Renegades are EVERYWHERE!


Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, March 18th and just a terrific day to be a Renegade.  I was travelling this morning back from my Accreditation Commission meeting and am moving quickly to get the blog published.  If I don’t get it out today, I am sure I will get a text from one of my dear friends who will ask the question “Are you ok? Should I be worried? 🙂

koeth1-900x600My week began with an email from David Koeth sharing that he and his wife spent Presidents Day in Los Angeles. He said:

As we checked in our hotel in Koreatown, the young man at the desk noticed my business affiliation. He said ‘I attended Bakersfield College. I was a business major, I got my gen ed’s done there.’ He’s working on a bachelor’s degree at Cal State Long Beach in hospitality management. Renegades are everywhere. — David

I love this! Renegades are everywhere in our community and beyond our community! 

Industrial Automation Program Hosting Info Session Today!

Come to the campus on the hill later this morning for an information session about the Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Automation at BC.  The program prepares students for careers in the design, operation, and management of industrial automation systems focusing on the local industries that utilize these technologies, such as petroleum production, food production, fabrication, and logistics. Significant emphasis is placed on project based learning facilitated by laboratory work.

The BS program is designed to prepare individuals for technical management careers in industries which utilize automation, including the petroleum, manufacturing, logistics and agriculture industry sectors, in order to improve the regional economy. Thank you as well to The Bakersfield Californian for highlighting this program in the latest Education Roundup!

The information session is today, March 18th from 10AM to 11AM in the Science and Engineering Building, Room 53. All are welcome!

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Bakersfield College Receives a Planning Award for new Public Health Sciences Program

Exciting times at BC Bakersfield College where BC is creating new public health career pathways!  This past Tuesday, BC was recognized at the League for Innovation in the Community College Riegelman Awards for Excellence in Public Health & Health Navigation Education.  This national award was presented to four community colleges that demonstrated excellence in planning or enhancing associate degree or certificate programs in Public Health and Health Navigation education.


Antonio Alfaro CTE Advisor, Rozanne Hernandez, CTE Program Manager, Sarah Baron, Professor Public Health Sciences, and Dominica Rivera-Dominguez, CTE Advisor


BC is rolling out a new Public Health Sciences Associate Degree for Transfer in the upcoming academic year, followed by job certificate in health navigation. To learn more about the national award and the plan, go to

Under the leadership of Cindy Collier, Dean of Allied Health, Career Technology Education (CTE), and Strong Workforce, this is a team effort and an interdisciplinary approach. Pictured below are members of the team Antonio Alfaro CTE Advisor, Rozanne Hernandez, CTE Program Manager, Sarah Baron, Professor Public Health Sciences,  and Dominica Rivera-Dominguez CTE Advisor. Sarah is our lead faculty for Public Health and is a rock star!

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Achieving the Dream

Bakersfield College earned Leader College distinction through Achieving the Dream in 2015 for our commitment to improving student success and closing achievement gaps.  With this distinction, BC has access to two nationally-recognized coaches who visit campus twice a year to meet with campus leaders, discuss our student success data, and explore strategies to improve our policies and practices.  During their visit this week, coaches Ronald Head and John Nixon met with nearly 50 campus leaders to explore the Institutional Capacity Assessment Tool (ICAT) in a series of round table activities where faculty, staff, and administrators worked together in cross-functional focus groups to discuss BC’s work across the seven Achieving the Dream capacities: 1) Leadership & Vision, 2) Data & Technology, 3) Equity, 4) Teaching & Learning, 5) Engagement & Communication, 6) Strategy & Planning, and 7) Policies & Practices.  Participants not only tackled the areas for improvement, but began collectively developing action plans to build BC’s capacity to serve students.  BC’s leadership and engagement across the board is simply unmatched!


Thank you to all who attended!

Lesley Bonds, Stephen Waller, Matthew Garrett, Jessica Wojtysiak, Maria Wright, Mindy Wilmot, Grace Commiso, Jonathan Schultz, Bill Moseley, Marisa Marquez, Isabel Castaneda, Matt Jones, Talita Pruett, Kimberly Bligh, Kathy Rosellini, Lisa Kent, Steve Watkin, Bernadette Towns, Janet Fulks, Steven Holmes, Tim Burke, Odella Johnson, Shanell Tyus, Nick Strobel, Jennifer Johnson, Krista Moreland, Di Hoffman, Kristin Rabe, Ashlea Ward, Abraham Castillo, Richard Marquez, Elisabeth Sundby, Kim Nickell, Sue Vaughn, Julian West, Pedro Ramirez, Craig Hayward, Michelle Pena, John Giertz, Manny Mourtzanos, Anna Laven, Vickie Spanos, Reese Weltman Joe Saldivar, and a special thank you to Chef Eric Sabella and his team for the wonderful chicken fajita dinner!

Keep Bakersfield Beautiful

Keep Bakersfield Beautiful (KBB) is a local non-profit with a mission “to engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community.” Bakersfield Mayor, Karen Goh, is in this picture with BC students from Steven Holmes’ and Charles Kim’s political science classes visiting a recent meeting led by Anna Smith, chair of KBB Board of Directors. It’s great to see Renegades out in the community, doing great things! Learn more about Keep Bakersfield Beautiful at

Beautiful Bakersfield Karen Goh

C.H.A.P Hosts Guest Speaker, Salvador Garcia

On March 14, the Bakersfield College Delano Campus Cultural and Historical Awareness Program (C.H.A.P.) hosted its first speaker event for the spring semester.  Ridgeview High School counselor Salvador García captivated audience members consisting of students, staff, and community members with an engaging talk, entitled “Exploring the Nahuatl and Mesoamerican Cultural Legacy, Past & Present.”  As a child of migrant parents, Salvador has experienced two vastly different worlds: his life in México, and his life in the USA.  He became captivated with pre-Columbian art and the symbology used by his ancestors, and in particular, what people refer to as the “Aztec calendar.”  After studying the calendar system and the Nahuatl language (the indigenous language of the Aztec people) for over twenty years, Salvador has developed a deep knowledge and appreciation for Mesoamerican history and the indigenous heritage of the Mexican people.   After an hour-long presentation, audience members asked questions about the legacy of the Nahuatl people today, their influence on Mexican culture, as well as parallels and similarities between Mesoamerican calendars and the Gregorian and Julian calendars in western tradition.


Two more C.H.A.P. events are scheduled for the spring semester.  The next event will occur Tuesday, March 28 from 6pm-8pm in RFK Lecture Hall.  This event will be a screening of the film “Miss Representation,” followed by a panel discussion with several female faculty and staff on the Delano Campus moderated by Professor Susanne Langham (Phil. & Religious Studies).   A third and final event will be moderated by Professor Charles Kim (Political Science) after the spring break and will feature local political staffers for a talk on civic engagement and local politics.  Stay tuned!

Houchin Blood Bank Stats

Houchin sent an email this week recapping the numbers from the previous week’s blood drive at Bakersfield College. Stephanie Gibbons from Houchin said, “Drum roll please…..Wow!! what an amazing two day blood drive. Bakersfield College you nailed it.  Day one, we registered 223 donors and collected a record number of 174 units, with 104 of them as first-time donors.  Day two, we registered 150 donors with a collection of 105 units, with 80 of them as first-time donors.   The grand total for this life saving event was  279 units collected. Surpassing last year donations by 80 units.  Yeah!!!!”

Thank you again to all involved! Renegades are definitely doing great things!!

Student Health Highlight

Do you know what your blood sugar level is? Are you familiar with what the numbers even mean or why it’s important to know them? This semester we were fortunate to have two days where the Student Health Center invited all students to come out and get their glucose levels checked.

On Thursday March 16th, Mrs. Debbie, one of the nurses was there to do the screenings for all those who came in and checked their levels. Earlier this month there was another glucose screening where the LN’s from Bakersfield College’s Nursing Program practiced honing their new skills. It was beneficial to so many, both the nursing students and those student’s checking their glucose levels. At this screening, the nursing students were able to test levels, give out important health information, and also pass out healthy snacks. The Bakersfield College Student Health Center has a wealth of knowledge and practical help for all BC students.

Along with all of the day-to-day help they provide the BC students such as: first aid, TB testing, mental health counseling, and much more, they will be hosting their 17th annual health fair, “The Renegade Pulse Health Fair”, on April 19th from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Last year they had several Zumba instructors attend and were able to get the student body moving in the interest of better health! They offer several monthly events geared to the betterment of each student’s health. They have a marvelous e-magazine with an abundance of helpful information that anyone can subscribe to simply by texting BAKERSFIELDCOLLEGE to 40691. They have also started a campaign of #BCsmokefree and have been conducting a “Clean your Campus” event once a month.

The Student Health service main goal is to ensure that all of BC students live a long and healthy life and they are available to make sure you have all the tools possible to ensure that happens. One of the many amazing facilitators found in the Student health services building is Stella Ponce who had this to say about the various events that have been going on around campus lately. Mataalofa Hubbard, Vicente Lopez, Alexa Rivera and Yolanda Puente were on the scene sharing information on Tobacco Cessation, how and where to obtain assistance in quitting as well. Passing out Healthy snacks & water to help our students maintain and acquire optimal health and wellness. Also, Professor Sarah Baron’s Public Health classes were onsite too, collecting valuable data on Tobacco Use and E Cig. While providing additional literature on the effects of smoking provided by the American Lung Association. The final collaboration of the two groups resulted in a mini #CleanyourCampus event, while obtaining 2 gallon bags full of cigarettes butts. Imagine #BCTobaccoFree #1DayStand”

As students, it’s important to remember that good grades start with good health! Make sure you take full advantage of what your campus can do for you. Swing by the Student Health Services building and get more information on how you can be a better and HEALTHIER you!!!

Go Gades!

I loved how Allyson Cummings began her piece on BC’s Women’s tennis. She said, “The Bakersfield College women’s tennis team is making quite a racket!” Check out the video and the article about the team and coach Nick Loudermilk at


Congratulations to Coach Carl Dean for being inducted into the West High School Hall of Fame.  “Carl (class of 1992) was an outstanding quarterback at West, Bakersfield College and San Jose State who won the Burger King Scholar Athlete $10,000 academic scholarship in 1996.”


Carl Dean

Way to go, Carl!

STEM Speakers: David Gallo Visits BC

On Tuesday, MArch 14th, afternoon, the Fireside Room was filled with all ages, ranging from jr. high school aged youth to BC students and their professors. They were excitedly awaiting guest speaker, David Gallo, to begin his presentation on ocean exploration. David is an American oceanographer and the Director of Special Projects at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. For more than 30 years, Dr. Gallo has been participating in and being a witness to the development of new technologies and scientific discoveries that have shaped our understanding and view of the planet earth. He was a fabulous speaker for the STEM Speaker Series because he was one of the first scientists to use a combination of robots and submarines to explore the deep sea floor. Most recently, he co-led an expedition to create the first detailed and comprehensive map of the RMS Titanic and co-led the successful international effort to locate the remains of Air France flight 447 which crashed after suffering a loss of lift with debris was scattered in an area greater than six football fields.


During the presentation, students learned that instead of taking the oceans for granted, we all need to recognize the oceans critical role in providing the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Dr. Gallo shared that human activity has impacted the ocean on a global scale and with significant consequences. The oceans hold clues to our past and the key to our future yet they remain mostly unexplored and poorly understood. We live on a planet that’s covered by mostly water but, we don’t have nearly enough information about that part of the planet we call home.

BC student, Lovie Johnson, who attended the event said, “Gallo is a cool New Yorker and funny scientist. He knows how to lecture on the subject in a way you can understand. He is one of the most interesting … speakers I have come across.”

Gallo’s commitment conveying his passion and the importance of ocean exploration makes learning about this subject interesting and fun for everyone. Events like these, and speakers like this are important to our students, the BC community, and our world. Everyone walks away inspired and better informed regarding something that they’ve never seen before. Let’s learn more and do something that can positively affect humanity forever.

Thank you Dr. David Gallo and everyone involved with the STEM Speakers. #BCLearns

Changing inmates lives through education

The Inmate Education program manager Chelsea Esquibias continues to do and report amazing stories .  Here is a note she sent me this week about another life changed through education:

“At 17 he was put in prison for gang violence for 12 years at Kern Valley where he earned a 3.0 in our classes.

He was recently released and is back with his 13-year-old son. Since then he’s obtained his license, proposed to his girlfriend, got a car, opened a bank account, said NO to his old gang, and we’re enrolling him in his local college.

He said, “College changed everything for me. I’m not the same anymore” and he says thank you all the time.  Working in the prisons can be hard.  Thank you for your belief in the program. I love working for an administration that believes so strongly in the students and staff. Happy Friday!!”

Now do you see why I consider myself the luckiest and happiest college president ever…..

In the picture you see Chelsea Esquibias and Bryan Hirayama.  Thank you!

BC Innovations 2017 Conference

This past weekend Eileen Pierce, Supplemental Instruction Program Manager; Kim Arbolante, Writing Center Lead; and Eric Weis, AccuSQL Liaison, all attended the League for Innovation in the Community College Innovations 2017 conference at the Marriott Marquis San Francisco. This team of academic support services professionals delivered a presentation and workshop entitled “Be the BEACON of Student Success: Reimaging Academic Support Services with Close Collaboration in Mind.”

The presentation began with some brief introductory demographic and enrollment data about the college. Eileen Pierce explained the Guided Pathways context for this academic support service initiative and facilitated an interactive survey on silos and territorialism that allowed participants to anonymously express whether these issues are prevalent on their own campuses. Kim Arbolante described the work done thus far, the data collected for ENGL 53 and MATH 60 ETC, and all of the features of our new, integrated academic support services model. The presentation closed with Eric Weis calling on participants to redefine what they consider to be their service assets and deficits before leading the group in a game designed to get participants to try and think more collaboratively with other areas of their colleges. The presentation was well-attended, and the presenters received a great deal of praise from participants, a reporter covering the conference who attended this workshop, and an attendee who claimed she had been waiting all week to finally participate in an interactive workshop session.

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Fulfilling a need in an underserved population

Katie Price from TBC

Katie Price. Pic from TBC

There is a large underserved population in our community that usually goes unnoticed.  We may not realize that our high schools are filled with kids who are either homeless or live in foster or group homes.  Up until recently, teachers and counselors weren’t even able to know who these underserved kids were.  Recent legislation has changed some of that to allow those students to be given the tools they need to continue a successful education not just throughout high school (where the dropout rate is nearly 50%), but transition successfully into a form of higher education.

Katie Price is a counselor at Bakersfield High School who helped to create a meeting group on the BHS campus where foster youth could discuss issues like budgeting, and college and career planning.  This group has expanded to six different high schools and continuation schools.

Bakersfield College is proud to have been a sponsor and host of the “Breaking Barriers & Empowering Success” conference last month.

It’s wonderful to see the long tradition of Bakersfield High School and Bakersfield College continue (as many of you already know BC met on the BHS campus for several decades before moving to Panorama Drive!). Here is Katie Price’s for opinion piece in The Californian.

BC at the 17th Annual KEDC Economic Summit

The 17th Annual KEDC Economic Summit took place on Wednesday at the Doubletree.  An enthusiastic crowd heard both local and national speakers comment on the Kern County economy and what to expect in the months ahead. Faculty at CSUB gave economic presentations related to the oil industry and healthcare.  Representatives for China Lake, Edwards AFB and Rio Tinto gave an update on the economy in East Kern County. Oscar Wei of the California Association of Realtors spoke about the local housing market.  Joel Kotkin, author, speaker and editor of gave the keynote address.  He’s an authority on global, economic, political and social trends.  Bakersfield College helped sponsor the event and we’re so glad to partner with a great organization, like Kern Economic Development Corporation.  


Photo by April & Co Photography

Here is a nice editorial from The Bakersfield Californian

Photos from the event are available on the event photographers facebook:

Bakersfield Transfer Day

The Bakersfield College Transfer Center, in collaboration with Fresno Pacific University, hosted a Fresno Pacific University Takeover Day on the BC main campus.  On Wednesday, March 15th, from 10AM-2PM, FPU Sunbirds representatives from Admissions were out in full force outside on the CSS lawn, meeting with prospective transfer students.  Student transcripts were reviewed for admission, application submission assistance was given, and food and music was provided.  The day was a great success, resulting in many Fall 2017 admits! FPU is committed to Renegade success and plans to host one  “takeover” event each semester!  Thank you Fresno Pacific University!


Spotlight on Dr. Paula Parks


Dr. Paula Parks

BC’s very own Dr. Paula Parks was recently spotlighted by speaker, author, and leadership coach, Arleana Waller. Every Monday, Arleana shares a e-newsletter designed to “Powerup your Monday Motivation.”

“This week, the #ShePowerAmbassador Feature is Dr. Paula Parks, The Innovative Educator who impact lives daily and who boldly owns her #ShePower” What a great spotlight on Dr. Paula and the ASTEP program! Check it out at

The Lemucchi Family Story

100-stars-tim-lemucchiNot too far from campus is a little treasure in our community – you’ve been there. It’s Luigi’s and writing this I’m reminded of the times I’ve enjoyed great food and great company there. Last weekend, Timothy Lemucchi and the Lemucchi family held a book signing for their new book, “Luigi’s 100 Years Then and Now” which showcases the story of how the Lemucchi family came to Bakersfield and the early beginnings of the restaurant.

Did you know Tim is also an alumni of Bakersfield College? After BC, he went on to complete his BA and MA at Stanford, then to Georgetown University for his Juris Doctor. He’s also an active member of the Helmet Club and has continually given public support to Bakersfield College athletics. We proudly recognized Tim as one of BC’s 100 stars during our centennial celebration.

Alumni stories are an extension of Renegade history and I’m always fascinated to learn more. See the article at The Bakersfield Californian here:  

The Legacy Continues

I was fascinated to read a recent RIP article about two current BC staff and faculty who are carrying on the legacy their fathers began at BC. Definitely check out the article featuring Dr. Oliver Rosales and BC Counselor, Jonathan Schultz by RIP Reporter, Megan Fenwick.


David Rosales, Oliver Rosales, Jonathan Schultz, and Steve Schultz. Photo by Megan Fenwick and The Renegade RIP

BC’s Performing Arts Improv

On March 10th, the Black Box Theater in the Bakersfield College Performing Art’s Center was re-envisioned into of a New York City comedy club. The dim light with low jazz music for ambiance made the audience feel like they were in the audience of Saturday Night Live anxiously waiting for the performances to begin. The performers took the stage and the comedy show began with the introductions. After a topic was chosen, a performer would give a brief story from their life revolving around said topic. Then other members would take the stage and make short improv skits focused on key elements of the story just told. They would take turns and there were a wide variety of improv skits throughout the night. With no props to use, they made the audience laugh with their strong sense of comedic imagery as if they actually had props on the stage. The night was full of laughter and joy. Bakersfield College is full of talented Renegades that exemplify how exceptional the student body is.

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Women’s History Month is Underway at BC

So many events are taking place around the BC campuses – check out the great article featuring many of our upcoming events for Women’s History Month at

It’s a great time to be at BC!

Since I was away at the Accreditation Commission meeting, I had to call in to the College Council meeting Friday morning, where our team of very passionate and dedicated individuals were engaged in sharing, discussing and debating the amazing and incredible institutional work.  Among the great work, we are focused on upcoming accreditation, institution-set standards, BC’s educational master plan, strategic directions, and our mission statement.  There so much was on the agenda and each topic was substantive.  There was much laughter in the midst of serious deliberations. Listening in I was just happy that we have such talent, such dedication, such compassion, such camaraderie….. We are BC! and  I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever


I texted Jennifer and asked her to get me some pictures for my blog.  Please enjoy them.  Smart people, doing serious work in community.

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Sonya Christian Walking March 13 2017


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever



Renegades are Doing Amazing Things!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, March 11, 2017 and such a fabulous day to be a Renegade.  

Let me start with the video of the week.  Real funny!

Finally a week where I only traveled once to Los Angeles, and a week where I was able to catch up on some Renegade Athletics.

Nancy Edwards

Friends and colleagues gathered on March 4, 2017 to celebrate the life of Nancy Edwards, long-time BC English faculty.  John Gerhold sang works Nancy had written with Harold Quilling’s (retired BC faculty) music.

Local poets along with BC retired and active faculty Jack Hernandez, Rosa Garza, and Sheena Bhogal, read Nancy’s poetry.  Tom Greenwood and Ruth Greenwood organized the event.  Fine Arts 30 was filled with community members, retired BC faculty, and current BC faculty.

Listen to John Gerhold here:

Tom Burke Open Forum March 6 2017Tom Burke at BC

It was a treat having Chancellor Tom Burke doing an open forum at BC.  In his new role as Chancellor, Tom has been visiting the three colleges to share his plans for the future and to listen to the employees across the district.  His presence was well received by the faculty, staff and students at BC.  I loved his response to a question from Lawrence Salcido, a student, who asked Tom what students could do to support him.  Tom’s immediate response was “get good grades.”  Lawrence is very active on campus and you can see him here in the picture with Tom.

Dylan Wang took a lot of pictures but I forgot to get them from him.  So for now, here is the one picture I took on my iphone.  Will update the blog with more photos when I get them.

Looking good with the beard Chancellor Burke!

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BC Blood Drive with Houchin Blood Bank

Stephenie March 8 2017

Stephanie Gibbons

On Wednesday and Thursday, the Houchin Blood Bank vans were parked outside our Campus Center where students could donate to give the gift of life to those who are in need each and every day. The passion that was in the eyes and smiles of those who work for Houchin was obvious, and their warm welcomes and genuine “thank yous” could be heard coming from the Fireside room in the center of campus, just outside the cafeteria.


As students signed in, they were offered water and snacks while filling out a general health questionnaire and have a quick physical performed by the many nurses on staff. One of the dedicated nurses who has been working for Houchin for over thirty years now expressed the joy she finds in her job by saying, “There is never a dull moment or day”. She explained how Houchin travels each and every day to areas throughout Kern County, and how these mobile clinics are able to reach a great number of Kern County residents with success.

When students were asked what makes them want to donate, I heard of one response that was, “I just want to be able to help people”. Many people who have the desire to help their community may say, “But I just don’t know how?’ Houchin Blood Bank is always in need of their community to help replenish their blood bank. If you are in the position to be able to help out your community, and you are curious to how you can do that, what better way than to give the gift of life!

Stephanie Gibbons is just fabulous to work with.  Thank you Stephanie and Greg Gallion for all that you do for our community.

Thank you to BC’s Office of Student Life, especially Danyel Owens, Arisve Pimentel, and SGA President, Matthew Frazier for all your work in coordinating these events.  And thank you Dr. Nicky Damania for all that you do for our students at BC.  and thank you for always helping out.  I am so very glad I get to work with you.

The Houchin Blood bank caravan of busses at the campus center.

Photos taken by Amber Smithson

Check out my post from last year about Houchin Blood Bank on March 19, 2016

and my write up about Greg Gallion on Jne 19, 2016

Wednesday’s Soup Special

Coconut Quinoa Chicken Soup in a bell pepper "bowl"

Last week, BC Food Services sent out an email announcing the daily soup special – Coconut Quinoa Chicken Soup. Chef Eric Sabella tells me the idea came from our cook, Nicole Sizemore and the unique recipe was served inside of a bell pepper, which added a beautiful presentation. You know, they say you eat with your eyes first!

Staff, faculty, and students at BC are in for a treat when we find out what the daily specials are. A different soup is prepared every day, and many of their recipes, including their popular chicken curry soup, include the creamy flavor of coconut milk, which is a great source of calcium for vegans and people with lactose intolerance while being rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals.

My dear friend, do you see why BC is such a special place….right from our interesting and talented food services department to our commercial music program….I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever.

STEMposium from KEDC

Cheryl Scott with Sandi and Scruffy Facebook picture

Cheryl Scott with Sandie and Scruffy

Bakersfield College is excited to do its part in preparing the next generation of leaders in science, technology, engineering and math during the inaugural Kern County “STEMposium” on May 19th in the BC gym!  Cheryl Scott and the Kern Economic Development Corporation (KEDC) are leading this effort.  Cheryl is a friend of Bakersfield College and volunteers her time to support the college and support our students. I found this great picture of Cheryl on Facebook where she says: “Back in the day when Sandie was a scruffy little pup. They’re still my baby girls!”


The first annual “STEMposium” aims to connect middle and high school students with local business representatives to raise awareness of the STEM-related career opportunities in Kern County. The confluence of agriculture, energy and defense industries has lead Kern County to be ranked fourth-best in the nation for availability of STEM jobs, according to the Central Valley Business Times, and events like the “STEMposium” will only help those STEM opportunities continue to grow.

High school students will get the chance to show off their STEM class project, and local business will be hosting demonstrations booths with specialized engineering equipment. The first keynote speaker for the inaugural event will be Jose Hernandez, a son of migrant workers who grew up to travel to the International Space Station, becoming an engineer for NASA. Hernandez will be talking about his book, “Reaching for the Stars: The Inspiring Story of a Migrant Farm Worker Turned Astronaut.”

Gadfly Café

Founded by René Trujillo and continued now under the leadership of Reggie Williams, both of the Philosophy Department, the Gadfly Café is an extracurricular event that takes place six times per academic year in the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities. The Gadfly Café provides students, faculty, staff, and administrators the opportunity, and a forum, to discuss social and philosophical issues that we face as human beings in a diverse community. Topics have included terrorism, alienation, gender, race, abortion, and religion. The purpose of the Gadfly Café is to promote open, respectful discourse and communication on the difficult issues we face, better appreciating their complexity, and learning from each other’s experiences. The Gadfly Café is typically scheduled on Wednesdays at the lunch hour from 12:30 to 1:30 throughout the Fall and Spring Semesters at Bakersfield College. The next Gadfly is April 5th and will address the death penalty.  So proud that BC has these incredible opportunities through the Levan Center.  It feels more like something you’d find at a Liberal Arts college.  Thank you Jack Hernandez!

The Gadfly Cafe meeting

Gadfly Cafe is always an important, though-provoking discussion.

BC Alum Stories

Maria Madeline Herndon with a goat

Maddie and a baby goat

Last Friday, when I was in Delano with Tracy Lovelace, she shared with me some pictures and a video of a former BC student, Maria Madeline Herndon. Currently, Maddie is a junior at Davis majoring in Animal Science and Management but prior to that she went to BC. She completed her first two years here and was very involved in student government. I enjoyed hearing how Maddie loved her time at BC and enjoyed taking classes from Prof. Jerry Poncetta (Ag) and Prof. Dave Meyers (Math). She was the recipient of a highly competitive scholarship given by the KC CattleWomen.

For the past two summers, she has been involved at the UC Cooperative Extension where her day starts when the run rises, but Maddie has loved it because it truly gave hands-on experience to the Ag scene with-in KC. I love hearing stories and updates about past Renegades. Especially, students who could go away to school but whose family (and Maddie too) knew the positives of attending BC for the first two years. I know it was a great experience for Maddie to be here at BC.

Foster Youth Conference at BC

Breaking Barriers & Empowering Success, the 2nd annual conference took place on Friday, February 24, 2017 on the BC campus.  About 170 people attended including: Foster Youth adults and high school foster youth, Foster Parents, Relative Caregivers, Social Workers, CASA volunteers, school staff, and others working with children. The sponsors were Foster Youth Services, Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Quality Parenting Initiative, the Department of Human Services, and Bakersfield College. The keynote speaker was Terry Harrak, Youth Law Center staff member and former foster youth. It was great to have Judge Marquez on campus, who was also in attendance. After the welcoming and keynote speaker, breakout sessions were held with foster youth panels.

Extra information was available during the resource fair with 16 vendors and community agencies such as: America’s Jobs First, Alliance Human Services, Dolores Huerta Foundation, and more.

BC Ag department helping with Homeless Center Project

Thank you Ag community and our wonderful BC Ag students for your help at the Homeless Center in Bakersfield. What a beautiful way to brighten the day for the residents. So proud of our Ag community, partnering and planting fruits and vegetables at the Bakersfield Homeless Center with the Kern County Young Farmers and Ranchers and some fellow AG students from Bakersfield College. For more on the Bakersfield Homeless Center see


Faculty Spotlight: Robby Martinez

“He leapt to the stage with contagious energy, and spoke with a charm that drew the crowd in.” What a perfectly descriptive statement for one of our talented faculty, Robby Martinez. I was thrilled to see this article from The Daily Independent in Ridgecrest. You have to check it out at

And Robby, a Grammy award winner brought back this blanket for me from this year’s Grammy awards.  How cool is that!


Staff Spotlight: Isabel Castaneda

I’m so very happy to see Isable Casteneda back on campus.  Isabel is so devoted to BC and our students. She’s an Educational Advisor and very involved with our Summer Bridge program! She put in so many volunteer hours during the Measure J campaign.  I ran into her when I stopped by the cafeteria to get chicken strips. Don Chruciel, BCs new VP of FInance and Admin Services is pictured here with Isabel!  Isabel, welcome home!

Don Chruciel with Isabel Castaneda

Don Chruciel with Isabel Castaneda. It was so nice to see her again!

The BC Staff is a Family!

While browsing Facebook, I always love seeing posts by BC’s Mary Jo Pasek. Here she highlighted seeing Ramon Puga’s son and as she mentioned, Ramon is our BC Maintenance Supervisor! It’s great to see the close support among BC campus colleagues.

Our Town

Last weekend the talented Renegades of the Performing Arts Department presented “Our Town” by Thorton Wilder. Aside from a few tables and chairs, a stain glass window, and some stairs the set didn’t give much away, and it left the audience wondering. Brian J. Sivesind directed the rather interesting play by Wilder and greeted everyone on stage just before the performance began.

“Our Town” starts with the Stage Manager giving us details about the setting and would continue to inform us with character information. It began as a normal day in Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire in 1901. Two mothers prepared breakfast for their two children and sent them off to school, the milkman and paper boy made their deliveries, and their husbands came home from work. Later, the audience met two of the children, George Gibbs and Emily Webb, and their seems to be a romance starting to bud between them. A lot of character development was done in Act I, it gave the audience different ways to connect to each character. It was like revisiting history as told by the Stage manager; who then later informs us that the play discusses life, will discuss love, and something else the audience could probably guess in the upcoming Acts. While the play ended in tragedy, it had plenty of comedy amidst it as well. It gave the audience a different outlook and how we should appreciate the transience of human life and our companionships.

If you ever have the chance to see a production at BC by our talented Performing Arts Department, you don’t want to miss it. Thank you to Belen Martinez for the photos!

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BC Athletics

Pierce College Baseball playing at BC

BC beat Pierce College with a 9-7 win.

BC baseball team moves to 3-1 in WSC Conference play with a 9-7 win over visiting LA Pierce on Tuesday night at Gerry Collis field. The Renegades had 11 hits and drew 5 walks in overcoming a 6-3 deficit. “We did enough offensively to climb back in ” Coach Tim Painton said. “We were not very good defensively.  I don’t know how many unearned runs there were, but the majority of the runs that Pierce scored were unearned.” The Bakersfield Californian covered it here:—in-wsc-south/article_675d87df-8e88-5dc3-958f-6abc21627225.html

Have you been to a BC softball game lately? I recently attended March 9ths game against Moorpark College. I enjoyed cheering on the Renegades with Don Chrusciel, Sandi Taylor, Zav Dadabhoy, and Janet Tarjan. I hope to see YOU at the next one!

Don Chrusciel, Sandi Taylor, Sonya Christian, Zav Dadabhoy, Janet Tarjan

Don Chrusciel, Sandi Taylor, Sonya Christian, Zav Dadabhoy, Janet Tarjan

To stay up-to-date with all Athletic activities at the Home of the Renegades, check out!

Moorpark College Softball at Bakersfield College.

Moorpark College Softball at BC.

BC’s Swim Team Rocks!

Men’s and Women’s swimming competed in the first conference meet of the season Friday March 3rd at College of the Canyons.

MArch 6 2017


1. LA Valley 367

2. BC 334

3. Canyons 311

4. Santa Monica  289


1. Santa Barbara  381

2. BC 278

3. LA Valley 266

4.Santa Monica 226

5. Canyons 203

Top Performances for BC: Jennifer Quan: 1st 500 Free, 2nd 200 IM; Cynthia Maner: 2nd 1000 Free, 3rd 100 Breaststroke; 2nd 200 Medley Relay: (Victoria Hernandez, Cynthia Maner, Jennifer Quan, Niquelette Rimer)

Steve Santana: 1st 200 Free, 2nd 100 Butterfly; Andrew Martinez: 1st 100 Free, 2nd 500 Free; Brian Bender: 2nd 100 Breaststroke, 3rd 200 IM; 2nd 200 Free Relay: (Steve Santana, Cameron Reeves, Cesar Zepeda, Brian Bender)

 Congratulations to Sigma Chi Eta Inductees

lhp_bw.tif [Converted]Sigma Chi Eta is the official community college honor society of the National Communication Association (NCA). Since 2000, SCH has fostered growth in the Communication discipline among two-year colleges and universities. Once inducted, a student is a member for life and is expected to always strive for excellence. I’m happy to announce BC has nine students who have qualified to be inducted. Congratulations to: Evelyn A Andrad, Preston George III, Andrea Rivera Gomez, Hugo Daniel Mendez, Miguel Angel Munoz, Griselda Vanessa Navarro, Joey Ramirez, Taylor Ross, and Amber Rose Smithson.

Thank you Communication department and thank you Mark Staller!

The Empowerment Project

15894554_1249062191837632_7296633576726583240_nThe Empowerment Project is the incredible journey of a crew of female filmmakers driving across America to encourage, empower, and inspire the next generation of strong women to go after their career ambitions.Driving over 7,000 miles from Los Angeles to New York over the course of 30 days, the documentary spotlights 8 positive and powerful women leaders across a variety of lifestyles and industries. In celebration of the all-female focus in front of and behind the camera, the filmmakers turned the cameras on themselves, capturing their transformational journey. The film challenges the audience to ask themselves, “What would you do if you knew you would succeed?”  Nan Gomez-Heitzberg was a panelist at the March 8th Empowerment Project premiere at CSUB hosted by The Women’s and Girls’ Fund at Kern Community Foundation. Over 150 were in the audience including all generations, girls from 8 and 9 years old to grandmothers and said she was particularly struck by the passion, determination, and perseverance in the documentary. The women on the panel (Jenny Zorn provost CSUB, Mary Barlow supt schools, Lisa Green, district attorney, Racquel Santos Pina, MD, Kaiser Permanente. Kristen Barnes, moderator) spoke about finding their niche and being committed to their chosen profession with the underlying theme to not let others dissuade you, instead – be confident, find mentors, both men and women, and follow your heart.

The one thing all panelists had in common was education and education gives you options. What a wonderful and inspirational event.

Logan came to visit!

One of the highlights of my week was when Shannon Musser came to visit with her beautiful new baby boy Logan.  Just wonderful!

Shannon Musser with her baby son Logan.

Logan and his mom paid me a visit!

Little things that make me happy

I love it when I am travelling and I get text messages or photos about things happening at BC.  Here are two of my faves from this week.  Jennifer Marden (you can just see her left eye) taking a selfie of the office folks huddling to solve problems focusing on the document projected from Chris’ laptop on the TV screen and one with Lesley Bonds who was thrilled after spending hours and days and weeks working on the SSSP report.

We have a great team in the Office of the President and the three Vice Presidents–Jennifer Marden, Tracy Hall, Somaly Boles, June Charles, Tarina Perry, and Chris Glaser.   And as Jennifer refers to the group– Team Awesome! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for all that you do.


Happy Sonya Christian after great picture from Jennifer March 8 2017


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever


Inspiration All Around Us!

Good morning Bakersfield, it is Saturday, March 4th and a fabulous day to be a Renegade.

Had a crazy long week and am so happy to be back in my own bed at home, sipping coffee, hearing the “hoo-h’HOO-hoo-hoo” of the barn owl in the back yard.

Sunday through Thursday I was chairing an accreditation team – actually, both the district team and the team for one of the colleges within the district.  Lesley Bonds was also on the team.

The Accreditation Process in the United States is truly remarkable.  It is a peer review process of assurance of institutional quality and integrity.  Larry Braskamp wrote about the peer evaluation process in his essay, on Being Responsive and Responsible in the CHEA publication.

“Faculty have had a remarkable history of being able to run their own affairs, i.e., the academic community itself has determined the standards held for the faculty and has judged the quality of their work. Accreditation is one manifestation of this position, since it serves as a mechanism for peers, mostly within the academy, to judge the worth, value and merit of academe. Despite this, the work of the faculty (academics) has never been totally isolated from the larger society. Being accountable-responsive and responsible-has always been embedded in the social contract between society and higher education.”

Site visits are an incredible experience.

Driving Back to BC!


After the site visit Lesley and I were driving back to Bakersfield when a truck in front of us dropped several large sheets of thick glass on the road.

The first picture is Lesley holding a piece of glass that was stuck in the groove between the windshield and the hood of the car.  The second picture is Lesley checking  out the tire pressure.  The third picture is with Florenzio who was definitely a talker and very charming.

Florenzio, our mechanic was from Beliz. When he learned we were heading back to Bakersfield, he was excited that we might know something about the dairy industry. He shared with us a cultural tradition: El pajarete. As I understand, el pajarete is an early morning drink made from fresh cow or goat milk, tequila, a bit of powdered chocolate, and sometimes instant coffee.

College Council and leadership Academy:

Friday morning I spent at College Council and was so happy to be back on campus and see the faces of the folks I work with.  We have several substantive items on the agenda and each with ha task group with substantive, collaborative, and rigorous presentations.  Have I told you recently that I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

One if the items presented and discussed was SB 769 which is the follow up to SB 850 the legislation that was passed in 2015 to allow 15 community colleges to offer a baccalaureate program.  SB 769 will expand SB 850 to include more colleges or have the same college offer more degrees.  Bakersfield College had several candidates on the list last time when we finally decided to pick Industrial Automation.

Right after College Council I hopped in the car and headed out to Delano where Rich McCrow was hosting the Leadership Academy of the Kern Community College District.  This year’s cohort of the Leadership Academy is just a very engaged and action oriented group.



When I walked in Chelsea Esquibias was presenting on the Inmate Education program.  Did you know that BC has the largest Inmate Education Program in the country?  I did not. Now with the passage of Proposition 57 it is even more critical that we develop the skills essential to find a job for those who are transitioning out of incarceration.  Prop 57 was on the November 8, 2016 ballot that supports increasing parole and good behavior opportunities for individuals convicted of nonviolent crimes.

Rich McCrow is the lead administrator for BC responsible for this program and he has done an outstanding job developing an effective program in collaboration with faculty and staff. Bryan was the pioneer at BC to teach at Kern Valley Prison.  He started a reflections on prison education blog that you must check out

Here is a post from his January 22, 2017 blog signed as Professor H

The semester is off and running. I meet my last group of new students tomorrow and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t eager to get back to work. Two of the yards I am teaching in this semester are new and one I taught in last year at this time. Seems to me that I am going to encounter the usual suspects every semester. Regardless of whether or not they have taken a class from me in the past or not, the similarities between them are obvious. These bright, dedicated, and knowledge-seeking students want more than the government issue. Students are walking in with the nostalgia every professor hopes and dreams of with a new crop. Eyes wide open, pencils freshly sharpened, and whatever paper they could scrap together, the feeling in the area is something good is on the horizon. I feel so honored to be a part of this work and witness the changing of the tide. Here is to another great semester inside. I will keep you posted as we move along.

After Chelsea we heard from Trustee Romeo Agbalog and Trustee Bill Thomas.  It is a real treat having our trustees engage with activities on our campuses.

Romeo Agbalog and Bill Thomas March 4 2017.jpg

Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Trustee Bill Thomas

Both trustees had their beginnings at a community college. Trustee Agbalog at the Delano Campus of Bakersfield College and Trustee Thomas at Santa Ana College. Trustee Agbalog talked about the intentionality and leadership of individuals in Delano that resulted in an Elementary School, a high school, and a college all being located on the same street– Heitt Street.  Only place you can go from Kinder to college.  He inspired the group by telling them leadership was not about a position or title, but the engagement and the actions of the work.  Trustee Thomas shared the history of the Kern Community College District and engaged in Q&A about the financing.  The two trustees were well received by the Leadership Academy cohort.

After a great lunch, we heard from a panel that talked about our partnership with Delano and what is working and what not so well.  Some of them were operational issues and some policy.  Since there were many of us listening to the issues (John Means, Vice Chancellor of Ed Services, Trustee Bill Thomas, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Director Rich McCrow and myself), I think we will get these issues resolved!


Paul Chavez, Martin Lonza, Marleni Florez, Vanessa Renteria, Elma Barraza

Here are the panelists:

Paul Chavez, Director CTE & Dual Enrollment, Delano Joint Union High School
Martin Lonza, Principal, Wasco Independence High Schools

Marleni Florez, Asst. Director, Wasco Adult Ed Programs

Vanessa Renteria, Assistant Principal, McFarland High School

Elma Barraza, Assistant Director, Operations, Fresno Pacific University(Bakersfield)

Rich McCrow and the Delano gang did an outstanding job hosting the Leadership Academy.  Victor Diaz brought me to tears with a fabulous introduction.  And I loved that Victor and Tarina distributed the link to my blog.  Thank you!  I got to meet Matt Wanta, Director of Nusring, from Cerro Coso and Elmer Aguilar, Program Manager of the SSSP/Equity.  Both incredibly motivated and committed to student success.  Also enjoyed getting to know Deanna Campbell, Director of the Mammoth and Bishop centers of Cerro Coso Community College.  Just an incredibly smart and engaged individual.  Deanna invited us to have a retreat up at Bishop or Mammoth and I’m taking her up on it – the Exec Team of BC will be doing out summer retreat up there.  Thank you Deanna.

Here is the list of participants in this year’s Leadership Academy:

Chris Dison, Christine Morales, Gustavo Enriquez, Raquel Lopez, Reese Weltman, Tarina Perry, Tracy Lovelace, Victor Diaz, Zenaida Tutop, Matthew Wanta, Rebecca Rock, Elmer Aguilar, Patricia Serrato, Cathi Jacob


BC Kicks off Women’s History Month:

Erin Miller and WHAM (Women’s History And More) got the show on the road with a great presentation on March 2nd at the Levan Center on slavery, race, sexuality and stories to go along with the topic of African American enslaved women crossing the Middle Passage. Jennifer L. Morgan, a professor of Social and Cultural Analysis from New York University visited with the intention of discussing what it meant to be one of the women on the ships.  Professor Morgan is the author of the book, Laboring Women: Gender and Reproduction in New World Slavery, published in 2004 and she wanted to pursue the topic of enslaved women because of family ties, African American history, and share these stories. She stated that her speech was intended to, ” show how they were treated, how from scraps of archives and evidence we learn that women suffered the horrors of the middle passage, and struggled with the knowledge of how to express it.” The Middle Passage refers to travel from Africa to the Americas in the 1600-1800’s and includes the Caribbean, and Latin America. Professor Morgan mentioned in her speech that enslaved women were mistreated by serving as “bedfellows for Englishman on board, thrown overboard to serve as examples for others on board, and even had to give birth while in the depths of the ship.”.  Here is a “copy and paste” from Olivia Garcia’s Facebook page:

In the words of BC history professor Oliver Rosales, “it was a great evening for history at BC.” Students, faculty and staff were treated to a thoughtful dialogue on “Women in the Middle Passage: Gender, Slavery, and the Problem of Writing History,” presented by Dr. Jennifer Morgan, a historian who teaches at New York University. The Levan Institute was jam-packed. Special thanks to WHAM organizers, history professors Erin Miller and Tina Mendoza, and Jack Hernandez of the Levan Institute. #bc #history


Thank you to Cara Jackson for the photos!  And Olivia Garcia, I got some of the photos from your Facebook post.

Fernanda Martinez our student reporter from the Renegade Rip did a great coverage on the lineup for WHAM.  Check it out

So proud of our Renegade Rip and our student journalists!

National Engineers Week

In celebration of National Engineers Week, the Bakersfield College Engineering and Industrial Technology Department partnered with the local chapter of the American Society of Petroleum Engineers to host an Engineering Day for approximately 500 high school students from across Kern County last weekend.

These students had the opportunity to get a glimpse into college life, find out about various STEM majors, learn about career possibilities for each major, and query BC faculty. This year, the BC Baccalaureate Industrial Automation students provided demonstrations of two interactive class projects. Additionally, community organizations such as Chevron, Summit ESP, AERA, California Resources Corporation, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Safety Engineers, Taft College, and the Society of Petroleum Engineers provided high school students with information about careers in engineering throughout Kern County.


Thank you to all the faculty and student presenters who supported the event, as well as the fabulous planning staff – Yadira Guerrero, Mary Jo Pasek, Steve Watkin, Ashlea Ward, Martin Perez (BC) AND Allison Escovedo (EB Resources) and Pam Willis (Aera Energy).

Financial Aid Awareness Week

Visitors, guests, and even some students walk through Bakersfield College campus each and every day and give little heed to the large building located in the center of campus that has the ability to change lives. Just past the large glass doors, is an area full with information. It can be overwhelming to say the least. However, it’s there that students are fortunate enough to take part in one of the many workshops that BC’s Financial Aid offers to all BC students.

This week, February 27th – March 3rd, 2017 is dedicated to Financial Aid awareness. And it’s during this week that the campus especially goes all out to help all of BC students get the most out of their budgets. For example, on Tuesday February 28th, a “Cash Course Management” workshop took place where the Financial Aid team shared tips about when to start the FAFSA process and even had a time set aside where they were able to walk the students through those steps and give them help on their paperwork. They discussed the various types of grants, scholarships, and loans that are available to the college student today and how each one of them has their own pro’s and con’s, or special requirements.

The underlying theme of the week was that each one of us has the power to have financial stability in life. It’s ok to ask questions, in fact it’s the best thing you can do. Students on campus every day are encouraged to ask, explore, debate, and question. It is not only important to have that sense of determination with your studies but to have them with your finances as well. If there is something that you are not familiar with, look it up, seek out the information you need.

Take advantage of their knowledge at the Financial Aid office and allow them to help you help yourself! The struggles are real with finances, the cost of classes, books, supplies, and even how much to spend on food – why not make a budget so that instead of worrying about money matters, you can focus on academic matters.



It’s a great time for BC Track! The first conference meet held was in Ventura on Feb. 24th, and had three double winners for the Renegades. Coach Kelley and her staff have done a great job preparing our track teams despite the cold rainy weather, weather that even forced the cancellation of a track meet in southern California.


In just the third meet of the year, two freshman and a sophomore led the Renegades to a second place finish for the men and a third place finish for the women.


Cesar Patino

Freshman Cesar Patino won the 1500 meters in 4:03.02 which is on pace with state championship times. He also won the 800 meters (1:59.35) and was second in the 3,000 meters (9:06.51).

Sophomore Jacob Bookout won the high jump at 6’5”, triple jump at 42’7” and was second in the long jump at 21’ 7”.

Freshman Jasmine Green won the 100 meters (12.79), 200 meters(26.72) and ran on the winning 4×100 relay team (50.57). Green also placed 2nd in the long jump 16’ 3”.

Check out more at

More on athletics

After playing what is likely the toughest pre-season schedule, Coach Painton‘s baseball team is 2-0 in conference play. They play  are at home tonight at 6:00pm against West Los Angeles College. Offensive leaders include Harry Tyler with a .310 batting average and Tyson Brewer with 5 extra base hits and 10 runs batted in.

Coach Hill‘s Softball team (8-6 overall, 4-1 WSC) put up 50 runs and 50 hits as they beat Santa Monica 25-5 and 25-1 in WSC action Tuesday at Santa Monica.

Alexis Solis led the Renegades with a total of 3 homeruns and 16 RBI for the day!

Jefferson Elementary Classes Visit BC!

img_0229Tuesday was an exciting afternoon for the 4th and 5th graders visiting campus from Jefferson Elementary. Two classes of 4th graders and one class of 5th graders traveled through the halls of the various campus buildings to catch a glimpse of what college really looks like. I’m told they were so enthusiastic and even waved at students in their classrooms saying, “Hello smart people!” In addition to the campus tour, the children were treated to a special showing by Nick Strobel at BC’s Planetarium.

Judy Dudley, a tutor at Jefferson Elementary sent over a packet of thank you cards, drawings, and notes for Dr. Strobel. They are just too cute – I have to share a few.

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Jennifer Garrett Visiting Liberty

I often say I’m the luckiest college president in the world. It’s true! It’s true for many reasons, but one is I get to work with the most incredible staff and faculty in the world. Jennifer Garrett, BC’s Choral Director often visits various High Schools to share all the upcoming and exciting things happening in our music programs. I know she is an inspiration to our future Renegades!

BC at Condors Game

Last Friday night, the Bakersfield Condors graciously invited the BC family to their home game at Rabobank against the Ontario Reign.  What an exciting game!  If you missed it, the Condors made an incredible comeback to win in the third period.  The energy at the games is always fun and contagious!  We are so grateful for a strong partnership with the Condors and love everything they do for our great town during games and in the community.  Thank you Matt Riley for being a friend of Bakersfield College.  And thank you Mary Jo Pasek for making this happen.

Flying Saucer cookies from BC!

On Facebook, there is a group called “Kern County of Old,” where in last July someone posted about these great cookies they used to have at Bakersfield College.  The story goes that Valentina Valena (1909-2002) came up with this recipe while working in the BC cafeteria.  Valena had worked at one of the first directors of the BC kitchen while the college was meeting at Kern County Union High School (now known as “Bakersfield High School”).  By the time Valena retired after 40 years with KHSD and BC, she had made a simple oatmeal cookie that people remember to this day.  What an amazing little bit of BC history!


Here is the post on Facebook, but make sure to see some of the comments where people have posted tips and updated versions of the recipe.


Thank you Fred Misono from the Bakersfield West Rotary Club for sending me the link to the Facebook post.

Check out my June 4, 2016 post where I met Fred Misono for the first time when we presented Measure J to the Rotary Club.  He made the visit so much fun.  Click on the link and enjoy Fred Misono!


Susan Wiggins

It’s wonderful to hear stories about BC and our alumni. It seems like every person is connected to our campus in one way or another. If you’re not an alumnus/a yourself, a family member, friend, or their family has a connection to the Renegades and it’s wonderful to see how alive “The Renegade pride” is in our community.

Have you seen Robert Price’s article about Susan Wiggins? What an amazing article about an even more amazing woman. We have incredible people in our community – people who are dedicated, fearless, kind, and able to accomplish anything. Check out the article about Susan here:

Both photos are file photos from The Bakersfield Californian website.

Susan, you’re an inspiration! And I just can’t wait to see what our current Renegade students will accomplish in their futures too.  And thank you Bob Price for this great article.

Summer Bridge 2017

I can’t wait for our third year of Summer Bridge to roll out.  This program has become a key student success strategy for Bakersfield College – to have an on-boarding process for our incoming students through a one-day orientation.  Summer Bridge in most colleges and universities is conducted by Student Affairs with some level of engagement from instructional faculty in various disciplines.  What makes BC’s summer bridge different from others is that faculty in various disciplines are core to the architecture of the program.

Kimberly Bligh has started the orientations with the faculty for Summer 2017 as they gear up to welcome our new students.  Here are some cool photos.


Got this message from Kimberly Bligh:

“Gathering faculty leads…  training , team building, organizing, getting them to own their role as mentors of mentors… love my job!”



william-velasquez-and-sonya-christian-march-4-2017As I was rushing from College Council to get in the car and drive to Delano, William Velasquez, one of our new IT people stopped me just to introduce himself and say how much he loved working at BC.  wow…. i loved it.  So, I had to do a selfie with him


Talented, smart, focused, dedicated, and fun faculty and staff at Bakersfield College.  Thank you for having me as your president!



That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Renegades everywhere…. transforming lives

Good morning Bakersfield….It is Saturday, February 25, 2017….a good day to be a Renegade!

Before I get into my past week, let me pause for a moment to remember Chef Ray.

Chef Ray will be deeply missed 


Ray Ingram.

The entire Renegade community was deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Raymond Ingram on Wednesday. Ray was a valued member of our Culinary Arts faculty and taught baking and pastry classes at Bakersfield College for over 10 years. He was and will continue to be a well-respected colleague. His classes were always full and he touched the lives of well over 1,100 students. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this time.

I love this piece in the Bakersfield Magazine in 2015 about Chef Ray.  Check it out

BC’s new Public Health Sciences Degree


Sarah Baron. Photo by Henry Barios, TBC

Did you read Harold Pierce’s article on Saturday, Feb 18th on our new Public Health Sciences degree?  If not, it is a must read



Talking about Harold Pierce, I must pause to say that we have great journalists in our community.  And it is a gift to society at large when the press is free and engaged!

Back to our Public Health Sciences degree…..Bakersfield College has been in a growth phase the last three years with student enrollments increasing significantly year after year.  This has resulted in opportunities for us to hire new faculty.  In addition to deepening the numbers in our regular programs, we also have expanded to offer new programs to meet the needs of our community and the region.

The Public Health Sciences is a fast growing area with various job opportunities.  It gives students a bigger variety of options than just direct patient care.  Kern County struggles with public health issues that impact us both individually and as a community as a whole.


We have two extraordinary individuals who are in charge of this program: Cindy Collier, Dean of Allied Health and Sarah Baron, Lead faculty. #WeAreBC


New Pilot Recycling Program to Reduce Campus Waste

This week, we started a new pilot program on Wednesday in the BC Cafeteria to cut waste and increase recycling. Bakersfield ARC (BARC), the City of Bakersfield-Public Works Department Solid Waste Division and the Sustainability Coalition Team representing the 2016-17 Leadership Academy partnered up to help build momentum around sustainability practices.

Representatives were on hand to provide information, and those who stopped by the booth to participate in a brief survey received a promotional gift!  At BC, we’re focused on sustainability and creating a better BC for our future generations. To learn more about BC’s core values, including sustainability, check out

The person who made all this happen is Tarina Perry.  Way to go!

Congratulations to Bryan Hirayama

bryan_hirayamaI saw a post on Facebook by Bryan Hirayama where he shared some great news.

Honored to be the 2017 Western States Communication Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award Recipient. Big thanks to my dear friend and forever colleague Bradley Adame Ph.D for his instrumental role in making this possible and Elissa Adame Ph.D for putting up with us. So glad we were able to celebrate this together.

Bryan is one of BC’s Communication Faculty and I have so much respect for the great work he does.  Bryan was the pioneer at BC to teach at Kern Valley Prison.  He started a reflections on prison education blog that you must check out

Here is a post from Bryan or as his signature line reads Professor H:

Often times when things are going well and nothing looks like it is going to disrupt the momentum, people have little to say. It sometimes easier to highlight the bad because of the potentially disasterous chain of events that unfolds because something went wrong. These first couple of weeks teaching behind the walls in the cold uninviting halls of the education wing on three different yards has been uneventful. Not because the students haven’t been great and the work isn’t awesome but because it seems like people half expect an exaggerated version of the television show “Locked Up”. No, the students aren’t violent towards me. No, they aren’t hitting me up to smuggle in a phone. Yes, they are smart. No, not just smart for someone in prison. Just smart. From what I am told, prison is an unpredictable environment. Without a moments-notice something can kick off. I have had only a small glimpse into this world. And although the days I spend in the classroom with students is as about routine as it gets for a professor, I do not question or turn my back to the idea things can change quickly. However, for now, I don’t know what to say other than the semester is off to a great start and sky is the limit for these students pursuing what many believe is part of the American Dream; A dream, from my perspective while working with these students, is alive and well.

Thank you Bryan and congratulations from all of us at Bakersfield College. We are so proud to have you at BC!

BC at the 7th Annual Military Order of the Purple Heart

Bakersfield College was honored as the Veteran Support Organization of the Year at the 7th Annual Military Order of the Purple Heart Dinner, held Saturday, February 19th, at the Doubletree Hotel in Bakersfield.  Dr. Zav Dadabhoy accepted the award on behalf of Bakersfield College.


Dr. Nicky Damania, Mrs. Jackson, and Sergeant David Jackson

The award was presented by Bakersfield College Student Life intern, and retired Army First Sergeant David Jackson, who is one of the leaders of the MOPH.  Every year the award goes to a county organization who has contributed to the advancement of veteran services and Bakersfield College was the recipient.  In his thank you speech, Zav spoke of the commitment and responsibility Bakersfield College has to its veterans.  He spoke of the dedication to our college’s veterans as best shown in our new Veteran Resource Center to be built, which is first on the list of buildings to go up as a result of our community’s support for Measure J!  Speaking of BC Veteran Services, Dr. Dadabhoy ended his short speech with a hearty and heartfelt, “You aint seen nothin’ yet!”

img_1951It was a great night to be surrounded by Purple Heart recipients, and Vietnam War veterans, who were spotlighted on this evening.  The keynote speaker of the evening was Vietnam War veteran, Lt. Col. (Retired) Dick Rutan, who is one of the originators/pilots of the Rutan Voyager, the first aircraft to fly around the world without stopping or refueling.  The flight took nine days, 3 minutes, and 44 seconds.  His Voyager now sits in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.  Lt. Col. Rutan spoke of his time over the skies of North Vietnam and of the commitment to the flag and to his fellow warriors.  His stories of commitment to his brothers-in-arms and his commitment to flight engaged the audience completely.  Such a glorious time.  

Here is a great picture of the BC gang with several dignitaries including Mayor Karen Goh.


Paul Beckworth wrote,

It is so humbling to have Bakersfield College honored as the veterans support organization of the year while being surrounded by such men as Lt. Col. Rutan, and the dozens of Purple Heart recipients in the room.  We will live up to the legacy of such men in our commitment to Kern County’s student-veterans.


Paul Beckworth and Armando Trujillo are the reason why we received this award.  And there is so much more work to do.  Earlier this week I received a great email from a faculty from another CA Community College inquiring about the Guided Pathways work.  and she signed off saying Si se puede.  What a great call to action statement.  So my dear community members, we can do much more for our veterans. Si se puede!

BC is truly fortunate to have individuals like Paul and Armando in charge of our student veterans.  It is because of things like the talent, dedication, and endless hours of work that they put in to support our students that I constantly say that I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever.

13th Annual KCBCC Gala and Board Installation Program

On Thursday evening at the Petroleum Club, BC was well represented at the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce Annual Gala. The KCBCC is a fantastic organization, serving as an advocate for the creation, development, and general economic growth of low and moderate income communities and African American businesses in the Kern County Area.  Dr. Paula Parks, BC’s ASTEP coordinator, was installed on the 2017-18 CCBCC Board of Directors.  


Pictured here is Clinton A. Lewis Sr, his wife and BC’s Director of Outreach, Steve Watkin. Clinton was recognized during the event as the Distinguished Businessman of the Year – Congratulations Clinton and Wingstop Restaurant, inc.

Thank you to all who attended from Bakersfield College, including Zav Dadabhoy, June Charles, Mandelyn Hobbs, Julian West, Debra Strong, Odella  Johnson, Valarie Robinson, Tonysha Miles, and Jada Wells.  You see the whole group here in the picture along with Patrick Jackson from NAACP.



Congratulations to Tracy & Dave!

Join me in congratulating Tracy Hall,  on her beautiful wedding on the gorgeous bluffs overlooking Pismo Beach. It was meant to be when on a rainy and blustery day the clouds parted and the sun came out to shine for the wedding and the radiant couple. Tracy looked so beautiful as she and Dave said their vows. Congratulations and wishing you many years of happiness and love, Dave and Tracy!


Lincoln Day Event

Tuesday (2/21) evening I attended the Lincoln Day Republican event as a guest of Senator Jean Fuller.  The event started with a private reception that was jam packed, followed by a dinner at the Double Tree Inn.  I had a great time sitting next to Lily Agbalog who is great fun and the kindest soul I know.  Senator Jean Fuller’s speech was from the heart as she talked about how a little girl from Shafter was able to become a senator because of the support from the community.  Jean Fuller is the very best!

Trustee Romeo Agbalog and Trustee and retired Congressman Bill Thomas were there as well.  All of the speakers recognized the work of Bill Thomas and the legacy that he has left not only in Kern County but also in Washington DC.  There was definitely a celebration about the political leaders from our area.  One of the speakers Devin Nunes said: “Think about this, we had a chairman of Ways and Means from the Central Valley(Bill Thomas); the majority leader is from the Central Valley (Kevin McCarthy); the chairman of the intelligence committee is from the Central Valley (Devin Nunes).”


I understood that every year there is an essay writing contest and the winner gets to read their essay at this event and also gets an award of $2000.  This year’s winner was Sophia Caputo and here is her essay.


Sophia Caputo

“We have but a short life to live here my dear friend. But let us make it long by noble deeds.” (Goodwin, Team of Rivals, Chase 117)

November 8, 2016. Having spent what seemed like an eternity building up to the day, tension was running high, and most Americans eagerly sat in front of their television, waiting for a candidate to reach 270 electoral votes.

And then he did.

Social media exploded in protest and in celebration. It became apparent that the United States was far from “united” in the decision, with some joyously ecstatic, some terrified and endlessly caustic.

Over 150 years ago, our country was bitterly divided; so divided that we almost were no longer the United States of America. With numerous threats of secession, President Lincoln, ultimately, was faced with one job during his term: preserve the Union. In the midst of the fight against slavery, Lincoln saw each battle during the Civil War not as one to end human injustice, but as a fight to hold true to the great country that was (and still is) America. His love for America and the living spirit of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence kept him steadfast in his conviction that such a precious experiment was not to be wasted. He believed that the Constitution was a verb, that we must “constitute” self-government and the blessings of constitutional government, that to lose the Civil War was the end of the “American experiment”. And while he valued the Constitution, Lincoln ultimately viewed American exceptionalism through the prism of the Declaration of Independence.

According to the Abraham Lincoln Encyclopedia, Lincoln “had a natural affinity not for the Constitution […] but for the Declaration of Independence”; he believed that Americans were held together by the Constitution, yes, but only because it offered technical prose to the lyrical truths of the Declaration of Independence.

Lincoln understood that the war was about more than slavery; he fought for the Jeffersonian creed, for the constituted nation in the spotlight of the world. All eyes were on us, because self-government was still a heady but fragile experiment. Lincoln fought for the North because it was the fight for our country. Above all else, he saw the necessity in enduring through the war to preserve the Union, to preserve the “American experiment”.

“Washington was a typical American. Napoleon was a typical Frenchman, but Lincoln was a humanitarian as broad as the world. He was bigger than his county—bigger than all the Presidents together” (Tolstoy).  What made President Lincoln so “big”, what made him truly extraordinary, was his sole desire to preserve the Union, to fight for the Constitution and the Declaration–the country he so desperately believed in. Now, in 2017, we can take a page from Lincoln’s book and remember that, to succeed in the American experiment, we must hold fast to the Constitution, but ultimately, we must never lose faith in our Declaration of Independence, the “immortal emblem of humanity”.


Achieving the Dream

On Wednesday, I took the 6:00 a.m. flight to San Francisco to join the BC team that was already there to attend the annual Achieving the Dream convention.  It seemed as it the number of attendees was more than ever.  Bakersfield College was there in full force with speaking responsibilities for 5 sessions.  Our sister colleges from Kern CCD were also there. Val Garcia, the VP of Student Services at Porterville College participated in a panel titled How does the Integrated Services Model Influence College Persistence and Retention Rates? Presenters in that panel included: Adolfo Levia–MDC, Abby Parcell, Edie Blakley–Clark College, Val Garcia–Porterville College.

Early High School Engagement: A Plan That Produces Student Success.
Presenters: Steve Watkin–Director of Outreach, BC; Grace Commiso–Dean of Counseling and Advising, BC;  Lesley Bonds–Director of Student Success and Equity, BC.


Steve Watkin, Lesley Bonds, Grace Commiso

Session Description: This workshop provides a model for community colleges who want to establish a systematic college-wide engagement and communication model that works directly with high schools. Bakersfield College has scaled up outreach, communication and matriculation to all 49 feeder high schools in its service area providing personal contact with students, better placement for success through multiple measures and effective partnerships with high school colleagues. This systematic model constructs a platform for high school students to complete the four California Community Colleges matriculation requirements: Orientation, Assessment, Counseling/Advising and development of an Educational Plan focused on completion of essential milestones (English and Math). This data-driven model is designed to strengthen collaboration with high school partners with the ultimate goal of effectively engaging potential students, properly placing them for success, improving retention and student success.

Transforming the Remediation Pathway for Success; A Holistic View of the Student Pathway. Presented by: Kimberly Bligh, Faculty Department Chair, Academic Development, BC;  Jessica Wojtysiak, faculty, Academic Development, BC; and Keri Kennedy, Counseling faculty, BC.  I did not have a picture but found this tweet from Lesley Bonds.


Keri Kennedy, Kimberly Bligh, Jessica Wojtysiak, Erica Menchaca



Session Description:  BC has overhauled its placement practice using extensive multiple measure practices; has redesigned traditional courses to offer numerous acceleration and compressed options in math, English, and reading; has offered an intensive summer academy for first-time students; and has provided intrusive academic and counseling support to the most at-risk students. During this session, participants will hear how intake, on-ramping, acceleration, and intrusive support practices have improved student outcomes at BC and will evaluate whether any of these approaches is right for their institutions. Small teams are encouraged to attend given that these interventions and practices can be adapted to fit most colleges.

I did three presentations.  The first was a session with the Achieving the Dream (ATD) leadership coaches and data coaches discussing the evolution of student success work and the role ATD played in this evolution.  The CEO, Karen Stout) of ATD is just fabulous… it is so fun to work with her.

Plenary Group Dream 2017 Feb 23 2017.jpg

Sonya Christian, Karen Stout, Sunny Cooke, Stephen Covey, Eileen Baccus, Rusell Lowery-Hart


The second session was a lunchtime plenary responding to the recent book by Stephen Covey, Speed of Trust.


Sunny Cooke, Sonya Christian, Stephen Covey

Here is an excerpt of few of my comments:

Trust provides the safety net to make bold moves:  Trust means flying high on the trapeze and performing complicated moves because you know the wires and net are strong. Trust is climbing Mount Everest in a blizzard because you know that there is an expert team of climbers with you.

In other words, an environment of trust provides us the confidence to attempt the impossible.  And if even the results is only a fraction of what was envisioned it is still far greater than what could have been achieved with less boldness.

Working in community feeds the trust account: There is an intensity of work and a chemistry that sets in, due to the connectedness of people which is satisfying to the human soul and the human spirit.  This connectedness results in the group developing a shared approach with the agility and speed that trust bring.  Many of us have experiences the process paralysis at our work in the college which is strengthened when there is a lack of trust.  But the process of collaboration and working in community along with the speed and agility of trust is the “magic potion” that is hugely satisfying on the emotional level and still results oriented on a pragmatic level.

It brings out the best in us: In an environment of connectedness and an environment of trust, each individual goes the extra mile to help with the accomplishment of this large impossible goal.  Setting the goal high in itself is inspiring, and the environment gives individuals the resolve and the endurance to make it happen.  And when the goal is accomplished the results contribute hugely to the trust bank account.

Here is Lesley Bond’s tweet

Lesley's tweet Speef of Trust Feb 23 2017.png

The third session was a spotlight on the CA Guided pathways project.  I was so happy to see the entire KCCD gang attend to support me: the BC group, Heather Ostach and Cory Marvin from Cerro Coso and Val Garcia and the team from Porterville College.  #WeAreKCCD!

Here is a great picture of the two researchers at work at ATD.  Two of my favorite people having a great time — Craig Hayward and Davis Jenkins.


Here is the video of the student who won the award for his poem “I am From”.  Friends, let me introduce you to Enrique Sepulveda.

The fabulous BC team that attended Dream 2017

BC Group Dream 2017 Feb 23 2017.jpg

Kimberly Bligh, Jessica Wojtysiak, Paula Parks, Erica Menchaca, Keri Kennedy, Jennifer Achan, Pedro Ramirez, Lesley Bonds, Grace Commiso

Life is good my friends.  It is a great time to be in California’s community colleges.  And a fabulous time to be at BC.  



That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

We are BC! & We are Bakersfield!

Good morning Bakersfield….It is Saturday, February 18th, Tracy Hall’s wedding day and as I told her, the gods are showering blessings on California and on the new couple.  The rains continue and the Kern River flows again.  What a wonderful time to be in Bakersfield and what a wonderful time to be at BC.

sonya-christian-woman-of-the-year-feb-11-2017A crazy busy and awesome week all at once.  Let me give you are quick sample:

Saturday, Feb 11th: KCHCC Installation and awards night
Sunday, Feb 12th: Conf calls and finished the day with the Grammys
Monday, Feb 13th: Board meeting in the morning then to Sacramento for a dinner meeting.  Here is the link to the article by Harold Pierce, Education Reporter for The Bakersfield Californian, about the Board meeting
Tuesday, Feb 14th: Meeting of an Accreditation Committee that I chair.  Heading back on the train which was delayed by 5 hours and put me in Bakersfield late at night.  Not a very happy train ride on Valentine’s Day.
Wednesday, Feb 15th: 7:00 a.m. Community Leaders Breakfast at BC then meetings then the Bakersfield Chamber Board meeting, then meetings, then the Basket ball games happening the same time as the movie night on campus
Thursday, Feb 16th: Valley Poets, Moon over Malcolm

I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever!

Let me start my blog with a call from Jay Tamsi a few weeks ago to let me know that the Kern County Hispanic Chamber Board selected me as Woman of the Year.  How cool is that!  Now you know that the recognition is truly for Bakersfield College…our faculty and staff are everywhere.  Integrated and engaged with the community.

A group of us from BC attended the event that was sold out and it appeared that all of Bakersfield was there.  In addition to folks from BC, Trustee Romeo Agbalog and his wife Lily were there and also John Means from the District Office.  Three of BC’s very own (Corny Rodriguez, Lisa Kent, Olivia Garcia) were inducted to the Hispanic Chamber Board and the Foundation Board.

The Man of the Year was Stephen Schilling, CEO of Clinica Sierra Vista.  Steve gave a very powerful speech in Spanish and English.

Carlos Navarro, outgoing Chair of the Board did a nice job outlining all the accomplishments from the previous year. Adam Alvidrez as incoming Chair of the Board was extremely funny in his remarks…No seriously, the man could take on Jimmy Fallon and win hands down.  Both Adam and Carlos are friends of Bakersfield College.  Thank you!


We snuck out during salad time to take this picture.  I loved the way Trustee Agbalog supported our new employees at BC!



Alongside the KCHCC, everyone at BC works collaboratively to elevate student success to new heights and develop a new generation of leaders within our community. The whole evening was a true recognition of the great work undertaken by all staff and faculty involved with all Bakersfield Colleges efforts. Our campus is one without boundaries and our student give our future endless possibilities. We are BC! Todos Somos BC!

Here is a link to a news item


The Delano Alliance

The monthly Delano Alliance takes place every 1st Tuesday and the most recent gathering brought the Delano community together at BC’s Delano campus. The event features a briefing about current events in the community – everything from elementary and high schools, to local businesses.


February’s meeting kicked off with an award presentation featuring two BC students, Alexa Rivera and Vicente Lopez who traveled to Washington, DC last month to celebrate BC’s participation in the White House Healthy Campus Challenge. We were proud to be chosen as one of 60 institutions nationwide, and one of four community colleges in California to formally receive White House Healthy Campus status.  The focus of the project on the BC campus was to target the most under-enrolled demographic in the county, college students and young people aged 14-18. In Kern County, enrollment in private health plans lag 50% behind the State of California in the same demographic and our region struggled with some of the highest incidences of STDs, obesity, obesity related health concerns, and respiratory illnesses. I featured this event in my blog, just a few weeks ago – make sure to check it out here.


Pictured here is Richard McCrow, Director of the Delano Campus; Dean Cindy Collier; Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Vice President Academic Affairs; Alexa Rivera, BC Student; Vicente Lopez, BC Student; Romeo Agbalog, KCCD Board Member; and Ray Purcell, Student Health and Wellness Center Director

After the event, Alexa Rivera, who visited the White House sent an email to Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg saying,

Vice President Gomez-Heitzeberg, Thank you for the kind words. I will make sure to always remember my home, Delano. Because of Bakersfield College, both in Delano and Bakersfield, I have been able to partake in several experiences that have helped me become a better student and most importantly young adult. I will always be grateful for the opportunities Bakersfield College has offered to me. Thank you for the email, and thank you for being an inspirational leader. Because of your hard work and presence at Bakersfield College, students, especially females aspiring to be leaders just like you, have the opportunity to learn from you and admire your leadership.

Delano is an inspirational place; it’s a community bursting with treasures, gems, and stories that can keep us all encouraged to reach new heights. I’m so excited for all the future has in store for our Delano Campus!

The Delano Recorder ran a story on this event.  Here it is



Historically Black Colleges and Universities Caravan Visits BC

hbcu-6Representatives from 23 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) came to Bakersfield College on Monday to offer registration and scholarships to students.

During the event, 66 BC and high school students were admitted to four-year institutions such as Southern A&M University and Tuskegee College, and over $500,000 in scholarships were awarded for students looking to attend HBCUs. The event was hosted by a collaboration between BC Student Success and Equity, Outreach and School Relations, the Office of Student Life and the BC Transfer Center.


The HBCU Caravan was one of three transfer events held on Monday. The Transfer Center also hosted an onsite priority admissions drive for BC students who already submitted their paperwork to transfer to Cal State Bakersfield. Prospective transfers got the opportunity to meet one-on-one with an admissions evaluator to review their transcripts.

Over 200 students met with the admissions evaluator, and 181 were admitted to Cal State Bakersfield for Fall 2017.  UCLA Admissions Officer, Tremeal Bradford also hosted an information table on Monday to meet with BC students who might be interested in continuing their education at Westwood. Bradford will remain a permanent UCLA representative on campus. We are so excited to foster a partnership with UCLA! From Renegades to Bruins!


Monday’s multiple transfer events were a product of BC’s collaborative efforts! Thank you to all who are involved and who helped promote this fantastic event. I loved seeing this Facebook post from NaTesha Kindred Johnson. “T” thank you for all your support of BC and the many many hours you put in for Measure J!

Thank you to KGET for the great event coverage at


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African American Community Leaders Breakfast


We hosted our annual African American Community Leaders Breakfast on February 15th in the Fireside Room.

This early morning meeting kept an upbeat and proud focus on the many mentors, sponsors, faulty, success stories from students and overall support African American students receive at BC from the ASTEP and AAMP programs.


The theme for the gathering was Uncommon Accomplishments require Uncommon Commitment a phrase introduced by Dr. Paula Parks when she presented to the Campaign for College opportunities team that visited BC last week.

Steve Watkin organized the event and opened up the program after everyone had some delicious breakfast and fellowship and then settled with a cup of coffee ready to engage with the program. My job was just to welcome everyone and then bring up Mayor Karen Goh.  The program continued with a data presentation by Dr. Janet Fulks, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness.  This is a standard part of our annual event ever since we made a commitment four years ago to put out our student success scorecard openly to the community.   Together we can accomplish the impossible. The data presentation was followed by an amazing panel presentation and ended with the voice of one of our students.  Before we adjourned Steven Watkin recognized Odella Johnson for her 20 years of service.  Now for some specifics and some photos.

Mayor Goh started her remarks with the BC Chant — We are BC! and then she continued with We are Bakersfield! the phrase she introduced at the Fall Opening Day.  Thank you Mayor Goh for adjusting your schedule to spend time with the community gathering at BC.

The ASTEP(African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence) Umoja program and the AAMP(African Amercian Mentor Program), led by Dr. Paula Parks are the main African Amercian programs dedicated to: assisting students through their efforts with coaching, study groups, encouraging students to show the ethic of love to each other, and embracing the culture in order to help them succeed.

Group Feb 15 2017.jpg

In addition, according to our Bakersfield College website, it’s “a program that incorporates drop-in mentoring, resiliency guidance, problem resolution, general (non-academic) assistance, and “real talk”. The students need this type of help and assistance, since many times coming from a complete opposite environment they need to have positive role models and direction in order to help them reach their goals.


Dr. Paula Parks started the day by talking about the goal of the ASTEP and AAMP programs. She stated that, “this semester students take development that’s focusing on careers and then along with English 1A, a library class that helps them with their research strategies. So it’s a yearlong curriculum. They hold each other accountable and also have a group chat, so I appreciated that … and everyone is in communication because they don’t want to let each other down or me down or the program down.”


Chief Lyle Martin, Keith Wolaridge, Fred Prince, Brenda Lewis

The panel members including: Fred Prince from the (KCBCC/Omega Insurance President), Brenda Lewis(Assistant Superintendent of Instruction), Keith Wolaridge(Agency Owner), and Lyle Martin(Bakersfield Police Chief) gave their real life experiences and education goals, as well as a presentation of the BEST program.

The BEST program is dedicated to helping black students with scholarships. According to Brenda Lewis, “the BEST program has been in existence for 25 years and was originally dedicated for graduation rate and college-going rate of African American males and through years have serviced an average of 550 students each year …and when we look at data we have offered over a thousand scholarships to our project BEST grads and have had a 90% graduation rate. “

How does the best program fund these scholarships? A huge part of the support is received from Kern County businesses, individual donations and community partners since “it is privately funded.”


Chief Lyle Martin, Sonya Christian, Fred Prince

Chief Lyle Martin attended the Police Academy at BC and talked about how Larry Robinson and Jesse Bradford watched out for him and made a difference.  He called on Steve Watkin and Ishmael Kimbrough to be the Larry Robinson and Lesse Bradford for today’s students.

I believe in learning from your mistakes and issues. We are trying to build bridges between the Bakersfield College community and the Bakersfield Police Department. However, my goal is to remove those two words ‘and the’…Police Department and the community, that means we are not one. We need to be one.”


Fred Prince talked about being a small business owner, a speaker in our classes, and a mentor to our young people. He shared an absolutely inspirational story about Will Chandler, a student at BC who went on to be the student body president at Morehouse, a HBCU school.

Keith Wolaridge was absolutely inspiring in emphasizing the importance of mentoring programs.  Keith is a mentor to a young man who is in the ASTEP program.  He emphasized the importance of sharing the hardships and failures to young mentees as a way to inspire them to have the courage to work through difficult situations.  Keith has been a friend of the ASTEP program, a friend of Bakersfield College and spent numerous hours helping with Measure J!

Jullian West Emmanuel Limaco Lisa Kent Feb 15 2017.jpg

Julian West, Emmanuel limaco, Lisa Kent


Karen Goh, Emmanuel Limaco, Sonya Christian

My dear friends, I wish you were there to watch the four panelist having fun, hazing each other while sharing the powerful work they are doing in this community.  It was truly a thing of beauty.  I came into the meeting tired after spending long hours on a train that was woefully delayed from Sacramento the previous night, but after the Breakfast gathering, I was inspired with a renewed commitment that together we can do the impossible.



At the end of the presentation Julian West introduced our student speaker Emmanuel Limaco. Wow…. what a story.  Emmanuel shared with us his story that was fraught with difficulties.  and here he is now at BC a pre-Engineering student.  Watching him brought me great joy — so articulate, so smart, so caring….. a true Renegade.  We are BC! We are Bakersfield!

We wrapped up the morning with Steve Watkin presenting an award from BC’s African American Initiative team  to Odella Johnson for over 20 plus years of loyal and distinguished service to BC and our students.  I love this picture of Odella and Steve.

Odella Johnson and Steve Watkin Feb 15 2017.jpg

Odella Johnson, Steve Watkin


The African American Community Leaders event was a success that brought away happy faces and proud accomplishments for many in attendance.  Thank you to Cara Jackson for the fantastic photos.  Thank you Chef Sabella and the food Services team for the amazing breakfast and plz keep doing the salsa with scrambled eggs.


BCSGA and BC Renegamers awarded for raising money for Lauren Small Children’s Hospital

If you have ever been involved in a charity, sometimes it’s hard to be aware of the results of your efforts. You have made a difference, and that difference has made a change but when you cannot see the change that you have impacted, it does not feel as real.


Along with the CSUB student colleagues Our BCSGA got to see the passion, care, and the changes they helped to make. The Campus Gamers at CSUB, Bakersfield College Student Government Association, and the new BC Renegamers Student organization received their awards on Friday, February 10, for raising funds for the Lauren Small Children’s Hospital which is part of the Children’s Miracle Network. Together, they raised over $35,000 in 2016 of which BCSGA raised $2,121. The hours, commitment, and love shared between the student groups of the two institutions shows how student leadership, service, collaboration, and motivation can help our community for the better. Proud of you guys!

At the luncheon recognition ceremony, 40 Bakersfield businesses and programs come together for a singular cause, to save children’s life, is important in a world where we constantly feel like we are at a divide. “Sometimes all you really need is a, “Thank you” and today we got that in spades. To take the tour and see the hospital, where they tell you what your fundraising has done, reignites your passion to do it again and again, raising more every year. Everything to help save kid’s lives and give them a future.” Said BCSGA Senator Lawrence Salcido who accepted the recognition on half of BCSGA. Edward Webb, president of the Campus Gamers at CSUB, has marked the goal of $60,000 for 2017. To help these organizations meet their 2017 goal, contact the office of student life today.

BC Athletes and Coaches Shine

MensBasketball.jpgCoach Rich Hughes and the Men’s Basketball Team beat West LA college 70-66 last week and clinched their second-straight Western State Conference-South Championship, the first time BC has accomplished back-to-back titles since the WSC was formed in 1981.

And the win reinforces BC’s reputation as “The Kern County All-Stars” as Stockdale grad Tucker Eenigenburg led all scorers with 23 points, and Henry Galinato of Delano played like a much taller man in grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds while blocking five shots!

The two freshmen certainly made their mark on the game, but Coach Hughes was very pleased by his four sophomore holdovers from the last title team.


“They were one of those groups that wasn’t given a chance to win at the beginning of the season, and they used that as motivation to do something that has never been done before; and no one can say that to but those four guys; Trey Armstrong, Sean LeFlore, Shane Christie, and Arthur Tondin,” Hughes told SID Francis Mayer.


Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sonya Christian, Sandi Taylor, Zav Dadabhoy

Have I mentioned how supportive the community is of our BC athletes? It’s always great to gather as friends and Renegade fans! Here is a photo from Wednesday’s game with Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sandi Taylor, and Zav Dadabhoy.

 Coach Paula Dahl sent an email earlier in the week encouraging everyone to come out. She said,

Every once in a while in our careers we have those amazing moments that you know you have to cherish and recognize you have truly been blessed.  That is this season for me.  I have been able to coach 11 of the most resilient women you will ever meet.  They have bought into team, hard work, sacrificing for each other and trust.  Please come and support them in their final game of the year tomorrow night at 7:00 pm.  I promise you will have fun watching our high tempo style and be inspired watching your BC Women’s Basketball Team.  “Let’s Go Renegades!

Campus Movie Night

The BC campus is always abuzz with activity and during Wednesdays game, there was also a free movie night taking place in Forum 102! Nearly 90 students gathered to watch “Loving” – a movie based on a true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, the couple involved in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision which invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Check out the Official Trailer on youtube at and don’t miss out on the next free movie night at the BC campus.


Moon Over Malcolm

Darius Wallace, author and performer of “Moon Over Malcolm,” visited the ASTEP Umoja Community class on Thursday. Wallace performed in the evening theater production, but spent the day in various classrooms. He wondered what Malcolm X might have achieved had he not died at 39 years old. He also talked about how acting is what he is destined to do.


The evening presentation was a one-man show about Malcolm’s journey from early childhood as Malcolm Little, to his life as Detroit Red, a pimp and street hustler, to his life in prison where he transformed his life with education and Islam, to his life in the Nation of Islam as Malcolm X, to his final transformation after his trip to Mecca as El Hajj El Meek El Shabazz. This show was filled with monologues, song, dance, poetry as well as various characters in Malcolm’s life.

A crowd of over 250 packed the indoor theater and the evening was a great success. Thank you to the BC Commercial Music Ensemble and the BC Chamber Singers for their musical gifts. Prof. Josh Ottum and Prof. Jen Garrett thank you!

BC Food Services provided tasty grits and greens, fried okra, and chicken gumbo for all in attendance.

Darius Wallace stayed afterwards for additional time to engage the audience with questions. His responses were fully thought-provoking and stimulating for the students who asked very tough questions about African-American acceptance and history.  Thank you Darius. What a great experience for our students and the whole BC community.

Valley Poets at BC’s Levan Center

What an exciting night for the poets of Bakersfield too! On Thursday evening in the Levan Center, we celebrated the poets that came from the San Joaquin Valley and received national recognition. Poets of a wide range of notoriety were celebrated including Juan Felipe Herrera, Sherley Anne Williams, and Robert Duncan. They were all different poets from different circumstances and all from the valley.

Don Thompson, the first Poet Laureate of Kern County, hosted the event. Thompson along side other local poets or advocates for the arts performed poems from the nationally recognized poets. These advocates included Catherine Abbey Hodges, Matt Woodman, LisaAnn LoBasso, Annis Cassells, Marit MacArthur, Diana Ramirez, and Portia Choi. Each presented a poem from the acclaimed poets raised here in the valley and also gave brief life synopses as well. Each presenter stated how the poem they chose resonated with their own lives. You could feel the connection they made with their poem by the way they performed their poem and the energy they gave off.

While all performances were notable, Diana Ramirez’s performance of Juan Felipe Herrera’s poem “Half Mexican” stood out from the rest. Juan Felipe Herrera, who will be visiting the Bakersfield College campus to give a guest lecture on the power of poetry in the lives of people and the community, is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States. He is the first Latino to hold this position. If you would like to attend Juan Felipe Herrera’s lecture Surveillance, Violence, Creativity & Compassion, he will be lecturing in the Indoor Theater at the Simonsen Performing Arts Center on March 29th at 7pm.

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Counseling Department Holds Student Success Conference

The Counseling Department held a successful student success conference on Friday February 3 that was attended by approximately 60 students. The conference, “Pathways to Success: How to navigate detours and get back on track” was geared towards assisting students who have found their way onto first time Probation following the Fall semester.


Students on first time probation are students who may not necessarily have meaningful contact with a counselor for the only requirement to clear their probation status, in order to register, is to complete an online probation workshop.  The online workshop provides students with tips on how to be successful and remedy their situation however it does not provide them the opportunity to ask questions and interact with BC faculty or staff.  We know that student engagement is linked to academic success therefore we created this half day conference to help engage and interact with these students to hopefully prevent them from moving on to second time probation.

The day began with motivational speaker BC Counselor, Jonathan Schultz, who spoke to the students about “Knowing their Why” and identifying their motivation for being at Bakersfield College. Then the students chose from a list of breakout sessions: “Probation does not have to be a permanent detour!” exploring how to get off probation, “Live long and prosper!” a BC Jeopardy game concerning whole health & mental health concepts, “Money Matters!” managing financial budgets to maximize success, and “The time for action is now!” identifying it’s never too late to be successful an interactive time management approach to student success. Student feedback was very positive therefore the Counseling Department plans to make this an annual event.

Campus Training on Title IX

Mandated reporters are required to make a report of suspected abuse when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a minor is a victim of abuse; but, what about if the victim is a student at Bakersfield College?

img_0712Earlier this month, over 60 faculty, administrators, and classified members met in the Leven Center to hear from Attorney Eileen O’Hare-Anderson, partner at Liebert Cassidy Whitmore to dialogue about Mandatory Reporting and what our Collective Responsibilities is to our students and the learning environment.

John Giertz, Faculty in Communication, summed up the presentation, “I think first and foremost we have an obligation to help our students every way possible and we need to be aware of what the laws allow us to do but most importantly that we should be working to help our students.  This is extremely important information and I encourage all employees to learn more.”

img_0717This workshop was geared to respond to the questions and comments presented by BC Faculty and Staff regarding mandated reporting and our responsibility of creating a safe and positive learning environment, while maintaining confidentiality for our students and victims. The conversations helped clarify what the role and responsibilities are for an employee at KCCD, when faced with a situation involving Title IX, OCR, Clery Act, Campus SaVE Act, other pressing laws, and the safety of our students.


For questions or additional interest, individuals should contact Dena Rhoades in Human Resources, Nicky Damania in Student Life, or Chief Counts in the Department of Public Safety.

 BC Hackathon

The Public Health Renegades Hackathon is a competition to innovate and design public health solutions for our community. Free food, prizes, networking opportunities! This weekend long innovation competition to design and build technology tools that respond to specific community needs related to public health. All majors and areas are welcome.  It is an interdisciplinary competition that will engage students and professionals from various backgrounds in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and non-STEM fields, local centers of higher education, community and industry partners, and the public. The goal is to increase awareness of public health and use technology tools and collective expertise to address public health issues. Have fun and make a difference locally for your community. To learn more and register for this free event go to

BC’s LVN Program ranks 7th in the State!

A non-profit organization that provides resources for prospective nurses has ranked Bakersfield College’s LVN program as the 7th best in the state of California.

top-ranked-vn-program-badge-smallThe website Practical Nursing analyzed 127 schools in California offering certification for Licensed Vocational Nurses and ranked the 50 best programs on their website. BC’s LVN program was selected 7th best in the state based on the percentage of students in the program who go on to obtain a vocational nursing license, as well as how well the program “supports students towards licensure and beyond,” according to an email by Practical Nursing president Bryce Hall.

Did you see The Grammy’s?

We are officially in awards season!  I love watching the Grammy’s.  I’m always entertained by the high-production value the show brings and seeing talent celebrated.  During this year’s show I was especially moved by the tributes to Prince, and George Michael.  Now I’m looking forward to the upcoming Oscar’s show!  Here I am watching the Grammy’s and trying to work at the same time 🙂




That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever