Tag Archives: June Charles

BC… Raising the Bar

Jingle Bells. BC at BSO Dec 6 2019
Sleigh Ride BSO Dec 6 2019
Both photos snapped while walking Neo on Dec 21, 2019

Merry Christmas

Started this week’s blog with Christmas music from the BSO-BC Home for the Holidays concert. Featured below is the fun version of Twelve Days of Christmas performed by our new Mens Choir. See if you can spot some of our faculty and staff and in the video. Going left to right: Nicky Damania, Chris Glaser, Nick Strobel.

Celebrating our BC Foster Youth through the NextUp Program!

NextUp, a Foster Youth Support Program housed within EOPS, had an end-of-the-year celebration this past Tuesday.

Fun Photos: UMOJA Recognizes June Charles

June Charles being recognized by the Umoja Program. Thank you Andrea Thorson for the photos.

Fun Photos from the December KCCD Board meeting

Snapped some fun pictures at the Dec KCCD Board meeting. Was great seeing Bill Henry who was recognized by the Board for his tenure at KCCD. Also,Gary Moser and KCCD received an award from Ellucian for the innovative work we are doing statewide. Finally both Romeo Agbalog and Kyle Carter were recognized by KCSOS.

Sandi Taylor was recognized as Manager of the Month by Manny Mourtzanos this past week. Congrats Sandi! You deserve it!

Manny Mourtzanos and Sandi Taylor

Annual Culinary and Caroling Dinner

Topping Out Party

Steve Anderson, Bill Potter, Sonya Christian

On Friday, S.C. Anderson held it’s “topping out” party for the new Campus Center building.  I joined our very own Bill Potter, Tamara Baker, Zav Dadabhoy, Billie Jo Rice, Nicky Damania, and Pam Kelley, along with KCCD Project Manager Nick Hernandez to celebrate this occasion. 

Kurt Hettinger of S.L. Shaw Company, Inc. sent this great explanation of the tradition:

Atop the rust-and-grey steel, a white beam sprouts a green tree from another era.

The “topping out” of a steel framed building with an evergreen tree is an ironworker tradition that originated centuries ago by Scandinavians who believed that gods lived in trees. The evergreen branch is a remnant of a time when builders thought they had to appease the gods whose trees they felled for construction.

Early Scandinavians would place the top-most  branches of trees that were cut for lumber atop their completed buildings. They believed this prevented incurring the wrath of both the tree gods and the souls of men, since man’s soul was believed to originate in trees and return to them.

To live amiably among the tree gods, these early builders accompanied the topping out with festivity and ceremony, culminating with the pouring of wine at the foot of the building. With this, they thought the building and its occupants would gain good luck since no tree god would wreck vengeance on so devout a believer.

Except for the presence of alcohol on a worksite, the topping out practice remains common in the United States, where the last beam of a significant building is painted and signed by all the workers involved. Then a living tree, or at least leafy branch, is placed on the beam, often with flags and banners tied to it. S.L. Shaw, like any red-blooded company, proudly flies the stars-and-stripes on the final beam every time too.

S.L. Shaw Company is proud to continue this tradition, and is proud to have partnered with SC Anderson and Mechanical Industries for the erection of this noteworthy project.

Congratulations on a job well done!

Kurt Hettinger

S.L. Shaw Company, Inc.

I would like to thank S.L. Shaw Company, Inc. SC Anderson and Mechanical Industries for including us in this unique tradition. Specifically, thank you to project manager Bill Campe of SC Anderson, Lee Shaw and Kurt Hettinger of S.L. Shaw, Bob Varner of Ordiz Melby Architects, as well as crane operator Trent Gardener, Nestor and Jose Ramirez for all of their hard work. I cannot wait to see the finished product next December!

You can see more photos from the event on Bakersfield College’s Smug Mug or the A Better BC Facebook page.

Army vs. Navy Football Game

Paul Beckworth hosted the annual Army vs. Navy football game between the Army Black Knights of the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York, and the Navy Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy (USNA) at Annapolis, Maryland. Check out the pictures!

This game brings out the best rivalries at our campus, and it was a joy to be a part of it! Congrats to the Navy on their well-earned win (sorry Tommy Tunson!)!

Steve Holmes playing middle man between Paul Beckworth (Nacy) and Tommy Tunson (Army)
Tony Cordova (Navy), Tommy Tunson (Army) and Paul Beckworth (Navy)

The Southern San Joaquin Valley Cal-SOAP Consortium held a Winter Training Series!

BC’s California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP) staff attended a two-day winter staff development series, which was geared towards preparation for the Cal-SOAP work with high school seniors for the spring semester. Tpoics included the Common Application by Nora Dominguez of University of LaVerne, Naviance Career Inventory by Christy Fraley of Kern High School District.

Cal-SOAP is a statewide program designed to increase the number of students attending college. The program serves students who are from low-income families, will be the first in their family to attend college, or are from areas or schools with low-eligibility or college-going rates. Cal-SOAP was established by the state legislature in 1978 and today operates in 14 locations throughout the state. Cal-SOAP is funded and administered by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC).

Tour of the New Veterans Resource Center

If you weren’t able to join us for the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center ribbon cutting on December 10, have no fear! Take a tour of the new facility through the camera lens! 

You can also see the astounding photos that Max Becherer donated to the new VRC. They’re incredibly powerful.

To San Antonio, Christmas 1977

A beautiful Jack Hernandez poem.

PB&J During Finals Week

Thank you BCSGA for providing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches during finals week.

Thank you to the Office of Student Life, BCSGA, and the Renegade Pantry.

Christmas Tree Recycling

This year, we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of our Christmas tree recycling partnership with the City of Bakersfield. Stop by the southwest parking lot on the  corner of University and Haley to drop your Christmas tree off between December 25 and January 17.

 Image courtesy of KBAK 29/58

If the Panorama Campus is too far to bring your tree, you can drop it off at the Kern County Fairgrounds, the Shafter/Wasco landfill, or any number of locations throughout Kern County. Stacey Shepard of the Bakersfield Californian put together a convenient list of all the Christmas tree recycling locations in our area. 

If you live in the Metro Bakersfield area, you can also place Christmas trees into your green waste container as long as the tree is cut into small pieces and the container lid is able to close completely.

M&O Never Sleeps!

The Maintenance & Operations department has been busy over the winter recess making sure that our campus is beautiful for our return in January! They’ve been replacing the flooring in the FACE building west wing and CDC classrooms.  Instructors in the Humanities building will have new stations when they return, and the Delano campus will have new lighting! Thank you to our entire M&O team for continually working hard to make our campuses beautiful and kept to the highest standards for our students.  We appreciate you! 

Measure J: Preparing for New Science & Engineering Building

Over winter break contractors are putting up the construction fence for the upcoming Measure J funded Science & Engineering building.  This new three-story facility will house offices, labs and classrooms for BC’s Science & Engineering department. The 68,300 square foot building has a program value of $65 million and is scheduled to be completed in September 2021.  Mark your calendars for the groundbreaking ceremony to be held on February 4th!   

Fun Photos from the BC Behavioral Science Elves

BC’s Behavioral Science faculty including David Riess, David Rohac, and Jordan Rude wish all their colleagues, friends, students, and president happy holidays!

‘Tis the Season for Giving—

The CARE and CalWORKs parent programs hosted their annual holiday celebration at Rollerama last Friday, a true family friendly affair! Student accomplishments were celebrated along with their children as they skated, enjoyed a meal together, and took family pictures with Santa Claus upon receiving the children’s Christmas gifts from the “Adopt a Family” project.

All the families with a total of 130 children were adopted by our generous BC faculty, staff, and community partners. A big “THANK YOU” for purchasing dinner at our Chipotle fundraiser, providing donations and/or going out of your way to purchase presents for the children! A special acknowledgement goes to Juan Estrada who adopted 12 families!!  I am beyond proud to be the President of such a giving and generous college! 

Fun Photos: Holiday Gifts

Check out the decorations on the cookies from the Grimm Family Ed Foundation.

Pressed flower cookies from Grimm Family Education Foundation

Student Employee Testimonial

Ramon Carriedo says..

Ramon Carriedo

Going to college and having a job can be hard. Balancing work and study is not easy, especially for a full-time student like myself. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to be a student employee here at BC, which helps me stay focused on school while earning a paycheck at the same time.

Being a student employee has taught me a lot of skills that can only benefit me in the future. Plus, I get to see all the hard work done behind the scenes to keep the school successful.

In the Marketing Department, I work alongside writers, photographers, graphic designers, web content editors, and leaders. Working around all of these specialists is an amazing opportunity to gather knowledge, which is my favorite part. When I first started working here, I had no clue on how to make documents accessible or work with graphic design. With no experience covering an event, Earl Parsons walked me through the basics of how to take notes and catch a reader’s eye with my writing. He also taught me how to use a digital camera and find the best angles.

My favorite memory of working here had to be the day that I walked in and Monika Scott asked me if I would be willing to help the team present in front of all the new staff. When I asked Monika when this meeting was going to happen, she replied that it was in the next 15 minutes. I instantly started studying the slides, and I walked into the meeting room feeling extremely confident. But when it was my turn to present, everything I thought I was going to say flew right out the window. I started stuttering and I felt frozen.

After the presentation, Monika let me know that this was a great learning experience, and in the future, jobs will ask me to present on short notice. The more practice you get at it, the better you become – just one of the many lessons I’ve learned as a BC student employee.

New Employee Orientation

Holidays are Going to the Dogs

So….. what should I get Neo and Bessie for Christmas? This led me to wonder how many others think about buying Christmas presents for their pets. According to the APPA (American Pet Products Association), American’s are estimated to spend $75.38 billion dollars on pets in 2019! Isn’t that incredible? They estimate that $16.44 billion of that will be spent on “Supplies/OTC Medicine.” DogTime.com had some fun holiday statistics:

· Dog owners are more likely to give their pet a gift than cat owners (but that gap is closing)
· 4 out of 10 pet owners confess to giving presents to others as if it was from their pet
· 54% of pets will have Christmas stockings this year
· 34% have a special pet-safe advent calendar
· 29% of pets will get a Christmas card from their owner (Maybe the pets enjoy having it read to them)
· 16% of owners feature their pets on their Christmas cards (TheNosePrint.com claims this is 43%)
· 3% say their pets are writing a letter to Santa Paws (he exists, you just have to believe)

TheNosePrint.com surveyed people and ranked states according to their expenditure on their pets. While the average was $23.10, California ranked 6th with spending an average of $26.07 per dog for state residents. I’m not going to confess where I ranked for Neo this year.

Here are some fun photos of BC Employee’s dogs. If you would like your pet featured in my blog, do send a photo to Aricia Leighton or me.

Lesley Bond’s Blue
Lisa Robles’ Samson and Oliver
Kylie Swanson’s Oscar Meyer (in a sweater Ashlea Ward bought for him)
Manny Mourtzanos’ Brooklyn and Dodger
Aricia Leighton’s Sting
Eric Carillo’s Froderick Diezel von Heiden (Diezel)
Tamara Baker’s Jack and Bruce

Wrestling take 3rd at CCCAA State Finals

This last weekend, our Renegade Wrestling team traveled to Fresno City College for the CCCAA State Finals. Led by Jonathan Hunter taking 1st in the 174 lb. weight class, the team brought back a 3rd place finals finish. Renegade placers included:

• 174 lb. – Jonathan Hunter – 1st place (State Champion and All-American)

• 184 lb. – Jordan Annis – 2nd place (All-American)

• 197 lb. – Ricardo Gonzalez – 4th place (All-American)

• 149 lb. – Adrian Gonzalez – 5th place

• 125 lb. – Keithen Estrada – 7th place (Back-to-back state placer, finished 7th in 2018)

Next Level Renegades

Congrats to three of our Renegade student athletes for committing to continue their academic and athletic careers at the next level. Holden Williams from Renegade Football, has committed to play for Portland State University. From Renegade Women’s Soccer, Ashley Quintanilla and Lissette Garcia have both committed to play at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salinas, KS. Congratulations to Holden, Ashley and Lissette!

Renegade Report

Watch this week’s edition of the Renegade Report on the Bakersfield College Athletics Facebook page featuring our Renegade Men’s Basketball team. Head Coach Rich Huges and players sat down with host Kenny Calvin to discuss their hot start to the season.

Renegade Athletics updates from this past week

• Men’s Basketball Competes at Santa Barbara Tourney:

o Game 1 loss vs. Pasadena City, 78-73

o Game 2 win over Oxnard, 85-76

o Game 3 win over Porterville, 84-61 

Wrestling Takes 3rd at CCCAA State Finals

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.”

S18_GETIanKennedy01

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

Girls_Basketball

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

carla musser

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.

Karen Goh, Nick Ortiz, Carla Musser Jan 2018.jpg

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.

meehan

 

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

January 1 2018.jpg

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

Another Inspiring and Packed Week at BC

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, December 1, 2017 and a fabulous day to be a Renegade.  Why would it not be, when I wake up and see Dr. Nick Strobel’s stargazing piece in the Californian.  Here is the opener as a teaser for you to read more The Bakersfield Californian.

Stargazing TBC Dec 1 2017

 

On Thursday night, the faculty cohort for our National Endowment of the Humanities grant including Andrew Bond, Oliver Rosales and Josh Ottum hosted local author Gerald Haslam to talk about how he is able to tap into the energy of the Central Valley in his work.

Oliver Rosales, Andrew Bond, Josh Ottum

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Andrew Bond was teaching in Arvin and he and his students were watching the live stream from their classroom.  How cool is that!

Oliver RosalesOliver Rosales read Andrew’s write up

When we first began writing this grant, we decided that we wanted to focus on programming that put the Central Valley, its cultures, and its people at the fore. Drawing on our respective backgrounds in literature, history, and music, Oliver Rosales, Josh Ottum, and I put together a roster of scholars and authors whose work represents and examines the diverse yet interconnected cultures of the southern San Joaquin Valley. We are honored to have Dr. Gerald Haslam as our first speaker because his life and his work best embody the diversity of the region and the interdisciplinary nature of our grant program. A native of Oildale, Gerald Haslam grew up in the Bakersfield area in a family that is “culturally braided,” rooted in a mix of Hispanic and European heritages that were taught to him through family stories. As an author, he has written  biographies, autobiographies, short stories, novels, and essays that cover a wide range of topics, but the majority share the common thread of being based in, or somehow connected to, the home he knew in this region. His interdisciplinary curiosity has produced books like Workin’ Man’s Blues, a historical study of California country music that looks to the Bakersfield Sound for its inspiration while staying rooted in love of writing and storytelling. It is the connections that he makes between the importance of place, narrative, and history that, from our perspectives, made him an ideal candidate to inaugurate our grant programming. We are happy, then, to introduce to you Dr. Gerald Haslam.

Gerald Haslam and Jack Hernandez Nov 30 2017During the evening, Haslam, who grew up in post-World War II Oildale, talked about his slow but steady evolution as a writer in the 50s and 60s. After briefly attending Bakersfield College, Haslam worked as a military journalist and roughneck before getting a teaching position at Sonoma State University, where he was able to hone his craft, using the Central Valley as the thread that would weave the tapestry of his award-winning novels, essays and biographies. While many of his contemporaries saw Central California as boring and uncultured, Haslam recognized the potential of the Valley as a literary setting.

“It seemed crazy to me that educated people in California or elsewhere should know so little about this remarkable place,” Haslam said. “This place had never been empty.”

Gerald HaslamIn Haslam’s time, the literary, historical and cultural contributions of the Central Valley were not even being taught in Kern County schools, but through his work and the writing of Joan Didion, Maxine Hong Kingston and others, as well as the elusively complex songwriting of Merle Haggard and other members of the Bakersfield sound, that history started getting recognized.

Haslam had some very useful advice about the value of perseverance in order to become an established writer, using his own struggles as a reference. “I failed many, many, many times,” Haslam said. “I started communicating with other writers on the backs of rejection letters. Don’t quit, learn from the mistakes, and learn if the mistakes are really mistakes,” he added.

Haslam’s connection to Oildale and the Central Valley made him one of the first contributors that members of the “Energizing Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley” cohort looked to as an important voice for their project.

Photo by Oliver Rosales of the Gerald Haslam event

“It is the connections he makes between the importance of place, narrative and history, that from our perspective as faculty, make him an ideal candidate to inaugurate our programming,” Oliver Rosales said.

I’d like to thank Oliver Rosales, Andrew Bond, Josh Ottum, Jack Hernandez for organizing the event, and I’m looking forward to more developments on the Digital Delano project and all of the other work that the group has planned.

The Other California: The Great Central Valley in Life and Letters by Gerald Haslam is available on Amazon.com here.

Thank you to Manny De Los Santos who also helped with the evening. Here is Manny in action.

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Gerald Haslam, Manny de Los Santos

Chicano/Latino Community Leader Breakfast

Kern County leaders from government representatives, philanthropists, industry, and education came together at the Fireside Room on Thursday morning to hear about what BC and the community is doing to support our Latino community.

Rudy Salas, Olivia Garcia, Sonya Christian, Lisa Kent, Jay Tamsi, Corny Rodriguez

Sonya Christian Latino Leaders Breakfast Nov 30 2017.jpg

Corny Rodriguez opened by welcoming everyone to the event, recounting his work over the last 20 years to support and expand our Latino student body. I have to share a photo straight from the presentation that shows Corny then and now.

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We discussed BC’s focus on meeting students where they are through high school outreach, rural initiatives, outreach efforts in Arvin, Delano, McFarland, Shafter, and more. Our goal is to keep students on the path once they arrive through co-curricular activities, programs, and unique completion communities. We want long term sucess through industry advisory boards and through strengthening community partnerships.

Student representatives Dezi Von Manos and Emmanuel Limaco from BC’s M.E.Ch.A and Tania Bernal from Latinos Unidos por Educacion (LUPE) spoke briefly about their organizations

Dezi Von Manos

Dezi Von Manos, Emmanuel Limaco

Victor Diaz moderated a panel about expanding education and job opportunities for Latinos in Kern County with Beatris Espericueta, Kern County Farm Bureau, Jorge Barrientos, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Russell Judd, Kern Medical Center.

Beatris Espericueta