Tag Archives: Brij Bhambi

Sterling Silver 2022

Last weekend, the Bakersfield College Foundation’s 14th Annual Sterling Silver event returned to in-person, after last year’s televised recognition celebration.

The annual benefit dinner recognizes exceptional support and service to the BC Foundation, and to the college, with proceeds from the evening going directly towards the Renegade scholarship program and supportive services. The sold out event took place Saturday March 19th, 2022 at the Panorama Campus.

Thank you to the top Sterling sponsors

Joel and Connie Perez-Andreesen–Reception Sponsor

Ordiz Melby Architects–Sterling Level Sponsor

Chevron–Sterling Level Sponsor

Corporate Philanthropist Award: Bank of America

Individual Philanthropist Award: The Contreras Family

BC Foundation Service Medal: Assemblymember Rudy Salas

Lifetime Achievement Award: Congressman William “Bill” Thomas

Check out this 2-minute photo roll of Bill Thomas

I loved the impromptu remarks made by four of our trustees, led by President Romeo Agbalog. It was the cherry on top of the icing of a wonderful evening.

Bill Thomas with Kern CCD Trustees Kay Meek, Yovani Jimenez, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and Romeo Agbalog

Executive Director of BC’s Foundation, Cheryl Scott said, “Sterling Silver is one of our favorite times of the year because we’re able to recognize the thoughtful generosity and long lasting contributions of leaders who have stepped forward to make a difference in the lives of students. These individuals are creating a legacy of positive growth and inspiring bright futures through expansions, education, and support.”

BC’s brand new event space, located on the 3rd floor of the newly constructed Campus Center building hosted the special evening.

Here are a some photos:

More photos

Fabulous culinary students

Good morning, friends…
It is March 26, 2022.
The sun shines bright over KernCCD.

This week, the Pirates, the Coyotes, and the Renegades continue to 

Porterville College

PC Writer & Poet Speaker Series Returns with Helena María Viramontes

PC has announced Helena María Viramontes as the next speaker in the PC Writer & Poet Speaker Series.  She will join the PC community on March 31st at 12pm – 1pm via zoom at: https://cccconfer.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcqfuysrjopGtQdfBym9zfAGULd_IIWTzia

Viramontes is the author of The Moths and Other Stories (1985) and two novels: Under the Feet of Jesus, which bears witness to the struggles of a makeshift family of migrant farmworkers in California, and Their Dogs Came with Them (2008), a masterful depiction of the lives of the dispossessed, the working poor, the homeless, and the undocumented of East Los Angeles, where Viramontes was born and raised.

In the 1980s, Viramontes became co-coordinator of the Los Angeles Latino Writers Association; later in the decade, Viramontes helped found Southern California Latino Writers and Filmmakers. In collaboration with feminist scholar Maria Herrera Sobek, Viramontes organized three major conferences at UC-Irvine, resulting in two anthologies: Chicana Creativity and Criticism-Charting New Frontiers in American Literature (1988) and Chicana Writes: On Word and Film (1993).

You can find more information on Viramontes via her Cornell faculty page and register for the event at https://cccconfer.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcqfuysrjopGtQdfBym9zfAGULd_IIWTzia.

Getting to Know the PC ASPC in 4 questions:
ASPC Marketing and Publicity Representative Brayan Quevedo

At Porterville College, we believe that one of the keys to student success is a complete student life experience.  The Associated Students of Porterville College (ASPC) plays a large part in shaping student life on campus. 

We recently had the chance to connect with the Associated Students of Porterville College (ASPC) Marketing and Publicity representative Brayan Quevedo who shared about the journey to PC, studies and areas of interest, and future plans:

Can you tell us about your life before you came to PC and your journey that led you here?

My life’s a wild story. More specifically, before PC I lived in Oregon. I graduated last June (2021) from Sprague High School with a diploma in STEM. I knew I wanted to further my education through college but didn’t really know where to attend. What I did know was that I loved Computer Science and Mathematics, so I applied schools in Oregon and California that specialized in STEM.

During the college application process, some of my family members got sick and needed to be cared for so my mother and I moved. Since I was between two states, college admissions got extremely tricky as it’s quite uncommon to be moving during the final weeks of school, so I was charged out-of-state tuition for all the schools I got accepted to. What really motivated me to attend PC as opposed to other colleges were the cost, location, and small class sizes. Having just moved to the Central Valley, college costs were extremely worrying as it felt like I was spending money left and right, but Porterville College was extremely affordable – even as an out-of-state student. Instead of seeing $70k cost of attendance bills, it was only a few thousand, which made attending the school an obvious choice. Furthermore, they also helped me through the financial aid process to minimize my bill as much as possible!

Finally, the class sizes. One of my biggest concerns with going to a state school were the 200+ class sizes in huge auditoriums for an introductory level class, taught by a professor who couldn’t recognize one student from the next. At Porterville College, every instructor knows me by name, and genuinely wants me to succeed in their class. It’s such a welcoming environment that no state school could match.

What are you majoring in at PC and what career path do you have in mind?

As mentioned previously, I’m currently studying Mathematics and Computer Science. I chose these majors for their difficulty and their impact. I love tackling a hard problem and spending hours seeing what the most efficient solution is. Furthermore, you can use these tools that you learn in my majors to create REAL impact on the world! You could design the next biggest app, create infrastructure that millions of residents use yearly, help the human race reach intergalactic travel – truly the applications are limitless!

What are your hobbies and interests outside of school?

Besides just academics, I’ve been known to be a tree hugger for my love of nature and running. I spend any time possible at Sequoia or Yosemite. The entire experience of scaling a multi-thousand-foot mountain with your friends while messing around and enjoying yourselves brings me genuine joy and happiness that calls me back, one weekend after the next. I believe everyone should experience nature as often as possible, so they can see how beautiful the planet they live on is!

What are your plans after you finish at PC?

After graduating from Porterville College, my plans are to transfer to a UC to continue my study of Computer Science/Math. I aspire to get a Masters in one of these fields to push the bounds of what’s possible. After this, I hope to work in Silicon Valley to create products and services that better our lives!

PC Announces in-person Commencement, first Grad Fair for class of 2022

The last in-person commencement at PC’s Jamison Stadium was held in 2019.

Porterville College has announced that the commencement ceremony for the class of 2022 will once again be held in-person after a two year hiatus due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. In a letter from PC President Dr. Claudia Habib to graduating students, she states “I am delighted to report that this year, we will be honoring you and your families in an IN-PERSON Commencement Ceremony for the first time since 2019! The 2022 Commencement Ceremony will be held on Friday, May 13th, beginning at 7:00 pm inside PC’s Jamison Stadium. I can’t wait to see you all walk across that stage and become graduates!”

Due to the construction and upgrades project currently happening at the stadium, there will be limited seating for spectators this year. To accommodate this and ensure that everyone is able to invite family members, the college will provide six (6) spectator tickets to each graduate for guests to attend the event.

This year, PC will also hold the first “PC Grad Fair” on Wednesday, April 13th from 11:00am to 1:00pm. Scheduled to be held in the campus quad, this event will be a one-stop shop for all things commencement. Graduates will be able to order their cap and gown, take graduation portraits, pre-order event photo packages, and more.

Cerro Coso Community College

Coyotes Participate in Little League Opener

Little league – the opportunity for a community to create a local youth baseball program, built on life lessons, socialization, and sportsmanship that benefits the children and the adult volunteers who support those efforts.

Now practicing for several weeks, the Indian Wells Valley (IWV) Little League officially kicked off the baseball season on Saturday, March 13th with a fun and full day of festivities, including a complete slate of games.  Not even the threat of wind could dampen this first class show.

In a parade of players and coaches and a crowd of camera-clicking moms and dads the, Cerro Coso Baseball team was on hand to congratulate the players and wish them a successful season as they passed through the gauntlet of Coyotes.  Each team from every division was introduced, the players and coaches tipping their caps in proud acknowledgement before taking their place on the apron of the infield.    

It was a great day for parents too.  “It’s great to see everyone getting out and enjoying the fresh air and sports again,” said Outreach Director Katie Bachman.

Little League is a place where kids can have fun, and learn important life lessons.  It provides a sense of connection across generations, common ground between parent and child, and a reminder of what binds us together as a community and the source of our strength as a nation.  Cerro Coso plays an important role in serving as both mentors and supporters. 

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

A teacher.  A nurse. A rock star. An astronaut.  As a child your career aspirations are the stuff dreams are made of.  Secure in the knowledge that when you grow up you can be anything you want  to be.

To explore the intriguing connection between childhood career aspirations and adults’ chosen occupations, Cerro Coso participated in the Trona High School Career Day on March 18th.   The goal of Career Day is to help students understand the curriculum as it relates to specific, real-life job opportunities and a rewarding future.  The event provides students the opportunity to start thinking about their future, broadens their perspectives, and further motivates them to pursue productive careers.

Professor Vivian Baker, CTE Counselor Teri Hack, and Outreach Director Katie Bachman shared their job experiences and passion for the work they do.  The objective was to provide the students a relatable link to the real world, hands-on expertise, and concrete examples of how academics relates to future educational and occupational opportunities. 

A total of 29 organizations participated, and students, grade 5 through 12th, were able to listen to six different presentations.  Presenters included the following occupations: banking, law enforcement, probation department, veterinary care, nursing, heavy equipment operations, utilities technicians, teaching, fire program, photography, journalism, science and technology, EMT, and social services.

“Our students and staff really enjoyed having presents at our school.  I have been getting a lot of positive comments from students, staff, and parents,” said Ruth Soto, Trona High School counselor. 

What do you want to be when you grow up? The answer is right here in your own community, at CCCC the possibilities are endless.   

CCCC 48th Annual Commencement

Cerro Coso Community College will be hosting an in-person graduation in the gymnasium for the first time since 2019 on Friday, May 13th at 11 a.m.

Last year’s event was a unique scaled-down celebration, balancing safety and tradition.

This year Cerro Coso graduates will once again walk across the stage in the Gymnasium at the Raymond A. McCue Athletic Complex to receive their degrees in front of friends and family. 

“Throughout the pandemic our college community has come together to adjust and adapt our plans to prioritize the health and safety of our communities, and the same is true for commencement,” said President Sean Hancock.  “We have remained committed to honoring the achievements of our graduates, the Class of 2022, in person, on the campus many call home.”

The college’s Eastern Sierra College Center will hold their own in-person ceremony on Friday, May 6th in Bishop. 

The decision to host in-person events comes after the college considered current CDC and local health department protocols.

Bakersfield College

BC and CityServe Celebrate 13 Graduates of the Project HireUp Program

Bakersfield College and CityServe celebrated the graduation of 13 participants who successfully completed the program, earning one of three certificates in either Basic Office Skills, Basic Employability Skills, or Life Development. This is the 5th graduating cohort to successfully complete the Project HireUp program since its launch in 2020. 

Project HireUp is an innovative program combining community-based efforts, free education, and internship style employment, giving those in need the resources to change their lives. BC and CityServe launched Project HireUp alongside the County of Kern, the Mission at Kern County, M Street Navigation Center, and Adventist Health, with a pilot cohort of over 20 students. The students embarked on a 8-week journey to rediscover life skills, learn new ones, and engage in developing on-the-job-skills with entry level employment.

BC Professor Dr. Paula Parks Receives Prestigious Award

Dr. Paula Parks, Professor and Coordinator of the Umoja ASTEP Community, has been selected to receive the 2022 Stanback-Stroud Diversity Award by the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. This award was created to recognize an individual that is exceptional in their contribution to the advancement of intercultural harmony, equity and campus diversity at their academic institutions.

Dr. Parks will be honored at the 2022 Spring Plenary Session in April.

Congratulations Dr. Paula Parks on being recognized for your hard work and efforts that contribute to making Bakersfield College a positive academic environment for all students, faculty and staff. We are proud to have you as part of our BC team.

Valley Strong Energy Institute Hosting Energy Education Webinar

Join us for the next webinar in the Valley Strong Energy Institute’s Ag/Water/Energy Education Series, which is dedicated to keeping Central Valley residents informed on natural resources infrastructure and its impact on our daily lives. For this session, we’ll be talking about microgrids, which are self-sustaining energy systems designed to power large facilities using renewable energy. 

Featured speakers for this session include California Energy Commission Vice Chair Siva Gunda, Mojave Air and Spaceport CEO Todd Lindner, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory engineer Cecilia Klauber
To participate in this webinar, visit the registration link at bit.ly/AWEWebinar6.

Renegade Athletics Update

Over the last weekend, men’s tennis hosted the first annual Pfister Tournament.

Swimming competed at the WSC #2 meet this past Saturday at Cuesta College. The women finished 2nd overall while the men finished in 4th.

Softball won against College of the Canyons 2-0 on Tuesday and 10-1 against Glendale on Thursday. Currently, the team is 16-5 on the season and will be playing at home tomorrow (March 22nd) at 2:30PM.

Beach Volleyball competed in the conference opener and went 2-1. BC defeated Glendale 5-0 while Moorpark defeated BC 3-2.

Women’s History Month

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, I wanted to share with you a piece I had published in EdSource: “Heroic students who are also mothers deserve more support.

Community colleges are ‘success incubators’ for the marginalized. Seeing our student mothers and their needs clearly through data, through stories and through our commitment to meeting our basic goals indicates that investing in our student mothers, and especially student mothers of color, will produce great benefits to our society as a whole.

And to close out Women’s History Month, the Kern Community College District is hosting the third annual Women in Leadership forum, moderated by Senator Emeritus Jean Fuller and featuring panelists Martha Flores, Porterville Mayor; Wendy Avila, Kern Superior Court Judge; Brenda Lewis, CA Board of Education Member; and Karen Goh, Bakersfield Mayor.

The forum will be at 11:30 am at the Weill Institute on Tuesday, March 29 is sold out. However, you can join the livestream at bit.ly/WomenInLeadership2022.

In the News

Research continues on Artemis moon missions

Bakersfield College Astronomy Professor Nick Strobel‘s recent article in The Bakersfield Californian discussed the ongoing research into NASA’s Artemis program, which hopes to get humans back to the surface of the moon in the next 3-4 years. Currently, they are analyzing lunar samples brought back 50 years ago during the Apollo program.

“In an example of foresight uncommon today, NASA set aside a small amount of the samples for future research 50 years later, with the assumption that future generations of scientists and engineers would have developed more sophisticated analysis techniques and technology.

Nick Strobel

Green Side Up to kick off Castle Fire Restoration project

The Porterville Recorder published this article about the upcoming Castle Fire Restoration project. The “Green Side Up” project is hosted by the Rotary Club of Porterville, the Porterville Breakfast Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Woodlake and Foothill Rotary of Lindsay in partnership with the Sequoia National Forest, Porterville College and CAL FIRE. On April 30, volunteers will plant trees and kick off the Castle Fire Ecological Restoration project.

Celebration of life set for Bakersfield College professor Jack Hernandez

Jose Franco published this piece for KGET about the upcoming Celebration of Life planned for Jack Hernandez. Jack passed away in November. He was an English and philosophy professor and the Dean of Students at BC, before serving as Vice Chancellor of the Kern Community College District. He was also the founding director of the Levan Center.

A celebration of life is scheduled for April 1 at the Bakersfield College Campus Center Conference Room. Doors open at 4 p.m.

Sonya and Jack Hernandez.

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

Cerro Coso College posted about their Coyote Cupboard:

BC Rural Initiatives shared this post:

Congratulations to our amazing ENCORE Educational Advisor, Vikki Coffee, on being recognized today by Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services for her work and dedication to youth in our community.

Vikki was also previously recognized in February by the Transnational Aged Youth (TAY) Collaborative. #WeAreBC

I loved this throwback from BC Cheer about when they performed at Robobank with New Kids on the Block:


That’s a wrap for now.
See you next Saturday!

The future is bright at KernCCD.

a joyful and grateful Chancellor


Keeping our community healthy. We are BC!

Today, we pass a milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic. While the first US death was announced on February 29, 2020, later studies found that the first US death from COVID-19 was on February 6, 2020. Since then, over 450,000 people in the United States have died due to COVID-19.

It has been a harrowing year, but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as more and more people receive the vaccine.

This week, Bakersfield College was given official approval as a site to administer to COVID-19 vaccinations. The college is engaged in discussions with Kern County Public Health to develop plans to support the vaccination effort in Kern County. To prepare for our first shipment of the vaccine, BC staff members who will be on-site to assist members of the community at the clinic got their first doses of the vaccine. I received these photos of Zav Dadabhoy, Nicky Damania, and Steve Watkin getting vaccinated.

I also wanted to share this note from Zav:

“Nurse graduated from Bakersfield College. Said it was the best thing since sliced bread. Lots of praise for the program overall, specially for Lisa Harding. I learned something new today, don’t put hand sanitizer on a glove. It destroys the protection of the glove. Thanks BC nursing!”

Dr. Zav Dadabhoy, VP Student Affairs
Steve Watkin, Exec Dir of Outreach and School Relations

I am so excited that once again, BC can step up and offer support to a community that has always supported us. Here is a photo of Bill Kelly getting his vaccination. Thank you Prof. Deb Rosenthal for facilitating BC employees over 65 getting their vaccinations. I am collecting and sharing vaccination photos and videos so plz send me your photos/videos by emailing president@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

Bill Kelly, Faculty Emeritus

Our fantastic nursing faculty and students, BC’s pandemic heroes, have already been hard at work giving vaccines at various sites throughout Kern County.

Art professor David Koeth also sent in a photo from his sister-in-law Sharon Nold, who received her vaccine from a BC nursing student at the Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley Hospital drive-through last weekend:

And Nursing Department Chair Alisha Loken shared this post on her Facebook page about her nursing students giving out vaccines:

I’m so proud of our nursing students and faculty, who are continuing to work on the frontlines of this pandemic to keep our community healthy and safe!

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, February 6, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

Dr. Michael Saag Breaks Down the COVID-19 Vaccine

For our first President’s Virtual Seminar of 2021, we invited special guest Dr. Michael Saag, a dean of global health at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and a prominent researcher of infectious diseases, to educate the campus about vaccines. Dr. Saag answered questions from BC students Ian Spark (Pre-med) and Kassandra Sweeney (Public Health Sciences) about the human body’s immunization process, projections of how the COVID-19 vaccine rollout will expand over the next few months, and his personal experience with contracting COVID-19 in the early weeks of the virus. Dr. Charles Daramola gave a brief introduction of Dr. Saag’s accomplishments and answered questions from students and staff in online chat about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Today, I’d like to share one of Dr. Saag’s answers from the seminar. He talks about how long he thinks the vaccine rollout might take

You can find the rest of his videos, as well as other videos from our Virtual Seminar Series, on the COVID-19 Resources page.

An Appointment

I wanted a share another poem from Jack Hernandez:

An Appointment

When death left me
 in the waiting room
I ordered my usual coffee
read the morning news
as voices blathered
on the big screen
covering the wall
adjoining the locked
door I had entered
moments before.
I was unsure
when my appointment
was scheduled,
when death would diagnose
my exit,
I had heard
he could be blunt
or sadly soft.
Either way I thought
I’d look him in the eye,
smile, then say,
“I have lived well
and like the wind
I will always swirl
in memories
beyond your door.”

Zav Dadabhoy Presents at Immigration Legal Services Webinar

In addition to receiving the vaccine, Zav Dadabhoy spoke at a Chancellor’s office webinar about services for undocumented and immigrant students. Zav focused his comments around the importance of a creative supportive environment for undocumented students, integrating support for students across disciplines and service areas across the campus, and keeping the community informed about their immigration rights and opportunities to support their success.

Watch the full presentation from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office for more details about the Immigration Legal Services Project. Zav’s comments start around 47 minutes into the Zoom video.

Early College Administrators Convene to Celebrate Success and Discuss Future Opportunities

As you may have seen on Twitter, I welcomed 150 administrators and counselors from our Early College partners at a virtual convening hosted by our Outreach & Early College team last Friday. I was so happy to see some of our longtime partners there like Wonderful College Prep Academy, Wasco High School, Kern High School District, Delano Joint Union High School District, and McFarland High School Early College, as well as some of our newer partners like Garces Memorial High School, Taft Union High School, and Monache High School from Porterville. It amazes me how many high schools now offer entrances to our guided pathways through Dual Enrollment on their campuses, and how we continue to push forward on an exponential trajectory to keep expanding opportunities and access for all high school students all across Kern County.

The data shared during this meeting showed that our enrollment numbers for Dual and Concurrent Enrollment continued to increase through Spring 2020, Summer 2020, and Fall 2020. As the group planned for next school year, several representatives from BC shared about pathways opportunities through CTE, Title V- Health Sciences, Kinesiology, Public Safety Training, and more. It is amazing to see the high school and BC staff working together to continue bridging the gap between high school and higher education for all students, and I am excited to see our plans for Early College implementation continue to progress within each of our partnering districts.

The meeting closed with a preview of a new online platform, DualEnroll.com, that will replace our current Dual/Concurrent Enrollment form. With the constant growth in enrollments through Dual Enrollment and Concurrent Enrollment, this new platform will help to streamline the enrollment process for our high school students, their parents, and the high school sites.

Umoja Community starts Employment Prep Academy for Students Interested in Nursing

Umoja students and Dr. Parks talking with Dr. Michael Williams, COO of St. Joseph’s Hospital (A Dignity Hospital)

Umoja Community is partnering with Nursing and Job Placement to offer students an opportunity to be part of the newly established Umoja Employment Preparation Academy. We are so grateful to Morgan Clayton, president of Tel-Tec Security, for funding this program for a pilot group of five students.

Over the spring semester, the Umoja students will work with Venessa Reyes, education advisor, on planning their schedule and preparing to apply to the nursing program; with Dr. Ken Robinson, leadership consultant, on identifying their strengths and growing as a leader; with Vikki Coffee, Job Placement, on preparing a resume and identifying their career interests; with Dr. Paula L. Parks, Umoja English professor, on discussing Black Man in a White Coat; and with practitioners in the medical field. Many of the speakers are associated with Dignity Hospital, where Clayton is Chairman of the Board.

Dr. Michael Williams, the first African-American COO of St. Joseph’s Hospital, spoke with students this past week. He started his career in nursing, continued his education to earn a masters and doctorate, and over a period of 14 years moved up from bedside nurse to charge nurse, chief nurse, director, then COO.

“If you really put your mind to it, you can move up. You have to take your destiny in your own hands, get out of your comfort zone, and get the necessary experiences,” explained Williams, who combines his clinical knowledge and education with experience in project management, facilities, and budgets.

“What stuck with me,” said Alexis, “was that I need to get out of my comfort zone, ask for help, and seek challenges.”

Dr. Williams acknowledged the barriers he faced in becoming the hospital’s first Black administrator and encouraged students to advocate for themselves, ask others for advice, and earn the practical experience, degrees, and overall skill set for the position they want.

Upon completing the Employment Prep Academy, students will receive a scholarship and continue the following two semesters on-site at Dignity Health. Huge thanks to Morgan Clayton, Tel-Tec; Carla Gard, Nursing; Vikki Coffee, Job Placement; Dr. Ken Robinson, Umoja Advisory Board Member; and Dr. Paula L. Parks, Umoja Coordinator for making this opportunity possible for outstanding Umoja students.

CCRC Hosts Seminar on Costs of Guided Pathways

On Wednesday, February 3, I was a featured panelist at a nationwide panel on the costs of guided pathways. The panel, which was hosted by the Community College Research Center (CCRC), featured “Redesigning America’s Community Colleges” author Davis Jenkins, as well as Anthony Culpepper, a Vice President of Administrative Services at Glendale College who was instrumental in BC’s early implementation of the guided pathways model during his time as our Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services. The moderator was CCRC Senior Research Associate Hana Lahr, and Vice Chancellor of Finance and Facilities Planning Lizette Navarette talked about the statewide trends in pathways funding.

The forum centered around a technical report from the CCRC that examined the average increased costs for implementation of guided pathways at community colleges. The report concludes that a majority of the costs around guided pathways comes from hiring more advisors to be embedded within each of the learning and career pathways. All of the colleges in the study, which includes BC, are moving forward with guided pathways during the COVID-19 pandemic due to increased retention and graduation rates and making the colleges more efficient as a business.

You can check out the video below:

Opening Day Spring 2021

Today I’d like to share two more videos from our Opening Day Spring 2021 Programming, which took place January 12-14.

BCSGA President Gian Gayatao provided the traditional BCSGA President’s welcome:

And we took a look back at previous opening days:

You can find all the videos from our Spring 2021 Opening Day programming on the BC website.

In The News

Bakersfield Californian Tours Measure J Projects

Mike Giacomini gives Emma Gallegos and Alex Horvath of the Bakersfield Californian a tour of the Measure J construction projects.

The Bakersfield Californian visited the Panorama Campus on Monday to report on the latest developments with Measure J. Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Mike Giacomini led reporter Emma Gallegos and photographer Alex Horvath on a tour of the renovations in the Campus Center, the new Science and Engineering building and Memorial Stadium while answering questions about construction timelines, infrastructure, swing space and more.

Check out the photo gallery on the Bakersfield Californian website.

For more information about Measure J, visit the A Better BC website

Art Professor gets recognition

Joseph Tipay, Studio Art professor, was honored in Bakersfield Life Magazine. Readers were asked to nominate area educators who have gone above and beyond for their students during the pandemic.

Community Voices: Dr. Brijesh Bhambi

Dr. Brijesh Bhambi

Dr. Brijesh Bhambi penned this piece in the Bakersfield Californian, The Solution is Inside the Box.

Dr. Bhambi discusses the need to accelerate vaccination to make sure we are safe from COVID-19. He says that the easiest and fastest way to ensure the most people are vaccinated is to allow doctors and pharmacies to give the vaccine.

“Release the vaccine to doctors and pharmacies. Relationships there are underpinned by trust and familiarity. Patient records already exist. Compliance to guidelines should be encouraged, but thrust of vaccination has to be vaccination. We should resist the temptation to overthink. Sometimes the solution is inside the box.”

Dr. Bhambi and I have been having an online conversation about COVID-19, vaccinations, and other topics at our shared blog, https://bhambiandchristian.com/.

Spotted on Social Media

EMT Program Director Brett Burton was a guest on KNZR Talk Radio, on The Law with Tony Lee:

Check out the video:

BCSGA shared this inspiring quote:

The BC Library Instagram account shared this photo of Faith Bradham and Laura Luiz (thank you to Mindy Wilmot!):

Mary Jo Pasek shared this photo in support of Go Red Day for heart disease awareness:

Isabel Castenada shared this picture of a Bridge to BC planning session with Kimberly Bligh and Ashlea Ward:


Celebrating National Girls and Women in Sports Day

This last Wednesday, February 3rd was National Girls and Women in Sports Day. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the day which is meant to “Inspire girls and women to play and be active, to realize their full potential” – as stated on the Women’s Sports Foundation website. The day was meant to highlight the stories and paths of student athletes, coaches, administrators and lawmakers to provide equitable access to sports for all girls and women. These pictures are just a small sample of the many Renegade women we celebrate who have come through our campus to be an example and pave the way for future women’s opportunities in sports. We are proud of these women and celebrate their achievements both on the field and in life.


That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC – Building Unity, Peace, Harmony

To heal we must remember – President Biden

This week, our country got a new president and vice-president, as Joe Biden & Kamala Harris were inaugurated on Wednesday. I enjoyed seeing how young girls were reacting with excitement at our nation’s first female vice-president.

There was a moment during Wednesday’s ceremony that I particularly enjoyed. During Garth Brooks’ performance of “Amazing Grace,” he stopped for a singalong across the country.

“Now I’m going to ask you to sing this last verse with me – not just the people here, but the people at home, at work, as one, united.

Americans all across this great land, taking a moment to sing together regardless of political beliefs or disagreements or any of the things that have been dividing us. Americans joining together, if even just for a moment, to create music together.

How sweet the sound, indeed.

Another amazing moment was when the most remarkable young lady took the podium.

Amanda Gorman, our first National Youth Poet Laureate, recited her poem, “The Hill We Climb.” From social media this week, I know that many Americans joined me in stopping in awe at this young woman’s strong and impactful voice, and the power of her words.

"And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, January 23, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

BC Peace Project Update

During the ACCJC seminar series, “The Future of Learning,” David French, author of the book Divided We Fall, spoke on America’s polarization problem and the rising animosity between “political tribes.” This divergence paired with the events at our nation’s Capitol earlier this month, have led us to a critical moment — to the point of possibly being on the verge of destruction.

It is our sacred responsibility as leaders in higher education to develop the minds and hearts of our students. What we do, what we teach in our classrooms and the culture we create on our campuses is reflected in our community. We must then take the lead in tackling this division and creating more peaceful societies. Community colleges have a specific advantage in leading this charge as we teach the most diverse student bodies, providing fundamental knowledge and skills to be successful members of our communities.

BC Choir always building bridges — Convocation 2019. Thank you Dr. Jen Garrett.

The time is now, and we can no longer wait to start building bridges. We began the implementation of our Peace Garden Project last fall and will be working hard over the next year to further address polarization within our community and country at large. We will update you on the work we are doing and hope that as a community we can come together to create a space of learning and understanding along the way. Thank you Dr. Naina Patel for bringing this project to Bakersfield College.

Vaccinations rolling out in Kern County

I am happy to see vaccinations rolling out in Kern County. Let’s listen to Dr. Brij Bhambi on the Richard Beene Radio Show https://soundcloud.com/louis-amestoy/dr-brij-bhambi-getting-the-second-dose-of-the-vaccine-is-important-for-maximum-protection

Also, if you have not signed up for the Bhambi and Christian blog, you probably should. https://bhambiandchristian.com/

Sonya Christian and Brij Bhambi

BC Presents at Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workgroup

On Tuesday, Maria Wright was invited to speak to the mentoring subgroup of the Chancellor’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Implementation Workgroup. The group included Trustees representatives throughout the state. Maria leads our Faculty Mentoring Fellowship Program, which focuses on recruiting graduate students interested in teaching in a community college. Fellows are paired with a faculty mentor that helps them establish a rich network of support to help fellows succeed in and out of the classroom.

Stay tuned for the expansion of this program!

MLK Community Awards Celebration 

BC was honored to once again sponsor the MLK Community Awards Celebration which aired Monday on Fox 58. If you missed it, see the article from the Observer News Group: 26th Annual Rev. Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. Community Awards Breakfast Held Virtually – Observer News Group (ognsc.com)

Community Voices: Jack Hernandez

On Thursday, I read this piece by Jack Hernandez in the Bakersfield Californian.

He reflects on what it’s like to grow older and realize that many of the things you do and say are becoming “out of date” – but he notes that’s not always a bad thing. While we may lament when the clothes we wear or the words we use are no longer considered cool, or when we’re no longer utilizing the latest technology – there are beliefs and policies from our collective past that we should be glad are out of date, and some things we can all appreciate will never go out of style:

So, it so happens that all becomes out of date, except that one thing: love for others, out of date or not.

Opening Day 2021

We just finished the first week of the Spring 2021 semester. Last week, I shared with you a sneak peak from our Opening Day celebration on January 12-14. Today, I’ll begin sharing videos from our three days of production.

On Tuesday, we opened with our traditional Photo Roll looking over the past semester:

We also had a welcome from our emcees – Todd Coston, Norma Rojas-Mora, Manny Mourtzanos, and Reggie Bolton:

I will be posting more of the videos over the coming weeks. You can also see all the videos at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/president/opening-week-spring-2021.

Renegade Fitness

Fitness trainer Casey Babcock is hosting a Renegade Virtual Fitness clinic every weekday of the Spring 2021 semester to help students and staff keep themselves healthy during another predominately online semester.  The first session of Spring 2021 started on January 19, and Renegade Virtual Fitness will continue Monday through Friday from noon to 1 p.m. until May 7.

Renegade Virtual Fitness is hosted by BCSGA on Zoom, Facebook Live, Twitter, Twitch and YouTube.

Spotted on Social Media

Bill Moseley‘s kids honored our new vice-president:

Kalina Hill shared a beautiful sunrise:

The Jones Art Gallery shared this piece of artwork by Maia Pankey from Bakersfield High School. It was part of the Panorama Invitational 2020:

Sondra Keckley’s cat enjoyed a cozy nap:

Jennifer Garrett & the BC Chamber Singers had a virtual spring retreat:

Matt Andrasian-Jones continued his Discern & Draw series with a bobby pin alligator:


Mhango Headed to Ohio Dominican Univeristy

We are proud to announce that Men’s Soccer student athlete Mubelele Mhango is moving on to play soccer and attend school at Ohio Dominican University. Mhango played for Men’s Soccer Coach Vayron Martinez for the 2019 season and scored a total of five goals.

Mhango was a fun player to watch on the pitch and we can’t wait to see what he accomplishes in the future!


That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Big week for America, big week for BC — Merry Christmas all

A big week for America. Vaccines roll out across our country

Dr. Eisha Christian, receives her vaccine.

Definitely a tear-filled moment when I received this photo from my daughter … pretty special young woman.

On Monday, Dec 14th, Gavin Newsom traveled to LA to be present when the first Californian, Helen Cordova, a nurse at Kaiser Pemanente received the vaccine.

On Thursday, the first vaccines administered in Bakersfield were given to some of our own front-line health care workers, including Dr. Brij Bhambi of the Bakersfield Heart Hospital. And if you have not signed up for our blog, plz do so at https://bhambiandchristian.com/

Dr. Brijesh Bhambi was among the first to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in Bakersfield.

But it is still important that we remain vigilant in maintaining our pandemic safety. While the vaccine has arrived and those at highest risk have begun receiving it, there is still a long road before everyone will be able to be vaccinated. Do you want to know when your turn will be up…. check out the graphic below.

You can get an idea of your own place in line using the online Vaccine Calculator Tool.

So please – know that hope is here and the end is in sight, but continue to wear your mask and maintain social distancing to keep us all protected until we all are able to be vaccinated.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, December 19, 2020 … a great day to be a Renegade.

Let me help you start this holiday season with music from our choir from the last several years when they did the Culinary and Caroling dinner event. Plus I loved that Jack and Eileen Pierce did a family caroling program this year to spread some good Christmas cheer. Relax with some hot chocolate and sink into this glorious music.

The Pierce family spreading Christmas cheer:

CARE/CalWORKs Holiday Celebration

Thanks to the generosity of BC staff, faculty and community members, over seventy-five CARE/CalWORKs students received gifts for their children in the mail this past week. All donors received the following thank you video.

Outreach and Early College Get Into the Holiday Spirit

The Outreach and Early College team got into the holiday spirit at their virtual holiday party! The team played games, exchanged white elephant gifts, and even had an ugly Christmas sweater competition. The highlight of the party was a game in which each person had 5 minutes to prepare a holiday themed snack. The team member then presented their holiday snack and 3 judges assigned scores. You can check out the winner of the holiday snack challenge in the picture below! The team also took a holiday photo opportunity to show off their festive holiday attire.

 The Outreach and Early College team want to wish the entire BC family a joyous and happy holiday season!

Executive Office Holiday Fun

Our Executive Office team also got into the holiday spirit this week during our Zoom meeting.

I especially loved Catherine Rangel‘s background, where she made our Vice President of Student Affairs,
Zav Dadabhoy (and huge Green Bay Packers fan), into a Raiders-supporting Elf on the Shelf.

Winter Campus Closure & Spring 2021

Bakersfield College’s operational winter closure will begin Monday, December 21, 2020, and offices will remain closed through Friday, January 1, 2021. Services will resume regular operating hours on Monday, January 4, 2021. 

But don’t worry, our Student Information Desk will be open for limited hours on select dates to continue to assist students during the closure. Staff will be available December 21-23 and 28-30 from 10AM to 2PM.

Returning and new students are encouraged to connect for assistance with enrolling for the spring 2021 semester. Enrollment is now open and courses begin the week of January 16, 2021.

Visit the Student Information Desk!

And check out these great new offerings at BC – don’t forget, you can connect with the Student Information Desk to sign up!

Spring Back To College 

Project HireUp has added a couple more no-cost skills certificates for this Spring! Basic Internet Skills, Customer Relations, and Digital Marketing for Small Business will be offered this spring. All courses are offered online and run 2-4 weeks, 4-5 hours per day.

Learn more at Back To College.

President’s Virtual Forum: PSYCB61 NC

This week, we had the last President’s Virtual Forum of the semester. On Wednesday, we heard about a new non-credit course offering, PSYC B61NC: Psychological Resilience Skills Training. This new course will help all employees have the mental capacity tools needed when confronted with traumatic and stressful events.

We heard from Helen Acosta, Rich McCrow, David Riess, and Isaias Hernandez. You can see all their videos on the COVID-19 Resources page on the BC website.

Here’s a clip from Isaias Hernandez:

3 Renegades Picked for Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center Internmatch Program

This semester, the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center selected three Bakersfield College Renegades to join a group of students currently enrolled at various Central Valley California Community Colleges to participate in the Internmatch program. Congratulations to Isabel Alcocer, Grisel Martinez, and Felipe Nebesyj!

The opportunity is organized by Alese Campbell, Central Valley and Mother Lode Regional Director of Employer Engagement Business and Entrepreneurship. In collaboration with Campbell, several Bakersfield College students have already participated in this internship for two consecutive semesters.

Norma Rojas-Mora Featured in COVID-19 Task Force Videos

BC Community Relations Director Norma Rojas-Mora has been featured in several videos encouraging Bakersfield residents to practice social distancing. The campaign is part of the Kern County Latino COVID-19 Task Force, a partnership between Kern County Public Health and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The task force also launched a health and wellness hotline this week to help individuals dealing with COVID-related stress. Proud of the work you are doing Jay Tamsi.

In addition to being featured in the 30-second ad spot, Norma also made a testimonial in Spanish for the partnership.

A Better BC: Photos from Measure J

On Thursday, December 10, Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Mike Giacomini and Food Service Manager Fidel Cabuena went through a socially-distanced tour of the new Campus Center, Science and Engineering building, and the second phase of renovations to Memorial Stadium. Earl Parsons collected photos of the tour, and the full gallery is available to view on Smugmug.

For more information about the progress of our Measure J projects, please visit the A Better BC website.

Here are some highlights from the tour:

A painter puts the first layers of coating on the BC sign
Fidel Cabuena and Mike Giacomini pose at the third floor of the new Campus Center
The construction crew is busy at work putting the finishing touches on the third floor convention hall,
which will have a full catering kitchen built in.

An exterior view of the Campus Center coming from the Library.

Spotted on Social Media

Matt Jones shared a new art project he’s working on called Daily Discern & Draw using everyday objects:

Sondra Keckley has a cozy view of her fireplace:

The Student Success & Equity Team, Kara McDonald, Abraham Castillo, Isabel Castaneda, Maria Wright and Stephanie Vega had some fun with Lesley Bonds:

The Jones Art Gallery also shared some great art this week. This piece is from the Panorama Invitational. It was created by Savannah Rosas of Foothill High:


BC Athletics Nike Team Store

BC Athletics Nike Team Store

BC Athletics has launched the Nike Renegade Team Store in conjunction with Eastbay, their team uniform supplier.

To access the store click the image or the link below. Items available for purchase include T-shirts, Long-Sleeves, Polo’s, Hoodies, Sweatshirts and more in both men’s and women’s sizes.

Now is the time to show your Renegade pride and get that piece of Nike BC Renegade team gear you’ve always wanted. The store is open from now until Jan. 1, 2021. Items will ship once the store closes.

All proceeds from sales will directly benefit BC Athletics.

BC Athletics Nike Team Store: https://eastbaystore.com/OFTS8558

Check out some of the merchandise below:

Coach Brett Clark Steps Down

This last week our Head Wrestling Coach, Brett Clark announced that he is stepping down from his position leading the program to pursue opportunities to teach and coach out-of-state. Coach Clark has been a constant strength for the program the last seven years as his teams have won three conference titles and he was named conference coach of the year each of those three seasons as well.

After being a BC student athlete in the 90’s, Coach Clark returned to campus as both an assistant and then head wrestling coach to guide and mentor countless Renegade student athletes, with many of them going on to win individual conference and state championships.

We are sad to see such a good coach leave the Renegade family, but we wish Coach Clark and his family all the best in their new endeavors.

As always, Go Gades!

Best buddies Neo & Bessie:


That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever