Each Memorial Day, I take time to quietly reflect on the blessings that have been afforded to us as Americans. I pause to give thanks to all those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may enjoy these blessings. Every year, I am driven to pay tribute to them in a way that would honor their sacrifice.
This year, I am reminded of a story told by our center’s namesake, Vietnam veteran, the late Vernon Valenzuela. Over two decades ago Vernon learned of the tragic, violent death of a young football player here in Kern County. Angered and saddened by this travesty, Vernon reasoned that he did not fight in the jungles of Vietnam to have our youth die this way in our own country. He was moved to action and so began his journey to extend his efforts to create peace within our community.
Whether they fell on the battlefield, as a result of an internal battle after they left the front lines, or due to physical ailments brought on by their time at war, the brave Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and women and Coast Guardsmen and women who gave their last full measure are deserving of our gratitude and honor.
This Memorial Day 2021, I propose to you that we commit to peace in their honor. They fought and died so that we may know peace. For their sacrifice, let us do our part by continuing to seek peace, peace within ourselves, in our neighborhoods, within our country, so that one day we may be the example of peace.
May the families, friends, and comrades of the fallen find peace in their loved one’s absence but most of all, may the souls of the brave men and women that answered our Nation’s call rest in peace.
“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war” -Douglas MacArthur
A message from Bakersfield College’s Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Manny Mourtzanos:
On this Memorial Day (and every day), we remember our fallen military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duties to secure our freedom and liberty, and we remember their families who also sacrificed for our country. Words are insufficient to fully convey our appreciation. As we know, our military personnel serve voluntarily and willingly, not through conscription. In so doing, each and every member of our armed forces, including active duty, reservists and retired personnel, is prepared to make the same sacrifice made by our fallen heroes. Let us collectively express our gratitude for our fallen personnel, their families, our veterans, and current military personnel for their willingness to serve.
BC Students to serve as COVID Outreach Project Interns
This summer, the Kern Inyo Mono Central Labor Council in Partnership with the Central Valley Workers Center is engaging in direct community outreach to educate residents of Kern County on COVID-19 and the ongoing vaccination efforts. As part of this initiative, up to ten Bakersfield College students will receive an internship to participate in direct community engagement activities.
Freddie Rodriguez, Job Development Specialist at BC, is an advocate for students getting involved in community wide efforts. He says, “We have a lot of passionate students at BC who want to serve their community, especially while we navigate this pandemic. Our nursing students are administering vaccines, students are volunteering at the pop-up clinics, and these ten interns will help bolster public health outreach efforts to keep our community safe and healthy while gaining work experience. It’s a win-win.”
Through this program, the interns will advance efforts of educating Kern residents on COVID-19 and vaccination efforts. Activities planned for the positions include reaching impacted communities through phone banking, texting, social media, participation at vaccine clinics, and community events.
BC Vaccine Clinics
The BC Student Health and Wellness Center is open to all students and the community to be vaccinated. They are currently administering the Moderna COVID vaccine Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 9 am and 3 pm. The Moderna vaccine is available for people who are 18 and older.
Walk-ins are accepted at all clinics or register at myturn.ca.gov or call (833) 422-4255 and schedule your appointment. Enter the zip code of 93305 to view the Bakersfield College Student Health and Wellness Center availability.
On Day 2 of our Closing Day Spring 2021 festivities, we heard from KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke:
I’d also like to share a few of the President’s Leadership Award winners for the 2020-2021 year.
Our fabulous Nursing Department:
And the Student Information Desk/SID Team, led by Dan Hall:
Additionally, all 2021 BC graduates will be welcome to participate in the in-person commencement with the Class of 2022 when restrictions for large gatherings are lifted. Information regarding how to participate will be available on the Commencement page in March 2022.
CCC Women’s Caucus to welcome Lilly Ledbetter
On June 22, the CCC Women’s Caucus will welcome guest speaker Lilly Ledbetter. Lilly was the plaintiff in the US Supreme Court Case Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., regarding employment discrimination. The court decided that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not allow employers to be sued for pay discrimination more than 180 days after an employee’s first paycheck. However, Congress passed a fair pay act in her name – the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 – to remedy this issue.
This event is free to members of the women’s caucus. Non-members may attend for $35.
Bakersfield College Creates Innovative Partnerships to Expand Resources
Advanced Transportation and Logistics published a piece about a partnership that BC Automotive Instructor Andrew Haney initiated between Bakersfield College and the Greater Bakersfield New Car Dealers Association.
“We have an industry that depends on each other, and we can help create that fusion here,” Haney said. “Our students are eager, and the technician shortage is tremendous. We need the entire industry to come together to address it. The more we work together, the more we’re exposing students to the industry, giving them the opportunity for a stable career, living wage, and good future.”
CTEC students at KHSD graduate with a sense of purpose
Jesse Espinoza, a senior at Foothill, said that he had contemplated other options for his future but he really wanted to be a firefighter. He enrolled in the fire technology program at CTEC, and that solidified it for him.
He’s planning to enroll to take firefighting courses at Bakersfield College, and ultimately become a firefighter. His parents were beaming and proud at Wednesday’s ceremony.
“He wanted to be a firefighter and he’s accomplishing it,” said his dad Juan Espinoza. “He’s really going for it.”
Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media
Thank you April for this great photo of Neo, enjoying a nice walk this week.
Bill Moseley shared this throwback picture with a note:
“June, 1998. It was a summer of disaster movie blockbusters, with Deep Impact and Armageddon in theaters. Stanzi, our oldest, was two weeks old. She and my wife accompanied me (as one of our first trips out of the house) to a job interview at Bakersfield College, and sat in the lobby while I met with my future boss. 23 years (and six kids) later, I’m still here. I have a bit more gray, and a lot of experiences that have shaped me. The two week old is all grown up and finishing a master’s degree, and my wife and I would still choose to spend every minute together, rather than be apart. I’m thankful for everything BC has done for me over the years, and hope the college and our students have benefitted from my work. As I look to the future, I hope that I can continue to serve California’s most impactful population of students, and that I can work to support equity for students and my colleagues.”
BCSGA shared this screenshot from Emma McNellis, who spoke at the 2-21 Celebration: Student Messages for their Community College Family webinar with the Student Senate for California Community Colleges:
Nick Strobel shared pictures of his saguaro cactus flowers:
And the BC Cheer team celebrated National Donut Day:
That’s all for now. Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality. sonya – the luckiest and happiest college president ever
Good morning Bakersfield…. let’s start this morning with two short videos of the phenomenal concert. Freedom, on friday night by Dr. Jen Garrett and the BC Choir. The concert featured a multipart, multimedia commissioned piece by Dr. Ron Kean chronicling the inspirational story of courage of Harriet Tubman. I will cover this evening in my April 1st blog. But until then, enjoy the 1:34-minute excerpt of Ken Burdick and 2:14-minute excerpt of Caley Mayhall with the BC Choir.
Caley Mayhall a little taste of Ron Kean’s composition.
It was quite an incredible week for me… a week filled with music, travelling to present on Guided Pathways…a week of enjoying Renegade Passion and Renegade Talent…The Renegade Experience is incredible.
Let’s take for example just one day in the week, Friday, March 24th. So many individuals engaged in important issues. Here are three:
AAMP Open House:
Faculty Chairs and Assessment Team attending a webinar
Completion Coaching Communities Workshop
African American Mentor Program Open House
The Bakersfield College African American Mentor Program hosted its first ever AAMP open house event. Keynote speaker Dr. Thomas Wallace inspired an audience of over 100 high school and college students in which he highlighted the importance of leadership in the community. As a first-generation college graduate, Dr. Wallace experienced growing up in a poverty-stricken environment in which he could have very easily gone down the wrong path. Dr. Wallace explained that he could have been sucked into a perpetual life of crime and self-pity as so many of his peers did, but instead, he rose to the occasion, he made sure to not let anyone else define who he was or would become, and is now the Vice-President at CSUB.
After the keynote and lunch, we had a sample of the talent that Bakersfield College has among its student body. Lee Collins, Dominique Miller, and Jordan Young invigorated the crowd with their musical collaborations. To close the event we heard from community member Bryan Buyton. What became a very sobering moment was when Bryan revealed to us that his 5-year-old son had been tragically murdered in a driveby shooting that occurred last month in Central Bakersfield. He implored students to have an appreciation for what they have and to trust in a divine purpose, even in the face of adversity such as his. Overall, we spoke, we learned, we sang, we laughed, and we cried, but most importantly, we came together as a community and embodied the true definition of a community college. #WeAreBC
Here is one of our six core values:
Thank you Julian West for your leadership! Here is a tweet from Lesley bragging about Julian. The picture is not very clear, but I am sure you will enjoy Julian and Lesley’s tweet as much as I did
Public Health Hackathon
Photo by Dylan Wang
Over a week ago, students from BC and CSUB lined up to register for BC’s first Public Health Hackathon. This competition was for teams of students to innovate and design public health solutions for the community of Kern County. Free food, prizes, and networking opportunities were available. This interdisciplinary competition engaged students and professionals from various backgrounds in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and non-STEM fields, local centers of higher education, community, industry, and the public. It’s great to see students and events that rally around increasing awareness of public health and use technology based tools to address public health issues.
Special thank you to ALL who were involved, especially professor Sarah Baron and our mayor, Karen Goh who was present for the awards ceremony.
Mayor Karen Goh
Thank you Mayor Goh for all you do to support our community and especially education.
Photo by Cara Jackson
First place was awarded to “Down with Depression” for developing an app that gives accurate information on how to fight depression. Second place to “Safe Searches” for a website that helps LGBTQ communities search for supportive doctors. And third place to “MentalMapper” for an app that stimulates brain activity to improve cognitive functions for patients with neurological disorders.
Earlier this week, I tweeted an absolute must read by Harold Pierce at The Bakersfield Californian. He covered this incredible event in his article, “During Public Health Hackathon, students search for solutions to big problems” His opening words are powerful. “When it comes to diabetes, obesity, heart disease and sexually transmitted diseases, Kern ranks among the worst statewide. Awareness, however, isn’t an issue. Solutions are.” You have to check it out!
Thank you to the amazing team that worked with Sarah Baron to make all this happen. Specifically, Eddie Rangel and Richard Miles from Computer Science, Chris Cruz Boone and Angela Bono BC Communications, Diego Diaz Computer Science Club, KIT and Alyssa Haas and all the sponsors who are on the back of the T-shirt and Asha Chandy who support behind the scenes.
Talking about Asha Chandy, here is a cute picture Jennifer snapped of Asha taking our Measure J dog Bruce for a walk on campus.
Thank you sponsors of the Public Health Hackathon#bcinnovates
Here are the different articles about this amazing event:
BC Social Justice Institute hosts “Real Boy” film screening & discussion
The Bakersfield College Social Justice Institute hosted a wonderful screening and panel discussion of the new award-winning documentary “Real Boy” on March 16th. The film, funded in part by a documentary grant from California Humanities, follows the story of a young transgender youth, Bennett Wallace, as he transitions gender to a “real boy.” Over 100 people attended the screening and engaged in a community dialogue with California Humanities Program Officer John Lightfoot, “Real Boy” director Shaleece Haas, and Jack Bockover from the Sexuality and Gender Awareness (S.A.G.A.) Club of Bakersfield College.
Thank you to everyone who made this happen: Professor Helen Acosta, Oliver Rosales, the Levan Center for the Humanities, BC Office of Student Life, and the Renegade Rip and Bakersfield Californian for covering the event.
For more information about “Real Boy” and California Humanities, including a Community Voices piece written by California Humanities CEO Julie Fry about the event, you may go to the following links:
Here is my tweet on the Julie Fry community Voices piece
Speaking with prospective students is one of the most incredible things… There’s no way to quite describe the excitement in the voice and in the eyes of young people who are about to begin their college experience. Any opportunity that we have to speak to them is a great one.
Student Success and Equity Manager, Lisa Kent joined Office of Student Life Director, Nicky Damania at PuebloFest 2017, a three-day arts and culture festival that took place March 17-19th in Tulare. BC had the opportunity to be involved with the first-ever regional Mexican music festival in the United States, via Arnaldo Avalos, a Board of Governors member for the California community college system and festival organizer who sought for PuebloFest to have a larger social purpose. Our goal was to educate festival attendees on the higher education opportunities available at BC and encourage anyone wanting a college education to consider BC a place for them.
It was great to see representatives from Reedley College also hosting a booth, alongside over 100 other nonprofit and community organizations offering information on topics like financial literacy, health services, and immigration. A diverse variety of artists were represented including Los Lobos, Baby Bash, Los Tigres Del Norte and Bakersfield’s own Velorio.
The inclusion of higher learning institutes at Latin music festivals like this can only help to empower 1st and 2nd generation Latinos with the information they need to have a successful education experience and become upwardly mobile. BC aims to meet the needs of Latino students with its Student Success and Equity program, specialized Summer Bridge institutes in rural communities, an increase in dual enrollment course offerings for Kern County high school students, and on-site matriculation services throughout Kern County, Student Success.
I checked out Pueblofest on Sunday, March 19th, after returning from the Accreditation commission meeting on Saturday.
This is whatArnoldo Avalos, the man who had the dream and made it happen, had to say on Facebook
Adiós PuebloFest- you changed my life. Until next year, PuebloFest 2018.
Summer Bridge 2017
Faculty gearing up to meet our new cohort of students. Thank you faculty! Thank you Kimberly Bligh!
BC STEM/MESA Students Dreaming Big!
Twelve BC STEM/MESA students, Dillon Giblin, BC Math Faculty and Yadira Guerrero, Engineering Program Manager attended a field trip to the California Science Center to watch “Dream Big: Engineering Our World” and explore the permanent and special exhibitions the museum had to offer. The bus was loaded up by 7am and the morning chatter on the road was of sharing individual stories. Chad Hidalgo, Emmanuel Limaco (MESA), and Andrea Hernandez (MESA) are a few BC students who shared their inspiring stories and offered guidance to high school attendees.
Inspiration was just the theme of the day. I’m told the film even moved several students enough to make them misty-eyed. After lunch, the group was off to explore the Ecosystems Exhibit and the Air and Space Exhibit, which included the space shuttle, Endeavor! The bus, tickets, and even lunch were all provided courtesy of the Southern San Joaquin Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and was of no cost to any students or faculty. What a gift!! And what a way to enjoy a Saturday!
BC at the USC Choral Invitational
The BC Chamber Singers had an incredible experience at the USC Choral Invitational last month. Some of the best two-year colleges in the state perform at this annual event and it was an honor to be among them. Choral Director, Jennifer Garrett tells me it’s one of the most stressful events of each year, but it’s exactly what the group needs to help them rise to the greatest potential. The group performed two pieces and one was the premiere of a new work by Dr. Ron Kean, “Swing Low Sweet Chariot/Follow the River” which is part of a newly commissioned work entitled, “The Journey of Harriet Tubman” which was premiered at the concert last night.
Rehearsal right before USC at LA Valley College with Ron Kean and our marimba player
This is what Jen Garret had to say:
The Chamber Singers gave their all at the Invitational and many reported that they were the finest choir of the evening. I appreciate their dedication to the music, attention to detail, and the emotional investment they put forth in each piece. The audience rose to their feet in applause almost before I could cut off the last note of “Swing Low”. Ron Kean, who graduated with his Masters and Doctorate from USC was there on the stage with us playing the mbira (African thumb piano) and I know the performance meant a great deal to him as it did to me.
This years traditional picture, always taken after a successful USC performance in the stairwell of Newman Recital Hall at USC
I am so proud of the BC Chamber Singers. They always strive to be more and do more. Did you know they will be representing BC in Australia at the Sydney Opera House?
You can help this talented group get there by partaking in the next evening of Broadway music and spaghetti dinner on April 1st. I have purchased a table and I hope to see you there. Jennifer Garrett says,
We are calling it ‘Give My Regards to Broadway.’ It will combine the talents of the BC culinary arts under chef Eric Sabella providing spaghetti, bread, salad, drinks, etc., and the BC chamber singers performing Broadway hits as a choir, soloists and small groups.
You don’t want to miss this incredible event on April 1st. The cost is $15 per person and tickets are only on sale until Monday, March 27. Tickets can be purchased by calling 395-4547 or by emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BC Choral Director, Jen Garrett, with some of the best choral directors in California!
Sounds for the Soul
Photos by Belen Martinez
The talent at BC just keeps going… this time, the BC Concert Band, Orchestra, and Dr. Kathryn Kuby had something extra planned for the audience. During “Sounds For Our Soul” last weekend, there was an abundance of music provided to satisfy the souls of all who were present.
Dr. Kuby invited the incredible Pipe Dream Flutes & Friends to perform in the beginning of the first half of the concert. Prior to this performance, I didn’t know that there were more than just the flute and the piccolo… but, having the pleasure of hearing a Double Contrabass Flute, C Flutes, Alto Flutes, and the more was incredible and filled the air with the most powerful yet delicate sounds.
Apparently there are only 4 Double Contrabass Flutes in the world and imagine one of them is in Bakersfield. When I heard this, I leaned over and whispered to Jon Gerhold, “Really?”
Here is a copy and paste from wikipedia:
The double contrabass flute (sometimes also called the octobass fluteor subcontrabass flute) with over 18 feet (5.5 m) of tubing is the largest and lowest pitched metal flute in the world (the hyperbass flute has an even lower range, though it is made out of PVC pipes and wood). It is pitched in the key of C, three octaves below the concert flute (two octaves below the bass flute and one octave below the contrabass flute). Its lowest note is C1, one octave below the cello‘s lowest C. This flute is relatively easy to play in comparison to most other large flutes. Despite the tendency of the larger sizes of flute to be softer than their higher pitched relatives, the double contrabass flute has a relatively powerful tone, although it usually benefits from amplification in ensembles.
When concert band took the stage and performed a beautiful piece by Rossano Galante, the instruments filled the theater with the most powerful sound. I mentioned before that Dr. Kuby had planned a special night, and in addition to Pipe Dream Flutes & Friends, she also had a flute soloist perform with both the band and orchestra.
Sara Andon. Photo by Belen Martinez
Sara Andon, an international soloist and recording artist, took the stage in beautiful white gown and performed with the band. The Lark Ascending, was such a beautiful piece.
The BC campus is a place full of talent and it always shows on performance days. If you’ve missed out, the final concert for the spring semester is coming up on May 3rd. Check out all the photos, captured by the talented Belen Martinez at the BC Smugmug page.
Photo by Belen Martinez
Thank you Dr. Kathryn Kuby
Dr. Kathryn Kuby
This week on the road:
This was an easier travel week for me. I provided testimony at the Senate Budget Committee along with a team from the State Chancellor’s office. It was a great experience. Chancellor Eloy Oakley is doing a terrific job advancing the student success agenda in a fiscally sound manner. I tweeted this picture right before we walked over to the capital.
The most fun part for me was how Senator Jean Fuller and Assembly Members Rudy Salas supported my visit to the Senate Budget committee. Senator Jean Fuller contacted Senator John Moorlach and Assesbly Member Rudy Salas contacted Senator Anthohny Portantino. When the item of Guided Pathways came up both Senator Moorlach and Senator Portantino were warm and welcoming and openly supportive.
Senator Anthony Portantino and Senator John Moorlach
Thank you so much Senator Jean Fuller and Assembly Member Rudy Sallas for your support. #WeAreBakersfield!
Sonya Christian, Rudy Salas
Jean Fuller, Sonya Christian
And thank you Dana Culhane Brennan for so quickly responding to my text. You are the best!!!! I tried finding a photo of Dana and I found this picture on Facebook.
Dana Culhane Brennan and family
After the presentation at the Capitol in Sacramento I headed out to the Chief Student Services Officers Conference on Integration Through Action in Los Angeles. It was a great conference and they dedicated two hours to Guided Pathways – the first hour on CA Guided Pathways presented by Deputy Chancellor Erik Skinner, Senior Researcher Craig Hayward and myself.
Sonya Christian, Erik Skinner, Craig Hayward
This was followed by Tom Bailey, the first author of the book Redesigning America’s Community Colleges. I want to do a shout out to the Exec Board of the CSSOs for putting on such a dynamic conference. Sylvia Dorsey-Robinson is the president and our very own Zav Dadabhoy is on the Exec Board. Unfortunately, we did not get a photo of the BC team that was there — Zav Dadabhoy, Steve Watkin and Grace Commiso. Here are the ones I have. In the first picture, I am with Valerie Shaw a member of the Board of Governors and Tom Bailey. The second picture is of Mandy Davies, a member of the CA Guided Pathways Advisory Committee with Tom Bailey.
Valerie Shaw, Sonya Christian, Tom Bailey
Mandy Davies, Tom Bailey
Delta Kappa Gamma events at BC
Delta Kappa Gamma Area VII and BC Future Teachers Club cosponsored a Voter Information Night at BC in October that had 37 participants. On March 18, they cosponsored the Technology for Educators Conference at BC which had approximately 65 participants!
Janet Tarjan and Gayle Richardson co-chaired the conference committee. Presenters included BC students, CSUB Faculty, K-12 teachers and administrators, authors, and the chair of the DKG International Communication Committee. Participants learned about Google docs, social media, games, increasing student participation, Word templates, and were provided with updates on current legislation related to education.
Denise Hollister, Rachel Hibler
Denise Hollister (English Teacher, BHS) and president of DKG and her daughter Rachel Hibler. Rachel presented two sessions: “Social Media in Education” and “Ice Breakers and Drama Games.”
DKG BC Members include: Jerry Ludeke, Pat Smith, Gayle Richardson, Janet Tarjan. Mary Jo Anhalt, Mita Dhariwal, and Sonya Christian.
And I got this email from Gayle Richardson about Chef Eric Sabella’s incredible food.
Yes, Eric! In 35 years I have NEVER heard so many guests rave about the food at BC. One spouse said that he has been to years of conferences, but never to one with such a delicious meal! The compliments were made without being asked for!
Compliments to you, Chef Eric!
BC Baseball has endured some ups and downs this season, including a recent three-game losing streak. But they are on a tear now after winning two games in a row over LA Valley College. Catcher Brock Hallum will be attending Long Island University, Bronx on a baseball scholarship next fall, but he hasn’t lost sight of the work that is right in front of him. He hit a home run last Sunday to spur his team to a 8-4 win on the road against Valley before getting bit by the flu bug. Coach Tim Painton ordered him to take a day off from practice Monday, but he still watched from the dugout.
Tuesday, Hallum played against LA Valley and had four hits in four at-bats while driving in four runs! Brock Hallum, you rock! Next week I’ll tell you about a special pitcher who has really turned his baseball career around this season for the Renegades.
Speaking of turning it around, BC Softball had a shaky start to their season, but they’ve risen to second place in their conference after winning three straight games this week, including sweeping a doubleheader from Santa Barbara at the Dean and Aaah Gay Sports Complex. They got good pitching from McKenna Valencia and Alexis Solis, and both also had good at-bats to help their teams win. Valencia pitched again Thursday, and the game went extra innings and she pitched the whole thing! That’s 12 innings; a usual game is seven, so she almost pitched the equivalent of two games! Thank you Coach Christie Hill.
Thank you Francis Mayer, the fabulous Sports Information Director for Renegade Athletics.
Always Something to Celebrate at BC
On Wednesday afternoon, Academic Senate and the executive office came together to celebrate with birthday cake! Tarina Perry planned a special surprise for Academic Senate President, Steve Holmes who celebrated his birthday on Monday. Little did Tarina know, Somaly Boles, who also works in the executive suite also planned a surprise for the party to surprise Tarina, whose birthday is later this month! BC Food Services provided the most decadent chocolate cake…. Just look at those pictures! Wow! Happy Birthday Steve and Tarina!
More Press coverage:
We got some great coverage from the Delano Recorder.
When a child smiles, there’s something special about the wonder in their eyes. I received an email from Lesley Bonds saying,
Shauna Turner, Department Assistant III in Equity, shared this photo in a group text to my entire staff who has gotten to know her 3 sons over the past 2 years. Here is Bry’Shaun with the BC baseball team at the 2017 League of Dreams Baseball Opening Day. I’ve never seen him smile so big! You can just tell he feels like he’s surrounded by celebrities.
Little future Renegade Bry’Shaun with the BC Baseball Team
So much to be proud of….Renegade Experiences are Incredible
Sonya Christian. Morning Coffee on the Beach
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever
Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, October 29th and a great day to be a Renegade!
Let me start by having you get instructions from Nick Strobel on how to fill out your ballot.
This was one of those weeks of hard focused work, very little sleep and moments of great joy. Yes….joy! Sometimes words don’t seem enough to accurately describe how uplifting and inspiring the campus can be. There are times – daily and even multiple times a day – when in the middle of a busy day I witness spectacular BC students making a difference and sharing their talents with the world around them.
Wednesday afternoon was one of those moments. I was in my weekly meeting, in my office, with the Academic Senate President, Steve Holmes and Executive Vice President of Instruction, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg when Tracy Hall opened the door and said “you must see this.” Through the open door, in the quad enclosure I saw our choir students gathered and two of them with drums, seated on the ground. Dr. Jen Garrett, their music director was having them rehearse by performing in different parts of the campus. Their song had a haunting melody with strong, forceful yet sad rhythmic drumming sounds. The voices of the students were pure and sweet, and floated through the afternoon air of the college. Students and staff gathered around, captivated by the one song that they performed. Don’t you want to be on this campus filled with moments that take your breath away?
Life Is Not Measured By the Number of Breaths We Take, But By the Moments That Take Our Breath Away
It’s moments like these are the most inspiring and uplifting and they are one reason why… I’m the happiest and luckiest college president in the world.
Did you pay attention to each of those faces standing in an arc facing Jen? Our students are just spectacular… They are complex and diverse in their interests and what drives them. They each strive daily to overcome different and unique challenges, yet they always come together as one communal collegiate spirit that continues to be the heart of our campus. These incredible students are the center of all that we do. They are our future and together, we are BC!
Here is another moment that took my breath away…. Students from our soccer team volunteered for phone banking on Wednesday, October 26th. I was wondering if these young men would indeed do phone banking and I was hugely surprised and teary-eyed as I wandered around the second floor seeing them sprawled out fully engaged in making phone calls, while having fun, horsing around and finishing the pizza. We had to order three more pizzas that night 🙂 Nicky Damania did a short video with four of our student soccer players. Coach Vayron Martinez is indeed the man!
Coach Vayron Martinez and Janet Tarjan
Nick Strobel, Brenda Silva, Asha Chandy
Seth Nedever; Jack, Eileen, Cathy Pierce
Jazz at BC
On Sunday, October 23rd, Transylvanian born, NYC-based pianist LUCIAN BAN and American violist and Grammy nominee MAT MANERI performed material from their award winning 2013 ECM release Transylvanian Concert, as well as premiering new compositions, and performing interpretations of Romanian traditional music, and the music of George Enescu in the context of contemporary jazz and improvisation.
Kris Tiner, thank you!
BC at ASCCC!
Got this wonderful picture from Corny Rodriguez with Lynn Krausse and Mike Ivey. They are attending ASCCC meeting on Faculty Qualifications and Equivalency.
Come join us for Vet Fest 2016 on Wednesday, November 2nd at 9:30 a.m.
Trustee Kay Meek at last year’s vetfest
Enlisting in the service is a very big decision for anyone to make but for those who do, and many who lose their lives we give thanks. After returning from service, many veterans go back to school to complete their certificates, or access job training. Bakersfield College’s Veteran Resource Center is an approved institution for the training of veterans and veterans’ dependents entitled to educational assistance. Our veterans are given credit for specific service experience and certain educational training completed while in service. The Office of Admissions and Records will make evaluation of such experience and training. All educational opportunities and personnel services offered in the college are available to the veterans. BC makes it one of its goals that the Veterans are included in everything. These are not traditional students; they need to be taken care of holistically not just academically.
There are many initiatives on campus focused towards the veterans, including an education advisor that caters to Veteran’s needs, a veteran development course, veteran orientation and priority registration, as well as the Veteran’s Club. The goal of the veteran’s club is to give available resources for all Bakersfield College student veterans, and provide information, service, and a feeling of belonging. Meetings are held in the veterans lounge on select Tuesdays from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.
The Veterans Lounge is a place that many veterans hold dear to them. The Veterans Resource Center provides a range of counseling, and outreach services to aid in a comfortable post-war readjustment to civilian life. The Center is full of bright natural light and is a quiet space where veterans can study, rest, and use the center’s computer. For more information visit he Vet center located in the Campus center and is open Monday through Thursday 8am-4pm.
On Wednesday November 2, 2016, Bakersfield College will be hosting its 4th annual Vetfest as a celebration to our student veterans as well as all veterans everywhere for Veteran’s Day. The Vetfest will include several community veteran organization and informational booths. We will have a keynote speaker J.R. Browning, who is a graduate of CSUB graduate school of counseling and now a veteran’s counselor at the Bakersfield Vet Center. The festivities start at 9:30am until 1pm located in the grass area between the library and CSS.
Homecoming 2016 was a week-long celebration, and I can’t believe it’s over already. Last Saturday, the event concluded with the Big Red Dinner, Renegade Parade, and the phenomenal BC Football game! For over 20 years, Renegade alumni and fans have asked for the Big Red Dinner to make a comeback and this year, I’m glad we did as the fan favorite was a hit. Thank you to our Big Red Dinner sponsors, W A Thompson, Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, International Soccer, and Don C. & Diane S Lake Family. Thank you Nicky Damania, Tom Gelder, Marlene Heise, and Mary Jo Pasek for making it happen.
After everyone had their fill of spaghetti dinner, the parade was escorted through campus. Horns were honking, pompoms shaking, flags flying, and Renegades waved from various vehicles as they made their way to Memorial Stadium. If you missed it, a video has been posted by Nicky Damania on the BCSGA Facebook – check it out at https://www.facebook.com/SGABC/videos/1179048165503055/
One of my favorite things about the evening is how BC is true family – our community is a blend of both traditional families who support and attend BC for generations, and families you can choose to be a part of! The BC Women’s Basketball team is a perfect example of this united teamwork and they are a BC family. Coach Paula Dahl is the best!
And here is a moment I shared with our Women’s Basketball team.
Kimberly Bligh and her mini Renegade granddaughter were out in the stands cheering on the home team with Trustee Romeo Agbalog and Lily Perez. And I spotted another future Renegade, Valerie, with her grandpa, Chris Hine.
Trustee Agbalog did the coin toss at the beginning of the game. It is always great to have our trustees on our campus!
Thank you to Trustee Romeo Agbalog, and JP Lake for being on the Vance Palm Show. Vance Palm is just the very best!
Thank you Keith Wolaridge and Jay Rosenlieb for the Measure J table.
Keith Wolaridge and his beautiful daughter
Enjoyed meeting Chris Cruz one of our awesome students who is a friend of a dear friend of mine Lauro Braganza.
Coach Carl Ferreira led the BC Volleyball team to victory against College of the Canyons on Friday night and broke Canyons’ 33-match conference win streak. See tweet!
Renegade Volleyball takes over first place in league by sweeping state ranked number 12 College of the Canyons.
Grand Opening of the Wonderful Academy
On Friday, October 28th, the Wonderful Academy opened its doors to their new location. Lynda and Stewart Resnick have been great partners of Bakersfield College and committed to advancing the educational attainment levels in the Central Valley. Trustee Romeo Agbalor, Rich McCrow, and Raquel Lopez represented KCCD and BC at this event. There were many dignitaries to support the great work being done by Wonderful.
Talking about the Wonderful Academy, there was a great piece by Kristen Barnes in Thursday’s Californian titled Dual-enrollment program jump-starts college education
In a community with lagging educational attainment rates and a large population of first-generation college students, dual enrollment offers an innovative solution to improving educational outcomes.
Education is the bedrock of any community and it is imperative that we all work together to provide opportunities for improvement and change. KHSD, KCCD and CSUB should be commended for their collaborative efforts in the name of expanding opportunities for local students.
Disability Awareness Day
The Fireside Room was packed and almost every seat taken when a constant stream of students filled the back wall. There was standing-room-only during the student panel that kicked off the three-part program of Disability Awareness Day on Thursday afternoon.
Outside the Campus Center, 26 booths, tables, and tents lined up along the walkways. Groups like Guide Dogs of America, League of Dreams, and Bakersfield Parks and Rec were present to share the information about what they can offer and how they can help people with various disabilities.
Back inside, Ian Kennedy, Viridiana Alvarez, Maria Medina, Abel Carlon, and Edward Davila shared personal stories and experiences about being a college student at BC with disabilities. These challenges present themselves in many forms… from reading comprehension to motor skills, to anxiety and depression to blindness, deafness, and mobility difficulties. These students shared inspiring messages that show dedication, extreme strength, a drive to overcome any challenges, but possibly most of all… their stories shared their ability.
The ability to do what they love, pursue an education, and give back to their communities and make a difference in the world through their talents and gifts.
First DSPS Awards
A number of those willing, helpful people were recognized during the awards presentation that followed the student panel. The award recipients were:
Outstanding Department: Maintenance and Operations – For always being on call, day or night. The M&O staff support student success by ensuring that accessible furniture and equipment such as CC TV’s are in class locations across campus.
Outstanding Faculty: Tom Greenwood – Reaching out to deaf students on campus, Tom’s support of student success has included taking American Sign Language courses that allow him to communicate directly with students. His sabbatical leave took him on a journey to explore how deaf faculty teach mathematics to deaf students and to share what he has learned both at BC and to his colleagues in the state.
Outstanding Faculty: Bernie Scanlon – Students describe him as caring, understanding, and funny. Students look for his Math 60 and 70 courses to assist them in gaining the skills to succeed in mathematics. DSP&S counselors and students are aware that his style of teaching connects with people and incorporates diverse learning styles.
Outstanding Staff: Kristin Rabe – Kristin has been a driving force in establishing the Accessibility Task Force on campus. Her advocacy for captioned media and knowledge of all things related to media services has been instrumental in ensuring live streamed events on campus are captioned. Her knowledge of cccconfer is being used to explore potential ways to support veterans on campus.
Outstanding Staff: Bob Shimmin – Bob is the “Go-To Guy” when it comes to assistive technology. He has been involved in specialized training at the High Tech Center Training Unit and works closely with DSPS staff and students to ensure equal access and student success.
Outstanding Student: Maria Medina – Maria will be competing her AA-T is sociology degree in spring. Her goal is to transfer to a University of California to pursue a degree in political science. Her career goal is to utilize her education and experience to become a disability advocate. Maria has demonstrated the core values behind the Habits of Mind as she incorporates self-advocacy and persistence to strive for excellence.
Outstanding Student: Douglas Bolds – Doug is a proactive student. While working for Public Safety Department driving cart he uses his connections and knowledge to help his peers achieve success. He educates students about DSPS services that are available and has been known to personally deliver students looking for work to the Workability Program office. His great attitude, reliability, and willingness to go out of his way to assist others goes above and beyond.
After the awards presentation, a handful of various faculty and staff took their seats on the panel.
Thank you to Jonathan Schultz, Jackie Brouillette, Moya Arthur, Helen Acosta, Alexandra Dallara, Jennifer Garrett, Barbara Mathis and our student panel for publicly disclosing your disabilities, challenges, and successes with everyone on Thursday. Your stories continue to inspire classmates and colleagues. Together we can improve services, better our tools, create greater awareness, and ultimately make the world a better place.
People with disabilities are, first and foremost, people…. They are our neighbors, our friends, our colleagues, our classmates, you, and me. BC Professor, Helen Acosta said on the panel, “All of our diversity makes us stronger.” Our dreams are not any different, and together we are BC.
Thank you to channels 17, 23, and 29 who all covered this important and special event. Check out two of the articles online at
On Monday afternoon the Fireside Room was filled with tricks and treats for the first annual CSEA Halloween Potluck Party. All classified staff was invited to bring their favorite dish and arrive in costume for a small lunchtime gathering. The staff at BC are at the core of making everything happen and I sincerely appreciate each and every one of them. Tina Johnson, BC’s CSEA President, said in an email that everyone seemed to love the food, since only a tiny bit was leftover!
Special thanks to the team who brought all of this together, Heather Barajas, Theresa Rodriquez, Stephanie Vega, Mary Webb, Bernadette Gutierrez, and Yadira Guerrero. Thank you to everyone from food services to helped warm food and set up tables and Manuel De Los Santos for taking pictures! Check out all the photos at https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/CSEA-Halloween-Potluck/
Congratulations to Dr. Josh Ottum
Earlier this month, I mentioned a moment when Prof. Josh Ottum stopped by my office to pick up the signed approval to apply for a grant. I’m proud to announce, he has been selected for funding! Dr. Josh Ottum is a creative artist and scholar who is completely committed to our community and his students.
In his application, he mentioned “developing seven essential courses to prepare students for success in fields of music and audio technology. The state has approved our certificate and I am thrilled to give students the opportunity to learn about the exciting facets of commercial music, including live sound, composition, sound design, and so forth.”
Thank you, Dr. Ottum, for applying for this mini grant under the “Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy” – it’s going to make a difference for many of BC’s talented music students.
An Out-of-this-World Encounter
Photo by Cara Jackson
On Wednesday, October 26, author Andy Weir gave an extremely witty and comical speech at BC. He also answered questions from the audience regarding his book, “The Martian.”
He made the audience feel connected to the plot of the book, but at the same time was completely honest about new ideas of our understanding of Mars. He was very happy he had “established a trust with the readers… and they accepted what I had to say.”
It took him three years to write his book, and get in touch with publishers. He previously worked as a computer software programmer, but in his spare time he worked on the book. The book turned into a movie and in October of 2015, The Martian was in theaters. It follows a story of Mark, the main character who is left on Mars alone and thinks of every way possible to survive until his crew can come back.
Many students in the audience had a chance to ask Andy what inspired him to write the book. A brief question and answer session followed:
How do you feel as the writer watching the movie?
Andy: I liked how Matt captured the personality of the character very well and I was able to work with all involved.
What is your favorite movie?
Andy: The Martian… No I believe, Match Stick Men, since I love con men and crime scene movies.
When did you start the book?
Andy: In 2009, and it took me 3 years to write it.
Photo by Cara Jackson
What was the most interesting research topic?
Andy: I liked the orbital dynamics and I wrote software to calculate the simulations.
Are you working on any other books?
Andy: Yes, right now I am working on “The Woman on the Moon.” The main character is super intelligent, and has a strong moral code, and attractive side.
What new discovered aspects about Mars doesn’t show up in your book?
Andy: When I wrote the Martian we had a certain view of Mars and now since a probe landed we know that there is a huge amount of water on Mars. Every cubic meter has 35 liters in it from the ice crystals.
Also, the dust storms on Mars would not have any force behind it, because even though Mars does get 150 k/h winds, the atmosphere is so thin it would have a difficult time knocking over a piece of paper.
What helps you write?
Andy: I like to listen to instrumental music and the sound tracks to movies and drink lots of diet coke. Also, I use the morning to write and keep motivated.
Thanking Nick Strobel
I often say that I’m the luckiest college president in the world and it’s true. A large part of that is because I get to work with the best staff, faculty, and administration. Anna Agenjo, our incredible Librarian, sent this beautiful email praising Nick Strobel that I just have to share.
“Everyone already knows what a huge asset Nick Strobel is to the BC community, not just in the classroom but also through his work on committees and in the community. We are very lucky to have him on campus. Although it is not needed, I want to add my voice to the many by telling you about Nick’s contribution to the Cerro Author program this year. I approached Nick this past summer to ask if he could present a show about Mars in the planetarium to complement this year’s author, Andy Weir.
Nick did not hesitate, and last Thursday he gave a well-attended and well-received presentation on Mars at the planetarium. He was able to bring Mars and the cosmos to life for his audience, and it was the perfect prelude to today’s Andrew Weir events. We all learned so much, and his enthusiasm in sharing his knowledge with the community made me very proud to be associated with Bakersfield College. Because of Nick’s extraordinary efforts, BC’s star shone brightly last Thursday night at the planetarium. I wanted you to know how much we in the Library appreciate Nick for going above and beyond.”
Soccer Staff & Antelope Valley Student
Going above and beyond is something our BC staff and faculty do regularly for all students. At a recent soccer match on campus an Antelope Valley student was injured and had to be taken to Kern Medical Center (KMC). Our coach, as well as Chief Chris Counts, were at KMC with the student, and a group text message keeping all informed. This is what BC does – a culture of care and support. We Are BC!
Walked into the Campaign HQ this morning and saw Chris Glaser and Lesley Bonds role modeling anticipated conversations when volunteers precinct walk. It was so fun watching them.
And a quick thank you to Micahel O’Doherty who has put in hours volunteering his time to Measure J. Even is his Halloween gallivanting pirate costume.
Let me start my update of Measure J with the community voices piece in The Bakersfield Californian by Prof. Debbie Rosenthal. Check it out at
No, Bakersfield is not a tourist destination. And yes, Bakersfield is too hot in the summer. But Bakersfield is what I call an easy city to live in.
The city is large enough to have everything I need and small enough to have little traffic congestion. People are considerate to one another to make it feel like a small town. I call this “The South of California.” There is one major difference. I am accepted here and not treated as an outsider.
and Bakersfield College:
Bakersfield College is amazing. It has provided me with numerous opportunities for growth in my profession. The choice of conferences, meetings, presentations, training, and committees allows me to focus my unleashed energy into positive channels. The students are ambitious to be challenged for the reassurance that I believe they are capable of achieving their dreams. Their expectations from me demand I deliver the best I can at all times.
The administration, staff and colleagues have quickly accepted me and respect my extensive experience, training, and research in chemical education. They trust my judgment and allow me to try new ideas in the classroom.
and Debbie concludes with:
One of the top priorities for Measure J is to renovate and expand the science building. The series of short bonds, with more return on investment than one long bond, are strictly to improve the aging facilities. I ask you to support Measure J. It will not be used to increase my salary. It is for the future of students and Kern County.
We are BC! and as Karen Goh said in her remarks to the college during Opening Day ….BC is so integrated within the Bakersfield Community that we should, in addition to We are BC!, chant We are Bakersfield!
Measure J endorsements:
The endorsements keep coming in. This week we were delighted when Cathy Butler stopped by and handed the endorsement of the Downtown Business Association. Thank you Cathy Butler and Bob Bell.
Here are few of the over 2000 endorsements that we have received so far: #MeasureJ
Joe Aguirre, Former Delano Mayor Kevin Burton, President, SJCH Foundation Kyle Carter,Bakersfield Mayoral Candidate Ricardo Chavez, Delano Mayor Stephanie Cortez, Porterville Chamber of Commerce CEO/President David Couch,Kern County Supervisor Robert de la Rosa, Ola Raza Director Jose Flores,Arvin Mayor Mick Gleason, Kern County Supervisor Karen Goh, Bakersfield Mayoral Candidate Doug Greener,Bakersfield Fire Chief Shannon Grove,California State Assembly Member Virginia Gurrola, Porterville Councilwoman Harvey Hall, Bakersfield Mayor Cam Hamilton, Porterville Vice Mayor Harold Hanson, Bakersfield Vice Mayor Mike Maggard, Kern County Supervisor Terry Maxwell, Bakersfield City Council Member Kay Meek,KCCD Trustee Arnold Morrison,DJUHS Board Member Chris Parlier,Bakersfield City Council Member Leticia Perez, Kern County Supervisor Leticia Prado, Lamont Water District Member Janet Rabanal, Delano Chamber of Commerce Director Rosalina Rivera, Delano Union Elementary School District Superintendent Willie Rivera,Bakersfield City Council Member Rudy Salas,California State Assembly Member Mary K. Shell, Former Bakersfield Mayor Bob Smith, Bakersfield City Council Member Milt Stowe,Porterville Mayor Jay Tamsi, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Rob Taylor, Owner, Stafford’s Chocolates Bill Thomas, Retired U.S. Congressman Grace Vallejo, Delano City Council Greg Williamson,Bakersfield Police Department Chief Donny Youngblood, Kern County Sheriff Milt Younger, Attorney
And here are some of the organizations who have endorsed Measure J
The Bakersfield Californian
Bakersfield College Alumni Association
Bakersfield Downtown Business Association
California City Chamber of Commerce
Delano Camber of Commerce
Democratic Women of Kern
Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce
Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council
KCCD California School Employees Association
KCCD Community College Association
KCCD Management Association
Kern Agriculture Foundation
Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce
Kern County Democratic Party
Kern County Farm Bureau
Kern County Firefighters Union
Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Kern County Young Republicans (PAC)
Kern Economic Development Corporation
Kern County Taxpayers Association
Latina Leaders of Kern County
Murray Family Farms
Porterville Democratic Club
Renegade Helmet Club
Sikh Women’s Association
Veterans of Foreign Wars District #6
Veterans of Foreign Wars #97
Wendale Davis Foundation
Thank you Measure J volunteers
Sunday, Oct. 23 – Ivan Valadez, Tom Gelder, Dana Gelder, Carla Gard, Jeffrey Bender, Hannah Bender, Karl Bender, Rachell Morehouse, Isaac Vannasome, Tarina Perry, Nicky Damania, Brent Berton, Chris Glaser
I will post the list of volunteers as soon as I get the list. So please come back!
Karen Schuett’s regional CTA director volunteering her time at the Measure J Head Quarters. Thank you CTA for endorsing Measure J!
Janet Fulks, Karen Schuette
Thank you Liz Rozell for bringing your engineer’s mind to organize the volunteers for November 8th.
Two little somethings:
A friend shared with me a historical vignette about Trojan football while we were discussing Reggie Bush. He described in an engaging fashion the intense rivalry between Notre Dame and USC and a famous game in Indiana on a typical fall evening in 1965 when the air and grass were full of moisture. John McKay who was as good with words as he was with coaching his athletes was there in Notre Dame with “Touchdown Jesus” overlooking the stadium. The rivalry could be felt by each and every person in the packed stadium as the game began. Mike Hunter, the Trojan returner of the opening kickoff sprinted to the eight-yard line but then slipped on the moist grass, when USC coach John McKay, fearing the worst, shouted “Oh, my God, they have shot him!!” This story had me laughing the rest of the week and again just now as I was blogging. So I checked it out on yes Wikipedia and verified that my friend was not pulling a fast one. Such a great story, and so funny. Enjoy these pictures of John McKay and the Notre Dame Stadium, from the web.
And here is a fascinating story from this morning’s LA Times about fabric that generates energy. Here is the opening paragraph:
In the future, your clothes will work for you. A team of scientists led out of the Georgia Institute of Technologyhas created a fabric that can gather energy from both sunlight and motion, then store it in embedded fibers.
The Jobs Demand Education blog shares approaches to workforce and economic development, with a goal of supporting economic mobility for our community while staying committed to the health of our people and the health of our environment.