Tag Archives: Jean Fuller

Wrapping up Fall 2019

Pearl Harbor Anniversary Sunrise. Dec 7, 2019.

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, December 7, 2019… A historic day for America. A day of reflection for me, an immigrant to this great country. Proud to be an American. Proud to be a Renegade.

I searched my blog for “Pearl Harbor” and found this post, published on July 30, 2017 when I was in Hawaii. It brought back great memories on my visit to Pearl Harbor. Check it out https://sonyachristianblog.com/2017/07/30/live-love-ohana-aloha/

The video clip of Franklin Roosevelt addressing the nation after the Pearl Harbor attack (see blog link above) reminded me of the other President Roosevelt whose biography I am reading — Edmund Morris’ The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, a remarkable piece of work done by a great biographer of a great leader. Thought I would share a tidbit on Theodore Roosevelt’s influence positioning the US as a naval powerhouse.

Teddy Roosevelt was only 23 when he published his first book The Naval War of 1812. This piece of work and his continued interest in naval matters resulted in Theodore Roosevelt playing a critical role in the Spanish-American war, resulting in the US displacing the Spanish in Cuba, as well as in the US gaining exclusive use of Pearl Harbor initially in the late 1800s, leading to the establishment of a full fledged naval station after 1908.

Enjoying BC Choir Carols in December

December at BC is a just a great month. We have so many music performances where our choir fills our hearts with the spirit of Christmas with fabulous music. In my four December blog posts, I will include a sampling of their music to bring joy to your hearts as they do mine. Here is the first installment from the BSO-BC annual Home for the Holidays event at the Rabobank on December 6, 2019. More on that in my next blog.

We Need a Little Christmas — BSO and BC Home for the Holidays Concert Dec 6, 2019
Henerot Halalu BSO and BC Home for the Holidays Carl Topilow on the Clarinet

Jean Fuller Podcast

“Hello Bakersfield” is one of my recommended podcasts because it spotlights local people doing wonderful things in our community, as well as highlighting the culture, traditions, and positive happenings in our growing town. Recently, “Hello Bakersfield” co-hosts Andrae Gonzales (Bakersfield City Councilman), Rachel Magnus, Jesus Gonzalez, and Carla Barrientos chatted with Jean Fuller, who many know as our retired State Senate and Republican Leader Emeritus in the California Legislature.

Since her retirement, our campus has been fortunate to have her attention as she has become an ambassador for educational attainment in our rural communities. She is a leading advocate of the Early College Program, which aims to provide a pathway to college for our rural high school students, with hopes that by the time they graduate from high school, they will have earned a certificate or degree from our college. It’s an innovative program that is a part of a national conversation to increase college attainment. The need is even greater in Kern County.

Olivia Garcia and Jean Fuller

Do listen and hear what Jean Fuller has to say about Early College.

Employee Holiday Lunch Reception

BC faculty and staff gathered in the Renegade Room on Wednesday for this year’s Employee Holiday Reception.  Guests were able to enjoy some quality time with their colleagues, as well as live music from our amazing music department faculty and students.

Manny de los Santos put together this great highlight video that showcases the event.

The menu consisted of items courtesy of Chef Alex, Chef Suzanne, Chef Anna, and our fabulous Culinary Arts students.  Some of the most popular items were deviled eggs, Chinese chicken salad, stuffed mushrooms, and bread pudding.  Check out the gallery below for some great photos of the hard-working staff and delicious food.

Seeing all of the smiling faces at the reception really warmed my heart. We truly are a Renegade family.

This event was made possible by the Management Association, BC Foundation, CCA, CSEA, and individual donors.  Another special thanks goes out to Barnes & Noble, BCSGA, BC Athletics, CTE, EOPS/NextUP/Care, Loma Linda Restaurant, and the Renegade Room. I’d also like to thank our Holiday Party Planners for putting on this event, including Judy Ahl, Kristin Rabe, Leah Carter, Pat Smith, Susan Pinza, and Tracy Lovelace.  Happy holidays, everyone!

Tom Gelder’s Retirement Party and Foundation Board Holiday Dinner

The annual BC Foundation Board Holiday Dinner was held on Thursday evening in the Renegade Room. The group of sixty was entertained by a performance by the choir, and the singers enveloped the room in beautiful renditions of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Jingle Bells”.

The students of the Culinary Arts program prepared and served a delicious meal of Beef Wellington and a trilogy of cheesecakes for dessert. The Foundation dinner is the final exam of the semester for the students in the program.

The night was made even more special as Tom Gelder was celebrated for his five and a half years as Executive Director of the Bakersfield College Foundation.

Foundation’s chairman of the board, Jeff Bell, spoke about Tom’s time with the Foundation and the connection that was developed through working together. And board member, Rick Kreiser and Corny Rodriguez roasted Tom about his golf game not being up to par. After comments from Jennifer Achan about the rivalry of their Michigan home town teams, Tom stood on his chair to show off his Michigan State, winning team socks.

Tom and I worked very closely on the two-year campaign for Measure J and the various Sterling Silver events that we hosted over the five years of Tom’s tenure as Exec Director of the Foundation. I described Tom’s writing as the coming together of the clear thinking of a Thurgood Marshall and the character descriptions and storytelling of a Charles Dickens.

Tom Burke, Kevin McCarthy, Jerry Ludeke, Sonya Christian, Tom Gelder
Tom Burke, Kevin McCarthy, Jerry Ludeke, Sonya Christian, Tom Gelder

Manny de los Santos sent over this little video of Tom Gelder’s retirement party. Great work, Manny!

Want to see more from the party? Check out SmugMug for the full photo gallery of the party.

Patriots From the Barrio

Author Dave Gutierrez shared passages out of his book “Patriots From the Barrio” in the Levan Center on Tuesday as part of the final Vet Month event before the Veterans’ Resource Center unveiling next week.

“Patriots From the Barrio” tells the story of Company E, a United States Army combat unit from World War II made up entirely of Mexican-Americans from the barrios of South Texas. Dave’s relative Ramon Gutierrez served with Company E and was awarded the Silver Star and three Purple Hearts for his efforts. Actor Wilmer Valderrama recently purchased the film rights to “Patriots from the Barrio” and plans on shooting a TV series based on the story.

I’m very happy that the Levan Center helped put on this event, and grateful for Dave Gutierrez coming to speak and sign books for students. Lastly, I would like to thank our BC student veterans for all their hard work and sacrifice. I hope to see you all at the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center unveiling on December 10.

Arun Gandhi Video

Bakersfield College is fortunate to have talented faculty who connect our students with opportunities to develop their skills and talents. One of those faculty Jeff Huston, connected his students with our marketing department to experience on-campus events and activities to develop their video skills. Through this connection, Monika Scott invited two students to BC’s event with Arun Gandhi in September.

Arun Gandhi speaks at Delano High School in September 2019.

Mario Esquer captured the special event through a short, engaging, and video. So proud of Mario’s work. Check out the video.

Burritos with BCSGA Prez Pulido

Burritos! Burritos! Burritos! On Thursday, BCSGA hosted another fun Burritos with Prez Pulido event in Levinson Hall. This event brought students together to discuss what is going on at BC. Director of Student Organizations Samuel Schissler hosted the event.

The meeting gave students the chance to voice their concerns and get questions answered about parking, the health center, student constitutions, Distinguished Speakers, and the new Veterans Resource Center. Schissler made sure to acknowledge the students’ opinions and speak on behalf of BCSGA to address their needs.

Holiday Ceramics Sale

On Wednesday, students in our ceramics classes displayed their projects in the Fine Arts building as part of a sale held at the end of every semester. Students and members of the community were invited to tour the facility and purchase cups, bowls, sculptures, and other materials created by BC students.

Fine Arts professor Darrin Ekern said the overwhelming majority of the projects made by students are food safe; however, the pieces developed using a Japanese technique known as Raku firing were not food safe. Beautifully-decorated figures were displayed on the shelves next to hand-sculpted plates, bowls, and cups, as well as ornamental vases, necklaces and pendants.

Thank you to the BC Art Department, professor Ekern, and our Fine Arts students for putting their work on display for the Ceramics Holiday Sale.

New Employee Orientation

Our December New Employee Orientation included four new employees: Jacqueline Petrini (Executive Secretary to Dean Mourtzanos), Sabrina Aguilar (Program Manager for Early College and Inmate Education), Maribel Lopez (Teacher’s Assistant in Delano), and Cristal Rios (Budget Analyst).  These new Renegades were welcomed into the BC family by our New Employee Orientation Team of Michele Bresso, Todd Coston, Dena Rhoades, and Pam Rivers).

Our newest Renegades, left to right: Jacqueline Petrini, Sabrina Aguilar, Maribel Lopez, and Cristal Rios

They had the chance to hear about technology use, the culture of BC, emergency preparedness, Human Resources, and much more. They ate at the Huddle and ended their day with a tour by Todd Coston. Welcome to the team, everyone!

Renegade Football Players Help the Homeless

Renegade Football’s Fano Maui, Justin Harrington, Larry Harrington, and Darius Richardson helped serve the homeless at The Mission at Kern County on Thanksgiving, and even snagged a picture with Mayor Karen Goh. It’s great to see these student-athletes choosing to serve the community during the holidays.

The best thing about this is that these young men did this on their own, out of the kindness of their hearts.  Pearl Urena happened to overhear them talking about it one day and volunteered to go with them.  Way to go, Renegades!

Athletics Updates From This Past Week

Check out the links below for the latest scores and updates.

Football Highlight Video

We had many spectacular plays made throughout the season by our Renegade Football team. Enjoy this movie edited by BC media student Jacob Amado, who was there to capture the action on the sideline throughout the season.

Next Level Renegades

Congrats to three of our Renegade student-athletes for committing to continue their academic and athletic careers at the next level. Zach Hartsfield from Renegade Football has committed to play for Eastern Michigan University located in Ypsilanti, MI. From Renegade Women’s Soccer, Rhyan Acosta has committed to play at Cal State Bakersfield and Emma Gross has committed to Fresno Pacific.

Congratulations to Zach, Rhyan, and Emma!


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC building bridges

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, January 11, 2020… A great day to be a Renegade.

BC building bridges always…..

2019 Convocation BC Chamber Singers with Bridge Over Troubled Water

I have to start by welcoming BC’s 39 newest faculty to the Home of the Renegades! This year is going to be the best one yet because of the leadership and engagement of faculty and staff. At BC, we create engaged learning environments, strengthen support so students are successful, and we create bridges towards a better BC, a healthier community, and a stronger college going culture with a goal of increasing baccalaureate attainment in Kern County.

Welcome new faculty, I am so happy you are at the Home of the Renegades.

Browse our new faculty online at the New Academic Faculty webpage on the BC website.

Opening Day

Faculty and staff came together in the Indoor Theater on Thursday for the biggest Opening Day celebration that I recall. It is always a joy to arrive in the morning and feel the buzz as staff and faculty mingle and connect over a beautiful spread of breakfast goodies provided by Food Services.

I had so much exciting news to share with everyone in my annual State of the College report, which is why our team put together an Opening Day extravaganza. Samantha Pulido is the BCSGA President this year and her opening remarks were inspiring. She spoke of short term goals and long term goals, like graduating next year.

I opened State of the College with an overview of enrollment and student success data, which continues to rise. Since the 2013-14 semester, BC has seen 4.6 percent growth in annual headcount… we now serve 37,000 students. A 25.9 percent growth in Full Time Equivalent Student (FTES) over the last 5 years, and 10 percentage point growth in distance education.

In that same time period, the course success rate for traditional students is up 7 percent, and course success for distance education students is up 10 percent. It’s amazing that we’ve been able to improve our course success rates while our student population continues to grow significantly at the same time.

With this growth, our need for more faculty has also gone up, and we’ve increased our Full Time Equivalent Faculty by 46.9 percent since 2013-14 to carry out our high-tech, high-touch strategy via the Guided Pathways model.

We also reviewed a visual created by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness which shows the student body distribution by Meta-Major. As you can see, Health Sciences is in the lead at 18% with Arts, Humanities, & Communication close behind at 14%.

Our two Vice Presidents Zav Dadabhoy and Billie Jo Rice introduced the new faculty, classified staff, and managers,

Steve Holmes and Mike Giacomini
Steve Holmes and Mike Giacomini

Vice President of Finance, Mike Giacomini was joined by Academic Senate President, Steven Holmes for a report on budget. They shared the news that the College is financially healthy and being fiscally responsible. Bakersfield College and Kern Community College District have been well positioned to respond to the new Student Centered Funding Formula, and we’ve been fiscally prudent during the transition. 

Trustee Romeo Agbalog spoke about how he is proud to be a Kern Community District Trustee and he is proud of the work of BC’s faculty and staff. He spoke about Early College being the solution for rural communities to advance college attainment levels — a strong leading indicator of economic and social mobility. BC is truly blessed to have a trustee with so much commitment to our rural students and approached solutions that are results oriented and fiscally smart.

Senator Fuller moderated a panel of community leaders — Barbara Grimm, CEO and Founder, Grimm Family Education Foundation; Aaron Resendez, Superintendent of McFarland Unified School District ; David Franz, director of Shafter Education Partnership . I will cover this in my August 30th blog.

Aaron Resendez, Barbara Grimm, David Franz
Ken Keller, Sharlet Briggs, Jeet Singh, and Norma Rojas-Mora
Manny De Los Santos
Manny De Los Santos on Opening Day

BC’s videography specialist, Manny De Los Santos is editing some special videos for upcoming blogs so stay tuned!

After our panelists, the BC Drumline led faculty and staff out of the Indoor Theater to have lunch on the lawn next to the gym.

In the afternoon we spotlighted the need to increase baccalaureate attainment in the Central Valley and we know it will be increasingly important in an era where automation is on the rise. The slide below spotlights a data point from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) that by 2030, California will need an additional 1.1 million in the workforce holding baccalaureate degrees.

Bakersfield College is rising to meet this demand, with various complementary strategies, each bolstered by a number of initiatives and support services. The first strategy is community colleges throughout the state offering more baccalaureate degrees. BC has been fortunate to be one of the original 15 community colleges to pilot a baccalaureate degree, and we’ve done this successfully with the Industrial Automation program.

Blair Pruett from Kern Steel Fabrication took time out of his day to talk about his role on the Industrial Automation advisory board and the importance of preparing Kern County’s workforce for our automated future. He said:

Blair Pruett at BC
Blair Pruett, August 23, 2019

I applaud you for being here today. Education is the ticket to financial independence, to personal growth and understanding, and it will open doors for students, they don’t even know exist.
The world is fast approaching another paradigm shift where Automation and Information Technologies will work together to facilitate useful Artificial Intelligence. A.I. will allow us to solve vexing problems in every industry. BC stands ready to support the Automation needs of Kern County businesses.

At every opportunity, Kern Steel has Automated our processes. We robotically cut steel plates, beams and tubes with lasers. We weld with robots. We design in 3D and we track all our materials electronically. If there is a process that we can automate, we do, or at least we try.
Automation is key to our success and the success of many industries in Kern County. Whatever career students choose, Ag, Oil, Manufacturing, Distribution or many others, they will find that Automation is a key process. Kern County is full of opportunities for advanced Automation and new technologies and Kern Steel is just one example.

Blair Pruett, President of the Industrial Automation Advisory Board at Bakersfield College

Additionally, the second strategy is to expand transfer. BC’s Finish in 4 collaboration with CSUB is closing the gap for Renegades who are transitioning into Roadrunners, and enrollment in our Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation continues to grow.

Sonya Christian, Richard Winn, Stephanie Droker, Mary Okada, Ian Walton
BC President Sonya Christian at the NACIQI meeting where the recommendation was made

With NACIQI’s recommendation to expand the baccalaureate programs at community colleges across California, we hope to provide more opportunities to empower the next generation of students with the education they need to turn their dreams into reality.

The new BC SouthWest campus will be triple the size of our current facility, and after lunch, we heard from Jessica Wojtysiak, Jason Stratton and Fernando Lara about their plans for the future of BC SouthWest.

Jessica, Jason, and Fernando – BC’s SouthWest Team

We then heard from our constituent leaders such as CSEA, CCA, Academic Senate, and the Management Association. I was especially humbled by the kind and thoughtful remarks by Tina Johnson and the recognition from our classified staff. This will be one of the top honors I will receive during my tenure as president… one that I will cherish always and hold dear to my heart. BC’s classified staff are a core pillar of strength which allows the college to serve an every increasing number of students each and every day.

We heard from Ann Tatum, President of CCA as well as from Susan Pinza, Director of the Levan Institute and Reggie Williams, Director of the Levan Center.

For the awards portion of the program, Talita Pruett introduced Helen Acosta and Donna Starr introduced Regina Hukill for the Shirley Trembley Distinguished Teaching Award. Erin Miller announced Bernadette Towns as the winner of the Levan Faculty Colloquium Award, and Kimberly Bligh introduced Kimberly Nickell for the Margaret Levinson Distinguished Leadership Award.

I’m proud to report that the State of Bakersfield College is strong, and it will only continue to get stronger as our initiatives grow and expand. I’m looking forward for 2019-20 to be another great academic year for Bakersfield College. Thank you to everyone who attended, packed the Indoor Theater, the two overflow rooms, and watched online. I can’t wait for the new year to begin next week

New Student Convocation and Family Bridge to BC

On Tuesday evening, the BC community prepared new students and their families for life as Renegades during the BC Open House and New Student Convocation in the Outdoor Theater.

History faculty welcoming students and families

This year’s convocation featured a scavenger hunt where students had to familiarize themselves with the campus. Representatives from each building stamped completion of tasks for scavenger hunt participants as they made their way through the campus. The first students to finish the hunt received prizes courtesy of the Bridge to BC program.

Ag table at convocation
BC’s Ag crew had a booth too!

In addition to the scavenger hunt, there was a resource fair in front of the entrance to the Outdoor Theater featuring booths from the Student Health Center, Public Safety Training, BCSGA, and a number of our student organizations. There was also a pathways booth on the lawn in front of the Counseling area, which offered more information about all ten of our learning and career pathways. Walking throughout the campus, you could hear the sound of spinning prize wheels reverberating off the walls.

After a delicious Indian dinner catered by Food Services, the processional started promptly at 7:13 p.m., or 19:13 in military time, to commemorate 1913, the year that Bakersfield College was founded. After a beautiful Bhangra Dance performance in honor of Mahatma Gandhi and a performance of the national anthem by the BC Chamber Singers, emcee Nicky Damania gave a brief introduction on the meaning of the word “convocation”, which is a call to bring people together.

Renegades! Can I hear you?!

I spoke very briefly about our amazing faculty and academic support programs before turning it over to Steven Holmes, Kimberly Bligh, and BCSGA President Samantha Pulido, who lead the audience in oaths for faculty, parents and supporters, and students, respectively.

It takes a village to help just one student finish their education, and these oaths help all of the stakeholders in that journey stay accountable to themselves and each other.

Public Safety Officer Ricardo Orozco also reinforced the importance of BC’s motto – “If you see something, say something, and let’s do something about it.”

The entertainment for the evening was spectacular, from the Chamber Singers’ performance of “You Will Be Found” and “Bridge over Troubled Water” to the closing performance of the BC Call and Fight Song by the Renegade Cheerleaders.

Kimberly Bligh and Isabel Castaneda
Kimberly Bligh and Isabel Castaneda

This year’s convocation was a beautiful way to start off the new semester, and I’d like to thank Dr. Nicky Damania, Office of Student Life, Dr. Kimberly Bligh, Isabel Castaneda, the Bridge to BC Team, Outreach, and everyone who attended to make this year’s the best yet.

It was great to see the event covered in The Bakersfield Californian’s “Incoming BC students, families attend convocation to ease fears” written by Ema Sasic.

Director of Counseling and Student Success, Marisa Marquez even shared this fun photo from the event! She said:

The wonderful Advisors, Counselors, Student Assistants and Administrative Staff of Counseling and Student Success hosted a Pathways welcome fair for the class of 2021! GO RENEGADES!!!

Marisa Marquez, Director of Counseling and Student Success
Steve Watkin and Andrea thorson take a selfie
Outreach Director, Steve Watkin and Dean of Instruction, Andrea Thorson

Flex Week

Matt Jones leads a flexweek workshop
Matt Jones leads a session for Flex Week

This week we celebrated the start of a new academic year with a very successful Flex week. We welcomed New Faculty at our new faculty seminar and had record attendance for our workshops. We received trainings from the CCC Accessibility Center on accessible word and PDF documents and video captioning. We welcomed a faculty member from Peralta College to train on equity and the online equity rubric. Our adjunct faculty seminar was one of our largest in recent years and gave our adjuncts a chance to hear about equity, accessibility and enrollment management.

Given recent current events all of our staff had the opportunity to learn about Active Shooter Response in several sessions throughout the week. We also had other unique offerings this year that ranged from Foundation training, to several Canvas courses, including Canvas Mastery Paths. These workshops have provided valuable information for faculty and staff as they gear up for a new academic year.

Special thanks to Pam Rivers and Bill Moseley for their dedication and commitment to continued learning.

Industrial Automation is Brought to BC’s Delano Campus

With funding presented by Assembly Member Rudy Salas this past July to expand our baccalaureate program in Industrial Automation in Delano, Electronics faculty Tom Rush and Michael Larson were able to work diligently this past week and over the weekend to assemble and prepare three portable Electric Motors and Controls lab training systems.

Tom Rush, Mike Larson, Lora Larkin, and Abel Guzman
Tom Rush, Mike Larson, Lora Larkin, and Abel Guzman

Professors Rush and Larson transported the units to the Delano campus themselves to get the classroom ready for Industrial Automation students’ first day! They were joined by Lora Larkin and Abel Guzman. Thank you Tom and Michael for taking the Industrial Automation program out to our Delano community, and Abel for helping to make this happen!

Project Next Step

Bryon Schaefer, Karen Goh, Lyle Martin, Sonya Christian, Vernon Harper, Steve Watkin (photo: from Mayor Goh’s website)

On Saturday, August 17th Bakersfield College hosted approximately 500 guests for the 3rd Annual Project Next Step Conference. The Project Next Step Conference is an opportunity for new and continuing high school students, made possible by the collaboration of the Kern High School District, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Bakersfield Ivy Legacy Foundation, Bakersfield College, and the Bakersfield City School District. Several organizations from the community also participated as sponsors and hosted a table at a resource fair that was provided during lunch. 

Sonya Christian and Bryon Schaefer
Sonya Christian and Bryon Schaefer

The day began with welcoming remarks from myself and other community representatives, including Kern High School District Superintendent Dr. Bryon Schaefer, Dr. Vernon Harper from CSU Bakersfield, and Linda McKnight from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Then James Burton Jr. from Farmers Insurance gave a motivational speech on the important of having a goal in mind and taking strategic steps to get there.

Students and parents then left the indoor theater to attend a series of workshops prepared for them on topics like dressing for success, applying for financial aid, participating in dual enrollment, and different college options available to them. The day was a great opportunity to instill students and parents with the confidence that they need to find success in high school and college.

Project Next Step wrote about the event in their blog as well! Check it out!

BC’s Renegade Pantry

Last week, I shared in my blog that BC’s Renegade Pantry announced that they will be receiving a $20,000 grant to help students with hunger and food insecurity. The pantry is run by student employees and is continuously getting restocked thanks to donations and sponsorships from the community. In addition to food, the pantry offers many different types of hygiene items.

Group Photo with check for the Renegade Pantry
Thank you Kern Partnership for the support of the Renegade Pantry

A check presentation on Monday included Cindy Uetz, a Board member of the Kern Partnership for Children and Families and the Chief Deputy Director for the Kern County Department of Human Services and Social Service Supervisor Jana Slagle. Representing BC, we had Nicky Damania, Danyel Ritter, Tom Gelder, and BCSGA President Samantha Pulido.

Umoja Orientation Prepares Students for a Successful Semester

Incoming Umoja Community African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence students engaged in activities designed to prepare them to make the most of their fall semester.  Umoja offered two orientations for students enrolled in the core courses of English 1a, Library 1, and Student Development 6. During the two days, students participated in team building activities, learned about how to apply for on-campus jobs, found out how to avoid academic probation, and learned about the ins and outs of financial aid.

Thanks go to Vikki Coffee, Dr. Michael McClenic, Angela Williams, respectively for presenting informative sessions. In addition, Umoja student leaders gave the new students tips for being successful at BC. Umoja Counselor Jonathan Ward talked with students about taking personal responsibility.  Umoja Coordinator Dr. Paula Parks led students in cultural activities that helped them learn more about the Umoja Community and about its educational philosophy.

For more information about the Umoja program, visit the Bakersfield College website and check them out on social media!

Early College Workshops Happening Now!

BC team with Justin Derrick at McFarland High School
Principal Justin Derrick with the BC Team

Our high school partners welcomed students back earlier this month and our Early College and Outreach teams were there to partner with them and help kick things off! This year, Early College has teamed up with Outreach to offer enrollment services to each of our 31 high school partners who offer dual enrollment courses on their campuses. Since the first day of school, the team has been busy going out to schools to assist students with applications and updates and to tell them more about the early college opportunities that they are embarking on. 

Thank you, Early College and Outreach teams for providing these services and this support to our young early college Renegades! 

Continuing to Level the Playing Field

The Rural Initiatives Early College team has also been active this past week assisting students with matriculation steps in order to enroll in their second course in their pathway. All incoming freshmen at Shafter High School will be taking a minimum of two college courses and over 50 students have taken advantage of the opportunity to join the General Education pathway to complete up to 38 college credits while in high school.

Thank you Rural Initiatives team for continuing to level the playing field for these underserved communities in Kern County, especially to the lead Counselor, Jesse Oropeza and lead Program Manager, Jaime Lopez.

Safety First

BC Sidewalks

With school starting next week, we ask that everyone on campus please make sure to pay attention to signage and follow the designated walking paths.  Please be aware of the temporary sidewalk closure on the east side of the Campus Center area and when in doubt, check out the current footpaths at A Better BC’s website under the Construction Maps link.

Campus Center Virtual Tour

We’ve been lucky to work with some great companies on the Measure J construction, and we’re just starting!  Ordiz-Melby Architects, Inc. created this great virtual tour where you can really feel what the campus atmosphere is going to be once the Campus Center is completed.  I loved unveiling it at this year’s Opening Day, and hope that others will share it as well!

Keeping it Local

Community Relations Manager Tamara Baker unveiled the newest Measure J project: the “Keeping It Local” video series.  These videos will highlight the work of local companies working on these construction projects. It’s important for Bakersfield College that we share these stories as these projects evolve.  BC is excited to collaborate with the local construction community as we all work together to build A Better BC! Thank you to Danny Ordiz and Jeannie Bertolaccini of Ordiz-Melby Architects, Inc. for participating in this video, and for all of your hard work! Also, thank you to videography student, Thanh from Jeff Hustons class for recording and editing the video.

Visiting the Getty

Raji Brar, Jean Fuller, Barbara Grimm, Lynette Zelezny, Sonya Christian
Raji Brar, Jean Fuller, Barbara Grimm, Lynette Zelezny, Sonya Christian

I visited the Getty Villa on the Malibu Coast with a group of friends, including Senator Jean Fuller to take in sculptures, art and other antiquities that are thousands of years old. We are fortunate to have such beautiful and magical places nearby.

Getty Villa
Getty Villa, photo from Wikipedia

The Getty Villa is an amazing place. In 1954, billionaire oil tycoon J. Paul Getty started building two museums at his property in the Pacific Palisades to share the beauty of ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities with the people of Southern California. The Getty Villa was inspired by the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, now known as Ercolano in Southern Italy, which was buried under the ashes of Mt. Vesuvius until its excavation in 1750. The Getty Villa opened in 1974, and Getty himself never got to visit the museum before he died in 1976.

Every year, Nicky Damania takes a group of BC students out to attend college night at the Getty, where they get to learn how ancient artifacts are restored by conservationists. I’m so grateful for the Getty foundation’s work of bringing the art of ancient cultures here from halfway across the world.

BC students at the Getty
BC students at the Getty

Emails Worth Sharing: From Mayor Goh

Mayor Goh is a cheerleader for BC students. She cares about our students and the positive impact they make on the community. Last weekend she shared with me:

This morning I attend the 6th annual CALIFORNIA KAREN YOUTH FORUM – celebrating the culture of the Karen people and commemorating the 69th Karen Martyrs Day that pays tribute to Karen fallen soldiers. Attached is a photo of Bakersfield College students Dah Dah Khu and Praise Oo . They were excited when I said I’d share their photo with you.

Mayor Karen Goh, August 2019
BC Students with mayor Karen Goh

Community Voices: Jack Hernandez

I enjoy seeing a glimpse of Jack Hernandez every time he has a Community Voices piece printed. You can read the digital version on Bakersfield.com.

Community Voices article by Jack Hernandez

Community Voices: Eileen Pierce

Eileen Pierce
Eileen Pierce

Speaking of Community Voices, it was great to see Eileen Pierce as well.

She wrote a piece on BC’s support services titled “BC academic support program promotes knowledge through interpersonal relationship building.”

Fun Photos: Dean Rodriguez Area Meeting

Dean Corny Rodriguez sent some fun photos from his area meeting.

Fun Photos: Dean Area Meetings

VP of Instruction, Billie Jo Rice, attend many Dean area meetings this week. Here are some of her fun photos.

Fun Photos: Making Wreaths

Program Managers, Kylie Swanson and Monika Scott took a small break from their focus on BC to create beautiful succulent wreaths at Flourishing Art this past week.

Monika Scott and Kylie Swanson hold wreaths
Monika and Kylie

Fun Photos: Happy Birthday Dylan

On Wednesday, the crew in A17 which makes up BC’s Marketing and Institutional Effectiveness offices celebrated Dylan Wang’s birthday with some delicious cake. 

Staff in A17 gather around for birthday cake

Renegades Continue to Lead the State in Football Attendance

 This fall we look forward to continuing the streak of leading the state in football home attendance. In 2018 we drew an average of 3,671 fans per game. The second place school, College of the Canyons drew an average of 2,671 fans per game. The complete list of total attendance and average attendance figures from the 2018 season can be viewed on the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) website.

Renegade Volleyball Set to Open the Season One Game at a Time 

Our back to back to back Western State Conference Champion volleyball team is set to begin another year dominating the court. Coach Ferreira, the 2018 California Community College Women’s Volleyball Coaches Association (CCCWVCA) Coach of the Year and 2018 Western State Conference (WSC) South Coach of the Year, and his team are looking for a fourth conference title in a row and also to make a run at the state title. Their season opener is on Saturday, August 31 when they host the  ‘Bakersfield Quad’ playing against Mt. SAC at 10am and Fullerton at 2pm in the Gil Bishop Sports Center. To read a preview of this years team visit GoGades.com

 Men’s Soccer

Men’s Soccer begins their fourth season as a program after rebooting the Men’s Soccer team here on campus four years ago, Coach Vayron Martinez is looking to build on the success’s of the past few years and go for the Western State Conference title this season. Come join them for their season opener against West Hills Lemoore on Tuesday, August 27th at 4pm on the BC Soccer Field. To read a preview of the team visit GoGades.com or click this link: http://gogades.com/sports/msoc/2019-20/releases/20190820mv54yl.

Mens Soccer Home Opener Graphic


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Let’s celebrate women

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, March 2, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Women in Leadership

Five women sitting and talking

To celebrate the kickoff of Women’s History Month at Bakersfield College, yesterday I hosted a panel discussion on Women in Leadership.  California Senator Emeritus and Early College champion, Jean Fuller served as the guest moderator while four esteemed panelists shared their stories, accomplishments, challenges, and more. Thank you to guests Shannon Grove, Republican State Senator, 16th Senate District;  Blanca Cavazos, Taft Union High School District Superintendent; Cynthia Giumarra, Local Attorney and minister;  and Rosalina Rivera, Delano Union Elementary School District Superintendent for participating on the panel.

The fabulous Manny De Los Santos recorded the event and I hope to have many photos and videos for you in next week’s blog. Stay tuned!

One on One with Robert Price

On Wednesday afternoon, I enjoyed being a guest on One on One with Robert Price, @stubblebuzz . The Bakersfield Californian is a great resource for this community with engaged reporters, like Joseph Luiz who visits BC often and always ensures he has the right info to create the best report possible for the people in our community.

Thank you, Robert, for having me on the show to share with our community the latest on Measure J, BC Southwest, Early College, and education transforming the Central Valley.

Check it out: One on One with Robert Price: Guest Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian.

Bob Price, Sonya Christian, and Joseph Luiz
Robert Price, Sonya Christian, and Joseph Luiz

Behind the Scenes

One on One Behind the Scenes Video

Some fun pictures of behind the scenes. For more, visit the One-on-One photo gallery.

2019 Diversity Champion Award

Bakersfield College received the 2019 Diversity Champion Award from the California LAW Pathway for its excellence in building the Community College Pathway Program.  The awardees were chosen at the California LAW Board of Directors meeting in November and winners were announced to the to the California State Bar and the CPA Advisory Council. Deans Corny Rodriguez and Manny Mourtzanos, and Pre-Law Advisory Council Member Yinka Glover accepted the award on behalf of BC at the Omni Hotel on February 22, 2019.

Bakersfield College is honored to receive the award.  I would like to thank the California LAW Pathway for the recognition, as the Pathway to Law Program at BC was designed with innovation and creativity in mind in order to keep Bakersfield College Pathway Students engaged and inspired to achieve success in the law.  Congrats to our Pathway to Law program and to our amazing prelaw team including Corny Rodriguez, Christian Zoller, Edward Borgens, Charles Kim, Marilynn Sanchez Avila, and Pearl Urena! I would like to recognize Foothill College President Thuy Nguyen for her statewide leadership in establishing this program.

Finally thank you to the Pathways to Law advisory committee chaired by David Torres. Thank you David for your unwavering commitment to Bakersfield College and our students. Here is the list of the committee members — Adeyinka Glover, Steven Katz, Jeannie Kraybill, Courtney Lewis, Cynthia Loo, James Maddox, Rebecca Murillo, Bathany Peak, Brett Price, H.A.Sala, Robert Tafoya, David Torres (Chair), Alekxia Torres-Stallings.

Cal Law Diversity Champion Award
Manny Mourtzanos, Yinka Glover, Corny Rodriguez, and President Thuy Thi Nguyen with BC’s award

Celebrating Black History Month

In conjunction with the community organization Harlem and Beyond, Bakersfield College was honored to have Dr. James Chaffers, Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of Michigan. Dr. chaffers was the Senior Design Juror for the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial statue in Washington, D.C. See the Bakersfield Californian Article: Bakersfield College celebrates Black History Month.

BC students and staff with Dr. James Chaffers

Gades Grub Grand Opening

Food Services celebrated the launch of the Gades Grub food trailer with a grand opening event in the Gym Huddle on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. The event featured a live DJ, free samples of some of the delicious food that Gades Grub has to offer, and other giveaway prizes. Students were eager to try some of the delectable options that will now be available to them from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Thursday.

BC at Startup Grind Global Conference

BC was represented by Professors Rudy Menjivar and Valerie Robinson at the Startup Grind’s Global Conference in Silicon Valley. This is for startups everywhere, especially the who’s who of the Silicon Valley startup scene. With more than 8,000 individuals, mostly entrepreneurs, venture capital investors, and professional service providers attending the two-day event, the conference provided an environment unlike anything else – a community coming together for invaluable education, connection, and inspiration.  The event had a roster of world-class speakers and thousands of entrepreneurs looking to build relationships, and it was great to see that BC was well represented.

Fox Theater Marquee
Fox Theater Marquee
Professor Rudy Menjivar and Professor Valerie Robinson
Professor Rudy Menjivar and Professor Valerie Robinson

Culture of Power

On Valentine’s Day, Daniel Rios, a Ph.D. student in Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego and a BC graduate, shared his passion for researching communities of color in East Bakersfield with BC students and staff. Rios presented research at A Culture of Power: Race, Youth, Labor and Sound in East Bakersfield, 1966-1974, in the Levan Center. The event was organized by commercial music professor Joshua Ottum as part of the Energizing Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley grant.

Daniel Rios talks about labor and music in East Bakersfield during the 1960s.
Daniel Rios talks about labor and music in East Bakersfield during the 1960s.

Rios’ presentation began with an overview of race and labor relations in Bakersfield in the early-to-mid 20th Century. Communities of color in Bakersfield were locked into low socioeconomic status via discriminatory housing practices that persisted until the 1970s and forced into low-level employment as farm, sanitation and domestic workers. In 1966 and 1972, black, Chicano and Latino sanitation workers in Bakersfield went on strike to fight for unionization and protest unhealthy working conditions and the dehumanizing way they were treated by white property owners. Protesters were met with heavy resistance by police and organizations such as the White Citizens Council.

Daniel Rios plays music from Kern County Soul and R&B artists from the 1960s.
Daniel Rios plays music from Kern County Soul and R&B artists from the 1960s.

At this same time, an often-overlooked music scene was booming around dance halls frequented by communities of color across East Bakersfield. While many music historians have documented the local country music scene known as the Bakersfield Sound, the contributions of doo-wop, soul and R&B groups are rarely discussed in academic circles. Groups from Kern County such as the Paradons, the Montereys, and Little Ray Jimenez were recording Billboard Top 40 hits while performing in local venues such as Salon Juarez and Fraternity Hall.

Billy Haynes from the Original Souls and Johnny Gomez from the Paradons perform in the Levan Center.
Billy Haynes from the Original Souls and Johnny Gomez from the Paradons perform in the Levan Center.

The majority of the groups, such as The Original Souls, were multicultural, composed of a mixture of Filipinos, Latinos and blacks. In 1969, the Original Souls beat out country and psychedelic rock bands to win a Battle of the Bands competition at Lake Ming attended by approximately 4,000 people.

Daniel Rios, Billy Haynes and Johnny Gomez answer audience questions in the Levan Center.
Daniel Rios, Billy Haynes and Johnny Gomez answer audience questions in the Levan Center.

After Rios’ presentation, Johnny Gomez of the Paradons and Original Souls bassist Billy Haynes, who went on to perform with Tina Turner and Lou Rawls, performed a few songs in the Levan Center and talked about their history in what is commonly referred to as the East Bakersfield Sound. “There was a lot of oppression in our town back then,” Haynes said. “We made people feel proud of our community.”

Thank you Daniel Rios for sharing his important research on the intersection of labor relations and music in Kern County, as well as Joshua Ottum and the Energizing Humanities cohort for organizing this event and Reggie Williams for the use of the Levan Center.

The Girl who Smiled Beads: Clementine Wamariya

Clementine Wamariya
Clementine Wamariya

On Thursday, Distinguished Speaker Clementine Wamariya gave several speeches in the Levan Center, sharing the powerful story of traveling through 9 different countries as a refugee to escape the Rwandan genocide.

Wamariya read from her memoir The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After, which was written during a major crossroads in her life. She was several years removed from the traumatic experience of fleeing the genocide with her sister at the age of 6, living in refugee camps and illegally crossing borders to seek freedom in the United States before being reunited with her parents on an episode of “Oprah”. In 2014, she had returned to Rwanda to attend an event in a soccer stadium where the history of Rwanda and the genocide was being re-enacted and memorialized, and she was so triggered by the memories that the re-enactment brought out that she had to immediately leave and fly back to the United States. She listened to Nina Simone’s cover of “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles on repeat and cried the whole way home, and the message of that song inspired her to write her memoir.

Clementine Wamariya speaks emotionally with hand gesture.
Clementine Wamariya speaks emotionally with hand gesture.

“I had lived opposite lives,” Wamariya said. “I had everything and nothing. I could stay anywhere in the world, but I didn’t have a home.” She continued, “I felt like that song was burning me, but I realized that if I could bear the sun, and my people could bear working in the sun, that it could be a source of strength.”

Wamariya spent five years researching her life and past with an investigative journalist to write “The Girl Who Smiled Beads,” which became a New York Times bestseller upon its release in 2018. The book talks about the lessons that she learned as a young child from her mother, a devout Catholic who imparted the value of sharing everything, never taking more than what you need, and having reverence for fruits, plants and the Earth. To this day, Wamariya likes to ask the question, “What fruit are you?” The answer reveals a lot about where someone comes from and how they view themselves, and driving through the farms of the Central Valley helped her relate to this area as a place of sharing, where fruits and vegetables are spread across the world.

When the genocide happened, Wamariya went to live with her grandparents and eventually ended up in a refugee camp, where people had to wait in line to eat corn and walk six hours for water. When she eventually decided to flee and cross the first of 8 borders to escape the horrors of war, she thought that she would have to jump over a chasm in the ground to get from one country to the other. Instead, time and distance passed and she didn’t even realize that she was in another country. Borders aren’t even real,” Wamariya said with tears in her eyes. “The Earth is the only thing that’s real, and everything else is made up.”

Clementine Wamariya smiles with hands on hips in front of the lectern.
Clementine Wamariya smiles with hands on hips in front of the lectern.

Wamariya pleaded for attendees of her presentations to be motivated by joy and not by fear, for when someone is motivated by joy, they realize that they don’t have to take someone else’s joy to experience it for themselves, and they’ll never believe that they have to take someone’s life to maintain their joy.

Since her appearance on “Oprah” in 2006, Wamariya has gone on to receive a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Comparative Literature from Yale University and serves on the boards of Women for Women International and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Thank you Olivia Garcia, History Professor, for coordinating Clementine Wamariya’s visit as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series, and to the Office of Student Life, the BC African-American Initiative Committee and the BC Women’s History and Awareness Month (WHAM) Committee. See more events for Women’s History Month.

Faculty Diversification Meeting

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges held the Spring 2019 Hiring Regionals at Bakersfield College on Thursday, February 21, 2019. Faculty diversity is a critical component in the support of student success, and each California community college has a responsibility to develop a workforce that reflects the diversity of its community and is best prepared to serve the college’s specific student populations.  The event presented important considerations for faculty hiring, including ways to diversify and expand hiring pools and reshape search processes to focus on candidates who understand and are committed to our students.

Thank you Dr. Janet Fulks and Prof. Steven Holmes for bringing this statewide event to BC. Thank you Tarina Perry for coordinating the event with the graceful touch that is so you!

BC's Faculty Diversification Meeting
BC’s Faculty Diversification Meeting
Corny Rodriguez at the Faculty Diversification Meeting

See more photos in the ASCCC Faculty Diversity Regional @BC Gallery.

Question, Persuade, Refer

Eric Lord, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist and adjunct instructor at CSUB, taught a program known as “Question, Persuade, Refer,” or QPR, which demonstrates how to recognize when someone may be suicidal, persuade them to seek help, and refer them to the proper authority that can save their life. Lord was invited to give the QPR presentation by the mental health interns at the Office of Student Life, who work closely with the Student Health and Wellness Center to assist students dealing with serious mental health issues.

Lord speaking to the crowd from the lectern.
Lord speaking to the crowd from the lectern.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death on college campuses, and 31 percent of college students have considered committing suicide, Lord said. These are preventable deaths, and all it takes is the courage and empathy to ask the right questions when students are suffering, help them realize that there are people who love them and want them to succeed, and help them find the resources they need to get their lives back, whether it’s a mental health professional, or in more extreme cases of suicidal ideation, law enforcement.

Lord compared being suicidal to being locked in a house that is on fire, and suicide appears to be the only doorway to escape. “When somebody wants to die and not be around anymore, there’s a lot that leads them to that moment,” Lord said. “If we can use the power of our words and our relationship to folks, we can open up another door.” Suicidal ideation is related to a number of systemic issues, such as the loss of a job, the ending of a relationship or the death of a loved one, and some ways to recognize that someone may want to commit suicide include recently acquiring a gun, putting personal affairs in order, chronic drug and alcohol abuse, or saying things like “I just can’t go on” or “I won’t be around much longer”.

QPR Suicide Prevention Presented by Eric Lord, LCSW on a slide behind Lord.
QPR Suicide Prevention Presented by Eric Lord, LCSW on a slide behind Lord.

It’s important that when you recognize some of these symptoms, you talk to the person in a blunt and direct, yet caring way. Don’t be afraid to use words like “death”, “kill”, and “suicide.” In the moment that you ask the question, make eye contact with them and say, “Have you thought about killing yourself?” or “Are you going to commit suicide?” Never phrase the question as, “You’re not going to commit suicide, are you?” because it makes the other person feel like you don’t actually care and they shouldn’t be honest with you.

When you find out that the person in question may want to end their life, persuade them that it’s not the answer and show them that you and others care and want them to live. Get other people in the individual’s life involved, such as family, friends, doctors, or clergy members. Then, refer them to a group such as BC’s Students of Concern Team or a mental health professional and follow up with them via a personal visit or phone call to establish a connection and ensure that they won’t be punished for seeking help. If you think that they won’t receive help and they’re going to follow through, contact Public Safety or law enforcement. You can find more information about suicide prevention from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and share their number 1-800-273-8255.

Thank you to the Office of Student Life’s mental health team for inviting Eric Lord to campus for this important professional development opportunity. Thank you Dr. Nicky Damania.

BCSGA Power Lunch with Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg
Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

When Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg enrolled in college as a sociology major, she had no idea that she would embark upon a journey that would lead to being elected on the Board of Trustees for the Kern Community College District. But at every stop along the way of her 35-year career in education – whether it was as an art professor, a preschool teacher, or one of BC’s longest-serving administrators – Nan’s faith in her ability to prioritize and solve problems propelled her to success in every new endeavor to which she applied herself.

Nan spoke to BC students and staff in the Levan Center about her journey in education and her plans for the Board of Trustees during Monday’s Power Lunch organized by the Legislative Affairs Department of BCSGA. All three Vice Presidents and I were in attendance to hear from a woman that inspired all of us so immensely and continues to inspire us today.

While she has accomplished many things during her career, Nan says that her students have kept her humble and put things into perspective. The first accomplishment Nan has been able to celebrate during her short stint on the Board of Trustees was the approval of BC’s new Southwest Center to be constructed on the CSUB campus. “The part that made it so sweet was that I knew how much work that was done to make it happen,” Nan said.

Liz Rozell speaking with Nan at the front table.
Liz Rozell speaking with Nan at the front table.

While she has attended many Board of Trustee meetings as a BC administrator, it is surreal for her to be sitting at the other side of table and balancing the concerns of students, constituents and instructors, as well as her fellow board members, she said. However, she feels up to the task of continuing to be aware of everything happening in Kern County education in order to position the District to best serve Area 1 of the KCCD. “It’s not the paperwork that makes you get up every day,” Nan said. “It’s knowing that you’re going to do something that helps someone out.” She said, “That feels like a big deal to me most days.”

I’d like to thank Mustapha Barraj and BCSGA for organizing Monday’s Power Lunch. I know we’ll be hearing a lot more from Nan in the future.

Sonya and Nan.
Sonya and Nan.
Sonya videoing Nan with her phone.
Thank you Earl Parsons for this photo
Nan speaking
Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

Congratulations to Laura Luiz

The American Library Association (ALA) is recognizing BC reference librarian Laura Luiz for her outstanding contributions to student learning and community engagement with the BC Get Out The Vote program.

In a press release on Wednesday, ALA, in conjunction with the Association of College and Research Libraries, announced Luiz as the winner of the 2019 Community and Junior College Libraries Section EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Program Award, which includes a $750 award and a plaque that will be presented to Luiz at the ALA’s annual conference in Washington, DC.

Get Out the BC Vote was a campaign that helped BC students on the Panorama and Delano campus get registered to vote in the 2018 midterm elections. There were also workshops and online resources breaking down every candidate and initiative on the midterm ballot and helping students to properly discern fake news and disinformation.

ALA award chair Laura Mondt of Northern Essex Community College had effusive praise for Luiz and the Get Out the BC Vote campaign. “Laura Luiz’s efforts with Get Out The BC Vote allowed the library to connect with the Student Government Association to help students become informed voters and promote news literacy,” Mondt said.

Luiz and the library have plans to expand the Get Out the BC Vote program for the 2020 midterm and presidential elections.

Lincoln Dinner

I was fortunate to attend the Kern County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner on February 22, 2019, as the guest of Senator Jean Fuller. The featured keynote speaker was newly elected Congressman Dan Crenshaw who has an incredible story as a former Navy SEAL who lost his eye in an IED blast.

Last November, Dan also appeared on Saturday Night Live and bits of this skit were referenced last Friday evening. This is a “Must watch.”

It was great to see CSUB President, Lynnette Zelezny at the event, as well as KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog and his wife, Lilly. I unfortunately did not snap a picture of many of the community leaders who support education who were there — JP Lake, David Bynum, …..

STEM Truck

On Tuesday, February 19, 2019, representatives from the US Army visited the BC campus to show off various military robotics technologies to students in the Renegade Food Court area.

Both KGET and KERO featured the US Army STEM Truck in its afternoon broadcasts, and soldiers demonstrated all of the innovative technology the Army uses to save lives every day.

A simulation of the Search and Rescue Automation Hardware (SARAH) system is displayed inside the US Army STEM Truck.
A simulation of the Search and Rescue Automation Hardware (SARAH) system is displayed inside the US Army STEM Truck.
A cameraman from KERO gets ready to interview a US Army soldier on the air in front of the STEM truck parked in the Renegade Food Court area.
A cameraman from KERO gets ready to interview a US Army soldier on the air in front of the STEM truck parked in the Renegade Food Court area.

Inside the truck, students could participate in a simulation of the Army’s Search and Rescue Automation Hardware, also known as SARAH, which uses aerial and ground drones to locate missing persons. Students also had the opportunity to check a drone created by the iRobot company for remotely disarming explosives. Above the iRobot drone, there were videos demonstrating various robotic prototypes developed in conjunction with Boston Dynamics, including the infamous “Big Dog” robot and another robot that can jump up stairs and run 28.3 miles per hour, which is slightly faster than Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man.

An iRobot drone used to remotely disarm explosives is displayed inside the US Army STEM truck.
An iRobot drone used to remotely disarm explosives is displayed inside the US Army STEM truck.

Thank you to the Army for inspiring our students to pursue careers in STEM, as well as everyone who worked to make their visit possible.

Wendale Davis Foundation 11th Annual Leadership Conference

The Wendale Davis Foundation is an intervention, prevention, mentoring foundation with a mission to educate, motivate, and rehabilitate at-risk youth. On Friday, February 22, 2019, a series of workshops were held at BC with topics such as HIV/AIDS Awareness, Gang Intervention, Life/Coping Skills, and more. It’s a great day any time BC invites young people to campus to learn and embrace a healthy and successful future.

Steve Watkins claps to get the audience's attention
Steve Watkins claps to get the audience’s attention
A full auditorium listening to Wendale.
A full auditorium listening to Wendale.

Juvenile Justice Employers

The Criminal Justice, Public Health and the Career Education Department collaborated to host the first Juvenile Justice Employer Panel on February 27, 2019. The primary focus of this event was to inform students in the Public Safety Pathway, Public Health Science, Psychology and/or Sociology majors about the different career paths they can follow after completing their education. Each panelist discussed their role working on prevention and intervention with troubled youth and tools they use to reduce criminal behavior. With over 100 students and special guest, Ricardo De Hoyo a District Representative of Senator Melissa Hurtado, in attendance, employers answered questions related to educational background, past and current work experience and employer expectations.

A full audience for the panel with Juvenile Justice slide behind them.
From Left to Right: Pat Smith, Criminal Justice Professor, Dr. Dixie King from Transforming Local Communities, Liz Gonzalez from Bakersfield City School District, Sgt. Nicole Anderberg from BPD, Officer Joshua Deutinger from BPD, Deputy Bobby Sherrill from Kern County Probation Department, Leticia Limon from Kern County Superintendent of Schools and Nichol Ruiz from Kern County Behavioral Health & Recovery.

Dean and Adah Gay Reading Room Refurbishment

If you haven’t been in the Grace Van Dyke Bird Library recently, check out the refurbished Dean and Adah Gay Reading Room.  The Gay family created an endowment back in 2007 to help maintain the room but until recently the goals of this endowment were not fully realized. New chairs, lamps and plants have been added, plus additional electrical outlets to assist students in recharging their electronic devices.

BC staff with the Gay's in the Reading Room.
BC staff with the Gay’s in the Reading Room.

David and Catherine Gay, Andreas, Emily (Gay) and Eva Dauner joined Kirk and Stacey Russell (Library), and Heather Pennella, Tom Gelder and Dana Heins-Gelder (Foundation) to rededicate the space last Saturday evening, February 23, 2019.  The new furniture arrived last Friday just before noon and the students began enjoying it immediately.

Kirk and Stacy Russell in the Reading Room.

From Earth to the Universe Planetarium Show

Last week Dr. Nick Strobel held one of his amazing planetarium presentations called From Earth to the Universe.  Community Relations Manager Tamara Baker brought her parents to the event, excited to show off the beautiful William M Thomas Planetarium, which boasts the largest dome in all of the Central Valley!  Tamara said that Dr. Strobel delved into the evening stars, and showed attendees how to identify different constellations and how to find true north. Tamara said that she and her family cannot wait to go star gazing up at their cabin.  Thanks Dr. Strobel for always putting on such great and informational presentations for our local community!

Degree With a Guarantee

Near the end of last year, I participated in an interview with Gary Stern for an article focused on Degrees with a Guarantee at California Community Colleges. Check it out the Hispanic Outlook Article: Degree Guarantee.

Public Health Program in Case Study

Sarah Baron and BC’s Public Health Sciences program were featured in a case study published by the Community College Journal of Research and Practices. The report published on February 19, titled “Practical Lessons in Public Health Program Implementation: Perspectives from the Field,” was co-written by Baron and discusses the way BC’s program offers a health navigator certificate and a general transfer degree developed with support from the Society for Public Health Education. Our Public Health Sciences program is creating the next generation of advocates for healthy communities, and I’m confident that their work will make the San Joaquin Valley a happier, healthier places for thousands of people.

Lisa Caputo is talking to students about internships in public health ambassadors and STI Peer Health Educator.  Thanks to the support of The California Endowment and Kaiser Permanente for making the startup of these programs possible. 
21 interns and Sara Baron

What has everyone a-twitter?

Trustee Romeo Agbalog appeared on the radio show Money Wise.

Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government thanking everyone.
Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government thanking everyone.
Aaron Resendez thanking everyone.
Aaron Resendez thanking everyone.

Speech Intramural Competition in Delano

Last Saturday, the BC Delano Campus hosted a speech intramural competition featuring Panorama and Delano students, as well as Arvin High and homeschooled Early College students.

Sarah Baron, Cris Cruz-Boone, Abel Guzman, and Lesley Bonds

There were close to 80 people in attendance for the speech intramural, which featured BC communication faculty and student judges evaluating students in a number of different speech competitions, including informative speech, persuasion, special topics, and impromptu speaking. Christine Cruz-Boone, a communication professor at BC and one of the judges for the event, said that Arvin High freshmen swept all top three places in the informative speech category, and homeschool student Samantha Craig earned second overall in impromptu speaking. Delano Campus student Itzel Hernandez won first place in the persuasion competition, and Panorama students Gloria Sanchez, Mandy Canada, and Lindsey Brackett also placed in various categories. The diverse group of BC participants got the opportunity to test out communication skills that they learned from BC instructors in a practical environment.

Abel Guzman, who attended the final round and awards ceremony of the competition, was impressed by the students who participated and compiled a series of emails about the intramural for entry in this week’s blog. As our Early College program continues to grow, I’m excited to see the ways that our Early College kids interact with the more traditional student population.

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11a, check out the segments from this week’s show. This week’s highlights included segments with BC Men’s Tennis Head Coach, Noel Dalton and BC student athletes Conrad Dalton, Luis Aceves and Moses Jimenez. 

Renegades of the Week

This week’s (2/17-2/23) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

Kylee Fahy and Tanner Lopes.
Kylee Fahy and Tanner Lopes.

Kylee Fahy, Softball – Pitched 26 innings (1 no-hitter) with a .269 era, 41 strikeouts, six hits, one run, one earned run in helping softball go 4-0 for the week.

Tanner Lopes, Men’s Swimming – The only Renegade individual event winner at the Mt. SAC Invite last weekend, taking the 50 breaststroke and also getting two other top-ten finishes. He was part of two top six relays and was the highest scoring male swimmer from BC helping the men finish 6th overall.

Men’s and Women’s Basketball Post-Season Awards

BC Wester State Conference All Conference, sketch photo effect.
BC Wester State Conference All Conference, sketch photo effect.
BC Wester State Conference All Conference, sketch photo effect.

Huge congratulations to our men’s and women’s basketball student athletes who received recognition from the Western State Conference. Renegade Men’s Basketball student athletes Anieus Medrano and Shahadah Camp were been named to the 2018-2019 Western State Conference All-Conference team. Marcus Jones was also recognized as the Co-Defensive MOP for the conference. Renegade Women’s Basketball student athletes Jasmyn Rodriguez, Dasia Wandick and Brianna Mendez were named to the 2018-2019 Western State Conference (WSC) All-Conference team. Congrats! And way to represent BC!

BC Western State Conference All Conference of the 3 women in action poses, sketch photo effect.

Roundup of Athletics Events this week

As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click for the story on GoGades.com):


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Welcome to Spring ’19

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, January 19, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Early College Program Announced!

Bakersfield Californian's Announcement "Jean Fuller to lead BC's Early College student program"

I am so excited and proud to announce that Senator Jean Fuller will be at the helm of the Early College Program at Bakersfield College. A true blessing for BC! She will lead the necessary intersegmental collaboration, relationships with business and industry, and connections with national policy organizations to scale up Early College regionally and nationally.

Sonya and Jean Fuller

Having served in public office from 2006-2018, Jean Fuller brings over 30 years of experience in education to Bakersfield College. Her desire to continue working in education at BC is a direct result of her commitment to working with young people and encouraging them to have the confidence and support to achieve their dreams.

Jean Fuller Speaking to an audience about her experiences and Early College
Jean with hand over heart

What is the Early College Program? It is a proven model for quality and cost-effective college degree completion, particularly in rural communities with high poverty rates and low educational attainment rates.

Romeo Agbalog, Sonya Christian, Jean Fuller, Abel Guzman, Raquel Lopez at McFarland High Aug 4 2018

Like other states, California is grappling with the increased need for access, efficiency, and excellence in education. By 2030 there will be a projected shortage of 1.1 million workers holding a bachelor’s degree. Kern County continues to rank among the lowest percentages in educational attainment in the nation. The Early College Program implements complementary strategies to expand access to college, increase graduation rates, and reduce time-to-completion. This work is vital for success in Kern county, California, and the nation.

Wonderful Academy Graduates 2018

The Early College model launched in partnership with local charter schools, including Wonderful Ag Career Prep, which introduces students — many who will be first-generation college students — to higher education course material during the summer prior to 9th grade. I was so proud to confer Associate degrees in Agriculture Business for 38 Wonderful Academy students last May 2018. Dual Enrollment, a strategy of early college, has been implemented in 24 Kern County high schools.

By aligning curriculum and adding college-level coursework into the high school schedule, Early College students have the opportunity to earn a certificate or associate degree by their high school graduation. A 2013 study by the American Institutes for Research found that students enrolled in Early College Programs were significantly more likely to graduate from high school and enroll in college than students who were not. They are also more likely than their peers to graduate from college and with maximum efficiency in regard to time and resources. The Early College students are performing at or near the same level, and in some cases, at a higher level than their traditional college student peers.

Wonderful Academy Graduates 2018 around the BC circle

Read more about the Early College Program at Bakersfield College and press release.

Trustee Romeo Agbalog Imagines a Bright Future for Kern County

Kern Community College District Trustee Romeo Agbalog was also in the Bakersfield Californian this week talking about Early College from the perspective of employment in Kern County, opportunity for students, and cutting the cost of college.

Trustee Agbalog is a major supporter of Early College and has been instrumental in bringing this program to fruition. Read the full Bakersfield Californian Community Voice.

A Brighter future and Kern County Only if we dare to imagine it and act.

First Week of Spring ‘19

We welcomed faculty and students back on a blustery Monday. I’m always excited to see the campus come alive after the empty hallways of winter break. The spring semester is a vibrant time as the weather begins cold but turns sunny and warm as we begin looking forward to commencement and celebrating successes of our graduating students. Thank you Manny De Los Santos for capturing photos of our students and faculty returning to campus.

Campus Center Breaks Ground

We were blessed with a sunny break in the rainy weather on Wednesday morning to hold the groundbreaking ceremony for Bakersfield College’s new Campus Center, the second building to be built using Measure J funds.

Students in Bakersfield College’s Commercial Music program opened the festivities, the BC Drumline marched in to start of the ceremony, followed by a rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” by the BC Chamber Singers. On the dais, we were fortunate to have representatives from the offices of Congressman TJ Cox, Senator Shannon Grove, Assemblymember Rudy Salas, and Assemblymember Vince Fong.  Representing the Kern Community College District were KCCD Trustees Kay Meek, Romeo Agbalog and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, as well as, retired Trustee and former Congressman Bill Thomas.

Director of Student Life Dr. Nicky Damania, BCSGA President Ashley Harp, Trustee Kay Meeks, Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Trustee Romeo Agbalog

Office of Student Life Director Dr. Nicky Damania was thrilled to lead the the groundbreaking ceremony for a building that will be at the center of student life at BC. Introducing the BCSGA presidents who were on the frontlines to help make the new Campus Center possible, Nicky said, “when we’re working, it’s for these students who are going to be the leaders of the future.”

former BCSGA president Alex Dominguez speaks at the podium

A succession of BCSGA leaders from previous years addressed the group, each in turn speaking from their personal experience what this new center will mean for students: Alex Dominguez, 2014-15 BCSGA President; Clayton Fowler, 2015-16 BCSGA president; former KCCD Student Trustee Rayven Acosta-Webb, speaking for Matthew Frazer, 2016-17 BCSGA; and Dezi Von Manos, 2017-18 BCSGA President. Then current BCSGA president, Ashley Harp, shared her vision of how the Campus Center will encourage student engagement.

Commemorative Shovel for the Campus Center Ground Breaking

After the Renegade Cheerleaders led the audience in a chant of “We Are BC”, Dr. Damania announced the opening of a time capsule left in the walls of the Administration building upon the Panorama Campus’ completion in 1955.

campus center rendering
Dignitaries on the dais

I’d like to thank Tamara Baker for all her work related to the implementation of Measure J, and I’d like to thank the taxpayers of Kern County once again for investing in community college education. Without your support, neither the Campus Center nor all of our other major construction projects funded through Measure J would be possible. Thank you for voting Yes on J in 2016.

See the entire photo gallery of the Campus Center Ground-breaking on A Better BC Facebook.

Old Campus Center Demolition

Panoramic view of the demolition of Campus Center

Food Services Moves to Huddle

Where do we eat with the cafeteria being demolished? Don’t worry, BC’s Food Services is finding ways to continue to serve our Panorama Campus community. The Panorama Grill has temporarily taken residency in the Gym Huddle. Food Services has also created a “food court”” of food trucks in front of Memorial Stadium and the Gym Huddle. Among the trucks is Pa’L Norte, Banderas Burger Grill, and The Rollin’ Bean. And coming soon, Panorama Grill will add their own food truck: Gades Grub!

As we build A Better BC there will be many department, staff and faculty moves. I would like to thank staff, faculty and students for graciously adjusting to the many changes happening around campus. Keep up on the changes happening on campus at A Better BC.

BC Time Capsule

On Tuesday afternoon, BC’s Student Government gathered students and staff together to open the BC time capsule from 1955. Jerry Ludeke was on hand with information about the cornerstone. Did you know the Masons conducted the cornerstone laying ceremony inside the Administration Building on April 30, 1955, exactly two years after the groundbreaking of the Panorama campus? This gem was filled with newspapers, a student handbook, student directory, and more.

“Only the Educated are Free”

You may view the contents of the capsule in BC Archives located on the second floor of the Grace Van Dyke Library.

Wow, notice the contrast between the past and current technology.

Dr. Nicky Damania will be coordinating the creation a new time capsule to be built into the new Campus Center. Submissions may be suggested to the BCSGA president or sent to Dr. Damania.

I wonder if they realized that Einstein would remain so influential in the future.

Thank you Manny De Los Santos for this short video to commemorate the event.

ITV Classroom Pilot for Dual and Concurrent Enrollment

An overflowing classroom with high school sophomores are participating in the pilot Interactive Television (ITV) Bakersfield College Music B2 class!

To bring dual enrollment course offerings to North High School students, ITV equipment was installed to bring Bakersfield College instruction to the campus. Funded by the College Futures grant, A Bakersfield College team led by Kristen Rabe and Dr. Anna Laven spent the last six months developing the equipment installation plan, which included two 80” TVs and one 65” plus lots of other high tech goodies to exactly mirror the ITV classrooms at BC.

Classroom with large screen tv's in the front
An overflowing classroom with high school sophomores taking the pilot ITV Bakersfield College course.

Developed in collaboration with North high school administration and counselors, the technology brings opportunities to many students for whom transportation to main campus is a significant barrier. As Mark Balch, principal of North describes, “seven miles might as well be 70 for these students”. Showing the strength of the program, over 60 students arrived at the orientation which could take only 30 students. One student indicated she was interested in participating after hearing a dual enrollment presentation during an African-American Mentor Program (AAMP) field trip to campus.

Kyle Burnham, instructor

With incredible support from Dean Manny Mourtzanos and Chair Dr. John Gerhold, the first pilot class begins next week, taught by Kyle Burnham. The department is working diligently to supply additional classes in the future due to demand.

Before picture with KHSD facilities collaborating on the install.

Dual Enrollment Featured in Bakersfield Life

Did you see the article about Dual Enrolment in Bakersfield Life Magazine? Mark Nessia wrote about the partnership with the Kern High school District and BC to “encourage a college-going culture in Kern County.” He quoted our own Anna Laven, Dual Enrollment Program Manager and highlighted the start of dual enrollment at the Wonderful College Prep Academy in Delano in partnership with BC. Read the Bakersfield Life Magazine Dual Enrollment Article.

Screen shot of Dual Enrollment feature page

17 News features Norma Rojas Mora

Tabatha Mills, 17 KGET News, featured a beautiful video of BC’s Director of Community and Public Relations, Norma Rojas-Mora, in her Women in Kern County segment. In the video, Norma speaks about her dedication to students, education and insuring students realize the opportunities that are available to them. I’m so honored to have Norma at BC. Read the article and watch the video of Norma on KGET.

BC students continue to ride free with Kern Transit

Kern Transit is continuing a program for all currently enrolled Bakersfield College students to ride free on Kern Transit routes with a valid student ID. Free rides began January 14th and continue through the end of finals week on May 10, 2019.

BC Students Ride Free

Students who choose to ride with Kern Transit will not have to struggle with traffic or find parking, and they can focus on their studies as they commute to school. Using public transit helps improve air quality. And students may ride free on all 100-numbered routes, not just on routes to and from the school, so they save money commuting all around Kern County. Thank you Kern Transit!

Chamber of Commerce Luncheon

(L to R) Gabriella Mello, VP Wells Fargo Bank, KCCD Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Norma Rojas-Mora and Tony Cordova, Bakersfield College, Michael Bowers, Centric Health, Sharlet Briggs, Adventist Health, Heather Pennella, Bakersfield College

It was a pleasure to see so many smiling faces at the 2019 Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Board Installation and Awards Luncheon.  We were honored to have friends, partners and KCCD Trustee representatives joining us for this event.  Congratulations to the honorees: Josie Martin, named Volunteer of the Year, Kern Economic Development Corporation named association partner of the year, and Young Wooldridge honored as the chamber champion.  The Chamber’s executive committee will be chaired by Darlene Mohlke of Castle & Cooke with Derek Jeffery from KGET-TV 17 serving as incoming chairman.  They will be joined by Sue Benham, Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, Rob Duchow, Southern California Gas Co.,  Denise Newton of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. , Tasha Clayton of Tel-Tec Security, Andy Paulden of Brown Armstrong, Mark Bateman of Young Wooldridge LLP, and Pritesh Patel of Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center.

From the Chamber Website

I look forward to continuing to serve on the Chamber’s Board of Directors alongside Andy Anderson of Aera Energy LLC, Kristen Beall of Kern Community Foundation, Mary Barlow of Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Sharlet Briggs of Adventist Health Bakersfield, Don Bynum of Temblor Brewing and Bynum & Associates, Leslie Golich of Kaiser Permanente, Rick Jhaj of Countryside Market & Restaurants, Ken Keller of Bakersfield Memorial, Jacob Panera of Varner Brothers and G. Riar of Deprigo.