the main commencement ceremony. This year’s African-American Pre-Commencement Ceremony began with the audience singing James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, with lyrics voicing the liberation and affirmation of African-American people. The words to “Lift Every Voice and Sing” were first written as an introduction for Booker T. Washington ata celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday in 1900. Its message continues to reverberate to this day, and was recently performed by Beyonce at this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

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I’d like to thank the African-American Initiatives team for organizing this pre-commencement event and all they do to support our African-American students. Thanks in part to their efforts, the educational attainment rates of our African-American students are higher than they’ve ever been.

Congratulations Lavender (LGBTIQA+) Students!

dsc04638-x4Commencement Celebrations, the Lavender Pre-Commencement Celebration is a ceremony conducted on numerous campuses and this year Bakersfield College joined this tradition. Lavender Graduation is a cultural celebration that recognizes sexual and gender minorities and their allies of all races and ethnicities, and acknowledges their achievements and contributions to the college.

Professor of Communication Helen Acosta and Director of Student Life Dr. Nicky P. Damania facilitated the ceremony which consisted of a keynote presentation by Ms. Whitney Weddell, high school history teacher and vocal stylings of Ms. Danyel Owens, Department Assistant in the Office of Student Life, and heartfelt stories shared by three Lavender graduate students. This year yielded 13 graduates who were bestowed a lavender stole with a rainbow embroidered on them. The ceremony was attended by about 20 BC faculty and staff, over 30 friends and family, and a special guest Chancellor Tom Burke.

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The tradition of Lavender graduations celebrating LGBTQIA+ students started in 1995 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, spreading to hundreds of campuses across the country over the last 23 years. This ceremony is also the start of BC’s efforts to expand our equity plan support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other gender non-conforming students under California Assembly Bill No. 1018. You can read more about inception of the Lavender Graduation in this May 2nd Renegade Rip Article.

 

Congratulations Radiologic Technology Students!

The Radiologic Technology celebrated it’s 49th year at BC during the Pinning and Certification Ceremony held on Thursday evening, May 10, 2018. The evening celebrated the hard work and dedication of 18 medical imaging students and their completion of the Associate in Science Degree. Students spend twenty-four months and 1800+ hours training at local hospitals and imaging centers. These clinical affiliates give their time and talents to these students to ensure they meet the competency standards necessary to ensure that patients receive excellent patient care – in addition to students completing lecture and lab courses at the main campus. These graduates will be entering careers throughout Kern County including Bakersfield and Delano, and in Tulare County in Visalia in summer 2018 following the completion of their State and national licensing examinations.

Also recognized during the ceremony was Program Director Nancy Perkins who has served BC since 1979 and will enter into retirement in 2018. Past and current faculty together with the community has started a scholarship fund for radiography students in her name through the BC Foundation. In addition, a “bench” project has begun to raise funds for seating around the Allied Health building for students to enjoy. A plaque was also awarded to Mrs. Perkins, and which will be permanently displayed in the campus x-ray lab. “I am so honored to have lived my passion my serving at BC teaching the next generation of medical imaging professionals. Both BC and the radiology community have supported me in my journey and assisting me in developing a modern laboratory for student exploration and instruction” Nancy said.

You can view all of the photos taken by Manny De Los Santos at 2018 Rad-Tech Pinning Ceremony.

I’d like to thank Nancy Perkins and the Radiologic Technology staff and faculty for organizing this pinning ceremony.

Closing Day

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Sonya Christian, Lawrence Salcido, James Tompkin, Nicky Damania

On the morning of Commencement, BC faculty and staff commemorated the end of the 2017-2018 academic year with the annual Closing Day Celebration, recognizing each others’ accomplishments with our traditional end-of-the-year awards. After some brief fellowship during a delightful breakfast buffet provided by Food Services, faculty and staff piled into the Indoor Theater to hear opening remarks from outgoing BCSGA Vice President Lawrence Salcido.

 

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Lawrence Salcido relished the opportunity to talk about the over 200 events that SGA hosted this year, including the Distinguished Speaker Series and Legislative Affairs Power Lunch, as well as being able to provide scholarships for the first time in BCSGA’s history. BCSGA’s two scholarships will be awarded to single parents and formerly-incarcerated students, respectively. Salcido thanked the faculty and staff of BC for their “time and dedication to help provide culture within our campus walls.”

 

Interspersed throughout the various faculty and staff award presentations, I announced the ten winners of my President’s Leadership Awards. The list of groups and individuals below have displayed exceptional leadership throughout this year, and nothing that we do here at BC would be possible without their hard work:

Higher education is a pursuit following hopes and visions. The 2018 Guided Pathways leads, Jennifer Johnson, Jessica Wojtysiak, Nick Strobel, Grace Commiso, and Lesley Bonds have made great strides toward creating systems and programs that fast track dreams into realities. They have been traveling up and down the state to communicate BC’s implementation of this important educational philosophy while putting together our Program Mapper and reconfiguring our curriculum via meta-majors. The Guided Pathways leads continue to do incredible work surrounding the Momentum Points, Coaching Communities, and engagement campus-wide.

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Under the guidance of the African-American Initiatives team, Steve Watkin, Jennifer Achan, Paula Parks, Jonathan Ward, Julian West, Debra Strong, Tommy Tunson, June Charles, Valerie Robinson, and Ishmael Kimbrough, the African-American cohort of approximately 800 students in 2017-18 have increased completion in both college-level English and/or math by nearly 10%, increased transfer degree course completion by 14%, and the team has increased the success rate for students who participate in our Umoja ASTEP program by up to four times the rate for non-Umoja African-American students. The work of this group has also been recognized by the community, with Bakersfield College winning Corporate Partner of the Year by the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce, as well as individual recognition for Julian West, Steve Watkin and Paula Parks by the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, the League for Innovation, and NAACP.

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When it comes to going the extra mile for BC, Tina Chamberlain in the Office of Instruction has walked a thousand miles. She truly embodies the Renegade spirit with her undeniable commitment to our students and diplomatic yet polite problem solving skills. Tina ensures courses are scheduled and students are served.

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The Workgroup to Advance Regional Baccalaureate Attainment (WARBA), chaired by Matthew Garrett and Janet Fulks and including leaders Elenora Hicks, Marisa Marquez, Grace Commiso, Khushnur Dadabhoy and Stephen Waller, have been diligently collaborating with Cal State Bakersfield to establish the Finish in 4 campaign, as well as aligning our curriculum and pathways with the California Academic Partnership Program. This work is revolutionizing higher education for current and future generations of Renegades.

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Everyone on the campus is closely involved with creating our Institutional Self-Evaluation Report (ISER), but the campus leaders of our ISER Finish Line Team have dedicated hundreds upon hundreds of hours to put all of the information together into a cohesive document that seamlessly tells BC’s story. I recognized Nick Strobel, Sondra Keckley, Liz Rozell, Jessica Wojtsiak, Jason Stratton, and Lesley “the Universal Chopper” Bonds for all of their hard work in collecting, editing, indexing and “chopping” the final document.

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Michelle Pena of the Admissions and Records team works tirelessly to ensure that our students are supported at each pivotal point in their journey toward graduation. Michelle also represents BC state-wide through the development of CCCApply, and she was recently elected Vice President of the California Association of Community College Registrars and Admissions Officers.

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In her first year as head softball coach, Casey Goodman lead the Renegades to winning the WSC conference with a 31-9 record en route to winning WSC Conference and Southern California Coach of the Year. Wrestling coaches Brett Clark and Marcos Austin led the Renegades to winning the conference for the second year in a row, along with five individual conference titles and a state championship victory by student Adrian Gonzales. Did you know that student athletes at BC attempt an average of 15.2 units per semester and finish at an average of 12.5 units? This is nearly twice the average of the school overall.

The Maintenance & Operations team is responsible for the monumental undertaking of caring for the landscaping, plumbing, custodial work and infrastructure of over 150 acres and 20 buildings, keeping us comfortable in every classroom and office on campus. This year, they’ve facilitated office moves for 52 faculty and staff and completed 5,320 work orders.

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When it comes to sharing BC’s story through beautiful photos, videos and words, Manny De Los Santos and Monika Scott, M&M, make it happen. Manny brings an excellent attention to detail and a creative spark to all of his video and photography work and his talent, enthusiasm and gregarious personality make him a pleasure to work with. Monika came to BC thinking her job duties would involve web content editing, but when her interim supervisor went on maternity leave, Monika stepped up to the plate. She found herself reporting directly to me and dealing with everything from fielding news media calls, sensitive Clery Report notifications working with Chris Counts, and preparing last-minute remarks for public events. She has become my go-to for speech preparation. In fact, she has had a major role in speeches at BC for many formal events.

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As Academic Senate President, Steve Holmes is engaged and vigilant in his responsibility of upholding the integrity of our academic enterprise.

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Steve was also awarded this year’s Margaret Levinson Faculty Leadership Award (announcement made by Pam Boyles), and along with Zav Dadabhoy, he gave a fun farewell to retiring Vice President Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg. He never fails to liven up our opening and closing day ceremonies.

Liz Rozell also made a presentation to Nan of this beautiful tree Educational Administrators Council:

Nan-Tree

Donna Starr announced retiring biology faculty Andrea Garrison and physics faculty Richard Darke as the recipients of the Shirley Trembley Distinguished Teaching Award. Starr also announced the Norman Levan Faculty Colloquium winner Rae Ann Kumelos, a member of the English faculty who will be hosting a discussion titled “Animal Advice” in the Levan Center next fall.

In addition to the Faculty Colloquium Award, incoming Levan Center director Reggie Williams announced the winners of the Levan Faculty Scholarship Summer Grants, which funds research projects for BC faculty. Some notable projects funded through this year’s grants include Biology Department Chair Joe Saldivar’s research project on the ethical impact of donating a kidney to a complete stranger, and the recording of music professor Josh Ottum’s studio album, which will be mixed by students in BC’s commercial music program and performed by Josh’s band during next fall’s Panorama Creative Music Summit.

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Matthew Garrett recognized all of the retiring faculty members during the Closing Day Celebration, and Liz Rozell recognized the BC faculty which have achieved tenure this year. CSEA President Tina Johnson urged us all, BC faculty and staff, to “take a breath” with the close of this academic year, and CCA Campus Chair Isabel Stierle encouraged faculty to submit their application to participate in the CCA Special Election by May 21st.

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Management Association President Sue Vaughn announced the Management Association’s presence in Board Policy meetings, and she was excited to announce that the construction of the Child Development Center’s playground is nearing completion.

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It feels like this year came and went so quickly, and I’m just grateful for the opportunity to wrap it up with the best community college staff on the planet during every Closing Day. Can you see why I always sign off as the luckiest and happiest president? Thanks to everyone who attended this year and all of those who make this event possible every year.

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Closing Day 2018 Student Emcees

Custodial Communication

Custodian Carlos Barbaran left a nice note to BC faculty thanking them for all of the great conversations and congenial work environment they provided for him throughout the semester. Carlos is always a pleasant and fun person to talk to, and everyone at BC is grateful to have him on our custodial staff.

Carlos Barbaran and Sonya Christian

We spend a lot of time talking about the hard work of many of our faculty, counselors and other classified staff, but I’d also like to thank the Bakersfield College custodial staff for tirelessly keeping our campus spotless throughout the year. It’s not easy to clean up after 30,000 students and 1,000 employees, and our custodial staff takes care of us with smiles on their faces.

Retiree Reception

As we say goodbye and good luck to our graduating students, the end of the school year also brings about the farewell to some of our colleagues as they  retire. On Wednesday morning, Bakersfield College held a Retirement Reception in the Fireside Room to honor this year’s retirees: Barbara Braid, Deborah Carmona, Marsha EggmanRafael Espericueta, Kathryn Freeman, Andrea Garrison, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Odella Johnson, Janet LewisSusan McQerry, Gilbert Merjil, Nancy Perkins, Kate PlutaBob Shimmin, Walton Simmons, Jimmy (Smitty) Smith, Dennis Spencer, Rachel Vickery, and Ann Wiederrecht.

While eating a delicious food provided by Food Services, this year’s retiring faculty and staff signed the “Perpetual Retiree Scroll” featuring signatures of all our retirees and the years in which they served the campus. The scroll was started by the Archives Department in 2009 and the scroll itself will be retired after this year due to running out of space. The Archive Department plans to replace the retiree scroll with a more manageable book for next year’s retirement reception, according to Rosalee Pogue, Archives technician.

Thank you Archives for coordinating this opportunity to celebrate the contributions of everyone in the Bakersfield College family who has served our students and this community for decades. I would also like to thank the Bakersfield College Foundation and the Bakersfield College Archives for co-sponsoring this event with me.

You can see the entire photo gallery: Retiree Reception 2018.

Finish in 4

Bakersfield College (BC) and California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) have spent the last 4 years collaborating to increase baccalaureate completion in 4 years. On Tuesday, both institutions held a joint unveiling ceremony on the BC campus to introduce The Kern Promise’s Finish in 4. The new program supports the increase in student completion with an Associate Degree for Transfer in 60 semester units at BC. Students are then guaranteed admission to CSUB, in a similar major, and will complete an additional 60 semester units to earn a bachelor’s degree!

BC 2 CSUB balloons over speakers from BC and CSUB

This partnership is the first of its kind to exist within the state of California’s public institutions of higher education. The historic event was held in the Fireside Room, where Dr. Horace Mitchell, President of California State University, Bakersfield and I unveiled the Finish in 4 initiative, which will encourage students in Kern County to complete their transfer and baccalaureate degrees in 4 years from start to finish!

Sonya Christian Finish in 4 May 7 2018

 

 

Horace Mitchell Finish in 4

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Janet Fulks

The project is an expansion of The Kern Promise and is an unprecedented partnership between two local higher education institutions and focuses on benefits to the students and ultimately the community. The Finish in 4 efforts aim to guarantee students complete their transfer degree in 2 years at Bakersfield College and a baccalaureate degree in the following 2 years at CSUB. Together, the goal is to move students through to the next stage of their educational and career goals in a more efficient and impactful way.

Sonya signing the agreement

There is pivotal work ahead of us, with just 22% of Kern County residents 25 and older holding an Associate’s Degree or higher, compared with the California average of 39%. BC has adopted a guided pathways framework and by partnering with high schools to increase the number of dual enrolled students. We are intervening to clarify pathways before a student gets lost, decreasing time to completion, and closing attainment gaps. Finish in 4 is the next best thing aiding in student success.

BC and CSUB Presidents standing next to the Finish in 4 Pathway agreement.

For the Kern County community, the Finish in 4 program creates a win-win situation for our students, our local and state economies, and taxpayer time while providing a rigorous quality education to give our students a clearly defined direction and ensure their success at an efficient pace.

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One happy president!

Garden Pathways

Bakersfield College was on hand for the Garden Pathways Sixteenth Annual High Tea 2018 in honor of Women with a Heart for Bakersfield last Wednesday.  BC’s contingent, included myself, Vice President of Instruction Liz Rozell, Dean of Instruction Billi Jo Rice, Program Director of CTE Tony Cordova, and Director of Veteran Services Paul Beckworth. The sold-out event supports this important organization.

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Tony Cordova, Liz Rozell, Billie Jo Rice, Paul Beckworth, Sonya Christian, Norma Rojas-Mora

 

Bakersfield College with Adventist Health

Bakersfield College, Adventist Health

Karen Goh, Sonya Christian, Paul Beckworth, Billie Jo Rice, Liz Rozell MAy 9 2018

Mayor Karen Goh, Sonya Christian, Paul Beckworth, Billie Joe Rice, Liz Rozell

 

Chad Tongco Unitek College, Tony Cordova, Sonya Christian

Loved the singing by Amy Adams students in Garden Pathways.  Captured about 40 seconds of Million Dreams

Garden Pathways High Tea in honor of Women with a Heart for Bakersfield

Garden Pathways, founded by David and Karen Goh, is a community-based nonprofit that provides mentoring and education programs to children, youth and adults to improve family lives in Kern County. The High Tea event recognizes women within the community that have shown exceptional community service and leadership. One of last year’s honoree’s was our very own History Professor Olivia Garcia.  This year’s recipients included Beverly Camp, Robin Fleming, Janice Varner, and Lili Marsh who founded the Bakersfield hub of Honor Flight.  Bravo to these strong, women who indeed have a heart for Bakersfield.

2017 recipient History Professor Olivia Garcia

Michelle Chantry, Olivia Garcia

National Nurses Week

In the midst of everything that is happening around the campus at the end of the year, we’d be remiss not to mention that May 6th through 12th is National Nurses Week, which recognizes the commitment of nurses around the country for protecting, promoting and improving health care for everyone. The American Nurses Association began celebrating National Nurses Week in 1954 in honor of Florence Nightingale, one of the founders of the modern nursing profession who was best known for treating soldiers wounded during the Crimean War in the 19th Century. This year’s theme for National Nurses Week was “Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence”, according to the American Nurses Association website.

Bakersfield College is proud of its nursing department and the work we’ve done to train healthcare professional across Kern County that save thousands of lives every day. Last fall, BC celebrated its 100th graduating class in nursing, and it’s amazing to think about all of the people whose lives have been saved over the last century by BC nursing graduates.

Kern Valley State Prison Debate

We had the unique opportunity to step inside Kern Valley State Prison’s B-Yard Monday, May 7th to participate in a Debate and Student Panel with BC’s Inmate Scholars Program.

The topic of the value proposition was to debate whether the American economy was better off by allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the country. The two debate teams consisted of five inmate scholars, who each presented their case either for the affirmative or opposition. In a well-articulated researched, and engaging manner these scholars courageously took to the podium and challenged themselves and the audience through thought-provoking reasoning.

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Chelsea Esquibias presenting about Inmate Education

This event gave the scholars an opportunity to showcase their communication skills and share with us their aspirations and future goals through education. There were a lot of heartfelt emotions bravely shared that day. Not to mention, a much deserved standing ovation for Chelsea Esquibias (Program Director) and Ms. Smith (faculty member) who have undeniably changed lives in their work with the Inmate Education Program.

Since 2015, incidents of violence on B-yard has decreased 39% due to education and the formation of the debate team, according to a member of the Inmate Education Advisory Committee. Another scholar noted that before BC’s Inmate Education Program began, his ”lens on life was blurred, broken, and limited.” And now through education he has “a lens of love, kindness, and opportunity regardless of race, color, or creed.”

As part of our mission statement, Bakersfield College “provides opportunities for students from diverse economic, cultural, and educational backgrounds…to think critically, communicate effectively, and demonstrate competencies and skills in order to engage productively in their communities and the world.” No matter your circumstance or where you find yourself in life, I believe BC can provide a pathway towards opportunity.

The Links, Incorporated closing celebration this morning at Emerson Middle School

The Links, Incorporated has partnered with BC in the last year to focus on providing middle school and high school students and parents the opportunity to learn more about educational pathways in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math).  Professors Kimberly Chin and Nick Strobel, and staff members from Job Placement with Stephanie Baltazar, have helped lead sessions for these students and parents in the past year, among others from BC.

Today, Professor Chin’s students performed monologues they prepared for the participants and parents. Odella Johnson, retired Professor, and Debra Strong, who currently works in the health center, made the connection with BC.

 

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We are BC Dang It!

At this busy time of year I love to hear stories of triumphant student success as they are the ultimate joys of higher education. Paul Beckworth shared with me his experience of a student no longer in distress:

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I love my job!

I ran across a student I worked with before who had been distraught and discouraged to the point to where she wanted to drop her classes. I encouraged her not to do so and walked her to the Writing Center, where Kim Arbolante started working with her.

I had not seen the student since that day. Well, I saw Wednesday afternoon and she told me that she not only stayed enrolled, she passed her class!  She only has two more classes to go for her degree, and she’s already signed up for summer school.  She did not have graduation in her head. I basically ran her over to A&R at 5:25 where Linda Allday told her what to do TO GRADUATE AND WALK THIS FRIDAY NIGHT!  This time tears of frustration were replaced with tears of joy.

I know we are all tired but this is why we do what we do!

We are BC dang it!

Fun Photos

Talking about Paul Beckworth, I loved this selfie that he took at graduation

Paul Beckworth, Sonya Christian selfie May 11 2018 Commencement

 

I grabbed these three photos from Robert Boyles’ Facebook posts

Photo by Robert Boyles - Lighting up the stadium

Photo by Robert Boyles

Photo by Robert Boyles - Tom Moran signing

Photo by Robert Boyles — Greg Chamberlain, Tom Moran signing

 

Photo by Robert Boyles - Sonya Christian

Photo by Robert Boyles — Sonya Christian

 

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BC Librarians

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Photo of Sonya Christian by Manny Moutzanos

 

Sonya Christian 2 Commencement May 11 2018

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever