Tag Archives: Aaron Kidwell

Somber News, Stories, and Celebrations…


Flag at half staff on the BC campus

The American Flag flew at half staff on the BC Campus on Monday, October 2nd.

We woke on Monday morning to the senseless loss of life in a mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017…..58 lives have been lost, another 500+ injured/wounded, and countless lives impacted and changed.

Kern County Residence who lost their lives.png

Bailey Sweitzer, Jack Beaton, Victor Link, Kelsey Meadows.  Photo from the KGET website

Exactly two years prior on October 1, 2015, we learned of a gunman who opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, taking the lives of nine and injuring seven others. The quiet little UCC campus is a gem among the 17 community colleges in Oregon and it’s a place that I know well… having walked the beautiful campus grounds on countless occasions. A college campus…a familiar place.


Coming together for a concert, like those who attended the one in Vegas, is also a familiar experience for us at BC.  We come so often together to enjoy music. A familiar activity, a community gathering.  We go to smile, we go to celebrate. We go to feel alive because music has this incredible way of feeding our soul.

Many people had friends, family, acquaintances who were in some way a part of the terrible tragedy in Las Vegas.  Coach Carl Ferreira shared that his students were at the concert when the shooting started. They were staying at Mandalay Bay, and as it turns out, on the 32nd floor.  They escaped uninjured but were witness to a horrific event.

Our community has been directly impacted and we’ve lost special people in this terrible tragedy. Of those who lost their lives, three from Bakersfield: Jack Beaton, Bailey Schweitzer, and Victor Link; and one from Taft, Kelsey Meadows, a graduate from Taft High School in 2007. Our community came together and held a prayer vigil on October 2nd which was organized by Mayor Karen Goh and Houchin Blood Bank received an surge in blood donors throughout the following days.

This article about Jack Beaton specifically stood out to me. Near the end, authors Jay Reeves and Don Babwin delivered this important message: “Beaton said her husband, a 54-year-old construction worker, wouldn’t want much said publicly about his death. But she wanted people to hear how he had protected her, just as he always had done.

Karen SalleeProtection was the ultimate act of love and it’s important that we focus our attention also on the acts of heroism, kindness, compassion, and bravery that happened on October 1st and in the days following.

Karen Sallee posted on her blog, “This is why, with swollen eyes and a broken heart, I mourn this regular guy, who wasn’t regular at all. Jack was a hero not just to Laurie, but to everyone he knew. We look up to him in memory, we respect him as the finest sort of human being, and we miss him.

We live in a new world in ways that are hard to understand. There are real threats, and with that, we must face the hard reality that it can happen to anyone – in any place – even familiar places and ones close to our community.

Active Shooter Response Trainings

Keeping our students, faculty, staff, and community safe is an ongoing and constant effort that will never be over. It requires constant awareness, understanding, and progress. We must also remember that our campus is an open institution and we are an integral part of our community. Active shooter training cannot be a taboo subject; we must engage with the best practices, the drills, the exercises, and we must be prepared. Such efforts can save lives.


Chief Chris Counts held 4 Active Shooter Response Training sessions throughout Wednesday and Thursday on the main campus as well as on our campus in Delano, to make sure our faculty, staff and students are prepared if we are ever unfortunate enough to have this experience. I was able to attend the Thursday morning training and it was difficult sitting through the training and listening to the brutal realities of what happens in an Active Shooter situation.

Chief Counts was somber and choked up at points when he was telling each of us to be ready and prepared for these horrific situations. Here are some of the sad statistics of the “ongoing trend” that he shared with us in training:

  • October 1st, 2015 at Umpqua Community College, Oregon, a school that I am very familiar with, 26 year-old Chris Harper Mercer killed 9 students and wounded 9 more. The incident ended when detectives arrived and Mercer shot himself.
  • April 16th, 2007 at Virginia Tech, Virginia, 23 year-old Seung-hui Cho killed 32 and wounded 29 with only handguns. In this case he had blocked escape routes by chaining the doors. Again the incident ended when he killed himself.
  • February 14th, 2008 at Northern Illinois University, a graduate student, Stephen Kazmierczak, killed 5 and wounded 16 with legally purchased shotgun and handguns. Again the incident ended when he killed himself.
  • March 24th, 1998 at a school in Jonesboro, Arkansas, 13 year-old and 11 year-old Andrew Golden set off a false alarm and killed a teacher and 4 students and wounded 10. Imagine, children planned and attacked the school. They were caught fleeing the area.
  • May 21st, 1998 in Springfield, Oregon, 14 year-old Kip Kinkel killed 2 and wounded 22 after killing both his parents. He was stopped by seven students subduing him until authorities arrived.
  • April 20th, 199 at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, 17 year-old Dylan Klebold and 18 year-old Eric Harris killed 12 students and one teacher and wounded 23. They had planned to kill 500 by blowing up the school with multiple timed propane tank bombs. Once again, the incident ended when they killed themselves.
  • March 21st, 2005 at an Indian reservation high school in Red Lake, Minnesota, 16 year-old Jeff Weise killed 5 students, a teacher and a guard after killing his grandfather, a tribal policeman. In this incident the shooter actually breached locked doors. The incident ended when he killed himself.
  • September 26th, 2006 at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colorado, 53 year-old Duane R. Morrison killed 1 student and sexually assaulted 6 students. He killed himself and one hostage when SWAT entered the room.
  • December 14th, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary school, Connecticut, 20 year-old Adam Lanza, heavily armed, killed 20 children and 6 adults. Again, the incident ended when he killed himself.

As difficult as it is to hear these statistics and to imagine the loss and suffering of the families of those killed, recounting these statistics gives us an idea of a profile of who an active shooter is. Mostly they are individuals engaged in actively killing or attempting to kill people, but sometimes they have partners. These instances usually occur in confined and populated areas. Mostly they use firearms and usually there is no pattern to how they select victims. Many of the shooters had a history of mental health related instances and in nearly all incidents, somebody else knew.

i-mb9xkcn-x3The Chief’s mantra at BC is “if you see something, say something.”  If you hear something, tell an administrator, Public Safety, or the authorities. Let them investigate it and know that you could be saving lives. Chief Counts says “the sole purpose of each Public Safety Officer at BC is to protect us.” We need to create a culture of awareness and action and let the authorities know when there is something amiss.

The Chief’s main message for our response to an active shooter situation is to RUN – HIDE – FIGHT, in that order. Your first response if you hear gunfire is to run. Be aware of your surroundings and always know where the exits are when you enter a room. Have a predetermined route in your mind for escape. Leave all of your belongings behind and get away. Take others with you if you can, but if they will not leave, continue your evacuation. Distance is your friend. Don’t group up. Warn others of the situation and not to enter. When the police are on scene, keep your hands empty and visible – a phone in your hand could look like a gun – follow their instructions. Call 911 if you have something to report, like how many shooters there are, where the shooting is located, a description of the shooter.

If you can’t run, HIDE. This is only if evacuation is not possible. Choose a hiding place out of the shooter’s view, protected if shots are fired at you, and does not trap you or restrict your movement. If you are in an office, lock and barricade the door. Use heavy furniture to block the door. The shooter is looking for an easy target and will likely move on if their way is hindered. Make sure to silence your phone, turn off any sources of noise and remain quiet so you do not attract the shooter’s attention.

If you can’t run or hide, then FIGHT. Try to remain calm and keep others calm, if you can’t evacuate and can’t hide and the shooter is coming – fight for your life. Don’t be a sheep waiting for the slaughter, be a sheepdog and attack. Act as aggressive as possible, throw things, improvise weapons, yell, overwhelm the shooter with numbers of people. It is okay to get angry and fight back!


Thank you Chief Counts and all of our Public Safety personnel for caring so much about all of us at BC and for holding this important training on a difficult and unpleasant topic. For those of you that were unable to make it to training, the main messages of Active Shooter Training are “if you see something, say something” and in an Active Shooter situation first priority is to Run, if you can’t run, Hide, if you can’t do either of the first two, then Fight.

New M&O Building Opens


After months of hard work, planning, and construction, Bill Potter, our M&O team, and guests from Klassen Corp. celebrated as we opened the doors to the new Maintenance and Operations facility on Tuesday.

Group Picture M&O Open House.jpg

We were honored to have Mark Delmarter from Klassen Construction with us as we showcased the ways in which this new state of the art facility serves as inspiration for the first stage of projects made possible by your support in Measure J. This new facility fully supports BC’s environmental sustainability, efficiency objectives, and came in on budget and on schedule with no change orders.


Rod Paine, Mark Delmarter, Katie Angevine, and Mike Meyer from Klassen Corp.

Everyone was pleased to tour the new space and I saw many smiles during the morning.  The speakers included Chancellor Tom Burke, Aaron Kidwell and Mark Delmarter.


Aaron Kidwell speaking at the M&O Open House

In his opening remarks, Bill estimated that the M&O department has had to move about 30 times while expressing gratitude about the accommodations at his department’s permanent new home.

Thank you to all who attended including Chancellor Tom Burke, Vice Presidents Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Don Chrusciel, and Zav Dadabhoy, all our staff and faculty from BC who came out to support and tour the facility, our architects, and Rod Paine, Mark Delmarter, Katie Angevine, and Mike Meyer from Klassen Corp.


This is just the first of many exciting developments to come. It’s a great time to be at BC! Thank you for your unending support of Bakersfield College.

See the gallery of photos at: https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/2017/Oct3MaintenanceandOperations/

Kern Shakespeare Festival

i-6cmhfxx-x3The Bakersfield College Performing Arts Department has done an incredible job presenting two plays for the 33rd Annual Kern Shakespeare Festival: William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Top Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead. I’ve heard overwhelmingly positive feedback about both of the shows, especially that the banter between Kevin Ganger and Cody Ganger was very made the crowd laugh many times during performances of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

Thank you for all the crew and featured performers that made the 33rd annual Shakespeare festival so special: Colter Allison, Martin Arroyo, Brittany Beaver, Allan Bexton, Anthony Brooks, Stephen Bush, Josh Carruthers, Kara Coughenour, Decymbr’ Frank, Cody Ganger, Kevin Ganger, Amy Hall, Josue Jimenez, Tevin Joslen, Bob Kempf, Crystal Lara, Ryan Lee, Nolan Long, Shelbe McClain, Randy Messick, Ethan Monge, Sammy Noriega, Daniel Ochoa, Brian Purcell, Cheyenne Reyes, Brian Sivesind, John Spitzer, Nancee Steiger, Jose Tenorio, Blanka Trujillo, Salvador Vidaurri, Carlos Vera, and Spirit Wright.

And a special thank you to the two directors, Brian J. Sivesind, Director of Hamlet, and Bob Kempf, Director of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

Strong Workforce Initiative

As a part of the statewide Strong Workforce initiative, Bakersfield College has taken the lead on a Central/Mother Lode Regional Collaborative project for BC’s Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Automation.

With the help of the Advanced Manufacturing Deputy Sector Navigator, Gurminder Sangha, we established a regional collaborative group to align and articulate the lower division electronics courses required for admission to the Bakersfield College baccalaureate program.

SWF (1)On Friday, September 22, 2017, with over 22 faculty and deans from College of the Sequoias, Fresno City College, West Hills Community College, Modesto Community College, Delta College, Taft College, Clovis College, Yosemite Community College, and Bakersfield College. There was broad discussion on curricular rigor and automation platforms prior to splitting into groups for in-depth collaboration on articulation packages. This collaborative will serve to create clear pathways for students in our regional community colleges to have seamless transfer into BC’s baccalaureate degree program. Much thanks to our regional partners!!


SHPE National Conference

BC’s Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement Program (MESA) and the Engineering Department are sponsoring four students to attend The SHPE National Conference on November 1-5 in Kansas City, MO, conference.  Leah Altman, Ashley Anderson, Christian Rodriguez and Lizbeth Sanchez.  The students will be chaperoned by Math professor Joshua Lewis.

The SHPE National Conference on November 1-5 in Kansas City, MO, is the largest gathering of Hispanic student and professional STEM talent in the United States. The conference covers topics such as, Empowering Latinas in STEM Workshops; a distinguished lecture series, Nissan Design Competition, Engineering Science Symposium, Hackathon Competition, and a Career Fair & Graduate School Expo. On the official website for the conference, it says “SHPE changes lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development.”

Ashely Anderson, Leah Carter, Elizabeth Sanchez, Christian A. Gutierrez, Mathematics Professor Joshua Lewis

Ashely Anderson, Leah Carter, Elizabeth Sanchez, Christian A. Gutierrez, Mathematics Professor Joshua Lewis

CCCCO Guided Pathways Workshop

CCCOLast Monday, Janet Fulks, Cindy Collier, Jonathan Schultz, and Manny Mourtzanos attended a workshop in Fresno to learn more about the CCCCO’s one-time investment of $150 million to support the implementation of the Guided Pathways framework at community colleges across California (pictured here with our Vice Chancellor of Educational Services, John Means). Janet Fulks did an exceptional job as a featured panelist discussing BC’s experience implementing Guided Pathways. Thank you, team, for representing BC!

CCCO_GuidedPathways Group Shot

BE THE MATCH on campus

be the matchOn Tuesday, we welcomed Paula Schwartz, a representative from BE THE MATCH on campus with an informational booth and presentation to find potential donors for bone marrow. Did you know every four minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer? This was one of the astonishing facts from the day. Patients are most likely to match someone who shares their ancestry, and hispanic and latino backgrounds combined only make up 10% of the registry. BE THE MATCH is seven million members strong with an additional five million potential donors. It’s incredible to think that you can save a life by just swabbing the inside of your cheek.

Community Voices by Reggie Williams

Reggie WilliamsOn Monday, the Bakersfield Californian published an op-ed from philosophy professor Reggie Williams about the symbolism being conveyed through body language on both sides of the national debate about athletes kneeling during the National Anthem.

Williams states that the significance behind whether athletes choose to stand, kneel or lock arms during the National Anthem embodies “deeply held values that we all endorse but weight differently.” However you feel about the debate—which started with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel before the anthem last year in protest of racial injustice and police brutality, upsetting some people who interpret this symbolic gesture as an act of disrespect to the military and the principles our nation stands for–Williams’ article in the “Community Voices” section of the Californian asks that you think critically about the rationale behind your opinion while considering the perspective of African Americans who have fought in the military while being disproportionately affected by slavery, lynching, Jim Crow and discrimination.

At the end of his op-ed, Williams makes a call for unity. “If the US is going to live up to its name—to be united—we must understand each other,” Williams said. “We must understand each other’s symbols, histories, contributions and experiences as Americans.”

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2017

In an article from his “Bakersfield Night Sky” column on February 20th, 2016, BC’s own Nick Strobel accurately predicted this year’s winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics.

You can see the official press release in regards to the 2017 winners here.

Nick Strobel

Nick Strobel

Nick wrote about the work published by Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne of the LIGO/VIRGO Collaboration on observing the universe’s gravitational waves for the first time. The waves, predicted by Albert Einstein 100 years ago, were produced from a collision between two black holes on September 14th, 2015. Describing the results confirmed by a peer-reviewed study published in the Physical Review Letters journal, Nick wrote that two black holes traveled toward each other for 700 million to 1.6 billion years at the speed of light. The collision caused a mass three times that of the sun to convert into gravitational wave energy, producing 50 times more energy than all of the stars in the rest of the universe combined.

In his post, Nick said simply that “gravitational waves are a very big deal,” while the Nobel committee’s press release declared that “gravitational waves are an entirely new way of observing the most violent events in space and testing the limits of our knowledge.”

In his Bakersfield Night Sky article published this week, Nick focuses on two more recent developments in black hole studies, including theories about how supermassive black holes are at the center of most galaxies, and the discovery of gravitational waves from three different detectors, which enabled researchers determine the location of the black holes merging with ten times more accuracy than previous observations.

Spotted on Facebook

It was awesome to see a crew from the Men’s BC Soccer team out at the St. Vincent De Paul Annual Fall BBQ. In an article by Lisa Kimble at The Bakersfield Californian, she said, “As the local homeless population grows, centers like St. Vincent de Paul, which receives no federal funding, have been scrambling to keep up with the need. Today, an estimated 400 homeless men, women and children receive two hot meals a day at the center. They also have access to four restrooms, two showers, basic social and mail services, a covered patio and lush grounds in which to spend a few hours of their chaotic day in a peaceful, secure and park-like environment.”


Thank you Renegades for supporting our community — and thank you Bakersfield and Kern County for always supporting BC.

BC and Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra

On Wednesday, Dr. Jen Garrett, Chef Suzanne Tangeman and Manny Mourtzanos met with several community leaders to develop a fine dining experience in the Renegade Room for approximately 55 local elementary students, followed by an evening of live music at Rabobank Arena by the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. On Saturday, November 4, students will enjoy delicious food prepared by our own BC Culinary Arts students. Following the BSO concert, students will have the opportunity to interact with Conductor Stilian Kirov and members of the Orchestra. Bakersfield College is proud to partner with the BSO to serve the needs of our community.

BC and Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra Collab

Pictured here: Paul Meyers, District Superintendent – Standard School District, Morgan Clayton, President – Tel-Tec Security Systems, Inc., Ira Cohen, Senior Vice President – UBS Wealth Management, Suzanne Tangeman, Chef and Professor of Culinary Arts – Bakersfield College, Dr. Jennifer Garrett, Professor of Music – Bakersfield College, Stilian Kirov, Conductor and Music Director – Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Manny Mourtzanos, Dean of Instruction – Bakersfield College, and Jorge Barrientos, Marketing Director – Chain|Cohn|Stiles Law Offices

Uplifting Notes from Former Students

My daily inspiration often comes from those who surround me, including incredible faculty, staff, and students. Our ASL team is one of a kind and this email came across my desk which really showcases their hard work, dedication, and unified approach which yields dividends that continue to inspire.

Tom Moran and the entire ASL department  touch their student’s lives in an important and fundamental way. I’d like to share one email that came in this week from former student, Alyssa Paul. She, in turn, has touched the lives of numerous Deaf people in a small but meaningful way. She has the skill to become an interpreter or a deaf ed teacher. I know her professors and I hope that her studies will lead her there.

View More: http://shelbydaniellephotography.pass.us/alyssagrad2017

Alyssa Paul

Hey professor! It’s Alyssa Paul from… about a year ago now?? I took your ASL B1 class during the Spring (: I just wanted to tell you that I will be attending College of the Canyons in the Spring 2018 in pursuit of an associate degree in sign language.

I also wanted to let you know that since I learned sign language, I have been using it SO MUCH during work. There have been many deaf people that come into my work that request a pen to write their order, & they are so surprised & happy when I tell them that I know some sign language (: I’ve learned a few more words that are related to my work so I could better communicate with them, but I’ve decided to major in it so I could learn even more to better communicate with everyone outside of my job. I’m still not 100% comfortable with starting a conversation, but I’m much more confident when a deaf person comes into my work wanting to order something (:

BC Passings

This week, BC Archives shared that we have news of three more deaths among our former colleagues.

As I previously shared in my blog here, JESS NIETO died September 21. You may remember that Jess wore lots of different hats at BC, from classroom teacher to first Latino Dean of Delano Center.  He started the Chicano Cultural Center and Chicano Studies program at BC.  After leaving BC, he became a respected activist for civil rights and educational attainment.

RICHARD WISE, a professor in the Biology and Physical Science Departments for almost 28 years, died in June. We have now received word that his widow, KATHY AIELLO-WISE, died at the end of August.  A nurse, she was an adjunct faculty member for many years teaching Health, Safety, and Nutrition both in the classroom and online.

Hank Webb just wrote us that JIM CARDEN died July 15th following a stroke a few weeks earlier.  Hank’s note said that Jim’s “adopted son Robert said Jim didn’t want any fuss, but Robert has agreed  to a service at St Paul’s Episcopal soon. Date to be announced. Jim started out as a student at BC and was freshman class president, sang in the choir, and reported sports news for the Rip.  Later he was the resident adviser in the Men’s Residence Hall.  In 1970 he joined the faculty and was a much beloved friend and very active, admired, and enjoyed counselor for many years.

Child Development Entrepreneurial Workshop

On September 26, 2017 Bakersfield College hosted its first Child Development Entrepreneurial Informational Workshop about starting their own small business, in-home daycare. The primary focus of the event is to inform students who are interested in becoming a licensed family child care provider and how to start their own business. Guest speakers included Jamie LaFavor, Community Connection for Child Care, Kelly Bearden, Director, CSUB Small Business Development Center and Alese Campbell, Small Business Deputy Sector Navigator, Central Valley & Mother Lode Region. We had around 100 students attend, taking full advantage of the services/opportunities presented to them.

CTE Child development WorkShop Event photo

I would like to thank our Event Staff for helping make the day a success! Israel Mendoza, Support System Specialist I, Stephanie Baltazar, Interim Program Manager; Antonio Alfaro, Interim Dual Enrollment PM, Martin Perez, Program Manager, Pam Gomez, CTE Educational Advisor; Beth Harrison, Job Development Specialist, Cindi Swoboda,  Department Assistant III, Rosa Perez, Student Worker, Gracie Magallanes, Student Worker, Lupe Aguirre, Job Development Specialist Dominica Dominguez, CTE Ed. Advisor

Also, special thanks to Alese Campbell, Small Business Deputy Sector Navigator, Central Valley & Mother Lode Region for providing the funding.

Renegade Athletics


I enjoyed watching our amazing volleyball team with our Coach Ferreira on Friday, October 5th, against Ventura.  We won 3-0; 25-17, 25-22, 24-14

Loved this tweet from @Gogades

Gogades Tweet Oct 5 2017 about Sonya Christian watching volleyball game

From the www.gogades.com website

Softball in Santa Monica Oct 2017The Bakersfield College Volleyball team (#5 in California, 11-4) was already facing a stacked deck when arguably their star player, Alex Paris, went down with an injury Friday. But they couldn’t have predicted the next obstacle they’d be dealt just a day later.

We learned that three of our players were in Las Vegas at the Country music festival during the terrible event that unfolded over the weekend,” Coach Carl Feirerra said.

The three athletes and one athlete’s parents didn’t get back to Bakersfield until Tuesday, just one day before their match against a Santa Monica (5-4) squad coming off four straight wins.

But Coach Carl placed no expectations on the athletes.

“If they didn’t feel like playing, ‘no big deal’, if they wanted to play ‘great’, and the fact that they end up playing incredibly well, and felt so good about just being out there, shows they are just amazing  young ladies,” Feirrera said.

And play well, they did. Bakersfield broke Santa Monica’s four game wininng streak with authority, 25-17, 25-15, 25-21.

“This was easily the greatest win of my career,” Feirrera said, “What the human spirit does, just consistently amazes.”


Softball October 6 2017

Men’s Cross Country:

Mens Cross Country October 3 2017The men’s cross country team finished second at the Western State Conference Preview meet.  The Renegades had three runners finish in the top 25.  Marcos Mulato finished 10th overall, with a time of 22:47.7, to lead  with Renegades.  Harrison Wykoff (23:31.3) finished 22nd overall and Angelo Benitez (23:36.2) finished 23rd overall.


Trevor Horn opened his article in The Bakersfield Californian with

Two plays may very well define how the first half of the season is perceived for the Bakersfield College football team.

Down 17-7 with less than five minutes left, BC scored two touchdowns within 49 seconds and beat El Camino 21-17 on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

Sep 30 2017 from The Bakersfield Californian


It was a great game.  We had BPD and the Fire Department out at Memorial Stadium.  Mayor Karen Goh did the coin toss.  I don’t have the photos yet.  When I get them, I will update this blog post.

Make sure you come to the Alumni BBQ (3:00 p.m.) prior to the homecoming game (6:00 p.m.)

Tailgader Homecoming Sep 30 2017

Fun family time pictures I came across:

Jennifer Garrett

Jennifer Garrett Oct 7 2017 Hamlet

Sandi Taylor

Sandi Taylor Oct 7 2017

Olivia Garcia

Olivia Garcia Oct 7 2017

Joe Saldivar

Joe Saldivar Oct 8 2017

Jennifer Marden

Jennifer Marden in Kernville Oct 6 2017

So what about Neo

Six and a half months old. Here are photos from October 4, 2017.


Sonya Christian at M&O Open House cropped


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Bakersfield, a Community that Supports BC and our Students

Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, August 5th,  and at 5:15 a.m. it is 74 degrees … a beautiful morning, a great week full of community leaders, BC leaders, veterans and congressmen.  A great week to be a Renegade.

I had a series of productive meetings this week.  The Kern Promise completion coaching community met for the first time and I forgot to take a photo.  Darn it.  But I might have pictures of some of the individuals in my photo library on word press.




Shanell Tyus with Lisa Kent and Maria Wright.  Lesley Bonds

Just a great group of BC folks discussing the students in the cohort to make sure that they are positioned to successfully complete their first milestone at the end of the fall semester — 15 credits of course work.  In addition, we are focusing on students completing their college-level English and college-level math in their first year.  Jennifer Achan, Director of Financial Aid, did a detailed presentation of the Financial Aid status of each student.  Keri Kennedy, the counselor responsible for this cohort, reviewed the courses that these students are enrolled in.  We also have a student in the group.  Here are some of the faces of the completion coaches for the affinity group The Kern Promise.




Jennifer Achan with Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg. Keri Kennedy.

We also submitted the 2017-2020 Educational Master Plan (EMP) for Board approval.  Thank you Dr. Janet Fulks for leading the effort on the EMP work.  I love this picture of Janet with her granddaughter.

Janet Fulks 2

Janet Fulks

Sonya Christian black and whiteI thought you might enjoy some excerpts from the President’s letter in the EMP

Bakersfield College (BC) started in 1913 as a vision and a plan for educational opportunity and community service with 13 students in a borrowed classroom on the Kern High School campus. From that hopeful start, BC now provides approximately 30,000 students a year with educational opportunity, serves as a cultural center for its community, and trains the workforce for a vibrant community of industry partners.

BC’s Vision today remains true to that founding vision:

“Building upon more than 100 years of excellence, Bakersfield College continues to contribute to the intellectual, cultural, and economic vitality of the communities it serves.”

The visionaries of 1913 could not have imagined the growth or rapidly changing society, however, they would instantly recognize the individuals today who tirelessly help our students (many still first in their families to go to college) attain their dreams. It is the shared work of college faculty, staff, and administrators, and our community.


BC’s 2017-2020 Educational Master Plan embarks on a systematic Guided Pathways redesign of how we guide students to complete their educational goals. Guided Pathways is built on four pillars:

Pillars of Guided Pathways

  1. Clarifying educational pathways for both Career Technical Pathways and Transfer Pathways.
  2. Getting students on the path starts by getting 9th grade students to see college in their futures.
  3. Keeping students on the path calls us to ensure that every precaution is taken to keep students on their educational pathway to degree completion.
  4. Ensuring learning invites as to develop a learning environment both in and out of the classroom to create adaptive learners who can communicate effectively, think critically, demonstrate competencies, and engage with their communities.

The 2017-2020 Educational Master Plan calls for an approach that better serves BC’s 30,000 students by grouping them into 18 completion communities – 10 meta-majors and 8 affinity groups, which include the identified underrepresented groups in BC’s Equity Plan. Each meta-major and affinity group will be surrounded by completion coaches ranging from 10 to 20 faculty and staff that will form a safety net around their cohort of students. The high-touch, personalized approach of these completion coaching communities combined a with the high-tech data analytics will help coaches to monitor progress and target student communications.


BC History on Facebook

Keith Woolaridge

Keith Wolaridge, Tom Gelder

This week, Keith Wolaridge shared a Facebook post with me featuring historical photos of the Bakersfield College campus. The post on Kern County Historical Society’s page was posted by Fatima Al-Bugharin. It’s incredible to see how supportive, interested, and dedicated the residents of Kern County are to BC.

Thank you Keith for your support of Bakersfield College.  Here you see Keith with Tom Gelder, being recognized for his leadership role on the Measure J committee.  Keith is also a community mentor in BC’s Astep program with Dr. Paula Parks.

In 1913, Bakersfield leadership and the community were visionaries. They knew that higher education was absolutely critical for Kern County and so they created a community college in Bakersfield. In the 50’s, leadership and the community again showed their commitment when they supported BC’s move to have its own campus.

The land was chosen – it was empty, barren, and probably very dusty and it was right there – 1801 Panorama Drive… this 153-acre lot on the China Grade Bluffs. The ground was not yet broken, but the seeds for the future were planted and the location was chosen; this was the place. This was the place where hundreds of thousands of students would make their way “up the hill” to attend college for the very first time.

FacebookSixty years later, many things have changed, but one constant piece remains – Bakersfield is a community that realizes the importance of a college education and undeniably supports Bakersfield College.

Fatima, in her post linked two articles for those interested in learning more about the history of BC and I’d like to share them as well. From The Bakersfield Californian, “History: Growing up and headed for college”  and “Bakersfield College Centennial: 100 years of higher education.”  Both fantastic articles. Thank you.

Supporting our Veterans

Paul Beckworth Being InterviewedOn Wednesday, August 2nd, morning, Paul Beckworth and BC student and US Navy Veteran, Robert Enger were featured in a story on ABC 23 about the Forever GI Bill. Straight from the story, Paul Beckworth said,

It will extend the benefits for stem majors up to one academic year which is indicative of the federal government recognizing we need stem majors and this is a way we can help veterans get those degrees so they can enter the workforce.

Thanks to your loyal support through Measure J, our student veterans will be getting a brand new, state of the art, stand-alone Veterans Resource Center. Thank you Bakersfield, Thank you Kern County! Thank you Congressman McCarthy for your work on the Forever GI Bill and for your continued support of our veterans. Also, a big thank you to all of our political leaders such as County Supervisor Leticia Perez and Assemblyman Rudy Salas. And finally, thank you to all our BC student veterans for trusting us with your education — you can go far and BC is here to support you.

I invite you to watch the video clip or read the article at www.turnto23.com.

BC Veterans

Library of Congress Veterans  History Project

On Thursday, Congressman McCarthy was at BC participating in the Veterans History Project.


Zav Dadabhoy, Kevin McCarthy, Armando Trujillo, Mary Jo Pasek

The United States Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 to collect, preserve, and make accessible the personal stories and accounts of American war veterans so that future generations can hear directly from the veterans, in their voices, and better understand the realities of war.

Love this photo — a Manny selfie 🙂


Manny de Los Santos, Kevin McCarthy, Marvin Belcher






Mary Jo Pasek, Miriam Kann

One of the veterans interviewed was Miriam Kann.  You see her here with Mary Jo Pasek. Steven Mayer of The Bakersfield Californian did a great story on Kann in the July 27th paper titled Bakersfield woman, on eve of 100th birthday, says she joined up because she was ‘mad at Hitler’.  Loved the header…. Here are some excerpts from the article

Then in her mid-20s, Kann joined millions of other American women who participated in the war effort in those dark days when Hitler’s armies had occupied much of Europe and the Japanese Imperial Navy had control of much of the Pacific.

She served in San Francisco and at other locations training new pilots using the Link Trainer, an early flight simulator. Many, she said, credited the training with saving their lives.

Steven Mayer concludes with:

“On the flight, several of the guys were just ga-ga over her,” recalled Kim Whitaker, an Honor Flight volunteer.

But one man, Jack Henslee, asked for her number.

“I met her on Honor Flight in 2013, and we have been seeing one another ever since,” Henslee said. “She’s a lady.”

The joke going around is that Kann is robbing the cradle, as Henslee is a mere lad of 91. But she seems sweetly embarrassed by the suggestion.

And just in case anyone might suggest something untoward is going on, Henslee repeated his admonition.

“She’s a lady,” he said.

She certainly is.


Miriam Kann turns 100 today.  Happy 100th birthday Ms. Miriam Kann.  We thank you for your service to our country.

The veterans were interviewed at Bakersfield College on Thursday, August 3rd.  Dick Taylor, Armando Tuijillo, and Kevin McCarthy did the interviews.  Thank you Dick Taylor for your continued support of Bakersfield College.  And thank you for bringing the Airforce Band to BC’s outdoor theater.  Here is a link to my July 1, 2017 blog featuring the Airforce Band. https://sonyachristianblog.com/2017/07/01/time-flies-when-youre-at-bc/



Here is the list of veterans who participated.

Andrew Perales, Marvin Belcher (WWII), Greg Underwood (Vietnam), Tom Svare (Vietnam), Augustine Flores (WWII), Jessica Brown (Navy 2011-2015), Aaron Coates (Iraq War), Henry Ochsner (WWII), Victor Killingsworth (WWII), Miriam Kann (WWII)





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Thank you to all involved with this project, including Mary Jo Pasek, Manny De Los Santos, and John Farrand.


Here is John and Manny in action, a post from Mary Jo Pasek’s Facebook.

Bakersfield College Students Intern with Congressman Kevin McCarthy

Mary Jo Pasek got this great photo from Robin Lake-Foster.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s 2017 Summer Internship Program

Included in this group photo, albeit gloomy weather, are college students from the 23rd Congressional District who participated in Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s 2017 Summer Internship Program, where they spent two weeks in McCarthy’s Bakersfield District Office and six weeks in the DC offices, where their time was shared serving three weeks in the Congressman’s congressional office and three weeks in the Office of the Majority Leader.

The students from Bakersfield College are:

Halle Cornejo (left back row, auburn hair and cream blouse)
Austin Machado (kneeling down in front row, white shirt with striped tie
Nicolas Montero-Garcia (to the right of the Congressman, pink shirt, no jacket)
James Priest (next to Nicolas, gray shirt with striped tie)


BC’s Ag Department

BC is located in California’s agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley and has the history and resources to move Ag students in the right direction. Our Ag program has rich history too, dating back to it’s beginnings in 1915 — making it one of the first community college agriculture programs in the nation. Since then, BC continues to educate students for a career in all ag fields.


This week, a fun email was forwarded to me. Charles Parker, Agriculture Education Consultant shared Ag Teacher Trivia – how many of these did you know?

Charles wrote, “To start of the year, I thought I would provide you with some teacher trivia. Enjoy and let me know if I am missing anyone.”



LeAnn English, BC Ag Dept.

LeAnn English, Bakersfield College and Matthew Riley, Bakersfield College
Allison Ferry, COS and Charles Abee, COS
Koren Martins, Mt. Whitney and Zach Brown, El Diamante
Courtney Serafin, Golden West and Jared Castle, Hanford
Elizabeth ??, Strathmore and Donald Thornburg, Woodlake
Jenna Villacana, Kern ROC and Jacob Eyraud, Bakersfield

Audrey Bonomi, Sanger and Amy Vivenzi, Washington (Sisters)
Don Clark, Wasco and Vernon Clark, Foothill (Dad and Son)
Alex Gutierrez, Caruthers and Nancy Gutierrez, Reedley College (Brother and Sister)
Erin Hanger, Summit Charter and Robert Hanger, Kern Valley (Brother and sister)
Roz Lopez, Central and Robert Calvert, Selma (Mother and Son)
Charles Parker, Regional Supervisor and Steve Parker, Taft (Brothers)
Matthew Riley, Bakersfield College and Carolee Trimble, Kern ROC (Brother and Sister)

Joe Buffington, Bishop (Nevada)
Vernon Clark, Foothill
Amber Cleaver, Delano
Kristi Mattes, Minarets
Natalie Ryan, North

Annie Andersen, Hanford and Eric Andersen, Retired
Adam Bullard, Independence and Edwin Bullard, Retired
Robert Calvert, Selma and Roz Calvert, Central
Vernon Clark, Foothill and Don Clark, Wasco
John Coon, Redwood and Bob Cummings, Retired
James Corbett, Monache and Max Corbett, Deceased
Erin Hanger, Summit Charter and Greg Hanger, Retired
Robert Hanger, Kern Valley and Greg Hanger, Retired
Nicole Potstada, Sanger and Leanne Potstada, Retired
Matt Riley, Bakersfield College and Roger Riley, Retired
Glen Sailors, Coalinga and Tim Sailors, Retired
Carolee Trimble, Kern ROC and Roger Riley, Retired
Matt Wenstrand, Caruthers and Gerald Wenstrand, Retired
Brad Wyman, Sierra and Edward Wyman, Retired

Bill Kelly

Bill Kelly

Bill Kelly, Bakersfield College – 51 years
Frank Tebeau, COS – 41 years
Kristi Mattes, Minarets – 40 years
David Caetano, Tulare – 38 years
Charles Parker, Region Supervisor – 37 years
Ralph Mendes, Kern ROC – 36 years
Ken Dias, Clovis – 35 years
Darlene Gilles, Madera – 33 years

Student Affairs Retreat

Student Affairs Retreat August 2 2017

Lesley and Grace

Grace Commiso, lead for meta-majors  and Lesley Bonds, lead for affinity groups.

Bakersfield College’s approximately 30,000 students represent a multitude of individual goals and needs. With a student to counselor ratio of approximately 1000:1, the Guided Pathways structure prompts the development of Completion Coaching Communities, which are the mechanism for ensuring that the individual student needs are more effectively met within the context of meta majors. By assigning a fully-equipped support team to each of 10 meta majors, Bakersfield College is able to address the specific needs of each meta major in a more personalized, more relevant way.

Going a step further, BC has identified eight affinity groups where additional personalized support exist, and has developed completion coaching communities around those groups as well, providing another layer of support and personal resources for students.

Through the development of these structures, Bakersfield College has developed a strategy for applying a very personal, case management approach to helping our 30,000 students stay on the path to success. Thank you to

Completion Coaching Communities will focus their work on supporting students in their progress toward critical milestones in the journey to successful, timely completion:

  • Completion of 12 to 15 credits in their first semester of college.
  • Completing both college-level Math and English in the first year.
  • Completion of 30 credits in the appropriate pathway in the first year.
  • Completion of 60 credits in the span of two years.

The photo you see below is of four superheroes in our Academic Support area.  They are geared up this year to provide intensive tutoring services for English and math in particular to support students in their courses.

Atudent Affairs Retreat Aug 2 2017.JPG

Eileen Pierce, Maria Baltazar, Yvonne Armendariz, Maria Wright

I popped in and out of the retreat in between my meeting schedule.  So I caught a few of the discussions that inspired me.  Here you see BC’s Financial Aid Director who is a bundle of energy and works with an incredible team in our Financial Aid Office.




Did you know that BC currently has over 45,000 active Financial Aid accounts?  I did not. Did you know that students have a window between October 1, 2017 and March 2018 to file for financial aid for the following year.  The sooner applications come in the better their chances of getting things squared away.  So why wait.  Plz complete your applications before the end of October this year!

Go team Financial Aid!

National Endowment for the Humanities Grant


We received an announcement this week that BC has been awarded $100,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to complete a three year project titled, “Energizing Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley.” Complementing the local legacy of energy production, Energizing Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley examines the concept of energy broadly from historical and literary perspectives, as well as the intersection of humanities with music/performing arts. Each year, faculty cohorts will engage critical scholarship within the fields of history, literature, and cultural performing arts. A regional conference highlighting faculty pedagogical innovation, student panels, as well as keynote speakers, will conclude the grant project.

Several other projects receiving grants from NEH will help preserve fragile historical and cultural collections and make them more accessible to the broader public, such as grants to safeguard a collection of Native American and Medieval and Renaissance art at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma; for the preservation of Civil War artifacts recovered from the USS Monitor warship in Newport News, Virginia; and new initiatives in Arkansas and Georgia to digitize historic local newspapers for inclusion in the Chronicling America database at the Library of Congress.

Thank you to the National Endowment for the Humanities for your support of BC!

To see the official press release, visit www.neh.gov/news/press-release/2017-08-02

Here are the three faculty who will be the Principal Investigators for the grant.  Oliver Rosales, History (lead); Andrew Bond, English; Josh Ottum, Music.

Oliver Rosales, Andrew Bond, Josh Ottum

Special Thank you to Oliver Rosales, Andrew Bond, and Josh Ottum

BC Team at CTEOS

BC Team at CTEOS

Craig Hayward, Karen Snow, Stephanie Baltazar, and Corny Rodriguez

The California Community College CTE Employment Outcomes Survey (CTEOS) began as a pilot project with fifteen colleges in 2012. CTE Dean’s, frustrated at the lack of relevant outcomes measures for CTE students, determined to pool resources and to scale up employment outcomes surveys that had been conducted by some individual colleges. The CTE Outcomes Survey has grown to include all 113 California Community Colleges, and several non-credit CTE programs.  In the photo, BC’s Team at CTEOS on Aug. 3rd and 4th.

Craig Hayward was a presenter at the event and his talk was titled Accreditation and Calculating Employment in the Field of Study with the CTEOS (CTE Outcomes Survey)

Bloom in Bakersfield — Asha Chandy 

Asha Chandy in The Bakersfield Californian July 2017

Asha Chandy. Picture from TBC

The Bakersfield Life Magazine featured Asha Chandy in their July issue “Millennial Voices: Bloom where you are planted.”

It’s an insightful and thoughtful piece commending Bakersfield for the little things that make this town special to those who live here and the experiences that brought Asha to appreciate Bakersfield too. She said after coming back to Bakersfield, that she “constantly recognized faces in passing cars, when shopping or walking downtown.” and “Servers in coffees shops recognize your face and remember your usual order.”

Besides the friendly and familiar faces, Asha explained that quickly after coming back, she “soon met mentors who actually invested time and effort in young people…. millennials who lacked direction but had the potential to thrive.” and she said Bakersfield is the perfect incubator for young professionals.

Asha Chandy worked tirelessly, side-by-side with the fabulous Nicole Parra, to help  Bakersfield College pass Measure J…





Of course, how can I forget the campaign dog Bruce.


Thank you Bakersfield for passing Measure J and for being a rock of support for our young people, higher education, and all BC students! Thank you Kern County!! Have I mentioned recently that I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?


Former Taft College President, David Cothrun

David Cothrun from TBCFormer Taft College President Dr. David Cothrun wrote a piece in the July edition of the Bakersfield Life Magazine praising the quality of life in Taft, where he’s lived for the last 21 years.  I so enjoyed this piece and wanted to share it with the larger community.

Despite being retired from Taft College since 2001, Cothrun has chosen to stay in the area because of the “community that cares and gives back” and non-profit organizations that provide transportation for health care and events while funding scholarships and creating a welcoming atmosphere for students with disabilities.

Cothrun took a moment to highlight Taft College’s important Transition to Independent Living (TIL), a two-year residential program that teaches students with disabilities the skills they need to become independent and able to live alone. The TIL program is one of the only ones of its kind in the United States, and it’s providing amazing opportunities for success that disabled students never had before.

Cothrun has been in the Taft Rotary club for 37 years and the Taft Chamber of Commerce Board for 14 years. He also serves on the Kern County Board of Trade. Read the whole article at Bakersfield.com.

Van Ton-Quinlivan

Van Ton Quinlivan from Doing what matters website

Van Ton-Quinlivan

The Chronicle of Higher Education published an interview about the future of career training and vocational education with Van Ton-Quinlivan, the Vice Chancellor of Workforce and Economic Development for California community colleges.

The video, which corresponded with a Chronicle of Higher Education report titled “The Future of Work: How Colleges Can Prepare Students for the Jobs Ahead”, focuses on the plight of stranded workers, an unemployment statistic that’s become a catch-all term for those who don’t see themselves in our future automated economy. After the recession of 2008, work productivity increased even though unemployment increased due to a confluence of technological advances and developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Many people looking to return to the economy found themselves without the skills needed to compete for positions in a post-industrial world.

Ton-Quinlivan discussed the numerous paradigm shifts that will have to happen in education to get distressed workers the skills to return to the economy. Where educational institutions once had the luxury of extensively training students before they enter the work force, they now have to scale their educational services to prepare for workers who need to come back to school to keep up with evolving technologies and business practices.

Ton-Quinlivan wants to “modularize delivery of education” with low-impact, 3-6 month Certificates of Specialization that would allow adults to continue education while contributing to the workforce. She also would also like to see the California community college system forge more direct partnerships with employers through apprenticeships and structuring curricula to meet the demands of the labor market.

“The economy is becoming more and more unforgiving to those without skills,” Ton-Quinlivan said. “With apprenticeships, you’re not divorcing the education from the employer needs.”

One way companies are bridging the skills gap is through on-site “maker-spaces”—augmented learning environments where laborers can work directly with expensive new equipment to develop competency.

In addition to maker-spaces, Van Ton-Quinlivan emphasized the role of community colleges in identifying a student’s skill sets and shepherding them into the best education program to utilize and develop those skills. She highlighted a capstone program a few California community colleges conducted for veterans to transition from security work into positions as systems operators or utility workers based on a pre-employment screening. These kind of creative collaboration between counselors, educators and industry leaders can close the education gap in California and transform people’s lives.

It is wonderful seeing California Community College leadership setting the national trends in education.  So proud!

Super hero Anna Meyer

Aaron Kidwell Aug 2 2017

Aaron Kidwell

As I was heading out from a meeting on wednesday to the Student Affairs retreat, I saw Aaron Kidwell and stopped to talk with him.  He raved about how Anna Meyer, who is in payroll in the Human Resources department.  Thank you Anna for doing what you did to support Aaron and thank you Aaron for sharing.  Here is a photo of Aaron that I snapped when he shared his good news.

Talking about Anna Meyer, there is another Anna who is a superhero in HR, Anna Gonzalez, who was at BC and is now at the District Office. I had the opportunity to work with Anna on faculty recruitment and Jennfer Marden and I had an Anna Gonzalez fan club going.

Lori Carlson, Anna Meyer, Anna Gomzalez

Lori Carlson, Anna Meyer, Anna Gonzalez

Tonya Davis at BC

Talking about Human Resources, KCCD has a new Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, Tonya Davis who comes to us from southern California.  Here are two photos of Tonya that I snapped on July 18th when she was at BC for a meeting.  She specifically wanted to check out the Veterans hub a small space that supports our student veterans.  Through Measure J, our first project will be a wonderful Veterans Resource Center.  We ran into fabulous Dennis Spencer on our way back to the office.  Here you have Tonya with Armando Trujillo, Advisor to the BC student veterans and Dennis Spenser.




Summer Bridge Continues

Some photos from this week’s summer bridge

Summer Bridge 1


Summer Bridge 2

Summer Bridge 3 with Talita Pritt

Summer Bridge 5 with Bill Kelly.jpg

Summer Bridge with Nick Strobel

So what about Neo?

Well….he continues to love to spend time in his mud/sand bed.  Here he is Sunday, July 30th sometime mid morning not happy when I directed him to move away from his frolicking activities in the mud.




Then there is the happy puppy mud face on August 2, 2017

August 2 2017 Neo


And then there is his chew toy.




He is 45 lbs.


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever