Tag Archives: Klint Rigby

Summer Leadership

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, June 22, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

STEM Camp

Throughout the months of June and July, Bakersfield College faculty are getting high school and middle school students interested in STEM with the Summer STEM Camps sponsored by Chevron and Project Lead the Way. There are 7 camps over the summer centered around interesting STEM projects. Each participating student applied to the free camps with an application and essay back in May.

Manny Fernandez with Drone Programming STEM Camp students.
STEM Camp students working on mobile app development.
Student assembling mobile app component.
Student working on mobile app component.

Students in the first three camps learn about digital fabrication (3D Printing), mobile app development, and programming drones. Last week, the students created guitars from cigar boxes in camp. Upcoming projects in the STEM camps include learning to design and build a tiny house, and exploring and designing alternative sources of energy. This is a fun and engaging method to entice students to consider STEM fields of study.

Klint Rigby taking a break.
Darren Willis instructing campers.
Student works with a computer application to design a heart to print in 3D.
Digital fabrication STEM Camp
Martin Perez holds a guitar made from a cigar box in front of students at the computer lab.
Klint Rigby showing his cigar box guitar

All of the camps are held on our Panorama Campus, except the last, Alternative Energy/Solar, which will be held at the Weill Institute location. I’d like to thank Martin Perez, Program Manager, Klint Rigby, Department Chair, and everyone with the Industrial Technology Department, as well as Chevron and Project Lead the Way for providing this amazing opportunity for potential future students.

Student filing her cigar box.
Student constructing his guitar.
Martin Perez showing a student how to construct the guitar.
Student wearing safety goggles working on constructing guitar.
Assistant observes student sawing his cigar box.
Professors shake hands with a student.
Roy Allard and Manny Fernandez congratulate campers.

2019 Energy and Ag Academy

The 2019 Energy and Ag Academy kicked off their first session at Bakersfield College on Saturday, June 15th.  This five-session academy is hosted at Bakersfield College and introduces students to local professionals, careers, and other features from these industries in the Energy and Ag fields. This year over 60 students have been accepted into the program.

Full audience in the Forum.
Students in the Energy and Ag Academy
BC Dean of Instruction, Corny Rodriguez, welcoming the students to BC

The academy brings awareness to Kern County’s largest industries and teaches how they provide resources for both the community and the world. The academy includes speakers in the Energy and Ag industries, financial scholarships, field trips to local energy and ag facilities, leadership opportunities, student ambassadors for Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, volunteer opportunities in the community and meeting with elected officials. The academy – presented by the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the KCHCC Business Education Foundation – is sponsored by Area Energy, Bakersfield College, California Resources Corporation, Chevron, and Kern Energy Foundation.

John Ocana from California Resources Corp., discussing produced water for beneficial reuse.
Dave Susko discussing the myths and truths of fracking

Wonderful Academy Ag Camp 2019

You may have seen a large group of very young students around campus over the last two weeks and wondered who they were. These incoming 8th grade students have been participating in one of two weeklong summer camps at Bakersfield College in partnership with the Wonderful Company. These students came from middle schools in our rural communities, including Wasco, Shafter, Delano and other surrounding areas. They were exposed to all the exciting things Bakersfield College’s Agriculture department has to offer.

Ag camp students in matching t-shirts around the BC shaped hedge.

With days full of activities, students created stationary holders in our welding facilities and a water filtration system in our Horticulture Lab, learning about the different materials that can be used to filter water. Students also created a product marketing plan for a unique product.The students were given the option to use a variety of ingredients such as tajin, cocoa powder, cinnamon powder, lime juice, and cayenne pepper to create their unique product – then they had to create a branding strategy. Students created t-shirts, hats, and other marketing materials using their own logo designs and a printing press. In addition to creating different products, students connected with industry professionals discovering the many related opportunities that exist in our community.

Students in a computer lab creating t-shirts.

I would like to thank our dedicated staff involved in making this happen: Raquel Lopez, Program Manager overseeing the program with the support of Manuel Muralles; Heather Baltis and Jim Selgrath, lead Agriculture faculty: Jesse Oropeza, lead mentor who was with the group 24/7 and his leadership team of peer mentors. I would also like to thank Abel Guzman, Delano Campus Executive Director,  Carolina Madrigal, Delano Site Office Coordinator, and all the support staff without whom none of this would have been possible.

Mentor and leadership team.

New Renegades get Oriented

The Outreach and School Relations Department welcomed a group of 64 new students into the Renegade family at an orientation event in the Levan Center on Tuesday.

Full audience in the Levan Center.

The incoming students learned all about BC’s curriculum, counseling opportunities, and academic support services to help them properly navigate their college journey. Representatives from Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance were also on hand to talk about resources they have to support homeless and low-income students.

Speaking to the orientation audience.
Josie Guillen

I’d like to thank the Outreach team, Steve Watkin, Nicolette Castruita, Cecilia Gabaldon, Asshlea Ward, Angela Williams, Jo Ann Acosta, Debi Anderson, Savannah Andrews, Josie Guillen, and Manuel Muralles for putting together this informative orientation event to welcome new Renegades and for their efforts in reaching out to schools and the larger community.

HBCU Tour Continued

Last week I shared pictures from the first two days of Umoja’s HBCU Tour by Umoja Coordinator Dr. Paula Parks and four outstanding students interested in transferring to a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in Georgia and Alabama. The grant-funded tour included visiting cultural and historic sites, with Heritage Empowered as the tour operator. Dr. Parks has sent more pictures and descriptions of the exciting and rewarding tour that I would like to share with you:

“Day three, we went to Talladega College, which is an hour outside of Birmingham, Alabama”.

Tuskegee University Founded 1881 sign.

“A very special part of our visit was reconnecting with BC transfer student and Umoja participant, Tonysha Miles, who will graduate in December. Of Talladega, she said, ‘I love it here. All the resources I need are here.’”

5 students with Dr. Parks.
Dr. Parks standing next to Tonysha on the far right.

Mr. Lon Weind, who conducted the tour, touted the family feel and caring professors.  He also shared some history with the students in showing them a door on campus that led to a stop of the Underground Railroad, a network of tunnels and pathways that the enslaved used to escape North to freedom.

Tour guide pointing out attractions to students.

On the campus of Tuskegee University is the Tuskegee Airmen Museum, which highlights the accomplishments of the segregated fighter pilot unit during World War II. They became the most victorious and decorated squad.

Tour group at the museum.

Tuskegee is 45 minutes outside of Birmingham.

Tuskegee University Knowledge, leadership, service 1881 banner.

Tuskegee University was founded by Booker T. Washington – former slave, educator, and civil rights leader. This statue honors his accomplishments.

Statue of Washington assisting a slave.

Kerry Jones, who conducted the tour of the beautiful campus discussed the eight undergraduate colleges and graduate programs they offer, the availability of scholarships, and the caring professors.

Tour guide speaking to students.

Kierra Littles was impressed: “My favorite school was Tuskegee because of the community feel and their English program. I also liked it because they always have different activities on campus.”

4 students with Dr. Parks with the campus as a backdrop.

Alabama State University, which is in Montgomery, Alabama, was front and center during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955-56. The sculpture means no matter what African Americans went through, they made it, and today’s students are encouraged to persevere and make it as well.

Tour group in front of a large metal statue.

The tour guide touted their campus life, including the football team as well as internship and research opportunities.

Students in a room with large windows.

View of the campus including the sculpture.

Grass area with walkways, trees and large buildings.

In Montgomery, students saw the site of a slave market, a sad reminder of a time in our American history.

Alabama Montgomery's Slave Markets historical marker.

The last stop before flying out was the  National Center for Civil and Human Rights. It put America’s civil rights movement in the context of people around the world struggling for human rights.

Tour group with a mural of a hand with snippets: stop apartheid, I am a man, justice, one vote.

Dujour Sams summed up the experience: “I recognize how great of an opportunity it is to be part of a trip like this. . I felt empowered by visiting the schools as well as the historical sites we visited.”

3 students in front of Human RIghts Learn More sign.

What a wonderful experience! Thank you Dr. Parks for taking Umoja students on this HBCU tour and for sharing photos with me. A tour like this makes such an impression on our students, giving them cultural experiences and inspiring them to achieve their dreams. Faculty like you that dedicate so much time and effort toward enriching students’ education experience at BC  is why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever!

Leadership Bakersfield Graduation Gala

“What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” Steven Covey

Heidi Forsythe, Tamara Baker, Brandon Urry, & Endee Grijalva

For the past 10 months 32 strangers came together and made our community a little bit better.  Among those 32 strangers were Brandon Ury, Endee Grijalva and Heidi Forsythe.  They have now joined the ranks of Bakersfield’s Top Community Leaders as the class of 2019’s Leadership Bakersfield.  Leadership Bakersfield (LB) has been running for the past 32 years bringing individuals from across the city and challenging them to step out of their comfort zone to be a part of a greater good in the community. Potential participants are interviewed and selected to be a part of a ten-month commitment to a team of strangers who will work together to strengthen and improve the community while developing their leadership qualities.  Each month LB participants dedicated one entire day where they learned about their own individual leadership style, studied local issues, personally interacted with top leaders who make things happen in our community and discovered new reasons why Bakersfield is a great place to live.

Heidi Forsythe and Helen Acosta

Brandon Ury served on Team 1 where they empowered Project 180 to realign their mission and scope as a grassroot organization.  They also focused on bringing awareness and solidarity to victims of senseless acts of violence by unveiling a park bench at Laurel Park.  Their park bench dedication also led them to raise funds for a local children’s school choir. Their project was an act of kindness and unity in a predominantly high-crime rate community.

Endee’s Team 2 focused on a newer nonprofit organization located on Union, south of California Ave known as Dream Center Bakersfield – not to be confused with The Dream Center of Kern County that serves foster youth. Dream Center Bakersfield serves all individuals who may be dealing with homelessness, drug abuse, violence, sex trafficking – the list is endless.  Team two however, focused on the services provided to the children. The team met regularly for several months to revitalize the children’s center by painting a beautiful mural with the hope of brightening the lives of children dealing with issues out of their control. They did an amazing job of turning the children’s center into a brighter beacon of hope for the little lives that often go unnoticed.

Endee Grijalva and Heidi Forsythe

Heidi’s Team 3 took on a similar goal but focused on revitalizing the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault’s Resource Center located in downtown Bakersfield. Team 3’s goal was to beautify the center as a means of brightening up the lives of not only the participants but the staff as well. The team put two coats of paint on over 5400 sq. feet of wall space, improved their curb appeal as well as the conference room and children’s library by changing décor and adding donated furniture and children’s books.

Every act of kindness has an impact we may never fully know.  A conversation on a bench park can lead to a peace treaty among rivals, a painted mural in a children’s center can ease the stress and pain of a child and even brighter walls can improve the quality of work for those who ease other’s pain.  Leadership Bakersfield is a great opportunity to grow leadership skills but more importantly to become a greater community. Applications for the class of 2020 are currently being accepted. Will you step up to the challenge? #BuildingCathedrals

Jaime Lopez, Mayor Karen Goh, Endee Grijalva, Tamara Baker, Heidi Forsythe, & Helen Acosta

2019 BYP Summit

BC was out in full force at the 2019 BYP (Bakersfield Young Professionals) Summit on Thursday.  We were happy to sponsor such a great event, one that encourages and fosters young professionals in our community.  Our very own Heather Pennella spoke about engaging BC Alumni and getting to know their connection with the college.  If you have a BC story that you’d like to share, please visit BC Foundation’s Your Story and help us with our Alumni Outreach program! 

BC is proud to sponsor the 2019 BYP Summit!
Robin Paggi of WorkLogic speaking on Emotional Intelligence
Panel of local executives Amy Travis of CASA, Brad Bryan of Houchin Community Blood Bank, Ariana Joven of Kern County Farm Bureau, Nick Ortiz of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, and David Milazzo speaking about the importance of leadership
Heather Pennella presenting on BC’s Alumni Outreach Program
Heather with microphone speaking on stage.
Heather with colorful background.
Nancy Solis-Vargas of CSUB, Nick Ortiz of the GBCC, and our own Heather Pennella
Margarita Rodriguez, Thalia Solorio, Endee Grijalva, Kim Collins, Samantha Guillory, Lupe Aguirre
L to R: Lupe Aguirre, Earl Parsons, Ashlea Ward, Endee Grijalva, Tamara Baker, Heather Pennella, Benny Balderrama, Leah Prendez, Yoli Aguilera, Courtney Carter, & Tiffany Simpson
Large group of men and women in front of byp sign.
BC staff at the 2019 BYP Summit

Bitwise Industries Coming to Bakersfield

There was great energy and excitement in the room at The Padre Hotel on Wednesday, June 19 as co-founders of Bitwise Industries, Irma Olguin and Jake Soberal, hosted a joint virtual announcement in Fresno and Bakersfield.  Community leaders including Mayor Karen Goh, JP and Ingrid Lake, Morgan Clayton, Teresa Hitchcock, KEDC representatives Cheryl Scott and Richard Chapman, and the Greater Bakersfield Chamber’s President/CEO Nick Ortiz were among those present for the event.  Bitwise Industries announced its expansion to Bakersfield as a result of a $27 million investment from Kapor Capitol and the New Voices Fund.  This aligns with Bitwise Industry’s vision of taking opportunities to places who may not have it.

Welcome Bitwise Industries Banner on wooden wall.

Bitwise Industries was founded in 2013 by Irma L. Olguin, Jr., and Jake A. Soberal with the goal of activating human potential for the technology industry in Fresno, CA.  It operates three lines of business that sustain and support this objective. Geekwise Academy trains people to code, with a focus on marginalized groups, to give them the skills for today’s job market. Bitwise’s commercial real estate provides a physical home for aspiring technologists, fast growing technology companies, and many mission-aligned companies that hire out of Geekwise Academy; all of which contribute to the ongoing downtown revitalization efforts of the cities where Bitwise is based.Their Shift3 Technologies is a custom software development shop that pairs senior talent with entry-level programmers from Geekwise Academy to build and deliver top quality software solutions to clients around the world.

Woman broadcasting on monitor next to man speaking at podium in the hotel.
Virtual Announcement led by BitWise CoFounders Irma Holguin and Jake Soberal

Bitwise has produced more than 1,000 new software developers, attracted over 200 technology companies to its facilities, contributed to the creation of thousands of jobs in the region, and turned 250,000 sq. ft. of previously blighted downtown buildings in Fresno into desirable commercial real estate.

Several people mingling at the Padre Hotel.
BitWise Post Announcement Reception

Bitwise will be acquiring a facility in downtown Bakersfield for the expansion and has expressed a commitment to ensuring our local community thrives.  Bakersfield College is proud to be a partner in education and looks forward to expanding tech opportunities to our students and the community as a whole.

Emails to Share: BC Faculty Prepare Research Student

I received this wonderful email in regards to one of our students, Sarai Jaime. This reflects the quality education our faculty provide and I am proud to showcase the success of Sarai Jaime . We are BC!

One of our students is doing REU research at Ole Miss and will be going to Davis in the fall. I did not have her in my class but I became a mentor to her when she did volunteer work at the middle school with me. Now that she is with peers from other colleges I asked her if she feels we prepared her.

This was her response:

Yes, most definitely! Recently, we had a lecture where a professor presented his research (synthesizing dyes for solar cells) and he asked who had taken organic chemistry. About 10 of my peers raised their hands, including myself, and then he asked how many would synthesize the molecule he was showing (DPP17). It was an enormous organic molecule and I was the only one who’s hand was raised. I was able to raise my hand because Dr. Vaughan challenged his organic class in the second semester in a similar way. Dr. Vaughan would give us a staring material and a couple of steps and we would have to fill in the rest. This prepared me to not be afraid of synthesizing giant molecules and instead ask “what’s the starting material?” Of course, I wouldn’t have made to organic without my gen. Chem. professor, Dr. Da Silva and Dr. Copper, who taught me how to think like a scientist and approach problems differently than most people. The same can be said about all of my math professors; particularly my calculus professors Professor Starr and Professor Head. They, similar to my Chem. professors, taught me to apply what I know because the easiest path to a problem is often the correct one. I’ve had various professors in both the sciences and mathematics and they have all contributed to me being able to not be afraid of tackling problems that seem difficult and sometimes even impossible to solve at first glance. The lessons I have learn from my BC professors will transcend my summer internship and be present in my upper division courses at UC Davis and eventually at grad school when I pursue my PhD.†

Community Voices: Let’s not judge…

I just shared with you an email from Deborah Rosenthal about a student she mentored. When I asked for permission to publish her email and for pictures, she humbly refused any praise for herself as she was “just a mentor” not one of the professors that Sarai was praising. Now I can commend Professor Rosenthal for an excellent article published in the Bakersfield Californian Community Voices. She makes an excellent point about bias and judgements that continue in our community. Her article reminds us all not to judge people by their looks and the role of teachers as mentors. Professor Rosenthal’s influence and dedication as a mentor is evident in her continued contact with a student during the summer break. Be inspired and mentored by Deborah by reading her article “Let’s not judge a person by their looks.”

Emails to Share:

I was so pleased to receive this email from Heidi Forsythe:

Subject: Good News! 

I teach off campus (Inmate Scholar’s Program) and only find myself on the main campus when I need to pick up copies.  Today, I was on campus for a lengthy period of time which happen to be my lunch. As I decided how to efficiently use my time (while I waited for my copies) and plug in some exercise I chose to walk (climb my way) to the huddle where I met Christina Rodriguez.  This is where the good news comes in. Christina Rodriguez was the very cheerful food server who gladly took my order. As I thanked her for her excellent customer service she replied with great pleasure that she loves her job and the institution. She also mentioned that she is a graduate of BC.  While she is currently looking for full-time work within her field as an Administrative Assistant she expressed how happy she was working for the institution. She was very genuine in her remarks and expressed much gratitude for the opportunity to work for Bakersfield College. I was truly impressed with Ms. Rodriguez that I told her I would share the news with you and she was ecstatic.

It was so exciting to hear her brag about our amazing school.  She is a true example of the phrase, We are BC.

Kind Regards,

Heidi Forsythe

And when I shared this with Christina, she replied with a delightful email:

Dear BC President Sonya Christian,

I’m honored to receive an email from you.  I am very proud to be working at Bakersfield College Food Services Department as a permanent employee.  I enjoy coming to work and making a difference there when servicing our customers with a smile no matter how their day is going.  Bakersfield College is my second home just as it was for my mom, Theresa Rodriguez who worked there 26 years in the Food Service Department.

I graduated with an AA degree in Administrative Office Assistant and planned to make a career here.  Bakersfield College is an amazing place to work at and I enjoy every second of it. I want to express to you how much I appreciate my job, the people I work with and serving our BC students, faculty and the community.  I hope as they leave I made their day. Thank you for taking the time to read this and hope to see you soon.

Sincerely,

Christina Rodriguez

In BC Food Services cap and t-shirt.
Christina Rodriguez

Thank you Heidi for recognizing a valuable member of our team and thank you Christina for you dedication and bringing a smile to everyone on campus. We are BC!

Fun Photos: Inmate Education Team

9 people in front of a white board with lots of writing.
Inmate Education Team


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Transforming Environments, Transforming Lives

Let’s all be Hiromasa today, tomorrow and the next day — open hearted and going to the right path.  Did that get your attention? Read to the very end for the context!

Good Morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, Sep 10th …..another great day to be a Renegade! … topping off a great week to be a Renegade.

  • It was a great week because I woke up to Nick Strobel‘s smiling face in the Californian today discussing the recently discovered exoplanet at our closest star neighbor.
  • It was a great week because Chairman Bill Thomas, Congressman Bill became Trustee Bill Thomas.  Yes, dear friends, on Thursday Bill Thomas was appointed to the Board to finish out Rick Wright’s term.
  • It was a great week because we had the community come out to the College to watch Mayor Harvey Hall cut the red ribbon to the new Aera STEM Student Success Center.
  • It was a good week because of these two community voices pieces in the Californian

Community Voices piece by Cheryl Scott, VP of Kern EDC

http://www.bakersfield.com/news/opinion/2016/09/07/yes-vote-on-measure-j-a-vote-for-economy.html

Community Voices piece by retired faculty Randy Beeman.

http://www.bakersfield.com/News/Opinion/2016/09/07/Measure-J-can-solve-BC-s-infrastructure-woes.html

  • It was the week of opening the doors to the Measure J Campaign Head Quarters on 1675 Chester Avenue.  Thank you Greg Bynum for donating this space to us.
  • It was a week of laughter and tears, exhaustion and exuberance….in other words, life, full, vibrant with all the colors of the palette visible.
  • For me it was also a week of continuing to read poetry from my high school book.  Thanks to a friend who brought poetry back to my life.  Here is an excerpt from my blog two weeks ago. You can find the blog at:https://bcpresidentblog.com/2016/08/27/the-end-of-the-first-week-fall-2016/

Out of the blue, one of my friends this week quoted Rudyard Kipling. “But to stand an’ be still to the Birken’ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew” …a line from Soldier an’ Sailor too.  That got me digging out my poetry book, Panorama, from high school and spending nostalgic evenings reading some of my favorite poems.  I thought about the late and absolutely genius Robin Williams as his role in The Dead Poets Society saying “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry… beauty, romance, love, these… are what we stay alive for.”

This particular blog had the most number of comments as indicated by the data analytics.

Here is Michael O’Doherty’s comment: “Both are great Kipling works but I still like Gunga Din the best.”

Here is Peter Reyes’ comment from Texas: “Hey B C. Greetings from Dallas Texas where I am visiting my daughter and family anticipating – actually counting the hours until the big game: USC vs Alabama …and thinking about the upcoming B C football season. I won’t stay away and will be at no less than 5 Renegade games. B C and the community is awesome..Go Gades Go! PeterRenegade!!”

Here is the most recent of my poetry readings

The Soldier’s Dream
by Thomas Campbell

Our bugles sung truce – for the night-cloud had lowered.
And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky;
And thousands had sunk on the ground, overpowered,
The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die.

When reposing that night on my pallet of straw,
By the wolf-scaring faggot that guarded the slain,
At the dead of the night a sweet vision I saw;
And thrice ere the cock-crow I dreamt it again.

Methought from the battlefield’s dreadful array,
Far, far I had roam’d on a desolate track;
‘Twas autumn – and sunshine arose on the way
To the home of my fathers, that welcomed me back.

I flew to the pleasant fields, traversed so oft
In life’s morning march, when my bosom was young;
I heard my own mountain-goats bleating aloft,
And knew the sweet strain the cornreapers sung.

Then pledged we the wine-cup, and fondly I swore.
From my home and my weeping friends never to part;
My little ones kiss’d me a thousand times o’er,
And my wife sobbed aloud in her fullness of heart.

“Stay – stay with us! – rest! – thou art weary and worn;”
(And fain was their war-broken soldier to stay;)
But sorrow returned with the dawning of morn,
And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.

Saturday, September 3rd:

Many of us headed out to Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria to watch the first Renegade Football game of the season.  Although it was 64 degrees with a breeze, the Renegades were on fire.  Here is my end of the game tweet!

tweet-of-game-win

For more information on the game check out the gogades website at http://www.gogades.com/sports/fball/2016-17/releases/20160903xl2eoz

Sunday, September 4th:

The week started with Mother Teresa being canonized saint. Here is the song sung by Usha Uthup at her canonization.  Beautiful!

 

My cousin Daphne, posted a picture of  my Aunt Dorothy with Mother Teresa.  Aunt Doro was my dad’s oldest sister and we used to call her Mother Teresa for her kindness and gentleness.

aunt-doro-with-mother-theresaYou may know of Mother Teresa as simply a well-known Catholic nun who dedicated her life to humanitarian work, but last Sunday, September 4th, Pope Francis declared this amazing and beloved woman Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Here are two articles in case you missed the news, from KGET  and The New York Times.

Saint Teresa, known as one of our greatest humanitarians of all time largely dedicated her life to serving the people of India – but specifically, the poor, destitute, and dying people. At a young age, she learned piety and compassion from her mother, who always taught her to give to others by saying, “My child, never eat a single mouthful unless you are sharing it with others.”

But, regardless of your creed or beliefs … Saint Mother Teresa’s message was and still is universal today. She demonstrated a life worth living; one of finding deep purpose by serving those in need. She taught the world to embrace the suffering, rather than shun them. Hardships are worldwide and pain is experienced by all people. She taught that we should not compare our pains… but, instead bond and support each other because we can understand each other’s hurt. She taught us that suffering is often intensified by solitude and reaching out in kindness can have a tremendously positive effect. People have abandoned suicides, changed faiths, pursued life goals, and have done incredible things because of small acts of kindness.

Saint Mother Teresa is an inspiration of generosity, persistence, resilience, compassion, and love – love with no boundaries.

Today, Saturday, September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. This week our Bakersfield College Student Health and Wellness has partnered with Kern County Mental Health to continue conversation about the increasing national trend on suicide and offer depression screenings for students. There are so many ways to get involved from practicing self-care, to reaching out and checking on others, caring for friends in need, and getting involved with organizations that help.

Today is an opportunity to open up the conversation about a topic that often is neglected, ignored, and stigmatized in our world. To Write Love on Her Arms is a nonprofit that hopes to share the message that hope and help are real. A blog entry on their website from a few years ago reads, “The more we walk through our struggles in silence, the more we deprive others of the benefit of knowing they are not alone. Knowing the truth about the issues is vital, but we can get it from a textbook or Google in just a moment. Unless it is connected with real people, it lacks the power needed to combat stigma. We have to move beyond an awareness of the issues and become truly aware of each other. Real relationships are the true antidote to the separation that stigma breeds between “healthy” and “sick.” Relationships require us to see the real person who is suffering, struggling, recovering, and healing. They are the place in which we find hope and encouragement to keep fighting, and the place where lies are defeated with truth and compassion. This is the path toward hope and healing—for ourselves and each other—and ultimately, toward a society where stigma, shame, and suicide are struggles of the past.” 

Today, it is my hope that we take some time to learn about the warning signs, talk to friends we may be worried about, take the time to love ourselves, and if needed work towards or accomplish the victory of reaching out for help. Let us not stop at being aware of the issue and really, reach out to support one another.

Tuesday, September 6th:  BC AERA STEM Success Center!

Tuesday morning kicked-off the celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony for BC’s new AERA STEM Success Center. As I begin writing about the event, I can’t help but think back to our press event when we stood inside this empty shell of a building, excited for the future possibilities this transformable learning space could offer.

bc-stem-center-048

The celebration included a program of speakers and dignitaries, including Mayor Harvey Hall, trustees Kyle Carter and Romeo Agbalog, and AERA President and CEO, Christina Sistrunk. Thank you AERA for this worthy gift to our college, community, and students. Christina Sistrunk is am amazing leader during very difficult times.  Her calmness, fearlessness, and compassion sets her apart.

Check out KERO’s news clip on the ribbon cutting http://tinyurl.com/go4rmsz

The AERA Success Center by its very name tells a story for the students. It says that we have an industry partner dedicated to education, building a community, and one that is willing to commit its name to support this effort. And as a success center, it tells the students that this is the place to find faculty, peer mentors, advising, resources, and the inspiration they need to succeed. Our goal for this facility and our dream for the whole campus is to give students a home away from home, where learning is the focus and distractions can be set aside.

aeraribboncutting001

The space where the Success Center stands today was basically a supply closet for Maintenance and Operations for decades, but it was located in a prime spot—flanked by the Math, Science, Engineering and Industrial Technology buildings, right smack in the middle of the STEM neighborhood. With AERA’s gift and the hard work of our faculty, the Success Center will help reverse Southern Kern County’s double-digit unemployment rates and low attainment rates for higher education by empowering a new generation of non-traditional students to pursue degrees in STEM.

aeraribboncutting026

Klint Rogby, Lynn Carithers, Christina Sistrunk, Liz Rozell

As a token of appreciation to AERA, Klint Rigby professor of Industrial Drawing and one of our upper division Industrial Automation faculty for the Baccalaureate degree, designed and built a plaque using a laser cutter and expert woodworking skills. Attendees at the event had the opportunity to sign the letters as a reminder of this momentous day!

 

At BC, there was a team that came together to work on this project including Dean Liz Rozell, MESA director Connie Gonzales, our STEM faculty and staff, Dean for Math and Science Steve Waller, the facilities department, and our district office. Thank you all for your work and dedication to this project!

I’d also like to thank our STEM students for their interest in this project. Our students are the inspiration for everything we accomplish at Bakersfield College.  Jose Chavez, one of our STEM students and a member of the MESA program supporting diversity in math and engineering, spoke candidly about how the STEM programs at BC were an important part of his educational development. A copy of his speech is available online here. https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/download/17554

tweet-aera-center-opening-sep-7-2016We had a great turnout from the community.  Here are some names I remember after my first cup of coffee this Saturday morning: Richard Chapman, Bob Meadows, Vince Fong, Kristen Barnes, ….. Thank you community for coming out.  Thank you faculty, staff and students for coming out.

I’d also like to thank all the media who came out to support BC and share the exciting new things happening on campus. Check out the article from KGET on the AERA STEM Success Center here. Check out Harold Pierce‘s piece on the event at http://tinyurl.com/hjfgowg.  And here is my tweet on his article 🙂

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The work on this project started in March of 2013 under the leadership of Susan Hersberger and CEO Guardie Banister.  Thanks Susan and Guardie for your partnership with BC! Here is a tweet from Guardie after the ribbon cutting.

 

With the opening of the AERA STEM Success Center at Bakersfield College, we’ll be able to change the lives of more people like Jose, and this facility will be a birthplace of transformation for our entire community. Next time you come to BC or drive by on Mt. Vernon and glance over to BC, the sign that says AERA STEM Success Center will be a reminder that this industry giant believes in the transformational power of education and is willing to generously invest in our community and to the education of future generations.

Getting Connected to Service Learning Community Panel

Our Public Health Science students were also in for a treat this week when community leaders from all around town came to speak and discuss topics in the classroom. Coordinated as part of Professor Sarah Baron’s Public Health Science course PBHS21, the goal was to open the minds of students to the world of public health issues.

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Thank you to Annalisa Robles, California Endowment; Mariel Mehdipour, Kern County Public Health Services; Adrienne Buckle, Kern County Mental Health; Shelley Northrop, American Lung Association; Maria Jaime, Kern Family Health Care; and Chris Romo, youth journalist with South Kern Sol.

The course focuses on community wellness and behavioral change, so Professor Baron invited leaders so they could share their role in the community as well as orient the students to providing service projects at these agencies. Topics discussed were methamphetamine use in our community, promoting tobacco free environments, changing people’s health behavior, Building healthy communities and the effects of health inequities – “a zip code shouldn’t determine how long a person lives but it does.  In fact, health has more to do with the place you live than doctor’s visits.  The odds are stacked against low-income communities and communities of color.”

After the event, Professor Sarah Baron received an email from a student saying, “I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed listening to the speakers today. This was a very interesting and informative day for all of us.”

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Bill Thomas

btThe big news that hit on Wednesday was that Bill Thomas was being recommended to be the next KCCD trustee. An article detailed this news in the Bakersfield Californian. You can check it out here.

Bill Thomas has roots with Bakersfield College from his time as a BC professor, and understands from experience the benefit of attending community college. After high school, Bill attended Santa Ana Community College before transferring to San Francisco State University, where he earned his bachelors and master’s degrees in political science in 1963 and 1965 respectively. Mr. Thomas has spoken about his appreciation for community colleges and notes that it’s where he got his foundation for higher education. He said, “Too many successful people hide the fact that they started in a junior college and only mention the university they transferred to. I have always been proud of the role community colleges have played in helping thousands of people, like me, who would not have been able to go to college at all without a tuition-free local college. Of course, there are tuitions charged now, but they are a fraction of the costs of four-year schools.”

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Do you recognize this little boy to the left?

I love this picture.

 

 

It was in 1965 that Bill moved to Bakersfield where he joined the BC Renegade family as a political science professor. In 1974, Bill was elected as California State Assemblyman and in 1978 was elected to Congress representing the 18th Congressional District. Even though he was in Washington, Bill always kept in touch with Bakersfield College and BC and the needs of the college remained on his mind.

bt_planetariumMr. Thomas secured $1 million for the remodeling of the planetarium thru bill HR3061. Here is a picture of Bill at the Planetarium unveiling in November 2006 when it was named in his honor along with his two grandsons.  I was here at BC at the time as a Dean of the STEM area when Nick Strobel and I and many others worked on the proposal for this major Planetarium upgrade. However, I was in Oregon at the completion of the work in 2006.  Also, Nov 2006 was three months after my dad Paul Christian passed away.  It is definitely a time in my life that I have vivid memories.

Bill has done great work not only for our country as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, but for our campus and the city of Bakersfield as well. We continue to see and look forward to the improvements brought on by the Thomas Roads Improvement Project and have the terminal at Meadows Field airport that shares his name. Bill, just simply …thank you!

babyThere’s a new baby Renegade in Bakersfield

It’s my joy to announce that we have a new baby Renegade as part of the BC family. Foreign Language faculty, Tom Moran forwarded an email to me earlier this week from Foreign Language adjunct, Yuki Takeuchi announcing the birth of her baby boy.

The email read, “Thank you all for being very supportive for my pregnancy. I would like to announce that my baby boy, Hiromasa Henry Chan, came to this world in the morning of September 4, just one day before due date. Hiromasa means “open hearted and going to the right path” and Henry came from my husband’s childhood English name.  He is big!! 7 lb 11 oz, 19.5 inches.”

I know that all of BC is overjoyed that both baby Hiromasa Henry Chan and Mom are healthy and doing well. I just love his name and the meaning behind it. Rest well and enjoy your time together. We can’t wait to see you both on campus!

Dual Enrollment Changing Lives

cchs-asbCatching up on my inbox this week brought a few more pictures from last week’s Renegade Signing events. Make sure you read last weeks blog to catch all the great info about these events.

Besides the pics, Gusatavo Enriquez recounted his favorite highlight of the events. He says, “The highlight of my night… When we told the students ‘you are a college student and welcome to the BC family’ a parent turned around and hugged her daughter with teary but very proud eyes.”  We are BC! And our students are the inspiration for all we do.

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IBM Watson at the US Open

I have been watching the promotion of IBM Watson at the US Tennis Open that will be culminating tomorrow. An article titled, “Watson Makes its Debut in the U.S. Open Mobile App, Making Tennis Fans Smarter Than Ever” really peaked my interest. Artificial intelligence is evolving exponentially every day—self-driving cars are only a few years away from becoming a consumer reality, digital personal assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana get smarter with each information request, and Google designed an AI that was able to beat a Korean grandmaster at the ancient, extremely complex board game Go.

But for the first time this year, attendees at the US Open tennis tournament in Queens, New York are able to utilize the power of a supercomputer for unprecedented access to information. The US Open’s companion mobile app Guest Services is integrated with IBM Watson, a question-answering system capable of interpreting natural, conversational language. Originally designed to beat game show contestants at Jeopardy!, Watson is serving as a digital concierge for the US Open, providing audience members at Flushing Meadows with information about transportation, on-site facilities, nearby food-and-drink options and more, as well as updated, moment-to-moment statistics and advanced analytics data about every match on the court.

As artificial super-intelligences like IBM Watson become a reality and part of everyday life, human civilization will change in ways we can’t possibly conceive. On the threshold of the technological singularity, I suspect there will always be the desire to watch a few sets Grand Slam tennis.  Now, how will Watson impact education of the future!

In conclusion let’s all be Hiromasa today, tomorrow and the next day — open hearted and going to the right path”

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That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya