Tag Archives: Abel Guzman

Remembering Those We Lost This Memorial Day

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, August 10, 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.
Some of the awesome, dedicated Umoja mentors
The audience sang the Black National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing”

Conexiones Rurales Dreamers Conference

The Conexiones Rurales Dreamers Conference on Friday, May 17th at the Delano Campus allowed our Rural Renegades to learn about several topics including programs and services offered by our college and other local institutions. This opportunity was funded by the Catalyst grant received by Bakersfield College. Thank you to our Conexiones Estudiantiles/LUPE student organization, their advisors and the Rural Initiatives team, especially Jesus Oropeza, Jessica Garcia, and Jaime Lopez for bringing these fantastic opportunities to our rural communities.

Conexiones Estudiantiles LUPE student panel sharing their stories with Conexiones Rurales students.
Rural Initiatives Executive Director Abel Guzman speaking to students.
From left, Octavio Barajas, Marivel Servin, Manuel Rosas
Conexiones Estudiantiles LUPE students and their advisors.
Conexiones Rurales and Conexiones Estudiantiles students with BC Faculty and Staff

BC Cheerleaders at the New Kids On the Block Remix Tape Concert

Wow!  Does BC know how to pump up the crowd, or what?!  Also, what an amazing throwback to have the New Kids On the Block perform here in Bakersfield!  They definitely have “the right stuff.”

The Bakersfield College Cheerleaders on stage with New Kids on the Block!

I want to thank Cheer Coach Heather Foss for making possible this phenomenal experience for our students. It’s hard to describe the energy of the packed Rabobank and and the pride I felt in seeing our students on stage.

Thank you Manny de Los Santos for capturing this video. You are the very best!!!!!!

Cooking a Healthy Meal with Chef Alex Gomez

This week our Executive office team demonstrated their culinary skills at our Wellness & Professional Development Session:  Cooking a Healthy Meal with Chef Alex Gomez.  The team learned cooking and cutting techniques, and were given recipes to prepare — then eat! We enjoyed Cauliflower Tacos, Cilantro Rice, and Grilled Zucchini.

The Exec team preparing delicious and healthy meals.
Sharon Bush, President Christian, Billie Jo Rice and Mike Giacomini
Chef Alex Gomez and Jennifer Serratt
Sharon Bush, President Christian, Billie Jo Rice diligently following the recipe.
Sonya Christian, Billie Jo Rice and Mike Giacomini preparing their healthy dishes.

The Executive Office has a standing Wellness Initiative that began a couple years ago, as well as a new Training/Professional Development Initiative that began last year. Chris Glaser and Tarina Perry worked with Chef Alex for help in meeting goals for both initiatives and did he ever deliver! The training was clear and engaging, the menu healthy, and the food delicious. We worked in teams to prepare the meal, and then enjoyed our meal together as we discussed our takeaways from the day.  Thank you to Chef Alex and Chef Suzanne Tangeman for working with our team on this, and thank you to Chris and Tarina for organizing the activities!

Chefs Suzanne Tangeman and Alex Gomez
With Billie Jo Rice and Liz Rozell
Chef Gomez teaching Liz and me secrets of the trade.
Chef Suzanne Tangeman, Chef Alex Gomez, Billie Jo Rice & Christian Flores-Castaneda

Progress on Memorial Stadium

The renovation of the Memorial Stadium track and football field is moving along nicely. The work will be completed in time for this fall’s football season. We are all excited to see the finished product! Also, thank you to Brandon Urry for capturing these photos.

Drone footage of Memorial Stadium construction
Drone footage of Memorial Stadium construction
Drone footage of Memorial Stadium construction
Drone footage of Memorial Stadium construction

Photos that make me happy

Monika Scott and Nicky Damania at Aladdin

Family weekend at Lake Arrowhead

Memorial Day weekend with family at a cabin in Lake Arrowhead.

Lake Arrowhead, May 26, 2019
President Christian and her dog Neo


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Welcome Week Fall 2018

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, August 25, 2018….
the day a great American Hero, John McCain, passed away.

Here is one of the many McCain character moments that I love.

Senator John McCain, an American Hero!

Now to get back to Bakersfield College…. woke up to BC featured in The Bakersfield Californian and the Bakersfield Life magazine.

For starters Erin Auerbach‘s piece was published in the Bakersfield Life Magazine.

Erin Auerbach Bakersfield Life August 25 2018 cropped

Renegade Athlete Cameron Robeson

August 25 2018 Bakersfield Life Football

Great piece on the Homeless Shelter

Bakersfield Life Homeless Shelter

 

Welcome Week Fall 2018

Enrollments are up for the fifth year in a row! BC’s current FTES has increased by 3.8%!  The campus has been hustling and bustling, which is a nice change from the quiet that typically falls over the campus during the summer. Welcome to Fall 2018 – it’s a great day to be a Renegade!

The Office of Student Life and the Outreach & School Relations Department had welcome tents around Panorama campus for staff and faculty Renegades to greet arriving students and be available to help them with campus information and student planners. The tables were at the Administration Building, Red and White Way near the Huddle, and at the Roundabout in P3, the solar parking lot. Student Life also had golf carts roaming the campus offering rides and guidance to students as they walked around campus.

Kristina Whitmore from the Student Success and Equity Office was also driving a cart. They are calling it the “GUBER” ride.  I think this meant a Golf Cart UBER – but who knows?!

Fun Photos - Guber Ride

Kristina Whitmore drives students in a BC cart on Opening Day

Multiple activities were hosted around campus to ensure that students had something to do between classes. Faculty and staff were out and about and the campus was bustling with activities. It was great to see Dean Billie Jo Rice having her morning coffee and sharing about BC’s ISER with Ginger Leblanc out in front of the Grace Van Dyke Bird Library.  Just love this photos….great smiles…and so relaxed.  We are BC!

Fun Photos - Billie Jo Rice talking about the ISER

Billie Jo Rice talking about the ISER.

Office of Student Life and the Outreach and School Relations department hosted a table near the Administration Building where they were able to help students, answer questions, and talk about BC. The people in the Office of Student Life and your Bakersfield College Student Government Association (BCSGA) understand how overwhelming that first day of the semester can be.

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Public Safety had officers conducting high visibility patrols in the parking lots. They, too, assisted students with questions regarding parking permits and where their classes were located on campus. We set up a right-turn-only traffic direction when leaving by the main driveway to assist students and staff to exit the campus easily onto Haley Street. This right-turn-only exit has helped in reducing congestion there.

The Welcome Center was an incredible hub of energy serving students with all sorts of questions and concerns throughout the first week. The camera was flashing non-stop as the Welcome Center crew prepared student ID’s for all our new Renegades. The amazing Steve Watkin, Director of Outreach and Dual Enrollment was also spending time at the front counter to assist students one-on-one.

First Day of School - Savannah and Ashlea Ward in Welcome Center

Savannah Andrews and Ashlea Ward in the Welcome Center

First Day of School - Steve Watkin in the WElcome Center

Steve Watkin assisting students at the Welcome Center

I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever because of the way that BC truly supports our students. On Opening Day, it was incredible to see the helping hands of management, faculty, and staff everywhere! Like Corny Rodriguez, Manny Mourtzanos, Michele Bresso, Bill Moseley and others who I spotted in BC Food Services taking ticket orders or crafting sandwiches.

First Day of School - Corny Rodriguez

Corny Rodriguez in Food Service

First Day of School - Management helping in Food Services

Management Team including Manny Mourtzanos, Michele Bresso, Khushnur Dadabhoy, and Lisa Kent in Food Services

The Bakersfield Californian highlighted the smooth opening week due to the hard work of our Measure J construction planning team. In the article, “BC delays parking lot work to September, college opens smoothly” Steven Mayer said, “The college’s efforts to convince students, staff and faculty to ride the bus, carpool, ride a bike, or be dropped off may have helped ease the pressure. And administrators postponed plans to close a parking lot for improvements, a decision that likely was met with a sigh of relief from some students.”  Students who are mentioned in the article took various modes of transportation to class and that’s wonderful to hear since our team has created partnerships and programs to help ease the commuter transportation burden.

Partnership with Kern Transit

Check out Tamara Baker’s post on Facebook with Tabatha Mills of KGET who helped share the news about this incredible partnership. You can view the story HERE!

BC, KGET and Kern Transit promoting the new partnership offering free rides to BC students.Bakersfield College students can ride Kern Transit for FREE as long as they present a valid student ID. Free rides begin in the Fall 2018 semester and will continue through the Spring 2019 semester. Students may ride free on all 100-numbered routes, not just on routes to and from the school, so they can save money commuting all around Kern County! For more information about routes and schedules, visit the Kern Transit website.

Rise and Shine Renegades

Dr. Nicky Damania was out early Tuesday morning sharing valuable information with Claudette Stefanian and the Eyewitness News team to get our Renegades off to a good start!  During the four live broadcasts, Dr. Nicky Damania highlighted the Renegade Shuttle Express and the expansion of the service to help students access all our campuses and provided tips for student success as well as sharing the many ways students can get involved.

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Bakersfield College’s SGA’s Student Activities Manager, Beth Hilne shared information regarding the 2018-2019 activities planned for students and the community and provided a warm Renegade welcome.  The team was out early and clearly committed to sharing information that will set our students up for success! And what a beautiful sunrise over Bakersfield College!!

Two additional bus services provided to students and employees

This year we decided to offer two additional bus services to our students and employees.

#1. A FREE parking shuttle service to bring students into the core of the campus from the parking lots on the south side of the campus.   This service will be provided during the crucial first four weeks of the term will help new students navigate the Panorama campus and get to class on time.  Thank you to Joseph Luiz of the Bakersfield Californian for helping share the news. You can read his story HERE!

#2. An express bus service between  our two campuses — one in the Southwest (Buena Vista and Stockdale) and the main campus on Panorama.  The Express runs from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday.  

This week, I’ve been enjoying my rides to campus using the Express Bus service. Here I am leaving my home walking to Bakersfield College Southwest campus to catch the express bus. When I forwarded the photo to Monika so could upload it for me, she smiled and said, “Did you really walk from home?!”

IMG_1994

On my way to catch the shuttle at BC SouthWest.

If you look closely, I’ve still got my comfy walking moccasins on in the photo. The answer is yes! Although, I did change into my more formal shoes as soon as I boarded the shuttle. This week, I’ve enjoyed my morning walks to BC Southwest and I’ve enjoyed riding the Express bus too. It’s wonderful to have a little bit of extra time to brainstorm my day while on the way to BC Panorama while saving parking spots on the main campus for our students.  Students come first!  #WeAreBC

shuttle-map-new

Renegade Express Shuttle Routes on Panorama Campus

Norma Rojas Mora on Telemundo — Todos Somos BC

Norma Rojas Mora Jose and Norma Gaspar August 24 2018.png

Telemundo hosts Norma Gaspar and Jose Gaspar spoke with Norma Rojas-Mora who shared information regarding the new shuttle services available to Bakersfield College students as well as the partnership with Kern Transit to provide free transportation to those students with a valid Bakersfield College I.D.  The availability of the shuttles for students who may have obstacles getting to school and Bakersfield College’s efforts to set up students for success through these services were highlighted.  The hosts recognized Bakersfield College’s efforts to help alleviate parking concerns for students and the surrounding community.   Closing out the segment with our traditional call of “Todos Somos, Bakersfield College.

BC Southwest Tutoring Team

The BC Southwest Tutoring Center Team was also all hands on deck this week. Maria Wright visited them Wednesday morning and  found they had a group of students already identified as “regulars.”

BC Southwest Tutoring Team

BC Southwest Tutoring Team during Welcome Week.

The enthusiasm of this team is incredible! The Center opened on Monday of this week and they have already done classroom presentations and have students coming in regularly to receive tutoring support in various subjects. #WeareBC and we support our students.

CCCO IEPI Summer Budget Workshop

The Institutional Effectiveness  Partnership Initiative (IEPI) Summer Budget Workshop presented by the College Finance & Facilities Division of the Chancellor’s Office was on Wednesday, August 15, 2018 in Newport Beach. Zach Quiroz, Budget Analyst, and Somaly Boles, Manager of Financial Information, joined other community college financial leaders across the state to learn of the new educational and fiscal policies California is using to shape the future of California institutions of higher learning.  Here is a selfie they snapped with Chancellor Burke.

CCCCO IEPI Summer Budget Workshop

KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke with Somaly Boles and Zach Quiroz of BC

Clayton & Libby Rippey

Jerry Ludeke and the BC Archives team does an incredible job of keeping up to date with the most recent news of alumni, former employees and former faculty. It was shared this week that Clayton Rippey’s wife, Libby Hedden, has passed away. Clayton retired in 1980 with 31 years of service within the Kern Community College District. More recently, Clayton and Libby had been living (and both of them painting) in Las Vegas. The Bakersfield Californian spotlighted Clayton and his love of art in a 2016 article titled “Rippeys for sale: Art lovers get rare crack at trove of paintings.

While Clayton is a nationally recognized artist, we remember him on the BC faculty for 31 years teaching art and both designing and building the iconic Renegade knight mosaic that stands at the Haley-Panorama corner of campus. But, did you know he also created the color Porterville Pirate mosaic in 1960 in a nautical compass and pirate theme? Our well-loved and cherished Renegade mosaic is one of the most well known and iconic parts of Bakersfield.

Have I told you recently that I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever? It’s because each and every member of the BC community leaves a significant impression and a positive legacy on our campus, just like Clayton Rippey.

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Renegade Report

The Renegade Report is an online program from BC Athletics hosted by Ken Calvin, a former BC student athlete and football coach.  Check out the great segments below, and follow them on YouTube!

Don Kessler, BC supporter and current Centennial HS trainer and equipment manager and father of NFL QB Cody Kessler

Vayron Martinez, BC Head Men’s Soccer Coach

Jose Lara, Tyler Mendez – BC Men’s Soccer player

Scott Dameron, BC Head Women’s Soccer Coach

Delaney Boyer, Drew Hallum, Brooke McDonald – BC Women’s Soccer Player

Thank you to Athletics Manager of Communications and Community Relations Brandon Urry for keeping the YouTube channel updated!

Football Season Has Begun!

The football team started their season out with a scrimmage this last Wednesday against Antelope Valley College. Our Renegades are ready to start the season and get going on their season started strong. Be sure to keep up with our athletics teams on social media and http://www.gogades.com The first home game is on September 8th at 6:00pm in Memorial Stadium against the El Camino College Warriors.

Bakersfield College vs Antelope Valley Scrimmage

BC vs AV FB Scrimmage10

Bakersfield College vs Antelope Valley Scrimmage

Football Tailgating Themes Announced

If you love to tailgate, please come out and join us for our home football tailgating contests. Each week has a theme and contestants are judged for the chance to win a $500 cash prize! This year’s tailgating themes are:

  • September 8th – “BC School Pride”
  • September 15th – “Favorite Football Team”
  • September 29th – “Americana”
  • October 27th – *Homecoming* “Old School BC” – Honoring 30th Anniversary of 1988 BC JC National Championship Team with post-game fireworks
  • November 3rd – “Salute to Veterans”

BC Football Tailgating

Judging for each day will begin at 4:30pm and end by 5:30pm, and each winner will be required to complete necessary paperwork in order to claim their prize.

In order to make sure that we have a fun and safe tailgating experience, please see the following BC Football rules and regulations:

  1. Tailgating area is closed at 11:00pm
  2. Do not block red curb with vehicles or move any barricades
  3. Please throw away trash in bins provided in the tailgating area
  4. Do not throw hot coals onto the parking lot (please deposit into the new hot coal containers)
  5. Follow Public Safety Officer’s directions as to how to park in the tailgating area
  6. Tailgating is allowed in the tailgating area only
  7. Guests who do not follow the tailgating rules and regulations are subject to being banned from the tailgating area for the remainder of the football season

Swim Team Announces 4th Annual Free Community Swim Lessons

The Bakersfield College Men’s and Women’s swim team will be hosting the 4th Annual Free Community Swim Lesson and Six-Hour Relay on Saturday, September 15th, 2018 at the BC Pool.  The event will last from 8:00am-2:00pm and will feature a free 30-minute swim lesson for each child. Parents will also receive water safety tips! Attendees are encouraged to attend whenever they are able to throughout the day. The event is free and open to anyone who would like to participate.

4th Annual Community Swim Lessons September 14 at BC Pool

Math Hub is Open

I was delighted this week to read an email that the Math Hub is open for the fall semester! You may not know this but the Math Hub is run on a drop in basis for all students! This means no appointments are necessary. The environment is conducive for independent studying and students are more than welcome to use the space to work on homework and ask questions. The Math Hub is located in MS 113 (next door to the Planetarium) and is a space where students can come and receive help in any BC math course, Pre-Algebra through Calculus, Statistics/Probability, and Psych B5. Every day the space is staffed with a professional math tutor and peer tutors.

Emails Worth Sharing

Carla Gard and I both received an email worth sharing this week from Abel Guzman who shared an experience that took place at the BC Delano campus. He said:

“Yesterday morning we had a student on the Delano Campus who had a seizure in class. As I came into the class, the student was laying on his side with another student on her knees by his side. As we waited for paramedics to arrive the student helping kept checking on the other student. Once paramedics arrived, the helpful student took a sigh of relief and told me ‘Thank God for the BC CNA class that taught me how to handle this situation.’”

Kren Campbell, Bakersfield College’s CNA Director and Instructor, and her Clinical Teaching Assistants, Robert Vann, and Ashlyne Amanonce, are exemplary educators that collaborate efficiently to build incoming students into outstanding Nurse Assistants at the BC Main Campus and McFarland site. The instructors teach students a foundation that builds them into critical-thinking and caring CNAs. Upon completion of the course, and receiving their CNA certificate, most students are instilled with a desire for knowledge that they satiate by working towards and enrolling in the Vocational Nursing and Registered Nursing Programs at Bakersfield College. The community benefits from an increase in licensed healthcare workers, and this student’s action proves that further expanding the CNA Program in rural settings has a positive and amazing impact!

Delano Chamber of Commerce

The Delano Chamber of Commerce recognized BC’s commitment to post secondary education alongside Assembly Member Rudy Salas on Thursday evening at the “Taste of Delano” Awards, Installation, and Membership Appreciation Mixer.  I will cover this event next week when the photos come in.

BC was in full force at the event, including Rich McCrow, Norma Rojas-Mora, Abel Guzman, Michele Bresso, Jaime Lopez, Rachel Lopez, and Juan Torres.

BC Team with JAnet Rabanol August 23 2018

It’s a great time to be at BC!

Lisa Robles

Drop Zone Lisa KentLisa Robles on BC’s Success and Equity team sent an email Friday morning sharing that she’d recently listed to a podcast featuring the California Community Colleges Chancellor, Eloy Oakley and Executive Director of California Completes, Lande Ajose. Lisa’s email says:

“I was listening to this Podcast last night by Eloy Ortiz-Oakley, Chancellor of the California Community Colleges and Lande Ajose, Executive Director of California Competes http://californiacompetes.org/ and I was struck at how much of this work BC is already doing. http://californiacommunitycolleges.cccco.edu/Portals/0/AudioGallery/ccc18115.mp3

Dr. Ajose spoke about three areas of focus:

1)     Coordinating policy to ensure seamless transfer to 4-year schools

2)     Expanding our college entry points for returning students who got off path

3)     Comprehensive data system so we know how students are performing and identify gaps so we can get the students to completion

Julian West, Lisa Kent, Steven Watkin Feb 2018In listening to these points, I felt proud of the work we all do for our students.  Some examples that jumped were BC’s Finish in 4 project with CSUB to support transfer, our massive expansion of the rural initiatives work, inmate education, and online education to open access points to campus, and how we’ve established the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and trained dozens of data coaches so we’re all better equipped to access and use data.

Although we are making progress, there is still work to do to advance equity:

The Office of Student Success & Equity is wholly focused on reducing inequities and supporting the Chancellor’s Vision for Success through our focus on the momentum points, the oversight of our affinity group Completion Coaching Communities, and by supporting the amazing work of the talented faculty and staff we have right here at BC.

Before I sign off, I want to say that BC is so fortunate to have folks like Abel Guzman and his team in Rural Initiatives reaching students who may never have made it to BC. And Dr. Parks, Julian West, and their team working towards the success of our African American students. Pedro Ramirez and Manuel Rosas working diligently with our undocumented Latino students. And so, so many more.

Though the work in front of us is daunting, I feel more confident than ever that BC is not only up for the challenge, but that we are the best community college in the state with the best, most committed faculty and staff.

Happy 2018-19 to all.  I am looking forward to partnering with you to improve student completion and to build a more educated and sustainable community.

We Are BC!

Lisa

It’s Liz Rozell’s Birthday!

Our Vice President of Instruction, Liz Rozell, celebrated her birthday a little early today with the President’s Office!  Take a look at the festivities!

BC SouthWest Buzzing!

After years of service with Bakersfield College, most recently at the SW location, Officer Carlos Rios is moving on to another school district. Fernando Lara, BC’s administrator in charge of our Southwest Campus, describes Officer Rios as a dedicated, insightful, and intelligent officer. His presence will be missed at the SW location. Wish you the best, Officer Rios!

officer rios

Goodbye Officer Rios!

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Parking Smart

The Testing and Placement Center accepted my challenge to Park Smart during the beginning of the semester!  Thank you!

Sonya Christian Delano Chamber

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Student Success is Wonderful News!

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

Calla Lily June 9 2018

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

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

Wonderful Graduates

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

Orange County Event Photography

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

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

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Trustee Agbalog addressing the graduates

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

Tom Burke at Delano Pre commencement Celebration May 11 2018

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

Orange County Event Photography

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

Orange County Event Photography

Dual Enrollment at BC

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

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

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

Student Success Stories

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

Hi Sonya,

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

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

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

XochitlMorales

Xochitl Morales (center) with her parents

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Strong Workforce Stars

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

Radiologic Technology Class of 2018

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

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

Nancy Perkins

Nancy Perkins

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

EOP&S Region V Professional Development Conference

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

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Imelda Simos-Valdez

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

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

Dr. Zav Dadabhoy

Dr. Zav Dadabhoy

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

Beautiful Bakersfield Awards

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

MESA Presentation

Connie Gonzalez and Jonathan Kim

Connie Gonzalez and Jonathan Kim

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

Shout out to Hodels

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Photo from hodels.com

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

Sonya Christian and Bob Hodel Fall 2015

Sonya Christian, Bob Hodel

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

Hodels staff at BC

Hodels staff at BC

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Delicious Food from Hodels

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

Abel Guzman

Abel Guzman

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

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

Spotlight on Student Employment and Internships

National Student Employee Appreciation week 2018

National Student Employee Appreciation week 2018

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

Remembering Renegades

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

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

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

President’s Cabinet Retreat

President's Cabinet

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

President's Cabinet Summer Retreat June 3 2018

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

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Abel Guzman speaking at Cabinet June 4 2018

Todd Coston speaking Cabinet Retreat June 4 2018

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Manny Mourtzanos speaking at Cabinet.jpg

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

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Accreditation Commission Meeting:

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

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Ian Walton toasting Richard Mahon June 6 2018

Fun Photos

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

Paul Beckworth, Angelica Perez, and Armando Trujillo

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

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

 

 

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

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

It is a great time to be at BC!

Sonya Christian heading to commission meeting June 6 2018

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

 

A Beautiful Rainy Week at BC

Good morning Bakersfield…It is Saturday, March 24th and a great day to be a Renegade.

This past week Bakersfield was rejoicing in the rain that kept visiting us and revisiting almost every day of the week.  What a blessing!

So many highlights from this week…the brightest of them all was the recognition of Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg.

The “Nan” Touch

Nan Gomez-HeitzebergMany know the incredible value that Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Executive Vice President of Instruction Emeritus, has brought over the last 35 years to Bakersfield College and across the Kern Community College District. Yet her impact has been felt beyond our campus, so much that one of our partners, FIELD (Farmworker Institute for Education and Leadership Development), honored her Friday with its Cesar Chavez Legacy Award. (Check out the video for more.)

BC supporting Nan Gomez Heitzeberg as the receipient of the Cesar Chavez Legacy Award

Horace Mitchel and Nan Gomez-HeitzebergThe Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast is one place where community champions, who quietly work behind the scenes, are illuminated for their phenomenal dedication. Our own Nan is a part of this special group.

This years other honorees included Dr. Horace Mitchell, California State University Bakersfield President, who was recognized with the Cesar E. Chavez Lifetime Achievement Award, and Esther Tarango Uranday whose key role in the United Farm Workers earned her the Cesar E. Chavez Si Se Puede Award (posthumously). The Kern Service and Conservation Corps (KSACC) and a group of EPIC High School students and ESL students were also highlighted with Si Se Puede Awards.

It was wonderful to see many community leaders there supporting the event, such as Assemblyman Rudy Salas, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Jay Tamsi, and the office of Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez. There was also a table full of BC leadership.

Sonya Christian and Rudy Salas March 23 2018

Rudy Salas and Sonya Christian

BC table at Cesar Chavez Breakfast

BC table at Cesar Chavez Breakfast

Cindy Collier, Danielle Hillard, Khushnur Dadabhoy, Isebelle Cataneda

Many walked away with a sense of empowerment and renewed vision for their own causes after hearing from keynote speaker Paul F. Chavez, the son of the late UFW labor leader Cesar Chavez.

Paul Chavez

Paul Chavez

Paul Chavez shared personal father-son stories that tugged at the hearts of many in attendance. At one point, Paul reflected on advice his father shared with him, especially in moments of despair and struggle – in particular two that stay close to Paul’s heart: have faith in people; and persevere.

His father always saw what others could become; he saw potential, and his vision helped others find their own path of success.

I connected with Paul’s story. It made me think about the wonderful work we do at Bakersfield College; our goal is also to show hope and success to our students. We want them to see their potential, and we encourage them to never give up. In the words of Cesar Chavez, “Si se puede.”

I was moved to hear the story that Jose Gaspar (who was emceeing the event with Norma Gaspar) told about the passing of Cesar Chavez and how Corny Rodriguez addressed the KC Board of Supervisors to recognize the passing of a great leader.

Corny Rodriguez, Sonya Christian March 23 2018

Sonya Christian, Corny Rodriguez

 

 

 

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We are BC

Last year was the inaugural year for this event and the first recipient of the Cesar Chavez Legacy Award was Sandra Serrano.  Check out my blog from one year ago: https://sonyachristianblog.com/2017/04/01/an-absolutely-uplifting-week-at-bc/

Thank you David Villarino!

Lydia Otero at BC

Tina Mendoza

Tina Mendoza welcomes Dr. Otero

For Women’s History Month and in light of BC’s efforts to preserve and share our local history, Dr. Lydia Otero from the Mexican-American Studies program at the University of Arizona came to the Fireside Room on Thursday to share about the historical preservation projects she’s spearheaded in downtown Tuscon.

BC’s Office of Student Life and the Women’s History and More committee invited Otero as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. Otero, who grew up in downtown Tuscon, was inspired to capture the history of the Mexican-American communities in her hometown that were displaced by urban renewal projects. To Otero’s surprise, her 2010 book “La Calle: Spatial Conflicts and Urban Renewal in a Southwest City” sold out in the Tuscon area within five hours of the first book signing, Otero said.  “Even I didn’t appreciate the desire for local audiences to read about local history, you want to read about yourself.”

Dr. Lydia Otero

Dr. Lydia Otero

While local or regional history can often be seen as less important than larger-scale historical analysis, it’s important to fill in the smaller details about an area in order to understand the larger picture. “What do we know about world history if we haven’t studied local history?” Otero asked. “It’s a history of silences.”

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After the success of “La Calle”, Otero partnered with the Borderlands Theater Company on an ambitious project called “Barrio Stories”. A camera crew recorded oral histories from Mexican-Americans in Tuscon talking about their personal lives, then those stories were re-interpreted as theatrical plays. The Borderlands Theater performed those plays during a four-day festival that utilized promenade-style staging, meaning that audiences could walk around the old town plaza and experience these stories happening at different stages in real time. You’re able to see all of the oral histories and performances on the Barrio Stories Project website, and a documentary about the project is currently in the works.

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Olivia Garcia, Dr. Lydia Otero, Tina Mendoza

Olivia Garcia, Dr. Lydia Otero, Tina Mendoza

Otero is currently working on a book tentatively titled “Quien lo Dice?” about Maria Cordova, a Tuscon woman whose house was seized by eminent domain and all evidence that she had ever lived there was taken out in a failed attempt to make the property a tourist attraction. Throughout her presentation, Otero emphasized the importance of valuing local history and bringing research out of the classroom and into the community.
“Don’t forget the power of memory,” Otero said.

I’d like to thank Tina Mendoza, who worked with Dr. Otero, for her introduction, and I’d like to thank the Office of Student life and WHAM for putting the event together. It gave an interesting perspective on local historical preservation, which we’re working on at BC with the Digital Delano project spearheaded by our Energizing Humanities group. #WeAreBC

Ribbon Cutting in Wasco

Wasco

This week, Juan Torres, Abel Guzman, Gustavo Enriquez and principal of Wasco Union High School, Kevin Tallon celebrated the Ribbon Cutting and Inaugaration of their beautiful brand new student services building. Inside, the building it’s filled with beautiful pieces of art that celebrate the rich history of Wasco High School.

Kern Disability Collaborative

As your community college, BC is always seeking opportunities to improve communication and collaboration with our community partners. To this end, the Director of our Disabled Students Programs & Services (DSPS), Dr. Terri Goldstein, initiated the first meeting of what she is calling the “Kern Disability Collaborative.”  The purpose of the meeting was to pull together those who work with people with disabilities in our community to learn who we are and what we each do.  “Only good things can happen if we have a better understanding of all the resources available, as well as the unmet needs in our community,” said Dr. Goldstein. What started out with 20 invitations bloomed into approximately 50 attendees representing K-12 schools, higher education, non-profit organizations, and State agencies.  “As the meeting date drew closer, individuals were calling and asking to participate in the meeting,” Dr. Goldstein said. The response just shows the need for this kind of group in Kern County.

Kern Disability Collab

Terri Goldstein

Terri Goldstein

The idea for the Collaborative is modeled after the very successful “Kern Veterans Collaborative” which meets monthly at the National Guard Armory.  After voting, the attendees decided that the Kern Disability Collaborative will continue to meet on a bi-monthly basis at Bakersfield College.  The next meeting will be in May 2018, after college graduation, then the meetings will go dark for the summer, reconvene in August prior to the start of the fall 2018 semester, and meet every other month thereafter.

In addition to discussing future meetings, establishing a listserv and web presence, everyone presented their organizational affiliation, populations served, and services provided. BC faculty member, Jaclyn Krause, announced establishing our Interpreter Training Program; which made everyone happy since there are never enough sign language interpreters to go around.  Jimmie Soto, Executive Director of the Independent Living Center of Kern County, spoke about the need to support each other in our quests for additional funding— including partnerships, and letters of support. BC was well represented with DSPS, EOPS, Office of Student Life, Wellness Center, and Veterans Services. There were also representatives from Bakersfield City School District, Kern High School District, Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Taft College, Valley Achievement Center, Bakersfield GLAD office on Deafness, New Advances for People with Disabilities, Path Point, CA Department of Rehabilitation, Kern Vet Center, Kern Regional Center, and Autism Society Inc.

Kern Disability Collaboration

For more information about the Kern Disability Collaborative, please contact Dr. Terri Goldstein at terri.goldstein@bakersfieldcollege.edu, or call 661-395-4590. Everyone is welcome at these meetings!

Bidders Open House hosted at BC

On Thursday morning, BC hosted the local Bidders Open House to educate local contractors about the logistics of bidding on public construction projects. Harold Pierce wrote a great article explaining the event and its purpose in, “As more than $1 billion in school construction projects begin, districts attempt to lure local contractors to work.

Bidders Fair

Bakersfield College is so enthusiastic about the incredible things coming to our community. Thank you Bakersfield and Kern County for supporting education and investing in BC through a Yes on Measure J!

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Eric Mittlestead, Rafaela Cisneros, Kim Crews represented KCCD on the show floor

For all the photos, visit BC’s Smugmug. And thank you to Harold Pierce at the Bakersfield Californian for attending to share the exciting news with the community of Bakersfield. It was nice to see KCCD Trustee Kyle Carter, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Mike Turnipseed and others attend this event.

Harold Pierce and Trustee Carter

Trustee Carter and Harold Pierce speak to a guest at the Bidders Fair

We received this email from Mikin Plummer about the event.

The BC staff was fantastic!!! Thank you! Thank you! The gym was put together perfect and made set up very easy!
Mikin Plummer

Thank you Bill Potter, Eric Middlested, Ramon Puga, and Jim Coggins for pulling together this amazing event.  Thank you Mary Jo Pasek.  Thank You Marlene Heise who works behind the scenes.  #WeAreBC

National Cemetery

Armando Trujillo, Student Veteran Educational Advisor and Lisa Robles Kent Program Manager, Office of Student Success & Equity were honored to represent Bakersfield College at a ceremony that provided full military honors for unaccompanied veterans interred at the National Cemetery who do not have family to recognize and remember them.

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Armando Trujillo, Bakersfield College; Randy Dickow, KC Veterans Collaborative; Maximo Perez, American Legion.

It’s a privilege for BC to honor the great men and women who paid the greatest sacrifice for our country. While there, Armando and Lisa stopped to visit the graveside of Vernon P. Velenzula. I recall that he was spoken of so fondly by KCCD Trustee, Bill Thomas at our Veterans Resource Center unveiling.

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Vernon touched the lives of so many people here at BC and in our community. I only wish I had the privilege of meeting such an inspirational man. A Purple Heart recipient, Valenzuela’s desire to help veterans began early following his return from a tour in Vietnam in 1968. In the early 1970s Valenzuela served as president of the Associated Veterans Students club at Bakersfield College and later as a counselor supporting student veterans. Valenzuela worked for years as a professional therapist who focused primarily on aiding veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and difficulties in making the transition between life in combat and life at home as a civilian.

Art with Impact

Movies for Mental HealthOn Wednesday, students gathered in the Fireside Room to  #SubvertStigma, the goal of  Movies For Mental Health. “Stigma” was the hook, the tag line used by Leslie Poston, our facilitator, to open our awareness and provide perspective on the very complex personal, cultural and societal issues surrounding mental health and mental illness. The audience of 50 students, staff, faculty and community has steadily grown over the past four semesters since Student Health and Wellness Services began hosting Movies For Mental Health. And, so has the diversity of responses and perspectives on the question of what is “stigma.” Audience contributions included: “Shaming”, “barrier”, “judgmental”, “labeling”, “prejudiced”, “isolation” to name a few but ultimately, “stigma” is an erroneous and negative stereotype.

Movies for Mental Health

This is where the movies come in. These are independent submissions, judged in competition; the films are poignant, evocative and selected by Art With Impact to stimulate discussion and reveal the unexpected, uncomfortable and inconvenient in the human condition.

Following the movie screenings and the facilitated discussion, as well as a light meal of fresh seasonal fruit and wraps provided by Chef Eric Sabella, we listened to a panel discussion. The first panelist was a student named Caitlin who shared her very personal experience with profound depression and suicidal tendencies. Following Caitlin was our own Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Rosealinda Carrillo, who shared her own path to strengthen her own personal mental health but also in becoming a professional counselor. Rosealinda exemplifies the adage “you can’t care for others if you can’t care for yourself.” Panelist and Professor of Psychology, Tim Burke lead us through the impact of suicide in his family, his reaction to a diagnosis and treatment for lymphoma and research-proven self-care modalities like meditation, yoga, mindfulness and of course exercise.

The BC Student Health and Wellness Team was joined by guests from the Health Services program of Antelope Valley College, which will be hosting Movies For Mental Health on their own campus for the first time this May. Among those from Antelope Valley College were Dr. Jill Zimmerman Dean of Student Life & Services, Health Clerk Jennifer Winn and Monteigne Long, Veterans Program Coordinator.

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What is the value and importance of #SubvertStigma to students? As individuals and friends, cultures of origin and faiths, and society in general, we must free mental illness and mental health from stigma, shadow, and shame.

 

Spring Fling and 18-19 BCSGA Elections

James Tompkins and Ashley Harp.jpg

James Tompkins and Ashley Harp

This week was “Spring Fling” week at Bakersfield College with various events hosted by BCSGA as well as the Office of Student Life. Kicking off the fun was the “BCSGA Ice Cream and StudOrgs” event. BC’s clubs and organizations were joined by Ben & Jerry’s to promote various student organizations. On Monday afternoon, students were welcomed by BCSGA’s President Dezi Von Manos for her monthly “Cafecito Time” event where students can discuss issues or questions they may have in an open and inclusive way, and on Monday evening, BCSGA hosted an “Easel Event” where participants engaged in a fun evening of painting and light refreshments.

Tuesday was the “Community Movie Day” where the movie Justice League was played for students to enjoy during lunch. On Wednesday we hosted the “Epic Proportions Tour” featuring the musical talents of Gabe Kubanda and People Who Could Fly.

Wrapping up the wonderful events, students also had the opportunity to vote in elections for next years BCSGA leadership. Congratulations to next year’s BCSGA President, James Tompkins and Vice President, Ashley Harp.

Hate Speech and Free Speech Forum

The Levan Center hosted a panel discussion on Wednesday providing legal and historical context to the ongoing debate about hate speech and freedom of speech on college campuses. Students filled out anonymous surveys before the panel asking them some basic facts about First Amendment law and their thoughts about various free speech issues. Levan Center Director Jack Hernandez then gave a brief introduction about some of the recent protests over white nationalist speakers appearing on college campuses before introducing the panel of BC faculty and administration.

Communication professor John Giertz started with a brief overview of the Supreme Court decisions that have shaped free speech law in the United States. Colleges are bound by the First Amendment interpretation established in the 1969 case Brandenburg v. Ohio, which states that no inflammatory speech can be punished unless it incites “imminent lawless action.” In the 80s and 90s, many campuses attempted to enact speech codes and free speech zones, which have all been struck down as unconstitutional on the grounds that a listener’s right to be protected from hateful speech is not as important as someone else’s right to speak hatefully or however else they choose, Giertz said.

left to right: Communication professor John Giertz, Director of Student Life Nicky Damania, History professor Erin Miller, and Levan Center Director Jack Hernandez host a panel discussion about free speech on college campuses on March 21st.

left to right: Communication professor John Giertz, Director of Student Life Nicky Damania, History professor Erin Miller, and Levan Center Director Jack Hernandez host a panel discussion about free speech on college campuses on March 21st.

Dr. Nicky Damania, BC’s Director of Student Life, gave students a practical description of the ways that he deals with free speech issues on the BC campus every day. At BC, Damania is in charge of enforcing academic freedom, which is the legal right of both students and faculty to teach or communicate controversial ideas or facts without fear of bias or punishment.

BC history professor Erin Miller closed the panel with a discussion of the motivating history behind the United States’ free speech protections. Before the Revolutionary War, England used its common law to silence colonial dissent, which is why James Madison made free speech the first priority of the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution. Hateful speech is protected, Miller argues, because once a government agency begins to arbitrate which types of speech are considered acceptable, then speech that challenges authority can be silenced.

High Schools, BC, CSUB coming together

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CCGI

On Thursday morning, BC hosted an intersegmental initiative on data exchange of student academic information.  Right now we (high school districts, BC, CSUB) all have different data systems for maintaining student academic records and as these students in our community move from one segment to another, their academic records are transferred manually.  This is unacceptable in the highly evolved tech world that we live in.  The CSU systemwide Chancellor’s Office and the Community College statewide Chancellor’s Office have come together to solve this problem.  BC is part of this pilot program that is fully funded by the Community College Chancellor’s Office and other private philanthropic groups.

Here are some photos from the work session.

Virginia, Tess De Roy, Ben Duran, Sonya Christian, Grace Commiso, Anna March 22 2018

Virginia Madrid-Salazar, Tess Deroy, Ben Duran, Sonya Christian, Grace Commiso, Anna Garcia

 

 

Steve Watkin and Ben Perlado March 22 2018

Steve Watkin, Ben Perlado

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McFarland Superintendent Victor Hopper and team

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Ryan Gievet, Ben Sherley

Paul Chave and Delano Team with Abel Guzman and Zav Dadabhhoy

Zav Dadabhoy, Assistant Superintendent Jason Garcia, Paul Chavez, Abel Guzman

Steve Watkin, Ben Perlado, Michelle Pena, Ryan Gievet, Ben Sherley

Steve Watkin, Ben Perlado, Michelle Pena, RyanGievet, Ben Sherley

Dave Barnett, Craig Hayward

Dave Barnett, Craig Hayward

Grace Commiso, Anna Garcia, Sonya Christian, Ben Duran.jpg

Grace Commiso, Anna Garcia, Sonya Christian, Ben Duran

Ben Duran, Virginia Madrid Salazar, David Abernathy, Kalina Hill

David Abernathy from Wasco High speaking

David Abernathy, Kalina Hill, Elysa Vargas

David Abernathy (Wasco), Kalina Hill (BC), Elysa Vargas (Wonderful Academy)

See all the photos at BC’s SmugMug.

Future Teachers

The Education Futures Grant sponsored a Future Teachers Open House March 20th on the Panorama Campus. Close to 100 attendees braved the pouring rain to enjoy an informational and engaging evening with presentations, 10 breakout sessions, raffles, social media contest, and vendor booths.

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Presentations and vendors included BC Education Pathways, CSU Bakersfield, University of Lavern, Bakersfield College Career and Technical Education (CTE) & Student Employment Department, Bakersfield College Future Teachers Club, Brandman University, Child, Adolescent, and Family Studies (CAFS) at CSUB, Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK) Head Start, Community Connection for Child Care (CCCC), National University, Point Loma Nazarene University, and Western Governors University (WGU). A similar event was held at the BC Delano campus on March 3rd.

A huge thank you to the Future Teachers Open House Planning Team, Education Futures Director, Kimberly Bligh, Anthony Cordova, Isabel Castaneda, and Erica Menchaca. 

Future Teachers Open House Planning Team

Future Teachers Open House Planning Team

Public Safety Metamajor Pathway Open House

CTE and Public Safety Pathway teamed up to host the first ever Public Safety Open House with 92 Kern High School District students in attendance. The event went full circle beginning with department faculty who provided an overview of the program outcomes and trainings available; student service representatives were available including staff from Financial Aid, CTE and Student Employment; finally, industry representatives from the City Fire Department, County Fire Department, EMS Department, Kern County Sheriff Department, Bakersfield Police Department and California Highway Patrol presented on a panel to share events and experiences in their professions.

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Students were given the opportunity to ask questions, participate in simulations and were even provided a tour of the different department vehicles. It was a great event that provided insight to the pathways available in Public Safety at Bakersfield College. Thank you to Brent Burton, Dominica Dominguez, BC Public Safety Faculty, Department Staff and the industry partners who worked so hard to put this event together.

For all the photos, visit BC’s SmugMug.

KCCD and BC Leadership at CISOA/3CBG

Group Photo

Closest to the screen on the left-Todd Coston (BC), beyond him-Hernando Mondragon (DO), beyond him-David Barnett (DO), moving to the right-Micelle Pena (BC), then Grace Commiso (BC), Somaly Boles (BC), Zach Quiroz (BC) and closest to camera on the right Dena Rhoades (DO).

The Kern Community College District and Bakersfield College were out in full force both attending and presenting at the CISOA/3CBG conference earlier this week from March 18-20th in Ontario, CA.  The conference site says this about the conference, “The partnership of California Community College Chief Information Systems Officers Association (CISOA) and California Community College Banner Group (3CBG) allows us to leverage our resources to present an outstanding array of conference sessions of interest to those who are part of the information technology arena in California’s Community College system.”

BC’s Grace Comisso, Michelle Pena, and consultant, Becky Weaver, presented on Using Starfish for Guided Pathways.

BC’s Todd Coston and Dave Barnett from the District Office presented on Improving IT Communication Using Free and Low Cost Tools

And our Chief Technology Officer, Gary Moser, from the District Office presented on Are You Ready for a CCC Statewide ERP System.

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Finally, the participants had an option to rate each session via a conference app.  As proof that the KCCD/BC team rock the house, check out this rating for Dave and Todd’s session. Todd tells me he isn’t quite sure how you can get 6 out of 5 stars, but he’ll take it anyway!

Rating

An American Education Agenda with Lance Izumi

KCCD and BC were present at a luncheon put on by the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government with guest speaker, Lance Izumi, author of The ‘American Education Agenda’  Top 15 Recommendations for Improving Education. Lance discussed his newly published report, which offers policymakers concrete reforms they can adopt today to ensure every student learns in a safe and nurturing environment, and is well-prepared to meet the changing demands of the 21st century workforce.

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Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Cindy Collier, Lance Izumi, Trustee Bill Thomas, John Means

League of Dreams

The League of Dreams, a nonprofit sports league for young athletes with physical and developmental disabilities, held its opening ceremonies for the 2018 season at CSUB’s Hardt Field on Sunday.  Snagged this picture of Mayor Karen Goh with BC Renegades representing the College in their jerseys during the event.

League of Dreams Opening Day

STEAM Academy

Odella Johnson and Sonya Christian May 19 2017Odella Johnson was featured on KGET’s News at Sunrise program on Wednesday morning to talk about the STEAM Academy, a series of courses to promote science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

Johnson spoke about the importance of the academy, which hosts a course every Saturday from September to April to help students build skills that they can use in their future careers. Open enrollment for next year’s academy, of which BC is a partner, is starting now.

Oliver Rosales

History professor Oliver Rosales wrote an article in the Community Voices section of the Bakersfield Californian on Sunday urging voters in the community to let their lawmakers know that funding for the humanities should be a top priority.

Rosales, who chairs the committee on Energizing Humanities in the Central Valley committee, wrote about how proper funding of the National Endowment of the Humanities and California Humanities will allow those organizations to meet the demand for community enrichment projects in writing, history, philosophy, social studies and other subjects.

“It’s important that we maintain a robust National Endowment for the Humanities, while at the same time mobilize voters to support state funding, as well as opportunities to increase public-private partnerships,” Rosales said.

Oliver Rosales Community Voices March 19 2018

Chris McCraw on Twitter

 mccraw2Official National Ag Day was marked on March 20th and I’ve enjoyed following BC’s wonderful Agricultural Business faculty, Chris McCraw on Twitter @CMcatBC as he shares our BC Ag Club at Kern County’s  #farmdayinthecity! It’s so exciting to see our BC Ag Club students have the opportunity to share their agricultural knowledge with over 2,000 elementary students during this multi-day event!

Kern County is the #1 Ag County in the U.S. and Ag Day is a special time to say THANK YOU to all our farmers and laborers, as well as our BC Agriculture students and faculty for educating and inspiring the next generation of agriculturists!

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So fortunate to have a real vibrant Ag faculty and staff.

Lynette Zelezny

On Thursday, Cal State Bakersfield announced that Lynette Zelezny will be the new president to succeed Horace Mitchell at the end of the academic year.

The announcement was featured in a front-page Q and A article in the Bakersfield Californian written by Harold Pierce, as well as an article by Chloe Carlson for KGET. Zelezny is CSUB’s first female president, and she’ll be transitioning from her role as the provost and vice president of academic affairs at Fresno State to come to Bakersfield. Zelezny has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology from Humboldt State University, a Ph.D. in applied social psychology from Claremont Graduate University, and an MBA with distinction from Fresno State.

City of Bakersfield visiting the Chamber

This week we had the Grater Bakersfield Chamber Board meeting.  I am honored to be on the Board of this wonderful organization — great board members, great CEO and great staff.

I was delighted to see leaders from the City of Bakersfield visit us to discuss some critical needs including the need for more police officers.  The team who presented included City Manger Alan Tandy, Councilman Andrae Gonzales, Concilman Bob Smith, BPD Chief Lyle Martin, Assistant City Manager Chris Huot.

Cindy and Liz

Liz Rozell and Cindy Collier are two amazing people who continue to inspire us all. I loved this photo because we all need to just lean on each other sometimes. Thank you Cindy and Liz for your dedication to BC and the Kern Community College District.

Cindy and Liz

 

We are BC

Sonya Christian at Cesar Chavez Breakfast March 23 2018

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC Celebrating Black History Month. We Are BC!

Good morning Bakersfield!

Could not wake up this morning when my alarm went off after a looong, hectic and fun filled week at Bakersfield College.  But then, as Jennifer Marden would say,  this is how we roll at BC.

Thank you Steve Watkin for putting together a robust series of events for Black History Month. #WeAreBC

Sonya Christian and Steve Watkin Feb 9 2018

Warning, this is going to be a long blog…but remember it is only the tip of the iceberg of what goes on at this college that serves over 31,000 students at campus on Panorama, and at locations in Delano, Wasco, McFarland, Shafter, Arvin, Lamont and now, in southwest Bakersfield at the corner of Stockdale and Buena Vista.

Yes, We Are BC!
And we are your college!

Before I get into the Bakersfield College activities, I want to recognize the passing of the husband of a dear friend Cathy Abernathy.  Mark Abernathy has been a public figure in this community for a long time and this piece by James Burger in the Jan 29th Californian gives us a glimpse of his life.  https://tinyurl.com/ycpxjy3r

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Dr. Michael Eric Dyson at Bakersfield College

A major highlight for the week was having author, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson on campus for a jam packed Thursday at BC.  hosting four events on the campus to talk about racial inequality and the ongoing journey for restorative justice in African-American communities.

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Dr. Dyson at BC’s Indoor Theater

Dyson, a sociology professor at Georgetown University, an author of 19 books, a radio show host, and a frequent guest on several nationally-broadcast political roundtable shows, addressed a packed Indoor Theater on Thursday night to talk about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and his influence on African-American leadership in the 21st Century.

i-jnmw4xp-x4Although Dr. King never ran for elected office, Dyson argues, his gift for motivating others through rhetoric and his great vision for what America could be, he enabled that vision to come slightly closer to reality.

“All [Dr. King] asked for was for America to be what is said it was on paper,” Dyson said. While talking about the riots and police brutality of the ’60s that created the civil rights movement, Dyson emphasized that King sought to take on the structural biases that held all marginalized people back, and that for Dr. King’s work to continue, we must also fight against sexism and homophobia in order to fight back against racism.

Dyson packed the Fireside Room to capacity for the two open-discussion forums on latest book “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America”, as well as a question and answer session with Paula Parks and the students in BC’s Umoja community.

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Dr. Paula Parks and Dr. Dyson

During the book discussions, Dyson kept the conversation focused on the contemporary debate about police brutality, cultural appropriation of black artists, kneeling for the National Anthem and how to engage in dialogue about racial issues with people who aren’t able to relate to the struggles facing African-Americans and might be resistant to the message.

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Inspired by his 2016 New York Times op-ed titled “Death in Black and White,” “Tears We Cannot Stop” is about the need for an honest, unrestrained dialogue about race that doesn’t pull punches about the hardships marginalized groups have had to endure in order to carve out their place within the American Dream.

Between the open forum discussions on “Tears We Cannot Stop”, Dyson sat down for an interview with Paula Parks and the students in our Umoja Community to talk about how predominately-white educational institutions have evolved to incorporate and empathize with students from marginalized groups, as well as Dyson’s inspiration to continue writing and giving his perspective over the past 30 years.

Nan and Zav

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Zav Dadabhoy at Dr. Dyson. Love this picture.

“I write to save my life and the lives of others, and sometimes for the dynamic privilege of saying something well,” Dyson said. “I believe in explaining stuff to white people.” Dyson’s tone was very humorous despite talking about the serious issues plaguing the African-American community today. Dyson was one of the first academics to examine the literary themes of hip-hop music, and he often spoke of the intergenerational struggles expressed through African-American music.

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BC’s Choir performed before Dr. Dysons evening performance

Through the candid, authentic persona and fiery oration, Dyson has redefined what a public intellectual can be. Thank you to the partnership of the Office of Student Life’s Distinguished Speaker Series and the Cerro Author program for bringing Dr. Dyson to BC.

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Dr. Dyson with OSL and Student Life

Manny DeLosSantos found Ralph Bailey in attendance for the evening presentation.

Manny DeLosSantos and Ralph Bailey

Manny DeLosSantos and Ralph Bailey

And Earl Parsons spotted Dr. Jackie Fisher, alumnus, former faculty, former Dean and retired president of Antelope Valley College.

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Dr. Jackie Fisher visiting Bakersfield College

Danyel Owens snapped this photo of the the overflow in the Fireside Room. It’s great to see the community coming out to events such as this.

Fireside Room during presentation by Dr. Dyson

Fireside Room during presentation by Dr. Dyson

#WeAreBC

Revitalizing the Campus thought Measure J.  Thank you Kern County!

Since the passing of Measure J in November of 2016 by a 65% vote by the Bakersfield community, BC has partnered with  AECOM-Parsons to plan for the major renovation and expansion of Bakersfield College’s campuses, including the Delano-Timmons campus and the much anticipated Arvin campus. AECOM, a company that has worked with many educational institutions, together with Parsons, who has been working on the Thomas Roads Improvement Project for the last decade, are working together with BC faculty and leadership to update our Facilities Master Plan based on our needs.

FMPU

 

The presentation, led by Todd Coston pointed out that we are still in the planning stages and since “a plan is a plan,” we can expect changes to come as we get further into the details of architecture and construction. AECOM-Parsons has worked diligently to maximize the square footage of renovations and construction of buildings in the shortest amount of time to maximize our dollars. They are considering our needs, what exists, and where savings can be made. AECOM has also partnered with the Department of State Architecture (DSA) for a more efficient and faster way for construction approval and they are using BC Measure J Facilities Master Plan renovations and construction as part of a pilot program to implement construction in a fast pace.

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Nick Strobel in the audience alongside Aricia Leighton

Leveraging funds from Measure G and the state with Measure J funding, the plan is to renovate approximately 224,000 square feet and construct 266,000 square feet of new buildings over the next 6 years. The Veterans Resource Center is in the design phase and we look forward to breaking ground soon. AECOM-Parsons and BC are working on strategies for effectively accomplishing the master plan, such as planning the construction sequence being mindful of swing space, when construction goes to market locally, construction staging areas and rerouting of traffic while minimally impacting our students.

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Sonya Christian and Romeo Agbalog

Sonya Christian and Trustee Romeo Agbalog

Todd Coston was our entertaining and eloquent emcee and did a wonderful visualization of taking a “stroll into 2024” as a new student on the new Panorama campus without having the actual details of what the architecture will look like in the future. Thank you Trustee Bill Thomas for supporting Measure J, helping bring it to fruition, continuing your support, and attending our update. Thank you Trustee Romeo Agbalog for attending the update and supporting the needs of our rural campuses. I want to thank Trustee Kay Meek and Chancellor Tom Burke for being a part of this work, although they were unable to attend. I would also like to thank the AECOM-Parsons team, Scott Preston, Jill Kurth, and Yvonne Hidle.

During the afternoon, Trustee Thomas brought up an interesting fact regarding the proposed “New Entry for Campus off Panorama” was actually the original entry when the campus was first built in the 1950’s. Knowing our history is very important in planning our future. Looking ahead, as we improve the facilities, we are striving to not only accommodate our needs now, but anticipate our needs in the future.

Bringing BC to Arvin #BCArvin

Arvin and BC Leadership

We know how much education can affect a family,” said Abel Guzman, BC Director of Rural Initiatives. “Imagine how much a college can affect a city.”  After the presentation on the Panorama campus, a team from BC, together with Arvin Mayor Jose Gurrola shared details and plans for the BC center in Arvin at the Veteran’s Hall.

Bill Potter in Arvin

Bill Potter presenting in Arvin, CA

 

Jose Gurrola, Sonya Christian, Future Rengades

Jose Gurrola, Sonya Christian, and future Arvin Renegades

It was exciting to provide the community an opportunity to hear the plans for the new BC Arvin Facility and give them a platform to voice their expectations for the campus. Facilitated by Director of Rural Initiatives, Abel Guzman, community Leaders from every level including Mayor Jose Gurrola, City Manager Al Noyola, and Arvin Chief of Police Jerry Breckinridge, came out in support.

Abel Guzman, Director of Rural Initiaives talked about the programming BC has brought to Arvin the last four years.  Thank you Supervisor Leticia Perez for $400K to increase educational attainment rates in this community thought the Game Changer program.  Thank you Mike Turnipseed and Superintendent Bryon Schaefer.

Enrollments last year topped 1000.  Can’t wait to see the numbers for 2017-2018.

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Trustee Bill Thomas told the audience that BC in Arvin is a “promise kept,” while Bill Potter, was able to paint a visual of the campus for the audience. 40-50 attendees were present including former chancellor and Arvin resident Jim Young, BC Adjunct faculty Amalia Ojeda, Dean Richard McCrow and BC Rural Initiatives Program Management team Raquel Lopez, Gustavo Enriquez, Endee Grijalva, and Jaime Lopez. Director Abel Guzman ended the forum with a reminder that BC in Arvin is like adding to the Arvin sense of “familia” in the community and has been and will continue to be a constant presence.

harold-pierce Feb 5 2018 Measure J draft plan roll outThank you Harold Pierce

Thank you also to Harold Pierce from the Californian for your articles.

The Bakersfield Californian is a local treasure and has a remarkable history. This newspaper has withstood a revolutionized industry, new technologies, and serves an expanding community that continues to grow, yet at the same time, it has kept that traditional “hometown content” that we’ve come to love.  A salute to the Californian and all its reporters.

Talking about Harold Pierce, I have been impressed with his coverage of Valley Fever and the efforts by our political leaders in Sacramento — Rudy Salas, Jean Fuller, Vince Fong.  See his piece in today’s Californian https://tinyurl.com/ya5wal63

 

A Wonderful Visit to Lost Hills

The Wonderful Company recently extended an invitation to BC leadership to engage in discussion to investigate possibilities to make local higher education a reality for the residents of Lost Hills. As you may know, Bakersfield College continues our commitment to serve neighboring rural communities by providing access to higher education.

Wonderful Tour Group Photo

Our morning began by visiting the various school sites in Lost Hills and seeing the college students of tomorrow beginning their educational journey on the right step.

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The Learning Garden was one of our favorite stops and the children there are growing both delicate herbs and hearty veggies such as cauliflower and broccoli.

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After visiting the school sites of Wonderful College Prep Academy, Wonderful Preschool, and the future permanent site of Wonderful College Prep Academy, the group visited Wonderful Park and Community Center in Lost Hills for a brainstorming lunch and discussion.  The Wonderful Company takes wellness seriously, just like BC and the lunch they provided was fresh and delicious.

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Beautiful lunch of salads, cauliflower rice, and salmon

Thank you to Trustee Romeo Agbalog and Lynda Resnick for joining the leadership from BC, and leadership from Wonderful Education and The Wonderful Company.

 

 

 

I look forward to more discussion and planning to bring college closer to home for the residents of Lost Hills.

 

You should check out David Brook’s piece in the NYTimes in 2016 on lost Hills and Lynda Resnick

Julian West Community Voices

BC Mentoring ArticleI recently shared that Julian West presented at BC’s Spring Opening Day where he addressed the audience about how he’s able to keep 600 students in our African-American affinity group engaged and striving for their highest level of excellence, using a combination of data analysis and “real talk” face-to-face mentorship to ensure that none of our African American students are falling through the cracks. See Julians full remarks here.

It brought a smile to my face on Friday morning when I saw Julians piece published in the paper. This inspiring and informative piece is an incredible piece of writing that shares a glimpse of the work taking place at BC. Julian writes, “To be effective in accomplishing equitable transformation, we address issues beyond what we see in the classroom. Scholastic results, or lack thereof, are rooted in issues students face outside the classroom. At BC, we address these issues in our African American Mentoring Program (AAMP) meetings during a component we call “Real Talk.” Real Talk is the facilitation of honest conversations, “Truth-telling conversations.” Sometimes that involves unpacking very complex issues such as masculinity. What does it really mean to be a man? What does it really mean to be a black man?”  See the whole article here.

And in case you missed Julians presentation on Opening Day:

Student Challenge

Speaking of student success… Jamie Garza, a sophomore in our Radiologic Technology program, won second place in the Student Challenge at a Radiologic Technology Educators’ Conference in Las Vegas. He was the only California community college student to place in the top three awards for the challenge, held at the 43rd annual Conference of the Association of Collegiate Educators in Radiologic Technology (ACERT). Over 500 students were in attendance for the conference, which holds a sample mock registry exam called the Student Challenge to prepare students for the licensure certification exam in radiologic technology.

Radiologic Technology Students that participated in the challenge

Jamie Garza (holding certificate), myself (directly behind her to the right and the other 8 Radiologic Technology Students that participated in the challenge

Garza was one of the nine BC students who attended the conference with four other faculty members from BC, and she was awarded a certificate of recognition and a monetary award for her efforts. Jamie is scheduled to graduate this May with her Associate of Science degree, and plans on taking the licensure exam and seeking employment in Radiologic Technology immediately after Commencement, according to our Radiologic Technology Director Nancy Perkins.

Lydia Ranger, Monty Byrom, BC Chamber Singers …Buy your ticket now

As I mentioned each week the last two weeks, I am personally involved in helping sell tickets to the benefit concert on March 10th at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets are $100 each to help our students go to Australia.  Email me now or call the BC Foundation for your tickets.  We have to sell 231 more tickets.

Chamber Singers-Poster-3_preview

Financial Aid Awareness Month Kicks Off

Did you know February is Financial Aid Awareness month? The Office of Financial Aid held a special kick-off event in the Renegade Crossroads on Monday with financial aid technicians teaching our students how to get a head start on their FAFSA paperwork for next semester. This year’s kick-off event had a NASCAR theme, with technicians passing out pizza and distributing information behind a checkerboard flag. There were also booths with specialized information for veterans and DREAMers to apply, and the BC drumline performed to kick off the morning’s festivities.

While the deadline for students to apply for a Federal Student Aid identification number (FSA ID) and complete the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) is June 30th for the 2018-19 academic year, according to Financial Aid Assistant Adriana Vega, it’s important for students to get their information processed as soon as possible so that our pit crew at the Financial Aid office can deal with any complications that may arise. We want all of our students to be able to sprint ahead with their application as soon as the green flag of the Fall 2018 semester is waved. We are encouraging students to apply for aid before March 2nd, the priority filing deadline and the deadline for Cal Grant consideration for the 2018-19 academic year.

The Office of Financial Aid is working on streamlining the processing of awards for next year and digitizing financial aid forms for easier access to students while reducing the carbon footprint and storage space necessary for paper applications, Vega said.

Thank you to Kevin Ott, Vanesa De La Madrid, Gina Hunter, Heather Skibinski, Mark Llanes, Adriana Vega, Lucy Perez-Dykes, Evette Lara, Victoria Koiyan, Walter Rivas, Rebecca Bumpous, Connie Garza-Singh, Valerie Mackey, Pedro Ramirez, and the various departments who contributed to the resource fair:
From EOP&S: Bobby Baylon, Bradley Parrot and Jessica Cortez.
From DSPS: Rudy Gutierrez, Denise Crawford, and Diane Allen.

Student Employment: Vicki Coffee and Beth Harrison.

African American Community Leadership Breakfast

The campus activities for Black History Month also continue and on Wednesday morning, African American leaders in our community gathered in the Fireside Room. The morning was an opportunity to connect, discuss student success and initiatives that are making a difference.

AA Leadership Breakfast.jpg

 

 

It was great to hear from Tommy Tunson as he shared a story of visiting Palm Springs and meeting Rosa Parks. Chelsea Esquibias, Danny Morrison, Julian West, and Rayven Acosta-Webb also presented about the Inmate Scholars Program and all the incredible transformation brought about because of the opportunity to obtain an education.

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June Charles and Michael Bowers

 

And thank you Michael Bowers for your continued support of Bakersfield College.  You introduced me to some stellar members of our community during the campaign for Measure J.

CHAP

Michelle Hart at our Delano Campus shared with me this photo and said,

We had 26 students attend! They laughed, were engaged throughout, and were super appreciative of being given the opportunity to “attend” the event! In fact, afterward, Anhelica Perez, SGA Delano Campus Programmer, Elisabeth Sundby, Delano Campus Librarian, and I were able to have brief conversations with them about the issues discussed and about offering more events like these in the future.

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Welcoming Mr. Finzel in Delano

U.S. Congressman David Valadao’s field representative, Perry Finzel, reached out to Gustavo Enriquez hoping to learn more about the Delano campus. On Wednesday, February 7th, Delano staff had the pleasure of providing a tour and updating Perry Finzel on all of our rural initiatives. He was truly impressed with all of the work happening in the rural areas.

U.S. Congressman David Valadao is the Representative for California’s 21st District which includes Kings County, western Fresno County, southwestern Tulare county, and northwestern Kern county, including Delano. The Congressman is a proponent of education and supporter of Career Technical Education legislation. Thank you Gustavo for welcoming the Congressman’s field representative.

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Perry Finzel and Gustavo Enriquez

Agriculture Career Exploration Day

The BC cafeteria was brimming with Future Farmers of America Friday morning for the Agriculture Career Exploration Day. Around 200 excited students from local high schools with an interest in a future in agriculture attended this first Career Day focused on Agriculture at Bakersfield College.

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Jeff Rasmussen and Corny Rodriguez

Jeff Rasmussen and Corny Rodriguez

This event was made possible by the Kern County Farm Bureau, Kern High School District and the many industry partners including JG Boswell, Sunview Vineyards, Syngenta, Grimmway Farms, Cargill-Nutrena and Wonderful Farms. It was Jeff Rasmussen, past president of the Kern County Farm Bureau, BC alumnus and great friend and supporter of agriculture education, who first approached me about having this event. I’m happy to say that we were able to come together and have this first of many career days for Ag.

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Ag faculty Feb 9 2018 Photo by Mary Jo Pasek

Thank you Jeff for coming to me with this wonderful idea. I want to give a special thank you to BC faculty Heather Baltis for taking the lead in putting this event together.  Thank you to all of the Ag department that were involved with this event: Corny Rodriguez, Matt Riley, Lindsay Ono, Dr. Greg Cluff, Department Chair, Dr. Jim Selgrath, Catherine Jones, Leann Riley, Bill Kelly, Billy Barnes, Dr. James McEnroe, Chris McCraw, and Sally Sterns. Thank you Eric Sabella and food services staff for providing the delicious food and Mary Jo Pasek for arranging and coordinating the event locations. And last, but not least, thank you Ralph Mendes, Kern High School District Ag Coordinator, for all of your work in making the event happen from the high school side.

Rudy Salas

Assemblymember Rudy Salas speaking at BC

We were delighted to have special guest Assemblymember Rudy Salas, District 32, join us and encourage the students to let him know if BC didn’t show “how Ag is cool.” Assemblymember Salas led the charge in saving agriculture education and was instrumental in bringing back programs in schools when the government removed FFA. The state is now investing millions in Ag education.

Jeff Rasmussen told an engaging parable about a water bearer trying to cheer up his cracked pot by showing the pot the wonderful flowers that grew along the pathway he walked every day to bring water back to his masters house. He told the students that we all have cracks, that we may not see the benefits of our cracks, and we may need a water bearer to show us the benefits. For him, Bill Kelley was a water bearer. Bill encouraged him when he was having problems with math and English and convinced him that he could transfer to Cal-Poly, where he earned a degree in Ornamental Horticulture. Bill helped him see his pathway.

 

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Mike Riel, Grimmway Farms

Did you know that careers in Ag are growing? Because of feedback from the Ag industry and the high schools, we realized that the demand for education that leads to jobs in these industries is important. This resulted in BC’s Ag department doubling over the last few years.

This Agriculture Career Exploration Day is so impactful on our future students. It gives them the opportunity to meet the water bearers of Ag Mechanics, Plant Science, Agribusiness, Forestry and Animal Science to help them down the Ag pathway. After all, we are an agricultural community and education is the key to sustaining the future of agriculture and a strong economy in our community.

Manny at the Ag Expo

Manny DeLosSantos hanging out

Industrial Automation

Clovis Community College has launched a new short-term course in Mechatronics to prepare its students for a career in industrial automation, according to a report by YourCentralValley.com.

Clovis professor Matthew Graff has been working closely with the Central Valley’s Strong Workforce Consortium on Industrial Automation, of which BC is a part, to develop the course, which teaches students about manufacturing and agricultural automation technologies.

For the last few years, BC has been leading the way on industrial automation programs at community colleges, with our first baccalaureate class in Industrial Automation getting the chance to walk across the stage and graduate this May, and it’s exciting to see other community colleges in our area developing curricula that will meet the growing demand for industrial automation professionals in San Joaquin.

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KC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Gala

KCHCC Group PhotoIt was a wonderful evening of familiar community faces and much deserved recognition as the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a longtime Bakersfield College supporter, recently honored 7 local leaders and businesses that are making a difference in our town. California State University Bakersfield President Dr. Horace Mitchell who retires in June was among the honorees. He received the businessman of the year award, and in giving his speech, he credited educational success to various institutions — corporations, schools, and business chambers — working together as partners in community excellence.  “It’s all about all of us working together in improving our community,” he shared with the audience. Thank you, Horace, for highlighting the power of education and its lasting, positive impact on our community.

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Other honorees from the evening were: Pam Alvarez of Beautiful You Medical Aesthetics as business woman of the year; Beverly Camp of Catholic Diocese of Fresno Charities as community service of the year; Trans-West Security, Inc., as corporation of the year; Luis Aguilar who recently retired from his longtime business, El Pueblo restaurant in Lamont, as large business of the year; Godinez Law as small business of the year; and Patriots of Kern, led by Dick Taylor, as nonprofit of the year. Even more special for Bakersfield College was that three of our very own were installed as officers to this year’s Hispanic chamber board and its foundation.

History Professor Olivia Garcia was appointed to the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce executive board of directors. Dean of Instruction Cornelio “Corny” Rodriguez and Lisa Kent, Equity Program Manager, were both named to serve on the Hispanic Chamber’s Business Education Foundation. Kudos also goes to Chevron’s Adam Alvidrez who was honored as the returning chair of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce board. Thank you, Adam, Chevron, Jay Tamsi and the Hispanic chamber for your continued support of BC and the Energy Academy.

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Jesse Oropeza, Olivia Garcia, Endee Grijalva, Octavio Barajas, Heather Pennella, and Lisa Kent

The event was indeed a sellout, and familiar faces were many, including Mayor Karen Goh, Assembly members Vince Fong and Rudy Salas, Senator Andy Vidak, Chair of the Board Supervisor Mike Maggard, Bakersfield Council members Andrae Gonzales and Chris Parlier, and Delano City Councilwoman Liz Morris, along with newcomers, such as Clinica Sierra Vista’s Brian Harris and his wife, Gisela, among many others. Brian began as the new CEO of Clinica on Jan. 29, replacing its founder and longtime CEO, the much-respected Stephen Schilling.

Second Annual Pathway to Success Conference.

The second annual Pathway to Success Conference took place yesterday for students with less than a “Good” Academic Standing. The conference was full of facts on how your Academic Standing can affect your financial aid, steps to take to get back to Good Standing, and tools to help you be successful here at BC.

Grace Commiso and Tanner Dyrness

Grace Commiso and Tanner Dyrness

Grace Commiso kicked off the event with an enlightening  presentation that was well received. She said, “Get Connected! The more you communicate with your professor, classmates, and advisers, the more successful you will be in class.”

She also relayed to us, that we all need to find our Why?! Finding out the ‘why you are here’ will help inspire you to get good grades and stay involved. She shared with students that it took her a few years to find her why, but when she did, she was able to thrive in academia and was able to become who she is today.

Tanner Dyrness, Mary Jo Pasek, Michael McClenic

Tanner Dyrness, Mary Jo Pasek, Michael McClenic, and Fabiola Johnson

Presenting for Assemblyman Vince Fong was field Representative Tanner Dyrness. He also shared with us that he too, had trouble finding his “why,” but when he finally figured it out, he knew his destiny was being in politics. Mr. Dyrness also presented a Certificate of Recognition to Bakersfield Collage on behalf of the State of California.

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I would to give a special thank you to Fabiola Johnson for her amazing presentation and all her hard work. Thank you to Dr. Michael McClenic and Grace Commiso for hosting the Second annual Pathway to Success Conference.

Clarifying Paths from BC to CSUB

This week, approximately 70 CSUB and BC faculty and leaders gathered in BC’s Huddle to create 4-year default pathways for each degree. During the morning, the group compared coursework and aligned the classes. Our goal is to have a validated 4-year pathway for each of our ADTs in the next college catalog and a big event to come at CSUB announcing the created pathways.

We know that by working together, we can increase completion rates for all of our students and get them guarantees for transferring their course work. Thank you to Shawn Whalen from College Futures Foundation for announcing a grant to continue our work on transfer alignment. And thank you to the admin team from CSUB including Jacqueline Mimms and Vernon Harper.

4 Renegade Football Players Sign to Play at the Next Level

Wednesday was National Signing Day and four Bakerfield College football players signed to play at the next level.  Tyrrel Eddington, Jeffrey Jones and Ernest Harris signed to play at the Division I level while Cristion Brown signed to play at the Division II level.  

Tyrrell Eddington will be playing at Eastern Michigan University (Mid-American Conference), Jeffrey Jones will be playing at The University New Mexico (Mountain West Conference), Ernest Harris will be playing at Sam Houton State (Southland Conference) and Cristion Brown will be playing at Fort Lewis College (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference).
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Renegade Basketball

The BC women’s basketball team (10-13, 4-2) used a balanced attack to defeat Santa Monica last night.  Four Renegades scored in double-figures, led by Jasmyn Rodriguez with 20 points.  Brianna Mendez added 14 points and 8 rebounds, while Bianca Zamora chipped in 12 points.  Angie Kroeger recorded here 5th double-double of the season.

The Renegades will be on the road Saturday when they travel to West LA for a 1:00 PM tip-off.

The Bakersfield College men’s basketball team (13-11, 4-2) defeated Santa Monica 81-53 on Wednesday night.  Jaylunn English led the Renegades with 29 points.  Henry Galinato added 17 pooint and Johnathan Murray scored 15 points and had 10 assists.  

BC at Garden Pathways

Garden Pathways Billie Jo Rice, Karen Goh, Liz Rozell, Grace Commisso, Endee Grijalva

Billie Jo Rice, Mayor Karen Goh, Liz Rozell, Grace Commiso, Endee Grijalva

Heart of the Country_Social_TextThe Garden Pathways “Heart of the Country” event held Thursday and we saw people from every part of the community in support of the amazing organization and the people it serves.

Bakersfield College was proud “Arbuckle Sponsors” with Liz Rozell, Bill Jo Rice, Grace Commiso and Endee Grijalva in attendance representing BC.

Highlights included Invocation by the honorable Mayor and Garden Pathways President Karen Goh, Program Graduate Awards/ Recognition, live entertainment and of course, KGET-TV 17’s Maddie Janssen as the MC for the evening.

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On Thursday, Lesley Bonds and I headed out to LA for the Accreditation Evaluation Team Training.  There were six teams heading out in March to six different colleges that are up for their accreditation comprehensive site visit.  And guess what….. all six teams had a BC person on it.  How cool is that.  BC is everywhere in our community, in our state, in our region.  In the photo below – Bill Moseley, Jessica Wojtysiak, Janet Fulks, Lesley Bonds and me.  We did not see Don Chrusciel at that time and therefore we were not able to get him into the photo.

BC at ACCJC Team Training

And thank you Mary Jo Pasek for all that you do to support and bring these great events to Bakersfield College.

Mary Jo and Tom Pasek Aug 2 2016

 

#WeAreBC

 

Feb 10 2018 Neo Live Laugh Love

Sonya Christian Feb 7 2018

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever