Tag Archives: Camilla Chavez

Providing pathways to the future and building a better BC

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, July 23rd and I woke up to a wonderful piece by Jeff Evans in The Bakersfield Californian above the fold.  Indeed, a wonderful day to be a Renegade.

Here is an fuzzy image of the article taken on my iphone.  For the entire web version check out http://tinyurl.com/h2f79wy.  There is also a 15-minute video segment of Louis Amestoy interviewing Jeff Evans on the gymnasium and other athletics facilities that are on the BC facilities needs list.  Note this is a “needs list” not a “wish list”.  I particularly appreciated the comment that these facilities serve all of our students and not just our student athletes.

Jeff Evans Californian July 23 2016

 

The “Athletics facilities” is only one project of the numerous facilities needs on this 60 year old campus on 153 acres with over 30 buildings.  80% of the projects are capital improvements focusing on buildings where we have instruction in Math, Science, Agriculture, Humanities, etc. For the entire project list check out www.abetterbc.com.

The college faculty and staff have been focused on student success for over a century, and in the last three years have particularly focused on connecting with students when they are still in high school and gearing them up for college and the workforce.  Approximately 80% of BC’s students are first in their families to go to college, so the faculty and staff take the time to be their guides and their coaches as these first-time students learn to navigate college and learn how to be learners and gain the skills to enter the workforce.  Nick Strobel describes it well in about 500 words in his Community Voices piece on Wednesday, July 20th in The Bakersfield Californian.

Nick compared our new pathways initiative to the GPS in a car. Just as a GPS will help you get back on track if you make a wrong turn, the pathways we are creating can help guide students through life events that may “knock them off the college path.”

Nick Strobel July 20 2016

This is such an exciting initiative, and I am so happy that BC was one of just 30 colleges chosen to be part of the AACC Pathways Project.

Nick’s piece is online at http://www.bakersfield.com/news/opinion/2016/07/20/a-road-for-community-college-students-bc-s-gps.html.

So you see dear community members, BC meets students where they are and provides incredible opportunities for them to find their calling, whether in athletics, the arts and humanities, social sciences or in math and science.  What our faculty do for our students is nothing short of incredible.

Eisenhower Fellowship

Here’s a note I received from a talented Bakersfield College student:

My name is Rey Fernandez, a mechanical engineering major. From Fall 2015 to early Spring 2016, I had the opportunity to be one of the Dwight Eisenhower recipients because of the MESA program. This research opportunity exposed me to the transportation field, and taught me the role of engineers in the Transportation Research Board. Attending this TRB Conference in Washington D.C. gave me a lot of professional experiences.

I just want to thank you for bringing this research opportunity to MESA students last year, and again, for this upcoming year.

Washington DC.jpg

 

Former BC student featured on SiriusXM

Brandon McNaughton—who is from Bakersfield, attended BC, and received his BS in Physics from CSUB—was featured on SiriusXM in February.

He was interviewed for 30 minutes by Steve Blank on “Entrepreneurs Are Everywhere” about his biotech company, and the importance of understanding customer needs when developing a product or solution. The episode can be heard via SiriusXM on Demand.  Here is a link http://tinyurl.com/jyvzg9l

His company, Akadeum Life Sciences, is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has developed a new method to separate individual cells from biological samples, such as blood. He is also one of the 100 stars of Bakersfield College. A proud Renegade!

Here are some previous blog posts highlighting our faculty and staff and what they do to create a wonderful learning environment for our students.

April 3, 2015: Levan Center: St. John’s Lecture. Greg Schneider and The Brothers Karamazov

https://bcpresidentblog.com/2015/04/03/levan-center-st-johns-lecture-greg-schneider-and-the-brothers-karamazov/

September 1, 2014: Arts and Humanities:

https://bcpresidentblog.com/2014/09/01/arts-and-humanities/

June 22, 2015: BC faculty and staff are rock stars

https://bcpresidentblog.com/2015/06/22/middle-schoolers-lead-the-way/

Speaking of our amazing faculty and staff,  let me tell you about a project that has surfaced this summer among a small group.  The idea is to get students to do their homework at the college in a structured environment so that they develop the habits of learning.  Being disciplined, persevering with their school work etc.  Just amazing dedication and commitment from the faculty!  I got to hang out with some of them.  Here are photos to prove it 🙂

 

Thank you all for your work.  A special shout out to Eileen Pierce, Kim Arbolante, Maria Wright, Kate Pluta, Stephen Waller, and Isabel Castaneda as well as Kimberly Bligh and Erica Menchacha who piloted Ac Dev 72 in the spring.

Political Leaders and their connections to BC.

kevin-mccarthy-sonya-christian-art-gentry-may-6-2016Regardless of your political views and affiliation, it is truly inspirational to consider what leadership and strength blossoms from our own backyard – Bakersfield, Kern County, and of course, at Bakersfield College. House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, took the stand on Tuesday evening to address the convention attendees and the nation, but Mr. McCarthy’s road to becoming the successful and influential political figure he is today, is one that began in our hometown.

He enrolled at BC after high school, opened a little local sandwich shop named Kevin O’s Deli, and earned a degree from CSUB. As his interest in politics peaked, he volunteered to clip newspapers in the office of Rep. Bill Thomas, to gain insight and learn from a fantastic role model.

Congressman Bill Thomas also has roots at BC – from beginnings as a political science faculty at BC to chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, there is so much to say about Bill that’s inspirational. We are so fortunate to have him as the senior advisor to our Blue Ribbon Committee and as a friend and supporter of Bakersfield College.

Mayor Harvey Hall is not shy to share his love of BC and he details his relationship in an article published on Bakersfield.com regarding the recent bond measure announcement.

Senator Jean Fuller, another political leader, earned her AA degree at Bakersfield College in 1970. After more than 30 years as an educator and Superintendent of Bakersfield City School District, sh e was elected in 2006 and “immediately recognized as a leader by her colleagues and has used her administrative experience to make impactful decisions that focus on increased efficiency and accountability.” (Source)

Our first female mayor, Mary K. Shell, also attended BC and continues to support Bakersfield College today. During the time of her retirement, the Bakersfield Californian even referred to her as “the most popular politician in Kern County history.” We are so lucky to have insightful and influential political leaders likes these and many others, including Rudy Salas, Andy Vidak, and Shannon Grove.

The people of Bakersfield and BC students, past and present, continue to make a difference in our community, state, and nation. I can’t wait to see what our current students have in store for the future of our country.

Latina Leaders

Last Saturday, July 16th, BC was present in full force at the Latina Leaders banquet.

This is my second year attending the event and I am even more impressed by the work they do. For more information check out their website at http://kernlatinas.com/.  Congratulations to ISABEL BRAVO, LOURDES VARGAS NILON, and GABRIELA MELLO on their recognition.

 

Norma Rojas Mora the president of Latina Leaders is a remarkable woman who in on our Bakersfield College Foundation Board of Directors and she is also the co-chair of the Community Connections group and the Blue Ribbon Committee on the Bakersfield College bond measure.

Here are the Bakersfield College folks who attended: Isabel Casteneda, Evette Lara, Janet Tarjan, Maria Wright, Paul Beckworth.  Thank you Karen Goh for the photos.  You are a good friend of Bakersfield College.

Check out my post from last year’s Latina Leaders banquet when Lisa Kent and Camilla Chavez were among the recipients of the leadership award.
https://bcpresidentblog.com/2015/07/12/somos-el-colegio-de-bakersfield/ 

 

Staff Retreats

IMG_2082

Summers at Bakersfield College involve less instructional time, which gives the staff and administrators an opportunity to meet for one-day on-campus retreats. These provide a foundation for fostering positive connections, critical planning, and preparing our teams to better support the needs of the faculty and students.

Entertaining themes for these retreats keep everyone refreshed as group activities, informational talks, and fun competitions re-energize and re-focus everyone for a new academic year.

Check out more photos from our summer retreats at https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/2016-Retreats/.

It’s hard to believe – we are beginning to count down the days until opening day of Fall 2016!

Here is a picture of my Cabinet during our retreat in June.

Cabinet June 2016 1.jpg

Sonya and Maggie July 23 2016

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya ….. with Maggie who is visiting for two days.

A community together

 

Calla Lily June 4 2016

A calla lily for you

Good evening Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, June 4, 2016…the day the community came together at St. Francis to celebrate the life of Tharrell Ming, a diehard driller and a Renegade.  The church was packed by the time I got there at 10:53 a.m. for the 11:00 a.m. mass and they had already run out off the stack of booklets.  I spotted Coach Jeff Chudy, Trustee Kay Meek at the service and noticed that Carl Bowser‘s name led the list of honorary pall bearers followed by  Don James, TH Lockard, Bob Millinich, Bob Morton, Richard Russell, Sid Thompson, Gene Toschi, Rick Twisselman.

 

Bakersfield is a great community and as I am writing this blog, unusually at the end of the day instead of the beginning, I see the burst of flowers in the backyard and the burst of yellow from the calla lily. So here is a calla lily for you, my community, for all that you do on a daily basis to support each other and support the students at BC.

Tharrell Dean Ming June 4 2016 Booklet

Now, back to Tharrell Ming…..Monsignor Craig Harrison was his usual remarkable self, funny, warm, comforting and efficient with the mass.  We are blessed to have  Father Craig (as he is warmly referred to) in our community.  The music was minimal and powerful and here are two songs that I listened to throughout the rest of the day.  And whatever your religious leanings or non-religious leanings for that matter, I am sure these two songs will move your spirit and soul as it did mine sitting with hundreds of community members this morning at St. Francis.

Shephard me O God with acoustic guitar on youtube.com

I googled the musical composition of Psalm 23 and learned from the United Methodist Church website that Marty Haugen had composed the haunting melody for the lyrics.  For more on Marty Haugen, check out:

http://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-shepherd-me-o-god

How Great Thou Art.  Maybe this is a non-traditional approach to have the Elvis version here in my blog.  But here I go…..

Here’s to a great Renegade, Tharrell Ming.

I started my day early today preparing for a morning meeting with the two Vice Presidents, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Zav Dadabhoy, of Bakersfield College at Starbucks.  There were a few things that came up that required this early morning meeting on a Saturday during summer.  I know…. crazy…. but that’s what faculty and staff do at BC!  The talent, commitment and dedication of faculty, staff and administrators at the college is just remarkable.  We are…BC! It is a good time to be at BC!

Nan Sonya Zav FM EDIT

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sonya Christian, Zav Dadabhoy

Here are a few highlights from the week:

 

Transfer Award from College Opp June 2 2016

Beebe, Koeth, Christian, Pluta, Siqueiros

BC wins an award for transfer degrees.
Earlier this month we received an email from the President of the Campaign for College Opportunity, Michele Siqueiros, that Bakersfield College was one of 13 community colleges in the state being recognized for the growth in the number of transfer degrees.  The event was held in Sacramento in June 2nd, Thursday, and the BC team that headed north to receive the award included: Trustee Dennis Beebe, Dean of Instruction Kate Pluta and Faculty member David Koeth.

 

 

The Bakersfield Group at College Opp awards June 2 2016

Beebe, Chavez, Koeth, Huerta, Christian, Pluta

The Campaign for College Opportunity is a group dedicated to advancing the educational attainment levels in California by impacting policy at the state level.  The staff are great.  A special thank you to Michele Siqueiros, President; Audrey Dow, Vice President, External Affairs and Operations; Linda Vasquez, Regional Affairs Director. For more check out their website at http://collegecampaign.org/.

 

Here is a picture with the group from Bakersfield that included Dolores Huerta who received a lifetime achievement award and her daughter Camilla Chavez. Congratulations Dolores!

We also connected with Connie Conway, a wonderful member of the Board of Governors for California Community Colleges and now a member of the Board of Directors of the Campaign for College Opportunity.  Also, the fabulous Dean Florez, who is an advocate for education and in particular Bakersfield College.

Dean Florez Connie Conway Dennis Beebe June 2 2016

Dean Florez, Connie Conway, Dennis Beebe

Thank you Trustee Beebe for making this long trip to support BC receiving the award.  It is always wonderful to have our Board members celebrating with us.

In the Bakersfield Californian:

The piece on Corny Rodriguez which was in the Bakersfield Magazine was published in the June 2nd issue of the Californian along with Odella Johnson’s piece on BC’s promising professionals.

I loved the opening by Laura Liera about Corny

On his 10th birthday, Cornelio Rodriguez was picking strawberries in Artesia during the early hours of the morning instead of making a birthday wish. He spent summers picking okra in Indio and Coachella and was even driving his dad’s gardening truck by the age of 12.

 

Here is another excerpt from the article:

But after a conversation with his dad, a visit to the career center led to the applications of Cerritos College, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Long Beach, UCLA and USC.

It was a Tuesday when the first college acceptance letter came in. Rodriguez was accepted to USC.

“I got scared because we were so poor and I couldn’t afford to go,” Rodriguez remembered. “I was panicking because I thought I had gotten my family into trouble.”

The next day, the UCLA acceptance letter arrived.

“I said, ‘Dear Lord, now I have to go to TWO colleges?’” Rodriguez said.

 

Check out the Californian: http://tinyurl.com/ztwbxva

Promising Professionals:

This is a must-read piece written by Odella Johnson.  Johnson writes about the Promising Professionals and highlights the story of two students — Tamika Narvaez and Linda Esquivel. She writes about Tamika

Students like Tamika Narvaez, a mother of eight who survived abuse and arrived on campus to complete the requirements to transfer, demonstrates how BC delivers student initiatives that allow them to take critical next steps, which result in positive academic outcomes.

and Linda:

Linda Esquivel, a local graduate of South High School and a first- generation college student, left the community to attend San Francisco State University in fall 2013 and, after a semester, left to attend Bakersfield College for financial reasons. Believing that she would not fit in, she felt frustrated and uncertain about the next steps in her journey; however, when she became a student ambassador/ Promising Professional, she admitted that “BC made my future possible,” so with a renewed spirit, Esquivel’s next steps include attending a predoctoral program at the University of Michigan and Penn State this summer.

Johnson ends the article with:

Narvaez and Esquivel’s diversity as students is our strength and we recognize their potential. They embody the spirit of Promising Professionals – students who have passion and purpose.

Kristen Barnes Philanthropy-MattersFor more: http://tinyurl.com/h74g7np

On June 2nd, Kristen Barnes, CEO of Kern Community Foundation and a great partner of BC wrote a wonderful Community Voices piece–Philanthropy Matters: Growing Scholarships, Growing Futures.  Here is an excerpt:

Scholarships close the funding gap students experience. They are one way to provide critical financial support for students – to help make higher education a reality. In many cases, the financial assistance provided by scholarships is a key factor. Gifts for scholarships help students to invest their energies more fully in their course work and pursue internships and leadership opportunities that enrich their personal development and career preparation.

For more, check out http://tinyurl.com/jg47rwq

 

Misono Christian FM EDIT

Misono and Christian

At Rotary West
On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to visit the Bakersfield West Rotary Club. The club went all out with BC colors for the table decorations and traditional “flying saucer” cookies that have been a staple on BC’s campus for  decades.

 

Local CPA and BC alum Fred Misono hosted the meeting in West Rotary President Roger Griess’ absence, keeping the event light and funny.

I was able to give a brief history of the College and recount some of our recent accomplishments. Jay Rosenlieb shared the podium as a member of BC’s Blue Ribbon Committee that is working on a facilities initiative for the college — A Better BC 2016…2066.  This initiative, if approved by the KCCD Board of Trustees in July, could becomes a bond measure on the November 2016 election.  Thank you Jay for taking the time to co-present with me. Check out the the website at http://www.abetterbc.com/

I must say that this is a fun club.  There is a lot of teasing back and forth and great camaraderie and fellowship.  At the end of the presentation, all about Bakersfield College, President Misono presents me with a Taft College T-shirt 🙂 I attempt to get away but he was too quick for me.

 

Acting President Misono made the day very special for Bakersfield College.  He then followed up with the photos and wonderfully warm and fun emails after the meeting. Thank you Russell Johnson, John Pryor, John Fallgatter and others at Bakersfield West for your support.  Rick Kreiser, thank you for that great introduction and your service to the Bakersfield College Foundation for so many years.  You are the best! and thank you Tom Gelder, for getting BC on the agenda.

Kreiser Christian Gelder FM edit JUN16.jpg

Rick Kreiser, Sonya Christian, Tom Gelder

Honoring Our Veterans on Memorial Day:

1000Flags2Last weekend, I hope you had a chance to stop by and walk around Riverwalk Park or at least drive by to catch a glimpse of the incredible view. Memorial Day is regularly celebrated on the last Monday of May thanks to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, but did you know its roots go back to 1868 when the day was originally known as Decoration Day?  “On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery” (History.com).

It’s always humbling to reflect on the sacrifice that so many men and women have made and continue to make for the United States and her people. The Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary Club (BBRC) is a group of local community members who through their leadership and friendship, get things done in our community and for the past few years, they have lead a project of planting one thousand flags at Riverwalk Park over Memorial Day weekend.

Volunteers, sponsors, and the BBRC make this annual event, including activities and formal ceremonies at the park possible. What a great way to be reminded of our freedom, liberty, and justice thanks to our courageous service men and women.  Liz Rozell, Mary Jo Pasek, Marlene, Heise, Cheryl Scott and others at BBRC, you did a fantastic job!

I would also like to share an email I received from Paul Beckworth, our veterans faculty lead at Bakersfield College. He sent this last Monday – Memorial Day:

AdminPaulBeckworth

Paul Beckworth

Memorial Day Message 2016

The warrior-poet, King David, wrote, “Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.”  This quote may sound familiar to any fan of the Tom Hanks, World War II epic, Saving Private Ryan.  It is quoted in earnest by the in-residence sniper, Pvt. Jackson, during a pivotal scene in the film.  Inevitably, most of the cast is killed off, as was our popcorn.  However, we know life is not a movie and memories of comrades lost do not go away when the lights go on.

So, what of Memorial Day?  What of those men and women whose hands were taught to war and fingers to fight, who lie still in the ground on this warm May evening?  This is not about the history of Memorial Day.  You can go look that up on Wikipedia.  But, what of those who we remember and honor today?  Today, we see the aged World War II and Korean War veterans, canes in hand, gait a bit unsteady, but minds sharp when recalling battlefields of another time.  Today, they see the friends they lost on those battlefields.  Today, we see 28 year-old OIF/OEF veterans with physical and emotional scars of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Today, they see their lost friends buried at Arlington or the Bakersfield National Cemetery.  Today, we see tatted up, motorcycle riding, leather vest, patch wearing, Vietnam veterans who speak of Tet, and of Khe Sanh.  Today, they see lost buddies who did not get the due deserved them thanks to a divided nation and a callous youth population who called them baby killers.

Today is not about the bullet that barely missed its mark.  Today is about the person whose bullet that found its’ mark.  Today is about the forever young sailor who drowned on the USS Indianapolis, or was killed on the destroyer escort USS Samuel B. Roberts, while fighting toe to toe with Japanese battleships in what became known as the “Last stand of the tin can sailors.”  Today is about the Rangers killed taking Point du Hoc on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and the airborne paratrooper of the 101st or 82nd who never made it out of his chute alive.  Today is about the 1,170 corpsman killed during World War II, often cut down while responding to the blood curdling cry of “Corpsman up!”  Today is about the Marine who never left Guadalcanal, Saipan, Tinian, Iwo Jima, or Okinawa.  Today is about the pilots who never returned to the airfield, or the submariners who are now on “eternal patrol.”  Today is about the young Coastie who maneuvered his landing craft on to the battered shores of Sicily, Salerno, and Anzio only to stay ashore forever.

Today we remember.  We memorialize the “Frozen Chosin” dead who were carefully carried out by the living rather than being left behind in the rugged mountains of North Korea.  Today is about those killed on countless hills in Korea, so numerous to count they were simply numbered by height.  Today is about those who fell defending the Pusan Perimeter, and those who never left the beaches of Inchon.

Today is about those that this country dishonored in so many ways that it is a stain on the honor of this nation.  Today is about those nearly 60,000 Americans killed in Vietnam.  Today is about those who did not evade the draft, but answered to the nation’s call, despite often not understanding what that call was all about.  Today is about those were cut down in the hot, steamy, jungles and in the highlands, in Hueys and in huts.  Today is not about those who were cursed at when they returned home but about those who were cursed at, despite never making it home.

Today is about Cold War warriors who died doing special operations and of Gulf War warriors, whose deaths were few, yet nonetheless paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Today is about Fallujah Marines who are now at Arlington or other national cemeteries.  Today is about those who never left the Triangle of Death.  Today is about the Helmand Province men who are finally still.

The warrior-poet wrote King David wrote, “A thousand fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.”  Today is about the thousand who fell at the left side and the ten thousand who fell at the right hand.  So, today, let us, the living, be comforted and know that those whose hands were taught to fight are at rest.  Today, let us, the living, be comforted and know that today and for eternity, those who fingers were made to war are finally at peace.

Let us remember.