Tag Archives: Eisha Christian

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

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

Dr. Eisha Christian, receives her vaccine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Pierce family spreading Christmas cheer:

CARE/CalWORKs Holiday Celebration

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

Outreach and Early College Get Into the Holiday Spirit

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

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

Executive Office Holiday Fun

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

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

Winter Campus Closure & Spring 2021

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

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

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

Visit the Student Information Desk!

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

Spring Back To College 

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

Learn more at Back To College.

President’s Virtual Forum: PSYCB61 NC

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

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

Here’s a clip from Isaias Hernandez:

3 Renegades Picked for Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center Internmatch Program

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

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

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

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

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

A Better BC: Photos from Measure J

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

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

Here are some highlights from the tour:

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

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

Spotted on Social Media

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

Sondra Keckley has a cozy view of her fireplace:

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

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


BC Athletics Nike Team Store

BC Athletics Nike Team Store

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

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

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

All proceeds from sales will directly benefit BC Athletics.

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

Check out some of the merchandise below:

Coach Brett Clark Steps Down

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

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

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

As always, Go Gades!

Best buddies Neo & Bessie:


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

Gearing Up for Spring 2018

Good morning from Portland Oregon.
Gorgeous sunrise.

Sunrise in Portland Jan 7 2018

Portland Jan 6 2018.jpg

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

Portland 2 Jan 6 2018


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

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

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

Talent in action

Welcome Center is Gearing Up

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

Steve Watkin Welcome Center Fall 2017

My Favorite restaurant featured in the Californian

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Sue Vaughn in the AACRAO Report

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

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

Sue Vaughn

Sue Vaughn at Bakersfield College’s Opening Day

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

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

People to Watch in 2018

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


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

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

Lots of Reasons to Watch the Skies in 2018

Nick Strobel

Nick Strobel

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

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

Truxtun Avenue Roads Improvement Project 


Trustee Bill Thomas

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

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

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

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

Social Media gems:

I loved this picture of Tom Moran and his daughter Mallory

Tom Moran On FAcebook Jan 3 2016

A Fun video of Carlos Barbaran December in Denver

So what about Neo?




Sonya Christian Jan 5 2018 walking to Powell


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

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

Thank you Bakersfield, for a great 2016!

2016 — a year of great friendships, great love, great partnerships, great collaboration. 

Thank you Bakersfield, thank you Kern County for a great 2016! My blog post from January 2, 2016 (https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/01/02/2016-the-force-awakens/) ends with

Warm wishes to each and every one of you in this amazing community from all faculty, staff and students of Bakersfield College.  Here’s to a glorious 2016!

And what a year it has been. A year when the force was definitely with BC.

A year when BC:

  • produced an increase in student numbers that far exceeds the statewide trends
  • improved student success outcomes
  • created efficiencies that save both time and money for students and taxpayers
  • broadened outreach to Kern county residents, particularly in rural Kern
  • engaged throughout the community, connecting with business and industry leaders, other educational sectors, and community organizations
  • positioned the college for even more opportunities in grant funding.

And thank you for passing Measure J!



Bruce our campaign dog

The campus is closed during the week between Christmas and New Year BC.  So things have been relatively quiet on the work front with faculty, staff and students spending time with friends, family and loved ones.  A few of us have been periodically connecting on grant applications that are due in early February.  Most meetings have been via 7:30 a.m. conference calls or meetings at Panera Bread, since offices are not heated to conserve energy during this week.

I published my last blog as I was on a plane from LAX to Toronto.  The few days in Toronto with Eisha were perfect — walks, talks, netflix, friends, and good food.  The buildings are so well insulated and heated that you can practically walk around inside in a t-shirt, and Eisha taught me how to dress for the cold during our walks.  She let me use her ear muffs, which worked wonders in keeping me warm.  I did not take many photos this week (I am regretting it now), but here are a few.

What a difference in attire….July 2016 in Canada and Dec 2016 in Canada

Mom was with us last Christmas and joined us in Toronto when we visited in July, but she did not want to face Toronto in December. Here is a picture of three generations on Christmas 2015 which popped up on Facebook.


Kwanzaa Celebration Dec 28, 2016

It was a lot of fun attending the Kwanzaa celebration for the second year in a row.  I found myself being inspired by the music and the storytelling.  I walked away with much joy and a renewed commitment to spend time with loved ones.  Met up with my friends Karen Goh and NaTesha Kindred at the event.  Here are a few pictures from both of them.

It was fun talking to the group from the Cain Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church Young People’s Department.  David Sandles  standing to my left in the photo, is a Freshman at Bakersfield College and a Biochemistry major.  So cool!

Photo on the left: NaTesha Kindred Johnson, Karen Goh, Sonya Christian

Photo on the right: The Kwanzaa 2016 organizer Bakari Sanyu.


Cathy Abernathy Nov 19 2015

Cathy Abernathy, Rotary, Nov 19 2015

On December 29th I had a series of meetings and joined Cathy Abernathy who was hosting the Ralph Bailey show, and had invited me to be a guest and talk about the happenings at BC.  Of course I said yes.  It is truly an honor to share the wonderful things happening at BC and also wonderful to hang out with Cathy.

We talked about the work BC is doing with KHSD, about the Career Technical Education programs, the new Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation etc. We ended with the spectacular event of having an outdoor ice rink in the magnificent Memorial Stadium– 2016 Winterfest!  If you have not purchased your tickets yet, you should!  January 6th is the celebrity game with Wayne Gretzky(!), and January 7th the Condors play.

I wish I had taken a picture when I was in the studio with Cathy,  but I did not do much of that this week.  Maybe it is because I am so irritated with myself for having dropped my iphone yet again and widened the crack on the glass…

December 30th, a group of us watched the Bakersfield College Basketball team win yet another game under the leadership of the fabulous coach Paula Dahl. Our students are such a treat and Coach Dahl rocks.  It was great to meet Paula’s brother David and his wife who came in from Utah to spend New Years.  The young women you see behind David Dahl are students from Stockdale High School, who I am hoping will be future Renegades, and here’s a picture of Sandi Taylor, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and me having a great time at the game.

I also connected with Christy Haycock at an exercise class session and Wayne Cooper at CALM’s Holiday Lights.

Here is the LA Times article about the Holiday Lights at CALM.


Bakersfield Life today:

Saw this great piece on our Dean of Allied Health, Cindy Collier




I spent much of this morning reading previous blog posts and enjoying thinking about all that happened at Bakersfield College and in our community.  Here are a few in case you have time to click through:

March 25, 2016 post: The State of Kern County is Strong



April 2, 2016: Life at BC is about living life fully.



April 9, 2016: BC and the community — relationships run deep


Calla Lily June 4 2016


June 4, 2016: A community together


An excerpt from the post

So here is a calla lily for you, my community, for all that you do on a daily basis to support each other and support the students at BC.

Thank you Fred Misono for making my visit to Bakersfield West Rotary so memorable.

And let’s remember Tharrell Ming — a community leader.


June 9, 2016: We are Bakersfield….We are BC


This blog covers two presentations on the bond measure during the educational phase of the campaign to the Hispanic Chamber and Kerntax.  A quick note here on Donna Carpenter — we miss you!


July 16, 2016: Building a Better BC


This blog covers the July 14th board meeting when the trustees voted to put Measure J on the ballot.

Let’s remember Mayor Harvey Hall’s words on Measure J. Thank you Mayor Hall for all that you have done for BC and for Bakersfield.



August 26, 2016: Launching Fall 2016 to Build a Better BC


This post is about BC’s Fall Opening Day.  I typically do my State of the College address once a year during Fall Opening.  Here is an excerpt:

We live in an era of viral soundbites and tweets rather than one of comprehensive and detailed discussion. But let us not be reluctant to tell our story, openly and honestly; boldly in all its detail; and in all its glory.

Let’s joyfully shout out the BC story from the roof tops for the next 82 days and beyond.

Let us use Twitter….Facebook… Instagram and Snapchat.

Can we get 82 pieces of writing in the community voices section of the Californian? Every day from now until November 8th. We are BC and we are a Jewel of Kern County.

 We will continue to balance bold new directions with elegance and poise. We will continue to encourage punctual completion with gentle compassion and strong support. We see the face, heart, and brilliant mind of each individual student in the crowd of thousands and our mission is as important as it’s ever been.

I’m proud to say the state of Bakersfield College has never been stronger

Just like in 1913 – Just like in the 50s –

Now, in 2016, we stand together to write the next chapter of BC’s story….

Together, let’s build…A Better BC

WE are BC!


September 24, 2016: Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future; Faith is the courage to dance to it today.



October 8, 2016: So many reasons to celebrate. We are BC!


This is a great one.  A must watch.  Many video of community leaders talking about BC.  This includes Mayor Harvey Hall, Congressman Bill Thomas, Mike Turnipseed, Wayne Kress, David Torres, Fred Prince …..



Wishing all of you a wonderful 2017.  Another year of great friendships, great love, great partnerships and great collaborations.

Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future;
Faith is the courage to dance to it today.




That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever

We are Bakersfield….and We are BC!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Sunday, June 19, 2016 and Father’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day Dad.  I miss you.


Here’s to all the great father’s I know….and to all the fathers in this community, today is your day! Happy Father’s Day!

Alex Eisha Frank June 17 2016

Alex Tuckman, Eisha Christian, Frank Atenello. Photo: Dr. Weiss

On Friday, June 17th, my daughter Eisha graduated from her 7-year residency in Neurosurgery from USC.  Wow, neurosurgery.  I attended the graduation event along with my mom.  The event started with a cocktail reception followed by dinner and speeches from the faculty and the three graduating students.  Yes, three.  There were a lot of tears as faculty talked about these three amazing surgeons — Alex Tuckman, Eisha Christian, and Frank Atenello.  Thank you Dr. Martin Weiss for the photos on Facebook.  Here is one of them.

Eisha Christian, the little girl who was at OLPH, then Highland High, who took math classes at BC from Rafael Espericueta, Mike Moretti and others in the math department.  Eisha, I love you!


So, do you know Clifford Evans?  Well, I got to meet him on Thursday, June 16th as I was rushing back from a a presentation at the Kern County Hispanic Chamber meeting (more on that later.)

Clifford Evans June 16 2016

Clifford Evans, Sonya Christian

Clifford called out to me as I was hurrying from the parking lot to the Levan Center where the Executive Office was having a retreat.  As I paused to say hello he went on to say that BC has the best staff ever and that if the world had the staff at BC it would be a much better and much happier place. Of course I was thrilled and immediately requested a selfie with him for my Saturday blog.  You see Bakersfield, faculty and staff at BC don’t consider this a job…but rather a calling.  So they do give their minds and hearts to this college, to the students.  Just amazing.  It is a good time to be at BC!


Earlier that day, I did two back-to-back presentations about BC’s facilities needs and the potential bond.  The first presentation was with Tom Burke to Kern Tax at the Bell Tower Club after which I rushed to the Double Tree Inn to present to the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  I am happy to report that KernTax voted to endorse the potential bond.  Of course, the presentation was all about the numbers, including how the bond sequencing would happen and the precise management of the interest paid as a result of the pacing of the bond sequence.  Thank you Michael Turnipseed, CEO Kern Tax, and Jay Tamsi, CEO KCHCC, for inviting us to make these presentations.  For more information about the potential bond and the work of the Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Harvey Hall with Bill Thomas as the Senioir Advisor, check out http://www.abetterbc.com/.

You can’t see everyone in the KCHCC picture, but here are the names: Jay Tamsi, Carlos Navarro, Blodgie Rodríguez, Robin Mangarin-Scott, Adam Alvidrez, Colleen Dillaway, Olivia Garcia, David Alanis, Donna Herman, Eva Ramirez, Victor Martin, Ed Herrera, Dr. Stuart Tatsuno, Denise Ornelas, Ken Ouellete, Sal Brito.

Executive Office Retreat:

Back to the story of Clifford Evans…..At the Exec Office retreat, I shared the photos and the Evans story with our team, and as it turns out Tracy Hall has regularly interacted with Clifford and helped him.  So Tracy is one of those “amazing individuals at BC” that Clifford was describing to me.  Talking about Tracy, she did a wonderful  reflection about our work together in 2015-2016.  Here it is.  I am sure you will enjoy it as much as me.

Exec Office Retreat June 16 2016.jpg

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Tracy Hall, June Charles, Zav Dadabhoy, Tarina Perry, Sonya Christian, Anthony Culpepper, Somaly Boles, Jennifer Marden

This last year has been amazing. It is hard to believe it has been a whole year since our last retreat. I love coming to work, and I’m privileged to work with this group of professionals who are bright, kind, funny, and committed to our students, to BC, and to each other.

When we met last year, we had just been inspired by Michael Wesch’s presentation about the Age of Wonder. Sonya had asked us to share our impressions. Each of us shared something that spoke to us…that resonated. It was great to see how each of us, with our differences and deficiencies, took away something that caused us to pause and think differently about the way we may view or approach something.

We reviewed 2014’s commitment to Celebrate our Differences, Respect Each Other, Provide Accurate and Consistent Information, and Streamline Paperwork and Signatures Within 24 Hours. I am pleased to say that the commitments we made in 2014 are still a practiced priority in our office today.

Among the themes we discussed last year, a new phrase emerged, “May the Disruptive Force Be With You.” The Administrative Team has been Empowered to be a “Disruptive Force”, to take necessary and appropriate action on behalf of the Executive Team, and to:

  • Be Gatekeepers
    • Protect the time and energy of the Executive Team members
  • Ask questions
  • Solve problems before they escalate
  • Manage the flow of information in the office

All members of the Executive and Administrative Team will participate in:

  • Active Listening
  • Sharing Stories and Intel
    • Fingers on the Pulse of the Campus
  • Being Transparent and Authentic
  • Cultivate and Maintain a Sense of Trust

2016-17 is going to be busy, challenging, and exciting. The hard work the team is putting into educating the public about BC’s facility needs will hopefully come to fruition in November. The work doesn’t stop, and neither will our commitments to each other. We Are, BC.

Helen Chavez Memorial Service June 14 2016


Helen Chavez

Monday, June 13th morning, hundreds of people paid respects to a revolutionary woman, Helen Chavez. I had the honor of attending her funeral services at St. Malachy Catholic Church in Tehachapi. The church was packed with two overflow venues — a tent as well as an adjacent hall where there were large TVs with live feed from the church.  The ceremony was inspiring with the priest drawing comparisons between her life’s work and the bible.  He spotlighted the Beatitudes that are such a beautiful part of scripture.  Again, whether you are a believer or not, I think you will appreciate the beauty in the language and the calling for the best in the human spirit.  Here are two of the eight Beatitudes:

Blessed are those who mourn: for they shall be comforted
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy

The liturgical music was wonderful and Amazing Grace which was sung in Spanish and English intermingled was hauntingly beautiful.  Here is the Spanish version on youtube


President Obama issued a statement last Tuesday calling Mrs. Chavez “a force of quiet strength” who “left a legacy that will echo for generations.’’ A nice article about this woman and  her life can be found at http://tinyurl.com/j2lelk2.

Thank you David Villarino for getting this event on my radar and making arrangements for VIP parking.  With my crazy schedule on Monday, it really helped.  David Villarino does amazing work through his organization FIELD that focuses on educating adults with English as a Second Language.  

Champion of Bakersfield College — Michael O’Doherty

Michael ODoherty Sonya Christian June 14 2016

Sonya Christian, Michael O’Doherty

Last week, I forgot to mention that Michael O’Doherty presented an update of Measure G to the KCCD trustees.  O’Doherty is the past president of the Bakersfield College Foundation Board of Directors.

As a member of Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee for Measure G, Michael O’Doherty described the diligence of the committee; and the onsite visual compliance efforts.

According to Michael, the visual compliance review resulted in an opinion that Bakersfield College is in full compliance of the 2002 Measure G Bond requirements.

The KCCD Board of Trustees received Michael’s report that effectively supported the overall presentation made by the KCCD CBO, Tom Burke.

Thank you Michael O’Doherty for all that you do for Bakersfield College.  You are a true champion for BC!

Christina Sistrunk

The Kern Business Journal recently published an article crediting Christina Sistrunk as being one of the most powerful women in the oil and gas industry and I’m proud to say that we are so lucky to have strong and influential women doing great things for our community.

To support the educational experience of our students, Aera made a valuable gift for the Aera STEM Success Center which will benefit our students for generations to come. BC is so fortunate to have such a fantastic industry and community partner like Aera, lead by their president and CEO, Christina Sistrunk and prior to Chrstina, Guardie Banister. I had the pleasure of hosting Christina, Cindy Pollard, Lynne Carrithers, and others from Aera during our groundbreaking press conference last year. Here are some photos.


The Californian states, “Sistrunk’s selection was based, in part, on being a top leader in her organization and profession; directly contributing to business growth and strategic direction of the organization; being an effective role model who inspires other women; and operating with the highest integrity and ethical behavior.”

Read the entire article online at http://tinyurl.com/jr2uq8j

Louis Amestoy

Louis Amstoy Richard Beene

Richard Beene, Louis Amestoy

Check out Louis Amestoy’s piece in The Bakersfield Californian
Did you know Richard Beene is retiring, but thankfully, he will still continue writing for TBC.

Thank you Louis Amestoy for your shout out in the Californian:

On an equally impressive note, in her blog Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian highlighted the celebration of the college’s commencement ceremonies. Christian’s blog is a fascinating read about the workings of BC, and I recommend it.


Track & Field Banquet

The Bakersfield College Track and Field team held their annual banquet last week at Hodel’s.


Marilyn Quintero, Kyra Saunders, Tyra Saunders, Jacob Bookout, Dillen Littles, and Christopher Moreno received their conference honors at the Track & Field Banquet.

The following athletes took home MVP honors:

  • Men’s Track MVP: Christopher Moreno
  • Men’s Field MVP: Dillen Littles.
  • Women’s track MVP: Tyra Saunders
  • Women’s Field MVP: Marilyn Quintero

Saunders had a breakthrough season that culminated with the shattering of a 29-year-old school record in the 100 meters with a blistering 11.91 second run at the SoCal Finals in Antelope Valley this season. The original record was set by Aisha Harrison in 1997 with a time of 11.98.

Coach Pam Kelley said she expects half a dozen athletes to commit to four-year schools in the coming weeks.

Let’s hear it for our amazing athletes!

IEPI Inmate Education Training Workshop

IEPI TrainingThe Bakersfield College, Delano Campus hosted the Institutional Effectiveness and Partnership Initiative (IEPI) Inmate Education Training Workshop.  

BJ Snowden, Director of Inmate and Re-Entry Education in the CCCCO’s office, asked our campus to host the training and to present to community colleges throughout California as we are offering courses in multiple state prisons. During the training, College of the Canyons and Chaffey College provided insight on their inmate education programs. The sharing of information resulted in all colleges furthering the ability to serve students.

Chelsea Esquibias led the training on behalf of Bakersfield College, providing insight on our ability to assist students with admissions and records while overcoming obstacles associated with being incarcerated. Bryan Hirayama presented Bakersfield College’s evaluation of curriculum and course selection.

The two-day training wrapped up with a tour of Kern Valley State Prison.  Attendees from the different colleges were able to witness Bakersfield College’s partnership with the prison firsthand.  The knowledge gained by all involved, including BC, will lend additional support to all of the Inmate Education Programs and ensure students receive the necessary skills for employability as well as navigating society as they transition out of the prison environment.

Thank you to the CCCCO’s office for the continued support and partnership and thank you to the numerous colleges in attendance.

Summer Bridge:

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BC is ramping up our Summer Bridge efforts as a focused student success strategy for students transitioning from high school to college.The goal of this program is to make students more aware of what is expected of them in college and what programs, services, resources, and assistance are available to them as a BC student. A team of faculty across areas led by Dr. Kimberly Bligh developed the content for the curriculum. Thank you Kimberly!

13394130_1753396228216718_1160833627451719312_nIn 2014, BC offered 4 sections of the bridge class for 140 incoming freshmen during mid-summer over a two week time frame. We had 100% retention! We also held a family luncheon at the end of the bridge sessions so that students could spend some time on campus with their friends and family and share their experiences from the bridge.

Eighty-nine percent of the students successfully completed their Comprehensive Student Educational plan that summer during Bridge.

In 2015, the Bridge scaled up significantly and even more faculty and staff became involved in co-teaching and assisting.

Dr. Bligh wrote an online text for the Bridge that includes discussions about transitions to college, team and leadership building activities, career interest surveys, links to campus, academic, and personal resources, self-inventories, and information about BC’s history, programs, processes.  The book includes student testimonial videos and videos and PowerPoint access to topics like Plagiarism, Mindsets, Learning Styles, Email Etiquette, and more.

13244614_1748599302029744_9112036423111254982_nIn 2015, we scaled up from 4 to 18 sections and also held some non-credit sessions for incoming freshmen at the Wasco and Delano high schools. Those sessions included field trips to BC’s Panorama and Delano campuses. Over 400 students completed the bridge program in 2015. The overall success rate for this cohort during their 2015-2016 term was 12% higher than those first time freshmen who did not attend the bridge!

In 2016, our target was to scale up sessions again, but we planned to do it with a unique approach to recruitment.  We developed the themed sessions based on students’ majors and career interests and included several sessions for career exploration for those students who are still undecided. The students signed up for their week of preference so they could meet other students with similar interests and meet faculty from those areas.

Since April, we have already held 8 sessions of BC Bridge 2016 for over 200 incoming freshmen! We have 15 + sessions still open. Students can attend any of the sessions. The curriculum covers the same topics throughout all sessions.

Go to https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/sssp/summer-bridge  today to get directions for signing up for the Bridge, which runs through August 11th. You’ll need to sign up for the Remind App associated with your option so that we can contact them about details for their Bridge session – and check your BC email account and personal accounts often all summer for alerts and updates!

Let’s check out what faculty have to say about Summer Bridge program:

“I enjoyed seeing incoming students being proactive, taking the initiative to get themselves prepared for college.  I heard more than a few students whisper, ‘I didn’t know that,’ when particular topics were discussed.  But, now they do know thanks to Summer Bridge!” — Paul Beckworth

“Summer Bridge is a great experience for everyone. The incoming students get eased into the college life as we walk them through everything from financial aid to email etiquette. It also benefits faculty who are reminded of BC services and the needs of our incoming students that might otherwise be ignored. Teaching Bridge puts me in tune with our students and makes me a better overall instructor.” — Matthew Garrett

Two concluding spotlights:

When I was rushing across town on Thursday for one of my presentations, I saw our drumline trailer carrying all the musical instruments.  I hurried to catch up (safely as Greg Williamson and Donny Youngblood would have been happy to see), and at the next traffic light could not help but take this picture.

BC Drumline Truck

Greg Gallion in The Bakersfield Californian:

Here is a great Community Voices piece by Greg Gallion in TBC about the importance of donating blood.  http://tinyurl.com/gs2nc7b.  A good friend of mine did so on Thursday.

Greg Gallion June 16 2016 TBC

That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya ….. the luckiest and happiest college president in the whole world.

sonya at polynesian cultural center april 2 2015.JPG

A Holiday Blog

Eisha and Mom Dec 25 2015

Eisha Christian, Pam Christian

Woke up to a quiet house this morning–December 27, 2015.  My daughter and her husband left yesterday after spending two nights and two and a half days with me.  I packed up some of my daughter’s favorite food items which we cooked ahead of time — coffee cake with butter icing topped with chopped caramelized pecans, roast beef, and beef stew with potatoes.  It felt like old times when she would visit from college and then head back with lots and lots of home cooked food.  As a friend texted me Christmas eve, it’s a wonderful life!

We did the usual fireplace talks, great food, monopoly, and movies.  This year of course it was Star Wars — The Force Awakens.  The movie, at the new IMAX in Bakersfield, was just awesome, and Manohla Dargis describes it best in her Dec 16, 2015 review in the New York Times at


Strobels at Star Wars

Strobel extended family.  Picture from Facebook

J.J. Abrahms, the director of episode VII, was described in a recent article I read as a cross between George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.  The Sunday Californian now has a USA Today insert that names J.J.Abrahms one of the “People of the Year” for Star Wars.

Renegades, the Force has always been with Bakersfield College, but even so I feel the stirrings of a new awakening.  Watch out 2016!
Or as Yoda once taught us, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

Judge David Lampe

Sonya Christian and David Lampe

Leading up to Christmas there were so many events it was tiring and wonderful all at once.  One of the highlights was meeting Judge David Lampe at the Open House at Cathy Abernathy’s home.  He is an alum of BC and spoke fondly of his time at the college particularly the quality of the faculty.  He said his two favorite faculty were Sam McCall at BC and Charles McCall at CSUB.  They had very difference approaches to teaching Political Science he said — Sam McCall being more of a traditionalist focusing on the purpose and organization of the state from an ethical and philosophical perspective, while Charles McCall was more of a behaviorist focusing on the political behaviors and informal relationships that influence decisions.  At all of the events that I attended, I was reminded over and over again how much our community loves Bakersfield College.  And this includes political leaders like Jean Fuller, Shannon Grove, Kevin McCarthy, Andy Vidak, Rudy Salas, Leticia Perez, Zack Scrivner…….. and of course, the fabulous Harvey Hall.


Bryan Burrows Dec 19 2015

Bryan Burrow and Sonya Christian

Another highlight was the BC Choir performing with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra (BSO) at their Home for the Holidays event featuring all our favorite Christmas music at the Harvey Auditorium.  Bryan Burrow, CEO of the BSO is just a great partner.  Bryan deeply believes in the value of the having a fine symphony in the community and puts in a lot of effort in planning and taking care of details.  I did not get around to purchasing tickets for the event from the website until I showed up at the Harvey Auditorium at around 2:00 p.m. on Saturday hoping that the ticket office would be open.  It was not.  Instead I found Jen Garrett and conductor Stilian Kirov with the choir and symphony rehearsing for the evening performance.   I also found Bryan in his sweatshirt and jeans doing a lot of the detailed grunt work to make sure that the evening was very special for all those who were attending.  He is my kind of a guy.  Here he is all cleaned up for the event in the evening after putting in long hours ahead of time.  Thank you Bryan! 

The photo collage below was taken from Mary Jo Pasek’s Facebook page.

Bryan brought the symphony to the college for the Noteworthy Event marking the reopening of the outdoor theater, part of the Simonsen Performing Arts Center (SPArC). I missed the opportunity to blog about this great event, but here is a post on the ribbon cutting of SPArC



Josh Rothstein with Frank Gifford Bobblehead

Josh Rothstein with the Frank Gifford Bobblehead

A third highlight was getting a photo from Josh Rothstein with a Frank Gifford bobblehead.  I received an email on December 6th from Josh’s dad Eric.  Here is a copy and paste.

Dear President Christian:

I write on behalf of my son Joshua who collects bobbleheads. I was wondering if the college has any extra of the Frank Gifford bobblehead that it just sponsored and if so whether you can send one to Josh? I know he would greatly appreciate it as he is a big New York Giants fan as it is our hometown team. If you can, Josh’s address is: ****

Thank you and happy holidays.

Eric Rothstein

Of course, we did not have any extra bobbleheads but Francis Mayer who always does the impossible, located the bobblehead which Jennfier Marden mailed to Josh.  On December 23rd, right before Christmas, Josh received the bobblehead and sent the picture to Jennifer.

A fourth highlight was the full moon on Christmas — a rare phenomenon.  I headed out early Christmas morning and took this series of pictures on my iphone.  The first with the moon relatively high in the sky, followed by others as the sky got brighter and the moon lower on the horizon.

For more on the Christmas Full Moon check out


A final highlight: BC has remarkable students. A majority of them are first-generation college-going among other challenges. The college has expanded its student employment and engagement opportunities on campus. One such program is the “Promising Professionals” that provides employment for students in leadership roles. On Dec. 23rd as we were wrapping up activities to start the holiday campus closure, we took this picture in the welcome lobby:

Promising Professionals Dec 23 2015

Sonya Christian on Dec 23, 2015 with BC Students –The Promising Professionals