Tag Archives: Kay Meek

KCCD – Daring Mighty Things

Last Sunday, I read Nick Strobel’s article in the Bakersfield Californian about the Ingenuity helicopter – which has now had several successful test flights on Mars.

Check out this video from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) showing the first flight, on Monday, April 19th:

Innovation at its very best – and, yes, ingenuity – of all of the scientists and engineers who came together and were able to successfully fly a helicopter on the Red Planet. It was no easy task. As Nick mentions in his article, the surface air pressure on Mars makes it equivalent to 100,000 feet altitude on Earth, and the highest helicopter flight on Earth has only made it to about 41,000 feet.

It was against the backdrop of this inspirational scientific achievement that I was honored to be named the 6th Chancellor of the Kern Community College District, succeeding current Chancellor Tom Burke when he retires this summer.

April 19th felt auspicious to me for the public announcement — the same day that Ingenuity took its first flight on another world. The words “Dare Mighty Things” – JPL’s motto, first attributed to Theodore Roosevelt – written in binary code inside the parachute of the Perseverance Mars lander.

Loved the news coverage. The KGET youtube video made it to my hometown in Quilon, Kerala. Check it out

Then woke up to Steven Mayer‘s featured article in The Bakersfield Californian, front page, above the fold. Beautiful pictures by Alex Horvath.

Christian asked employees in the district — and by extension, the entire community — to join together, to “lock arms and do mighty things.”

At the Kern Community College District, we predict the future by creating it

Read more at: https://tinyurl.com/as6ca4fc

I want to thank Trustees Kay Meek and Romeo Agbalog for their kind words during the announcement.

Kay Meek:

Romeo Agbalog:

And a few photos from the event:

I am deeply honored and humbled to have been selected to lead the Kern Community College District. Together we will dare mighty things for all the students we serve.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 24, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

President’s Virtual Seminar Series – Campus Reopening

This week, we had two more President’s Virtual Seminar Series forums to discuss our return to campus.

On Tuesday, the Student Work Group provided student perspectives. Chef Anna Melby and student Amanda Atksinson discussed what it’s been like on campus for culinary arts students. We also heard from Professor Thomas Rush and Industrial Automation student Benjamin Neville. Bradley Cramer and Monica Huyck also gave an update from academic support services.

On Thursday, we had more updates from the Instructional Work Group, led by Dean Richard McCrow. Panelists on Thursday included three psychology professors – Isaias Hernandez, Christina Howell, and David Riess.

Thank you to Nicky Damania, who introduced both sessions this week, as well as to Earl Parsons and Todd Coston for their continued support in this series.

You can find all the President’s Virtual Seminar Series videos on the Bakersfield college website.

As you can see from our forums, we are hard at work preparing for the return to campus – check out this photo of Bill Moseley, Dean of Academic Technologies, and Eileen Pierce, Program Manager for Academic Support Programs, as they were on campus getting ready this week:

2021 Bakersfield College Art Student Show

The directors of the Wylie and May Louise Jones Gallery are pleased to present the 2021 Bakersfield College Art Student Exhibition. The exhibit includes student made artwork, created in Bakersfield College art courses in media ranging from charcoal drawings, acrylic paintings, photography, graphic design, ceramics, video, and many others. The work was juried by Seattle based artist Teddy “Stat” Phillips.    

In past years, this exhibition has been located physically in the Wylie and May Louise Jones Gallery on the Bakersfield College campus. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, this will be our second year displaying the work as a digital exhibition. This exhibit represents the commitment and strength of our students in the face of uncertain times and displays the resiliency Bakersfield College art students have in their continued efforts working in a virtual environment.  

The work is available now at https://www.flickr.com/photos/192804348@N08/

You can also find and share the work at our social media sites below. Please support our BC art students by liking and sharing with your networks:

For more information please contact the Jones Gallery directors: jonesgallery@gmail.com.

NEH Conference with Mark Arax Keynote

This past Thursday saw the final events related to the National Endowment for the Humanities-funded project Energizing Humanities in California’s Southern San Joaquin Valley.

The day’s panels were dedicated to the memory of Gerald Haslam, who served as our grant project’s first speaker in 2017 and was an Oildale native, BC alumnus, prolific and celebrated author, and longtime educator. Gerry passed away last week and will be missed.

Mark Arax

The one-day conference culminated with a speaking engagement featuring Mark Arax.

Mark Arax is an author and journalist whose writings on California and the West have received numerous awards for literary nonfiction. He is a former staffer at the Los Angeles Times and The California Sunday Magazine, and his books include a memoir of his father’s murder, a collection of essays about the West, and the best-selling The King of California. Much of Arax’s work focuses on the Central Valley, and his most recent book, The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California, uses family memoir, history, and extensive reportage on the land to tell the epic story of California’s invention and reinventions through the bending of water.

Other topics included:

Place Based Pedagogy and Our Experiences in the “Energizing Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley” Grant Project, which saw project directors Oliver Rosales, Josh Ottum, and Andrew Bond join current and previous faculty fellows to talk about their experiences during the run of the grant and how it has influenced their work.

Narrating the Southern San Joaquin Valley: Journalism and the Past and Future of Storytelling in the Region featured panelists Mark Arax, Olivia Garcia, Jose Gaspar, Lois Henry, Joe Moore, and Reyna Olaguez. Moderators were Erin Auerbach, BC journalism professor; and Haley Duval, Editor-in-Chief of The Renegade Rip.

Chris Cruz-Boone

First Annual Pursuing the Dream Conference

The AB 540/Undocumented Students Program and Rural Initiatives at Bakersfield College will be hosting our first annual Pursuing the Dream Conference: Resources-Advocacy-Empowerment for our Undocumented Student Community on Friday, April 30th from 1:30 PM -5:30 PM. This one-day conference is designed for students, educators, family, and community members to receive information on pursuing higher education, including the resources and support available to the undocumented student community.

Throughout the conference you will hear from one of the first undocumented students to receive a degree from Harvard, UFW Foundation lawyers, licensed therapists, BC and CSUB staff, students, and more! Please encourage your undocumented students and campus allies to attend.

Student Leadership & Involvement Awards Virtual Ceremony

Please join us for The Student Leadership and Involvement Awards Ceremony, coordinated by the Office of Student Life, which recognizes the accomplishments of our registered student organizations and various leaders at Bakersfield College. This event is to acknowledge their achievements to better the College community. It is an opportunity to showcase the wide variety of activities that occurred this year and to demonstrate ingenuity and creative talent. Let’s get together virtually and applaud the recipients!

The event will be on Thursday, April 29, from 6-7 pm. Registration is required by Wednesday, April 28. You can RSVP at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/osl/awards.

BC Faculty speak to Liberty High students

Over the 2020 winter break, Professor Jeff Newby of the History Department was asked to join in on a dual enrollment history class at Liberty High School. Ms. Alyson Moss, one of Liberty’s first dual enrollment instructors, has worked closely with BC to provide her students with an experience as close as possible to actually being in a college classroom. Professor Newby spent the day meeting with three of her classes to go over how to construct historical-argumentative essays.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience helping bridge the gap between high school and college.

On April 13, 2021, Ms. Alyson Moss invited Professors Jeff Newby and Olivia Garcia back to Liberty High School, this time to speak to Liberty’s National Social Studies Honors Society (NSSHS). The purpose of the NSSHS is promote scholarship and academic excellence in social studies, as well as encourage an active interest in social studies in students’ communities and school environments.

Ms. Moss introduced both professors who spoke at length about their own personal journeys towards becoming college professors, advice they had picked up along the way, and the importance of earning a degree in the humanities. They then fielded questions from over 40 students ranging from Professor Garcia’s time as a journalist to Professor Newby’s time teaching abroad.

Umoja Community celebrates creative expression

Umoja Community program offered two recent Indabas to showcase the arts and foster creativity through expression. The Indabas (important meeting with important people) are offered each Monday to engage and connect students.

Poet/vocalist/activist Gina Loring

Poet/vocalist/activist Gina Loring spoke and sang a couple of her poems and offered writing prompts to empower students. She told students, “your voice is your liberation.”

Blake Burton said the prompts around identity and commitment “really made me think.”

Performer/writer/musician Dahlak Brathwaite

The other artist was spoken word/performer/musician Dahlak Brathwaite. Umoja partnered with BC’s Jazz Studies program to bring Dahlak to BC.

Dahlak shared clips from his solo play and film Spirit Trials. Those works traced the history of African Americans through music with the theme of adaptation.

In the film, the Sacramento native said sometimes you have to be someone else, but “the key is to never to lose yourself because to adapt is to be human so that you don’t disappear. What good is adapting if it means part of you isn’t still here.”

After that line, the chat was popping with, “that was so dope” and “whew.”

With the Jazz ensemble students, Dahlak talked about adapting from the creative and musical side. He explained how he merged forms (drama, spoken word, music, and poetry) to find the best platform for his message. He added that through freestyling he has learned not to be afraid to mess up.

Zariyah, an Umoja student and theatre major, said she admired how open and free he was – both creatively and in his worldview.

These two examples of creativity and expression sparked something inside students.

Umoja Community is a program designed for motivated African-American students to increase success and retention. It includes coursework with a cultural component, academic and cultural trips, and counseling support to keep students on track to graduate.

Thanks to Dr. Paula L. Parks, Umoja Coordinator, and Professor Kris Tiner, Jazz Studies lead, for partnering to expose students to the arts.

Welcome Marcos Rodriguez!

From email from Mike Giacomini:

Good afternoon,

I am very pleased to announce that Marcos Rodriguez will be joining the Bakersfield College team as the Executive Director of Facilities and Operations and will effectively lead this ever-growing department and teams as we continue to maneuver through the pandemic while simultaneously expanding our Measure J program on our campuses.  Marcos will be joining our Maintenance and Operations team on Monday, 4/26/21 to continue serving our community at each of our BC locations across Kern County.

Mr. Rodriguez is a local Kern County citizen who attended our own Bakersfield College and went on to getting a bachelor degree in Environmental Resource Management, and masters degrees in Industrial and Technical Studies and in Business Administration.

With this specialized education, Marcos has served schools with close to twenty years of management experience in local college campuses as well as elementary, middle and high school districts – all in Kern County.   

Please join me in welcoming Marcos Rodriguez to the Renegade family.

Commencement Committee – Hard at Work

The Commencement Committee has been hard at work. Kevin Ganger, Jeff Huston, Renegade student Julian, John Gerhold, and Josh Ottum joined Monika Scott to record the National Anthem this week. Be sure to tune in on May 16th to see this performance as we honor and celebrate the Renegade Class of 2021.

The special televised event will air on May 16th at 6 p.m. on KGET Channel 17 or on Telemundo Valle Central Channel 13 (with antennae, 17.3). This event will also be streamed on KGET’s website and KGET-TV17 Bakersfield Facebook. You do not need to have a Facebook account to view the stream on Facebook.

Poetry Corner

Please enjoy this poem sent to me by Jack Hernandez:

Pages

Have I had enough?
the seasons keep coming
ignoring the cries
of those scrambling below
to find a branch
above the flood.
a hill from which
to watch the sun’s
upward glow.

Mornings continue
to unfold
familiar pages
and I’ll reread them,
I have not yet
had enough,
the words   the words
always new.

Updates from EOPS

EOPS Regalia Distribution

The EOPS/CARE/CalWORKs/NextUp team hosted their annual Cap & Gown event to provide prospective BC graduates with their commencement regalia. Over 223 students visited the drive through event to pick up their free cap & gown as well as a certificate for their participation with the programs. EOPS/CARE/CalWORKs/NextUp wants to congratulate this year’s graduating class!

CSUB Transfer Information Session

Bakersfield College’s EOPS Department partnered with CSUB’s EOP and Office of Admissions to better prepare and inform students on the process of transferring in Fall 2021 and future semesters. CSUB’s EOP department was able to provide information to students to help them understand their EOP admissions process, services and resources offered upon transfer. CSUB’s Office of Admissions provided updates, reminders, and helpful tips for students transferring in the Fall. CSUB informed BC students on the transfer admissions requirements for their upcoming Spring 2022 application.

Career Education Workshops for EOPS students

Bakersfield College’s EOPS department partnered with Career Education to provide three informative workshops for the EOPS student groups. Through these workshops, Career Education provided training on Professional Resume Building, Jobspeaker, and Interview Skills which will support students with securing employment at BC and/or in the community.

In the News

Community Voices; College lets you broaden your worldview

This week, journalism professor and Renegade Rip adviser Erin Auerbach wrote a piece in the Bakersfield Californian about the importance of college for students to find the best path for their own futures.

“Taking a class in welding does not force you to become a welder. But it will teach you a skill that might prove useful for future options. Opportunity abounds, so take a chance on yourself. Attend an informational meeting. Sign up for that class that looks interesting.”

Kern County leaders say Chauvin trial is just the beginning

On Tuesday, former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd, whose death launched widespread protest across the country last summer.

Bakersfield College’s Tommy Tunson spoke with 23ABC about the need the change our training and education programs for police officers.

“The training and education that we currently have, I think, is not enough to address racial equity and social justice in the curriculum in police academies,” he said.

Spotted on Social Media

Jonathan Schultz shared a pic of some Umoja gear:

Jen Garrett shared a behind the scenes look at filming for the upcoming BC Chamber Singers video project.

BC Rural Initiatives shared information about an upcoming mobile vaccine clinic in Arvin on Tuesday, April 27, from 8 am to 1 pm. For more information, visit the Arvin High School website.

And Maria Wright shared this pic of her husband Jamal Wright and their son, who had a close encounter with a dino:

Athletics

Track and Field and Swimming Get Underway

Both Track and Field and Swimming got their abbreviated Spring II sports season underway this last weekend.

Track and Field traveled to compete at Antelope Valley where they faced not only AVC but also Santa Monica. Both the men and women placed first overall. To view individual T/F results click this link.

The Renegade Swim squad went to Santa Monica where they topped the Corsairs with an overall score of 167-77. The men won 102-19 and the women 65-58. To view individual Swim results click this link. Way to go Renegade T/F and Swim!!

That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Feb 29, 2020 Celebrating Leap Year & showcasing Sterling Silver 2020

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, February 29, 2020…A Leap Year… A great day to be a Renegade.

Sterling Silver

Liz Rozell, John Petre, Sonya Christian, Kay Meek
Liz Rozell, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sonya Christian
left to right: Zav Dadabhoy, Sandi Taylor, Liz Rozell, Dr. William F. Baker, Jr., Sonya Christian, and Romeo Agbalog.
Liz Rozell, Rick Kreiser, Sonya Christian, Tom Gelder

We had a beautiful reception at the Seven Oaks Country Club last weekend as part of our 12th-annual Sterling Silver Dinner, which the BC Foundation puts together to honor and recognize the exceptional support that members of our community provide to BC every day. Proceeds from the Sterling Silver Dinner help fund scholarships for students, providing vital opportunities to make higher education a reality for thousands of Renegades.

Kris Tiner

The evening brought together Renegade alumni and supporters, generous donors, and friends of the college to celebrate this year’s honorees. Under the direction of Kris Tiner, the BC Jazz Ensemble masterfully entertained the crowd as they entered the event. Seven Oaks chef Paul Burzlaff prepared a wonderful variety of culinary delights with help from BC Culinary Arts students.

Several notable Renegade supporters were on hand to celebrate our honorees, including Mayor Karen Goh, Assemblymember Vince Fong, State Senator Shannon Grove, County Supervisor Zack Scrivner, and City Councilmember Andrae Gonzales. Other notable community partners included S.C. Anderson, Diane Lake, and AECOM/Parsons.

Corporate Philanthropist of the Year – Greater Bakersfield New Car Dealers Association

We started off the reception by recognizing the Greater Bakersfield New Car Dealers Association for their long-standing support of BC. The Greater Bakersfield New Car Dealers Association was founded in 1945 and has held several golf tournaments to promote education in Kern County.

Individual Philanthropist of the Year – Mr. Bill Kelly

Bill Kelly receives the Individual Philanthropist of the Year Award
Bill Kelly receives the Individual Philanthropist of the Year Award

Bill Kelly taught agriculture at BC for 37 years. In addition to being selected Professor of the Year in 2014, he has won accolades across the state for his influence on agriculture education. Mr. Kelly retired in 2019, but he loves what he does so much he is back on campus as an adjunct instructor. However, we honored Bill because he and his family have provided substantial financial assistance to generations of BC students through the Verna L. Kelly Memorial and Kelly Family scholarships, set up to honor his family and strengthen ag education.

Bakersfield College Foundation Service Medal – Dr. William F. “Bill” Baker, Jr.

Dr. William Baker receives the Foundation Service Medal.
Dr. William Baker receives the Foundation Service Medal.

Dr. William Baker has served as the Team Physician for Bakersfield College athletics since 1978 and has provided expert medical care to generations of athletes, witnessing milestones such as the 1988 State Championship and the 1990 Potato Bowl. Dr. Baker’s contributions continue in the scholarship that he and Dr. Michael Tivnon established and award annually through the Bakersfield College Foundation. Dr. Baker has a successful practice in town and is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and of the International Academy of Thrombosis, Hemostasis and Vascular Medicine. The Bakersfield College Foundation Service Medal recognizes extraordinary service to the Bakersfield College community for fifty-two years of commitment to Bakersfield College and Bakersfield College Athletics, and a lifetime of service to the good health of Bakersfield and Kern County.

Bakersfield College Foundation Service Medal – Rick Kreiser

Rick Kreiser receives the Foundation Service Medal.
Rick Kreiser receives the Foundation Service Medal.

Rick Kreiser is a Bakersfield College alum who has served on the Bakersfield College Foundation since 2001, even serving a stint as chair of the Foundation from 2005 to 2007. Over the years, Rick and his company, Carney’s, have helped numerous local charities raise money, especially to fight cancer. There is a scholarship benefiting Bakersfield College students in the name of his late wife, Kris Kreiser.

Thank Yous

Heather Pennella and Norma Rojas-Mora
Heather Pennella and Norma Rojas-Mora

Thank you KGET for covering the event and for producing the honoree videos. I’d also like to thank Norma Rojas-Mora, Monika Scott, Dylan Wang, Manny De Los Santos and Brandon Urry from BC’s Marketing and Public Relations team for the promotion and social media coverage of this year’s Sterling Silver Dinner.

Sterling Silver is the signature event for the Bakersfield College Foundation, and it wouldn’t be possible without the tireless planning and work of Heather Pennella, our Alumni and Donor Relations Manager. Thank you Heather, as well as the rest of the Foundation team, for coordinating another successful night. A special thanks also goes out to Liz Rozell for stepping in as Executive Director of the Foundation after Tom Gelder’s retirement.

Check out more photos from the Sterling Silver Dinner below, captured with the brilliant photography of April Massirio.

Karen Gohn, Sonya Christian, Christina Scrivner, Shannon Grove
Sonya Christian sits with Sterling Silver dinner attendees.
Seated: Dr. Michael Tivnon, Gerry Collis
Standing: Lorenzo Alvarez, Duane Damron, Carl Bowser, Dr. Bill Baker, Dallas Grider, Carl Dean, R. Todd Littlejohn, Bob Covey, Harvel Pollard.
front row: John Turner, Joi Turner, Patrick Beck; back row: Vince Fong, Julia Turner, Kay Meek, Sonya Christian, Lauraine Cook, Jerry Cook.
Front row: John Turner, Joi Turner, Patrick Beck;
Back row: Vince Fong, Julia Turner, Kay Meek, Sonya Christian, Lauraine Cook, Jerry Cook.

African-American Community Leadership Breakfast

Mayor Karen Goh with the Buffalo Soldiers.
Mayor Karen Goh with the Buffalo Soldiers.

BC is recognized nationwide for the work of our African-American Initiatives team with the John W. Rice Award and other accolades, and their success has been aided by the support of leaders in the African-American community who believe in our vision for closing equity gaps in Kern County. We held a special breakfast for African-American leaders in the Levan Center on Wednesday to thank them and show how that support is transforming thousands of lives every day.

Steve Watkin receives a standing ovation.
Steve Watkin receives a standing ovation.

I always look forward to the African-American Community Leadership Breakfast every year, and I’m glad that we could bring it back for 2020. Our Food Services Department provided another lovely meal for all our attendees, and Steve Watkin organized and emceed the event.

Mayor Karen Goh was in attendance at the event, and she gave a beautiful speech about the power of unity to create systemic change.

Umoja Coordinator Paula Parks.
Paula Parks

The keynote speaker for the African-American Community Leadership Breakfast was BC’s own Paula Parks to talk about the success of our Umoja Community chapter. The audience erupted in applause when Paula announced an increase of 133 percent for African-American student completion of English at BC, which is a direct result of the leadership and community promoted through Umoja. Listening to Paula’s presentation, even I was surprised at how much the program had grown in the last few years, expanding to cohort courses in English, math, astronomy, biology and more. We now have a sister student organization called the Umoja Club, and the program will begin to offer students internships through Dignity Health.

After Paula’s presentation, representatives from several important community organizations spoke to promote their education initiatives, as well as partnerships with BC and other schools. I loved hearing from Dee Slade of the African-American Network of Kern County, Charles Everly from the Buffalo Soldiers, Dr. Bradford Anderson of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Essie Davis from The Links, Incorporated, Linda McKnight from Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and LaMeka Ross from the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

BC culinary arts student Edwin Peterson.
Edwin Peterson

We closed out the morning with a powerful student testimonial from Edwin Peterson, a young man who has turned his back on the mire of the streets to pursue a Culinary Arts degree right here at BC. He credits Steve Watkin and the African-American Initiatives team for motivating him to continue his education.

Thank you to the African-American Initiatives team, Food Services, the Levan Center, and everyone who attended this event to show their love and support for our African-American students.

Steve Watkin, Mayor Karen Goh, Sonya Christian and Charles Everly.
Steve Watkin, Mayor Karen Goh, Sonya Christian and Charles Everly.
Steve Watkin, Sonya Christian, Rev. Ralph Anthony, Doc Ervin, Dr. Oscar Anthony
Steve Watkin, Sonya Christian, Rev. Ralph Anthony, Doc Ervin, Dr. Oscar Anthony

Levan Center and Levan Institute on KGET

Reggie Williams and Susan Pinza visited the KGET studios early Thursday morning to talk about the Levan Center and the Levan Institute, two important institutions that provide community enrichment and lifelong learning to everyone in Kern County. Thanks, Reggie and Susan! Check out the video above or visit the KGET website.

Art, Architecture and Archetypes: Art as Ritual

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Ronnie Wrest, Rae Ann Kumelos, and Krista Moreland.
Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Ronnie Wrest, Rae Ann Kumelos, and Krista Moreland.

A panel of current and former BC professors engaged in an informative discussion about how art is used in sacred rituals and ceremonies around the world. The Levan Center’s first Art, Architecture, and Archetypes panel of the Spring semester brought together Ronnie Wrest, Rae Ann Kumelos, Krista Moreland and KCCD Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg around the theme of ritual as art.

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg
Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

Wrest talked about Navajo sand painting and German performance artist Joseph Beuys, whose interpretive piece “I Like America and America Likes Me” portrayed the story of being healed by an indigenous tribe in the Crimea after a plane crash. Kumelos shared Stephen King’s ritual of “intentional dreaming” before sitting down to write his novels, which helps his mind enter a higher level of imagination. Krista Moreland offered a deeper understanding behind the symbolism of the sand mandala, which uses symbolic colors, shapes, figures and object to represent the interconnectedness of life. Finally, Trustee Heitzeberg explained the influences of devotional art in the Catholic faith.

Thank you to the Levan Center, all of our panelists, and everyone who attended this interesting discussion.

Renegade Roundtable on Homelessness

A group of five brilliant BC faculty members shared their views on the homeless crisis at the Levan Center as part of the first Renegade Roundtable of the Spring 2020 semester last week.

Erin Miller.
Erin Miller

This edition of the Renegade Roundtable featured Michael Harvath, Jack Hernandez, Steve Holmes, Erin Miller and Neal Stanifer. Each of these educators brought their years of scholarship to the table to approach this important issue from different perspectives. Hernandez, the former director of the Levan Center, encouraged audience members to think of the homeless as individuals instead of statistics. Stanifer and Horvath proposed solutions to getting people off the streets and into homes, and Erin Miller took a closer look at how mental health affects the ways that homeless people tend to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.

While the panelists had different ideas about how to deal with homelessness, all agreed that we can’t keep ignoring the problem any longer. Thank you to all of the panelists, as well as Reggie Williams and the Levan Center, for offering a space to encourage insight into this ongoing problem. Events like these are important for fulfilling BC’s core value of community, honoring our obligation to “build an environment in which all members participate as a community through democratic engagement”.

BC's Core Value of Community
BC’s Core Value of Community

Community Voices: Michele Bresso

Michele Bresso

In a Community Voices column earlier this week, Michele Bresso shared a story from one of her communication classes that brings home the impact of homelessness on the lives of our students and the power of education to change it.

When she assigned her small groups communication class to volunteer at the Bakersfield Homeless Shelter as part of a class project, she found out that one of her students used to be a resident of the shelter before she became a Renegade. The student vowed never to return to the shelter once she got back on her feet, but her experience as a volunteer for Michele’s class convinced her to have a change of heart:

She met a young woman living at the center who was much like herself years before. My student committed to a weekly volunteer schedule at the center so that she could mentor this young woman and model a way to achieve independence.”

Grounds for Dreaming

Lori Flores speaks in the Levan Center.
Lori Flores speaks in the Levan Center

Stony Brook University professor Lori Flores visited the Home of the Renegades to host an enlightening discussion on the agriculture labor rights movement in California during the early 20th Century.

Lori Flores
Lori Flores

As an historian of agricultural labor in the United States, Flores was excited to come to the Central Valley for the first time. After all, this is the place where so much of that history was and continues to be made. The Social Justice Institute invited Flores to the Levan Center last week to share from her book “Grounds for Dreaming: Mexican-Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the California Farmworker Movement”. “Grounds for Dreaming” is a deeply researched account of how immigrant laborers from the Bracero program and Mexican-Americans came together to organize for better working conditions in the 40s and 50s, decades before Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta founded the UFW.

Thank you to Lori Flores for sharing her years of scholarship with our students, and thank you to Oliver Rosales, Andrew Bond for organizing the event.

This Week at BC: Financial Aid

For the newest edition of This Week at BC, marketing student workers Ramon Carreido and Juan Reyes take a closer look at the Financial Aid office ahead of the March 2 deadline for filling out the FAFSA.

I love seeing our student workers get more comfortable with their video skills while spreading the word about all of the awesome programs and initiatives here at BC. Great job, Juan and Ramon!

Renegade Athletics

Watch this week’s edition of the Renegade Report on the Bakersfield College Athletics Facebook page featuring our Renegade Men’s Golf Team out at Stockdale Country Club. Head Coach Wes Coble and student athletes Blake Keesey, Caleb Jameson and Quinn Walker sat down with host Kenny Calvin to discuss their season so far. On Monday the team will host a conference match out at Stockdale Country Club and we know they will represent us well!

Coach Goodman Reaches 100 Career Victories

100 Career Victories! Casey Goodman, BC Head Softball Coach
Congrats, Coach Goodman!

A special congratulations go out to Renegade Softball Head Coach Casey Goodman, who just collected her 100th victory as a head coach. In her third season at BC she has collected 66 victories and the other 34 came from her time as the head softball coach at Louisiana State University, Alexandria. As a Renegade Casey has captured back-to-back Western State Conference Championships and the team looks to make that three in a row this spring. Congrats Casey – we are lucky to have you!

BC Football at the Mission

Coach Littlejohn at the Mission of Kern County

This last Saturday our new football coach R. Todd Littlejohn and a number of our Renegade football student athletes spent the morning serving our community at the Mission of Kern County. We are glad to have the relationship with the Mission that allows our students to give back!

Men’s and Women’s Basketball All-Conference Renegades

With basketball season coming to a close we had multiple men’s and women’s basketball student athletes who were awarded post-season conference awards. From Men’s Basketball Tyrell Coleman (1st-Team), Michael Guillory (Co-Defensive MVP and Honorable Mention) and Isayas Aris (Honorable Mention) all received recognition. From the Women’s team Dasia Wandick was named All-Conference for the second year in a row, along with teammate Alyssa Gonzalez.

Next Level Gades – Eamon Sullivan

Next Level Gades - Eamon Sullivan, Football
Eamon Sullivan signs to the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

Eamon Sullivan from Renegade Football has signed to continue his academic and athletic career at University of Virginia’s College at Wise located in Wise, VA. Eeamon played the last two season at BC and is excited to continue his career at UVA Wise. We wish him the best and know he will always represent BC!

Valley Strong Credit Union Renegades of the Week: Feb. 16 – Feb. 22

BC Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (2/16-2/22) Valley Strong Credit Union Renegades of the Week:

Dasia Wandick, Women’s Basketball – Dasia matched a career high and had a season-high total of 30 points in the women’s basketball season finale against Canyons. She also received WSC South All-Conference honors for the second straight year.

Esteban Robles, Men’s Swimming – Esteban was the only individual with an event win for BC (100 Free and 50 Fly) at the 2020 Ram Crush this last weekend at Clovis College. He was part of the 200 Free Relay team who took 1st  where he put up big anchor leg for the win. He was also part of 3 other relays all placing in the top 4 at the meet. For his efforts he was named the Sprint Master and Butterfly Master of the meet. To win the award one must have competed in the 50/100/200 of the strokes and score the highest cumulative points in the events. He swam in all 6 races and took the title in both strokes.

Athletics Photos From The Week

Renegade Athletics Updates From This Past Week

Renegade Track

Athletic events ‘On the Hill’ this coming week

Be sure to put on your Renegade Red and cheer on our student athletes as they compete this coming week. If you can’t make it in person, check GoGades.com to catch the livestream. Events include:

  • Mon. 3/2 – Men’s Golf hosts WSC #4 at 9am, Stockdale CC
  • Tues. 3/3 – Women’s Tennis vs Bakersfield at 2pm
  • Tues. 3/3 – Baseball vs LA Mission at 2:30pm
  • Sat. 3/7 – Softball vs. Fullerton at 12pm
  • Sat. 3/7 – Softball vs. Pasadena City at 4pm
  • Sat. 3/7 – Baseball vs LA Mission at 1pm

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Thank you for voting Yes on J!

The transformation of our campus for the next 50 years has begun! Major changes will be taking place over the next 10 years ranging from construction of new buildings, renovations of buildings, and major repairs to our campus infrastructure. The grand opening of our first building, the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center, was on December 10, 2019

Thank you for voting Yes on J!

Sonya Christian voting Yes on J on Oct 30, 2016
Sonya Christian thanking Kern County for voting Yes on J. Nov 12, 2016

The Bakersfield College Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center

Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center. Dec 10, 2019

After years of preparation and development, our community gathered on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019 for a historic milestone in Renegade history. With college and district leaders, community members, students, supporters, family, and friends, BC officially opened the new Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center, a space dedicated to student veterans and the first completed Measure J building.

Thank you KCCD Trustees
Sonya Christian, President of Board John Corkins, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Kyle Carter, Jack Connell, Tom Burke, Paul Beckworth

I could not be more proud of everyone who helped bring this grand vision into reality. Attendees who came from across the country were greeted with a massive American flag that billowed proudly, flying above the newly christened building from an extending ladder on a Kern County Fire Department truck. Dignitaries on the dais outside of the center included Chancellor Tom Burke, Mayor Karen Goh and Congressman Bill Thomas, as well as KCCD Trustees Jack Connell (a Navy veteran), Romeo Agbalog, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and President of the KCCD Board John Corkins. There were also representatives from about 40 student organizations on campus. Trustee Kay Meek was viewing the live stream, unable to attend the ceremony in-person. She was one of the most vocal supporters for the construction of the new center as the first Measure J project, and her presence was missed. 

Ricardo Del Hoyo, Joseph Lopez, Nick Ortiz, Tommy Tunson, Mayor Goh, Trustee Corkins, President Christian, Chancellor Burke, Perry Finzel & Monica Martin

This new 4,700 square foot facility is dedicated to student veterans and includes a tutoring room, conference room with whiteboards and television, a lounge area with two televisions, coffee bar, fridge, microwave, computer area and outdoor patio area.

Diego Ross from JTS Construction and Armando Trujillo

This space is dedicated to the education, wellness, and transformation of our students, therefore it’s only fitting that this place is named after Vernon Valenzuela. Vernon was a Vietnam combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient. He was a Bakersfield College student in the 1970s and later became a licensed counselor who spent the rest of his life working with veterans and their families; his legacy will live on forever in its walls.

Former student Wesley Barrientos cuts the ribbon with help from current SGA President Samantha Pullido and President of the Vets Club Ilene Garcia
The VRC Challenge Coin
Study area in the new VRC
Lise Valenzuela in the new Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center

This center would not be possible without the leadership of Paul Beckworth, who opened the ceremony by thanking Armando Trujillo and his team for all they do to help our Renegade veterans. Armando was a protégé of Vernon Valenzuela, the founder of the first veterans’ clubs at BC and CSUB, and I could think of no one else who is better suited to extend Vernon’s love and empathy to a new generation of Renegade vets. Armando also announced an annual scholarship that will be offered through the VRC for years to come.

Armando Trujillo addressing the audience

When our local veterans are returning home, this new center will be the place they can come to to find support, comfort, and comradery with fellow Renegades. For over 100 years Renegades have put on the uniform, and when they were ready to trade in their boots for books, BC knew its responsibility. BC’s mission continues to be to educate our veterans, mind body, and soul, and to celebrate the impact that veterans have had on BC.

I surprised Paul Beckworth by presenting him with the President’s Leadership Award during the ceremony. Over these last seven years, Paul has advocated on behalf of our student veterans here on campus, in the community, and in the state. He and a group of student veterans were fearless in “occupying” a vacant room adjacent to their existing cramped space, quietly doing the necessary remodeling work.  He has written public letters to our student veterans, to our faculty veterans, to our staff veterans.   He is brave, kind, funny, open, tender, with a passion to respect, honor and support his fellow brothers and sisters from the military.

Zav Dadabhoy, Armando Trujillo, Paul Beckworth, Sonya Christian
Zav Dadabhoy, Armando Trujillo, Paul Beckworth, President Christian & Jenny Frank

I also introduced incoming manager Jenny Frank, who comes to us from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

This special facility is the first of many made possible by the tremendous community support of Measure J. There is a very, very long list of individuals to thank, but Trustee Kay Meek deserves special recognition for her constant focus and dedication.

Bill Thomas, Kay Meek, Tom Burke, Steven Holmes

The impact of Trustee Meek’s work was evident in the words of student veteran and Veteran Club President Ilene Garcia during the grand opening, who said, “As soon as I walked in, I felt that camradery and bond that I had been missing that you instantly obtain when you join the military. Finding that comfort zone in civilian life is essential for veterans returning home. We crave the structure and sense of belonging that the military instills in us. The Veterans Resource Center at BC provides this.”

Veterans Club President Ilene Garcia and fellow veterans

BC Veterans Club President Ilene Garcia took a moment to explain how the team at BC creates a structure and a sense of belonging that helps soldiers readjust to civilian life. She also thanked all of us at BC for making this center a priority with the funding from Measure J.

Vernon’s wife Lise Valenzuela offered some personal anecdotes about how BC changed her husband’s life. After serving a tour of duty in the Vietnam War, Vernon found his confidence and his calling as a student at BC, and he dedicated the rest of his life to helping other veterans like him find their calling through higher education.

Lise Valenzuela

Former Trustee Bill Thomas talked about how Vernon’s imposing physical presence, and his empathy and talent for listening, inspired respect from anyone who had a conversation with him. Bill highlighted Kay Meek’s work and her emphatic message to all that she wanted this to be the very first project of Measure J. He also previewed the ribbon cutting ceremonies to come as more Measure J projects finish construction.

Former Congressman & Trustee Bill Thomas
Tom Burke, Ilene Garcia, Paul Beckworth, Bill Thomas, Sonya Christian, Kyle Carter, Karen Goh

Attendees were treated to the beautiful music of BC’s Chamber Singers. led by the talented Dr. Jennifer Garrett. I’m happy that Brandon Urry captured these videos so that I can share then with you.

Award-winning photojournalist Max Becherer started his career right here at BC as a student of Kris Stallworth, and he took pictures of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for publications like the Washington Post and Time Magazine before becoming the Photo Editor of the New Orleans Advocate. He donated several of his most famous photographs from those conflicts to the VRC and attended the groundbreaking alongside his family.

Photographer Max Becherer sharing his photography.

As Paul described in his closing address, the VRC is more than just a place of learning. It is a place where our veteran students can heal from the physical and psychological wounds of combat, supporting each other through all of their struggles. Thank you Paul, Armando and our Veterans Affairs team for dreaming of this safe space for healing, and thank you to our Measure J team for making that dream a reality. I would also like to thank Tamara Baker for organizing the ribbon cutting and open house, as well as everyone who contributed to making this event such a success.

Here are some of the elected officials or their reps in the photo below. Left to right:
1.     Congressman Kevin McCarthy (Monica Martin, rep)
2.      Congressman T.J. Cox (Joseph Lopez, rep)
3.      Assemblyman Vince Fong (Lauren Skidmore, rep)
4.      Mayor Karen Goh
5.      Congressman Kevin McCarthy (Perry Finzel, rep)
6.      Senator Melissa Hurtado (Ricardo Del Hoyo, rep)
7.      City Councilman Willie Rivera, Ward 1
8.      Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez, District 5 (Nicole Villaruz,
rep)
9.      Assemblyman Rudy Salas (Athena Skapinakis, rep)

I would like to recognize those who actually built the facility, taking it from plans to a reality: local companies IBI Group, Inc. and JTS Construction. Also, I would like to thank AECOM/Parsons for all of their hard work on this project (and the other 14 Measure J projects), for finishing the job ahead of time and under budget. AECOM/Parsons joined our team in 2017 to design the Measure J master plan, and have been managing all of the projects from the very first meeting until the last. All of the above groups not only met our expectations, but went well above. The bar has been set high!

2019 Sterling Silver with the AECOM-Parsons team

We had much love from our local media and press. Thank you to the Bakersfield Californians Robert Price and Ema Sasic, Reyna Harvey, Tyrah Majors, Jacueline Gutierrez of the Renegade RIP and more!

Reyna Harvey interviews Sonya Christian on Tuesday Morning

Most importantly, I’d like to thank the community of Kern County for supporting Renegades today and for the next 50 years through Measure J.

And in closing, I will quote the words of Paul Beckworth, BC’s Faculty Director of Veteran Services as he addressed BC’s students… “Thank you for your courage, for believing in yourself and for pursing an education. Thank you for choosing Bakersfield College. This place is for you.”

Love these “behind the scenes” pictures.

BSO-BC Home for the Holidays Concert

Here is my promised weekly Christmas music from our Chamber Singers during the month of December

Rick Kreiser narrating the Night Before Christmas
Hallelujah

Led by the amazing, Dr. Jennifer Garrett, the BC Chamber Singers are an absolutely stunning group who shares their voices with the world. They performed a fun version of Jingle Bells and the Renegade Mens Chorus- sang “The 12 Days of Christmas” mixed with various other Christmas carols.

The evening included sing-alongs with the audience and it was really fun to celebrate the holiday season with family and friends.

Adventist Health was a sponsor of the evening and I saw Sharlet Briggs, CEO of Adventist, who referred to Mary Poppins and a “spoon of sugar makes the medicine go down”. She went on to observe how a teaspoon of music can make the medicine go down too!

BCSGA Attends the Kern Tax Annual Meeting

BCSGA President Samantha Pulido, BCSGA Student Activities Manager Perla Villegas, KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke, KCCD Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzberg, KCCD Director Dave Teasdale, and BC Director of Student Life Dr. Nicky Damania attended the Kern Tax 80th Annual Meeting at the Bakersfield Country Club. Kern Tax is the county’s leader on reviewing and educating about taxpayer issues and dollars. The keynote speaker was founding chief executive and Senior Fellow, President Emeritus of California Forward, Jim Mayer who presented “Transforming California.” His presentation focused on performance-oriented government, society-oriented business, and entrepreneurial civic organizations working together to engage in community resolutions. 

Mike Turnipseed with Perla and Samantha

Before the speaker, there was a video montage of various Kern leaders thanking Kern Tax for their 80 years of service to Kern County, and especially highlighting the leadership and work of Mike Turnupseed for the association and our community. What a pleasure to have two of our strong student leaders in attendance at this engaging community event.

Human Rights Day Social Justice Student Conversation Event

Jose Bello speaks to fellow Renegades

Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on December 10th each year. At Bakersfield College, student organization YES (Youth Empowered Success) brought two NFL players to campus for a student centered event to bring awareness to various social justice topics. Student organization YES president, Jose Bello, was the emcee of the event and encouraged his fellow Renegades to pay close attention, listen, respect one another, and use their voice for the good of humankind. Jose also took the mic to say a few words in Spanish to thank his mom who was in attendance, for all her support.

Two special guests who took the stage were Joshua Norman and Demario Davis, two NFL players who take pride in their activist roles for human rights. They encouraged students to be sources of support for one another and to give words to the voiceless.

In the early morning before the speaker presentations began, students in attendance participated in a cultural dance outside in the courtyard. This collaborative dance was a symbol of cultivating community, peace, and social responsibility.

And once again, Reyna Harvey is everywhere! Spotted her interviewing Joshua Norman and Demario Davis outside the event.

Renegades Finish Finals!

This week was also finals week so the library began offering their Extended Study Hours last week, which will run through Wednesday.

The lobby portion of the library is the busiest and loudest section with check-in, food, tables, and chairs for group studying. BCSGA Officers and Office of Student Life help ensure everything runs smoothly with the help of volunteers.

As a result of the efforts this semester of Todd Coston and Kirk Russell, the entire first floor of the library is a place for students to spread out and study.  Students need to feel supported now more than ever as they attempt to cross the finish line this semester.

Campus Safety at Porterville College

Our colleagues at Porterville College planned a day of safety drills and invited BC’s Dr. Nicky Damania and Monika Scott to observe the activity. It was a great opportunity and a good experience. Both Nicky and Monika are involved with the planning of BC’s full-scale active shooter scenario and response drill taking place next year. This activity planned for April 8, 2020, will be a cross county, multi-agency drill to test our preparations and enhance our collaboration and response. Special thanks to Todd Dearmore, Safety and Security Manager at Porterville College for a successful drill and for the invitation to observe.

Dr. Nicky Damania & Monika Scott

Networking and Nursing

Bakersfield College’s Nursing Department held its 1st annual Entrée to Employment for the graduating Vocational Nursing Program students. A number of health care agencies within Kern County were present at BC to recruit our stellar vocational nursing students and to discuss future career opportunities.

Entree to Employment for Vocational Nursing grads, 2019

A gourmet dinner was provided by the Renegade Room as the students and staff networked with industry partners. Carla Gard, Director of Nursing Programs and Associate Dean of Instruction, highlighted the program objectives, rigor, and faculty’s dedication to developing skilled and competent nurses.The Vocational Nursing Entrée to Employment was such a success that students had several employment options by the end of the event! So proud!

Graduating Vocational Nursing Students

Crane Visit for OSRM Students

Students in OSRM B10 Occupational Safety had an opportunity to see safety in action when they viewed campus construction up close as part of a class module on crane safety. Bill Campe from SC Anderson, and Kurt Hettinger from SL Shaw Company hosted the students, providing an overview of crane operations. The crane was operated by Trent Gardner.

The large crane is just the right tool to hoist steel beams into place for the new building. Workers deftly navigate the structure, guide steel beams into position and rivet them into place. Following established safety procedures is essential to ensure that they are not injured on the job.

Lifting heavy loads safely takes more than a big crane. The operator relies on detailed lift charts that specify how much the crane can lift at a specific angle. Need more horizontal distance? That reduces capacity. Wind? Reduce capacity or stop work if gusts are too strong. Want to watch the crane work? Stand clear of the swing radius or risk being hit or crushed by the crane’s big back end. This quick visit provided a view of safety in action.

Students enjoyed the “field trip” and the opportunity to watch two world-class companies safely work to build the future of BC. Measure J — a learning lab for our construction students.

Fun Photos: College Council

I’m always proud of the work that College Council does. The presentations are rigorous and focus on our performance metrics.

Amber Hroch reviews the data.

The last College Council meeting for the semester was on Friday, December 6th. The council received updates on various institutional topics ranging from Early College to Meta Major Pathways and more. Just a reminder to the reader….This group is a collegial, consultative, and oversight body designed to serve the good of the entire College. The group facilitates timely, factual, and clear communication between constituents and the President. It provides recommendations to the President on college-wide matters.

Kylie Swanson and Craig Hayward
Education Pathway Team

Giving Thanks: CARE & CalWORKs Workshop

The Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) and California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) programs hosted a Thanksgiving Workshop, providing a bonding opportunity for parents and their children and to build a network of support at Bakersfield College.

The Thanksgiving Workshop provided the students a break from studying for finals while their children engaged in fun-filled arts and crafts activities. Additionally, students received a turkey donated by Costco to help them celebrate Thanksgiving with their families.

CARE and CalWORKS are programs under the EOPS Department, serving BC students who are also parents, with CARE parents being single head of household. Both programs are designed to promote student educational success by offering specialized services to parents receiving public assistance (CalWORKs/TANF/Tribal TANF) with a primary goal to increase wage earning power, leading to self-sufficiency.

Fun Photos: Executive Office Holiday Potluck