Tag Archives: Abel Guzman

Thankful to be a Renegade

We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving

Definitely feeling the holiday weather settling in around us with the crispy cool mornings, the holiday lights starting to blanket the neighborhood, and the holiday spirit of generosity and goodwill warming our hearts. My brother sent me this beautiful music video of talented young artists performing We are the World from Manipur a state in the northeastern part of India.

Let’s check out the original version USA for Africa — We are the World.

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, November 30, 2019… Do you feel the warmth and love in the air… A great day to be a Renegade.

Giving Thanks

November is a time of year when we gather around our loved ones and celebrate the things for which we are thankful.  Since the first Thanksgiving in 1621, this tradition has carried on from generation to generation of American families. 

In this time of giving thanks, I looked back over my blog posts from earlier this year and enjoyed seeing photos of students, graduates, alumni, supporters, faculty, and staff.  I am truly blessed to be the president of the best college the nation. Thank you!

As you can see, there really is so much to be thankful for this year!

HEAL Summit

Last week, BC organized and hosted an important conversation on how we can transform health in California’s rural communities. Health care professionals got the chance to connect with medical researchers, educators and policy makers at the BC Delano Campus for the Rural Poverty and Health Equity Summit, coming together to share all of the hard work that they do every day to make the Central Valley a healthier place to live.

This event is one of many that our stakeholders in health care and education will be organizing as part of the Rural Health Equity and Learning (HEAL) Collaborative. The HEAL collaborative came together when Dr. Kathy Murphy, started connecting educational institutions in response to a grant proposal and four months later, is now a thriving six-county network of organizations committed to improving health, education and economic outcomes in rural communities throughout CA’s Central Valley. 

If you are interested in joining the HEAL collaborative or if you know of an institution throughout our region that would be interested, please check out the HEAL website to get started.

Some of the most dire health outcomes in the Central Valley are related to poverty and the absence of accessible resources in our rural communities. Education is an important solution to these difficult societal issues… several sources, including the Partners for Rural Transformation and the Center for Disease Control, indicate that people with higher levels of education have lower rates of chronic disease and make healthier choices for themselves and their families.

Norma Rojas has been a passionate member of the the Rural HEAL Collaborative, and served as the emcee for our summit last week.

Norma Rojas-Mora
Congressman TJ Cox

Congressman TJ Cox is active at the federal level to help the citizens of California’s 21st District live healthier lives. Cox serves on several congressional committees and caucuses related to community health, including the Asthma and Allergy Caucus, which is introducing funding to support remote respiratory care and access to asthma medications. He is also working on legislation to address opioid addiction, the vaping epidemic, diabetes, and hydrocephalus, a condition that causes an abnormal buildup of spinal fluid in the brain.

Panel 1

Dr. Kathleen Murphy, a pediatrician at Valley Children’s Hospital and an advisory board member for the Rural HEAL Initiative moderated our first panel about forming networks of collaboration to address health crises.

Dr. Kathleen Murphy
The Summit crowd was at max capacity!
Russell Judd, Nancy Burke, Sonya Christian, Tania Pacheco

The first speaker on the rural collaborative panel was Kern Medical CEO Russell Judd, who talked about founding the Valley Fever Institute to advance conversations on treatments for this devastating disease. Most of the important findings on valley fever are published directly out of Kern Medical Center, and the institute takes a 3-pronged approach of research, treatment and outreach to lift the burden off San Joaquin families who fight against Valley Fever every day. Last month, the group organized a town hall forum on Valley Fever at the Indoor Theater featuring TJ Cox.

Russell Judd
Sonya Christian and Russell Judd

Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner is the Assistant Director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute, an organization established at Fresno State in 2002 to provide data and information on health policy issues in Central California. The group provides local experts and decision makers with data to help them take the appropriate action for Central Valley health outcomes while highlighting some overlooked systemic problems that are at the root causes of many health issues.

Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner

Dr. Nancy Burke has relied on the help of community partners to build UC Merced’s Public Health program from the ground up, building collaborations with national, local and regional organizations to engage youth in public health policy. UC Merced has established the Nicotine and Cannabis Policy Center to research the harmful effects of vaping, and they’ve launched a separate initiative to address racial and poverty gaps in oral health care for children.

Nancy Burke and Sonya Christian

I was the last presenter in the first panel, and briefly highlighted two collaborative projects to address poverty — Early College partnership with the rural high schools and our collaboration with Housing and Urban Development to address low income student housing needs.

Panel 2

Our second panel revolved around air quality, which is linked to many negative health outcomes for millions of people throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Emanuel Alcala with the Central Valley Health Policy Institute moderated the air quality panel and provided an overview of our air quality problem. The Central Valley has some of the worst air in the country, particularly in rural areas that are centered around large industrial pollution sources.

Emanuel Alcala
Emanuel Alcala, Kevin Hamilton, Dr. Sandie Ha, and John Moua

Kevin Hamilton from the Central California Asthma Collaborative described the challenges with diagnosing health problems related to air quality. Poor air quality can cause stress reactions in the body that manifest as any number of symptoms, and low-income communities of color don’t have the means to address the causal factors of their illnesses, so minor issues develop into major disorders that require emergency treatment.

Kevin Hamilton

UC Merced Public Health professor Sandie Ha talked about neonatal impacts in the Central Valley are affected by poor air quality and the importance of measuring indoor as well as outdoor air quality. She also emphasized the challenge in getting people to recognize the risks of poor air quality, including wide-ranging implications from blood pressure to diabetes.

Sandie Ha
Left to right: Kevin Hamilton, Sandie Ha, and John Moua

UCSF Fresno professor John Moua’s presentation focused on the implicit biases that many physicians have when they diagnose respiratory issues. Asthma rates are significantly higher in the Central Valley than the rest of the state, yet many primary care physicians are not up-to-date on the latest advancements in respiratory treatment. Many poorer families are also challenged to manage costs when they can barely put food on the table, Moua explained.

John Moua

Panel 3

TJ Cox moderated the panel on substance abuse issues, which is one of the issues that he’s most passionate about championing on Capitol Hill. While there are 70 million estimated drug users in the United States, Cox said that only 15 percent seek treatment for addiction, and substance use is on the rise with the teen vaping epidemic and the prevalence of prescription opioid abuse.

Congressman TJ Cox

Anna Song is with the UC Merced Nicotine and Cannabis Policy Center. The group is working on creating smoke-free shared housing units for students, instituting smoking bans in parks, and providing parents with information about vaping lung disease and how to tell if their children are vaping.

Anna Song
Left to right: Anna Song, David Rohac, and Dr. Rais Vohra

Dr. Rais Vohra teaches family medicine at UCSF Fresno and serves as the Regional Director of the California Bridge program, which encourages evidence-based substance use disorder treatment, hospitality for addicts, and linkages to ongoing care and support groups. He shared some innovative new developments happening in the world of substance use treatment, including the advent of substance use navigators available in emergency rooms to advocate for patients with substance use problems, provide referrals to outside support services, and raise awareness about harm reduction medications like methadone and suboxone.

Dr. Rais Vohra

David Rohac is a psychology faculty here at BC, and I was excited to hear him share his research about prenatal alcohol exposure. This important research is published in a chapter of the book “Neuroscience of Alcohol: Mechanisms and Treatment”, which is used in the curriculum for many college courses concerning alcohol addiction and substance use. The research shows that early exposure to alcohol in the womb can negatively influence a fetus’ development, and exposure to alcohol within the first trimester is more dangerous to fetal development than exposure to heroin. Prenatal alcohol exposure can be especially dangerous, as alcohol is more socially acceptable than other drugs, people have misconceptions about how dangerous alcohol actually is, and families often don’t know that they’re pregnant until late in the first trimester.

David Rohac
Nora Dominguez, Julianne McCall. David Rohac, Sonya Christian

Panel 4

Cindy Collier opened the last panel of the summit on developing compassionate, informed health care professionals. Approximately 7 million Californians live in areas with a shortage of health professionals, and many of them are in rural areas right here in the Central Valley. That number is projected to increase in the next decade if we aren’t proactive in training the next generation of health care professionals to close that gap.

Cindy Collier

Dr. Serena Yang, the Chief of Pediatrics at UCSF Fresno, expanded on that conversation, describing the ways that poverty and lack of transportation exacerbate provider shortages. The primary predictors for where a health professional will choose to work is based on where they train and where they can reap the most financial benefit, and Yang emphasized the importance of loan repayment programs to encourage our best and brightest to stay right here in the Central Valley.

Dr. Serena Yang

Adventist Health has been one of our partners with the Rural HEAL Collaborative, and CEO Sharlet Briggs described the challenges that she faces in trying to maintain a diverse and properly-trained workforce to meet the Central Valley’s needs. She emphasized their need for more physicians assistants and LVNs to serve as a bridge between patients and doctors. She also expressed the importance of expanding the specialized care in rural areas. Finally, she outlined the ways that provider shortage is only a part of the problem, and we need to be looking at how we can address homelessness, mental health and poverty.

Left to right: Sharlet Briggs, Dr. Serena Yang, and Thelma Hurd
Sharlet Briggs
Thelma Hurd

UC Merced’s Director of Medical Education Thelma Hurd emphasized the role of academic support as the key to reducing the health workforce shortage in the Central Valley. Only 20 percent of students who enter a medical program actually go on to work in the medical field. With the right support and mentorship through organizations like MESA, we can make sure that our students aren’t falling through the cracks even as we reduce the equity barriers that keep many low income students of color out of the medical field. She also talked about developing programs to get children interested in STEM and health careers as early as elementary school.

Sonya Christian and Thelma Hurd

Closing

At the close of the summit, we were all excited to hear from Julianne McCall, a neuroscientist and representative from Governor Gavin Newsom’s Office of Planning and Research. She praised all of the attendees for participating in this broad-reaching discussion about making medical practices more equitable for all Californians, and shared information with the group about a new innovation known as precision medicine.

Julianne McCall

Precision medicine is an emerging approach toward disease treatment and prevention that accounts for a patient’s distinctive genetics, environment and lifestyle. As this field develops, the ultimate goal is for medical treatment to be accurately individualized at the chromosomal level instead of the traditional one-size-fits-all, general population approach characteristic of current defined medical science. To jumpstart our state into this exciting future, Governor Newsom’s office launched the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine, offering grants to institutions across the state that advance precision medicine research. A requirement of the grant is for institutions to advance partnerships between researchers and their community, which will give rural communities the opportunity to provide input into the research.

One lucky raffle winner and Tamara Baker
BC staff and attendees who helped make this event possible
Abel Guzman and me

Thank you Delano Regional Medical Center and Kern Medical for being our sponsors. Thank you Abel Guzman and the Rural Initiatives team for getting the Delano Campus ready for the event. Thank you Lori Ortiz for leading the logistics. Thank you Tamara Baker and Jana Castillo for managing the event. Thank you to the planning team who put the programming together: Dr. Kathy Murphy, Dr. Nancy Burke, Norma Rojas, and Cindy Collier.

Child Development Film Festival

The Child Development departments at BC, CSUB, and Taft College came together to host a student film festival in the Indoor Theater last week.

Students from the three colleges created one-minute PSAs about working with children. The entries were then judged by a panel of notable community figures including Congressman Kevin McCarthy, KCCD Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and Mayor Karen Goh. Students covered a diverse variety of topics in their videos, including childhood PTSD, encouraging healthy life choices, and teaching sign language at a young age. A BC student took home the first place prize with a video about special needs children.

Thank you to BC’s Bernadette Towns, Taft College’s Becky Roth, and the Child Development Team at CSUB for working together to put together a fun event for all our students.

Surveying the Homeless

Perla Villegas Samantha Pulido Sarah Aguirre Jordan Thomas Gian Gayatao
From left to right: Perla Villegas, Samantha Pulido, Sarah Aguirre, Jordan Thomas, and Gian Gayatao
Jordan Rude and Perla Villegas
Perla Villegas and Jordan Rude

On Sunday, November 24, Professor Jordan Rude organized a team from BC to help him with a data project…. surveying the homeless at Central Park. We had student volunteers from Student Life, BCSGA, and Outreach to collect data for Professor Rude by passing out surveys and collecting the responses. Thanks to the volunteers who came out to help!

Dream Big Conference Hosts Record Attendees!

On Friday, November 15, Bakersfield College hosted close to 350 high school students and chaperones during the Dream Big Conference. Focused on promoting college going among first-generation, English Learners, and migrant students, the Dream Big Conference provided an engaging experience in a variety of formats to help students understand opportunities and ways of paying for college

Staff and student volunteers ready to greet students and chaperones!

The day began with breakfast and a welcome provided by Dr. Anna Laven, AB 540 Program Manager. Attendees then heard from a moderated student panel facilitated by Manuel Rosas, EOPS Counselor and LUPE Faculty Advisor.

Volunteers for the event including staff members, student assistants and student leaders.

Following the student panel, attendees were introduced to the campus through an engaging scavenger hunt led by Marcela Gamino, EOPS and CARE Educational Advisor. Students then heard presentations on three topics, including career education, the EOPS, AB 540 and NextUp Programs, and opportunities provided by our rural initiatives. The day ended with an informative session on paying for college facilitated by the Southern San Joaquin Valley Cal-SOAP Consortium.

College Experience Panel (left to right): Jovana (Panel Moderator) Mayra, Marlene, Erick, Pedro, Mayra, Elizabeth, Manuel Rosas (Panel Moderator & LUPE Faculty Advisor)

Co-leads organizing the event included Angela Blanco, KHSD Education Liaison, Dr. Anna Laven, Maria Baltazar, NextUp and CalWORKs Program Manager, and Jaime Lopez, Rural Initiatives Program Manager.

Renegades We’re Thankful For: Matthew Moon

My name is Ramon Carreido, and I am a sophomore here at BC. During my time as a Renegade, I’ve encountered many friends, co-workers and people who have helped shape my academic career, but no one has played a bigger role than my swim coach Matt Moon.

Matt Moon and Ramon Carriedo

I am a BC athlete who has been a member of the swim team for over a year, and I’ve enjoyed the intense training and preparation that Coach Moon has put us through, whether it’s holding our breaths while swimming two lengths of the pool or throwing us into events that we’ve never swam before.

I swam for all 4 years at Wasco High, including qualifying for Valley in my junior and senior year. After high school, I knew that I wanted to keep swimming competitively, so I talked to Coach Moon the summer after graduation and decided to swim for BC. After the first week of winter training, I quickly learned that I was not in high school anymore. We start the day off at 6 a.m. with one hour of weight training and another in the pool before going to class, only to come back at 2:30 p.m. for another 2-hour practice, which was a big change from our regular routine at Wasco High.

Many athletes don’t get to work with coaches that practice what they preach, but Coach Moon is in the weight room getting reps in before we even arrive at 6 a.m., and he is always there for helpful tips on diet choices and keeping our bodies in competitive shape.

Coach Moon has not only shaped my academic career but my life. After going through all of this intense training, I’ve learned that all of my hard work will eventually pay off. I have implemented this mentality into every element of my daily life while juggling school, my job as a student working in the Marketing office, and swim. I know that all of my efforts will only make me a stronger person. This Thanksgiving, I’m super blessed to swim for Coach Moon here at BC.

Renegades We’re Thankful For: Eric Carrillo and Dylan Wang

My name is Juan Reyes, and I am a sophomore student and student employee at BC. I’m thankful for Eric Carrillo and Dylan Wang, the graphic designers for BC’s Marketing and Public Relations. I’m glad to have their friendship and guidance throughout my time as a student worker, and I’m grateful for the time we’ve spent in the office together.

Eric Carrillo and Dylan Wang and sonya christian
Graphic Designers Eric Carrillo (left) and Dylan Wang (right) received a President’s Leadership Award earlier this year.

Eric and Dylan always make Ramon and I feel welcomed and encourage us to talk about our experiences to learn from one another. Thank you Eric and Dylan for being amazing coworkers and friends.

Fun Photos

Budget Open Forum

The semi-annual Budget Open Forum occurred last Monday in the Levan Center.  This informative event featured presentations by Mike Giacomini and Teresa McAllister.

Juan Torres Delivers Grapes

Tarina Perry sent over this photo of Juan Torres, Delano Site Operations Coordinator, who often brings our office fresh-picked grapes from local vendors.

Carlos Barbaran Stays Dry

On Wednesday, Carlos Barbara had a unique way to stay dry in the rain.

Carlos Barbara

Seen on Social Media: Thankful Faculty

Erin Auerbach, BC Journalism faculty, posted recently that she’s thankful for opportunities like these for our students. Way to go, KGET!

Love this picture that Alberto Vargas clicked of Nicky and me.

Football Lands Nine on the SCFA North All-Conference List

Our football team just wrapped up their 2019 season and we have nine student athletes from the team that were honored this week with post-season honors. Congrats to the following players and thanks for representing BC with pride!

SCFA North First Team All-Conference

SCFA Noth 2nd-Team All-Conference

Skydiving into Memorial Stadium

Enjoy this video from our final home football game of the year when skydivers from Skydive San Joaquin Valley parachuted down to the field of Memorial Stadium with the game ball and the American flag. What a view!

Renegade Athletes of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (11/10-11/16) Kern Schools Federal Credit Union Renegades of the Week:

Emma Gross, Women’s Soccer – Emma anchored the Renegade defense in games last week against Santa Monica and Antelope Valley as the team closed out the 2019 regular season. Emma was also honored this week as a member of the 2019 CCCAA All-State Team, an honor given to only four defenders in the state. 

Edgar Gonzalez, Men’s Soccer – Edgar assisted on three of the four goals scored by the Renegades last week as the team clinched its first conference championship in school history. This week Edgar was also named to the CCCAA All-Region team, the WSC South 1st Team and as WSC South Offensive Player of the Year. 

Loved the way our Renegade Basketball players do a dance move when one of them scores a 3-pointer. Check it out.

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Sonya Christian


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC building bridges

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, December 14, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

BC building bridges always…..

2019 Convocation BC Chamber Singers with Bridge Over Troubled Water

I have to start by welcoming BC’s 39 newest faculty to the Home of the Renegades! This year is going to be the best one yet because of the leadership and engagement of faculty and staff. At BC, we create engaged learning environments, strengthen support so students are successful, and we create bridges towards a better BC, a healthier community, and a stronger college going culture with a goal of increasing baccalaureate attainment in Kern County.

Welcome new faculty, I am so happy you are at the Home of the Renegades.

Browse our new faculty online at the New Academic Faculty webpage on the BC website.

Opening Day

Faculty and staff came together in the Indoor Theater on Thursday for the biggest Opening Day celebration that I recall. It is always a joy to arrive in the morning and feel the buzz as staff and faculty mingle and connect over a beautiful spread of breakfast goodies provided by Food Services.

I had so much exciting news to share with everyone in my annual State of the College report, which is why our team put together an Opening Day extravaganza. Samantha Pulido is the BCSGA President this year and her opening remarks were inspiring. She spoke of short term goals and long term goals, like graduating next year.

I opened State of the College with an overview of enrollment and student success data, which continues to rise. Since the 2013-14 semester, BC has seen 4.6 percent growth in annual headcount… we now serve 37,000 students. A 25.9 percent growth in Full Time Equivalent Student (FTES) over the last 5 years, and 10 percentage point growth in distance education.

In that same time period, the course success rate for traditional students is up 7 percent, and course success for distance education students is up 10 percent. It’s amazing that we’ve been able to improve our course success rates while our student population continues to grow significantly at the same time.

With this growth, our need for more faculty has also gone up, and we’ve increased our Full Time Equivalent Faculty by 46.9 percent since 2013-14 to carry out our high-tech, high-touch strategy via the Guided Pathways model.

We also reviewed a visual created by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness which shows the student body distribution by Meta-Major. As you can see, Health Sciences is in the lead at 18% with Arts, Humanities, & Communication close behind at 14%.

Our two Vice Presidents Zav Dadabhoy and Billie Jo Rice introduced the new faculty, classified staff, and managers,

Steve Holmes and Mike Giacomini
Steve Holmes and Mike Giacomini

Vice President of Finance, Mike Giacomini was joined by Academic Senate President, Steven Holmes for a report on budget. They shared the news that the College is financially healthy and being fiscally responsible. Bakersfield College and Kern Community College District have been well positioned to respond to the new Student Centered Funding Formula, and we’ve been fiscally prudent during the transition. 

Trustee Romeo Agbalog spoke about how he is proud to be a Kern Community District Trustee and he is proud of the work of BC’s faculty and staff. He spoke about Early College being the solution for rural communities to advance college attainment levels — a strong leading indicator of economic and social mobility. BC is truly blessed to have a trustee with so much commitment to our rural students and approached solutions that are results oriented and fiscally smart.

Senator Fuller moderated a panel of community leaders — Barbara Grimm, CEO and Founder, Grimm Family Education Foundation; Aaron Resendez, Superintendent of McFarland Unified School District ; David Franz, director of Shafter Education Partnership . I will cover this in my August 30th blog.

Aaron Resendez, Barbara Grimm, David Franz
Ken Keller, Sharlet Briggs, Jeet Singh, and Norma Rojas-Mora
Manny De Los Santos
Manny De Los Santos on Opening Day

BC’s videography specialist, Manny De Los Santos is editing some special videos for upcoming blogs so stay tuned!

After our panelists, the BC Drumline led faculty and staff out of the Indoor Theater to have lunch on the lawn next to the gym.

In the afternoon we spotlighted the need to increase baccalaureate attainment in the Central Valley and we know it will be increasingly important in an era where automation is on the rise. The slide below spotlights a data point from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) that by 2030, California will need an additional 1.1 million in the workforce holding baccalaureate degrees.

Bakersfield College is rising to meet this demand, with various complementary strategies, each bolstered by a number of initiatives and support services. The first strategy is community colleges throughout the state offering more baccalaureate degrees. BC has been fortunate to be one of the original 15 community colleges to pilot a baccalaureate degree, and we’ve done this successfully with the Industrial Automation program.

Blair Pruett from Kern Steel Fabrication took time out of his day to talk about his role on the Industrial Automation advisory board and the importance of preparing Kern County’s workforce for our automated future. He said:

Blair Pruett at BC
Blair Pruett, August 23, 2019

I applaud you for being here today. Education is the ticket to financial independence, to personal growth and understanding, and it will open doors for students, they don’t even know exist.
The world is fast approaching another paradigm shift where Automation and Information Technologies will work together to facilitate useful Artificial Intelligence. A.I. will allow us to solve vexing problems in every industry. BC stands ready to support the Automation needs of Kern County businesses.

At every opportunity, Kern Steel has Automated our processes. We robotically cut steel plates, beams and tubes with lasers. We weld with robots. We design in 3D and we track all our materials electronically. If there is a process that we can automate, we do, or at least we try.
Automation is key to our success and the success of many industries in Kern County. Whatever career students choose, Ag, Oil, Manufacturing, Distribution or many others, they will find that Automation is a key process. Kern County is full of opportunities for advanced Automation and new technologies and Kern Steel is just one example.

Blair Pruett, President of the Industrial Automation Advisory Board at Bakersfield College

Additionally, the second strategy is to expand transfer. BC’s Finish in 4 collaboration with CSUB is closing the gap for Renegades who are transitioning into Roadrunners, and enrollment in our Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation continues to grow.

Sonya Christian, Richard Winn, Stephanie Droker, Mary Okada, Ian Walton
BC President Sonya Christian at the NACIQI meeting where the recommendation was made

With NACIQI’s recommendation to expand the baccalaureate programs at community colleges across California, we hope to provide more opportunities to empower the next generation of students with the education they need to turn their dreams into reality.

The new BC SouthWest campus will be triple the size of our current facility, and after lunch, we heard from Jessica Wojtysiak, Jason Stratton and Fernando Lara about their plans for the future of BC SouthWest.

Jessica, Jason, and Fernando – BC’s SouthWest Team

We then heard from our constituent leaders such as CSEA, CCA, Academic Senate, and the Management Association. I was especially humbled by the kind and thoughtful remarks by Tina Johnson and the recognition from our classified staff. This will be one of the top honors I will receive during my tenure as president… one that I will cherish always and hold dear to my heart. BC’s classified staff are a core pillar of strength which allows the college to serve an every increasing number of students each and every day.

We heard from Ann Tatum, President of CCA as well as from Susan Pinza, Director of the Levan Institute and Reggie Williams, Director of the Levan Center.

For the awards portion of the program, Talita Pruett introduced Helen Acosta and Donna Starr introduced Regina Hukill for the Shirley Trembley Distinguished Teaching Award. Erin Miller announced Bernadette Towns as the winner of the Levan Faculty Colloquium Award, and Kimberly Bligh introduced Kimberly Nickell for the Margaret Levinson Distinguished Leadership Award.

I’m proud to report that the State of Bakersfield College is strong, and it will only continue to get stronger as our initiatives grow and expand. I’m looking forward for 2019-20 to be another great academic year for Bakersfield College. Thank you to everyone who attended, packed the Indoor Theater, the two overflow rooms, and watched online. I can’t wait for the new year to begin next week

New Student Convocation and Family Bridge to BC

On Tuesday evening, the BC community prepared new students and their families for life as Renegades during the BC Open House and New Student Convocation in the Outdoor Theater.

History faculty welcoming students and families

This year’s convocation featured a scavenger hunt where students had to familiarize themselves with the campus. Representatives from each building stamped completion of tasks for scavenger hunt participants as they made their way through the campus. The first students to finish the hunt received prizes courtesy of the Bridge to BC program.

Ag table at convocation
BC’s Ag crew had a booth too!

In addition to the scavenger hunt, there was a resource fair in front of the entrance to the Outdoor Theater featuring booths from the Student Health Center, Public Safety Training, BCSGA, and a number of our student organizations. There was also a pathways booth on the lawn in front of the Counseling area, which offered more information about all ten of our learning and career pathways. Walking throughout the campus, you could hear the sound of spinning prize wheels reverberating off the walls.

After a delicious Indian dinner catered by Food Services, the processional started promptly at 7:13 p.m., or 19:13 in military time, to commemorate 1913, the year that Bakersfield College was founded. After a beautiful Bhangra Dance performance in honor of Mahatma Gandhi and a performance of the national anthem by the BC Chamber Singers, emcee Nicky Damania gave a brief introduction on the meaning of the word “convocation”, which is a call to bring people together.

Renegades! Can I hear you?!

I spoke very briefly about our amazing faculty and academic support programs before turning it over to Steven Holmes, Kimberly Bligh, and BCSGA President Samantha Pulido, who lead the audience in oaths for faculty, parents and supporters, and students, respectively.

It takes a village to help just one student finish their education, and these oaths help all of the stakeholders in that journey stay accountable to themselves and each other.

Public Safety Officer Ricardo Orozco also reinforced the importance of BC’s motto – “If you see something, say something, and let’s do something about it.”

The entertainment for the evening was spectacular, from the Chamber Singers’ performance of “You Will Be Found” and “Bridge over Troubled Water” to the closing performance of the BC Call and Fight Song by the Renegade Cheerleaders.

Kimberly Bligh and Isabel Castaneda
Kimberly Bligh and Isabel Castaneda

This year’s convocation was a beautiful way to start off the new semester, and I’d like to thank Dr. Nicky Damania, Office of Student Life, Dr. Kimberly Bligh, Isabel Castaneda, the Bridge to BC Team, Outreach, and everyone who attended to make this year’s the best yet.

It was great to see the event covered in The Bakersfield Californian’s “Incoming BC students, families attend convocation to ease fears” written by Ema Sasic.

Director of Counseling and Student Success, Marisa Marquez even shared this fun photo from the event! She said:

The wonderful Advisors, Counselors, Student Assistants and Administrative Staff of Counseling and Student Success hosted a Pathways welcome fair for the class of 2021! GO RENEGADES!!!

Marisa Marquez, Director of Counseling and Student Success
Steve Watkin and Andrea thorson take a selfie
Outreach Director, Steve Watkin and Dean of Instruction, Andrea Thorson

Flex Week

Matt Jones leads a flexweek workshop
Matt Jones leads a session for Flex Week

This week we celebrated the start of a new academic year with a very successful Flex week. We welcomed New Faculty at our new faculty seminar and had record attendance for our workshops. We received trainings from the CCC Accessibility Center on accessible word and PDF documents and video captioning. We welcomed a faculty member from Peralta College to train on equity and the online equity rubric. Our adjunct faculty seminar was one of our largest in recent years and gave our adjuncts a chance to hear about equity, accessibility and enrollment management.

Given recent current events all of our staff had the opportunity to learn about Active Shooter Response in several sessions throughout the week. We also had other unique offerings this year that ranged from Foundation training, to several Canvas courses, including Canvas Mastery Paths. These workshops have provided valuable information for faculty and staff as they gear up for a new academic year.

Special thanks to Pam Rivers and Bill Moseley for their dedication and commitment to continued learning.

Industrial Automation is Brought to BC’s Delano Campus

With funding presented by Assembly Member Rudy Salas this past July to expand our baccalaureate program in Industrial Automation in Delano, Electronics faculty Tom Rush and Michael Larson were able to work diligently this past week and over the weekend to assemble and prepare three portable Electric Motors and Controls lab training systems.

Tom Rush, Mike Larson, Lora Larkin, and Abel Guzman
Tom Rush, Mike Larson, Lora Larkin, and Abel Guzman

Professors Rush and Larson transported the units to the Delano campus themselves to get the classroom ready for Industrial Automation students’ first day! They were joined by Lora Larkin and Abel Guzman. Thank you Tom and Michael for taking the Industrial Automation program out to our Delano community, and Abel for helping to make this happen!

Project Next Step

Bryon Schaefer, Karen Goh, Lyle Martin, Sonya Christian, Vernon Harper, Steve Watkin (photo: from Mayor Goh’s website)

On Saturday, August 17th Bakersfield College hosted approximately 500 guests for the 3rd Annual Project Next Step Conference. The Project Next Step Conference is an opportunity for new and continuing high school students, made possible by the collaboration of the Kern High School District, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Bakersfield Ivy Legacy Foundation, Bakersfield College, and the Bakersfield City School District. Several organizations from the community also participated as sponsors and hosted a table at a resource fair that was provided during lunch. 

Sonya Christian and Bryon Schaefer
Sonya Christian and Bryon Schaefer

The day began with welcoming remarks from myself and other community representatives, including Kern High School District Superintendent Dr. Bryon Schaefer, Dr. Vernon Harper from CSU Bakersfield, and Linda McKnight from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Then James Burton Jr. from Farmers Insurance gave a motivational speech on the important of having a goal in mind and taking strategic steps to get there.

Students and parents then left the indoor theater to attend a series of workshops prepared for them on topics like dressing for success, applying for financial aid, participating in dual enrollment, and different college options available to them. The day was a great opportunity to instill students and parents with the confidence that they need to find success in high school and college.

Project Next Step wrote about the event in their blog as well! Check it out!

BC’s Renegade Pantry

Last week, I shared in my blog that BC’s Renegade Pantry announced that they will be receiving a $20,000 grant to help students with hunger and food insecurity. The pantry is run by student employees and is continuously getting restocked thanks to donations and sponsorships from the community. In addition to food, the pantry offers many different types of hygiene items.

Group Photo with check for the Renegade Pantry
Thank you Kern Partnership for the support of the Renegade Pantry

A check presentation on Monday included Cindy Uetz, a Board member of the Kern Partnership for Children and Families and the Chief Deputy Director for the Kern County Department of Human Services and Social Service Supervisor Jana Slagle. Representing BC, we had Nicky Damania, Danyel Ritter, Tom Gelder, and BCSGA President Samantha Pulido.

Umoja Orientation Prepares Students for a Successful Semester

Incoming Umoja Community African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence students engaged in activities designed to prepare them to make the most of their fall semester.  Umoja offered two orientations for students enrolled in the core courses of English 1a, Library 1, and Student Development 6. During the two days, students participated in team building activities, learned about how to apply for on-campus jobs, found out how to avoid academic probation, and learned about the ins and outs of financial aid.

Thanks go to Vikki Coffee, Dr. Michael McClenic, Angela Williams, respectively for presenting informative sessions. In addition, Umoja student leaders gave the new students tips for being successful at BC. Umoja Counselor Jonathan Ward talked with students about taking personal responsibility.  Umoja Coordinator Dr. Paula Parks led students in cultural activities that helped them learn more about the Umoja Community and about its educational philosophy.

For more information about the Umoja program, visit the Bakersfield College website and check them out on social media!

Early College Workshops Happening Now!

BC team with Justin Derrick at McFarland High School
Principal Justin Derrick with the BC Team

Our high school partners welcomed students back earlier this month and our Early College and Outreach teams were there to partner with them and help kick things off! This year, Early College has teamed up with Outreach to offer enrollment services to each of our 31 high school partners who offer dual enrollment courses on their campuses. Since the first day of school, the team has been busy going out to schools to assist students with applications and updates and to tell them more about the early college opportunities that they are embarking on. 

Thank you, Early College and Outreach teams for providing these services and this support to our young early college Renegades! 

Continuing to Level the Playing Field

The Rural Initiatives Early College team has also been active this past week assisting students with matriculation steps in order to enroll in their second course in their pathway. All incoming freshmen at Shafter High School will be taking a minimum of two college courses and over 50 students have taken advantage of the opportunity to join the General Education pathway to complete up to 38 college credits while in high school.

Thank you Rural Initiatives team for continuing to level the playing field for these underserved communities in Kern County, especially to the lead Counselor, Jesse Oropeza and lead Program Manager, Jaime Lopez.

Safety First

BC Sidewalks

With school starting next week, we ask that everyone on campus please make sure to pay attention to signage and follow the designated walking paths.  Please be aware of the temporary sidewalk closure on the east side of the Campus Center area and when in doubt, check out the current footpaths at A Better BC’s website under the Construction Maps link.

Campus Center Virtual Tour

We’ve been lucky to work with some great companies on the Measure J construction, and we’re just starting!  Ordiz-Melby Architects, Inc. created this great virtual tour where you can really feel what the campus atmosphere is going to be once the Campus Center is completed.  I loved unveiling it at this year’s Opening Day, and hope that others will share it as well!

Keeping it Local

Community Relations Manager Tamara Baker unveiled the newest Measure J project: the “Keeping It Local” video series.  These videos will highlight the work of local companies working on these construction projects. It’s important for Bakersfield College that we share these stories as these projects evolve.  BC is excited to collaborate with the local construction community as we all work together to build A Better BC! Thank you to Danny Ordiz and Jeannie Bertolaccini of Ordiz-Melby Architects, Inc. for participating in this video, and for all of your hard work! Also, thank you to videography student, Thanh from Jeff Hustons class for recording and editing the video.

Visiting the Getty

Raji Brar, Jean Fuller, Barbara Grimm, Lynette Zelezny, Sonya Christian
Raji Brar, Jean Fuller, Barbara Grimm, Lynette Zelezny, Sonya Christian

I visited the Getty Villa on the Malibu Coast with a group of friends, including Senator Jean Fuller to take in sculptures, art and other antiquities that are thousands of years old. We are fortunate to have such beautiful and magical places nearby.

Getty Villa
Getty Villa, photo from Wikipedia

The Getty Villa is an amazing place. In 1954, billionaire oil tycoon J. Paul Getty started building two museums at his property in the Pacific Palisades to share the beauty of ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities with the people of Southern California. The Getty Villa was inspired by the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, now known as Ercolano in Southern Italy, which was buried under the ashes of Mt. Vesuvius until its excavation in 1750. The Getty Villa opened in 1974, and Getty himself never got to visit the museum before he died in 1976.

Every year, Nicky Damania takes a group of BC students out to attend college night at the Getty, where they get to learn how ancient artifacts are restored by conservationists. I’m so grateful for the Getty foundation’s work of bringing the art of ancient cultures here from halfway across the world.

BC students at the Getty
BC students at the Getty

Emails Worth Sharing: From Mayor Goh

Mayor Goh is a cheerleader for BC students. She cares about our students and the positive impact they make on the community. Last weekend she shared with me:

This morning I attend the 6th annual CALIFORNIA KAREN YOUTH FORUM – celebrating the culture of the Karen people and commemorating the 69th Karen Martyrs Day that pays tribute to Karen fallen soldiers. Attached is a photo of Bakersfield College students Dah Dah Khu and Praise Oo . They were excited when I said I’d share their photo with you.

Mayor Karen Goh, August 2019
BC Students with mayor Karen Goh

Community Voices: Jack Hernandez

I enjoy seeing a glimpse of Jack Hernandez every time he has a Community Voices piece printed. You can read the digital version on Bakersfield.com.

Community Voices article by Jack Hernandez

Community Voices: Eileen Pierce

Eileen Pierce
Eileen Pierce

Speaking of Community Voices, it was great to see Eileen Pierce as well.

She wrote a piece on BC’s support services titled “BC academic support program promotes knowledge through interpersonal relationship building.”

Fun Photos: Dean Rodriguez Area Meeting

Dean Corny Rodriguez sent some fun photos from his area meeting.

Fun Photos: Dean Area Meetings

VP of Instruction, Billie Jo Rice, attend many Dean area meetings this week. Here are some of her fun photos.

Fun Photos: Making Wreaths

Program Managers, Kylie Swanson and Monika Scott took a small break from their focus on BC to create beautiful succulent wreaths at Flourishing Art this past week.

Monika Scott and Kylie Swanson hold wreaths
Monika and Kylie

Fun Photos: Happy Birthday Dylan

On Wednesday, the crew in A17 which makes up BC’s Marketing and Institutional Effectiveness offices celebrated Dylan Wang’s birthday with some delicious cake. 

Staff in A17 gather around for birthday cake

Renegades Continue to Lead the State in Football Attendance

 This fall we look forward to continuing the streak of leading the state in football home attendance. In 2018 we drew an average of 3,671 fans per game. The second place school, College of the Canyons drew an average of 2,671 fans per game. The complete list of total attendance and average attendance figures from the 2018 season can be viewed on the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) website.

Renegade Volleyball Set to Open the Season One Game at a Time 

Our back to back to back Western State Conference Champion volleyball team is set to begin another year dominating the court. Coach Ferreira, the 2018 California Community College Women’s Volleyball Coaches Association (CCCWVCA) Coach of the Year and 2018 Western State Conference (WSC) South Coach of the Year, and his team are looking for a fourth conference title in a row and also to make a run at the state title. Their season opener is on Saturday, August 31 when they host the  ‘Bakersfield Quad’ playing against Mt. SAC at 10am and Fullerton at 2pm in the Gil Bishop Sports Center. To read a preview of this years team visit GoGades.com

 Men’s Soccer

Men’s Soccer begins their fourth season as a program after rebooting the Men’s Soccer team here on campus four years ago, Coach Vayron Martinez is looking to build on the success’s of the past few years and go for the Western State Conference title this season. Come join them for their season opener against West Hills Lemoore on Tuesday, August 27th at 4pm on the BC Soccer Field. To read a preview of the team visit GoGades.com or click this link: http://gogades.com/sports/msoc/2019-20/releases/20190820mv54yl.

Mens Soccer Home Opener Graphic


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Remembering Those We Lost This Memorial Day

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, December 14, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Memorial Day started in 1868 as Decoration Day, a remembrance of those who died during the Civil War. Over the years, cities and states designated it as a legal holiday, and in 1971, Congress established Memorial Day as a national holiday to take place on the last Monday of May every year.

Every Memorial Day, a special ceremony is held at Arlington National Cemetery, where the President or Vice President lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Locally, Bakersfield’s oldest traditional Memorial Day celebration takes place at Union Cemetery, this year featuring speeches by Kevin McCarthy and local veteran Bill Glaspie, who fought the Nazis on the beaches of Normandy 75 years ago on D-Day. The Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary held their sixth-annual Thousand Flags event, and Tehachapi celebrated with a parade and ceremony through downtown. KERO provided a list of local Memorial Day events on their website.

Congressman Kevin McCarthy with Paul Beckworth and guests at the Union Cemetery on Memorial Day.

At BC, we are proud of our veteran students and have a particular duty to support them through their education. We’re reaffirming that commitment to our local veterans with the construction of the new Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center, the first Measure J project, slated for completion this fall.

Rendering of the soon to be finished Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center.

We remember the sacrifices made and lives lost defending the freedom and sovereignty of the United States. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten.

I’d like to share this quote from James A. Garfield at that first Memorial Day commemoration at Arlington National Cemetery in 1868.

“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and virtue.”

Emails Worth Sharing

I’d also like to share this email that our Director of Veterans Services Paul Beckworth sent on Monday.  Our duty to support veterans goes much deeper than academic support, as Paul’s words of encouragement for our veterans make clear.  Thank you for all that you do Paul, and thank you to those who have served our country.

“Hello Region V Veteran Services colleagues,


Today, May 27, 2019, is Memorial Day.


The vast majority celebrate it as the unofficial start of summer.  Many Americans honor the day and the dead, in a variety of heartfelt ways.  However, there is a much smaller group whose acknowledgement of the day goes deeper than most.  It is personal, it is emotional, and it is visceral. While today we remember the fallen, we must keep in the mind the ones who were left behind; their families and fellow warriors.  There are people I know who wish to be left alone today and others who do not want to left alone for fear of what their emotions might lead them to. Sometimes, people remember with laughter and tears, while others do so with the bottle and with tears.  


For those who lost comrades, or family or best friends, please do not go to those dark places inside you.  If you do go there do not stay there. We need you, here, with us. We know the 22 a day suicide rate among veterans.  It is terrible. Do not be a part of the 22. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Depression is serious. It is a weight the likes of which cannot be described, only experienced.  If your arm is hurt, you go the doctor. If your head/heart hurts, go to a doctor. There is no shame in it. It is often said that the soldier is not the only one who goes to war.  The family does, too, in its’ own way.


Those of you who work closely with veterans may not have lost a loved one, but assisting veterans for years can take a toll, especially for counselors and advisors.  Who counsels the counselors? Seriously. There are several of you who have worked with veterans for many years now. Make sure to take care of yourselves. Go to veteran-specific conferences, sit in the hotel lobbies and have venting sessions with your colleagues from across the state.  Let iron sharpen iron. Get help just like we tells our veterans to do. I am pretty sure most of you have walked a veteran to your on-campus mental health professional at least once. If you need to take a walk to one yourself, please take it. We need you, here. Your military-affiliated students need you, here.  


While today can be very emotional, one of the best ways we can honor the fallen is to take care of our minds, bodies, and spirits.  In this way we can continue the work ahead of us, making them proud.”

Paul Beckworth, May 27, 2019 Memorial Day

BC Friends in Sacramento

Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE)  hosted its 2019 Latina Action Day in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 22. Our own Nicole Parra facilitated a panel discussion, and I was thrilled to see BC students impromptu participation.  Evelyn Torres, a Studio Arts, Graphic Design & Communications major volunteered to be the voice of millennials on the panel.  

Nicole Parra and panelists at the 25th Annual Latina Action Day.

The panel on California’s Present and Future Workforce examined the challenges and opportunities the state is facing as we look to filling workforce needs.  The conversation regarding career education included an informative discussion of the value of apprenticeship programs, and the role community colleges in meeting workforce needs. Evelyn shared a student perspective on the importance of providing opportunities for all students, including those who need short term training leading to employment.

Evelyn Torres alongside panelists discussing education and workforce needs.

Thank you Norma Rojas Mora for your work in Sacramento.

Rural Initiatives Classified and Support Staff Appreciation Celebration

Last week, the Rural Initiatives classified and support staff were recognized by the management team in a surprise celebration of Classified Appreciation week. This celebration brought together members of the RI team that serve a region that extends from Arvin to Delano. I’m grateful for the focused dedication and passion for serving our rural students. Thank you Rural Initiatives Classified and Support Staff for everything you do for our Bakersfield College Rural Renegades. Also thanks to our RI Management team, especially Jaime Lopez for coordinating such a special celebration.

Rural Initiatives Classified and Support Staff at the celebration
Carolina Madrigal and Rural Initiatives Classified and Support Staff at the celebration.
Public Safety Officers Matthew Rodriguez and Linda Morgan
Kim Collins, Academic Liaison (left) and Monica Huyck, Tutoring Services Team Leader
Group photo of the Rural Initiatives Classified and Support Staff
North Kern Adult Education team (From left to right) Jaime Lopez, Jesus Jimenez, Kim Collins, and Thalia Solorio
Manuel Muralles and Carolina Madrigal

Administrative Council Retreat: Day 1

This last Thursday we had the first day of our annual summer retreat with our college-wide administrative council. BC Food Services provided a fantastic breakfast spread and a delicious salad bar later in the day for the lunch. I opened the session with an overview of our college strategic plan and highlighting the fact that we now have 37,000 students! Our administrative council fanned out across campus in teams as they completed in a scavenger hunt.

Attendees preparing for Day 1 of the Administrative Council Retreat.

Members of our college Program Review Committee briefed the council on best practices for conducting their program reviews for this coming year and Manny Mourtzanos provided a training on aligning work plans to direct us as embark on a new year. It was a great retreat and great work that we will regroup on to finish up on a second day in early June.  

Attendees preparing for Day 1 of the Administrative Council Retreat.
Attendees preparing for Day 1 of the Administrative Council Retreat.

Umoja’s End of the Year Celebration

This week, Umoja held its end of the year celebration to acknowledge its graduates and mentors. Students joined together to celebrate their academic success and celebrate their mentors who dedicated time and energy to support their scholarly journey at BC. Thank you to Dr. Paula Parks for sending over these photos, and for your dedication to our students.  If you’d like to learn more about Umoja, make sure to check out their website!

BC Umoja students and graduates
Austyn William, graduate and Umoja’s first SI leader
Graduate Jade Slack with Dr. Parks, Mr. Ward, and Mr. Rosas, Umoja’s first counselor.
Graduate Kim Evans with Dr. Park and Jonathan Ward.
TiYante Patterson, who is transferring to Morgan State in the fall.
Emcee Korrie Edwards, who is also the outgoing Umoja Club president.
Dr. Park and Mr. Ward preparing a ritual for the Umoja community.
Some of the 2018-2019 graduates with Joe Coughlin, who acknowledged the graduates with Coconut Joe’s gift card and cash. Thanks for your continued support, Joe!
Some of the Umoja students who graduated from BC. The tee-shirts show that as they become BC alum, they are always part of Umoja.