Tag Archives: Engineering

Design Challenge Gathers Local Students to Test Engineering Smarts

engineeringEach Spring semester, the Engineers Club invites middle schoolers, high schoolers, college students and professionals of all ages to participate in their Design ChallenOge in honor of National Engineers’ Week. During the Fall, the Engineers Club members come up with the specific “design challenge” they want to hold in the Spring. They create a set of parameters that the entrants should follow in designing their machine, and send them off to the various schools and businesses by December. Contestants build their machines and bring them on the day of the event.
This year, the Design Challenge was held on Saturday, February 28th in Bakersfield College’s Gymnasium. The objective was to design a Spring-powered model car that could carry a load of sand between 0 and 250 grams a distance between 10 and 20 meters. The contestants were not given the weight or distance until right before the competition began. As one can see, keeping the specific details vague until the day-of forces the engineers to be as creative and thorough as possible with their designs— they must be able to be adjusted to satisfy the wide range of possibilities within the parameters. 
“We had a pretty good showing. Even with a simple design, a spring-powered car, a lot of people were able to design things differently.,” said Engineers Club member Zeph Nord, “There were 2 designs that were able to predict the distance down to the very centimeter; We were all pretty impressed with that.”
For anyone who thinks this sounds like something they’d be interested in, but missed the challenge in February, there is some exciting news— for the first time since its inception, there will be a second Design Challenge held in the Fall. 

Professor Klint Rigby, faculty advisor for the Engineers Club, tells us more. “We decided we’ll do a Civil challenge in the fall. Civil would be bridges, roads, waterworks, all those kinds of things.,” he explained, “It will probably be in that window around early November, that first or second week. We’ll be publishing the rules for our Civil Design Challenge before we leave for summer, and It’ll have information set in stone of when it will be, and where it will be held.”


Education and Industry in Partnership Through Grants: A Focus on C6

cindy collier with grandkids

Dean Cindy Collier–Institutional Lead for the C6 grant. Relaxing with her grand kids

Bakersfield College is one of ten community colleges participating in the Central California Community Colleges Committed to Change (C6) consortium. The C6 grant supports the education of students in key areas:

  • Ag/Manufacturing
  • Welding
  • Electronics
  • Registered Nursing
  • Vocational Nursing
  • Licensed Vocational to Registered Nursing
  • Nurse Assistant
  • Home Health Aide
  • Radiologic Technology
  • Computerized Technology

Using a series of academic and student success strategies, Bakersfield College has transformed how we educate students in these programs, but more importantly, integrated our strategies across our campus for the benefit of all programs and disciplines.

Students come to the C6 project in a variety of ways:

  • targeted recruitment in local high school CTE programs
  • engagement with our advisory boards
  • selective enrollment in high demand programs
  • volunteering in general enrollment courses
Programmable Logic Controller

Bakersfield College student works with the wiring he upgraded on the Programmable Logic Controller.

Once enrolled, students take the WorkKeys Assessment, which is an industry-specific assessment tool that examines the student’s abilities in reading, mathematics, and locating information. When necessary, students are referred to the Student Success Lab for remediation. However, CTE programs are high content areas and many of the programs have been compressed into shorter timelines. As a result, CTE faculty have been taught how to embed remediation into the courses. To make this possible, Basic Skills faculty observed classroom instruction, reviewed syllabi, evaluated WorkKeys scores, discussed learning deficiencies, and designed specific instructional materials focusing on specific skills like contextualized math, reading apprenticeship, note taking, test taking strategies and much, much more. In addition to the in-class embedded remediation strategies, Basic Skills faculty offered workshops for students and professional development seminars for faculty.

C6 Nursing Group

C6 grant. Nursing.

To support the program, faculty have spent countless hours outside of the classroom collaborating with the other colleges involved in the consortium on curriculum development and revision, creation of online coursework, development of instructional material, redesign of instructional labs, and the sharing of best instructional practices. Through this effort, faculty have realigned curriculum to better meet industry standards. This required hours of telephone conferences and meetings with consortium colleges and industry partners, then the effort to usher courses through collegiate, state, and accrediting agency approval processes.

Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson from nursing developed an OER



The faculty have also participated in “hack-a-thons” – intensive 2-3 day Open Educational Resources (OER) designing meetings. Bakersfield College is currently using OERs in the LVN to RN, Welding, Nurse Assistant, and RN programs. OERs are expected to support students through less expensive and more useful course supplements. Inspired by this ongoing effort, consortium faculty involved in Basic Skills are currently in the process of developing an OER for faculty use as a guide for embedding remediation strategies into any course.

But the work of C6 hasn’t just occurred in the classroom, the college is now in the process of redesigning our Early Alert system. Through the use of grant dollars, the college was able to purchase equipment, which will combine with our current student support software to enhance our ability to track “at-risk” students. Students engaged with the C6 program will pilot the redesigned Early Alert system. Supporting that effort is secondary student case management strategies focusing on best practices learned through STEM and MESA. These strategies incorporate student case management, supplemental instruction, and peer tutoring.


eileen pierce

Eileen Pierce developed an OER on teaching embedded study skills



As the grant project enters the 3rd year, Bakersfield College continues to support and thrive to excel for change. C6 has allowed Bakersfield College to integrate our processes and through the continuing efforts of faculty, industry partners and administration, the college will continue to enhance student success through effective change.

Science Minds at Bakersfield College: Student NASA project wins an award

This summer, two teams of Bakersfield College students ventured to Montana to participate in the National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition at Montana State University. This competition pitted teams from around the country in a battle to build a ground-based solar spectrograph.  Check out my first post on this project on April 18th at

BC STEM students on a NASA project

What’s a solar spectrograph? Bakersfield College astronomy professor Nick Strobel explained the project on his website.

Teams design, build, and test optical instruments to answer questions about the Sun or use sunlight to investigate some science question about the earth. The real goal is to train future scientists to solve problems as a team.

Nick also explained the project and each of Bakersfield College’s team efforts to build a solar spectrograph in an article for The Bakersfield Californian. Following the competition, Nick said it was a great learning and growing experience for all the students.

Team Mass Effect

Team Mass Effect present their results at the “Science Results Talks” session on day 3 of the NSSSC. Left to right: Alfredo Arevalo, Joanna Moraza, Andres Leyva, and Marco Guerra.

Bakersfield College’s teams were up against students from around the country, and students with upper-level engineering and physics backgrounds from major universities. Despite the competition challenge, Team Mass Effect received the “Inspire Award” for their determination to overcome obstacles and proceed with their project.

Photos from the National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition are on Nick’s Flickr account for all to see!

High School Students enjoying engineering at BC

We had about 60 kids from Tehachapi High School, Bakersfield High School, Centennial High School, Ridgeview High School and Shafter High School attend the BC Engineering Open House on April 5, 2013.  Thank you to all the STEM folks who made this happen, particularly Liz Rozell and Darren Willis.

Pam Gomez, CTE Advisor, talked about reasons for choosing BC and matriculation; Cynthia Quintanilla, STEM Counselor, and the STEM Transfer Mentors (Kevin Galloway, Travis Burns, Jennifer Head, and Corey Ferdinand) discussed majoring in STEM at BC; the three NASA-Spectrometer teams talked about their projects they will be presenting to NASA in Montana next month; and Rageshwar Goldberg talked about the A+ Scholar program.

There were 5 hands-on project activities that were fun to do but also had a serious side.

1. Materials Science Engineering – Designing an edible scale

What a neat idea! This session was led by Liz Rozell, Dean of STEM, and Jason Dixon, Manufacturing faculty, and involved students using edible materials to create a balance.  In Materials Science projects the students got to learn the properties (mechanical, electrical, thermal, magnetic, and optical) of the materials they were working with. For example, the edible scale students had to consider the mechanical properties of ductility, which is the ability of a material to elongate a considerable extent before rupture, and plasticity, which is the ability of a material to remain permanently deformed after release of stress.

Engineering Day April 5 2013--Sonya Christian at the Material Science Lab

Engineering Day April 5 2013–Sonya Christian at the Material Science Lab

Engineering Day April 5 2013 --Liz Rozell and Jason Dixon

Engineering Day April 5 2013 –Liz Rozell and Jason Dixon

2. Projectile Launch

This session was led by Binal Mathew, president of the Engineers Club, and involved having students use a Styrofoam block, ping pong ball, clips, fasteners, rubber bands, and 3 feet of duct tape to design from scratch a projectile to launch a ping pong ball 4’ 6”.

Here in the picture you can see Liz Rozell, Binal Mathew, and a student from Centennial High School.

Engineering Day April 5 2013 --Lizz Rozell and Binal Mathew

Engineering Day April 5 2013 –Lizz Rozell and Binal Mathew

3. Structural Design

Participants were challenged to design the tallest possible structure which would support a load.  However, the structure had to be built from wooden skewers and soft Jolly Ranchers.  Many of the structures collapsed once loaded, but a stellar structure did prevail!

Engineering Day April 5 2013 -- Structural Design Project

Engineering Day April 5 2013 — Structural Design Project

4. CAD – Solidworks

Darren Willis, Industrial Drawing faculty, challenged students to develop a three dimensional object in Solidworks, a commonly used drafting software in engineering.  The students who participated are in Project Lead the Way (PLTW) at the high schools and have been exposed to Solidworks, but it was quite the challenge using the simulation features.

Engineering Day April 5 2013 -- Solidworks with Darren Willis

Engineering Day April 5 2013 — Solidworks with Darren Willis

5. Pneumatic / Automation

Students, working in groups, assembled and programmed an automated process with integrated pneumatics.  Manny Fernandez, Electronics faculty, provided each group with state-of-the-art equipment that accurately represents assembly processes used in industry.  Because of the students’ background in robotics, they were quick studies and met the design challenge Manny set before them.  Don Wilmot, Bakersfield High School PLTW instructor, was just blown away by the entire design!

Engineering Day April 5 2013 --Pneumatic and Automation

Engineering Day April 5 2013 –Pneumatic and Automation