Tag Archives: Kristin Rabe

Wrapping up Fall 2019

Pearl Harbor Anniversary Sunrise. Dec 7, 2019.

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

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

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

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

Enjoying BC Choir Carols in December

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

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

Jean Fuller Podcast

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

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

Olivia Garcia and Jean Fuller

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

Employee Holiday Lunch Reception

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Gelder’s Retirement Party and Foundation Board Holiday Dinner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patriots From the Barrio

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

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

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

Arun Gandhi Video

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

Arun Gandhi speaks at Delano High School in September 2019.

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

Burritos with BCSGA Prez Pulido

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

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

Holiday Ceramics Sale

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

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

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

New Employee Orientation

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

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

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

Renegade Football Players Help the Homeless

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

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

Athletics Updates From This Past Week

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

Football Highlight Video

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

Next Level Renegades

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

Congratulations to Zach, Rhyan, and Emma!

We are BC!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Cinco de Mayo, 2018 and a great day to be a Renegade!

Loved the Women’s Empowerment Summit coordinated by Lisa Baca at BC this afternoon.  Both Liz and I were invited to speak and Carla Musser was recognized as the 2018 Distinguished Woman of the Year! Here is a panel of young women engineers who inspired the audience.

Panel at Women's Empowerment

Carla Musser and Liz Rozell May 5 2018


Lisa Baca and Sonya Christian Women's Empowerment May 4 2018

And loved seeing our hardworking Budget Analysts on a Saturday hard at work preparing BC’s budget that will go to the board this June.  Thank you Zach Quiroz and Somaly Boles!

Zach Quinoz and Somaly Bloes May 5 2018.jpg

Zach Quiroz, Somaly Boles working on saturday, cinco de mayo!

Less than a week to Commencement

Less than a week to making history at the Home of the Renegades! On May 11, join us at Memorial Stadium as we celebrate the largest graduating class in BC history, the first graduating class of the Industrial Automation Baccalaureate Program, and the first graduating class of Wonderful dual enrollment students in Agriculture Business!

Wow! What a year! I hope you will join us to celebrate this momentous occasion.

BC Commencement 2016

Celebrating Nan – Artist, Teacher, Dean, Vice President, Friend, and more–

Nan Gomez Heitzeberg 2

Nan Gomez Heitzeberg


Friends and family came together at the Indoor Theater on Friday night to honor Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, who retired earlier this semester after working for 35 years in the Kern Community College District.  Of course the evening started with Jazz and Kris Tiner.

BC Jazz.jpg

Past President Greg Chamberlain and his wife Kelly drove all the way from Idaho to be present for Nan’s event.

Greg Chamberlain, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg.jpg


Thank you Trustee Romeo Agbalog for attending the event.  Trustee Agbalog is in the photo with Prof. Kim Flachman from CSUB and Khushnur Dadabhoy.


Khushnur Dadabhoy, Romeo Agbalog, Kim Flachman.jpg

Nan warmly greeted everyone entering the theater from an ornate Renegade Red throne. Our Renegade drummers led us in procession to the Indoor Theater to begin the evening.


Ostry, Quinn Heitzeberg, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Jim Heitzeberg


Quinn Heitzeberg, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Jim Heitzeberg

Current and retired faculty from throughout the decades gave tribute to Nan with video testimonials that added a fun yet bittersweet tone to the retirement celebration. She was also presented with a joint resolution of recognition from the California state legislature by Andy Vidak representative Michael Bowers, a certificate of recognition from the Kern County Board of Supervisors, and a beautiful pink hat by former BC chef Pat Coyle.

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Michael Bpwers.jpg

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Nan Gomez Heitzeberg with Resolution from Board of Supervisors

Nicole Villaruz and Nan Gomez-Heitzberg

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Pay Coyle.jpg


We love you Nan!!!!

I want to thank the planning committee led by David Koeth who put this evening together so meticulously.  David Koeth (chair), Lynn Hall, Corny Rodriguez, Cindy Collier, Tom Moran, Pam Boyles, Jennifer Serratt, Wendy Lawson, Chris Glaser, Manny De Los Santos, Kristin Rabe, and Monika Scott.



AB 705 Workshop

On Friday, we hosted a workshop at Bakersfield College focused on learning more about the requirements of AB 705. We heard from members of the AB 705 Implementation Committee regarding how to use data to come into compliance with AB 705.

The morning’s first speaker was Michelle Siqueiros, President of The Campaign For College Opportunity. She spoke about her own journey and how having support systems and good public policy was crucial to her success.

Michele Siqueros

Other speakers included Nicole Bryant, Nika Hogan, and Janet Fulks who titled their talk “Keeping Students at the Center” and Craig Hayward who presented on the research behind default placement rules. Summer Serpas and Myra Snell presented on “The Promise of Concurrent Support Models in English and Math” and Alice Perez spoke about “The Social Justice Fight of Our Time.”

Nicole Bryant, Nika Hogan, Janet Fulks

Nicole Bryant, Nika Hogan, Janet Fulks


Janet Fulks.jpg

Janet Fulks


Craig Hayward

Summer Serpas

Summer Serpas

Alice Perez

Alice Perez

The afternoon focused on teams, as together we worked through exercises and data that are a challenge for implementation. We wrapped up with a discussion of common concerns and shared solutions so that we left with a plan to come into AB 705 compliance.



The math team.jpg


Nick Strobel, Phil Feldman, Steven Holmes.jpg

Porterville Team.jpg


Michele Siqueiros and Sonya Christian

Michele Siqueiros and Sonya Christian

Sonya Christian and Nick Strobel

Sonya Christian and Nick Strobel

Special thank you to BC Food Services and Chef Eric Sabella who made everything beautiful and delicious.


And thank you to the amazing staff who pulled all this together — Chris Glaser, Monika Scott, Manny de Los Santos, Kristin Rabe.  and thank you Tarina Perry for leading this effort.

3rd Annual BC Law Day Conference

This year’s theme is “The Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom” and the 3rd Annual BC Law Day Conference focused on how checks and balances preserve political liberty. Students got the opportunity to learn more about the process of how laws are created and enforced at the state and federal level at Friday morning’s Law Day event in the Indoor Theater.


left to right: Aaron Falk, representative for Congressman Kevin McCarthy; Janea Benton, representative for California Assemblyman Rudy Salas; Tanner Dyrness, representative for Assemblyman Vince Fong; Charles Kim, BC political science professor and moderator.


Gabriela Gonzalez (left) and Pearl Urena, BC academic advisor for the Pre-Law pathway.

Pre-Law academic advisor Pearl Urena organized this year’s Law Day conference, which featured representatives from across all of Kern County’s branches of government. BC political science professor Charles Kim gave a brief lecture explaining how the US Constitution’s separation of powers divides governance between executive, legislative and judicial branches at both the federal and state levels, with a system of check and balances to ensure that one branch isn’t more powerful than the other. He also gave an explanation about presidential executive orders and the ways that the federal court system is able to judge the constitutionality of a specific executive order.

After the lecture, Kim moderated a panel on the functions of the legislative branch featuring representatives from the offices of California Senator Andy Vidak, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, and California Assemblymen Rudy Salas and Vince Fong. The panelists shared their experience working as staff members for Kern County’s elected officials and how they fight for the needs of their constituents by supporting legislation that addresses their concerns. There was also a second panel about the judicial branch featuring court officials from the Kern County legal system. See all the photos at BC’s Smugmug.

Dual Enrollment Celebration

On the morning of Tuesday, May 1, BC hosted the first Dual Enrollment Celebration event in the Fireside room. Approximately 60 attendees from Kern County high schools, school districts, and Bakersfield College came to celebrate the successful growth and achievements of the dual enrollment program. Serving 29 sites spread across five school districts, the admissions, enrollment, scheduling and instruction for dual enrollment would not be possible without the tireless effort of high school site staff, instructors, administrators and support services.


Cornelio Rodriguez

The program began with an overview of dual enrollment provided by Dean of Instruction Cornelio Rodriguez. Dean Rodriguez noted that although we have visited other colleges to explore best practice, the Bakersfield College dual enrollment program already far exceeds most other programs in breadth of offerings, number of students served, and number of partnerships achieved. Dr. Anna Laven, Dual Enrollment Program Manager, later revealed that the census enrollment for Summer 2017 through Spring 2018 has reached 7,100.

Seeing dual enrollment as an opportunity for students to improve their educational attainment and connect to a career pathway, many attendees noted the significant impact of dual enrollment in reducing the barriers of educational access. One attendee explained, “I support dual enrollment because my students don’t always believe that college credit is within reach, they attend a school where the perception is that everyone has money and support, but that simply isn’t true. Dual Enrollment allows them to take the first step and build confidence.”


Group Photo of School District Representatives– from left – Ben Sherley, KHSD; Robert Cobb and Kevin Tallon, WUHSD (Wasco); Paul Chavez, DJUHSD (Delano); Abel Guzman, BC; Maria Herrera, MUSD (McFarland); Anna Laven, BC; Angelica Rios, WCPA (Wonderful College Prep Academy); Raquel Lopez, BC

Dual Enrollment is part of the Bakersfield College effort to support access for all students. Another attendee shared that dual enrollment helps “students understand they can break the poverty cycle and know that anyone can go to college.” Abel Guzman, Interim Director of the Delano Campus, explained that two-thirds of dual enrollment courses are offered in rural communities whose access to college is often limited. A true success story, Raquel Lopez presented that the Wonderful Prep Academy, also a rural site, will celebrate the graduation of their first 30 students with an AST in Business Ag at next week’s commencement exercises.

Offering a good reminder that the hard work of supporting dual enrollment is worth the effort, an instructor from Delano sent Dr. Laven this note, “Just wanted to say great job today at the dual enrollment celebration. You presented quality info and I am glad that we are pioneers as a program in this area. Keep up the good work!”

The Celebration event could not have taken place without the help of the campus, including food service, CTE staff, Delano campus, Outreach, Event Services and Media Services. More photos available on BC’s Smugmug.


Rural Archives Show Case “Digital Delano: Preserving an International Community’s History.”

delano-grant-logo-neh_logo_horizontal_rgbOn Tuesday, May 1 the Bakersfield College Delano Campus hosted a rural archives showcase event.  Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities Common Heritage initiative, the “Digital Delano: Preserving an International Community’s History” project has spent the 2017-2018 academic year hosting a variety public outreach events throughout the greater Delano area to preserve family and local histories through digital preservation and oral history.  Project Directors Elisabeth Sundby (Delano Campus Librarian) and Dr. Oliver Rosales (Professor of History & Faculty Coordinator, Social Justice Institute) organized the showcase event on May 1 to highlight the work being done within the archival project, as well as featuring a public panel with three archival donors and a keynote speaker.

DD Showcase presenters

Allison Burch – Delano Campus Adjunct Librarian,  Monte Marshall – Community Archive contributor, Elisabeth Sundby – Delano Campus Adjunct Librarian, Kimberly Arbolante – Contributor and Writing Center Lead, Christine CruzBoone – Bakersfield College Professor of Communication, Anhelica Perez – Graduating BC student, Oliver Rosales – Bakersfield College Professor of History, Dawn Mabalon, Keynote speaker and Professor of History, San Francisco State University

Over one hundred students and community members attended the event, which included a wonderful lunch provided by Bakersfield College food services.  High school students from the Delano Joint Union High School’s migrant program and RFK high school attended the event and were able to pick up information about attending Bakersfield College and becoming future renegades, in addition to learning more about the importance of family history.

DD Showcase SGA bags

The archive donor panel consisted of Monte Marshall, a native of Delano with deep family ties dating back to the founding of the city; Kim Arbolante, Bakersfield College Writing Center Coordinator who spoke of her grandmother Luz Arbolante, a pioneering leader within Delano’s Filipino American community; and finally Anhelica Perez, a graduating student at Bakersfield College and Office of Student life employee who spoke of her grandmother Josephine Fraire, an active member in various civic organizations in the McFarland area since the 1960s.  Each donor shared with the audience the process of archival donation, highlights from their family histories, and why the project was important to them.

Keynote speaker Dawn Mabalon addresses a packed room of attentive attendeesThe keynote speaker for the event was San Francisco State University historian Dawn Mabalon.  An expert on Filipino American history, Professor Mabalon addressed the audience about the importance of preserving family history, as well as her process from moving from getting a “D” in high school history, toward completing her undergraduate degree at UCLA, PhD at Stanford, and ultimately writing her first book Little Manila Is In the Heart: The Making of the Filipina/o American community in Stockton, California (Duke University Press 2013).  Professor Mabalon stressed to the audience how important it is for young people, particularly children of color, to see themselves in the curriculum.

The project directors wish to thank Carolina Madrigal and the entire BC Delano Campus staff for helping host the event, Bakersfield College Library Chair Kirk Russell, Librarian Allison Burch, Professor Chris Cruz-Boone, the Delano Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Bakersfield College Student Government Association CCA Grant.  Special thanks as well to Arnold Bon for taking wonderful photographs of the event, as well as numerous student volunteers who helped coordinate the event.  We are BC Delano!


Adventures with BC Geology Club

In late April the Bakersfield College Geology Club explored the desert and plains surrounding our community.

Professor Benker led the students on a field trip east to visit the Rio Tinto Borax pit mine and Mojave National Preserve.  Students were able to visit the Borax museum and learn about the process of mining the valuable economic mineral out of the ground.  They were also able to see boulder sized chunks of the mineral Kernite named after our county.


At the Mojave National Preserve students explored the ring trail and observed the Swiss cheese like weathering in rhyolitic tuff making up Hole in the Wall Canyon, wondered into the depths of a lava tube in the Cima Volcanic Field where they even sent me a fun video!


The group trudged up the Kelso Dunes.


The following week Professor Pierce led students into the Carrizo Plains to view the salt flats and explore Wallace Creek to view offsets and scarps produced by San Andreas Fault movement over the last 3,800 years.  Professors Benker and Pierce tell me, friends of BC and our community is invited to become part of the Bakersfield College Geology Club. You, too, can join in on these adventures!

Black and Gold Scholarship Banquet

Paula (3)

Mayor Karen Goh

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. held its 10th annual Black and Gold Scholarship Banquet to honor four high school seniors and two community members. At the festive event, the Fraternity presented scholarships to Bryce Jackson, Colby Maiden, Leslie Ceciliano, and Heavenly Ford. Ruscel Reader, a retired principal who has held many leadership positions in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., received the Community Service Award along with Dr. Ronnie Claiborne, a physician who is active in health and education organizations.

The keynote speaker was Dee Slade, director of the African American Network of Kern County. She shared with the audience the stories of several African-American scholars and inventors and told the students that anytime anyone tells them that they can’t do something, not to believe them because African American history suggests otherwise.


The Fraternity also honored Dr. Brad Anderson and Mr. Jamal Powell as Man of the Year. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., established in 1906 at Cornell University, is the oldest African American Greek lettered organization. They focus on community service and involvement while promoting academic excellence, brotherhood, and leadership.

Honors Fiesta

The BC Foundation and the Financial Aid Department treated its Honors and scholarship recipients to a Fiesta celebrating their accomplishments on Wednesday.

The Foundation team transformed the courtyard of the Administration building into a plaza with festive decorations, a taco bar provided by Food Services, and a Mexican helado cart filled with La Rosa Fruit and Ice Cream Bars. There was also a photo booth area where participants could dress up and have their picture taken. Special thanks to the BC Foundation and Financial Aid for organizing this fun event honoring the contributions of our amazing students.




BCSGA Transition Ceremony

i-fpjh3pn-x4There was plenty of laughter amongst some of the tears shed at the closing of the 93rd Session of the Bakersfield College Student Government Association. As the newly elected officers for 2018-19 were sworn in, Former BCSGA President, Dezi Von Manos, encouraged the new officers to “work together as a team” and reminded them “the position you now hold is not about you, but the students you represent.” She encouraged them not to give up when it seemed hard or stressful, but to push harder. Former BCSGA Vice-President, Lawrence Salcido, encouraged this year’s officers to not only dream big, but to execute a plan for that dream.

Newly elected BCSGA President, James Tompkins, stated that the goal for this year was “giving students a larger and louder voice,” while newly elected Vice-President, Ashley Harp, recognized the past officers and looked to the future for increasing communication and connections with the students and especially the sometimes forgotten Delano students while working together to bring a larger presence from BCSGA to the campus. A heartfelt THANK YOU goes out to all of  the BC Student Government officers who have served during 2017-18 and a warm welcome and congratulations to the new officers of 2018-19. WE ARE BC!


Student Art on Display

The hallway in the Fine Arts Building morphed into the Renaissance this week as Professor Diego Monterrubio’s Advanced Drawing class created incredible masterpieces over the semester.


Renegades Voices in the Community

Kori Masilon

It was wonderful to see the piece titled “Community Voices: BC’s Industrial Automation program equips students with right tools” by Renegade, Kori Masilon published by the Californian on April 24th.

Kori shared her journey beginning in 2015, the year BC announced we were selected as one of 15 community colleges in the state of California to pilot a 4-year degree.

This year, Kori will be one of the 7 first graduates from Bakersfield College to receive a baccalaureate degree. Join me in congratulating her and her cohort and make sure to read to piece to see what she is up to and how her degree is changing her life.

Steve WatkinOutreach and School Relations Director, Steve Watkin also had his Community Voices piece published which focuses on the student success guidance and how these efforts are changing the statistics for our incoming generation of students.

In his piece, “Support efforts are crucial to student success” he mentions the incredible work of the college and the high recognition from organizations such as League for Innovation and the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce. Thank you to these organizations and thank you Steve for highlighting them and the work that BC accomplishes.

Olivia Garcia

Olivia Garcia

Olivia Garcia authored a great article titled “Filipina American historian to visit Delano, discuss importance of preserving family histories” and highlighted the work in Delano by Dr. Oliver Rosales and Elisabeth Sundby.

She quotes Dr. Rosales in the piece:

“The most meaningful thing to me has been the many tears from students, and by extension their grandparents and elder relatives that did not think their histories matter,” Rosales said. “Family history does matter.  This project has allowed young people, students in and around the greater Delano community, to see how their family stories connect with larger historical forces that have shaped their past.”

Renegade Athletics

Renegade Softball won yesterday in the CCCAA Southern California Regional best of 3 payoff series.  Was happy to see Trustee Romeo Agbalog and his family cheering our term.

Romeo Agbalog, Lily Agbalog, Victoria Perez



#21 Kara Morgan (Frankhouser) left a beautiful post on the BC Softball Facebook page.


#21 Kara Morgan

“6 years ago, I played ball at the Dean & Adah Gay complex for the last time. It was regionals and my team, OUR team, made BC history time and time again, just as your team has, and we were able to host regionals for the first time, on this beautiful field we all get to call home. I didn’t want it to be my last time. I wanted to play in State, on OUR field, and win. I wanted Coach Sandi to finally get the pay off she deserved from giving all of our teams year after year all that she had. I wanted to go to Disneyland with my team, celebrating that huge victory. We could taste it, dream it, feel it, and we were freaking good.

But we all have dreams that we don’t quite reach.

Yeah, I knew I was probably going to continue playing after BC. I had dreams of D1 ball, playing on the field against top national teams, and continuing to get the fire in my gut that we all get as we play this game. But let me tell you, playing on the UCLA field and shaking hands with Lisa Fernandez, seeing my name on ESPN, flying in airplanes and walking as a proud unit that still donned the Bakersfield name on my chest, playing the game for money, NOTHING compares to the love and fire I get when I walk into that BC stadium.

You see, at BC you are a part of something bigger, something greater. You have decades of alumni who still show up to cheer you on. You have a school athletic coaching staff that cares about you and knows your name. You have a secret weapon of an athletic trainer who makes your mind, body, and spirit align. You have a coach who bleeds Bakersfield and wants to give back to the city who raised her. You girls are given everything you need to win. So just play ball.

I hope you girls spend this week mentally preparing. Thinking about the reasons WHY you play this game. Not how you play it. Not about the future, or the past. Think about the present. Stay close to the why. Because the why gets you through the darkest of times in the softball world, trust me. When you’re mad and hate the game, remember why. When you’re on fire, on top of the world, remember why. We all have different why’s. Learn about your teammate. Figure out why they play the game. Get closer to them. You guys are about to go to war together. As Sandi always told us, you just gotta win your last game.

You will hang it up before you know it. Your old glove will get stiff. You’ll start losing your equipment piece by piece as you move into adulthood. But what an amazing feeling it is when you run into your old team mate that had your back more than anyone when that fight broke out at home plate (Kelsey and Jessica “HEY THATS MY CATCHER”) or you come across old pictures of you and your pitchers locked in together. Sometimes you’re unpacking boxes when you move and you find your old game visor, or warm up jacket, and you just can’t help but remember why that game meant so much.

Take it in, ‘gades, we’re all rooting for you!!!!!!”

Celebrating Retirees

At Thursdays, KCCD Board of Trustees, we presented Felix Ramirez with his plaque of recognition. During his years of service at Bakersfield College, Felix had countless friends across campus. Many employees have fond memories of Felix patrolling the hallways and especially, his kind knock on the door to remind them it was time to go home at 5:30PM.

With years of service in the Marines and in the Army National Guard, Felix always had a calm, authentic security and warmth with him where ever he was. His retirement is truly deserved with a job well done.  Felix, thank you for your service to our country, our community, our Renegade family, and BC.


Kay Meek and Felix Ramirez

Math and Science celebrated a little Retirement Luau for Andrea Garrison and Rafael Espericueta


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Celebrating Faculty and Staff

Congratulations to Manny Fernandez who was awarded Outstanding Industry Partner for the Kern High School District!


IMG_0996On Wednesday morning, I received an email from Jackie Lau in BC’s Admissions and Records sharing that she feels so fortunate to be at BC and a part of Michelle Pena’s team.

Jackie said, “She was a great speaker! Several institutions staff were coming up to our team telling us how lucky we were to have her as a Director because she’s is so knowledgeable and shares information in each session.”


I loved seeing Jackie’s post also on Facebook!  #WeareBC!

jackie lau

ASCCC Career and NonCredit Education Institute 2018

A group of amazing individuals from BC are also attending the ASCCC Career and NonCredit Education Institute in Costa Mesa. The website states,  “The ASCCC Career and Noncredit Education Institute is the first ASCCC event to bring faculty together from these areas to collaborate on a statewide level on how best to integrate the services, practices and instruction of these areas. Presentations cover topics in areas such as career education, noncredit education, counseling and student services, Adult Education Block Grant (AEBG), and apprenticeship.”

ASCCC Career and NonCredit Education Institute 2018

Endee Grijalva, Jaime Lopez,  Jennifer Johnson, Stephanie Baltazar and Tony Cordova

Physics Olympics

IMG_2889Friday, April 28th, was the 30th annual Physics Olympics take-over of BC. Over a thousand high school science students (many of them future Renegades) came to BC to put into action the physics and engineering concepts they’ve learned on paper in the classroom. Mark Trunnell from Centennial and Dan Halbur from Foothill work with BC professor Rick Darke to put on the event at BC. The map below shows where the events took place.


Foothill physics teacher Dan Halbur encourages these South High students in the “Efficiency Bridge” contest. Using ordinary wood pieces like popsicle sticks, coffee stir sticks and toothpicks glued together, students construct a bridge that can carry a 5.0 kg load across a 60-cm span. Designs are judged on how much the bridge flexes, and the total mass of the bridge.


Physics Olympics students. The ever-popular egg drop was on the north side of the stadium. In that event students design a container holding a raw egg and drop the container from a three-story height. Successful containers will keep the egg intact.


Paper airplane contest has students design paper airplane that fly the longest and straightest. These students found out that throwing the paper airplanes with a lot of force causes the typical paper airplane to swirl around off course, often coming right back to the thrower, especially if the plane is the typical design with big wings. I advised one team to make the plane more like a missile and practice throwing it before doing the contest (advice based on experience gained in competing with my brothers growing up).

Paper tower event has students building the tallest tower out of just paper and tape.

Super Quiz that pits high school teams against each other in rapid-fire physics questions. The teams are cheered on by their friends in the bleachers. Nick Strobel shared his excitement by telling me, “Yes! An astronomy question was included!”


Guided Pathways Peer-to-Peer Work Plan

BC sent a team to the first California Guide Pathways Peer-to-Peer Work Plan Reading Circle, an event sponsored by IEPI and the Chancellor’s Office, on April 27th. Dean Steve Waller of our STEM pathway, education pathway counselor Brynn Schock, and Guided Pathway Implementation team faculty members Janet Fulks and Jessica Wojtysiak worked within regional teams to identify themes and share concerns about future policy and support efforts.



Sonya Christian 3 May 4 2018

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Many Things to Celebrate at BC!

Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, October 28, 2017 and a great day to be a Renegade.

fats-domino-9276748-1-402.jpg biography websiteDid you grow up with Blueberry Hill, Your Cheating Heart, ……. I did.  As a little girl listening to my Uncle Raphe, who has since passed, reminiscing over and over again about how he wooed Aunt Shirley when he was in a band and sang Blueberry Hill.  You know families, stories are repeated over and over again.  I loved them all and loved this one about the love story of my uncle and aunt.  And Fats Domino was front and center in this story.  I definitely grieved his passing on October 24, 2017 and read the news items posted on him and listened to his music over and over again on youtube.  Here is a great 5:09-minute video of Fats Domino, Elvis Presley, Johnny Hallyday, Celine Dion & Louis Armstrong in Blueberry Hill


And I love Louis Armstrong as well. Here is my favorite — Louis Armstrong and Barbara Streisand in Holly Dolly.

This is how John Pareles begins his article on October 25, 2017 in the New York Times


For more

BCSGA Power Lunch

Introducing Vince Fong to a room packed with students was one of the best ways I could imagine beginning a new week at BC.


On Monday, we had the 2nd of 3 Power Lunches hosted by BCSGA Legislative Affairs Department. The Power Lunches consist of local legislators from Kern County sharing with the student body how they can be involved and stay up-to-date on what is currently happening within the state. Students also get the great opportunity to learn from the personal stories of our guest speakers.


Michelle Pena, Sonya Christian, Chris, Vince Fong, Heather Pennella, Steve Watkin Oct 23 2017

After the luncheon, it was fantastic to see Renegade football player and student intern in the Marketing Department, Carson Olivas on campus!

Sonya Christian and Carson Olivas October 23 2017

Sonya Christian, Carson Olivas

Disability Awareness Day

October is national Disability Awareness Month including Disability Employment Awareness? On Thursday, we celebrated Disability Awareness Day with various activities and presentations. To kick off the morning, we had an info fair with booths all across the Renegade Crossroads. On-campus and off-campus exhibitors included BC DSPS, BC Student Health Center, BGLAD, Bakersfield City Recreation and Parks: Adaptive Sports, Canine Companions for Independence, CA Department of Rehabilitation, Exceptional Family Center, Epilepsy Society of Kern County, Inclusion Films Workshop, Independent Living Center of Kern County, The Wounded Heroes Fund, Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation, America’s Job Center: Employment Resources for Individuals with Disabilities, Kern Autism Network, Kern Regional Center, LifeSigns, and Sorenson. These organizations are so important to our community and to those with unique needs. They provide such a wide range of accommodations and support services, such as canine companions, community, and other means of assistance.

The activity moved into our Fireside Room for a student panel and awards ceremony. Students spoke about their challenges as a way of sharing that we all endure personal unique struggles, but with success comes inspiration. They made a point to share that access to resources is vital. A special thank you to our students for voicing your stories. You continue to inspire me, your classmates, your professors, your community. Next, we celebrated the DSPS Allies Awards to those who actively support the success of students with disabilities at BC. This special award is for those who truly go above and beyond. Thank you to all the recipients this year:

Outstanding Department: Assessment Department, Department of Public Safety

Outstanding Faculty: Kurt Klopstein, Richard Miles

Outstanding Staff: Dr. Nicky Damania, Elieen Pierce

Outstanding Students: Alysun Seablom, Danita Belmore

Disability Awareness Assessment Center Recepient Speaker Chuck Wall

Dr. Chuck Wall

To close out the afternoon, we welcomed guest speaker, Dr. Chuck wall, a retired Business Admin faculty from BC who overcame the obstacles that go with being blind. He’s received international acclaim for his creation of the “Random Act of Kindness” and he’s appeared on radio shows including the Oprah Show, CNN, The Hour of Power, and he’s been honored by the U.S. House of Representatives for his humanitarian work. Thank you to Terri Goldstein and BC’s DSPS team for all they do to organize, plan, and prepare for this incredible day each year.

All of the photos from this years event are available at The Bakersfield College Smumug.

See my blog about last year’s Disability Awareness Day here.


To honor the month, every year BC’s own WorkAbility III Employment Program for People with Disabilities takes the lead in planning and implementing the Bakersfield Mayor’s HIRE Committee Luncheon celebrating employers who hire and support people with disabilities, as well as their employees with disabilities who are successfully working.

Denise Crawford from BC was interviewed on KGET Tuesday morning to talk about her involvement with organizing a luncheon for Mayor Karen Goh’s HIRE Committee dedicated to helping people with disabilities find employment.

HIRE Luncheon Group Photo

This year’s event was held on Wednesday, October 25th at Hodel’s event center and had its largest annual attendance to date!  Over 120 employers, most from Kern County, employees with disabilities, and the local agencies and colleges who support them attended this exciting afternoon. Highlights of the event include large and small employer business of the year and employee with a disability of the year. Nominated this year was BC’s own Matthew Foster from campus reprographics. The event included inspirational speakers, entertainment by the “World Famous Sit-Down Comic,” Miguel Lugo, and our mayor, Karen Goh.

BC was well represented: Dr. Terri Goldstein, Director of Disabled Students Programs and Services, attended with Rudy Gutierrez, WorkAbility Job Development Specialist and Denise Crawford, WorkAbility Program Manager.  Rudy and Denise, with the BC Workability Program, are both long-time members of the HIRE Committee, a combined effort of colleges, community and state agencies to increase awareness and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

HIRE Mayor Goh, Rudy, Terri and Denise

Mayor Karen Goh, Terri, Rudy, and Denise

The HIRE Committee was originally founded by recently retired Mayor Harvey Hall and community members in 2004, and has a long and successful history. And Mayor Karen Goh continues to support this much needed effort since she was elected Mayor of Bakersfield last year.

Campus Facilities Presentation

IMG_7458We had an excellent forum in Levan Center about Measure J & Facility Master Plan. November 8th will be the one-year anniversary of Measure J, so we want everyone to know what is happening with the half a billion dollars that the wonderful citizens of Bakersfield voted to give Bakersfield College for much needed structural improvements. As honored guest, Trustee Bill Thomas said, “Bakersfield College is going to be renewed.”

We were able to hear from AECOM-Parsons team and the Project Executive, Domingo Camarano, a proud Renegade Alum raised in Bakersfield. He understands our community and is concerned with the future of our students. AECOM-Parsons is working hard to transform our college to better turn our community support into brick-and-mortar structures that align with the education master plan.  During this transformation, I ask all of you for Engagement, Efficiency and Effectiveness.


AECOM was recently in the LA Times for their project on the LA River.

Thank you to all the staff and faculty who attended the forum and especially to Chancellor Tom Burke for taking the time to call in, even as he was travelling to Sacramento; to subcommittee chair Trustee Bill Thomas for being so involved in our transformation, to Bill Potter, Administrative Chair, Pam Kelley, Faculty chair, and Kristin Rabe, Classified Chair and the rest of the members of the Facilities & Sustainability Committee for working diligently on the Facility Master Plan. If you missed the presentation, you can see important dates, campus team leaders and other information in the Measure J & Facility Master Plan Presentation 10/25/2017. This is truly a wonderful time at BC.

National Chemistry Week

Did you know it was National Chemistry Week? We celebrated at BC with an info fair in the courtyard within the SE building! Info was available for students who wants to pursue a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math. National chemistry week gives students the opportunity to see that chemistry can influence things in your life not only in class…. Check out the video created by Manny De Los Santos!

All the photos are available at the Bakersfield College Smugmug.

Pre-Radiologic Technology Orientations

BC PreRad students

93 Students in attendance!

Our Pre-Radiologic Technology Orientation last week was a huge success, with over 93 college and high school students in attendance to learn all about our radiology programs.The event was organized in conjunction with the Health Careers Pathways Initiative and a team lead by counselor Dinorah Castro. Several of our radiologic technology students participated in the orientation, and it was a great opportunity for our staff to answer student questions, dispel any confusion about the program and career pathway, and converse with some of our current and prospective students. Students learned about program prerequisites, application procedures, financial aid opportunities, program curriculum, as well as tips for licensure exam performance and future employment in a radiologic technology career.

Thank you to the Health Careers Pathway Team: Dinorah Castro, Nancy Perkins, Jacy Hill, Venessa Reyes!

Delano CHAP

ChrisDison and Joe Aguierre presenting at CHAPThe BC Delano Campus’ Cultural & Historical Awareness Program (C.H.A.P.) has been busy organizing events for students, staff, and the Delano community this semester. The first event was held on Wednesday, October 18 at the Kern County Library – Delano Branch. This event was hosted by the Kern County Library in conjunction with the One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern project and the book: “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America” by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer.  Professor of English Chris Dison moderated a panel discussion entitled Poverty and Policy in Delano with guest Joe Aguirre, Director of Facilities and Emergency Management for Delano Regional Medical Center (DRMC). Mr. Aguirre is a current Delano city council member and past mayor of Delano. The evening began with a history of DRMC’s Community Garden as a response to the many citizens in need of fresh food for dietary and medical reasons and how the garden operates today in Delano. The DRMC has over 20 acres of land that they now provide to the community, free of charge, in order to provide a venue for horticultural and dietary education, while enabling residents to grow and harvest their own food. The session ended with a call to students and all Delano residents to actively engage in their community and participate in the political process in order to facilitate change.

Robert F Kenndy Delano Campus LobbyA second C.H.A.P. event happened on Wednesday, Oct. 25 (Larry Itliong Day) at the Robert Kennedy High School Lecture Hall.  Entitled Digital Delano: Preserving an International Community’s History, with sponsorship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, this event featured an author presentation and panel discussion of Gabriel Thompson’s new book “Chasing the Harvest: Migrant Workers in California Agriculture” (Voice of Witness 2016).  The award-winning author offered a reading of his book and participated in a panel discussion with some of the subjects interviewed in the book.  The evening was special for the over 200 people in attendance, including local educators, their students and families.

Visiting scholars from CSU Bakersfield, UCLA, CSU Fresno, Chabot College, and other statewide advocacy organizations for farm workers attended.  The entire event was conducted in both English and Spanish, with translation services offered by the moderator, Adjunct History Professor Octavio Barajas (Ph.D. Candidate, Tulane University) and Valerie Gorospe of the Center for Race, Poverty, and the Environment.

Abel Guzman Presenting at CHAPDelano Campus Interim-Director Abel Guzman also spoke, sharing his own family’s intimate connections to farm labor in Delano.  Food was provided by the amazing Fil-Bak Shop in Delano.  Delano Campus librarian Elisabeth Sundby and volunteer librarians harvested local histories throughout the evening, as attendees were encouraged to bring in family history artifacts (photos, letters, memorabilia) to digitize and contribute to the building of a community-based archive available for future use by students and researchers.

Panorama Music Summit –Take 2

The first annual Panorama Creative Music Summit was a big hit! Organized by professors Kris Tiner and Josh Ottum, this collaboration between the Jazz Studies and Commercial Music programs featured performances by BC students, alumni, and faculty along with some talented guest performers.

Panorama band6

Friday’s events began with a workshop in the music lab led by Long Beach composer and producer Chris Schlarb, leader of the band Psychic Temple. Schlarb instructed music technology students in recording techniques honed from decades of experience running his own studio and record label. Friday evening’s performances in the Indoor Theater kicked off with four student songwriters from the Commercial Music program who were chosen by audition to perform at the summit. Luke Duffell, Mason Edwards, Ian Merete, and Trevor Turner wowed the audience with their creations that were inspired by pop, folk, rap and ambient music. Next up was Professor Josh Ottum’s trio featuring BC music faculty member Kyle Burnham on drums and BC alumnus Jared Gardner on bass. Ottum performed a selection of original songs from his solo albums, plus a very well-received tribute to Tom Petty. Chris Schlarb and Psychic Temple closed out the evening with a wonderfully diverse set of original tunes from the album Psychic Temple IV, which continues to appear on the Billboard Americana/Folk charts. The band included multi-instrumentalist Phillip Glenn on violin, accordion, mandolin and keyboard, former Nashville drummer Garrit Tillman on drums, and Leeann Skoda on guitar and backup vocals.


Saturday’s events began with a 2.5 hour workshop led by Japanese percussion wizard Tatsuya Nakatani. Nakatani, who currently lives in New Mexico, travels throughout North America performing with local musicians trained to play his set of giant gongs, using his handmade bows and following his unique conducting system. For this event 14 BC music students were selected to perform with the Nakatani Gong Orchestra. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for both the performers and the audience alike. Saturday evening’s concert began with the Andrew Morgan Quartet. Morgan, who plays drums, is a former BC student and recent graduate of the Jazz Studies program at CSU Northridge. His band was stellar, and consisted of fellow CSUN students along with celebrated LA bassist Jeff Schwartz. Following Morgan’s set, BC Jazz Studies professor and trumpet player Kris Tiner performed in a duo with LA pianist Cathlene Pineda. Tiner and Pineda have collaborated and recorded together frequently since they were students at CalArts, and for this set they performed original material plus music by Leonard Cohen and their shared mentor, the late jazz bassist Charlie Haden. Tatsuya Nakatani brought the evening to an ecstatic finish with a riveting solo performance on the drums, followed by the much-awaited Nakatani Gong Orchestra.

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The next Panorama Creative Music Summit is planned for September, 2018 and I can’t tell you how much Im looking forward to this new campus tradition celebrating creative music at Bakersfield College!

Coach Ferreira

The Renegades volleyball team defeated West LA 3-0 , (25-16, 25-9, 25-10) to improve to 15-5 overall and 3-1 in conference. BC was led by Brooke Horack with 10 kills, while Mandy Sangha added 9 kills. Haley Sanchez led the team in digs, with 7.

With the win Carl Ferreira earned his 400th career victory! Congratulations to Coach Carl.

Coach Carl


Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance

On Tuesday, the Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance hosted a luncheon to recognize the work of volunteers in our local legal community. Among the honorees was Princess Herrera, a BC graduate of our Pre-Law pathway. As a student, Princess was the President of the Pre-Law Society while also completing an internship at GBLA, which included English-Spanish translation of several legal documents and publications. Princess is continuing her Pre-Law studies as a junior at CSUB with plans to enter law school in fall 2019. In the meantime, Princess continues her volunteer work at GBLA.


Pictured are several members of BC’s Pre-Law Advisory Council who continue to support and mentor Princess along her journey toward a legal education: Manny Mourtzanos, Mark Pafford (Chief Deputy District Attorney), David Torres (Criminal Defense Attorney), Princess Herrera, Jay Rosenlieb (Attorney),  Adeyinka Glover (GBLA Executive Director), Bethany Peak (Attorney), Alekxia Torres-Stallings (Attorney), and H.A. Sala (Criminal Defense Attorney). My deepest gratitude goes to the members of our Pre-Law Advisory Council for their faithful dedication, volunteer service, and countless hours of investment in our students’ success. At BC, we are so proud of our graduates.

Grimmway Academy and Bakersfield College

Kimberly Bligh, Cole Sampson, Bernadette Towns, Lindsay Ono

Kimberly Bligh, Cole Sampson, Bernadette Towns, Lindsay Ono

A team from Bakersfield College were invited for a tour and lunch at the new Grimmway School in Shafter. BC was joined by representatives from CSUB, Point Loma, Fresno Pacific, and National Universities.

Shafter Principal, Joanna Kendrick, and Arvin Principal, Cole Sampson, took us on walking tours through the farm centered in the middle of campus, the Learning Lab, several classrooms, and then we dined on fresh produce and yummy tacos in the Edible Classroom.  You see in the photo below Shafter Grimmway School Principal, Joanna Kendrick, explaining a typical, cross-discipline food education lesson in the school’s Edible School Classroom.

Chef Anna Melby, also an adjunct professor for BC, runs the Schools Café.  Casey Yeazel, the Chief Academic Officer for the school, shared the school’s teacher and staff hiring process and intensive professional development practices at the Grimmway Schools. He shared the school’s vision and encouraged teacher training collaboration with Grimmway, local colleges, and the community.

Reps from multiple secondary schools

Casey Yeazel

Casey Yeazel, Chief Academic Officer

Thank you BC team — Kimberly Bligh, Bernadette Towns, Lindsay Ono, for attending.  And thank you Trustee Romeo Agbalog for keeping the focus on education for rural Kern front and center.


Latina Empowerment Day

BC was honored to be able to host Latina Empowerment Day in the Fireside Room on Friday, which provided attendees with important resources for Latinas to engage important leadership roles in the community.

Gabby, Norma, Lisa

Gabby Castaneda, Norma Rojas Mora, and Lisa Kent

Latina Empowerment Day was hosted by the group Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), an amazing nonprofit organization “committed to ensuring political and economic parity for Latinas”, according to their website.

They’ve helped thousands of Latinas with education and development of leadership skills to be successful at the highest level in their communities, while providing important demographic data about Latinas to develop and advocate for government and institutional policies that would increase Latina employment.

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Representatives from HOPE conducted three workshops during Latina Empowerment Day, focused on financial planning, business negotiations and conflict resolution, and energy policy, respectively.

Several representatives from Wells Fargo, one of the sponsors of the event, provided some important guidelines for financial health, maintaining good credit and planning for retirement. Wells Fargo’s Vice President of Community Relations Gabriela Mello praised the HOPE organization and expressed her excitement about Wells Fargo’s partnership with the group. “HOPE has done an amazing job supporting, advocating and helping Latinas throughout the country with their leadership institutes and workshops,” Mello said.

Opening speaker Nayi Arismendi, a Subsurface Lead of Major Capital Projects for Chevron, providing some motivational words for the audience while telling her story of coming to America from Venezuela. “We as Latinas have the power to make our way up,” she said. “Don’t be afraid. If you once failed, it doesn’t mean that you won’t get there. We get to wherever we dream of.”

Norma and GabbyTwo lucky attendees to Latina Empowerment Day got some great prizes. HOPE gave away a beautiful Michael Kors handbag and two round-trip tickets with Southwest Airlines to anywhere the airline serves to attendees who stayed for the duration of the event.

I’d like to give a giant shoutout to Norma Rojas Mora for hosting Latina Empowerment Day. She’s a huge supporter of our campus and an integral part of helping us build and develop Measure J. A few months ago, I posted a picture of Norma with Trustee Thomas and Nicole Parra helping us out with Measure J and put it in the July 1st edition of the blog.

Octavio Martinez and Tim Painton

In last Sunday’s edition of the Californian, reporter Teddy Feinberg highlighted the successes of former Renegade baseball star Octavio Martinez, who now works as a Major League bullpen catcher for the Washington National for eight months a year, returning to Bakersfield off-season to unwind in his hometown.

In the article, coach Tim Painton offers some fond memories of Octavio, who was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 1999 and played professionally for 14 years before becoming the Nationals’ bullpen catcher. Painton remembers Octavio as “a man of high character” and “a very genuine, down-to-earth, good person.”

Painton has had the privilege of coaching three of Octavio’s brothers.

Juan was a standout Renegade who went to Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma before playing in the San Francisco Giants farm organization. He now plays professionally in Mexico. Rolando followed in Octavio’s footsteps and went to Oral Roberts University at the end of his Renegade Career. He plays professionally in Mexico, too. Luis is the youngest brother and is currently a senior infielder with the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners. The Martinez brothers are lucky to be a part of such a great family, and all of us at BC are lucky that this family chose our campus to be a part of their journey.

BC in Seattle:

We had a BC Team in Seattle this week at the very last AACC Pathways Institute.

BC Team at AACC Institute 6 in Seattle

Sonya Christian, Craig Hayward, Grace Commiso, Jennifer Johnson, Zav Dadabhoy, Lesley Bonds, Mark Osea

We focused our work in getting our catalog of courses for degrees and certificates to be represented more visually on the web, as well as scaling up students having a Student Ed Plan.  We are a campus that uses the “high touch – high tech” approach while building systems to guide our 31,000 students.

Team at dinner with Lesley performing magic with this selfie.

In front: Grace Commiso, Lesley Bonds, Mark Osea

At the back: Jennifer Johnson, Zav Dadabhoy, Sonya Christian, Craig Hayward

Selfie of BC Team at dinner Oct 26 2017

Selfies: Mark Osea and Craig Hayward on the Space Needle.  Lesley Bonds, Grace Commiso, Jennifer Johnson at dinner.

Emails worth Sharing

BC Chemistry Professor Deborah Rosenthal emailed to share with me that after four weeks of working with BC students, Standard Middle School students came to campus to present their science topics, visit the organic chemistry lab, and see the beginning of the BC volley ball game.  It’s a great day any time our young future Renegades get to visit the BC campus.

Fun Images

Bob and Vicki Meadows who had their first date at Bakersfield College.

Thanks Tarina for pinging this for me with a message that said: “I have known bob to be involved in MANY community involvement events dating back to even being the emcee at my grandmothers charity (YLI) fashion show.”


Bob & Vicki Meadows:

My beautiful flowers from my sweet husband for the anniversary of our first date. ..43 years ago today. .it was to the homecoming dance at Bakersfield College. Little did I know that 4 years later we would be married! ! Love of my life and my best friend!

 Chief Chris Counts showing off the new Public Safety vehicle.  You can tell he is very pleased and so are our Public Safety Officers.

Chris Counts and Sonya Christian with new car Oct 2017

Chris Counts, Sonya Christian

Jen Garrett’s post after the amazing concert last night

Matt Garrett and Jennifer Garrett Oct 27 2017Tonight I was a part of something very special. I stood on a stage in front of over 350 people, conducting a concert of incredible music, with people that I love and admire so much. Chamber Singers performed their repertoire for a conference in February which is extremely challenging and I am so excited to have performed it and now get to make it more incredible. And College Choir exceeded all expectations by singing more difficult repertoire than ever before and performed with a string quintet and also with harp. Then we ended with french horn, violin, timpani, percussion and Patrick Bender blowing us away on the piano. I’ve never had choirs work as hard as they did for this concert. I have no words to express my gratitude for all of their efforts and the heart they do everything with. I am the luckiest choir director in the world!



Jim Selgrath on twitter


October 27 2017 Jim Selgrath

Sonya Christian walking Neo October 28 2017 cropped


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Our BC Community is a Family

Good Morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, September 3rd….a good day to be a Renegade!

Growing up, I have always associated September as the birthday month…September 2nd is my brother Kevin’s birthday (Virgo) and Sep 24th (Libra) is my mom’s b’day.

Eisha Paul Pam Sonya maybe in 2000

Eisha Christian, Paul Christian, Pam Christian, Sonya Christian

The picture was probably taken 15/16 years ago.

So given mom’s birthday is right around the corner, here is a little song that I grew up with.  I think you will enjoy it.

“M” is for the million things she gave me,
“O” means only that she’s growing old,
“T” is for the tears she shed to save me,
“H” is for her heart of purest gold;
“E” is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
“R” means right, and right she’ll always be,
Put them all together, they spell “MOTHER,”
A word that means the world to me.

This last week, as all weeks at Bakersfield College, has been hectic yet fulfilling.  Some of the high points were:

Social Media Group Aug 29 2016

Nora Dominguez, Reyna Olaguez, Bill Moseley, MaTesha johnson, JP Lake


  • doing facebook webstream for the very first time with Mary Jo Pasek.  This was our assignment from the Social Media group led by JP Lake and Bill Moseley.  In the first hour, I heard, the video had over 200 views.  Pretty cool!  Am glad that JP Lake is on the campaign committee.  He believes in the transformative power of education, when done right!
  • the presentation to the Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary.  They are such a fun group and it was delightful to co-present with Karen Thompson and Jay Rosenlieb.
  • Receiving the endorsement from the VFW District 6.
  • Seeing our student leaders putting on a fun set of activities for the new students in the campus quad.
  • Watching our soccer teams on Tuesday.  Women’s soccer won 5-0 over West Hills Lemoore with Emilia Lopez finishing with a hat trick.  Men’s soccer tied 2-2 with BC goal keeper Frank Aerola having numerous saves.  We are BC!

It is a good time to be at BC!

On a sad note, John Boydstun a long time BC friend passed away this week.  Here he is with the BC Cheer team at the Kiwanis meeting.

John Boydstun and BC Cheer team Aug 2016.jpg

Dual Enrollment

DualEnrollment_Jesse Oropeza (Adjunct Counselor) Check In (Arvin HS)“It’s never too early to think about college and the credits that can help your student reach success post high school.”

These words kicked off a fabulous article on KGET highlighting the dual enrollment program at BC and our Renegade Signing events this week. Over the past several weeks, our BC Delano staff has gone out into the local high schools to help counselors and instructors encourage young students through the matriculation process for BC.


Thank you Christina Lopez of KGET for this great coverage!

Various hands-on workshops were held to get hundreds of students registered. A special thank you to Gustavo Enriquez, Richard McCrow, Abel Guzman, and the entire team in Delano who have been working diligently for some time now on getting dual enrollment courses up and going in the Delano Joint Union High School District. Their efforts have also been to get more dual enrollment courses offered in Arvin High School.

DualEnrollment_First student to sign up (CCHS)The future looks bright for these areas, its people, and our students! We are BC!

On Monday, we held an event at CCHS, Tuesday at Arvin HS, Wednesday at Delano HS, and Thursday at RFK HS to welcome both students and families to Bakersfield College. These “mini convocations” greeted students, answered parent questions, and most importantly made it clear that as of that evening, they were all now BC Renegades!

Each student received a BC planner, BC pencil, and “Get Focused, Stay Focused” wristbands as parents signed all the necessary dual enrollment authorization forms.

The school districts and school sites were amazing in setting these events up. Paul Chavez (Director of Career Technical Education for DJUHSD), the administrators at all Delano sites, and Mr. Watts at Arvin HS did a great job of promoting the event, and creating a welcoming environment. Several schools even provided their own snacks and drinks. Bakersfield College-WeCOMM students volunteered to help run the events.

DualEnrollment_WECOMM students help at check in (DHS)

Earning a college degree is an increasingly important step towards creating a better future. “It’s never too early to think about college and the credits that can help your student reach success post high school.”

BC is a Family!

Andrea ThorsonAndrea Thorson (btw, I love this picture of Andrea and her son) sent out an absolutely elegant email on Wednesday highlighting my blog to our campus community. In closing she wrote

Bakersfield College is not just a great college with a small town feel, it offers a high quality education from people who love what they do and care deeply about keeping this city strong and thriving.  So, don’t forget to get connected with students, staff, faculty, and even administrators on this campus.  We are a family.

And it’s true – I couldn’t have said it better.


Sonya Christian and Bill Potter

It brings me joy to hear the little stories throughout my week from various members of the BC family, and I was especially struck when Bill Potter, our Director of Facilities, stopped by to update me on a few projects. Bill was bragging about his department and mentioned that at a recent staff retreat, Patrick Harrison shared the story of how he became one of the BC crew.

After moving to Bakersfield from Santa Barbara on a whim in 1982, Patrick first came to the campus on the hill during a 4th of July celebration. That day, he saw the carts racing the track of memorial stadium and remembers thinking to himself, what it would be like to actually drive one of those things

Patrick Harrison

Patrick Harrison



A few years later, in 1996, he applied for a job at Bakersfield College and was called back within 3 days to start working. Today he takes care of the same stadium he once remembers thinking about.

He tells the story as if everything eventually fell into place and it was meant to be, but my favorite part of all is the day he remembers driving back to Bakersfield after a visit in Santa Barbara. He explained that after the long drive on the grapevine, he pulled into the streets of Bakersfield and remembered thinking “I’m home.”

We are BC! And I truly believe every individual involved on campus is meant to be here.

Talking about every individual at BC is meant to be here, I certainly feel that way.  Here is a photo taken at the public announcement of the 10th president of BC on October 15, 2012.

Sandra Serrano Sonya Christian John Corkins 2012

Sandra Serrano, Sonya Christian, John Corkins

Another shining example of our BC family is Chris Counts, our public safety director.


After a strange situation on Wednesday morning including an incident with a student, Chris was available for multiple interviews, sharing safety tips, explaining what we’re doing campus wide to increase safety and commending our excellent campus security team.

The student did the right thing by trusting her instinct, and seeking help on campus. It’s important to note that our campus security team encourages anyone to contact them at any time.

Chris CountsIn fact, Chris sent out an email just the Friday prior stating, “I want you to know and understand that reporting of suspicious activity, even when you don’t really understand why you think something is wrong or out of the ordinary, like a ‘gut feeling’ something just doesn’t seem right, is perfectly OK to go ahead and make that call to Public Safety. We will respond to all calls of suspicious activity to ensure the safety of our campus.”

Way to go Chief Counts, public safety team, and Shannon Musser. Due to your diligence and awesome communication, our students knew quickly what had happened on campus, and they’re prepared with the tips they need to seek help if any situation should arise.

The BC family truly knows the way to my heart, especially Ying Vang, who appeared on Thursday with a platter of homemade eggrolls for me to share.  And Kristin Rabe, who gave me a packet of Cheetos with a bow to pep me up before the State of the College address on Opening Day.


Ying is a Systems Support Specialist in the IT department, and I’m sure many of you have interacted with him and know his positive smile and attitude. He absolutely loves to help people and is an encouragement to the whole IT department and staff campus wide. The homemade eggrolls were packed with colorful veggies, rice noodles, had a spicy sauce, and lots of love.

He tells me, “Hmong eggrolls are different than Chinese eggrolls and I want to share them so they can try something different.  They are easy to eat because eggrolls are finger food and you don’t need a fork or chopsticks.”

He also admitted that he doesn’t actually make them himself – but his wife Chia makes them. Either way, they were incredibly delicious and I’m glad I was able to share them, but even more so that Ying is part of our BC family!

We are BC!

Our Student Activities


SGA Senator Fitzgerald Graves addresses students at the Campus Center


What an incredible first two weeks it has been! BC Student Government Association and the Office of Student Life have tackled the first two weeks of fall with passion and enthusiasm in getting students involved in campus activities!

The 2nd Annual Student Involvement Festival was a huge success, as was evident by the large turnout of BC students and businesses that were present. Many local businesses recruited for volunteering, displayed employment opportunities, gave out free prizes, and provided an opportunity for job networking. Many students found the information helpful, since many of the businesses were major specific.

Student_PancakesKicking off first thing Monday morning, students arrived to the Panorama and Delano campuses to Welcome Tents filled with student planners, information on campus departments, how to download the BC Renegade App, and most importantly, guidance to their first class! KVC/BCSGA Discount sticker holders got tons of freebies during the first two weeks as well. A BCSGA water bottle, tie-dyed t-shirt, tacos, and even free pancakes at the pep rally this past Thursday! Thanks to the Renegade Cheerleaders and Coach Heather Foss for a spirited time!

sonya and nan sep 1 2016

Sonya Christian, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

Students engaged in campus activities throughout the week by making plush bears decked out in Renegade pride, filling candy straws, listening to DJ Platinum, The Mentalist, and live band Epic Proportions during their time at the Campus Center. The first two weeks were wrapped up with the Student Involvement Festival which brought in over 72 booths for students to visit between departments, student organizations, and outside vendors.

Walking through was a real joy to see all the different campus and community groups who came out to get involved and invite our students for opportunities to make a difference. When strolling through, I even stopped by the SGA table for a marvelous pancake breakfast served by our students.

Check out some of the great photos on BC’s Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/jejq4k5

and make sure to watch the video captured by 23 news! http://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/bakersfield-college-hosts-student-involvement-festival

The final event was for the community at large, BC’s first Community Movie Night showing Captain America: Civil War. What a whirlwind of wonderful events for students to participate in! Truly, our student Renegades will be able to get involved in the various activities that are planned for the year.

For more information visit www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/studentlife or download the BC Mobile app at www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/mobile.

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Baccalaureate Program

A little over a week ago, we had our first Orientation and Welcome to the Lower Division and Upper Division Enrollment Cohorts. This event was organized and facilitated by our BDP Counselor, Cynthia Quintanilla.

She arranged for speakers from Student Life, Financial Aid, and CTE Job Development. It was informative and included a time for a facilities tour and socializing. Students received several informational handouts. It’s also great to see the communication our students receive, like the Industrial Automation Student Newsletter.

The first issue featured articles like, Courses in 2016-2017, Faculty & Staff, New Automation Lab, and Comparison to a 4yr University.  Thank you to Cynthia and all involved in our STEM programs at BC!


Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary

Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary is comprised of both CEOs and small business owners who find a breakfast meeting to be the best fit for their needs. The group includes large and small business owners who contribute to everything from roofing Habitat for Humanity homes (I’m told they’ve done 35+ roofs) to the wreath project at our National Cemetery.

Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary won the Beautiful Bakersfield Award in 2014 for Humanitarian large group!

Thank you Jerry Starr for publicly appreciating Bakersfield College particularly the nursing program.  Was great seeing Mike Stepanovich after such a long time. Pete Leveroni also knew my dad and worked with him on  Rotary International Project.  Was great seeing you Pete!


Downtown Business Association


Sarah Baron, Nicky Damania, Cathy Butler, Jeff Lemucchi

This week, I’m excited to share four upcoming events in collaboration with Cathy Butler from the Bakersfield Downtown Association and Jeff Lemucchi from the Arts Council of Kern. Thanks to these awesome people and two of our BC go-getters, Professor Sarah Baron and Dr. Nicky Damania, we’re developing more plans to engage the community and College.

  • Third Thursday event: Taste of Downtown Bakersfield
    Thursday, September 15, 2016  |  6-10pm
    Come join us for some fun while eating some of the delicious creatiions from our local businesses downtown.
    Learn more at  http://bakersfielddba.com/event/taste-of-downtown
  • DBAOctober First Friday (aka garage top party)
    Friday, October 7, 2016  |
    Contributing to the Arts in Bakersfield, BC will be support our own arts on campus. Also, there might be a humor of an exclusive parking garage roof top party for our beloved Bakersfield Community. Learn more at  http://kernarts.org/first-friday-art-walk/
  • Third Thursday Event
    Thursday, October 20, 2016  |  5:30 to 8:30 pm
    Come play with Bakersfield College as we honor our city leaders and enjoy good company at Central Park along Mill Creek.

We are Bakersfield. And we are BC!

College Council


On friday, as I was driving to campus, I was looking forward with anticipation to the first College Council meeting of the new academic year. It was wonderful to see bright familiar faces and new smiles among the mix as we welcomed new members for this year. We gather regularly to address college-wide issues through a collaborative, integrative approach, promoting greater communication throughout the college campus at large, and to facilitate effective decision-making efforts.

Members of the Council fill a unique place in the College’s structure. As members, they are the primary and most visible representative of their constituent groups. They set the standard for civility, candor, and accuracy in collegial discussion, within Council meetings and in their interactions with others in the college community. Members are conduits of information to and from the groups they represent. They should strive to understand and accept diverse points of view while attempting to reach a consensus to best serve the College as a whole. Members have a responsibility to engage and communicate regularly with the constituent group(s) they represent.  I’m so grateful to have such a superb group of people on this team.  Because of leaders, teams, and councils like this, it’s definitely a great time to be at BC!

James Schmitz Letter

In our digital world of Facebook, Twitter, emails, and quick, quick, quick communication, it was really meaningful to slow down and read a physical letter which was delivered to my desk. Mr. James Schmitz attended the memorial tribute to Jack Brigham a few weeks ago and shared his comments in note I’ve uploaded at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/download/17376.

You may want to re-read my August 6th blog on Jack Brigham at http://tinyurl.com/j9q6a23

In his note, James mentioned that Jack’s favorite song was Walk a Mile in My Shoes by Joe South and The Believers.  Jack was indeed, much larger than his physical self and his spirit will always be alive at BC!


S.Christian Oct 3 2012  from Renegade Rip as candidate for president



That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  


(picture from the Renegade Rip, oct 3, 2012, during the open forum for presidential candidates at BC)

Learning in Community: Staff Bring Home Ideas from Streaming Media Conference

Photo of staff from Streaming Media West conference

Manuel de los Santos (Media Specialist), Kristin Rabe (Media Services Coordinator), and Todd Coston (Director of Information Services) at the Streaming Media West conference.

Several members of Bakersfield College’s Information Technology team headed to the Streaming Media West conference to learn more about the options for Bakersfield College when it comes to new and emerging media. Manuel de los Santos, Media Specialist, Kristin Rabe, Media Services Coordinator, and Todd Coston, Director of Information Services represented Bakersfield College.

When they returned, Todd sent information about how each member of his team approached their learning at the Streaming Media West conference. Below is what Todd reviewed from the conference.

Manuel’s focus at this conference was very technical. He wanted to understand the equipment others were using, settings on the cameras, audio strategies, etc. Also, he wanted the opportunity to network with people who are doing streaming events on a large scale. Manuel felt that he got what he need from the conference. Many of the discussions he had confirmed the direction he was taking with our hardware solution for doing effective streaming events. Like any technology project, the costs associated with doing effective streaming can vary dramatically depending on how much you want to spend. Manuel is going to create a priority list, with costs, of the various pieces of equipment we can purchase that would improve our ability to stream events. Based on monies we may have left at the end of the year, we will then use some of that money to improve our streaming equipment.

Kristin was more focused on the big picture strategy of streaming events. She participated in sessions like, “Reinventing Education With Video” and “Best Practices for Live Streaming”. These sessions helped her gain a better understanding of where the industry is going and how we might use streaming technology more on our campus. Kristin already has a solid background in video production but this conference really helped her gain some insight into how that translates to the web streaming world. Kristin’s goal is to try and find an effective strategy that will help us utilize streaming without costing us a fortune in both hardware and people resource. Between sessions we had some very candid discussions about how we can make our streaming solution effective but also how we can archive our videos for reference and future use.

My goal was to just understand better how streaming can fit into our video strategy for Bakersfield College. One of the big things that became obvious to me is the lack of basic understanding of the terms used in the video production world. I understand technically how to make video work over the internet but haven’t a clue on the various codecs, equipment, lighting, audio, etc.  This conference gave me a little of that insight and a realization that quality video requires planning and thought for it to have a professional quality.

At the end of the conference, we got together to determine a goal for each of us to work toward. Each of us have a different role but I think the goals we came up with our relevant to our role.

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to attend the conference. It was useful in different ways for each of us.

While conferences and trainings may be considered to take staff away from the important roles they play at Bakersfield College, they provide an essential opportunity to experience new and innovative approaches to student success, from what we teach in the classrooms, to how we provide that education through rich media and technology.