Tag Archives: Dylan Wang

Thankful to be a Renegade

We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving

Definitely feeling the holiday weather settling in around us with the crispy cool mornings, the holiday lights starting to blanket the neighborhood, and the holiday spirit of generosity and goodwill warming our hearts. My brother sent me this beautiful music video of talented young artists performing We are the World from Manipur a state in the northeastern part of India.

Let’s check out the original version USA for Africa — We are the World.

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, November 30, 2019… Do you feel the warmth and love in the air… A great day to be a Renegade.

Giving Thanks

November is a time of year when we gather around our loved ones and celebrate the things for which we are thankful.  Since the first Thanksgiving in 1621, this tradition has carried on from generation to generation of American families. 

In this time of giving thanks, I looked back over my blog posts from earlier this year and enjoyed seeing photos of students, graduates, alumni, supporters, faculty, and staff.  I am truly blessed to be the president of the best college the nation. Thank you!

As you can see, there really is so much to be thankful for this year!

HEAL Summit

Last week, BC organized and hosted an important conversation on how we can transform health in California’s rural communities. Health care professionals got the chance to connect with medical researchers, educators and policy makers at the BC Delano Campus for the Rural Poverty and Health Equity Summit, coming together to share all of the hard work that they do every day to make the Central Valley a healthier place to live.

This event is one of many that our stakeholders in health care and education will be organizing as part of the Rural Health Equity and Learning (HEAL) Collaborative. The HEAL collaborative came together when Dr. Kathy Murphy, started connecting educational institutions in response to a grant proposal and four months later, is now a thriving six-county network of organizations committed to improving health, education and economic outcomes in rural communities throughout CA’s Central Valley. 

If you are interested in joining the HEAL collaborative or if you know of an institution throughout our region that would be interested, please check out the HEAL website to get started.

Some of the most dire health outcomes in the Central Valley are related to poverty and the absence of accessible resources in our rural communities. Education is an important solution to these difficult societal issues… several sources, including the Partners for Rural Transformation and the Center for Disease Control, indicate that people with higher levels of education have lower rates of chronic disease and make healthier choices for themselves and their families.

Norma Rojas has been a passionate member of the the Rural HEAL Collaborative, and served as the emcee for our summit last week.

Norma Rojas-Mora
Congressman TJ Cox

Congressman TJ Cox is active at the federal level to help the citizens of California’s 21st District live healthier lives. Cox serves on several congressional committees and caucuses related to community health, including the Asthma and Allergy Caucus, which is introducing funding to support remote respiratory care and access to asthma medications. He is also working on legislation to address opioid addiction, the vaping epidemic, diabetes, and hydrocephalus, a condition that causes an abnormal buildup of spinal fluid in the brain.

Panel 1

Dr. Kathleen Murphy, a pediatrician at Valley Children’s Hospital and an advisory board member for the Rural HEAL Initiative moderated our first panel about forming networks of collaboration to address health crises.

Dr. Kathleen Murphy
The Summit crowd was at max capacity!
Russell Judd, Nancy Burke, Sonya Christian, Tania Pacheco

The first speaker on the rural collaborative panel was Kern Medical CEO Russell Judd, who talked about founding the Valley Fever Institute to advance conversations on treatments for this devastating disease. Most of the important findings on valley fever are published directly out of Kern Medical Center, and the institute takes a 3-pronged approach of research, treatment and outreach to lift the burden off San Joaquin families who fight against Valley Fever every day. Last month, the group organized a town hall forum on Valley Fever at the Indoor Theater featuring TJ Cox.

Russell Judd
Sonya Christian and Russell Judd

Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner is the Assistant Director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute, an organization established at Fresno State in 2002 to provide data and information on health policy issues in Central California. The group provides local experts and decision makers with data to help them take the appropriate action for Central Valley health outcomes while highlighting some overlooked systemic problems that are at the root causes of many health issues.

Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner

Dr. Nancy Burke has relied on the help of community partners to build UC Merced’s Public Health program from the ground up, building collaborations with national, local and regional organizations to engage youth in public health policy. UC Merced has established the Nicotine and Cannabis Policy Center to research the harmful effects of vaping, and they’ve launched a separate initiative to address racial and poverty gaps in oral health care for children.

Nancy Burke and Sonya Christian

I was the last presenter in the first panel, and briefly highlighted two collaborative projects to address poverty — Early College partnership with the rural high schools and our collaboration with Housing and Urban Development to address low income student housing needs.

Panel 2

Our second panel revolved around air quality, which is linked to many negative health outcomes for millions of people throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Emanuel Alcala with the Central Valley Health Policy Institute moderated the air quality panel and provided an overview of our air quality problem. The Central Valley has some of the worst air in the country, particularly in rural areas that are centered around large industrial pollution sources.

Emanuel Alcala
Emanuel Alcala, Kevin Hamilton, Dr. Sandie Ha, and John Moua

Kevin Hamilton from the Central California Asthma Collaborative described the challenges with diagnosing health problems related to air quality. Poor air quality can cause stress reactions in the body that manifest as any number of symptoms, and low-income communities of color don’t have the means to address the causal factors of their illnesses, so minor issues develop into major disorders that require emergency treatment.

Kevin Hamilton

UC Merced Public Health professor Sandie Ha talked about neonatal impacts in the Central Valley are affected by poor air quality and the importance of measuring indoor as well as outdoor air quality. She also emphasized the challenge in getting people to recognize the risks of poor air quality, including wide-ranging implications from blood pressure to diabetes.

Sandie Ha
Left to right: Kevin Hamilton, Sandie Ha, and John Moua

UCSF Fresno professor John Moua’s presentation focused on the implicit biases that many physicians have when they diagnose respiratory issues. Asthma rates are significantly higher in the Central Valley than the rest of the state, yet many primary care physicians are not up-to-date on the latest advancements in respiratory treatment. Many poorer families are also challenged to manage costs when they can barely put food on the table, Moua explained.

John Moua

Panel 3

TJ Cox moderated the panel on substance abuse issues, which is one of the issues that he’s most passionate about championing on Capitol Hill. While there are 70 million estimated drug users in the United States, Cox said that only 15 percent seek treatment for addiction, and substance use is on the rise with the teen vaping epidemic and the prevalence of prescription opioid abuse.

Congressman TJ Cox

Anna Song is with the UC Merced Nicotine and Cannabis Policy Center. The group is working on creating smoke-free shared housing units for students, instituting smoking bans in parks, and providing parents with information about vaping lung disease and how to tell if their children are vaping.

Anna Song
Left to right: Anna Song, David Rohac, and Dr. Rais Vohra

Dr. Rais Vohra teaches family medicine at UCSF Fresno and serves as the Regional Director of the California Bridge program, which encourages evidence-based substance use disorder treatment, hospitality for addicts, and linkages to ongoing care and support groups. He shared some innovative new developments happening in the world of substance use treatment, including the advent of substance use navigators available in emergency rooms to advocate for patients with substance use problems, provide referrals to outside support services, and raise awareness about harm reduction medications like methadone and suboxone.

Dr. Rais Vohra

David Rohac is a psychology faculty here at BC, and I was excited to hear him share his research about prenatal alcohol exposure. This important research is published in a chapter of the book “Neuroscience of Alcohol: Mechanisms and Treatment”, which is used in the curriculum for many college courses concerning alcohol addiction and substance use. The research shows that early exposure to alcohol in the womb can negatively influence a fetus’ development, and exposure to alcohol within the first trimester is more dangerous to fetal development than exposure to heroin. Prenatal alcohol exposure can be especially dangerous, as alcohol is more socially acceptable than other drugs, people have misconceptions about how dangerous alcohol actually is, and families often don’t know that they’re pregnant until late in the first trimester.

David Rohac
Nora Dominguez, Julianne McCall. David Rohac, Sonya Christian

Panel 4

Cindy Collier opened the last panel of the summit on developing compassionate, informed health care professionals. Approximately 7 million Californians live in areas with a shortage of health professionals, and many of them are in rural areas right here in the Central Valley. That number is projected to increase in the next decade if we aren’t proactive in training the next generation of health care professionals to close that gap.

Cindy Collier

Dr. Serena Yang, the Chief of Pediatrics at UCSF Fresno, expanded on that conversation, describing the ways that poverty and lack of transportation exacerbate provider shortages. The primary predictors for where a health professional will choose to work is based on where they train and where they can reap the most financial benefit, and Yang emphasized the importance of loan repayment programs to encourage our best and brightest to stay right here in the Central Valley.

Dr. Serena Yang

Adventist Health has been one of our partners with the Rural HEAL Collaborative, and CEO Sharlet Briggs described the challenges that she faces in trying to maintain a diverse and properly-trained workforce to meet the Central Valley’s needs. She emphasized their need for more physicians assistants and LVNs to serve as a bridge between patients and doctors. She also expressed the importance of expanding the specialized care in rural areas. Finally, she outlined the ways that provider shortage is only a part of the problem, and we need to be looking at how we can address homelessness, mental health and poverty.

Left to right: Sharlet Briggs, Dr. Serena Yang, and Thelma Hurd
Sharlet Briggs
Thelma Hurd

UC Merced’s Director of Medical Education Thelma Hurd emphasized the role of academic support as the key to reducing the health workforce shortage in the Central Valley. Only 20 percent of students who enter a medical program actually go on to work in the medical field. With the right support and mentorship through organizations like MESA, we can make sure that our students aren’t falling through the cracks even as we reduce the equity barriers that keep many low income students of color out of the medical field. She also talked about developing programs to get children interested in STEM and health careers as early as elementary school.

Sonya Christian and Thelma Hurd

Closing

At the close of the summit, we were all excited to hear from Julianne McCall, a neuroscientist and representative from Governor Gavin Newsom’s Office of Planning and Research. She praised all of the attendees for participating in this broad-reaching discussion about making medical practices more equitable for all Californians, and shared information with the group about a new innovation known as precision medicine.

Julianne McCall

Precision medicine is an emerging approach toward disease treatment and prevention that accounts for a patient’s distinctive genetics, environment and lifestyle. As this field develops, the ultimate goal is for medical treatment to be accurately individualized at the chromosomal level instead of the traditional one-size-fits-all, general population approach characteristic of current defined medical science. To jumpstart our state into this exciting future, Governor Newsom’s office launched the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine, offering grants to institutions across the state that advance precision medicine research. A requirement of the grant is for institutions to advance partnerships between researchers and their community, which will give rural communities the opportunity to provide input into the research.

One lucky raffle winner and Tamara Baker
BC staff and attendees who helped make this event possible
Abel Guzman and me

Thank you Delano Regional Medical Center and Kern Medical for being our sponsors. Thank you Abel Guzman and the Rural Initiatives team for getting the Delano Campus ready for the event. Thank you Lori Ortiz for leading the logistics. Thank you Tamara Baker and Jana Castillo for managing the event. Thank you to the planning team who put the programming together: Dr. Kathy Murphy, Dr. Nancy Burke, Norma Rojas, and Cindy Collier.

Child Development Film Festival

The Child Development departments at BC, CSUB, and Taft College came together to host a student film festival in the Indoor Theater last week.

Students from the three colleges created one-minute PSAs about working with children. The entries were then judged by a panel of notable community figures including Congressman Kevin McCarthy, KCCD Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and Mayor Karen Goh. Students covered a diverse variety of topics in their videos, including childhood PTSD, encouraging healthy life choices, and teaching sign language at a young age. A BC student took home the first place prize with a video about special needs children.

Thank you to BC’s Bernadette Towns, Taft College’s Becky Roth, and the Child Development Team at CSUB for working together to put together a fun event for all our students.

Surveying the Homeless

Perla Villegas Samantha Pulido Sarah Aguirre Jordan Thomas Gian Gayatao
From left to right: Perla Villegas, Samantha Pulido, Sarah Aguirre, Jordan Thomas, and Gian Gayatao
Jordan Rude and Perla Villegas
Perla Villegas and Jordan Rude

On Sunday, November 24, Professor Jordan Rude organized a team from BC to help him with a data project…. surveying the homeless at Central Park. We had student volunteers from Student Life, BCSGA, and Outreach to collect data for Professor Rude by passing out surveys and collecting the responses. Thanks to the volunteers who came out to help!

Dream Big Conference Hosts Record Attendees!

On Friday, November 15, Bakersfield College hosted close to 350 high school students and chaperones during the Dream Big Conference. Focused on promoting college going among first-generation, English Learners, and migrant students, the Dream Big Conference provided an engaging experience in a variety of formats to help students understand opportunities and ways of paying for college

Staff and student volunteers ready to greet students and chaperones!

The day began with breakfast and a welcome provided by Dr. Anna Laven, AB 540 Program Manager. Attendees then heard from a moderated student panel facilitated by Manuel Rosas, EOPS Counselor and LUPE Faculty Advisor.

Volunteers for the event including staff members, student assistants and student leaders.

Following the student panel, attendees were introduced to the campus through an engaging scavenger hunt led by Marcela Gamino, EOPS and CARE Educational Advisor. Students then heard presentations on three topics, including career education, the EOPS, AB 540 and NextUp Programs, and opportunities provided by our rural initiatives. The day ended with an informative session on paying for college facilitated by the Southern San Joaquin Valley Cal-SOAP Consortium.

College Experience Panel (left to right): Jovana (Panel Moderator) Mayra, Marlene, Erick, Pedro, Mayra, Elizabeth, Manuel Rosas (Panel Moderator & LUPE Faculty Advisor)

Co-leads organizing the event included Angela Blanco, KHSD Education Liaison, Dr. Anna Laven, Maria Baltazar, NextUp and CalWORKs Program Manager, and Jaime Lopez, Rural Initiatives Program Manager.

Renegades We’re Thankful For: Matthew Moon

My name is Ramon Carreido, and I am a sophomore here at BC. During my time as a Renegade, I’ve encountered many friends, co-workers and people who have helped shape my academic career, but no one has played a bigger role than my swim coach Matt Moon.

Matt Moon and Ramon Carriedo

I am a BC athlete who has been a member of the swim team for over a year, and I’ve enjoyed the intense training and preparation that Coach Moon has put us through, whether it’s holding our breaths while swimming two lengths of the pool or throwing us into events that we’ve never swam before.

I swam for all 4 years at Wasco High, including qualifying for Valley in my junior and senior year. After high school, I knew that I wanted to keep swimming competitively, so I talked to Coach Moon the summer after graduation and decided to swim for BC. After the first week of winter training, I quickly learned that I was not in high school anymore. We start the day off at 6 a.m. with one hour of weight training and another in the pool before going to class, only to come back at 2:30 p.m. for another 2-hour practice, which was a big change from our regular routine at Wasco High.

Many athletes don’t get to work with coaches that practice what they preach, but Coach Moon is in the weight room getting reps in before we even arrive at 6 a.m., and he is always there for helpful tips on diet choices and keeping our bodies in competitive shape.

Coach Moon has not only shaped my academic career but my life. After going through all of this intense training, I’ve learned that all of my hard work will eventually pay off. I have implemented this mentality into every element of my daily life while juggling school, my job as a student working in the Marketing office, and swim. I know that all of my efforts will only make me a stronger person. This Thanksgiving, I’m super blessed to swim for Coach Moon here at BC.

Renegades We’re Thankful For: Eric Carrillo and Dylan Wang

My name is Juan Reyes, and I am a sophomore student and student employee at BC. I’m thankful for Eric Carrillo and Dylan Wang, the graphic designers for BC’s Marketing and Public Relations. I’m glad to have their friendship and guidance throughout my time as a student worker, and I’m grateful for the time we’ve spent in the office together.

Eric Carrillo and Dylan Wang and sonya christian
Graphic Designers Eric Carrillo (left) and Dylan Wang (right) received a President’s Leadership Award earlier this year.

Eric and Dylan always make Ramon and I feel welcomed and encourage us to talk about our experiences to learn from one another. Thank you Eric and Dylan for being amazing coworkers and friends.

Fun Photos

Budget Open Forum

The semi-annual Budget Open Forum occurred last Monday in the Levan Center.  This informative event featured presentations by Mike Giacomini and Teresa McAllister.

Juan Torres Delivers Grapes

Tarina Perry sent over this photo of Juan Torres, Delano Site Operations Coordinator, who often brings our office fresh-picked grapes from local vendors.

Carlos Barbaran Stays Dry

On Wednesday, Carlos Barbara had a unique way to stay dry in the rain.

Carlos Barbara

Seen on Social Media: Thankful Faculty

Erin Auerbach, BC Journalism faculty, posted recently that she’s thankful for opportunities like these for our students. Way to go, KGET!

Love this picture that Alberto Vargas clicked of Nicky and me.

Football Lands Nine on the SCFA North All-Conference List

Our football team just wrapped up their 2019 season and we have nine student athletes from the team that were honored this week with post-season honors. Congrats to the following players and thanks for representing BC with pride!

SCFA North First Team All-Conference

SCFA Noth 2nd-Team All-Conference

Skydiving into Memorial Stadium

Enjoy this video from our final home football game of the year when skydivers from Skydive San Joaquin Valley parachuted down to the field of Memorial Stadium with the game ball and the American flag. What a view!

Renegade Athletes of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (11/10-11/16) Kern Schools Federal Credit Union Renegades of the Week:

Emma Gross, Women’s Soccer – Emma anchored the Renegade defense in games last week against Santa Monica and Antelope Valley as the team closed out the 2019 regular season. Emma was also honored this week as a member of the 2019 CCCAA All-State Team, an honor given to only four defenders in the state. 

Edgar Gonzalez, Men’s Soccer – Edgar assisted on three of the four goals scored by the Renegades last week as the team clinched its first conference championship in school history. This week Edgar was also named to the CCCAA All-Region team, the WSC South 1st Team and as WSC South Offensive Player of the Year. 

Loved the way our Renegade Basketball players do a dance move when one of them scores a 3-pointer. Check it out.

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Sonya Christian


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Relax, Refresh & Renew on Spring Break

Happy Easter!

Sonya Christian cropped Nov 8 2017

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, March 31st and a great day to be a Renegade!

Woke up to Bakersfield College featured multiple times in the Bakersfield Life Magazine.

Let me start with page 71 and Kristen Mercer‘s awesome piece about Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg.  Sit back and enjoy a little bit of Nan.

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg March 31 2018 Bakerfeild Life Magazine

And this is Nan enjoying Bruno Mars as she walked to her car late one evening and I discretely caught her on camera.

Then on page 21 we have Olivia Garcia featured as one of the dining divas.  How cool!

Olivia Garcia a dining diva Bakersfield Life Magazine March 31 2018

 

And then on page 90, there are photos snapped by Rod Thornburg during BC’s Future Teachers Event organized by Kimberly Bligh and other faculty and staff.

Bakersfield Life Magazine March 31 2018 Future Teachers Event Photos by Rod Thornburg

Do you see why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

Spring Break on Campus

Parking Lot RepairsSpring Break gives us just enough time to prepare for the sprint towards commencement and the rush of end of the year celebrations. This year, campus was still bustling with activity as crews work to repair and renovate the largest student parking lot on campus, the one surrounding Memorial Stadium.

I love weeks like this because it gives me time to reflect on the various departments that truly make BC a special place to live, learn, and work.

Our Outreach team also prepared a big mailing reaching out to the next incoming class of Renegades. Zav Dadabhoy texted me some fantastic pictures and said, “Guiding students into the pathway begins with a huge mailing to ensure students register on their priority date, for 15 units and in their pathway.”

 

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March for our Lives

Last weekend, students who survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – some of them only 14 years old – organized a march that brought together more than a million people on the Washington Mall of our nation’s capital.

Cities around the country participated in Saturday’s March for Our Lives, including in Kern County. Golden Valley High School students organized Bakersfield’s March for Our Lives event, walking from Yokuts Park to Empire Drive, according to Joseph Luiz’s article in the Bakersfield Californian. There was also a March for Our Lives event in Tehachapi, according to KERO.

Kate Pluta, Isabel Stierle, Rob Parsons

KERO also reported on the two local teachers who flew out to the main March for Our Lives protest in Washington, DC. Mary Miller from Foothill High and Olivia Shears of McKee Middle School held a sign that said “I March For My Students’ Lives #standwiththekids”

Many of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students spoke on the main stage of the Washington, DC, March for Our Lives, telling their stories of how they were able to survive the shooting. David Hogg, one of the most outspoken survivors of the Parkland shooting, gave a powerful speech saying “change is here. …..The sun shines on a new day, and the day is ours.”

In the New York Times article summarizing last Saturday’s march in Washington, DC, a 360-degree video at the top of the page offers a dizzying look at the packed crowd in front of the White House.

Chief Counts 2

At BC, our Public Safety Department led by Chief Chris Counts is active in teaching our students and community how to respond in cases of emergency.  Chief Counts is also educating our campus to be aware of our surroundings all the time and as he says – if you see something, say something, and let’s do something about it.

BC’s Umoja ASTEP Students Touring HBCUs

It’s an exciting time in the lives of BC’s Umoja ASTEP Students! On Monday, March 26th, I was fortunate to be able to help send off ten of BC’s Umoja African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence (ASTEP) students for a tour of 5 Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCU) in the Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia areas.

Group picture HBCU send off March 23 2018

 

Dr. Paula Parks, Umoja ASTEP Community Coordinator and English Professor, began working with Cerro Coso’s Umoja Community coordinator on joining this tour in November 2017. Paula began fundraising in December for our students’ tour costs. Students had to apply for the tour by January and selection was based on GPA, being on a transfer pathway, and interest in attending one of the HBCUs.

HBCU Tour

HBCU Tour

The 10 students attending are part of BC’s Umoja Community African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence program. The program includes coursework (English and student development); mentoring, supported study time, a counselor who keeps students on the path to graduate, and academic and cultural trips. This is the third year of the program. The success rate is 2-4 times the success rate of Black students not in the program.

hbcu-6

Representatives from Howard University, Norfolk State University, and Morgan State University were on BC’s campus on February 12th, 2018 for the 3rd Annual HBCU Caravan Tour put on by National College Resources. See my blog about the HBCU Visits BC from February 24th.

i-zwpFWG6-X4Dr. Parks and Jonathan Ward, Umoja ASTEP Community Counselor, are escorting the students to five HBCU’s from March 26th to March 30th. They will visit the campuses of Norfolk State University, Virginia State University, Howard University, Morgan State University, and Bowie State University. The students will be able to experience the excitement and atmosphere of being at these historical campuses. We look forward to their successful transfer to one of these colleges.

Did you know that in order to be an HBCU the historically black college must be established prior to 1964? The oldest of the colleges the BC Umoja ASTEP students will tour is Bowie State University, located in Maryland, founded in 1865. The next two, in order of age, were both founded in 1867: Howard University is a private research university in Washington DC, and Morgan State University is a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution in Maryland. The next is Virginia State University, located 20 minutes south of Richmond and founded in 1882. The youngest the HBCU they will visit is Norfolk State University, located in Norfolk Virginia, founded in 1935.

i-qTNpjQ5-X4What a wonderful opportunity for our students. Thank you Dr. Paula Parks for spearheading this educational and motivational trip for the students. I also want to thank Jonathan Ward and the Office of Student Success & Equity for their work in bringing this trip to fruition.  Thank you Steve Watkin for leading the African American Initiative at Bakersfield College.

This trip has allowed me to dream much bigger than before. I have explored options that I did not know existed. I now have a great opportunity to go further in life because of this awesome HBCU tour experience — Kim Evans (Umoja student)

AlthoughBakersfield College has provided the foundation for my creator mindset, this experience just reinforced the need for my success.  — Korrie Edwards

 

HUGE Congratulations to BC Drumline!!!

Our Drumline won First Place at last weekend’s Winter Guard’s West Regional Championships for the third year in a row. There were 81 total scholastic and independent groups at the competition. There were 10 groups in our division, Percussion Independent Open, which is the second highest in the activity.

Want a glimpse of what you missed? You have to check out this video here!

The Drumline got a score of 90.85 out of 100 to win the Percussion Independent Open event for the third consecutive year. The group is currently getting ready to compete in the Percussion World Championships in Dayton, Ohio on April 19-21.

They’ll also be performing at Centennial High School on April 14 for the Pep and Pageantry Arts Association of Central California’s Percussion Finals competition. A ticket will support our local circuit and the young people it serves. This is an opportunity to see our team do what they do best in front of a packed gym of local students, parents, and other fans of the marching arts. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 students/seniors, and kids under 5 are free. Congratulations to BC’s Drumline and Tim Heasley! Support BC’s Drumline by following every beat on Instagram @BCdrumline and Facebook.

Drumline_Instagram

BC everywhere in the state:

Honestly, I can’t keep track of our faculty and staff who are presenting all over the state.  This week Michelle Pena did two presentations at the CCCApply (a tool for students to apply for admissions to CA Community Colleges) Conference.

Michelle did a workshop on understanding residency algorithms with Michael Quiaoit, Dean of Student Services.  She did a second presentation with Craig Hayward and Patty Donahue the Product Manager for CCCApply on the new filtering tool for MetaMajors we got passed through the Steering Committee last year.

And then ……

Grace and MariaGrace Commiso and Maria Wright presented at the Get Focused Stay Focused conference in Santa Barbara. Get Focused…Stay Focused! is a program that focuses on helping students acquire the wisdom and skills to flip the college decision-making paradigm without waiting a quarter of a century of hard won experience to figure it out. It achieves this by helping students to understand who they are, what they want and how they’re going to get it.

Upon completion of the GFSF program, students identify and graduate with:

  • A carefully-considered career path
  • An informed major or program of study
  • A post-secondary institution or training program that not only matches their career and life goals but is affordable
  • A unique Skills-based Education Plan that facilitates successful entry into a highly competitive workforce upon completion of their education.

 

BC Softball on the map

Loved this piece by Jon Mettus of The Bakersfield Californian about our new softball coach Casey Goodman.

Casey Goodman Photo by Rod Thornburg March 2018

Photo by Rod Thornburg of Casey Goodman

Here are a few excerpts of what Mettus had to say:

Togetherness is seemingly one of the themes Goodman is building the program around. The team constantly goes out to eat together, and after Tuesday’s win at Santa Barbara City College, the Renegades went to the beach.

One of the concepts central to Goodman’s coaching style is honesty. She doesn’t yell a lot like she did earlier in her career and values conversations with her players. The staff has an open-door policy, pitching coach Megan Rowe said, so the players can address any issues.

For the whole article: https://tinyurl.com/y8coxway

Thank you Trustee Romeo Agbalog for attending the game on Thursday.  It is always a treat to have our trustees on campus.

Successful Training Day

CalSOAP Staff

Cal-SOAP Staff

Kudos to our Cal-SOAP staff for organizing a successful training day, “Next Steps for High School Seniors.” Cal-SOAP Spring Staff Development took place with high school Counselors and Career Technicians. Thank you, Steven Watkin, Mark Osea, Ashlea Ward, Manuel Muralles, and Pedro Ramirez for coming out to prepare our high school partners and staff for Registration Rocks Day on April 5th.

I also want to thank Dr. Terri Goldstein for introducing DSPS student eligibility and support services, Crystal Montoya for covering Next Steps for CSUs, and Maria Madrigal for the UCs.

EOPS

Imelda Valdez June 13 2017College Council is a college wide governance committee that is responsible for policy, planning and evaluation of the college as a whole.  I chair this committee that includes leaders from the various constituency groups as well as functional areas on campus.  At our last meeting on Friday March 16, 2018, we had the pleasure of a presentation on BC Guided Pathways: EOPS Momentum Points and Outcomes by Imelda Simos-Valdez.

Extended Opportunity Programs & Services (EOP&S) was established in 1969 by Senate Bill 164 to encourage and retain students affected by language, social and economic hardships. BC’s EOP&S department also includes Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) program, established 1982 by AB 3103, to collaborate with Kern County Department of Human Services for EOP&S students who are single heads of households; and California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), established 1997 in response to 1996 federal welfare reform legislation, which collaborates with Kern County Department of Human Services to provide supportive services and resources to students (parents) in transition to achieve long-term self-sufficiency and transform lives.

Statistics show EOP&S students attempting 15+ units by the end of the first semester increased by 4.08% in fall 2017 to 15.6% and increased by 2.97% in the spring 2018 to 17.01%. Enrollment in college-level English in the first year increased from approximately 8.0% in fall 2016 to 15.7% in fall 2017 and increased from 10.3% in spring 2017 to 27.5% in spring 2018. Enrollment in college-level math in the first year increased from 6.3% fall 2016 to 8.6% in fall 2017 and from 7.8% to 21% in spring 2018.

Thank you Imelda Simos-Valdez and all of the counselors, staff and faculty that have helped in supporting our students. Their success can be attributed to the completion coaching EOP&S has put into place resulting in a focused approach to students completing their degree or certificate.

eops

The presentation also included a little bit of Program Review for 2016-17. With the goal to increase number of students served (high school seniors/classroom presentations), EOP&S saw 2,900 applications for AY 2017-2018. 1,800 students were admitted in fall 2017, compared to 800-1,000 in previous years. In the summer, EOP&S will be adding a parent component to the second annual Freshman Day.

Did you know that EOP&S has resources for students such as book vouchers, grants and school supplies? These are just a few of the support and services that they provide in addition to reviewing/updating CSEPs, registration assistance for priority enrollment, intrusive follow-up counseling, academic progress reports, academic probation follow-up, educational/life skills workshop, career counseling, transfer assistance, university campus visits, and follow up communication: email and personal phone calls. EOP&S is an important resource for our qualifying students.

Can you see why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

Sharing on Social Media

This week, I found on twitter the push to encourage students enroll in 15 units per term. Make sure to follow BC on Twitter @Bakcollege! And of course follow me @sonyachristian.

twitter

Kern County STEMposium Coming Soon!

Christina Sistrunk Stemposium

Christina Sistrunk at the 2017 STEMposium held at BC

On Thursday, Harold Pierce of the Bakersfield Californian wrote an article previewing the Kern County STEMposium, an event which aims to inspire the STEM professionals of the future. This year’s STEMposium, which is being held at the Kern County Fairgrounds on April 13, and is a hybrid between a science fair and a job fair, businesses and the community together to raise awareness of all the awesome STEM careers available in Kern County. The Kern Economic Development Foundation hosted last year’s STEMposium here at BC and you can read about it in my blog last year.

Special thank you to Harold Pierce for drawing attention to this important event and for being one of the featured speakers for the Health and Social Justice Hackathon at BC, giving a presentation about using journalism to inspire community engagement.

CTE and Student Employment at BC!

CTE at BC helps create a pathway for our students while also helping them gain the hands on experience and technical training they need to be successful in the pathway they choose, while also encouraging them to be a part of the strong workforce of the future.

Career Technical Education (CTE) Vision Board

Career Technical Education (CTE) Vision Board

Our commitment is to help prepare our students for a wide range of high-wage, high skill, high-demand careers. CTE is at the forefront of preparing students to succeed in fast-growing, high-growth industries around the country. According to the California Community Colleges Task Force on Workforce Job Creation and a Strong Economy, the labor market is increasingly demanding a more skilled workforce and by 2020, 65% of all job openings in the U.S. will require some postsecondary education or training – though not necessarily a four-year degree.

It is CTE’s mission to provide educational leadership in developing a competitive workforce. For more information on the different Career and Technical Education programs that Bakersfield College has to offer visit the Career Pathways webpage.

Student Employment OfficeStudent Employment is a subdivision of CTE that supports career readiness and pathway work through on-campus employment, work experience, internships and other work based learning activities. Employing over 500 students each year, on-campus employment is a special component that moved to a 100% online application system through Jobspeaker to provide students a more realistic approach to applying for jobs. Students can access employment on and off campus through the online system in addition to the free mobile app available. Career related services such as resume review, job search strategies and mock interviews are available through appointments with Job Development Specialists, in addition to utilizing computers in the Student Employment Lab located in FACE 9.

Unsung Superstars of BC!

Have you ever wondered where all the BC forms, brochures, and posters come from?  Our Marketing Department Graphics Designers and Print Shop! These four people do great work keeping up with the design and printing needs a campus of our size. Get to know these unsung heroes below! #WeAreBC!

Josephine Garcia_Matt Foster_Eric Carrillo And Dylan Wang

Josephine Garcia, Matt Foster, Eric Carrillo, and Dylan Wang

Eric Carrillo, Graphic Designer
Eric is a proud alumni of Bakersfield College who began his employment while still enrolled in 2006. Shortly afterwards, he was promoted from a Publications Assistant to Graphics Designer. He credits two awesome mentors Debby Moberg, Publications Coordinator and Bill Parker, Lead Printer who passed on their knowledge and taught him much more than graphics and printing.

Dylan Wang, Graphic Designer
Dylan is a graduate from Houston Community College where he completed his associate’s degree in Digital Communications and has been working at Bakersfield College since July, 2015. Dylan is often my go-to guy when I need some beautiful artwork or design in a pinch!

Josephine Garcia, Lead Printer
Josephine considers herself a printing concierge with a vast knowledge of the industry. Her goal is to continuously provide superior results and expeditious service, all while pursuing new growth opportunities and maintaining lasting relationships with faculty and staff.

Matt Foster, Print Shop Clerk
Matt started working at the BC Print Shop as a Student Worker in 2014 and was hired full time in 2016. His job is crucial to the workings of the Print Shop and to ensure BC staff and faculty receive their ordered jobs quickly and accurately.

KCET’s Jason Galvin

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Jason Galvin, photo from Twitter

This week, it was announced that KGET Sports Reporter Jason Galvin is leaving the network to focus on sportscasting in the community. See the clip and his note on Facebook here.

Galvin started as the weekend sports anchor for KGET, eventually transitioning to become one of the faces of the morning team. Good news is, Galvin will stay in Bakersfield as one of the play-by-play announcers for CSUB Roadrunner Baseball on ESPN Radio.

This week,  a highlight reel about Jason’s career even had a few connections to BC and I smiled when I saw Memorial Stadium. The first was the Condors’ Winterfest game from last year, and the other was doing play-by-play commentary with Chad Manning for the Renegade football team’s game-winning run in the final five minutes against El Camino College. Jason referred to Chad as “a sports icon”.  Chad is a huge supporter of Bakersfield College and Renegade Football. #GoGades

Bakersfield is truly a great community. Thank you to KGET for all the partnerships you’ve inspired.

It’s what Spring Break is about!

I love staying connected with faculty and staff, and I always love a great photo! I received some wonderful messages throughout Spring Break from faculty and staff resting, working, and gearing up for the sprint to commencement!

Janet Fulks

Picture from Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg in Wisconsin

Wisconsin March 31 2018

Extra Fun Photos

Sandi Taylor emailed me this fun photo with Cynthia Williams.  Cynthia recently shared with me that the last of her nine grandchildren (twins) Mason and McKenzie will be graduating from Bakersfield College this year. McKenzie will be going into the nursing program specializing in the Neo-natal field, and Mason will be going into the Ag program at either Cal State Bakersfield, or Fresno State. All of her grandchildren are college graduates and she says “they make us very, very proud. Education is the most important legacy in anyone’s life.”  Thank you Cynthia!

Sandi and cynthia williams

Tracy Hall-Powell and Jennifer Marden-Serratt sent this fun photo of smiles. You may remember, Tracy embarked on a new adventure in Washington last September and we miss her smile!

Tracy and Jennifer

And here is a photos of Bryan Hirayama and his boys from Facebook

Bryan Hirayama Spring Break 2018.jpg

What a gorgeous Easter weekend. 

March 31 2018 Sonya Christian and Neo

Sonya Christian and Neo out for a walk on Easter Saturday.  62 degree temp. Yes!

Happy Easter all!

Sonya Christian Bitmoji Happy Easter

 

 

MArch 31 2018 Sonya Christian and Neo 2

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever

A thing of beauty is a joy forever

Clouds on flight from PDX to BUR Jan 6 2018

Cloud formation from the turbulent flight from PDX to BUR Jan 7 2018

Good morning Bakersfield…It is Saturday, January 13, 2018 and a great day to be a Renegade!

This week, it seemed that I was able to see beauty all around me.  I have noticed that there are times that my sensitivity to all things beautiful seem more heightened.  It is during these time that I pick up my poetry book from high school at Mount Carmel Convent ….. this week I found myself reading Keats.  So my friends, here are images of beauty for you as you soak in Keats

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:

Its loveliness increases; it will never

Pass into nothingness; but still will keep

A bower quiet for us, and a sleep

Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

Pacheco Pass Jan 12 2018

San Luis Reservoir, Pacheco Pass, Jan 12 2018

 

Before Magnolia and Brazilian Pepper

An extremely active week at BC with faculty arriving back on campus for inservice activities, workshops as we gear up to welcome over 31,000 students back to our campuses in Bakersfield, in Delano, in Arvin, in Shafter, online, …… I did a bit of travelling to San Jose to attend the accreditation commission (ACCJC) meeting.

With half of the school year in our rear view mirror, all of Bakersfield College’s faculty and staff came together once again in anticipation for the next semester during our Spring 2018 Opening Day celebration Thursday at the Indoor Theater.

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One of my favorite parts of the day kicks off with seeing familiar faces during the gathering in the plaza. I was so glad to have beautiful photos this year of the activity before the program.

Great group from our Child Care Center.

Child Care gang Opening Day Jan 11 2018

Dezi Von Manos opened the program with the traditional remarks from the BCSGA President.

Dezi Von Manos Opening day

Dezi Von Manos Opening day

Opening day spotlighted our accreditation work under the leadership of Liz Rozell, dean of Instrcution, and Jason Stratton, history faculty.

Liz Rozell and Jason Stratton

Liz Rozell and Jason Stratton

After showing a brief video interviewing students and staff about accreditation and Student Learning Outcomes, Liz and Jason thanked the faculty team leads who will be putting together the materials for our four accreditation standards and the writers, editors and communication team for the Quality Focus Essay that will wrap our self-evaluation report in a neat little bow and tell the world BC’s story.

Our primary editor for this project is Dr. Nick Strobel, and he’ll be responsible for putting all of the information together into a coherent narrative. Manny produced a silly comic relief video of Nick dressed up as a monk, walking around the library while carrying large scrolls as Gregorian chants echoed through the halls.

Following Accreditation, Andrea Thorson took the stage to emphasize the importance of maintaining a singular, coherent voice about BC’s institutional philosophy when we talk to students or people in the community.

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Andrea Thorson

 

Di Hoffman and new Dean Billie Jo Rice talked about assessment and Student Learning Outcomes, using the acronym PARR (Plan, Assess, Reflect, and Refine) as a pneumonic device to outline our assessment process.

Billi Jo Rice and Di Hoffman

Billi Jo Rice and Di Hoffman

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

Janet Fulks and our new Web Content Editor, Nicole Griffin discussed our state-of-the-Renegade Scorecard 3.0, that continues to bring our institutional data to life on the web with an unprecedented level of interactivity displaying statistics about our student population and programs of study.

Nicole Griffin and Janet Fulks

Nicole Griffin and Janet Fulks

 

I was excited to announce the planned campus renovations that are going to be made possible via Measure J, which was initially going to take place over 25 years, has now been compacted planned for a shorter time line. This means that many of you will get to see our campus transform before your eyes during your tenure at BC, and the money will be used more efficiently to avoid cost increases due to inflation.

Todd Coston

Todd Coston 

Bill Potter presented the new Facilities Master Plan to the audience at our Opening Day presentation, with a special guest for the presentation, Todd Coston dressed as a janitor showing how accreditation is a whole campus endeavor. I heard Todd even threw a mop bucket full of silver confetti into the theater.

Toward the end of the Opening Day presentation, Tina Johnson introduced the new members of the CSEA board, Isabel Stierle encouraged faculty members to welcome our new faculty members into the CCA, and Steven Holmes urged faculty and staff to be active participants in all of our various committees including Guided Pathways.

 

Sue Vaughn gave an update sharing the constant and rapid movement in the Management Association.  At one point the audience gave a standing ovation for Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg. Love this photo taken by Earl Parsons.

Audience applauding Nan Spring 2018 Opening Day

Our SGA Senators, Ashley Harp and Mustapha Burraj led the entire audience in a stretch break.

Stretch Break for Opening Day

Stretch Break for Opening Day

Reggie Williams, the recipient of the 2017 Shirley Trembley Distinguished Teaching Award, gave his thank-you speech during this semester’s Opening Day since he was out of the country during the Fall 2017 festivities. He gave special recognition to Jack Hernandez for inspiring him to learn more about philosophy during his time in one of Jack’s classes as an 18-year-old freshman at BC.

Susan Pinza announced Oliver Rosales as the winner of the Norman Levan Faculty Colloquium Award. Oliver will be delivering a presentation about multicultural civil rights activism in post-World War II Bakersfield.

Oliver Rosales standing to be recognized

Dr. Oliver Rosales standing to be recognized

Opening and Closing Days are a huge undertaking, and I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who made it possible. I’d like to thank Manny de Los Santos for his work compiling all of the videos for this event, as well as running the livestream. And special thanks to Nate from Freestyle who was our sound technician and is a BC student studying Computer Science!

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Manny De Los Santos and Nate

Thank you also to our photographers from the Marketing and Public Relations team—Earl Parsons, Eric Carillo and Dylan Wang

Dylan Wang

Dylan Wang capturing the day through the lens.

 

Thank you Eric Carillo for texting me some of the selfies and bringing me vicariously to Opening Day.  I so loved them.  Here are a few.

 

 

All of their photos for the day can be found on the BC Smugmug.

Thank you to Monika Scott, Jennifer Serratt and Lesley Bonds for coordinating and planning, and Kristin Rabe for coordinating the theater.

Jennifer Serratt, Aricia Leighton, Kristin Rabe, Monika Scott

Jennifer Serratt, Aricia Leighton, Kristin Rabe, Monika Scott

Jennifer Serratt, Lesley Bonds Jan 11 2018

Jennifer Serratt, Lesley Bonds

And Opening Day wouldn’t be the same without Francis Mayer as our emcee.

Francis Mayer

Francis Mayer, the man behind the microphone

Thank you to our Food Services crew led by Chef Eric Sabella, who put together another great breakfast and lunch.

Food Services on Opening Day

Food Services Crew with BC’s awesome Breakfast Burritos

And our interpreters Jarris Wright and Carolyn Borso and our incredible ushers were Arisve Pimentel, Bernadette Martinez, Chris Glaser, Danyel Owens, Jordaun Bennett, Lori Ortiz, Tarina Perry, and Wendy Lawson.

Ushers

Flex Week

The week before the semester begins is always exciting because Faculty come back and re-engage with the campus through flex workshops which cover an array of topics. This year workshops covered everything from eLumen Curriculum led by Jennifer Johnson, Best Practices for Online Learning by Matt Jones, and Summer Bridge by Kimberly Bligh, Erica Menchaca, Isabel Castaneda, and Teresa Mcallister among many many others. Here are some photos from Flexweek!

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See all the photos at Bakersfield College’s Smugmug.

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Erica Menchaca, Isabel Castaneda, Kimberly Bligh

Corrections to College California

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Bryan Hirayama on the left with his Distinguished Teaching Award

Corrections to College California just released a new short documentary, The Sergeant and the Professor, featuring a CDCR-College partnership. The video tells the story of Sergeant Jeff Ervin and Professor Bryan Hirayama. Sergeant Ervin has worked for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for 12 years. Two years ago, Bakersfield College began offering classes in his housing unit. Sergeant Ervin was reluctant and skeptical. Professor Hirayama was the first Bakersfield College professor to teach inside Sergeant Ervin’s facility. The two didn’t always see eye to eye, but these unlikely colleagues learned to work together to support the college students. You can find out how this program transformed Sergeant Ervin and the prison by watching the video.

See the video on Facebook by clicking here.

Visitors from Korea

BC and KCCD representatives met January 8 with a representative from a Bakersfield’s Sister City, Bucheon City to talk about a possible exchange program for students and faculty. This is the second time that BC has hosted Bucheon City visitors. They were here this summer.

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John Means, Vice Chancellor, Shohreh Rahman, Counselor International Students So-Hyun Kim, Representative Bucheon City, Republic of Korea Eun-Ja Kim Park, retired professor CSUB Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Vice President Instruction

BC Point Guard, Johnathan Murray

cropped conf champions feb 17 2016 rich hughes

Coach Hughes after winning the Conf Championship Feb 17, 2016

There was a great piece by Jon Mettus of the Californian about our record setting player Johnathan Murray as the teams ‘unsung hero.’

Mettus wrote that “Murray is the facilitator for BC’s offense and the glue that holds the team together. On a squad that features players like Jamar Hammonds, Tucker Eenigenburg and Jaylunn English, who can all go off for more than 20 points on any given night…” He goes on to credit coach, Rich Hughes with naming Murray the “unsung hero.”

Bakersfield is so proud to have Coach Rich Hughes leading the Renegade Basketball team. Have you been a game recently?  There’s a few great games left this season. Check out http://www.gogades.com/sports/mbkb/2017-18/schedule  for the schedule and follow Coach Hughes on Twitter  @coachrichhughes

To see the article by Jon Mettus visit, http://www.bakersfield.com/sports/bc-point-guard-johnathan-murray-is-the-team-s-unsung/article_9195640c-f6fb-11e7-8c83-db2b4fe11733.html

EOP&S

Starting this semester, representatives from the Department of Human Services (DHS) are holding office hours in the second floor of the CSS building to help students to assist students with children who receive financial assistance through their department.

EOPS

DHS Social Service Workers from the Employment Services division are partnering with our Extended Opportunities Programs and Services Department (EOP&S) to help BC student parents attending school while receiving cash aid benefits via CalWORKS (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids). Their offices will be located in the EOP&S area of the CSS building, and they’ll be helping provide our students educational support services, employment training and work study opportunities.

This partnership will help our BC CalWORKS program that was already being run under EOP&S integrate more efficiently with the Department of Human Services, and I’m excited for all of the potential that this partnership holds.

Accreditation and ACCJC

I always feel a little reluctant to snap pictures at the Accreditation Commission Meeting.  But here are a few after we were done with the meeting.  In the first picture you see the Chair of the Commission Raul Rodriguez who is the Chancellor of the Rancho Santiago Community College District with Mary Okada who is the president of Guam Community College and is on the ACCJC Exec Committee.  Inn the second picture, I am with Richard Mahon, who is currently a dean at Alan Hancock College.  In the last picture I am with Jared Spring, a manager at ACCJC and one of my favorite people.

Sonya Christian and Jared Spring ACCJC Jan 12 2018

Let me end with John Keats again

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever

Neo Jan 12 2018

Sonya Christian Pacheco Pass heading back home from ACCJC Meeting Jan 12 2018

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

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.

CSUB_Sonya

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 

TrusteeBillThomas

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)

Spring 2016 Opening Day: The Force is With…BC

Good morning Bakersfield!  It is Saturday, January 23, 2016…..a good day to be a Renegade.

It’s been a wild week here at BC.  Of course, every time we start a new semester and welcome thousands of ready-to-roar Renegades back to campus, it’s a time of excitement, activity and barely contained chaos.  We have approximately 7% more Full-Time Equivalent Students this spring compared to spring last year.  It is a good time to be at BC!

Almost a month ago, on December 27th I did a blog on the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens http://bcpresidentblog.com/2015/12/27/a-holiday-blog/.  

That led to a series of texts to Manny De Los Santos and Francis Mayer followed by phone calls to the creative team. 

 

Did you spot the Sriracha?

So, the Creative Team made it all happen as fluidly as J.J. Abrams himself.  From an idea fleshed out by Shannon Musser, Dylan Wang and Francis Meyer, BC’s videographer extraordinaire Manny de Los Santos, with his newly acquired drone, shot an amazing 3-minute short film to kick off Opening Day, bringing the entire world of Star Wars to the Bakersfield College campus.

Watch the Millennium Falcon take off and circle over 1801 Panorama Drive, the Imperial stormtroopers and R2-D2 strolling around campus, and the roar of Zav Dadabhoy aka Wookiee Chewbacca.

 

Put all that together — and you’ve got Spring Opening Day 2016.  Looking out at the collected BC family in the Simonsen Performing Arts Center theater last week made it one of the best semester kickoffs we could have imagined.  I received several emails appreciative of Opening Day.  Here is one from Gayle Richardson or should I say Darth Richardson:

What an amazing start of a new semester! This is the start of my 69th semester at BC and I am a proud Renegade as I am certain you must know.

Kudos to those who magnificently presented the best Opening Day I have ever seen!  I am hoping the live stream will be saved to a land not so far away in order for faculty to take bits and pieces to energize students.  Big Smile!

Many years ago I was named “Darth Richardson” by students in 4 consecutive classes.  It is a story, Sonya, that I would love to share with you in person.

As a new Star Wars fan, I can’t tell you how much fun it was to sit in Han Solo’s captain’s chair and fly the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs with my incredible crew — even if it was all just movie magic shot in our BC studio!  But truly, all the work we have accomplished in such a short period of time is magic indeed.

Our Star Wars theme carried over as members of the BC team talked about some the amazing accomplishments we’ve achieved together in recent months.  Here are the three videos:

Video 1:

 

Video 2:

 

Video 3:

 

Putting all the fun of droids and Jedis and Death Stars aside, Spring 2016 Opening Day also stands out for another important reason: the soft launch of The Renegade Promise.  Mark your calendars, on April 29th, BC led by our SGA President Clayton Fowler will be ready to make the Renegade Promise officially to our community.

Opening-Day-02

SGA Prez Clayton Fowler leading the Renegade Promise Team at Spring 2016 Opening Day

Students come to BC to expand their educational opportunities and turn that new-found knowledge toward a broader, more lucrative employment future. What often goes without saying is that our students and their families want the process to happen YESTERDAY and as President Fowler stated on Opening Day, he does not want to spend 6 years at BC to get a doctorate.

Well, we feel like it’s time to SAY it — we want you to move on too!  As much as we love each and every BC student, Bakersfield College is committed to fulfilling the new Renegade Promise — assuring that every BC student attains their educational goals, graduates, or transfers as quickly as possible.  All this without compromising the quality of learning that is our hallmark….the development of creativity, critical thinking and problem solving.

As a collective, the BC family is making the Renegade Promise a pledge to position students on a path to reach graduation or transfer requirements within our promised 60-credit window.  Can this be done in two years?  Of course this could happen if the responsibility is shared by BC and the student.  BC by ensuring that the courses are available with the necessary academic support and the student committing to 15 credits per term.  Now, if the student instead chooses to take 12 or 9 credits per term (remember, most of BC’s students work), it will mean the extension of the timeline for 60 credits from 2 years to perhaps three.  Still a huge improvement. Now, should this “shared responsibility” extend to the community as well. Absolutely!  The community has done an incredible job supporting education though providing internships and scholarships to help our students prepare for the workforce and quickly make progress on their educational pathways.

The Renegade Promise is a simple pledge…yet not always as simple to pull off as you may believe.  Any number of delays, both personal and scholastic, can push a student off-course.  Under the Renegade Promise, we’re all taking an active role in trying to foresee those delays for each student and chart pathways around those obstacles.

Top to bottom, Spring 2016 Opening Day was a tremendous day.  Huge thank yous go out to several people, including my fellow presenters — SGA President Clayton Fowler, BC Campus Chair Ed Borgens, CSEA President Tina Johnson, Management Association President Sue Vaughn, Academic Senate President Steve Holmes.

Also major thanks to the ushers, the logistics team and M&O team members who made the day happen so seamlessly!  Francis it was such a treat to work with you.  You have talent!  and thank you to the fabulous red, my Obi-Wan Kenobi, R2D2, and Yoda–Princess Jennifer.

 

 

To wrap up, I’d like to share my concluding remarks from Spring 2016 Opening Day:

Colleagues, we’re all instrumental in keeping Bakersfield College at the vanguard of local intellectual, cultural and economic vitality.  As we continue to be accountable, and as we move the dial on student success, let us not forget that what makes life wonderful, rich and expansive is the little somethings that are not rational. It is the pure lightness that fills our hearts when we see the mountains at the far edges of the valley when the air is clear.  Or the vibrations we feel when our drumline students perform in the gym. It is the excited text from Cindy Collier after the Deputy Sector Navigators visited our CTE program and her sense of pride in our faculty.  Or what I experienced watching Liz Rozell at a breakfast keynote speaking about her life.  It is hearing Nan talk about how we got the colors on a building wrong, or lamenting that the beautiful oleander bushes should not be trimmed down to resemble miniature poodles.  Or noticing that my mentee from Shafter high who was stuck to me through the whole fall term is now a promising professional.  It is the pride of Chef Sabella and team as they prepare a wonderful meal.

This is the essence of who we are as “humans in community.” This is the essence of BC.   We impact each other in all we do.  When we create the conditions to make our days rich with little somethings, we create the best environment for ourselves, for our colleagues, and for our students.  This is the essence of our work to be accountable; but “little somethings” are the fundamentals of excellence.

I received an email from Matt Garrett on November 15, 2015.  He wrote:

 

In 1945 Grace Bird’s message to the student body began by claiming the tune “You can be Better Than You Are” as the school theme song, and explained:

“Your College–your faculty and your student leaders–bring you opportunities to develop skills and enrich understanding. We ask you to bring your minds and your hearts. ‘In preference lies the root and essence of all excellence.’ Among the multitude of activities opened to you during the year, chose wisely.” –Grace Bird

 

Matt added that Grace Bird was quoting George Santayana’s essay “Value Irrational” found in his book titled “Little Essays” (1921), which prompted me to read this little gem.  All three pages of it.

 

Here is an excerpt from the final paragraph that for me captures the little somethings that define our lives because they come from a deeper place of being:

Values spring from the immediate and inexplicable reaction of vital impulse, and from the irrational part of our nature. The rational part is by its essence relative; it leads us from data to conclusions, or from parts to wholes; it never furnishes the data with which it works. If any preference or precept were declared to be ultimate and primitive, it would thereby be declared to be irrational …

 

So colleagues, here’s to Spring 2016.  A term of great rationality…. a term of data, and moving the dial, …… all this sprinkled with a great deal of irrationality and the little somethings that differentiate BC from the rest.

The Force is with…..BC!

We are….BC!

Check out the 12-minute photo roll video that Shannon put together as everyone was gathering in the indoor theater for Opening Day