Tag Archives: Julian West

#LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation

What a difficult, active week at the virtual Home of the Renegades as we continue to Shelter in Place and engage with a world coping with COVID-19, the recession, and the horrific public death of George Floyd.

The picture above is from a friend’s garden. These are the Mexican bird of paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima). They bloom when the temperature gets above 90.

Renegade Baseball Pitcher Sends Caring Note To Bakersfield PD

Through social media and television we have seen many protests around the country, and our community has been no different. After one of this week’s protests in downtown Bakersfield, the Bakersfield Police Department shared a photo of a card that a ‘black teen’ had given one of the BPD officers earlier that evening.

We soon found out that ‘black teen’ was none other than one of our Renegade Baseball student athletes, PJ Roberts. PJ is a pitcher and has been on the team the last two years. While PJ did not share this card with the officer to be recognized publicly, we are beyond proud of his actions to bridge the gap at this critical point in time. Way to be the change you wish to see in the world, PJ! #StudentTeacher

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, June 6, 2020 – a great day to be a Renegade.

I’d like to start off this week with a video I saw from Trevor Noah, who hosts The Daily Show. In it, he talks about how different events are connected and knock into each other like dominoes, causing a great wave.

#LightACandle: A Juneteenth Celebration

On the heels of the recent death of George Floyd and mass unrest across the country, Bakersfield College will host a two week conversation and virtual celebration leading up to June 19 or “Juneteenth,” a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

Six days after Floyd’s murder, I penned a letter to the campus and community.  In part, I wrote: 

I believe that in the 50 years since King asked this question – What is it that America has failed to hear? We have made enormous progress that we can and should be proud of. But we need to hear what George Floyd’s Memorial Day death – and our national reactions to it – are saying. It is a long and painful history, which makes it harder to hear. It is a dark and confusing time, which makes it harder to see how to move forward. But as Bakersfield College Renegades, we owe it to our community, to our veterans, and we each owe it to George Floyd, to join together, listen with humility, and to bring light that can illuminate the way ahead.

In this spirit, I invite you to join Bakersfield College for a two-week series of Juneteenth conversations across multiple platforms to #LightACandle and #ShineALight on the gut wrenching and horrific experiences of our Black brothers and sisters as they go about their business contributing to the economic wellbeing of our community, volunteering to help the neediest in our society, enjoying a family stroll in the neighborhood park with their children. We invite you to listen, learn, engage, and make an action-oriented commitment to speak up, lean in and create an environment that values every human.  

Thank you to the leadership of the #LightACandle Juneteenth Planning Team: Steven Watkin, Paula Parks, Tommy Tunson, and Jennifer Achan.

BC Joins Prayer Walk

At Steven Watkin’s invitation, dozens of BC faculty and staff joined a peaceful community walk and prayer on Wednesday. 

Led by Pastor Oscar Anthony of St. Peter Restoration Community Christian Ministries, and Pastor Ignacio Valdez of New Hope Family Worship Center, with the support of networks such as Kern County Ministers Conference, Kern Leadership Alliance and CityServe, hundreds assembled to acknowledge the pain our community is in, while promoting promote reconciliation healing.

I was grateful to walk alongside Steve Watkin and our BC team in solidarity for #BlackLivesMatter.

#RealTalk on Race with Danny, Reggie, and Julian

On Thursday, June 4, BC launched the first of a series of #RealTalk on Race discussions, hosted by Danny Morrison Media.  Over 7000 views in just 3 days!

Danny, always a friend to BC and an ardent supporter of our African American Initiatives and Inmate Scholars program, kicked off the discussion with a reflection on the recent high-profile deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmed Arbery. I was struck by the weight of the dialogue as he recalled a long history of murders of Black men at the hands of those in power… the stories of Philando Castile, Eric Garner, and Emmett Till.

Reggie Bolton, BC professor of kinesiology, and Julian West, director of the Career Ladders Project, described their personal experiences coming to terms with race and racism as Black men. As I listened to Reggie, Julian, and Danny, I felt the enormity of the moment we are in as a nation and the responsibility we have as educators to shine light on these stories.  The words of these men – brilliant, courageous, kind hearted, and committed to our students – should strengthen our resolve to work for racial equity at BC and beyond.

The livestream also featured a video from Steve Watkin.

BC in the News: The Bakersfield Californian

The Bakersfield Californian published a great article on BC’s plans to shine light on the ways education can advance justice.  Thank you, Ema Sasic, for capturing not only our plans for the weeks ahead, but also the ways BC has been advancing educational equity for Black students through the remarkable work of our African American Initiatives team.  I enjoyed reading the highlights of our progress on increasing access and success for our students over the past five years:

  • Increased overall enrollment of Black students by 45% to more than 1,000 students
  • Increased first-time Black student enrollment by 72%
  • Increased Black student enrollment in Early College opportunities by 1,017%
  • Increased Black student completion of associate degrees by 223%

Umoja students share feelings on recent killings by police

Umoja Community students and faculty gathered virtually to discuss recent killings of African Americans by police. Over the past few weeks, the murders of Ahmad Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd have dominated the news. Repeated exposure to lynching is traumatizing.

Floyd’s murder, captured on video and widely circulated, has ignited pain and anger in the Black community and resulted in protests nationwide. The Umoja Community – a program designed for African-American students that includes coursework, mentoring, academic and cultural trips, and counseling support to keep students on track to graduate – routinely provides space for students to share and process their lived experiences.

Students said this latest incident feels different from other police murders captured on camera because of what the video shows: Floyd was handcuffed when he was pushed onto the pavement. You observe the officer rather nonchalantly with his hands in his pocket and with his knee on Floyd’s neck. Over 8 minutes and 46 seconds, you see Floyd plead for his life and call out “Mama,” then slowly lose consciousness and die. Three officers watch and the crowd shouts out that “he ain’t moving.” It seemed to students the most extreme example of police abuse and of an undeserved, agonizing death.

In addition, Floyd evokes Eric Garner’s words, “I can’t breathe” sixteen times. This painful revisit of the 2014 New York case is a reminder as one student put it that “the deaths keep increasing.” The police aren’t charged or convicted even with video evidence, which emboldens police, students explained, to continue to abuse their power. Black people are re-traumatized with each death, understanding that they are similarly at risk. One student said she felt “numb.” Another reported that she was at “the breaking point.”

Being in the middle of a pandemic and somewhat isolated, they noted, adds to their anxiety because they have fewer outlets while being constantly bombarded with videos of Floyd’s death and mass protests. Students are suffering from a double injury: fears for their basic physical safety from police as well as threats to their physical and mental health from COVID.

Said one student, “racism is our (constant) virus.”

Community Voices

I was happy to see in The Bakersfield Californian this week two pieces from BC faculty and staff lending perspective on how we move forward.

Lesley Bonds, BC’s Director of Student Success & Equity reflected on the significance of Juneteenth in the midst of mass unrest. She calls upon white people to learn to practice anti-racism. Read her suggestions for how people can practice anti-racism HERE.

An excerpt:

“Anti-racism is more than simply not acting racist. Anti-racism requires constant vigilance — an unlearning of our conditioned behaviors, beliefs and biases, and constant, intentional, new learning of the ways we can recognize and dismantle racism in ourselves, our community, our institutions, and the systems we navigate daily.”

Nick Strobel, Astronomy professor and Director of BC’s planetarium called upon us to reconcile the “story of American society” with the stories we are reading today in order to give meaning to the popular hashtag #WeAreAllInThisTogether. Read Nick’s piece HERE.

An excerpt:

“If American society is to survive, we all need to recognize that an alternate story, that has been told in word and deed for many, many decades at least, has grown more powerful than the shared story of opportunity and equal application of the law… Do we want that? Do we really believe that the shared story on which this nation was founded is not real and can never be real?”

BC launches free immigration clinics

Bakersfield College is partnering with the UFW Foundation to offer Immigration Clinics for BC students, faculty and staff. The next two Clinics are on Tuesday, June 9th, and Thursday, June 25th, from 9 AM to 6 PM. DACA renewals are being prioritized and Fee Assistance is available at this time.

You may email ab540@bakersfieldcollege.edu for instructions on setting appointments. The Immigration Clinics are held virtually on Zoom.

BC receives Job Corps Scholars Program funding

Bakersfield College has been named as one of twenty recipients to receive part of the $24 million Job Corps Scholars Program funding, provided by the U.S. Department of Labor.

This national program serves Job Corps eligible youth by providing free tuition for their first year in the Job Corps Scholars program, career technical training, and intensive personal and career counseling services towards program completion.

Back to College

I wanted to share with you all a story from one of our student Renegades, Martha Lopez. She was left jobless when the Coronavirus pandemic hit, and decided to try out our Back to College program.

“I had just started a new job working at a Distribution Center when the Coronavirus hit. The entire center was shut down and everybody was left without a job, and we didn’t know for how long it was going to last. I started looking for a new job, but then I heard about the Back to College program on TV. I had been going to BC on and off for over several years and always struggled and felt like it was not for me, but I decided to give it one more try. From the start, the counselors helped me with Financial Aid and helped me find classes that were required for my major, and that were also interesting to me. The professors were all very clear from the beginning by telling us exactly what was required, and they were always there when we had questions. I had taken online classes before, but this time was a huge difference. Not only did I get As and Bs in all my classes, but I actually enjoyed them, especially Art which I was not expecting, and I’m excited to keep going in the summer and fall. At first I was only planning on getting my degree in Sociology at BC, but after talking to my counselors and professors, I’ve decided I want to actually transfer to CSUB and go on to become a Substance Abuse Counselor.”

Our Back to College program is still going strong with courses for this summer. Please check it out!

Fun Social Media

Our Admission & Records director, Jackie Lau, earned her Masters degree this year. The Admission & Records department shared a wonderful tribute on Facebook to celebrate her achievement.

The BC Library is sharing resources on racism. Check it out at https://bakersfieldcollege.libguides.com/blacklivesmatter.

Closing Week Videos

Before each day’s celebration, we shared a few videos from throughout the year – including this performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” performed by our BC choir, faculty, staff, and administration:

Student Affairs earned a President’s Leadership Award:

And incoming BCSGA Vice-President Emma McNellis shared her remarks:

Athletics

Coach Littlejohn Leading The Way Staying Fit During The Pandemic

Our newest Renegade Coach, Coach R. Todd Littlejohn of BC Football is leading the way in showing our campus how to stay fit during the pandemic. Here’s a picture of him doing hang cleans during his CrossFit workout this last week. Details for how the 2020 fall sports season is going to look are still being determined by the CCCAA, but one things for sure – Coach LJ will not be out of breath running up and down those sidelines coaching his team this fall!

Q&A With Sandi Taylor

The Renegade Rip ran an article where Editor-in-Chief Haley Duval interviewed retiring athletic director and softball coach Sandi Taylor.
Sandi talked about her greatest memories, proudest accomplishments, what she’ll miss, and what changes she saw during her time at BC. Thank you for the well-written article, Haley, and thank you for your years of service Sandi!

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

Celebrating people — talent and dedication

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, April 14, 2018 …a quiet cool morning …a great week to be a Renegade!

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Renegade Talks

Renegade Talks Lineup

Renegade Talks 2018 Lineup

Based on the popular TED Talks of “Ideas Worth Sharing”, Renegade Talks bring together BC faculty and students to deliver short, innovative, subject-based presentations. This year, the lineup was fabulous including:

  • “Rolling the Dice” by Chris Cruz-Boone, Professor of Communication
  • “Black Masculine Identity” by Julian James West
  • “Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum: A Fork in the Academic Road” by Joe Saldivar, Professor of Biology
  • “Twelve Seconds” by Amber Smithson, BC Student
  • “Manners and Today’s Society” by Teena Bensusen, BC Student
  • “The Burden of Freedom” by Daniel Mechem, Veteran and BC Student

Indoor Theater

Indoor Theater filling up before the show

If you were not able to attend, videos are being edited. Keep your eye out for them in my blog next week and on BC’s YouTube! For now, here are two teasers from Joe Saldivar and Julian West.

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Todd Coston and Andrea Thorson

Special thank you to two leaders at BC who chair and coordinate this event, Andrea Thorson and Todd Coston. See the photos at BC’s Smugmug.

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Welcoming the KCCD Trustees to Campus

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On Thursday, BC leadership welcomed the KCCD Board of Trustees to campus for their monthly Board Meeting and we started the afternoon with a luncheon provided by BC Food Services and Chef Eric Sabella.

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Liz Rozell gave an informative presentation regarding the Industrial Automation Program and introduced one of our upcoming graduates of the first Baccalaureate Class in 2018 – Richard Van Horne. He spoke highly of the program and how he earned a Political Science degree from BC and was inspired to return upon the news of the Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation. Richard shared that he receives offers for internships, being approached by local industries and said he’s getting his degree at a fraction of the cost of friends who attend other 4-year institutions.

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Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation Student, Richard Van Horne

The Board Meeting then took place in The Norman Levan Center with one highlight being our Emeritus and Retiree Recognition. I had the honor of introducing them, so I’d like to share each of them one more time, highlighting their service.

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Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg , Vice-President, Instruction – 35 years, 6 months
Nan is the best coach that I know, the best arbitrator of disputes, the best diplomat, the best cheerleader for students, the most articulate person for issues of equity…… and always kind and generous with her time. Today, we have the opportunity to give our voice of thanks to her years of humble service; we have the opportunity to make visible her focused work behind the scenes that has greatly shaped our community, and so many lives; and we have the opportunity to recognize this tireless and true champion of education.

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Katherine Pluta, Dean of Instruction – 32 years, 5 months
Kate provided 32 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College.  She has served many leadership roles including, Division Chair, President of the Senate, President of CCA and recently, Dean of Instruction. And if you look at major initiatives over the years, Assessment and Student Learning Outcomes, Strategic Planning, the Integration of Accreditation into the work of the college, you will see that Kate has been in the forefront. She has been a loyal friend to BC and a friend to me. Kate, you will be missed.

img_5285-x4Gilbert Merjil, Groundsworker II – 31 years, 2 months
Gilbert Merjil was a groundskeeper and irrigation specialist for the campus.  Although a quiet worker, behind the scenes he took care to ensure we could be proud of our campus grounds.  In particular, Gilbert kept the campus green and looking good thorough one of our states worst droughts all while reducing campus water usage. Gilbert resolutely guarded BC’s lawns and sprinklers and was known to chase down vendors who may have driven over the lawn.

img_5291-x4Andrea Garrison Professor, Biology 28 years, 8 months May 11, 2018

Professor Garrison has been a cornerstone to motivating the faculty of the College to being excellent teachers. She is respected for her leading the faculty through challenging times. As a true Biologist, she created awareness of important issues in respecting our environment as we function as a College, and she created and organized the club for students to incorporate their faith into their education. When the College started Guided Pathways, she was one of the first faculty to embrace this effort and used that to encourage her students in class to know their pathways and be prepared in all ways for the expectations of learning after transfer. Andrea has been the President of CCA and a winner of the Levinson Leadership Award.

dsc08078-x4Odella Johnson Professor, Academic Development 24 years, 10 months
Odella Johnson will be remembered for her passion for students, her passion for equity and her leadership both on campus and in the community.  Odella participated as a member of the Black faculty, served as faculty advisor to the BSU, served as Director of the Educational Advancement Program (EAP), Director of the Assessment Center, served as ACDV Department Chair, Director Equity and Inclusion and on many college wide and district committees. Prof Odella Johnson thank you for 24 years of service to Bakersfield College.

dsc08084-x4Susan McQuerrey Professor, ELS 25 years, 10 months
Susan McQuerrey has been a valued member of the EMLS Department and the Bakersfield College community since 1988, when she started as an adjunct.  She was hire full-time in 1992.  She has served on many committees including as co-chair of the Curriculum Committee and president of the Academic Senate. She also served as the department chair for the English/ESL Department before the two departments split. Her students love and respect her with comments like, “Very respectful; highly recommended,” and “She is a good professor. Very strict, but for our own good. Love her.” Certainly, Susan’s professionalism, experience, and love for teaching will be sorely missed at Bakersfield College.

dsc08091-x4Jimmy (Smitty) Smith, Skilled Craftsworker, M&O Technician 17 years, 3 months
Smitty as we called him served BC for nearly 20 years as the skilled craftsman and locksmith.  He was always eager to assist and made sure it was done the “right way”.  His myriad skill sets and care will be hard to replace!. In his role as locksmith, Smitty had a big job to ensure faculty and staff had access to all of the buildings as needed.   Smitty was instrumental in helping transition our campus to the new key card system.

dsc08096-x4Dennis Spencer, Electronics Technician – 10 years, 2 months
Dennis was originally hired as the phone technician.  As technology changed and phone systems moved towards voice-over IP technology, Dennis was able to transition and oversee maintenance of campus elevators, fire alarms, and small electronic equipment.  He personally oversaw the audio equipment set-up for all administrative events.   Dennis always has a great story to share and was the eyes and ears of the campus.  Dennis provided personal attention to ensure we had what was needed and ensured every detail was covered when helping out regardless of the projects – from the phones, to computers to the fire alarm system, to large events.

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BC’s esteemed retirees

Student Employee Appreciation Week

National Student Employee Appreciation week 2018

Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Workforce. This week is National Student Employee Appreciation week, and with close to 500 students employed each year at Bakersfield College there is much to celebrate. The Office of Student Employment in FACE 16 coordinated this fabulous event, that recognized our Student Employees hard work throughout the year. Students were provided a token of appreciation in addition to resources that will help tie their experience on campus to their future careers. For students seeking on-campus opportunities please send them to the Student Employment Lab (FACE 9) where they can schedule an appointment with a job development specialist, apply for on-campus employment through Jobspeaker, search off-campus jobs, create a resume or print career related materials for free. Special thanks to Stephanie Baltazar for spearheading this incredible program for our students.

Inaugural English Student Colloquium

Rae Ann KumelosThe English Department hosted its first English Department Student Colloquium in the Levan Center on Friday, April 13, 2018. The Colloquium held an essay contest from which three finalists were selected to present at the Colloquium and compete for awards generously donated by the Levan Center. The English Colloquium Committee was pleased with the many well-written submissions they received from Bakersfield College students.

The three finalists, Steven Ledesma, Sarai James, and Brian Melgar, presented their essays vying for the first prize of $1500, with second and third place receiving $500. All three finalists also received an invitation to the BC Donor Dinner.

The English Colloquium, an educational seminar where participants come together to discuss their work, was given an “American Idol” twist. The three finalists each had a chance to perform on stage by presenting their essay, and the judges (a.k.a. committee members) sat on the edges of their seats critiquing the would-be stars. After the presentations, the judges adjourned for discussion and subsequently announced first place winner of the $1500 prize – Brian Melgar. Second place – $500 – Steven Ledesma and third place – Sarai Jaime.

Brian Melgar, Sarai Jaime, Steven Ledesma.

Brian Melgar, Sarai Jaime, Steven Ledesma.

Special thank you Rae Ann Kumelos for leading this Inaugural English Colloquium and to the committee members: Keri Wolf, Richard Marquez, Cynthia Powell, Jennifer Jett, Denise Mitchell, Alicia Skipper, Jason Spitzer, Justin Bell, Jeremy Casabella, Tiffany Wong, and Kaitlin Hulsey. I would also like to thank Anna Poetker and Reggie Williams for lending their colloquium organization knowledge, experience and advice to the English Colloquium Committee. Thank you Eric Sabella for the delicious refreshments and Kristen Rabe for technical support. Thank you Eric Carillo for creating such a beautiful green event poster that Rae Ann believes brought the rain to turn the hills of Bakersfield green. A large thank you Jack Hernandez and the Levan Center for the support and making the English Colloquium possible.

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Eric Carrillo’s Poster

A very special guest showed up to the Colloquium — Rae Ann’s father, Laddie Kumelos. She was very proud to tell us that he began teaching English 70 years ago. She certainly did not fall far from the tree as she continues to teach English at BC. She joked that when she wrote him letters while away at school, he would return them, marked up with red ink.

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Rae Ann’s dad (tan shirt on the right) in the audience awaiting the start of presentations. And looks like he is texting!

We joke about the red ink of an English teacher, but writing is extremely important for a better workforce and for a better community. Communicating through the written word, understanding it, interpreting what those before us have written enriches our lives, educates us on the past, helps us educate others, and allows us to share our ideas. Events like the English Student Colloquium encourage students to further engage in communicating ideas and strengthening their writing skills. It also gives us an opportunity to see what our students have learned and how they have grown from their education at BC. The three finalists certainly shine as examples of this. I look forward to next year’s English Colloquium. See all the photos at BC’s Smugmug.

The finalists drawing the presentation order from the “golden chalice”

The finalists drawing the presentation order from the “golden chalice”

 

Korean Culture Day

The students in BC’s Korean Culture Club organized an all-day event on Monday in the Fireside Room and cafeteria celebrating the richness of Korean culture. English professor Andrew Bond helped organize the 2nd Annual Korean Culture Festival, which featured Korean music, food, and a performance by the Long Beach-based K-pop dance troupe, The Last Bite.

 

Sonia Silva, a representative from CSUB’s International Students and Programs office, was on hand to provide future Cal State transfers with information about study abroad opportunities at the university. See more photos on BC’s Smugmug!

Korean Dancers at BC

Korean Dancers at BC

Faculty working on assessment of Student Learning

On Monday, I stopped by L160 to talk to Nick Strobel and found faculty hanging out and working on assessment of student learning long after the workshop had ended.  Just wonderful!  In the picture you see Di Hoffman, the outgoing faculty chair, and Brent Wilson, the incoming chair.  David Neville on the far right was Assessment Chair before Di, so in one photo we have three generations of Assessment Committee chairs.  Here the beautiful woman in the Renegade Red shirt if Sandy Davis, faculty in nursing.

Assessment Committee 2018

Di Hoffman, Sandy Davis, Brent Wilson, David Neville

BC team at Banner Ellucian Conference

The BC team was at the Ellucian annual conference in San Diego, examining configuration options and models for the upcoming Banner 9 upgrade. I am told that one of the more significant Banner upgrades will go into effect this summer.

Banner Conference

Dena Rhoades, Jennifer Achan, Morgan Bohnsack, Michelle Pena, Zav Dadabhoy, Mark Osea, DJ Vanderwerff, Somaly Boles, Ashlea Ward

Watch for workshops and information from the BC Banner team leads: Jennifer Achan and Michelle Pena.

Also caught this photo posted by Tonya Davis, Vice Chancellor of HR on twitter,

KCCD HR Team at Ellucian Conf in San Diego April 9 2018

AAMP Open House

On April 6, 2018, the Bakersfield College African American Mentor Program (A.A.M.P.) had a packed house for its second annual AAMP Open House.  With nearly 200 African American high school students, BC was able to make a significant contribution to preparing African-American students for college before they even arrive on a college campus.

AAMP Open House 2018 attendees

AAMP Open House 2018 attendees

We kicked off the event with an address from our most distinguished keynote, LaMeka Ross.  LaMeka faced trials and tribulations early on in her life, with the loss of her father at a young age. Despite the adversity she overcame her obstacles and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master’s in Business Administration.  LaMeka is now working in Human Resources Business Partner Role for Aera Energy.  She serves as a living testament to the possibility of enduring and overcoming adversity and to reach success.

The overall theme of the event was to encourage students to exceed academic expectations.  Students were split into 2 groups; one group consisted of all seniors while the other was all non-seniors.  The senior high school students went to learn about the Umoja ASTEP Program here at Bakersfield College; they got to hear the experiences of prior Umoja students and meet the esteemed faculty that make it all possible.  Afterwards, students were able to apply to the program, be accepted, and actually register for the program at the event.

The non-seniors were learning from three amazing workshops that exposed them to their options of dual enrollment, the importance of math, and STEM careers.  The entire event was inspirational as students prepared for the transition to college, we planted seeds of encouragement and hope, and we educated students on the opportunities that college can offer.

Thank you to Julian West, Paula Parks, and the whole AAMP team.

Open House 2018 Julian West

Open House 2018 Julian West

AAMP Paula Parks Presenting

AAMP Paula Parks Presenting

 

Congratulations 2018 KCCD Leadership Academy

The Kern Community College District is committed to supporting professional development that informs employees’ leadership abilities. Each year, the Leadership Academy works to develop classified, faculty and management employees to prepare for leadership roles at every level of the organization.

Through experiential learning opportunities from September through April, the KCCD Leadership Academy offers employees the opportunity to interact with district executives, KCCD trustees, state-level education leaders and others. Participants generate a greater understanding of our geographically expansive district and build cross-district relationships with coworkers.

LA Group

On behalf of the entire BC community, congratulations to this year’s Leadership Academy participants!  And for those of you who have not participated, applications are out for the 2018-2019 cohort.  Apply now.

Heather Barajas

Heather Barajas is currently a Department Assistant III in Human Resources at the Bakersfield College Campus. She has worked at BC for four years and loves being able to see her work/committee participation in action by just simply taking a walk around the campus. As a participant of the KCCD Leadership Academy she enjoyed it because it pushed her out of her comfort zone and gave her more insight of how the district and colleges operate together, in addition to getting to know other people from her campus and the other colleges.

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Keith Ford is the Associate Athletic Director at Bakersfield College who has been with BC for almost 3 years. He is involved with campus-wide initiatives and serves on committees including facilities and safety committees. His goal is to one day serve as the Bakersfield College Athletic Director to be able to provide the best opportunities to the student-athletes to achieve their goals, whether it is in athletics, academics or life in general.

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Michael McClenic is a program manager at Bakersfield College where he serves students on probation. He started his career at BC in 2015 as an adjunct instructor and seven months later took on the role of Program Manager, Probation and Early Alert. As a participant of the KCCD Leadership Academy he enjoyed the opportunity to meet, interact with and learn from people from other colleges in the district. His takeaway are the words of our esteemed Chancellor – -”What happened in Sacramento, stays in Sacramento”.

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Mindy Wilmot is faculty/reference librarian for Bakersfield College. She is finishing up her fourth year (and just received tenure). As a Leadership Academy participant she enjoyed her time learning more about her school and district, as well as getting to work with colleagues from the three campuses. She considered the Legislative Conference to Sacramento the highlight of the academy.

Mike Barrett

Mike Barrett is a System Support Specialist working at the Bishop and Mammoth Lakes campuses of Cerro Coso Community College. He lives in Bishop California and work at the Bishop and Mammoth Lakes campuses – that’s like a win-win-win-win! He really enjoyed the opportunity to take part in the KCCD Leadership Academy. Having had a chance to tour all of our campuses and see first-hand some of the different challenges each college has in providing educational opportunities for their service areas. He believes our colleges and the district office work well together and is really happy to be a part of such a great team.

Nikki Gardepe

Nikki Gardepe is an Assessment Assistant at Cerro Coso Community College. She has been at Cerre Coso for four years. She coordinates student assessment testing activities critical to student academic performance and placement. She knows what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes trying to deal with the sometime complex education system and finds it rewarding when she can truly help others.

Stephanie Olmedo-Hinde

Stephanie Olmedo-Hinde is the current Counselor and Coordinator for Porterville College’s Disability Resource Center. She has worked for the KCCD for 16 years. She comes from a family of KCCD employees, her father Robert Olmedo worked for Porterville College for 12 years and her mother, Perla Olmedo, worked for Porterville College for 35 years. “What I loved most about the leadership academy was the lifelong connections I made with my colleagues from BC, CC, and District Office. My team was full of the best people I’ve ever met and we worked together so well, I love knowing they have my back and I absolutely have theirs”

Steven Alexander

Steven Alexander is the Director of IT Security and has been with KCCD for almost two years. He lives in Bakersfield with his wife and three children. His favorite experience in the leadership academy was traveling to Sacramento to meet with our state legislators and advocate for our district.

Cammie Ehret-Stevens

Cammie Ehret-Stevens is a native of Bakersfield and joined the Kern Community College District in July 2011 as the Purchasing Coordinator/Analyst. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from California Coast University and a Public Procurement Certification from NLPA. In her free time she enjoys camping and traveling abroad. Cammie recently completed the KCCD Leadership Academy in April 2018, where she gained insight to the district and established multiple networking connections.

KCCD in Oregon

A team from Porterville College, Cerro Coso Communty College, Bakersfield College and the District Officer were in Oregon along with staff from Kern High School District and Delano.  We have been scaling up rapidly in KCCD with Dual Enrollment and this trip will help systematize some of our processes.  Don’t you see Cindy Collier leading this systems development?  This is what Cindy does!

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Gearing up for Summer Bridge

I’ve been told that 30 out of the 34 scheduled summer bridge sessions are FULL! That is  over 1,350 enrollments! I was overjoyed to see the number of faculty and staff who signed up for some dates to mentor at this year’s Summer Bridge, but we have lots of room left!

Summer Bridge Main Image

Thank you to the advisors and counselors that will be helping us throughout the summer! And Allison Burch, Angela Bono, Bill Chapman, Bonnie Hammond, Brent Wilson, Brian Sivesind, Bryan Hirayama, Bryan Russell, Catherine Starling, Cherilyn Haworth, Chris Cruz-Boone, Christian Zoller, Christina Touchstone, Daniel Gomes, Debra B. Strong, Diana Cason, Dinorah Castro, Don Brady, Eddie Rangle, Eleonora Hicks, Elvira Martinez, Emily Poole, Erica Menchaca, Erineo Garcia, Faith Bradham, Gilbert Ayuk, Glenn Samples, Gurpreet Grewal, Heather Pennella, Helen Medrano, Isaac K. Vannasone, James McGarrah, Jeannie Parent, Jessica Wojtysiak, Kaureen Brady, Keri Wolf, Kim Arbolante, Lisa Harding, Lisa Rogers, Marcelyn Allen, Mathew Garrett, Michael Fragoso, Michelle Hart, Mindy Wilmot, Neeley Hatridge, Olivia Garcia, Sara Wallace, Silvet Holcomb, Stephanie Vega, Stephen Tavoni, Sue Vaughn, Talita Pruett, Teresa McAllister, Tina Posey, Tina Zito, Tracie Grimes, Travis Steele, Vayron Martinez, Veronica Lucas, Wade Ellis, and Yvonne Armendariz. #WeareBC!

Transfer Pathway Advising

Khushnur Dadabhoy, Director of Transfer Pathways, and Grace Commiso, Dean of Counseling, leading the ed advisors and other key team members in a strategy session on transfer pathway advising.

Khushbur Dadabhoy and Grace Commiso

Khushbur Dadabhoy and Grace Commiso lead the presentation

We are BC Treats

Dean Manny Mourtzanos sent 3 boxes of We Are BC donuts to counseling to lift spirits in our big sprint for registration.

 

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Bernadette Martinez with a box of treats

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Sarah and John from Dunkin Donuts

John Lyon is the Manager/Owner of the Dunkin Donuts location who made these. Sarah is the young woman who created them.  Thank you John and Sarah!

Loved these photos of Manny De Los Santos indulging in the treat. We are BC!

Levan Humanities Review

i-br56v4x-x4The 2018 issue of the Levan Humanities Review is published! This years issue has thoughtful, engaging pieces, including the Sufi concept of divine love, the meaning of public, including Confederate, statues, Father Garces, and Gerald Haslam’s essay on the valley and his life as a writer. The editors invite you to enjoy this issue, which will contribute to our daily search for wisdom and our understanding of how the humanities help us in that search.

I loved browsing the copy which was delivered to me this week and seeing contributions from Faith Bradham, Olivia Garcia, Matthew Garrett, and Catherine Abbey Hodges, a professor from Porterville College.

Thank you to the Editorial Board including Dr. Portia Choi, Lily Hirsch, Dr. Rae Ann Kumelos, Erin Miller, Nick Strobel, and Reggie Williams.

If you’d like to purchase your own copy, it’s available on Amazon or online at the Levan Humanities Review website.

RP Conference

On April 11-12th, our Office of Institutional Effectiveness team including Craig Hayward, Karen Snow, David Buitron, Alma Livingston, and Nicole Griffin attended the 2018 RP Conference, the largest gathering of institutional researchers and planners in the California Community College System.

Office of Institutional Effectiveness

Office of Institutional Effectiveness

Craig Hayward at the RP Conference

Craig Hayward at the RP Conference

Craig Hayward, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, presented during multiple sessions on a range of topics such as student outcomes and policy changes with AB 705, tips and tools for identifying disproportionate impact, and shared how BC’s new program mapper can help clarify the path. Alma Livingston, Research Analyst, also presented with Craig Hayward on how academic advising and CCSSE data benchmarks can guide student engagement and success outcomes, while Karen Snow, Research Analyst, gave a poster presentation on how CATEMA is an integrative tool that will advance student equity.  So proud of the OIE team.  #WeAreBC

Karen Snow at the RP Conference

Karen Snow at the RP Conference

It’s a great day any time we get to share and learn ideas for best practices among a group of amazing CA Community Colleges! The tools and information learned at the event will positively impact how institutional research, planning, and effectiveness can positively transform our institution for student success.

Alma, Nicole, and David from BC's OIE

Alma, Nicole, and David from BC’s OIE

UC and CCC sign agreement to boost transfers

Eloy Oakley keynoting at the Leadership Summit

Chancellor Eloy Oakley at BC, May 2017

Exciting news from the University of California and the California Community College Chancellor’s Office this week. The UC President Janet Napolitano and CA Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Oakley signed a memorandum of understanding that outlines goals and details of how the community colleges and the UC’s will work together in “Enhancing Student Transfer.” The goals are to guarantee admission for all California Community College Transfer students to the University of California campuses. For details on how our ADT’s could work to our students’ advantage in guarantying acceptance at a UC and how TAGs will be effected, I encourage you to read the University of California’s Article.

KCMEA Jazz Day

Speaking of why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever! BC had the privilege of hosting the third annual KCMEA Jazz Day on Thursday. Our very own Kris Tiner, Director of the Jazz Studies Program, and member of Kern County Music Educators’ Association has been working hard over the last four months to organize and produce this annual event in between his regular faculty duties.

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The Highland High Jazz Band performs in the Indoor Theater on April 12th.

With 10 high school ensembles, 3 junior high groups, and a showcase performance by the BC Jazz Ensemble, it was a festival of music and peer sharing in the Simonsen Performing Arts Center, but as Kris said “the focus of Jazz Day is education.”

Taft High School Jazz Ensemble performs in the Indoor Theater

Taft High School Jazz Ensemble performs in the Indoor Theater

Unlike many competitive festivals, students who participate in Jazz Day have the opportunity to interact directly with expert clinicians and Bakersfield College music faculty. Each group receives a private half-hour clinic in the band room where they polish and refine their performance, and then they play their set on the Indoor Theater stage. Their performances are professionally recorded and additional clinicians give written feedback. Students are immersed in great music throughout the day – sharing, listening, and learning together!

Head clinician Adam Benjamin works with students from Mira Monte High School

Head clinician Adam Benjamin works with students from Mira Monte High School

You can see why I am so lucky and happy to be the president of a college with such great faculty so involved in the community and furthering education throughout the county.

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This year’s head clinician was Adam Benjamin, a Grammy-nominated pianist with the band Kneebody, and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. Benjamin performed with the BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble and gave a masterclass where he treated the audience to an incredible solo piano performance.

BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble with pianist Adam Benjamin (photo by Pete LeGrant)

BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble with pianist Adam Benjamin (photo by Pete LeGrant)

Afterward, the BC Jazz Ensemble took the stage to perform a selection of tunes from their “BC Jazz plays The Beatles” concert coming up on April 23. Read this great article about the KMCEA Jazz Day, Kris’ observations on the state music education, and all of the support from Bakersfield College faculty and administration in Matt Munoz’ Bakersfield Californian Article MATT MUNOZ: KCMEA helps touts music education and all that jazz.

Basketball Academy at BC!

I was extremely excited to hear our first session of the BC Basketball Academy had 46 participants. We had past and present Renegades coaching, high school coaches who played or had children play for me and Several BC alumni who brought their children, which is what the RENEGADE SPIRIT is all about.

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Coach Dahl’s opening message was that we celebrate mistakes because that means you are learning and you have to be uncomfortable to truly become great. The camp ended with a great message from Stig Jantz about the importance of hard work, doing your job and serving others.

Joint EOPS and MESA Student Educational Excursion

EOPS and MESA students kicked off their spring break by visiting UC Davis, UC Berkeley and San Jose State. EOPS and MESA collaborated to identify students interested in STEM majors who are participating in both programs to provide them with a 3-day Educational Excursion. The purpose of this collaboration is to encourage students from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue STEM majors. BC alumni currently attending each of the respective campuses greeted the EOPS and MESA students. They provided personal tours and highlighted STEM facilities, majors, support services such as EOP and MESA, and shared their respective experience as transfer students.

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At UC Davis, BC alumni, Emily Schoenborn shared her experience as a transfer student and provided helpful tips to help prepare students for the UC application process as well as the transition. During the visit to UC Berkeley, BC Alumni, Colton Nichelson and Janell Orazco welcomed our EOPS/MESA students and provided a personalized campus tour, shared the benefits of being a student at UC Berkeley, and challenged their peers to go beyond their comfort zone. The final excursion stop was at San Jose State University where BC Alumni, Jose Sanchez, dedicated his Sunday morning to highlight his campus and provided insight on the transfer process as well as the importance of internships. As the students made their way back to the parking lot, BC Alumni, Vu Nguyen and Andrea Hernandez, spotted our BC students. They also briefly, shared their experience in relocating and preparing for transfer. Students who attended the trip were appreciative of the experience and returned highly motivated and encouraged. Special thanks to EOPS and MESA staff for coordinating this successful educational trip.

EOPS Priority Registration Festival

 

The EOPS department conducted their Registration Festival during first day priority registration on April 4th from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Prior to this day, pre-registration workshops were conducted to provide additional assistance on course registration planning to students. The majority of the students served under the EOPS, CARE, and CalWORKs programs were prepared to register since they already had their courses mapped out on their Comprehensive Student Educational Plan, which is closely monitored and updated by the EOPS Faculty Counselors during each of their three counseling contacts requirement.

There was a constant flow of students from the beginning through the end of the Registration Festival. Although many of their students were prepared to register on their own, the Registration Festival was offered to EOPS students wanting help with registration from counselors and peer mentors.

Seen on Media both social and traditional

Our Chamber Singers received an extra special surprise when the 1965 BC Choir came out to surprise them with a donation to their Australia Tour.

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Our faculty are the best — check out the video snippet of Olivia Garcia being interviewd

I saw Olivia Garcia, History Faculty quoted in a news coverage on KERO. Always great to see our faculty contributing to the community.

Gadfly Cafe

Professor of Philosophy, Reggie Williams hosted the Gadfly Café with the topic, “What is beauty?”

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The hour long, round table discussion was packed with students, faculty and staff from all ages and backgrounds with most not afraid to voice their opinions when called on.

Reggie opened of the conversation with a question: “What is beauty and what does it mean to you?”  Thank you Reggie for providing these enriching opportunities for discussion and exploration.

Spring Fling

The postponed Spring fling Carnival was well worth the wait. You may remember it was postponed because of the beautiful rain we had a few weeks ago. It was great to see Renegades and their families come out for the carnival fun.

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Central California World Language Project

Last Saturday, April 11 was the last CCWLP workshop for this academic year.  Central California World Language Project offers this program to the foreign language teachers of Kern County to assist them in keeping current in their field.  This academic year, we had 58 participants. Bakersfield College is proud to be the host institution for this project.

CCWLP Group Photo

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Celebrating Pam Boyles

Professor Pam Boyles was inducted into the North High Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 7, 2018.  It was a great event and I wish I got the video of Pam’s speech from Andrea to publish it on my blog.  Pam’s remarks were from the heart and recognized various coaches who had shaped her life include Coach Pam Kelley.

There was a “Pam Fan Club” group from BC that sat together at the event to celebrate this amazing woman…a great athlete, a great teacher, a great leader,….and an amazing grandma 🙂

Let’s read about Pam (Ash) Boyles, North High class of 1983.  Love the pitcture!

Pam Ash Boyles Class of 1983

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Sandi, Andrea, Keith

Sandi Taylor, Andrea Thorson, Keith Ford

Ann Tatum, Sonya Christian, Pam Boyles, Kate Pluta April 7 2018

Ann Tatum, Sonya Christian, Pam Boyles, Kate Pluta

Coach Casey Goodman putting BC Softball on the map

BC Softball April 12 2018

It was a treat heading to our softball game against Alan Hancock. BC won 5-1 and it was a delight waking up in the morning and seeing Jon Mettus’ article header BC Softball cements dominance at top of Conference. Yes!  Check out the article here https://tinyurl.com/y7f572yu

The BC College community came out in full force to support the team including Trustee Romeo Agbalog whom you see in the picture below.  We had the KCCD Board of Trustees meeting on campus earlier in the day and President of the Board, Trustee Kay Meek, congratulated the Softball Team.

I stayed for two innings and then headed out and ran into Pam Boyles and Robert Boyles heading in to support our students.  And then ran into Coach Scott Damron (Womens Soccer) and Coach Vayron Martinez (Mens Soccer) heading in.  I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever!

Trustee Romeo Agbalog watching BC softball

Saidee Banuelos slides into home safety Photo by Rod Thornburg TBC

Coach Paula Dahl, Sandi Taylor, Keith Ford, Sonya Christian April 28 2018

Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference

The Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference is this Thursday, April 19th at the Rabobank Arena.  Buy your tickets today http://bakersfieldwomen.org/

The Bakersfield Women's Business Conference April 19 2018

Norma Rojas Mora and I were on Univision promoting the conference.  Here is a photo of us with Ofelia Aguirre.

Ofelia Aguirre, Sonya Christian, Norma Rojas Mora April 14 2018

The Powers of our Pets

Neo Jan 12 2018My life changed forever in an amazing way the day I adopted Neo. You can check out my first photo posted with him in my blog from November, 2016.

While I was browsing my news feed this week, an article caught my eye titled “Three stories that exemplify the healing power of a pet” on USA Today. I was surprised to see it features BC student, Alex Knaak and his adopted Chihuahua, Loki.

Please comment and share with me any stories you have of your loved pets. I/We would love to read them!

Btw, what did you get your pet on Pets Day, April 11 2018?

 

Sonya Christian April 12 2018

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

 

Watching Dreams Blossom at BC!

Good morning Bakersfield.  The Renegade Red and White Roses have starting blooming in my front yard.  A lot of white and one solitary red.  Saturday, April 7, 2018…a great day to be a Renegade!

Spring flowers April 8 2018

 

Loved seeing Nick Strobel’s discussion on TESS the exoplanet satellite scheduled to be launched and its mind boggling complexity.

Bakersfield College Southwest

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Nick Strobel presenting at College Council

Nick Strobel presenting at College Council

The community has been clamoring for a BC presence in the Southwest.

On Friday, April 6th, College Council met at BC-SouthWest to explore the facility and continue building on our ideas to ramp up class availability and courses for students at this alternative location.

We had a great morning hearing updates from Nick Strobel about BC’s ISER in preparation for our accreditation visit later this year, hearing from Janet Fulks and Khushnur Dadabhoy regarding transfer pathways, and Liz Rozell and Manny Mourtzanos about the upcoming courses being offered at BC SouthWest.

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Dr. Martin Luther King

This Wednesday, America commemorated the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination at a motel room in Memphis, Tennessee. Even though his life was taken at the age of 39, Dr. King’s short life spent fighting for equality in the United States was like a small candle that lit the wicks of millions, inspiring generations that came after him to continue his important work.

Events commemorating Dr. King’s assassination took place across the country on Wednesday, but the march in Memphis attracted thousands of people who marched a mile and a half in his honor. Details about all of the marches can be found in Jenny Jarvie’s article published in the Los Angeles Times.

Registration Rocks (HUGE THANK YOUS)

Registration Rocked once again, but this time at 28 of our local high schools on April 5, 2018. Roughly 3,300 fully matriculated high school seniors were invited to register in just one day.

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Can you imagine the team effort it took to pull this one off?! Let me introduce you to some key people who made it happen. 

Tuesday’s training to prepare the various teams that went out to the high schools was led by Steve Watkin and Ashlea Ward. 

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On Thursday, the teams deployed to the 28 high schools charged and ready to go! Command Central was staffed with three key people to monitor all the activity and incoming needs. Thank you  Michelle Pena, Jennifer Achan, and Steve Watkin.

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Due to the high traffic, by 8:00AM the system glitched and crashed…. but our District Office IT heros, Stephen Kegley and Carl Bowman were on the ball and helped us out immediately.  Huge thank you to our partners in IT at KCCD. Zav even called this the Registration War Room. 

Stephen Kegley and Carl Bowman

Stephen Kegley and Carl Bowman show the server activity on Thursday morning.

At Stockdale High, we were led by our fearless leaders Jonathan Schultz and Josie Gullian. For me, it was a rewarding experience to sit with incoming students and help them firsthand, pick and register for their very first college classes. And while I was assisting students, almost every one of them registered for 15+ units in Fall!

RR at Stockdale HS

The two pictures above are with Scott Odlin principal of Stockdale High School.  He was so proud of his students.  Thank you Scott for letting us work with the Stockdale students.

All of this could not be possible without our superstars at BC, doing what they do each and every day to serve our students and help them on the path to success.

Thank you to our counseling department and the incredible counselors who worked very hard to pull this off.

Barbara Braid for leading group ASEP workshops and triage throughout the week

Jonathan Schultz for leading Stockdale high school outreach and then turning around the next day to meet with more high school students in group appointments

Marisa Marquez for mapping all of the transfer pathways at the institutional level while meeting with students individually

Keri Kennedy for accepting, reviewing, and supporting Kern Promise students in between individual student meetings.  Leading multiple measures 4.0 application

Laurel Mourtzanos for leading an analysis of high demand courses based on student ed plans to help us be strategic in course offerings

Jo Ann Acosta who returned from surgery to process paper problems for students

Julian West and Jonathan Ward for leading African American Mentor Program Open House and getting more high school seniors registered into Umoja and a full load of courses

Victor Diaz, our academic senate Vice President, who is full of life and always brings a positive energy to the center

Shohreh Rahman who leads the international student program, providing a safe home for our students who often travel to Bakersfield without a full support system

Fabiola Johnson who oversees our at-risk and probation work to ensure one bad semester doesn’t take a student off path entirely

Sarah Villasenor who works with our students of concern team and leads communication to keep students on their path

Mark Osea, the fearless department chair who has taken on tech projects, works on the curriculum committee, and collaborates with other departments across campus

New counselors experiencing their first big spring semester registration push and hanging with us like champs: Brynn Schock, Steve Agard, Aneesha Awrey, and Dinorah Castro.

Countless educational advisors for meeting with drop-in students back-to-back: Abe Castillo, Jeff LaForce, Pearl Urena, Josh Shackelford, and others

The outreach ed advisors for leading high school outreach: Manuel, Josie, Pedro, and Debi

EOPS, DSPS, CTE, Title V, Financial Aid, veterans, and athletics counselors and advisors embedded in the departments providing direction and guidance: Angelica, Cynthia, Manuel, Cathy, Jeff, Vanessa, Pam, Dominica, stig, Evette, Lucy, Venessa, Isabel, Diane, and Armando

Our CSUB Transfer counselors who have office hours on campus: Natasha and Alicia

Our Delano counselors and advisors who ensure rural students have the information they need: Jesus, Veronica, Jessica, Jesse, and Elvira

The front desk staff and students for quickly processing check-ins, answering calls: Bernadette Martinez, Luz Mendoza, and Jahnea Palfrey

Guided Pathways in action

Eryn Justice and Jackie Lau gave a well prepared and thoughtful presentation to the Delano Counselors on Concurrent and Dual enrollment as well.

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Jackie Lau and Eryn Justice

Jackie Lau, you are a rock star.  I remember being so inspired by your passion and tireless energy as you volunteered countless hours to Measure J.  Thank you!

THANK YOU TO ALL Bakersfield College experts, including staff, administrators, counselors, advisors, student workers, and everyone who was either assigned to be at a high school, or assisted students with registration this week.

High school staff and students showed a great amount of gratitude for our efforts in continuing to make their transition toward becoming a Renegade a smooth one.

What we do is support our students and what that means is life changing.  This is guided pathways in action.  Thank you!

We are BC!

BC Enrollment Banner (4)And the Registration Rocks started with a massive banner for enrollment hanging off the Center for Student Success! What an exciting time to be at BC!

Shout out to the Renegades who helped pull this massive endeavor off.

Thank you to Dylan Wang, our Graphic Designer and the M&O Team including Corey Garcia, Tim Hernandez, Mitchell Barter, Aaron Kidwell, and Landon Webb.

Open registration begins April 18th.

Photographed below is Dylan Wang and the M&O Staff with the banner!

BC Hackathon

Bakersfield College is gearing up for the second annual Hackathon.  The theme for this year’s Hackathon is Health and Social Justice. Kern County struggles with many public health challenges and health inequities. Community experts will present in various panel formats and workshops on the following topics: air quality, access to quality health care, food insecurity, human trafficking, and public health outreach. Eric Ruiz, a team member from Google who hails from Modesto, will participate and discuss technology and empowerment. Bakersfield Californian investigative reporter Harold Piece will be presenting on how to use research and infographics to educate the public.

Harold Pierce and Trustee Carter

Harold Pierce and Trustee Carter

Much thanks to Harold Pierce also for doing an overview of the event. Check it out here.  Also thanks to Channel 23 Alexa Reye who did a great preview piece click here to see overview.

The agenda and more information can be found at www.bcinnovates.com.  On this website, you can check out a short video, view the rules, FAQs and register.  The Hackathon is for everyone! All academic disciplines are welcome.  Make sure to register online! The first 50 registered participants will get a free T-shirt. Note that the event has a waiting list and plans to accommodate everyone by filling up the slots of those who do not show up. Needless to say, it is a popular event! Voted BCSGA Event of the Year in 2017.

Mataalofa Hubbard with Channel 23 News with Alexa Reye

Mataalofa Hubbard being interviewed by Alexa Reye

The event is being organized by a team of two BCSGA Student Clubs, Student Health Wellness Advisory Committee Club president Mataalofa Hubbard, and STEM Club, president Andrea Lopez with faculty members Sarah Baron, Public Health Science; Eddie Rangel, Computer Science and Oliver Rosales, History and Coordinator, Social Justice Institute Coordinator, as well as, support from Yadira Guerrero, Engineering Program Manager and Career Technology Education too. Thanks also to Elisabeth Sundby and Allison Burch, Librarians from Digital Delano, who created the digital resource, libguide, which is packed with resources by topic areas. A great tool for students, educators and community members. It takes a team effort with strong community support.  We truly appreciate our community partners, volunteers and sponsors who made this possible. See the full list of community sponsors and more at www.bcinnovates.com

Sponsors for Hackathon

Last years Hackathon tshirts

Delano Community Alliance Breakfast

On Tuesday, April 3rd, Bakersfield College-Delano Campus hosted the Delano Community Alliance monthly breakfast. Over 30 guests representing various school districts, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and private businesses were in attendance. Bakersfield College provided a delicious traditional Mexican breakfast for the guests. As the host organization, we had the opportunity to update the group on what is happening at the college.

2018 Delano Community Alliance Breakfast (4)

I began the presentation by thanking the various school partners in attendance for their support, including DJUHSD Superintendent Terri Nuckols and the entire room for supporting Measure J. In doing so, these people helped to ensure that the community of Delano would be better served by BC and I concluded by discussing new programs coming to Delano.

Romeo Agbalog

Romeo Agbalog

KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog also shared words of appreciation for the group. He noted that as a Delano native he is happy to see all of the great things happening in education for the community’s youth. He made sure to give longtime Delano Campus admissions and records technician, Helen Calip, a shout out. He stated that he was her biggest fan.

Abel Guzman proceeded to inform the group about the enrollment growth at BC Delano in recent years. Additionally, he provided data showing that BC Delano students are just as successful, if not more successful, than all students college wide.

Helen Calip and Trustee Agbalog

Helen Calip and Trustee Agbalog

Delano Enrollment Growth

Bill Potter concluded the presentation by unveiling the upcoming Measure J construction projects on the BC Delano Campus. The group was excited to learn about the upcoming Learning Resource Center.

The Delano Community Alliance group is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving needy families in Delano. Bakersfield College is always happy to host the breakfast.

2018 Delano Community Alliance Breakfast (7)

Thank you to the Delano Community Alliance, especially Steven Kinsey, Rosalina Rivera, Linda Hinojosa, Sheryl Alexander, Dorsey Driggs, Maribel Reyna, Matthew Cauthron, Abel Guzman, Dr. Terri Nuckols, and Dave Stebbins.

Terri Nuckol and Liz Rozell

Dr. Terri Nuckols and VP Liz Rozell

Liz Gustavo and Bill

Liz Rozell, Gustavo Enriquez, BIll Potter

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Endee Grijalva and Bill Potter

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Abel Guzman and Scott Spielman, BC supporter

Was happy to see Scott Spielman at the meeting.  Scott is on BC’s Pre Law Advisory committee and has done numerous presentations at the college.

Special Recognition for BC Programs

Career Technical Education (CTE) Vision Board

Career Technical Education (CTE) Vision Board

BC received special recognition of career education programs with outstanding workforce outcomes. Thank you to Van Ton-Quinlivan, Executive Vice Chancellor, Workforce and Digital Futures.

Multiple programs at BC have been named as Strong Workforce Stars because they have outstanding post-college outcomes in employment, earnings gains, and regional living wages, based on Strong Workforce Program LaunchBoard data. Several programs have earned the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Stars recognition because graduates attained one or more of the following thresholds for economic mobility:

  • An increase in earnings by 50% or more
  • Attainment of the regional living wage by 70% or more
  • 90% or more are employed in a job similar to their field of study

Congratulations to all who contribute to student success in the following programs!

BRONZE STARS (attained threshold outcomes on one metric)

  • Automotive Technology: 113% increase in earnings
  • Animal Science: 111% increase in earnings
  • Plant Science: 90% increase in earnings
  • Agriculture Business, Sales and Service: 90% increase in earnings
  • Forestry: 101% increase in earnings
  • Architecture and Architectural Technology: 245% increase in earnings
  • Administration of Justice: 81% increase in earnings
  • Corrections: 73% of students attained the regional living wage
  • Fire Technology: 78% of students attained the regional living wage
  • Culinary Arts: 163% increase in earnings
  • Human Services: 404% increase in earnings

SILVER STARS (attained threshold outcomes on two metrics)

  • Vocational Nursing: 113% increase in earnings and 67% of students attained the regional living wage
  • Electrician Apprenticeship: 59% increase in earnings and 83% of students attained the regional living wage
  • Industrial Technology: Electronics: 76% of students attained the regional living wage and 100%of students are employed in a job similar to their field of study

GOLD STARS (attained threshold outcomes on all three metrics)

  • Radiologic Technology: 329% increase in earnings, 100% of students attained the regional livingwage and 100% of students are employed in a job similar to their field of study
  • Registered Nursing: 226% increase in earnings, 87% of students attained the regional living wage and 97% of students are employed in a job similar to their field of study

One of our data coaches Elisabeth Sundby created the following bar graph to compare the threshold to achieve this award and BC’s actual performance.

Goldstar Programs

Data Coaching

Data Coach's MeetingBC’s completion coaching teams serve students through “high touch” (emails, phone calls, texts, group meetings, faculty classroom announcements) within the Learning and Career Pathways, sometimes called meta-majors. This high touch, proactive coaching of students is dependent upon high tech information to determine WHICH students need WHAT information WHEN. Each completion coaching team has a specified data coach, that may be a faculty, classified or management volunteer, who is trained in getting the information to the completion coaching teams. Data coaches fulfill several functions within the completion coaching communities.  The Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE) provides live, regularly updated data based upon a wide array of variables and demographics, heretofore unavailable simply because their weren’t enough researchers for all the reporting necessary. BC currently has 31 data coaches that receive data training, including FERPA certification, and have a certain knack with data but also have day jobs that intersect closely with students every day.

The data coaches job is actually three-fold. First, the data coach serves as a “data clarifier.”  It is the data coach’s responsibility to help their fellow team members understand the right questions to ask, interpret questions they’re not sure how to ask, and make meaning of data.  Second, the data coach serves as a liaison with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. The data coach communicates and submits data requests to the OIE about the completion coaching community’s information needs, which are developed and fine-tuned in meetings with the rest of the completion team.  Third, the data coach may serve as a “reconnaissance unit.”  In other words, the data coach retrieves information about student populations, which activates the other completion coaches with targeted and individualized communication to students in need of particular messaging. Much of this work is aligned to the communication plan that helps keep students on track and on target to complete their educational goals with regards to expectations, deadlines and other important information.

Data Coaches

The picture shows a data coach meeting where data is being filtered, retrieved and delivered to the completion coaching communities so that we can reach out to students registering beginning April 4. The message reminds them to register, focusing on core classes, in a timely manner while classes are available. The data and the communication helps the institution get the right students, in the right classes, at the right time. High tech guiding and facilitating, high touch!

Bakersfield Life Celebrating BC Faculty

Josh Ottum and Omar March 10 2016

Professor Josh Ottum with a BC Student

Professor Josh Ottum was profiled by Jennifer Olague in Bakersfield Life Magazine last Saturday, talking about his career as a songwriter and creating the Commercial Music program at BC.

After years spent touring across the US and Europe as a musician and having his music featured on television programs such as “Mad Men”, Josh decided to become a music professor and bring out his students’ full musical potential with classes on recording techniques, live performance and songwriting at BC.

I’d like to thank the Californian for profiling Josh and the Commercial Music program, and I’d like to thank Josh for teaching valuable skills to our local musicians.

BC SGA event

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Cynthia Zimmer

Kern County prosecutor Cynthia Zimmer had lunch with BC students on Wednesday and discussed why she wants be the next person in charge of the District Attorney’s office.
BCSGA’s Office of Legislative Affairs hosted Zimmer as part of its Power Lunch series, which has featured prominent local politicians such as Jean Fuller, Vince Fong and KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog.

Zimmer grew up in Coalinga and was the first person in her family of four to graduate college. She credits her time at West Hills Community College as foundational to the rest of her career, which involved graduating from Cal State Bakersfield and Loyola Marymount Law School.

Students at the Power Lunch

Celebrating Renegade Athletics

CCCAA Spring Convention Awards

Last week was an exciting time in Renegade sports as two of our student athletes received awards from the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA). March 27-30th, the CCCAA held their Spring Convention in Concord, CA. They awarded Jasmit Thind with a position on the 2017 Men’s Honor Roll and awarded Aisha Maston with induction into the CCCAA Hall of Fame for Track & Field.

The CCCAA is authorized by State Legislature to establish rules and regulations to administer the athletic activities of CA community college athletics for nearly 25,000 men and women student athletes. Bakersfield College athletics are governed by CCCAA and is one of 18 members of the Western State Conference. You can learn all about Renegade Athletics at gogades.com.

image1I’d like to introduce you to Jasmit Thind. He was placed on the 2017 Men’s Scholar Athlete Honor Roll. CCCAA selects the winners and honor roll members from nominations made by CA Community Colleges. Candidates must have a minimum 3.5 GPA, participate in two seasons of sport at the college, and show outstanding leadership as an athlete, student or in college and/or community activities.

Jasmit, is a two year member of the BC football team with a cumulative 3.95 GPA. He is the Bakersfield College Men’s Athletic Scholar Athlete in 2017, as well as being selected to the California Community College Football Coaches Association All State team. Stig Jantz, Athletic Educational Advisor, accepted the award on his behalf. Congratulations Jasmit! I’m proud to call you a Renegade. See the CCCAA Scholar Athletes.

IMG_0181Now I’d like to introduce you to Aisha Maston, Bakersfield College Track & Field Alumna from ’96-97. Aisha was inducted into the CCCAA Hall of Fame Class of 2018. Aisha led the Renegades to the 1997 women’s track and field championship, holds four BC stadium records and still holds the CCCAA state championship record for most individual points. After Bakersfield College, Aisha earned a scholarship and transferred to the University of Nebraska where she studied and received her baccalaureate degree in psychology.

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Coach Pam Kelley was present for Aisha’s induction, along with her very proud family. Congratulations Aisha!You can read the announcement for the 2018 CCCAA Hall of Fame or see CCCAA Hall of Fame class of 2018.

Renegade Basketball Academy

Girls_BasketballBasketball coach, Paula Dahl enthusiastically shared that the Basketball Academy is starting this weekend for youth aged 10-18.

Various weekends have different areas of focus.

  • April 7- Footwork, agility, balance, creating a quick shot, increase your shooting percentage and post work
  • April 14 – Ball handling, passing, rebounding, seeing the floor and creating on offense
  • April 21 – Defense, defending one-on-one, taking charges, understanding help defense and dealing with screens
  • April 27  the complete game, mental, physical, goal setting, team defense and offense

To register, please email coach Paula at pdahl@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

Loved this video that Coach Dahl posted on Facebook

Parent Institute for Quality Education

The Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) invited Bakersfield College to come speak to their participants at Arvin High School on April 5th. PIQE is a program dedicated to providing families the knowledge and skills to partner with schools and communities to ensure their children achieve their full potential. The parents take part in a nine-week long course that covers topics ranging from four systems of higher education, financial aid, and engaging with high school staff and administrators.

PIQE

Gustavo Enriquez, Jesse Oropeza, and Abel Guzman had the opportunity to speak with the parents for over an hour about all things Bakersfield College related and more. Parents learned about dual and concurrent enrollment opportunities. More importantly they learned that their students can get a head start towards attaining a college education. All three BC representatives shared their own personal journeys as first-generation college students, which resonated with the parents whose children are also all first-generation students.

We’re always happy to connect with students and parents in the community of Arvin!

Renegades Keeping Busy this Summer!

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I love when I hear student success stories and when faculty share their excitement with me. Congratulations to Martha D. who was accepted to The University of Virginia to do freshwater research this summer. This program is through the National Science Foundation and will last 11 weeks.  We have a fabulous science faculty.  #WeAreBC

Jimmy Santiago Baca

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Vidal Herrera (left) and Jimmy Santiago Baca answer questions in the Levan Center.

The Levan Center kicked off April’s National Poetry Month with a presentation by Jimmy Santiago Baca, who told the story of how he overcame being abandoned by his parents at the age of two and teaching himself to read and write in prison on the path to becoming one of America’s most celebrated Chicano poets.

Baca, who grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, won the National Book Award for poetry in 1987 for his semi-autobiographical anthology “Martin & Meditations on the South Valley”. He also wrote the screenplay for the 1993 film “Blood In, Blood Out” starring Benjamin Bratt and featuring performances by Billy Bob Thornton and Danny Trejo.
Baca continues to be inspired by the struggles of other Chicanos and Mexican-Americans in his writing. Baca recited one of his poems about a hate crime he witnessed against a Mexican in his neighborhood, and he told the story of how he was able to keep a family from being deported on a train he was taking to Los Angeles for a film production by calling Michael Eisner, Disney’s CEO at the time, and putting him on the phone with immigration authorities.

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Baca also invited Vidal Herrera, the subject of an upcoming book he’s writing, to talk about being one of the first Chicano forensic crime scene investigators in America, getting famous from designing the iconic “Welcome to East Los Angeles” poster, and reconnecting with his father after 60 years to put together the missing puzzle pieces of his family’s history.

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Baca has 28 books in 31 languages, and he believes that all of them are still in print because he strives to portray the authentic experiences of real people through his writing. “My love for you is why I’m still here,” Baca said.

See all the photos at BC’s SmugMug.

“Lady Leaders” program by faculty of WHAM

Activist women from across the political spectrum came together at the Levan Center on Thursday night to talk about how they work every day to create the change they’d like to see in the world. This event was the last thing planned for BC’s Women’s History Month programming organized by Roza Garza, Olivia Garcia and the Women’s History and More (WHAM) committee. BC history professor Erin Miller moderated the event, which featured a short presentation by each of the three speakers and a question-and-answer portion from the audience.

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Cathy Abernathy

Cathy Abernathy has worked on Republican election campaigns for over 30 years, starting with the congressional office of Gerald Ford, who was the Speaker of the House before becoming president after Richard Nixon’s resignation. She was the Chief of Staff for Bill Thomas during his time in Congress, and she’s worked on several Republican political campaigns in the California legislature. Aberathy, who is now a frequent political commentator for several local news stations, found working on election campaigns to be the most rewarding part of her career.
“In politics, you really know whether or not you accomplished something by the end of the campaign,” she said.

i-r27jc9h-x2Jessica Flores started volunteering for non-profit causes at a young age, and as she learned more about the struggles that women, people of color and other marginalized groups face in the United States and around the world, she felt a calling to dedicate her life to raising awareness of those struggles. As a progressive political activist, Flores often feels daunted by the magnitude of work that needs to be done in order to enact change, she continues to organize and participate in marches, write letters to politicians and do anything in her power to raise awareness of the issues important to her. “Whatever small way you can contribute, do so, because the revolution needs you,” Flores said.

i-jr9zvtn-x2Kimberly Kirchmer grew up in a religious household and attended a Mennonite college in the Midwest, where she was inspired by the compassion of pacifist Christians to pursue a life of advocating for women’s rights causes. A survivor of sexual assault, Kirchmer organized several local productions of the Vagina Monologues in Bakersfield shortly after moving her 13 years ago. She is also President of the Democratic Women of Kern and organized the 2018 Kern County Women’s March, which brought together over 5,000 people and 50 speakers to march for equality.  Kirchmer offered a similar message to Flores, pleading for those who want to make an impact on the world around them to go ahead and do it.

Special thank you to the WHAM committee for organizing this event and all of the Women’s History Month programming and thank you to our guests for taking the time to inspire our students.

Andrew Kamiti

Andrew Kamiti shares his artistic processThanks to the generous support of the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities, anthropology professor Krista Moreland was able to bring renown Kenyan artist Andrew Kamiti to Bakersfield College’s Indoor Theater on April 5th.

She’s hoping to bring more guest speakers to campus in the future, making BC a local and global nexus. Andrew paints and draws Kenya’s flora and fauna, using art to bring awareness to these beautiful and endangered plants and animals. BC students and members of the community  came out to see this self-taught artist, and it was a wonderful night! Before the presentation, the Spanish club and their advisor Prof. Martiza  Salgueiro-Carlisle hosted a pizza party for Andrew.

Andrew and BC student Myshjuan Williams

Andrew Kamiti and Renegade, Myshjuan Williams

This cultural exchange was a great experiences for BC students,  who shared American and Mexican culture with Andrew, and asked him questions about the tribes and cultures of Kenya. There was a lot of laughing, lot of eating, and a lot of about family, school, food, and travel.  The BC students who wish to visit Africa had lots of questions for Andrew.  BC faculty were also at this multicultural event, including Sarah Palasch, David Neville, and Gilbert Ayuk. It’s great to see students and faculty together outside of the classroom!

Andrew Kamiti Spanish club

In his presentation Andrew transported the audience to Kenya through images, videos, and personal stories. His passion for Kenya’s wildlife could be seen in his art and heard in his voice as he shared stories about his homeland. He knows his art subjects so well, like Judy the Chimp and Imani the cheetah. His favorites is Scarface the lion, who he feels  represents the spirit of Kenya as he experienced many hardships before finding peace within the pride he shares with his brother Earless. One of Andrew’s favorites things about Kenya today is that it’s such a peaceful place to live, the hardships endured before Kenya’s independence are now a faded memory. He couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. He shared the beauty of Kenya through discussing the National Parks he regularly visits, and his current goal of drawing all the big cats at Maasai Mara National Park.

The audience learned about the natural wonders of Kenya, and by the end everyone was discussing which was their favorite animal. Andrew also discussed his artistic process, highlighted with slides that showed photographs of animals along with the stages of the drawings of those animals.  The audience was able to see how fragile Kenya’s beauty is when Andrew shared photos of Sudan, the last male Northern white rhino, whose recent passing marks the end of his species. It was an entertaining and enlightening presentation that ended with many interesting questions from the audience on the technical aspects of his work, including what media and paper he uses, how he photographs dangerous animals, how he chooses his subjects, and which animals are the most difficult to draw.

The best question of the night came from Prof. David Neville’s young daughter (and aspiring artist), who asked ‘How do you feel when you’re drawing?’ Andrew gave a big smile as he answered, ‘Happy. I feel happy when I draw’.

Here is a photo of them. Can you see why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

Andrew Kamiti and David Neville's daughter

David Neville’s daughter and Andrew Kamiti

Renegade Art Show

Art Professor, Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio and his students hold an art show each spring. This beautiful display is put on by the drawing and advanced drawing classes in front of the Fine Arts building. Enjoy these beautiful pictures.  

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

 

Fun Photos

On Thursday, Sue Vaughn was spotted in the Welcome Center assisting students with registering for classes. #WeareBC!

Sue Vaughn in the Welcome Center

Sue Vaughn in the Welcome Center

I also snapped this photo of the Executive Office Staff. These women are smart, hard working, and so beautiful.

BC's Executive Office Staff Somaly, Tarina, Jennifer, June and Wendy

BC’s Executive Office Staff Somaly, Tarina, Jennifer, June and Wendy

Attended the KCCD Leadership Academy graduation on Friday before I rushed off the Delano.  Here is the group picture of the graduates thanks to John Hart and then I snapped this picture of Genevieve Graber who makes all this happen.

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Genevieve Graber April 6 2018

Liz Rozell and I had a great time making plans for an Early College Program with DJUHSD Superintendent Terri Nuckols.  The energy on the room was great even though it was Friday afternoon after a long week.  I snapped this picture.

Terri Nuckol, Liz Rozell, Matt Carter, Jason Garcia April 6 2018.jpg

Renegade Pantry

ABC23 spotlighted the Renegade Pantry this week, a student assistance program that exists to help maintain the health and welfare of students through organized college, community sponsorship, and donations of nonperishable food, clothing and hygiene items. Special thank you to Tori Cooper for visiting campus to see what we do firsthand.

View the clip here:  https://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/kern-county-institutions-help-battle-food-insecurity 

Renegade Talks are back

See you at the Indoor Theater on March 10th.  Thank you Andrea Thorson and Todd Coston.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2142196916023725/

 

April 7 2018 Sonya Christian and Neo

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Celebrating MLK & Spring Kickoff

Good morning Bakersfield…it is Saturday, January 20, 2018 and a great day to be a Renegade.

Steve Watkin leading the MLK event Jan 15 2018The week started on Martin Luther King day with the campus closed and Bakersfield coming together at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center on South Owens for a morning of honoring Reverend King.  The emcee for the event was our very own Steve Watkin or Pastor Steve Watkin as he was introduced.  Steve did a great job keeping the program moving along.  Watching Steve in this leadership role in our community made all of us at BC very proud.  And there were many of us there that Monday morning….two tables full of faculty, staff and students.  #WeAreBC

Martin Luther King Jr.

Nationwide, we remembered the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, which is why the Spring 2018 semester started on a Tuesday. Dr. King’s civil rights activism laid the groundwork for realizing the voting rights of millions of people, opened the way to the promise of American democracy. In this work he saw education as the key to helping people understand shared struggles, and developing empathy for struggles that are not shared.

BC Gang MLK event Jan 15 2018

In his essay “The Purpose of Education,” Dr. King wrote,

The function of education… is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals.

As we look back on Dr. King this week, we should reflect on the responsibility we have as educators to ensure that we’re not leaving any of our students behind in providing a quality education for all, regardless of ethnic background, socioeconomic status or political affiliation. We can’t grow complacent and say that the work we’ve done so far is good enough—we must push forward and continue to find where we’re falling short of advancing BC’s educational mission of BC to everyone with the drive to be successful and achieve their dreams.

Mayor Karen Goh with Sonya Christian and BC gang MLK event

Debra Strong, Paula Parks, Mayor Karen Goh, Gilbert Ayuk, Sonya Christian, Julian West, June Charles, Kim Evanson

I was honored to attend the annual MLK Community Awards Breakfast which recognizes prominent African American leaders for their achievements. I was so glad to see this picture by Felix Amado of The Bakersfield Californian on the front of Tuesdays paper.

TBC with Steve Watkin

It was so much fun catching us with friends and colleagues in the community.  Here I am with Assembly Member Rudy Salas and the two vice presidents, Zav Dadabhoy and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg.

I was sitting next to June Charles and the event and we had a great time enjoying the emceeing of Steven Watkin and the many honorees.  I was delighted to run into my daughter’s high school friend Roopa Raman.

Here are the Umoja students Kim Evanson and Jordan Taylor with their faculty Paula Parks and Jonathan Ward.  When Jordan told me he was transferring to CSUB, I walked him over to meet President Horace Mitchell.

At this year’s breakfast, those being honored included Horace Mitchell, retiring president of Cal State Bakersfield; Essie Davis, retired high school vice principal; Odella Johnson,  retired Bakersfield College administrator; Lisa Green, the departing Kern County District Attorney; Ramon Hendrix, superintendent of the Greenfield Union School District; Harry “Doc” Ervin, the superintendent of the Bakersfield City School District; Darryl Johnson, director of human resources at Panama-Buena Vista Union School District; Karyn Bostick, dance director at The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center; and Bakari Sanyu, who has spent 20 years as a volunteer tutor at the MLK Community Center.

Sonya Christian, Odella Johnson, Valerie Robinson

In his remarks, Dr. Horace Mitchell quoted Dr. King… “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Keynote speaker, Chief Lyle Martin shared that we need to be “constructively kind” and that tough love with high expectations is the way to success. This made me think of our completion coaching communities and their coaches at Bakersfield College who work tirelessly to inspire and keep our students on the path to graduation and beyond.

BC was well represented at the event and I loved seeing our UMOJA students there with Dr. Paula Parks.

Umoja Students

Back row- Professor Jonathan Ward,  Mr. Julian West, and Professor Gilbert Ayuk Front row – Dr. Paula Parks, Dr. Sonya Christian, and Umoja students Kim Evans and Jordan Thomas

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Welcome to Spring Semester 2018!

The BC campus came back to life this week, as students returned to school on Tuesday to start classes for the Spring 2018 semester.

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Debi Anderson from Outreach hosting a Welcome Tent

The Welcome Center and Counseling area were busy with students trying to register into classes at the last minute, and students were lined up in the bookstore to get their materials for the semester.

The Office of Student Life gave away hot cocoa and cookies in front of the Campus Center, and staff held court outside of the Administration building, helping new students find their classes in the fog. The start of the semester is always a busy time, but we all look forward to helping our students leap forward into their educational future.

Mentalist Richard Aimes gave a presentation to students on Wednesday in the cafeteria, and the Office of Student Life aired a movie on Thursday in the Fireside Room. Next week, the festivities only get bigger with our Spring Involvement festival, jousting in the center of campus, our Tunes and Tie Dye event and a comedy show by Steve Hofstettler, so come on out and help us in our goal of “Conquering the Road Ahead”, the motto for our Spring 2018 Welcome Week. Photos from this week are available at BC’s Smugmug.

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Students at the Welcome Center

Dolores O’Riordan

Irish singer Dolores O’Riordan of ’90s group The Cranberries passed away in London on Monday at the age of 46.

The Cranberries–known primarily for the song “Zombie”, which was about a Irish Republican Army terrorist bombing during The Troubles conflict in 1993–reached the Billboard Top 20 with four of their albums before disbanding in 2003, according to an article by The New York Times Christine Hauser. O’Riordan’s publicist did not specify the cause of death, but it’s not currently being treated as suspicious.

Writing about O’Riordan, Hauser said that “her unmistakable Irish accent and the Celtic inflection of her melodies gave her singing a plaintive individuality and a flinty core.”

I love the song Zombie …. here they are performing on the David Letterman show.

Sweet Treat Delivery

The President’s Office had a surprise visit on Wednesday from Chef Alex Gomez and his Advanced Food Practicum B55E students, Joshua Crews, Tammy Brannon, Alma Herrera, Lora Penaloza, and Ana Mendez. Josh prepared chocolate brownies with peanut butter frosting topped with popcorn and pretzel. They were delicious. The class that Chef Gomez was teaching is Advanced Food Practicum B55E

Chef Alex Gomez and Students

Joshua Crews, Tammy Brannon, Alma Herrera, Lora Penaloza, and Ana Mendez with Chef Alex Gomez

I brought a piece back from my mom who loved it and wanted more.  When i told her that this was part of the culinary program and not a regular item in our cafeteria, mom responded..well aren’t you president…. 🙂

GET Bus Report to the Community

Golden Empire Transit (GET), Bakersfield’s bus system, highlighted BC student Ian Kennedy in its 2017 Report to the Community newsletter. Ian, who is legally blind, rides the GET bus to BC every day to pursue a degree in music. His service dog Dominic helps him navigate his bus routes and get around the campus. Ian has aspirations of being a vocal coach after earning his associate’s degree. “Being able to travel independently is important and GET makes that possible”, Kennedy said. “GET brings me closer to my goals.”

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Thank you to our friends at the GET Bus for highlighting Ian and providing transportation for all of our 31,000 students. Without GET, many of our students would be unable to make it to class every day

eLumen Training

On top of all the activity going on during Welcome Week, Bill Moseley and the Academic Technology Department held several workshops training faculty on eLumen, the new Curricular and Assessment software we’re rolling out for Spring 2018.

We also invited over 100 adjunct faculty — from first-semester adjuncts to a 24-year veteran instructor — to eat together and learn about all of the exciting new developments on the campus.

Renegade Basketball

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Renegade Basketball

On Wednesday night, the Renegades women’s basketball team opened conference play by beating Los Angeles Pierce College by 40 points at home. The Renegades forced 35 turnovers using a 1-3-1 half-court trap defense, and Octavia Croney scored 21 points in 23 minutes on the field to lead the Renegades to a much needed win after starting 7-11 for the season, according to an article by the Bakersfield Californian’s Jon Mettus.

The Renegades open their competition in the Western State-South Conference of the CCCAA tied with West LA College, and they enter into tonight’s game against College of the Canyons with a two-game winning streak. A full season schedule for the women’s basketball team is available at GoGades.com.

Familiar Faces in Bakersfield

This week, I had the chance to meet with Dr. Jeet Singh and the fabulous Michael Bowers.  Dr. Singh is a remarkable man and co-owner of the Bakersfield Heart Hospital. This Bakersfield Californian article from 2016 shares that at the time Dr. Singh had performed the TAVR, an alternative to open heart surgery at Cedars-Sinai, but will now also be offering it in Bakersfield. “It’s a good moment for Kern County” he said, as quoted in the article.

Dr.Singh and Michael Bowers

And Michael Bowers is a fantastic friend and supporter of Bakersfield College. He is a field representative for Andy Vidak and was instrumental with his endless support in helping with the Measure J campaign at BC.

Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Board Installation and Awards Luncheon

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Carla Musser at the Luncheon Photo by April & Co.

Celebrating the past accomplishments and looking forward to new opportunities was the theme of the Chamber’s 2018 Board Installation & Awards Luncheon on Jan. 11, 2018. More than 300 people attended. The event served as the installation of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, including Carla Musser, of Chevron, as the 2018 Chairwoman of the Board. Carla is actively involved in the community and serves on several boards in Bakersfield. She is the Manager of Policy, Government, and Public Affairs for Chevron and is responsible for communications and community engagement function for major global upstream business unit covering exploration and production activities California. Carla and Chevron are great supporters of Bakersfield College and I’m so proud she is the Chamber’s new Chairwoman of the Board for 2018.

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April & Co. has provided photos from the event.  They are available here.  One of my favorites features BC’s own Mary Jo Pasek with Michael Chertok and Nancy Pollard.

Michael Chertok, Mary Jo Pasek, and Nancy Pollard

Michael Chertok, Mary Jo Pasek, and Nancy Pollard. Photo by April & Co

I was photographed with Carla during our Sterling Silver in 2016 – check the photo on my blog post here.

College Council

On Friday, Abel Guzman, Faculty Chris Cruz-Boone, and counselor Jesse Oropeza presented to College Council on Rural Initiatives. College Council is a collegial, consultative, oversight body designed to serve the good of the College. The group facilitates timely, factual, and clear communication between constituents and the President. It provides recommendations to the President on college-wide matters.

Choir and Chamber Singers Rehearsing at BC

I love to see the activities at BC that just never stop, and our talented performing arts students are so inspiring. Here is a post from Dr. Jen Garrett — she says “There’s some seriously good Choral music happening in Bakersfield”  It’s true.  If you haven’t been to a concert recently, keep your eyes on BakersfieldCollege.edu for details on the upcoming shows.

Chamber Singers

Talking about the choir, this week we had our second meeting with Trustee Kyle Carter who is spearheading the fundraising for the dollars that are needed to send our students to Australia to perform at the Sydney Opera House.  Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg was there and snapped this picture.

Concert fo Choir Trip to Australia March 10 2018

Mark your calendars for March 10, 2018.  Two celebrities in our area have stepped up to help the choir –Lydia Ranger and Monty Byrum.

Here is Lydia Ranger singing the national anthem at a Lakers game

Here is Monty Byrom singing with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra

We are trying to sell two shows of 251 tickets each.

And here is a great video put together by Mason Edwards and other students wishing Jennifer Garrett happy birthday.  It is awesome!

On Friday I presented on Guided Pathways to the North Orange Community College District.  Here I am with the Chancellor and two presidents or North Orange.  And Amita Suhrid who organized the event.

Greg Schultz, Joanna Schilling, Sonya Christian, Cheryl Marshall, Amita Suhrid

President Greg Schultz, President Joanna Schilling, President Sonya Christian, Chancellor Cheryl Marshall, Amita Suhrid

I remembered my friend Dr. Ken Meehan, a great researcher from Fullerton College, who passed away several years ago.  Here is a photo with Ken on May 7, 2005.

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And Neo turned 10 months old on Jan 17, 2018.  He is 78 pounds

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Sonya Christian Jan 12 2018 San Jose cropped

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

The Renegade Experience is Incredible

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:

Lesley Bonds March 24 2017 Umoja Recruitment Event

Faculty Chairs and Assessment Team attending a webinar

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Completion Coaching Communities Workshop

Lesley Bonds March 23 2017 Completion Coaching Communities

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.

Photo Collage AAMP Open House March 23 2017

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:

Core Value of Community

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

Lesley Bonds March 23 2017 on Julian West

Public Health Hackathon

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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.

Thank you Mayor Goh for all you do to support our community and especially education.

hackathon 2nd place

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.

Mayor Karen Goh at Public Health Hackathon March 2017.jpg

Photo 2 Public Health Hackathon.jpg

More photos were taken by Cara Jackson and are available on Smugmug.

Also check out Mayor Karen Goh’s Facebook posts for more photos: http://tinyurl.com/mf5ajcs

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.

Asha Chandy taking Bruce for a walk on campus March 24 2017

Thank you sponsors of the Public Health Hackathon #bcinnovates

Sponsors for Hackathon.jpg

Here are the different articles about this amazing event:

The Bakersfield Californian – Harold Pierce – February 17th  http://tinyurl.com/lt968u8

The Bakersfield Californian Article – Harold Pierce – Sunday March 19th  http://tinyurl.com/m2yo5g9

Building Health Communities  http://tinyurl.com/l687kqn

Valley Public Radio – Kerry Klein
http://kvpr.org/post/bakersfield-college-hackathon-brings-health-advocates-together

BC Social Justice Institute hosts “Real Boy” film screening & discussion

Real Boy SponsorThe 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.

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Oliver Rosales

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

Julie Fry community voices

PuebloFest

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.

IMG_2211Student 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.

IMG_2204It 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.

Sonya Christian at Pueblo Fest March 19 2017

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.

Arnoldo Avalos at Pueblo Fest March 2017

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.

MESA STEM STUDENTS (1)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!

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