Tag Archives: Chief Lyle Martin

Gearing Up for Spring 2018

Good morning from Portland Oregon.
Gorgeous sunrise.

Sunrise in Portland Jan 7 2018

Portland Jan 6 2018.jpg

Enjoying the  fresh air after a bout of rain…. 52 degrees… a beautiful day in Oregon and a great day to be a Renegade.

Portland 2 Jan 6 2018


Last week, across campus, the hustle and bustle signaled the gearing up for Spring 2018. Every office and every department is excited to welcome students back to our hallways and classrooms.

Let me start by bragging about some serious talent we have at BC.  This week, I worked on a video project with Manny de Los Santos, Monika Scott, Jennifer Serratt, and Dylan Wang.  Just great creative talent, all working together to get a great product.

Jennifer Serratt, Monika Scott, Manny de los santos Jan 4 2018.jpg

Talent in action

Welcome Center is Gearing Up

The Welcome Center at BC is getting ready for a busy week of helping students last minute to register for classes. Next week on Tuesday and Wednesday, from 9AM to 5PM, everyone is encouraged to come by the BC Welcome Center for help to register for the classes you need for Spring 2018.

Steve Watkin Welcome Center Fall 2017

My Favorite restaurant featured in the Californian

I shared my excitement almost exactly a month ago that Felix Adamo stopped by to take some photographs during a lunch meeting at Don Perico. I loved sharing in my blog post that Felix was a student photographer for the 1975 Raconteur when BC won the Rosebowl championship.   So here is the piece with photos from Felix Adamo that Monika requested.  The link to the actual Californian article is provided at the end.


Sonya Christian, Jennifer Johnson, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg at Don Perico

Sonya Christian, Jennifer Johnson, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg at Don Perico. Photo by Felix Adamo.


As a rookie Math Faculty at Bakersfield College in the early 90’s, I discovered, then fell in love with the Chile Verde, Chicken Fajitas and the avocado pico de gallo at Don Perico. I was new to teaching and still new to the United States, and I loved exploring the food and scene of Bakersfield and Southern California.

I still remember clearly the first time I walked through the lunch buffet line at the little restaurant on Oswell, the food, a rich color, a variety of flavors and mouthwatering aroma…..It somehow reminded me of my hometown of Kollam in the southern tip of India, and Don Perico quickly became my favorite spot to grab a warm meal close to BC, and close to my heart.


For very many years now, I’ve been known to recommend Don Perico to friends and colleagues. And the lunch buffet is still my first choice when I get food off-campus – and not just for the food. The staff and servers treat you like family. For decades before her retirement, Amelia greeted me by name and always with the largest smile. I would look forward to my visits to also see her and catch up on stories about her family.

I had moved away from Bakersfield for ten years, but when I returned for the most important interview of my life, I knew I needed to prepare and put myself in the right frame of mind. Of course I went straight to Don Perico, walked through the door, and there was Amelia with a big smile! “Sonya! Where have you been?” she asked. That was the meal that kept me going through my interview to become BC’s 10th President. At times when I found myself with my picture in the Californian, Arturo, at Don Perico, would greet me with a smile let me know “I saw you in the news…..and that was a nice photo of you!”  Great warmth, great caring.

The years go by, and Amelia has since retired, but the new faces still welcome me just as warmly with a smile, and it remains my favorite for many reasons… the food, the atmosphere, the friendly staff, and it just feels like home.

Thank you Amelia, thank you Arturo and thank you Don Perico for being the place with great food, warm smiles, and the place where before you know it they greet you by name.

If you missed the article in the December 16th copy of the Californian, it is available here.

Sue Vaughn in the AACRAO Report

Sue Vaughn, BC’s Director of Enrollment Services, got the opportunity to be interviewed about our “high-tech, high-touch” institutional philosophy in a report by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO).

The report, titled “The State of College Completion Initiatives at US Community Colleges,” examined the changes BC has made in the last five years to better serve our growing population of over 30,000 students, 55 percent of whom are the first generation in their family to attend college. The article highlights our Achieving the Dream and Pathways projects, Multiple Measures, Summer Bridge and Completion Coaching.

Sue Vaughn

Sue Vaughn at Bakersfield College’s Opening Day

“At the institutional level, [BC] is engaged in efforts to change its developmental education approach,” the article says. “The use of technology in tandem with in-person support allows for more frequent touch points with students.”

We’re honored to be one of many case studies featured in this report, and we’re inspired by the work other institutions are doing to make higher education a reality for everyone in America.

People to Watch in 2018

Before the start of the new year, the Bakersfield Californian highlighted a number of important BC supporters as People to Watch in 2018. The article examined the first year of leadership for Bakersfield Police Department Chief Lyle Martin, who pushed for the BPD police academy to come back to BC.


The list also highlighted former BC student and Arvin Mayor Jose Gurrola’s efforts to close the gaps in his city’s fiscal deficit, and Aera CEO Christina Sistrunk’s partnership with GlassPoint Solar to promote renewable energy. I’m so grateful for Aera’s investment in our STEM Success Center, and it is amazing to watch her efforts to move the company toward sustainability.

The article also highlighted CSUB’s search for a new president to succeed Horace Mitchell this spring, and we’re looking forward to building a relationship with whoever the university chooses later this year. BC has played an integral part in thousands of people’s lives across Kern County, and some of this campus’ biggest advocates are making huge waves that will ripple throughout our community in 2018 and the decades to come.

Lots of Reasons to Watch the Skies in 2018

Nick Strobel

Nick Strobel

Nick Strobel’s most recent article highlights the many things we can look forward to in the skies above in 2018. He mentions lunar eclipses, meteor showers, satellites, and more. Astronomy is a truly wondrous thing.  It was Mark Twain who said in the voice of Huckleberry Finn, “We had the sky, up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made, or only just happened.”

Take some time to look above. In the article Nick says, “Saturday night in the pre-dawn sky low in the southeast you’ll see the conjunction of Mars and Jupiter among the dim stars of Libra. When the waning crescent moon passes Mars and Jupiter in the early morning hours of Jan. 11, all three will fit in the same field of view of your binoculars.”

Truxtun Avenue Roads Improvement Project 


Trustee Bill Thomas

The groundbreaking ceremony for the $6.9 million project to widen Truxtun Avenue took place Friday at Jastro Park. The project, which will add two lanes of traffic on Truxtun between Empire Drive and Elm Street, is another traffic decongestion effort supported by the Thomas Roads Improvement Project (TRIP), made possible by retired Congressman and now KCCD Trustee Bill Thomas.

Joseph Luiz of the Bakersfield Californian wrote an article on Monday warning commuters who take Truxtun Avenue to get downtown to expect full to partial road closures during construction of the Truxtun widening, which is contracted out to Granite Construction.

While commuters will be inconvenienced by the construction, in the long run it will help reduce the traffic congestion at Truxtun Avenue and Oak Street, one of the busiest intersections in town.

I’d like to thank Trustee Thomas for his dedication in securing funding for roads in Bakersfield. The city wasn’t initially built to sustain the level of growth we’ve experienced in the last twenty years, but TRIP is working to make life easier for hundreds of thousands of motorists in the area.

Social Media gems:

I loved this picture of Tom Moran and his daughter Mallory

Tom Moran On FAcebook Jan 3 2016

A Fun video of Carlos Barbaran December in Denver

So what about Neo?




Sonya Christian Jan 5 2018 walking to Powell


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever
(walking to Powell’s Books)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Good morning Bakersfield.  Have you bought your tickets for Winterfest!

I woke up to the headline in The Bakersfield Californian “Obama signs $12 Billion Water Bill” and a wonderful piece by Nick Strobel “Longest night of year, winter is approaching” in his column Stargazing.  Definitely a good way to start the morning.

But let me get back to Winterfest ….

Winterfest is coming

Excitement is building up around campus for the upcoming Winterfest celebrations! Did you ever think you’d see a Zamboni parked at Bakersfield College?  Thanks to the Condors and the upcoming Three-Way Chevrolet Winterfest and Outdoor Classic hockey game, we’ve got one! Construction has taken over Memorial Stadium and the rink is coming to life.  In an article this week titled, “It’s Twice as Nice Outdoors on the Ice,” Ryan Holt of the Bakersfield Condors had some awesome things to say about BC!

“We’re thankful they believed in our project,” Holt said. “Memorial Stadium was the spot. It’s iconic. I’ve never seen a community college with a stadium like that. It’s going to be perfect for hockey. Every seat is a perfect seat for watching the game. Winterfest, the Outdoor Classic and the Alumni game are “a way to highlight not only the Condors organization, but the city of Bakersfield,” Holt said. “That’s what we’re all about.”


See this whole article at http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODN/BakersfieldCalifornian/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=TBC%2F2016%2F12%2F15&entity=Ar01800&sk=6A9B2023

The Bakersfield Californian said, “It’s beginning to look like hockey at Bakersfield College” and I couldn’t agree more! Check out the article at http://www.bakersfield.com/sports/it-s-beginning-to-look-like-hockey-at-bakersfield-college/article_bb9b4aac-6bc7-517d-a527-10e99ee3af31.html.


immigrationpoliciespanelLast week Thursday, an open forum with panelists, H.A. Sala and Win Eaton took place in the Levan Center on the topic of U.S. Immigration Policies. This discussion was presented by members of the Immigration Justice Collaboration, a group of over 20 local attorneys from different fields of practice, including immigration law. The panel discussed imminent changes in immigration policies, including how DACA may be affected, and basic due process and constitutional rights, among other topics of interest to our communities. Thank you to Dr. Manny Mourtzanos, Dean of Instruction, for moderating the panel and Manny De Los Santos for recording and live streaming the event.


International Ag Expo

On Tuesday (Dec 13, 2016) morning, I was on a quick field trip with the Ag faculty to check out the COS farm and do some planning for our Ag program.  The ride in the 16-year-old bus was enjoyable with Bill Kelly leisurely at the wheel when we headed north, and Chris McCraw putting pedal to the metal but definitely keeping it at the legal limit on the way back to get me to a meeting on time.  I love our Ag department!  Bill Kelly, Lindsay Ono, Bill Barnes, Greg Cluff, and Chris McCraw.  We missed Heather Baltis who could not go with us.

I learned that we cut back on our classes during the recession, and once had horse riding classes when Gay Gadella was with us.

Our ride in the bus took us past the home of the World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA. I was surprised to learn this global convention started at BC and moved to the Bakersfield Fairgrounds before going to Tulare, where it is now a global event. Wow!

The International Agri-Center now hosts this annual event boasting 2.6 million square feet of show space, and calculating an annual average of 100,000 attendees. Learn more by visiting https://www.worldagexpo.com/


There’s a new chief in town

Join me in welcoming Lyle Martin as the new Bakersfield Police Chief. After serving as the assistant chief of police since 2008, Lyle was sworn in on Wednesday replacing Greg Williamson who is retiring. The Bakersfield Californian reports that “Williamson called Martin a ‘man of character,’ and said the city is in good hands.”
Check out the article at The Bakersfield Californian here.

I love this picture by Felix Adamo in The Bakersfield Californian of outgoing BPD Chief Greg Williamson and incoming Chief Lyle Martin.


The Bakersfield Police Department is a great partner of Bakersfield College.
Check out my past blog when I showcased the National Night Out on August 6, 2016.

ASTEP Student Appreciation

I attended the ASTEP Student Appreciation awards this week. If you haven’t heard, the African-American Success through Excellence and Persistence (ASTEP) program at BC is one that integrates academics, support services and African-American culture. ASTEP seeks to educate the whole student — body, mind and spirit — through an ethic of love. African and African-American histories and voices are deliberately and intentionally acknowledged and are woven into the learning experience, and this integration is seen as being empowering to students and foundational for their academic and personal success.  Students are full participants in their learning and growth. ASTEP aims to develop students into leaders and role models in their college and larger community.astep-mentors

The mentors of this program are fabulous people and we are lucky to have them with us at BC.

For example, here is Keith Wolaridge, President of the Panama Buena Vista District Board, supporter of Measure J, and leader of our community. And another great supporter of ASTEP is Joe Coughlin – local business owner of the delicious Coconut Joes. Check out my blog including Joe from September 24th. Also, our very own June Charles is a mentor, and her mentee took all three awards of the night. Congratulations!

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Dr. Paula Parks has greatly improved our student success numbers through this program.  You can see her dedication in this email that she sent me after the event.


Thanks for attending the ASTEP Umoja Community Mentor Appreciation and Milestone Celebration. The best part for me is hearing from the students what the program means to them and how much they treasure the support provided, including that from the mentors. They talked about how much the mentors encourage them and help keep them focused to finish the semester. I also loved hearing how much they enjoyed reading and discussing black authors in the English class as well as how much they learned about themselves in the student development class. They formed such a loving, supportive community, and I know they’ll do well next semester in English 1A, Student Development 2, and Library 1. The Mentor Appreciation and Milestone Celebration always end the semester on a high note for me. I just love those kids.

Thanks again,


Centennial High School Holiday Concert

Holiday festivities are one of my favorite things about the end of the year. I attended the Centennial High School Christmas Concert on Thursday, Dec 15th, to watch Gracie, Jennifer Marden’s daughter perform.  Gracie is a very talented young woman and sings with both the Chamber Singers and Concert Choir at Centennial High School.  I hope Gracie comes to BC and sings with Jen Garret’s group and goes to Sydney Australia in Summer 2018.  Friends, please mark your calendars and head out to Sydney with us to watch your Bakersfield Choir perform.  I guarantee you that this will be your best vacation ever!

Patrick Burzlaff is the Director of Choral Activities and the students are just so incredibly talented. Music programs are constantly in danger of being cut from shrinking schools budgets, but they’re important for the success of our young people and have been proven to improve academics. The College Entrance Examination Board found that students involved in public school music programs scored 107 points higher on the SAT’s than students with no participation. Check out all the facts at http://www.musicforall.org/who-we-are/advocacy/quick-facts


Fire Tech graduation

On December 16th BC’s Firefighter II candidates graduated. Trained through BC we are proud of you. Outgoing Mayor Harvey Hall got his own hard hat.  And Mary Jo Pasek, thank you for the photos.


Thank you Tim Capehart, Director of Fire Tech, for your vision and hard work.  I enjoyed the field trip with you earlier this year.

Jean Fuller’s Holiday Gathering


Cheryl Taylor, Dick Taylor, Jean Fuller

Have I told you that I love Senator Jean Fuller?  The Senator is a great partner, friend, and alumna of BC! She earned her AA degree at Bakersfield College in 1970. After more than 30 years as an educator and Superintendent of Bakersfield City School District, she was elected in 2006 and right away was widely recognized as a leader.

I took this photo of Jean Fuller with Dick Taylor and Cheryl Taylor. Dick is the Director of Kern County Veterans Service Department. Born and raised in Bakersfield with a history of service in the Marines and traveling the world, Dick is an ally for local veterans and is a great advocate for our student vets.

We are Bakersfield!



Member of the California Board of Governors and self-described Social Entrepreneur Arnaldo Avalos is leading an effort to bring musical, cultural, and educational awareness to the central valley through PuebloFest.  As Arnaldo shared with BC’s student organizations and their advisors, PuebloFest isn’t like any other music festival; it’s a music festival with a purpose: non-profit and educational organizations can actually use the event to earn money for their organizations!  When BC’s soccer coach, Vayron Martinez, heard about the opportunity, he showed up in force with three of his student athletes even after the close of the season.

Be sure to use code “BCSoccer” when you purchase your tickets for PuebloFest online for a discount and to support your local BC team.  Children 12 and under are free and those ages 13-17 earn discounted admission.

This isn’t the first time Vayron has stepped in to encourage his athletes to contribute to the greater good through community involvement.  Check out this post on the BC Soccer Team volunteering for Measure J!

Buy tickets using “BCSoccer” code online: https://pueblofest.frontgatetickets.com/?utm_source=frontgate&utm_medium=fdp&utm_term=banner&utm_content=pueblofest&utm_campaign=fgt-website

Like PuebloFest on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pueblofestca/photos/a.558781277655516.1073741830.530404543826523/581580685375575/?type=3&theater

doc_erwinMidweek morning meeting with a great educational leader!

This week, I also had a small window of time to catch up with Doc Ervin, Bakersfield City School District Superintendent.

Get to know more about Doc in an article at the Bakersfield Californian from earlier this year:  http://www.bakersfield.com/news/from-farm-to-city-who-is-doc-ervin-bcsd-s/article_428ee4e8-1654-56ac-b16d-87dcab77bbdf.html


Accreditation on a rainy friday

Kate Pluta said it best, yesterday at a gathering at BC doing a “soft launch” to our accreditation self evaluation work in anticipation of our site visit in October 2018 — “It is friday, it is after the semester ended, and it is raining.  But here you all are to participate in accreditation work.”  I love my colleagues at BC!  Enjoy a few photos


I love BC! We Are BC!

sonya at polynesian cultural center april 2 2015


That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever