Even though we must alter many of our usual traditions and festivities to maintain social distancing and stay safe this year, I know that we will all find ways to celebrate our great nation this weekend.
Special Televised Commencement to Cap Week of “Painting the Town Red” to Celebrate BC Grads
We are excited to announce the 2020 Special Televised Commencement event this year on KGET and Telemundo, Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 7 p.m.
We are kicking off a week of celebrations prior to the televised Virtual Commencement Event. To honor our 2020 BC graduates we are “Painting the Town Renegade Red” with yard signs and spirit flags.
Do pick up a 2020 Graduation Yard Sign to proudly display at your home. Yard Signs are free on a first-come-first-served basis to the first 2,000 people. We also have BC Spirit Flags (pictured below), which you can purchase to display on your car or home windows to show off your BC Spirit!
Order BC Spirit Flags or to request your free 2020 Graduation Yard Sign with the Office of Student Life Commencement Swag Order Form. You can pick up your items in-person or home delivery is available for a small charge. All proceeds go to fund the BCSGA Scholarship fund.
As a reminder, be sure to tell your family, friends, and neighbors to tune in on Saturday, July 11 at 7 p.m. to KGET Channel 17 or Telemundo Valle Central Channel 13 (or with antennae, 17.3). This event will also be live-streamed on the Bakersfield College Facebook page.
Honoring BC legends
On Tuesday, we honored two of our Bakersfield College legends as they start their retirements: Dean Cornelio Rodriguez and Athletic Director Sandi Taylor.
The hour-long celebration featured many videos from colleagues and friends. I will showcase them in weekly blog posts over the next few weeks.
Corny and Sandi also got the chance to share some of their memories from their time at Bakersfield College. Thank you to Manny De Los Santos and Brandon Urry for their work in producing these videos:
Outgoing BCSGA President Samantha Pulido also announced a new scholarship:
Videos from the event are posted on the President’s Events page on the BC website (click on “Staff & Faculty Events”).
Virtual Express Enrollment: Become a Renegade in One Day!
Bakersfield College is holding an extended One-Day Virtual Express Enrollment Event for new and returning students on July 8, 2020 from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Counselors and support staff will be available to assist students with their registration process, answer questions and give one-on-one guidance.
As many of you know, in light of the recent political demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, Bakersfield College engaged in a series of diverse and important discussions about race and law enforcement around Juneteenth, a day celebrated as the end of slavery in the United States.
This week, I am focusing on reactions – from Reggie Bolton and Julian West on the Danny Morrison #RealTalk on Race; and from Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Terry and Assistant Chief Joe Mullins. I’m also sharing a look forward – an introduction to the Transformational Policing Model from Tommy Tunson.
#RealTalk on Race with Danny, Julian, and Reggie
BPD Chief Greg Terry & Assistant Chief Joe Mullins
Tommy Tunson on Transformational Policing
Free Immigration Clinics Add Two More Sessions
BC has partnered with the UFW Foundation to provide free Immigration Clinics to BC students, faculty and staff. They are prioritizing DACA renewals at this time, with assistance available for general immigration questions, visa questions and more.
Starting in July, they’re adding two more clinics to the monthly schedule. The next two sessions are on Tuesday, July 14th, and Friday, July 17th, from 9 AM to 6 PM, via Zoom. Connect with firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Levan Institute – “Be Red Cross Ready”
Next week starting Tuesday, July 7 through Thursday, July 9, the Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning is partnering with the American Red Cross on a series of free virtual lectures about health and safety.
Visit the Levan Institute page to register and find out more information about the “Be Red Cross Ready” presentations focused on survival tips for fires, earthquakes, COVID-19 and more.
Norma Rojas, director of marketing and communications, wrote a piece in the Bakersfield Californian about how we must all do our part and have the difficult conversations about race and inequity in order to facilitate real and lasting change.
“While we used to have these conversations in private or within the comfort of our closest circles, we have now been given permission to share the experiences with a wider audience. It is acceptable to discuss the care we must take as professionals, as parents, as community leaders when we walk out the door wanting to embrace our culture, yet understanding that it will make others uncomfortable to do so.”
Isayas Aris from Renegade Men’s Basketball announced this week that he is headed to play basketball at Nyack College this coming year. Isayas played the last season for Coach Rich Hughes and made a tremendous impact on the team in just one year. At the end of the season he was named to the WSC South Honorable Mention Team. Congrats Isayas!
Reggie Bolton Named Interim Dean of Kinesiology/Athletics Director
On Wednesday we announced Reggie Bolton as our new interim Dean of Kinesiology/Athletic Director. Reggie is no stranger to Renegade Athletics having been an assistant football coach for 12 years and kinesiology department chair the last seven years. We are excited to welcome Reggie into this new role and know he will do great things. To read the release on GoGades.com click here: http://gogades.com/general/2019-20/releases/202007010n6w9c
That’s all for now. Until next time. With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality. sonya – the luckiest and happiest college president ever
Bakersfield College closed out what will go down in the history books as an unusual semester… Spring 2020-the semester of the pandemic. There was much to celebrate this last week… the resilience of our students, the caring nature of our faculty and staff, and much much more. It seemed as it the skies were celebrating the Renegades when the jets flew over the Memorial Stadium this week. Check out the photos capture by 23ABC
Thank you 23ABC photographers Grant Simpson and Javier Posadas. Aircrafts from the 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno flew over the city of Bakersfield in a show of support for nurses and other professionals working to help fight the coronavirus.
Good morning Bakersfield It is Saturday, May 16, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade
Check out the opening photo roll for Closing Week, Day 1, put together by Dylan Wang
Every spring, we hold a Closing Day celebration on campus to reflect on the academic year and honor the accomplishments of our BC faculty and staff.
This year, we took our celebration online and shifted to a shorter format over 4 days. You can visit the Closing Week 2020 website to see videos from each day’s celebration. As part of the BC tradition, I recognize individuals, departments, and teams for leadership from the previous years.
This year, I honored the Academic Technology Department, College and District Information Technology Department, the Public Safety Program Pathway, the Nursing Department, Carlos Barbaran, Student Affairs, the Budget Committee, COVID-19 Response Team, Jennifer Johnson, Todd Coston, and Paul Beckworth (announced in Fall 2019) as recipients of the President’s Leadership Awards.
I also honored retiring Athletic Director Sandi Taylor and retiring Dean Corny Rodriguez with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Bakersfield College will truly miss both of you, and I am grateful for the years of service you both have given to the college.
Sandi Taylor — Lifetime Achievement Award
Corny Rodriguez — Lifetime Achievement Award
Paula Parks and Faith Bradham were announced as the Norm Levan Faculty Colloquium speakers for 2020-2021.
Gayle Richardson and Phil Feldman received the Margaret Levinson Faculty Leadership Award.
Arnie Andrasian was named the Shirley Trembley Distinguished Teacher Award winner.
And of course, the week would not have been possible without the Closing Week planning team. Thank you to Todd Coston, Nicky Damania, Jennifer Serratt, Tarina Perry, Manny De Los Santos, Shannon Musser, Dylan Wang, and Earl Parsons for the hard work you put into our weeklong celebration.
Additionally this week, Chris Doyen (English), Gina Herera (Art), Javier Llamas (History), Josh Ottum (Music) and Kris Tiner (Music) were announced as winners for the Norman Levan Summer Grants.
Early College is holding multiple virtual support events to help onboard students. There are recommended courses lists and information on how to apply/update student applications.
High school students can enroll in tuition-free courses that can be transferred to a 2- or 4-year degree. You can learn more about the Virtual Support Events, or register for the sessions on May 20, May 27, June 3, or June 10, on our website.
Debra Strong, RN, our college nurse at the Student Health and Wellness Center, was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurses Honor Society on May 2. ‘You can check out the induction video below:
This week, I received an email from Caroline Walth commending members of our M&O staff, Martha Gonzalez and Ofelia Hernandez, who have been taking great care of our administration building plants while campus is closed.
Thank you Martha Gonzalez and Ofelia Hernandez!
And here is a photo of Caroline Walth from my wordpress photo album. Thank you Caroline for sharing your excitement about your department and staff.
Celebrating our students
This semester, our students have risen to the challenges they faced, and they adapted quickly to unexpected changes. I could not be more proud of our student Renegades and all they have accomplished this year. And while we were not able to have our traditional commencement last night, we are finding ways to celebrate our students’ achievements – and we will continue to find more ways. I wanted to share a few of the things we have done so far:
You can visit our BC website to see a page that celebrates our graduates who will be transferring to other institutions.
Chris Cruz-Boone from our Communication Department wrote a wonderful piece in the Bakersfield Californian about the shift to online teaching at Bakersfield College, and how how we at BC are continuing to move forward and find innovative ways to serve our students during this pandemic.
“It is a strange moment in history, and I will proudly remember that I was working at Bakersfield College where we are training people for the workforce, to learn a new skill or get credits until they can move on to a university.”
BC Chamber Singers
Performing Arts Department Chair Jennifer Garrett shared this video she put together about the BC Chamber Singers‘ experiences before the pandemic and shelter in place orders.
Amazon presents to Industrial Automation
On May 6th, Career Education welcomed Amazon Representatives to present on their current positions available within their Robotics, Maintenance and Engineering Department. Industrial Automation Students learned about the position qualifications, application process, examination and training opportunities.
I love this throwback trivia from our Athletics Twitter:
Educational Advisor Isabel Castaneda shared a glimpse into how she spent her last day of the semester:
The library shared their well wishes for our graduates:
And librarian Mindy Wilmot posted this image encouraging us all to keep going:
Nice Facebook post by Matt Garrett about emailing his students.
Our talented media intern in the athletics department, Jacob Amado, put together highlight videos for both our men’s and women’s basketball season this last year. Click below to see his excellent work. Great work, Jacob!
2019-20 Renegade Men’s and Women’s Basketball Highlights
2019-20 Men’s Basketball Highlights:
2019-20 Women’s Basketball Highlights:
Dasia Wandick is Headed to Webber International University
Fresh off winning the Renegade Athletics Career Achievement Award this year, Dasia Wandick of Renegade Women’s Basketball has signed and committed to continue her academic and basketball career at Webber International University in Florida. Dasia has been an extremely hard worker and leader for Coach Paula Dahl the last two years and we are excited for the next step in her journey!
That’s all for now. Until next time. With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality. sonya – the luckiest and happiest college president ever
The weather in Bakersfield has been perfect. The sound of the birds and the smell of the flowers intoxicating. My morning starts with a Neo walk as dawn is breaking but still relatively dark and the neighborhood quiet. Every morning, a sentinel owl who is perched high up on the cypress that fills our neighborhood calls out … who goes there.
Good morning, Bakersfield. It is Saturday, April 4, 2020… A great day to be a Renegade.
Here is Jack Hernandez on Beauty
By Jack Hernandez
From my window azaleas blush, a white cloud lingers above, rain has come and gone, the dawn begins a week of waiting for another kiss of passing beauty.
Jack also had a beautiful essay in the April 1, 2020 Californian. Poetry is felt, not analyzed. A poem is not an argument; it is an experience, a revelation. check it out https://tinyurl.com/tzye3ja
Ronnie Wrest and Jeffrey Huston from the Jones Gallery created a virtual exhibition of student art projects. The 2020 Bakersfield College Student Exhibition went live on the web on Thursday afternoon, and features art projects in a variety of mediums. The annual student art exhibition usually takes place at the Jones Gallery inside the Grace Van Dyke Byrd Library, but our art students and staff #LettheTimesGuidetheirCreativity to move this year’s exhibition online.
See the fabulous art at one or all of the following:
Talking about the art faculty and their creativity, I spotted this wonderful tweet from their dean bragging about them.
Career Education’s First Virtual Career Expo
The Career Education Department hosted their first ever virtual career expo for the Industrial Technology & Transportation pathway on Wednesday April 1st. This innovative platform successfully connected employers with students giving them virtual facetime through Zoom. Our Employer participants included; Berry Petroleum Company, LLC, Sierra School Equipment, Crown Lift Trucks, US Army, AppleOne, JTI Electrical & Instrumentation, LLC, and Westec. As in the many things we do BC is setting the trend as our regional partners have reached out to see how they can duplicate and adapt the event to their campuses. Check out our video recapping the event.
Thank you Carlos Medina and the staff in CTE for thinking outside the box and finding another modality to bring this important event to our students and the community. #BCGoesOnline
Leslie Aldridge Making the World Beautiful
Professor of Performing, Leslie Aldridge is still finding incredible ways to serve our community even though we currently find ourselves in challenging times. Leslie is Mrs. Bakersfield 2020 pageant queen, led a senior donation drive to bring food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and gift cards to needy seniors, and she hosted Donate Life to increase the number of vital organs and tissues to save lives.
She has also used her creativity to bring joy to our community. Her art work at the “Chalk Your Walk” was breathtaking!
BC “Do Good, Feel Good” Campaign
Now, for some more positive initiatives at BC! Endee Grijalva, the Program Manager of Rural Initiatives, and the BC Office of Student Life staff members came together to assist BC students through the “BC Do Good, Feel Good” campaign. On April 1, 2020 (no April Fools on this one), began a campaign that provides opportunities and encourages BC employees to continue to “do good and feel good” in continuing to serve and provide much-needed resources to students, all while social distancing. We are keeping our spirits up by continuing to support our students in this difficult time and feeling good about it.
Thank you, BC staff and faculty, for your generosity during this time, and thank you, Endee Grijalva and the BC Office of Student Life staff members, for leading this fantastic campaign.
Cesar Chavez Day
Did you know that Tuesday, March 31st, was César Chávez Day in the United States? In California, César Chávez Day is a state holiday that celebrates the birthday of César E. Chávez, paying tribute to his life as a labor leader and champion of civil rights.
Chávez’s life as a community organizer and activist began in 1952 when he joined the Community Service Organization (CSO), a Latino civil rights group. He coordinated voter registration drives and conducted campaigns against racial and ethnic discrimination. He eventually became CSO’s national director, but his dream was to create an organization that protected and served farmworkers. In the early 1960s, he co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers of America), along with Dolores Huerta (who spoke at BC just last year) and Philip Vera Cruz. Chávez remained president of the United Farm Workers of American until he passed away on April 23rd, 1993.
Today, his life motto, “sí se puede” (it can be done),” encourages organizers around the nation to come together and advance civil rights and different causes. Additionally, many schools, parks, streets, libraries, and other public buildings named or renamed after César Chávez to commemorate his work and commitment to social justice. In 1994, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor the U.S. president can grant an American. In 2006, he was inducted into the California Hall of Fame by Gov. Schwarzenegger. Here at BC, we hope Chávez’s legacy continues to inspire us to serve others and the greater good.
David Villarino has organized a large community celebration each year but could not do so this year because of COVID-19 stay-at-home executive order from the Governor. Here are links to the three previous years.
Thank you to everyone who continues to share their experiences sheltering in place using the hashtag #BCGoesOnline on social media. Here are some highlights from this week:
Librarian Mindy Wilmot hosted her first ConferZoom meeting and had a furry friend joining her, as well.
Isabel Castaneda joins a Zoom meeting to move the Summer Bridge to BC program online.
Lesley Bonds’ dog Luna was listening intently to the All-Campus Virtual Forum on Tuesday.
Finally, Kalina Hill from Testing and Placement responds to a message of hope from Manuel Rosas.
This Week at BC: Nursing and Allied Health
Marketing student workers Ramon Carreido and Juan Reyes made one last video before BC transitioned to a virtual environment, which happened to be about the important work of our Nursing and Allied Health Departments. Thank you, Juan and Ramon!
BC in the News: Back to College Program on KGET
Local station KGET covered BC’s five-week Back to College in a video piece last weekend, explaining to the community how our program will assist workers who are displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you, KGET
Caption from Sara Wallace’s blog: “This is my mobile office. I have office supplies for the students (left) and my clear backpack (right) to bring in supplies (office supplies, graded work, handouts, dry erase markers, etc). It makes it easier for security if I have a clear backpack, and one of the facilities we work in requires it.”
Sara Wallace, an English faculty at Bakersfield College, has published her second blog entry titled “Reflections from Inside: Teaching in the Inmate Scholars Program”. She has been working as a full-time instructor at a total of five different prisons since the Fall. This blog is her reflection about doing this important work. This program is only a few years old, but it has expanded to include ten prisons and a thousand students. It is expected to grow more in the future. This was written before the recent CoronaVirus Outbreak, and some of the lessons and experiences with teaching inside have already changed dramatically.
Lessons Learned so far: I am teaching composition. There are some real differences between teaching on campus and teaching inside, so it has not been a seamless transition, which was not surprising.
Pro-tip: Do not put anything in the supply cabinet. It will be gone when you get back. The inmates do not have access to this cabinet, so it is probably not them. It is probably another educator. We are all office supply thieves at heart. I am a hardened pen thief myself. There is a real run on office supplies inside.
Something that I take for granted like having a pen or paper to do homework with is really valuable. Bring it in with you and take it with you when you leave. That is a pain, but in some facilities the inmates do not have paper, or they have to buy the paper on their own, which is hard when they are using some of their available time to take my class. I am trying to teach writing. Paper and pens are pretty necessary. I just threw bundles of papers into the recycler the other day because the printer messed up a little bit. It really makes you think about the things we take for granted.
In addition to supply issues, there are some differences in the way I run my class. For example, I have had to limit the amount of call and response kinds of questions I ask. The inmates are very excited to participate, so it can get a little loud. It requires a little bit more management partly because of their excitement for us to be there. It makes it harder to manage, but it also makes me feel more enthusiastic as well. I have only been working in this program for a month, so there is still plenty to learn and different techniques to try out.
A few months ago, the program had its first graduation. Since I am new, none of the new graduates were students of mine. I am looking forward to future graduations so that I get the chance to hear about what some of our students do with this opportunity as it will continue to inform my response to the question of why I am doing what I am doing.
Language of Power: One of my students asked me why I was making them write in this way. I have been asked this question on campus as well, though not as frequently. I had a more precise answer for my students on the inside. I am teaching you the language of power. People who have control over your lives write like this and speak like this. If you do not know how to communicate like them then you are at a disadvantage. Another student asked: like how the lawyers talk? Yes, and everyone else you talk with who has power. That seemed to motivate some of the students who were not as motivated before though I have less trouble with a lack of motivation inside than I do on the outside.
Lessons Learned: “It is all your fault” one of my students said as he stuck his head in the door during their break. They are not really supposed to come back into the classroom until the break is over. The private facility is more strict about this than the government facilities. I have a hard time saying no to students when they want or need help, so I end up spending our entire break answering questions most days. After all, they do not have the opportunity to come to my office hours. This time, my student did not have a question, but he did want to tell me something.
Me: “Oh? What is my fault?”
Student: “The conversation is still going on out there!”
Me: “Fantastic! That is so great!”
We had a discussion before break about the reading, and they were so engaged with the topic that they continued the discussion. We did have to move on to working on the research essay, so I am glad I gave them the break first. Sometimes they can get a little loud because everyone wants to say something. Last week one of the Correctional Officers came into the classroom to see what was going on because we were so loud. We do eventually have to get back to the writing, but it is nice to talk with students who have something to say, and lots of questions.
At first I was finding it hard to maintain control over the students with all of their questions and comments. It led to a conversation with the director of education, correctional officers, and with the class itself. The solution offered by employees of the prison was to just press the emergency button and have the guards come in and crack some heads.
Me: Because they were a little too loud and were a bit rude? That seems like an overreaction.
Them: They would not do it again.
True. If I pressed the emergency button, the students would not do it again, but they also would not say anything in class anymore, and it would hinder their learning. I am not an employee of the prison system, and my purpose in being there is not to control them or to punish them or even to rehabilitate them; it is to teach them. I have dealt with boisterous classes before, and I have never felt the need to call in a bruiser to deal with them. So I did what I usually do, I changed their seating arrangement every week. They could not form little groups of people chatting to themselves if they were not by their friends. Educators can find other ways to manage a class. We do not always have to drop the hammer.
The interactions with the students in the prison setting are really rewarding for the instructors and hopefully the students as well. The coronavirus outbreak has put a stop to all face-to-face teaching in the prison system. My next blog post will be about the effect it has had on our teaching. We are trying to make the best out of this situation, but all of us want to eventually go back inside. Having interactions with someone who is communicating with these students about something other than their behavior or the past mistakes they have made is really important and means a lot to them. I was evaluated by the students last semester as part of the normal evaluation process. I have not had a chance to read all my evaluations (which I cannot read until after the grades are submitted for the semester), but during my meeting with my committee, one of my committee members read a comment to me from one of my students. He said: she never looks at me like I am a level four criminal. She said there were a lot of comments like that and if I am ever feeling low, I should go and read through them. As soon as this is over, I will, and I hope we can go back in soon because besides teaching the Inmate Scholars the content of the course, personal interaction is important too.
Archives Throwback: Highlights from 1965-1967
Earl Parsons took a deep dive into the Bakersfield College Archives last weekend to find any information available about Lupe Hernandez, the Bakersfield nursing student rumored to have invented hand sanitizer in 1966. After digging through two Raconteur yearbooks and countless volumes of the Renegade Rip, however, nothing came up. If you have any information about a Bakersfield nursing student from the mid-60s named Lupe Hernandez, please email email@example.com.
In his search, he managed to find all kinds of resources that paint a picture of life for Renegades in the mid-60s. We’ll be focusing on a few of those major highlights over the next coming weeks, but let’s just take a look at some of the best photos from those years, including this picture of donkey basketball in the gym:
Renegade Athletics were alive and well during this time, with diving, water polo and men’s soccer all being played on the Panorama Campus.
In 1966 just like now, construction projects were happening around the Panorama Campus.
In the coming weeks, look forward to a glimpse of Bill Thomas during his time as a Renegade faculty member, Ray Gonzales founding the first Hispanic Cultural Club in BC history, and a closer look at the era of on-campus student housing.
Fun Photos Coffee Cup Collection
Every weekday morning at 7:30 (8 on Fridays) the Marketing team greets one another on Slack. Lori Ortiz also adds a photo of her coffee cup. She has quite the collection. It’s just one of the fun things the MPR team does to stay connected and have some fun in our work from home environment. Here are a few the team shared with me:
Upgrade Your Zoom Appeal With New Athletics Backgrounds!
We all have been using Zoom to its fullest this past few weeks and why not ‘Rep your Renegade pride while meeting with your colleagues and community. Feel free to use the background above or click this link to find more on GoGades.com: Renegade Custom Video Conference Backgrounds
National Athletic Training Month
This last month (March) was National Athletic Training Month and we don’t want to let the opportunity slip by without highlighting our awesome Renegade Athletic Trainers – Mike Medeiros, Tricia Gay and Lexi Pitcher. All three spend countless hours helping our student athletes (and visiting teams’ student athletes) stay in tip-top shape for competition. We are grateful to have such a great team of athletic trainers who keep our student athletes operating at peak physical condition!
Field House Demolition
The Dr. Romain Clerou Fieldhouse has been a fixture on campus since we moved up to here on the hill. This last week the historic structure was demolished to make way for the gymnasium. Countless Renegade student athletes used this facility to change for practice/games and we know there are hundreds of alumni with cherished memories of the building from their time spent as Renegades. While we are sad to see it go, we are excited for the new gymnasium that will take its place.
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya- the luckiest and happiest college president ever
Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, March 2, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.
Women in Leadership
To celebrate the kickoff of Women’s History Month at Bakersfield College, yesterday I hosted a panel discussion on Women in Leadership. California Senator Emeritus and Early College champion, Jean Fuller served as the guest moderator while four esteemed panelists shared their stories, accomplishments, challenges, and more. Thank you to guests Shannon Grove, Republican State Senator, 16th Senate District; Blanca Cavazos, Taft Union High School District Superintendent; Cynthia Giumarra, Local Attorney and minister; and Rosalina Rivera, Delano Union Elementary School District Superintendent for participating on the panel.
The fabulous Manny De Los Santos recorded the event and I hope to have many photos and videos for you in next week’s blog. Stay tuned!
One on One with Robert Price
On Wednesday afternoon, I enjoyed being a guest on One on One with Robert Price, @stubblebuzz . The Bakersfield Californian is a great resource for this community with engaged reporters, like Joseph Luiz who visits BC often and always ensures he has the right info to create the best report possible for the people in our community.
Thank you, Robert, for having me on the show to share with our community the latest on Measure J, BC Southwest, Early College, and education transforming the Central Valley.
Bakersfield College received the 2019 Diversity Champion Award from the California LAW Pathway for its excellence in building the Community College Pathway Program. The awardees were chosen at the California LAW Board of Directors meeting in November and winners were announced to the to the California State Bar and the CPA Advisory Council. Deans Corny Rodriguez and Manny Mourtzanos, and Pre-Law Advisory Council Member Yinka Glover accepted the award on behalf of BC at the Omni Hotel on February 22, 2019.
Bakersfield College is honored to receive the award. I would like to thank the California LAW Pathway for the recognition, as the Pathway to Law Program at BC was designed with innovation and creativity in mind in order to keep Bakersfield College Pathway Students engaged and inspired to achieve success in the law. Congrats to our Pathway to Law program and to our amazing prelaw team including Corny Rodriguez, Christian Zoller, Edward Borgens, Charles Kim, Marilynn Sanchez Avila, and Pearl Urena! I would like to recognize Foothill College President Thuy Nguyen for her statewide leadership in establishing this program.
Finally thank you to the Pathways to Law advisory committee chaired by David Torres. Thank you David for your unwavering commitment to Bakersfield College and our students. Here is the list of the committee members — Adeyinka Glover, Steven Katz, Jeannie Kraybill, Courtney Lewis, Cynthia Loo, James Maddox, Rebecca Murillo, Bathany Peak, Brett Price, H.A.Sala, Robert Tafoya, David Torres (Chair), Alekxia Torres-Stallings.
Celebrating Black History Month
In conjunction with the community organization Harlem and Beyond, Bakersfield College was honored to have Dr. James Chaffers, Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of Michigan. Dr. chaffers was the Senior Design Juror for the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial statue in Washington, D.C. See the Bakersfield Californian Article: Bakersfield College celebrates Black History Month.
Gades Grub Grand Opening
Food Services celebrated the launch of the Gades Grub food trailer with a grand opening event in the Gym Huddle on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. The event featured a live DJ, free samples of some of the delicious food that Gades Grub has to offer, and other giveaway prizes. Students were eager to try some of the delectable options that will now be available to them from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Thursday.
BC at Startup Grind Global Conference
BC was represented by Professors Rudy Menjivar and Valerie Robinson at the Startup Grind’s Global Conference in Silicon Valley. This is for startups everywhere, especially the who’s who of the Silicon Valley startup scene. With more than 8,000 individuals, mostly entrepreneurs, venture capital investors, and professional service providers attending the two-day event, the conference provided an environment unlike anything else – a community coming together for invaluable education, connection, and inspiration. The event had a roster of world-class speakers and thousands of entrepreneurs looking to build relationships, and it was great to see that BC was well represented.
Culture of Power
On Valentine’s Day, Daniel Rios, a Ph.D. student in Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego and a BC graduate, shared his passion for researching communities of color in East Bakersfield with BC students and staff. Rios presented research at A Culture of Power: Race, Youth, Labor and Sound in East Bakersfield, 1966-1974, in the Levan Center. The event was organized by commercial music professor Joshua Ottum as part of the Energizing Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley grant.
Rios’ presentation began with an overview of race and labor relations in Bakersfield in the early-to-mid 20th Century. Communities of color in Bakersfield were locked into low socioeconomic status via discriminatory housing practices that persisted until the 1970s and forced into low-level employment as farm, sanitation and domestic workers. In 1966 and 1972, black, Chicano and Latino sanitation workers in Bakersfield went on strike to fight for unionization and protest unhealthy working conditions and the dehumanizing way they were treated by white property owners. Protesters were met with heavy resistance by police and organizations such as the White Citizens Council.
At this same time, an often-overlooked music scene was booming around dance halls frequented by communities of color across East Bakersfield. While many music historians have documented the local country music scene known as the Bakersfield Sound, the contributions of doo-wop, soul and R&B groups are rarely discussed in academic circles. Groups from Kern County such as the Paradons, the Montereys, and Little Ray Jimenez were recording Billboard Top 40 hits while performing in local venues such as Salon Juarez and Fraternity Hall.
The majority of the groups, such as The Original Souls, were multicultural, composed of a mixture of Filipinos, Latinos and blacks. In 1969, the Original Souls beat out country and psychedelic rock bands to win a Battle of the Bands competition at Lake Ming attended by approximately 4,000 people.
After Rios’ presentation, Johnny Gomez of the Paradons and Original Souls bassist Billy Haynes, who went on to perform with Tina Turner and Lou Rawls, performed a few songs in the Levan Center and talked about their history in what is commonly referred to as the East Bakersfield Sound. “There was a lot of oppression in our town back then,” Haynes said. “We made people feel proud of our community.”
Thank you Daniel Rios for sharing his important research on the intersection of labor relations and music in Kern County, as well as Joshua Ottum and the Energizing Humanities cohort for organizing this event and Reggie Williams for the use of the Levan Center.
The Girl who Smiled Beads: Clementine Wamariya
On Thursday, Distinguished Speaker Clementine Wamariya gave several speeches in the Levan Center, sharing the powerful story of traveling through 9 different countries as a refugee to escape the Rwandan genocide.
Wamariya read from her memoir The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After, which was written during a major crossroads in her life. She was several years removed from the traumatic experience of fleeing the genocide with her sister at the age of 6, living in refugee camps and illegally crossing borders to seek freedom in the United States before being reunited with her parents on an episode of “Oprah”. In 2014, she had returned to Rwanda to attend an event in a soccer stadium where the history of Rwanda and the genocide was being re-enacted and memorialized, and she was so triggered by the memories that the re-enactment brought out that she had to immediately leave and fly back to the United States. She listened to Nina Simone’s cover of “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles on repeat and cried the whole way home, and the message of that song inspired her to write her memoir.
“I had lived opposite lives,” Wamariya said. “I had everything and nothing. I could stay anywhere in the world, but I didn’t have a home.” She continued, “I felt like that song was burning me, but I realized that if I could bear the sun, and my people could bear working in the sun, that it could be a source of strength.”
Wamariya spent five years researching her life and past with an investigative journalist to write “The Girl Who Smiled Beads,” which became a New York Times bestseller upon its release in 2018. The book talks about the lessons that she learned as a young child from her mother, a devout Catholic who imparted the value of sharing everything, never taking more than what you need, and having reverence for fruits, plants and the Earth. To this day, Wamariya likes to ask the question, “What fruit are you?” The answer reveals a lot about where someone comes from and how they view themselves, and driving through the farms of the Central Valley helped her relate to this area as a place of sharing, where fruits and vegetables are spread across the world.
When the genocide happened, Wamariya went to live with her grandparents and eventually ended up in a refugee camp, where people had to wait in line to eat corn and walk six hours for water. When she eventually decided to flee and cross the first of 8 borders to escape the horrors of war, she thought that she would have to jump over a chasm in the ground to get from one country to the other. Instead, time and distance passed and she didn’t even realize that she was in another country. Borders aren’t even real,” Wamariya said with tears in her eyes. “The Earth is the only thing that’s real, and everything else is made up.”
Wamariya pleaded for attendees of her presentations to be motivated by joy and not by fear, for when someone is motivated by joy, they realize that they don’t have to take someone else’s joy to experience it for themselves, and they’ll never believe that they have to take someone’s life to maintain their joy.
Since her appearance on “Oprah” in 2006, Wamariya has gone on to receive a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Comparative Literature from Yale University and serves on the boards of Women for Women International and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Thank you Olivia Garcia, History Professor, for coordinating Clementine Wamariya’s visit as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series, and to the Office of Student Life, the BC African-American Initiative Committee and the BC Women’s History and Awareness Month (WHAM) Committee. See more events for Women’s History Month.
Faculty Diversification Meeting
The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges held the Spring 2019 Hiring Regionals at Bakersfield College on Thursday, February 21, 2019. Faculty diversity is a critical component in the support of student success, and each California community college has a responsibility to develop a workforce that reflects the diversity of its community and is best prepared to serve the college’s specific student populations. The event presented important considerations for faculty hiring, including ways to diversify and expand hiring pools and reshape search processes to focus on candidates who understand and are committed to our students.
Thank you Dr. Janet Fulks and Prof. Steven Holmes for bringing this statewide event to BC. Thank you Tarina Perry for coordinating the event with the graceful touch that is so you!
Eric Lord, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist and adjunct instructor at CSUB, taught a program known as “Question, Persuade, Refer,” or QPR, which demonstrates how to recognize when someone may be suicidal, persuade them to seek help, and refer them to the proper authority that can save their life. Lord was invited to give the QPR presentation by the mental health interns at the Office of Student Life, who work closely with the Student Health and Wellness Center to assist students dealing with serious mental health issues.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death on college campuses, and 31 percent of college students have considered committing suicide, Lord said. These are preventable deaths, and all it takes is the courage and empathy to ask the right questions when students are suffering, help them realize that there are people who love them and want them to succeed, and help them find the resources they need to get their lives back, whether it’s a mental health professional, or in more extreme cases of suicidal ideation, law enforcement.
Lord compared being suicidal to being locked in a house that is on fire, and suicide appears to be the only doorway to escape. “When somebody wants to die and not be around anymore, there’s a lot that leads them to that moment,” Lord said. “If we can use the power of our words and our relationship to folks, we can open up another door.” Suicidal ideation is related to a number of systemic issues, such as the loss of a job, the ending of a relationship or the death of a loved one, and some ways to recognize that someone may want to commit suicide include recently acquiring a gun, putting personal affairs in order, chronic drug and alcohol abuse, or saying things like “I just can’t go on” or “I won’t be around much longer”.
It’s important that when you recognize some of these symptoms, you talk to the person in a blunt and direct, yet caring way. Don’t be afraid to use words like “death”, “kill”, and “suicide.” In the moment that you ask the question, make eye contact with them and say, “Have you thought about killing yourself?” or “Are you going to commit suicide?” Never phrase the question as, “You’re not going to commit suicide, are you?” because it makes the other person feel like you don’t actually care and they shouldn’t be honest with you.
When you find out that the person in question may want to end their life, persuade them that it’s not the answer and show them that you and others care and want them to live. Get other people in the individual’s life involved, such as family, friends, doctors, or clergy members. Then, refer them to a group such as BC’s Students of Concern Team or a mental health professional and follow up with them via a personal visit or phone call to establish a connection and ensure that they won’t be punished for seeking help. If you think that they won’t receive help and they’re going to follow through, contact Public Safety or law enforcement. You can find more information about suicide prevention from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and share their number 1-800-273-8255.
Thank you to the Office of Student Life’s mental health team for inviting Eric Lord to campus for this important professional development opportunity. Thank you Dr. Nicky Damania.
BCSGA Power Lunch with Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg
When Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg enrolled in college as a sociology major, she had no idea that she would embark upon a journey that would lead to being elected on the Board of Trustees for the Kern Community College District. But at every stop along the way of her 35-year career in education – whether it was as an art professor, a preschool teacher, or one of BC’s longest-serving administrators – Nan’s faith in her ability to prioritize and solve problems propelled her to success in every new endeavor to which she applied herself.
Nan spoke to BC students and staff in the Levan Center about her journey in education and her plans for the Board of Trustees during Monday’s Power Lunch organized by the Legislative Affairs Department of BCSGA. All three Vice Presidents and I were in attendance to hear from a woman that inspired all of us so immensely and continues to inspire us today.
While she has accomplished many things during her career, Nan says that her students have kept her humble and put things into perspective. The first accomplishment Nan has been able to celebrate during her short stint on the Board of Trustees was the approval of BC’s new Southwest Center to be constructed on the CSUB campus. “The part that made it so sweet was that I knew how much work that was done to make it happen,” Nan said.
While she has attended many Board of Trustee meetings as a BC administrator, it is surreal for her to be sitting at the other side of table and balancing the concerns of students, constituents and instructors, as well as her fellow board members, she said. However, she feels up to the task of continuing to be aware of everything happening in Kern County education in order to position the District to best serve Area 1 of the KCCD. “It’s not the paperwork that makes you get up every day,” Nan said. “It’s knowing that you’re going to do something that helps someone out.” She said, “That feels like a big deal to me most days.”
I’d like to thank Mustapha Barraj and BCSGA for organizing Monday’s Power Lunch. I know we’ll be hearing a lot more from Nan in the future.
Congratulations to Laura Luiz
The American Library Association (ALA) is recognizing BC reference librarian Laura Luiz for her outstanding contributions to student learning and community engagement with the BC Get Out The Vote program.
In a press release on Wednesday, ALA, in conjunction with the Association of College and Research Libraries, announced Luiz as the winner of the 2019 Community and Junior College Libraries Section EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Program Award, which includes a $750 award and a plaque that will be presented to Luiz at the ALA’s annual conference in Washington, DC.
Get Out the BC Vote was a campaign that helped BC students on the Panorama and Delano campus get registered to vote in the 2018 midterm elections. There were also workshops and online resources breaking down every candidate and initiative on the midterm ballot and helping students to properly discern fake news and disinformation.
ALA award chair Laura Mondt of Northern Essex Community College had effusive praise for Luiz and the Get Out the BC Vote campaign. “Laura Luiz’s efforts with Get Out The BC Vote allowed the library to connect with the Student Government Association to help students become informed voters and promote news literacy,” Mondt said.
Luiz and the library have plans to expand the Get Out the BC Vote program for the 2020 midterm and presidential elections.
I was fortunate to attend the Kern County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner on February 22, 2019, as the guest of Senator Jean Fuller. The featured keynote speaker was newly elected Congressman Dan Crenshaw who has an incredible story as a former Navy SEAL who lost his eye in an IED blast.
Last November, Dan also appeared on Saturday Night Live and bits of this skit were referenced last Friday evening. This is a “Must watch.”
It was great to see CSUB President, Lynnette Zelezny at the event, as well as KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog and his wife, Lilly. I unfortunately did not snap a picture of many of the community leaders who support education who were there — JP Lake, David Bynum, …..
On Tuesday, February 19, 2019, representatives from the US Army visited the BC campus to show off various military robotics technologies to students in the Renegade Food Court area.
Both KGET and KERO featured the US Army STEM Truck in its afternoon broadcasts, and soldiers demonstrated all of the innovative technology the Army uses to save lives every day.
Inside the truck, students could participate in a simulation of the Army’s Search and Rescue Automation Hardware, also known as SARAH, which uses aerial and ground drones to locate missing persons. Students also had the opportunity to check a drone created by the iRobot company for remotely disarming explosives. Above the iRobot drone, there were videos demonstrating various robotic prototypes developed in conjunction with Boston Dynamics, including the infamous “Big Dog” robot and another robot that can jump up stairs and run 28.3 miles per hour, which is slightly faster than Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man.
Thank you to the Army for inspiring our students to pursue careers in STEM, as well as everyone who worked to make their visit possible.
Wendale Davis Foundation 11th Annual Leadership Conference
The Wendale Davis Foundation is an intervention, prevention, mentoring foundation with a mission to educate, motivate, and rehabilitate at-risk youth. On Friday, February 22, 2019, a series of workshops were held at BC with topics such as HIV/AIDS Awareness, Gang Intervention, Life/Coping Skills, and more. It’s a great day any time BC invites young people to campus to learn and embrace a healthy and successful future.
Juvenile Justice Employers
The Criminal Justice, Public Health and the Career Education Department collaborated to host the first Juvenile Justice Employer Panel on February 27, 2019. The primary focus of this event was to inform students in the Public Safety Pathway, Public Health Science, Psychology and/or Sociology majors about the different career paths they can follow after completing their education. Each panelist discussed their role working on prevention and intervention with troubled youth and tools they use to reduce criminal behavior. With over 100 students and special guest, Ricardo De Hoyo a District Representative of Senator Melissa Hurtado, in attendance, employers answered questions related to educational background, past and current work experience and employer expectations.
Dean and Adah Gay Reading Room Refurbishment
If you haven’t been in the Grace Van Dyke Bird Library recently, check out the refurbished Dean and Adah Gay Reading Room. The Gay family created an endowment back in 2007 to help maintain the room but until recently the goals of this endowment were not fully realized. New chairs, lamps and plants have been added, plus additional electrical outlets to assist students in recharging their electronic devices.
David and Catherine Gay, Andreas, Emily (Gay) and Eva Dauner joined Kirk and Stacey Russell (Library), and Heather Pennella, Tom Gelder and Dana Heins-Gelder (Foundation) to rededicate the space last Saturday evening, February 23, 2019. The new furniture arrived last Friday just before noon and the students began enjoying it immediately.
From Earth to the Universe Planetarium Show
Last week Dr. Nick Strobel held one of his amazing planetarium presentations called From Earth to the Universe. Community Relations Manager Tamara Baker brought her parents to the event, excited to show off the beautiful William M Thomas Planetarium, which boasts the largest dome in all of the Central Valley! Tamara said that Dr. Strobel delved into the evening stars, and showed attendees how to identify different constellations and how to find true north. Tamara said that she and her family cannot wait to go star gazing up at their cabin. Thanks Dr. Strobel for always putting on such great and informational presentations for our local community!
Degree With a Guarantee
Near the end of last year, I participated in an interview with Gary Stern for an article focused on Degrees with a Guarantee at California Community Colleges. Check it out the Hispanic Outlook Article: Degree Guarantee.
Public Health Program in Case Study
Sarah Baron and BC’s Public Health Sciences program were featured in a case study published by the Community College Journal of Research and Practices. The report published on February 19, titled “Practical Lessons in Public Health Program Implementation: Perspectives from the Field,” was co-written by Baron and discusses the way BC’s program offers a health navigator certificate and a general transfer degree developed with support from the Society for Public Health Education. Our Public Health Sciences program is creating the next generation of advocates for healthy communities, and I’m confident that their work will make the San Joaquin Valley a happier, healthier places for thousands of people.
What has everyone a-twitter?
Trustee Romeo Agbalog appeared on the radio show Money Wise.
Speech Intramural Competition in Delano
Last Saturday, the BC Delano Campus hosted a speech intramural competition featuring Panorama and Delano students, as well as Arvin High and homeschooled Early College students.
There were close to 80 people in attendance for the speech intramural, which featured BC communication faculty and student judges evaluating students in a number of different speech competitions, including informative speech, persuasion, special topics, and impromptu speaking. Christine Cruz-Boone, a communication professor at BC and one of the judges for the event, said that Arvin High freshmen swept all top three places in the informative speech category, and homeschool student Samantha Craig earned second overall in impromptu speaking. Delano Campus student Itzel Hernandez won first place in the persuasion competition, and Panorama students Gloria Sanchez, Mandy Canada, and Lindsey Brackett also placed in various categories. The diverse group of BC participants got the opportunity to test out communication skills that they learned from BC instructors in a practical environment.
Abel Guzman, who attended the final round and awards ceremony of the competition, was impressed by the students who participated and compiled a series of emails about the intramural for entry in this week’s blog. As our Early College program continues to grow, I’m excited to see the ways that our Early College kids interact with the more traditional student population.
If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11a, check out the segments from this week’s show. This week’s highlights included segments with BC Men’s Tennis Head Coach, Noel Dalton and BC student athletes Conrad Dalton, Luis Aceves and Moses Jimenez.
Renegades of the Week
This week’s (2/17-2/23) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:
Kylee Fahy, Softball – Pitched 26 innings (1 no-hitter) with a .269 era, 41 strikeouts, six hits, one run, one earned run in helping softball go 4-0 for the week.
Tanner Lopes, Men’s Swimming – The only Renegade individual event winner at the Mt. SAC Invite last weekend, taking the 50 breaststroke and also getting two other top-ten finishes. He was part of two top six relays and was the highest scoring male swimmer from BC helping the men finish 6th overall.
Men’s and Women’s Basketball Post-Season Awards
Huge congratulations to our men’s and women’s basketball student athletes who received recognition from the Western State Conference. Renegade Men’s Basketball student athletes Anieus Medrano and Shahadah Camp were been named to the 2018-2019 Western State Conference All-Conference team. Marcus Jones was also recognized as the Co-Defensive MOP for the conference. Renegade Women’s Basketball student athletes Jasmyn Rodriguez, Dasia Wandick and Brianna Mendez were named to the 2018-2019 Western State Conference (WSC) All-Conference team. Congrats! And way to represent BC!
Roundup of Athletics Events this week
As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click for the story on GoGades.com):
Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, February 9, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.
Early College Launch in McFarland
Next week is it! BC will be holding the Early College Launch event at McFarland High on Wednesday, Feb 13th. Retired Senator (and Renegade) Jean Fuller will be there to talk about the program, and the impact that it will have on our region. Check out Superintendent Resendez’s piece in The Delano Record about the launch as well!
Join us as we launch this program at McFarland High School on February 13th at 5:00 pm! It promises to be a remarkable event. For information you can visit www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/earlycollege.
2019 Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Gala
Last Saturday night Bakersfield College attended the annual KCHCC Gala at the Marriott hotel. BC is a proud supporter of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (KCHCC), with five Renegades as boardmembers: Olivia Garcia, Lisa Kent, Tony Cordova, Norma Rojas-Mora, and Corny Rodriguez. I’d like to thank Ricky Marsel for sharing some of his photos. Great work, KCHCC!
We were pleased to have at our table Congressman TJ Cox and his delightful wife Kathy Murphy. Also, Senator Melissa Hurtado was at our table and I was pleased to get to know her. Senator Shannon Grove and Assembly Member Rudy Salas were also at the event.
Spotlight: Corny Rodriguez
The Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce honored Cornelio (Corny) Rodriguez for this year’s Businessman of the Year at Saturday’s event. Corny received this recognition for his work within the community and in support of a college going culture among the youth of Kern County. Corny came to BC in 1991 as the Director of the Chicano Cultural Center at Bakersfield College.
Throughout the years, he has held a number of different positions on campus including President of Academic Senate, Director of the Delano Center, Director of Outreach, Director of ACCESS (Association of Cultural Centers for Student Success), and Professor of Political Science. Corny has been a consistent champion for increasing graduation rates at BC, and has worked tirelessly to advance student success and develop leaders within the community. Congrats Corny!!! Your BC family is so proud!
Black History Month Conference at BC
Lives were changed at Bakersfield College on Friday,
February 8, 2019, with the Black History Month Conference themed “Black
Excellence.” Students from Bakersfield College and high schools all over Kern
County engaged in a truly excellent and engaging conference with African Soul
International and keynote speaker Reverend Dr. Charles L. Dorsey.
After a light breakfast in front of the PAC Indoor Theatre, students from approximately 15 high schools from Kern County filed into the theatre singing to some of their favorite pop songs playing on the speakers. Bakersfield College Umoja Community Club President and Vice President professionally emceed the indoor theatre portion of the conference, engaging the students from the very beginning. They taught the students about Umoja ASTEP, which is a program that integrates academics, support services and African-American culture through educating the whole student, body, mind and spirit, through an ethic of love. There are over 60 Umoja programs state-wide. They also taught the students some African words, including the “umoja” which is Kiswahili for “unity.”
Chancellor Tom Burke welcomed the students and encouraged them to pursue college. He shared with them his own son’s struggles to find his place in the world and how BC helped him find his path to Engineering and ultimately graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Engineering Robotics. He called BC an “educational oasis” to prepare for transferring to a larger university and pointed out that transfer students outperform those entering universities directly as freshmen.
African Soul International captured the audience with a powerful introduction to African drums. Then, the founder and artistic director of the organization, Dr. Jewel “Adama” Jackson, came out on stage singing. She immediately enthralled the audience, and had them singing together “When the Saints Go Marching In.” She led the audience through an African ritual, signaling to heaven that the drums were a conduit of positive energy, and giving libations of water to plants. A very spiritual, moving and uplifting ritual.
Jewel further taught the students about Africa, that it is the largest free-standing continent with 54 countries and 2,500 nationalities with their own languages and cultures. Most Africans can speak 4-7 languages. She pointed out that Africa is a major exporter of diamonds and gold, and we all carry a little bit of Africa in our pockets as cobalt is used in our cell phones. There are rich parts, just as there are poor parts. She brought several students onto stage and taught them dances, one about celebrating moving to the next level in life and the other celebrating the harvest, because they are the harvest. The African Soul International was fun, engaging and educational. I recommend bringing them to all of the high schools in Kern County.
With such an excellent and energizing opening performance, it was hard to believe that the keynote speaker could keep that sense of energy and engagement going, but Reverend Dr. Charles Dorsey did just that. After driving 3 hours and conducting interviews with the media, he had the energy to run onto to the stage and immediately engage the audience. He began by handing out a copy of his book Fathers and Sons Speak: Telling My Father’s Storyto an audience member who had the closest birthday to his own, giving the book to the young man, telling him it would change his life, and giving him his personal phone number and telling him to call him once he had read the book.
Dr. Dorsey’s presentation was nothing short of inspiring as he engaged the students in a “Signing Day.” He gave them four decisions that he wanted them to make:
Decide not to miss another opportunity.
No more excuses.
Succeed… no matter what.
Be a difference maker.
I would like to thank Dr. Paula Parks and the members of Umoja that put on this excellent event for Black History Month. Thank you, Chancellor Burke, for taking time out of your busy day to speak to the students. Thank you Mary Jo Pasek and all of the staff that assisted in putting on this event. Check my blog next week for details on the rest of this event as the students continued with several workshops. We are BC!
BC Ag Ambassadors Visit Cal Poly SLO
Bakersfield College’s Agriculture Ambassadors went to California Polytechnic State University, SLO for the Agriculture Ambassador Conference last weekend. At the conference BC’s Ag Ambassadors got the chance to highlight the activities they are doing to promote BC’s Agriculture Department. Of the 14 colleges in attendance, BC was the only community college to present. They held their own with the 4-year universities and we are BC PROUD of them!
Our Ag Ambassadors also had the chance to hear from many guest speakers about the different job opportunities in the agriculture industry. With the central valley being the breadbasket of the world and Kern County the #1 county for agriculture production in the nation our students have a lot of job opportunities in this industry.
Spring semester is a busy time for our Ag Ambassadors. They will be doing outreach activities at the World Ag Expo and upcoming Career Fairs. They will also be visiting local high schools and promoting Bakersfield College’s Agriculture Department. Their goal is to help and encourage the next generation of agriculture students. Bakersfield College opens many pathways for students to succeed and the Ag Ambassadors are doing an excellent job at sharing these opportunities with future BC students. WE ARE BC!
Joe Saldivar Speaks at Kern County Science Fair
Our own Dr. Joe Saldivar, Biology department chair, has been asked to be the guest speaker at the Kern County Science Fair-2019 on March 12 at the Convention Center. The annual science fair hosts hundreds of 4th through 6th graders competing for a chance to move on to the California Science Fair. Dr. Joe as he likes to call himself, has participated in Renegade Talks and has been a valuable faculty member at BC. To check out one of Joe’s Renegade Talks click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WfznL9M16U
Bakersfield College collaborates with Ridgeview High for first Journalism Day
Educators and journalists gathered on Feb. 1 at Ridgeview High to discuss their careers in journalism and provide career development advice to Kern County high school students. BC student Paige Atkison, who recently concluded a successful semester as editor-in-chief of the Renegade Rip, BC’s award-winning student newspaper, spoke about the importance of the profession. “Journalists write the first draft of history,” she said.
Speakers also included BC journalism professors Erin Auerbach and Christina Lopez, as well as BC history professor Olivia Garcia (a longtime journalist) and CSUB journalism professor Jennifer Burger. Local journalists Nick James (Sports Director, KGET), Kelly Broderick (Producer, KERO), Erin Briscoe (PIO Kern High School District and former KBAK anchor), Mark Nessia (Bakersfield Life and the Kern Business Journal) and freelance photojournalist Nick Ellis participated as well. They spoke about their careers, the direction the profession is moving in and the importance of education. Speakers gave students advice and emphasized the skills, both interpersonal and technical, that students will need to develop to succeed in the profession. They also talked about the ways journalists can make a difference in their communities through accurate, ethical and thorough reporting.
Students studying print, digital or broadcast from East, South, Ridgeview, Centennial and Bakersfield High School attended. The first event also included a contest in which Renegade Rip editors selected first place, second place and honorable mentions in four categories from participating high schools: front page/cover design, photo, news story and feature.
Ridgeview journalism advisor Kristen Hunter-Flores and BC Professor Auerbach coordinated event, which will be held at Bakersfield College in 2020.
Greenfield Union School District Mini Science Olympiad
BC Professor Deborah Rosenthal shared photos from the mini science olympiad event which offers the opportunity for middle school students in the GATE program at Greenfield Unified School District. They met for a half day for two Saturdays. The STEM department does about 10-12 mini chemistry and physics competitions. There were over 30 BC volunteers, all of whom were either STEM or Education majors. Thank you to the volunteers for assisting in this great event! WE ARE BC!
BSO Next Program
The Performing Arts Department took part in the BSO Next program, which hosts local high school students for a ‘taste of BC’ (dinner and a chance to see various elements of the College). Last Saturday, Professor Tiner and some of his BC Jazz students performed for a group of Music students from Cesar Chavez High School. After a wonderful evening of entertainment and dining, the students proceeded to the Rabobank Theatre for a Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra concert. Kudos to Professor Tiner and his students for organizing such a wonderful event! And thank you Manny Mourtzanos for always sending me photos and videos of our performing Arts faculty and students. You are the eternal champion for the department.
BC at the Getty Villa’s College Night
Last Monday, Dr. Nicky Damania took students to the Getty Villa. A total of 20 individuals made it to the college night at the Getty. This annual event comes with a free dinner and many craft stalls for students to engage with. The group toured behind the scene at the Getty, learning how the conservationists take ancient artifacts, restore them and display them around the world. Many college students from Southern California were in attendance and enjoy the Festival of Lights, music, and the experience of a lifetime. Some of the craft stalls were color magnets, spray painting murals, creating a Turkish eye, tattoos, making olive branch halos, and learning how to make clay pottery. It looks like everyone had a great time! I’ll have to attend one down the road.
Financial Aid Fest
In honor of Financial Aid Awareness Month, BC’s Financial Aid Department hosted a resource fair in front of the CSS Building on Tuesday and Wednesday with games, food, raffle prizes, and representatives from other BC student services, including EOP&S, DSPS, and CTE.
The event was designed to encourage students to complete their financial aid applications before this year’s Cal Grant deadline, which is March 2. The Financial Aid Department is also hosting a series of application assistance workshops to help students throughout the month of February. To find a full list of Financial Aid Workshop dates, visit the Upcoming Finaid Workshops page.
Thank you Financial Aid for making education a reality for our more than 30,000 students. If students have any questions, they can email the Financial Aid office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Distinguished Speaker: Carol Swain Ph.D.
On Thursday, Distinguished Speaker Dr. Carol Swain visited BC for a series of speeches in the Levan Center, telling the inspirational story of how she rose from extreme poverty to become one of America’s leading black conservative intellectuals.
Dr. Swain, a retired professor of political science who has taught at Princeton and Vanderbilt, grew up in rural Virginia with 11 brothers and sisters in a house with no electricity or running water. She had to sleep on the kitchen floor, and all of the children had to share the same bath water that was heated over a stove. She dropped out of high school and by the age of 20 was married with 3 children. After attempting suicide by overdosing on pills, a medical professional inspired her to pursue an education.
Dr. Swain earned her GED and enrolled at Virginia Western Community College. A librarian at the college helped her with a full-time job working nights and weekends at the school library, which helped pay her way through an associate’s degree in business from Virginia Western and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Roanoke College.
“I grew up believing in the American dream,” Dr. Swain said. “I believed that if I worked hard, I could overcome the circumstances of my birth.”
She went on to earn a Ph.D. in political science at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where her dissertation became the controversial book “Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African-Americans in Congress”. To gather research for the book, Dr. Swain travelled with white and black members of Congress for a qualitative study. The book’s conclusions about descriptive vs. substantive representation and political party as a more important signifier for black representation than race earned her nationwide recognition, and it was a recipient of the D.B. Hardeman Prize and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award upon its publication in 1993.
“Within academia, I did well because I had mentors,” Dr. Swain said. “I was a single-minded seeker of my degrees.”
Dr. Swain went on to become an advisor to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and serve on the National Council on the Humanities under President George W. Bush. After retiring from Vanderbilt in 2017, Dr. Swain is now a contributor to The Epoch Times and hosts her own podcast titled Be the People.
Dr. Swain’s journey is a symbol of the transformative power of education, and what people can accomplish with the right guidance and drive. I’d like to thank BC’s Office of Student Life and the Liberty Institute for inviting Dr. Swain to campus.
Finish in 4 Welcome Event
On Friday, BC held the Welcome to Finish in 4 event an opportunity for our students to meet the Finish in 4 counselors and staff, completion coaching team (including our CSU partners) and other students in the program. BC provided guidance with program eligibility, information on how to obtain book vouchers, as well as assistance with signing and completing the Finish in 4 agreement and educational planning.
In case you didn’t know, the Kern Promise’s Finish in 4 is our joint collaboration with CSUB that supports the increase in student completion with an Associate Degree for Transfer within 60 semester units at BC. Students are then guaranteed admission to CSUB in a related major, and will complete an additional 60 semester units to earn a bachelor’s degree! The Finish in 4 efforts aim to guarantee that students can complete their transfer degree in 2 years at Bakersfield College and baccalaureate degree in the following 2 years at CSUB. Together, the goal is to move students through to the next stage of their educational and career goals in a more efficient and impactful way.
LINKS Academy Career Day
On Saturday, January 26th Connie Gonzalez (MESA Director), Cynthia Quintanilla (Counselor), Laurel Mourtzanos (Counselor), and Dr. Steve Waller (Dean of Instruction) participated in the LINKS Academy Career Day at Emerson Middle School. Connie represented BC by providing the opening remarks for the event, and several of our BC MESA students assisted the attendees with science experiments and demonstrations.
I’d like to recognize the following BC MESA students for all of their help:
Brian Aguilar, Anthony Collin, Alejandra Zapata, Kayla Scott, Ian Spark, Peter Rodriguez, Eddie Meza, Andres Orea, GemmaTrujillo, Issac Garcia, Sabrina Lugo, Jonathan Martinez
Students even had the opportunity to make slime! This event was a wonderful opportunity to engage with middle school students and showcase BC’s STEM pathway!
Porterville College Foundation Hall of Fame Dinner
Last Friday Porterville College honored softball coach Vickie Dugan, Distinguished Alumni Steve Schultz (father of BC counselor Jonathan Schultz), and others at their Foundation Hall of Fame celebration. BC’s Culinary Arts Department provided the meals for the evening. You can read a preview for the Foundation Hall of Fame celebration in last week’s blog. Take a look at the photo below as the BC team prepares for the dinner. I’m extremely proud of our Culinary Arts program as they continue to shine bright in the Kern Community. Thank you Chef Pat Coyle for sending me this photos and bragging about the students.
Dr. Nicky Damania Leads Workshop at KCCD
Dr. Nicky Damania, director of Student Life, hosted a joint districtwide workshop for all three campuses at the district office last week. The workshop was “Helping Key Faculty and Staff Understand Bystander Intervention Theories to Assist Students in Various Predicaments.”
Over the last several years, bystander intervention training has become one of the most recommended and effective strategies to address campus issues. The Step Up! Bystander Intervention Program was developed leading practitioners, using evidence-based research and theories around bystander behavior. Hundreds of campuses are using it to address a wide variety of campus issues, concerns, populations and applications. Whether its AOD use, violence, mental health or any other concern, proactive bystander intervention is something we all can use to help someone in need. This was a needed training that all three institutions felt they needed to have in order to better serve our students.
The Step Up! bystander intervention program is a comprehensive training program that was developed using leading experts, theories and concepts in bystander behavior. The foundation of the program is a 5-Step decision-making process that helps students (or any participant) walk through a logical process, starting with noticing an event and eventually taking action to help. Each step is backed by research, information and/or skill-building to help the step and the progression make sense. Thank you Nicky for making sure that everyone at KCCD stays informed!
Our very own graphic designer Eric Carillo managed to snap this GORGEOUS photo of a rainbow off the bluffs during the rain break on Tuesday. He attributed it to perfect timing, but I’m thinking he might have a knack for it.
The Rural Initiatives team met with Delano Union Elementary School leadership on Tuesday. It is crucial that BC builds equitable and early access to higher education for children in our rural community. Through a partnership with our friends at DUESD, we are going to move closer to doing just that!
BC Athletics’ Manager of Communications and Community Relations Brandon Urry tweeted a photo of his son as the new BC Batboy! We love seeing our Renegade families join in!
BC’s Maria Wright and Miguel Cuate from Academic Support Services were on “The Pulse” to explain why BC is a place for everyone and once you’re a student here, we have the support services to make sure you can be successful. Thank you Danny Morrison! If you missed the segment live, you can hear the recording online at www.thebeat1039.com!
BC’s new food trailer Gades Grub is officially here! Students and visitors can enjoy warm food from our amazing Food Services team at the beautiful Gades Grub trailer! Thank you to Stephanie Stuart and Jennifer Sanderson for all of your hard work on getting this trailer on campus, and thank you to Eric Carillo for doing such a great job on the design!
Renegades of the Weeks
Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (1/27-2/2) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week.
Paige Darstein, Women’s Tennis – Coming off a torn ACL last season, Paige had a dominating 6-0, 6-0 win in her #2 singles matchup against Reedley. Trey Harmon, Baseball – Went 7 for 16 (.438) last week in four games in which the Renegades went 4-0. Trey also had 7 RBI with two doubles and a triple for the week.
Congrats to Jasmyn Rodriguez for Winning The Bakersfield Jockey Club Award.
Jasmyn Rodriguez of BC Women’s Basketball was awarded the Bakersfield Jockey Club Award this week at the Club’s monthly luncheon at Hodel’s. The Club is a local non-profit whose goal is to honor local high school and college athletes for the accomplishments. Congrats Jasmyn! Thank you for representing BC with class!
If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11a, check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include segments BC Athletics Associate AD Keith Ford and BC Women’s Beach Volleyball student athlete Penelope Zepeda.
Segment with Keith Ford
Segment with Penelope Zepeda
Roundup of Athletics Events this week
As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click for the story on GoGades.com):