Tag Archives: Lauren Skidmore

Thank you for voting Yes on J!

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

Thank you for voting Yes on J!

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

The Bakersfield College Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center

Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center. Dec 10, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Diego Ross from JTS Construction and Armando Trujillo

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

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

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

Armando Trujillo addressing the audience

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Thomas, Kay Meek, Tom Burke, Steven Holmes

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

Veterans Club President Ilene Garcia and fellow veterans

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

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

Lise Valenzuela

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

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

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

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

Photographer Max Becherer sharing his photography.

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

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

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

2019 Sterling Silver with the AECOM-Parsons team

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

Reyna Harvey interviews Sonya Christian on Tuesday Morning

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

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

Love these “behind the scenes” pictures.

BSO-BC Home for the Holidays Concert

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

Rick Kreiser narrating the Night Before Christmas
Hallelujah

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

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

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

BCSGA Attends the Kern Tax Annual Meeting

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

Mike Turnipseed with Perla and Samantha

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

Human Rights Day Social Justice Student Conversation Event

Jose Bello speaks to fellow Renegades

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

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

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

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

Renegades Finish Finals!

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

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

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

Campus Safety at Porterville College

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

Dr. Nicky Damania & Monika Scott

Networking and Nursing

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

Entree to Employment for Vocational Nursing grads, 2019

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

Graduating Vocational Nursing Students

Crane Visit for OSRM Students

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

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

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

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

Fun Photos: College Council

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

Amber Hroch reviews the data.

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

Kylie Swanson and Craig Hayward
Education Pathway Team

Giving Thanks: CARE & CalWORKs Workshop

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

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

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

Fun Photos: Executive Office Holiday Potluck

Fun Photos: Renegade Road

William Velasquez from BC’s IT department is a talented photographer and often will share the beautiful pictures he captures on campus. He shared an email earlier this week the following photo and said…

William relaxing after an event

“As I was driving away and looked at the banners on the fence, I ponder on the thousands of student athletes that walked this same road. They found the road to success. So I parked my car and took my phone out and took a few pics. This is one of them. The Renegades Road.”

William Velasquez, 2019

Renegade Athletics  Volleyball vs. Chaffey

Enjoy these highlights from Renegade Volleyball’s first round playoff win at home over Chaffey back on Nov. 26th. Renegade Volleyball enjoyed another terrific season this year. They captured a fourth consecutive conference championship and finished the season with a 21-3 overall record. Way to go Coach Carl Ferreira and team!

Kern Schools Federal Credit Union Renegades of the Week

Alyssa Gonzalez, Women’s Basketball – Alyssa was a driving force in helping the Renegades to an 86-29 victory over Taft on Friday (12/6). She totaled 17 points going 5/9 from 3-point and adding 4 assists, 3 steals and 3 rebounds. Jonathan Hunter, Wrestling – Jonathan pinned all of his opponents at the Southern Regionals this last Saturday at Santa Ana College to place first in the 174 lb. weight class and qualify for the CCCAA State Finals this coming weekend.

Renegade Athletics News:

Renegade Athletic events ‘On the Hill’ this coming week

Be sure to put on your Renegade Red and cheer on our student athletes as they compete this coming week. If you can’t make it in person, check GoGades.com to catch the livestream. Join us on 12/20 at 5pm – Men’s Basketball vs El Camino

Renegade Athletics Social Media
Renegade Athletics Social Media

Closing The Chapter on 2017

Happy New Year!

Foxtail Agave in bloom Dec 24 2017

Foxtail Agave in Santa Monica

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, December 30, 2017.  A great day and a great year to be a Renegade.

It seems like it was only yesterday that we were wrapping up 2016, but here we are about to ring in the new year. So much has happened this year, there is so much to celebrate, and still so much to look forward to.

It is a pleasure to look back on my blog over the past year and celebrate the good work happening at our college each and every day to improve student success. I am truly the luckiest and happiest college president ever, and I am so thankful for my colleagues who make it their life’s work to ensure students reach their college dreams.

Bakersfield College is a place of hope, transformation, and dreams. I can’t wait to see all that 2018 has in store.

2017 was a great year for Bakersfield College.  I am happy to report that the State of the College is strong.

Bakersfield College (BC) continues its strong growth and leadership among community colleges in the state, particularly in its implementation of guided pathways. The annual 2016-17 headcount was 31,292  producing 15,879 Full-time Equivalent Students (FTES), a 7% increase relative compared to 2015-16. Early indications from fall 2017 enrollments indicate that more growth is projected for 2017-18.

Enrollment growth chart.png

BC’s work over the past three years has:

Resulted in FTES growth in an environment where the overall state FTES was actually 1.2% lower in 2016-2017 than it was in 2015-2016
Improved early student momentum metrics, with over 50% more students completing transfer-level English and math within their first year
Broadened outreach, particularly in rural Kern County, including new demographics of students
Connected us with business and industry leaders, other educational sectors, and community organizations
Positioned the college as a statewide leader in the guided pathways movement, increasing opportunities with funders for further increases in categorical funding

The Dual enrollment program began in fall of 2013 in order to provide Wonderful Academy students the opportunity to complete an Associate of Science in Ag Business by the time the student completed their high school education. Since that time the College has developed partnerships with 24 high schools.  Thank you Noemi Donoso and Wonderful for the partnership.  Thank you Michael Turnipseed and Supervisor Leticia Perez for the funding with the Game Changer program in Arvin.

Dual Enrollment.png

Delano and Rural Kern County:  Delano FTES increased from 1,092 in 2015-2016 to 1,310 2016-2017; a 20% increase in just one year.  Growth was also noticeable in Arvin, McFarland, Shafter, and Wasco, as well as in inmate education.

Rural enrollments.png

BC also recently launched the Rural Initiative Distance Education (R.I.D.E) Project, which will establish distance education classrooms at Arvin High School, Delano High School, and Cesar E. Chavez High School. These interactive technology classrooms will be used to stream college courses from Bakersfield College to the high school sites, and high school site to high school site. Also of note in Delano in 2017-2018 is the implementation the National Endowment for the Humanities grant program Digital Delano: Preserving an International Community’s History. To find our more about this project, click here  https://bakersfieldcollege.libguides.com/DigitalDelano

Superheroes at the BC Foundation

All of the transformation that takes place at BC through classes, community outreach and student success initiatives have one thing in common—they require hundreds of hours of time, lots of dedication, and a lot of heart.

Tom Gelder and Sonya Christian May 25 2017 croppedTom Gelder and our BC Foundation work year-round raising funds to close the financial gaps that might prevent us from helping students who would be able to excel on our campus, and to create a better world for their families and our community.

Taking a look back, the Foundation hosted two fundraisers in 2017—this year’s Sterling Silver event honored the community members who helped secure the passing of Measure J, while last fall’s Tailgade reached out to our Renegade football supporters with a steak dinner and performance from Mento Buru (who debuted a new version of the BC Fight Song that’s currently being recorded with Josh Ottum from the Commercial Music program).

We have a wonderful Donor Relations Manager Heather Pennella!  Here is a picture of Heather with Lauren Skidmore at this year’s Sterling Silver.

Heather Pennella and Lauren SkidmoreThe Board of Directors to the BC Foundation just welcomed five new members—Connie Perez-Andreesen, Ryan Hansen, Jay Rosenlieb, Sarabjeet Singh, and Derek Yurosek. Each new member will bring their own strengths to the already strong Board of Directors and were sought to represent the needs of BC students, staff and the changing Kern County business community.

Next year, the 10th annual Sterling Silver dinner will take place on February 24th – Are you saving the date? And the Foundation is working on introducing an Employee Giving Program during Spring 2018, while also strengthening alumni outreach for the new year.

Umoja Spotlight

The Umoja Community ASTEP program had a great semester and was recently spotlighted in a News Observer article! The success rate in English 53 was three times the success rate of African-American students not in Umoja ASTEP. The students in the Umoja math class we added had a 100% success rate!

Umoja News Observer

 

Notes about our Faculty

Deborah Rosenthal

Deborah Rosenthal

Deborah Rosenthal, BC Chemistry professor emailed me a sweet note during winter break which said:

“Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting a family in the park by the Kern River below the Bluffs. The father is a structural engineer and owns a business in town.   He says he speaks to BC classes/students. The son told me he began at BC and transferred to Davis.  He shared complimentary comments concerning his chemistry courses at BC.  This is quite impressive considering he is now in a Master’s Engineering program at Davis!

I just wanted to share because I understand at my age I must live vicariously through the success of my students.”

Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio:  The article begins with… “Talking about art with Diego Monterrubio is like listening to a love story” – can it get any better than that? Bakersfield College is a place filled with incredible faculty and staff who love what they do. Professor Monterrubio is one of those who is not only active in his craft as an accomplished artist regionally and internationally, but he also truly is interested and cares about his students. Thank you to Bakersfield Magazine for highlighting Diego and his work!

Expressions

Christmas in Santa Monica 

It was a wonderful quiet Christmas.  My daughter was on call on Christmas day and needed to be close to the hospital.  So we decided to spend Christmas in Santa Monica with her.

Eisha Christian, Pam Christian, Sonya Christian Dec 24 2017

The three days were filled with long walks on the beach, family talks, and good food.  In fact my daughter cooked dinner at her apartment on December 24th which was my first. It was fabulous.  Neo was on overload the first day with all the new sights and sounds as we took him for walks on Ocean Avenue and Third Street Promenade.

Restaurants that I loved — (1)  Scopa in Marina Del Rey: An Italian place that serves Italian food tapas style.  The cauliflower, eggplan parmesan, and barrota with beets were all delicious.  https://www.scopaitalianroots.com/    (2) The Ivy in Santa Monica. I loved the chilaquiles.  http://theivyrestaurants.com/ivy-at-the-shore/

Neo enjoying life

 

December 23 2017 Neo

 

 

Holidays and the movies:

I loved the latest Star Wars movie: The Last Jedi.  Manohla Dargis of the New York Times
(https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/12/movies/star-wars-the-last-jedi-review.html?_r=0) titles her review Star Wars: The Last Jedi Embraces the Magic and the Mystery.   And the movie sure does.  Loved many scenes like the one where Luke Skywalker projects himself across galaxies for a face-off with Kylo Ren or Princess Laela propelling herself through space towards the spaceship.  The new characters of Rey, Finn and Poe are a lot of fun.  I must say that the evil Supreme Leader Snoke kept reminding me of Hugh Heffner with his gold lame cloak. lol… not sure that is what Rian Johnson was hoping will be the takeaway from the evil Snoke character.

From Social Media

From Facebook – great picture of Michael Turnipseed with his wife Nancy and little grand-daughter Hattie.  Thank you Mike for your support of Bakersfield College in 2017.  Looking forward to getting nudges from you in 2018 to do bigger and better things for our community.

Michael Turnipseed, Nancy Turnipseed and Hattie their randdaughter on Christmas 2018

Also from Facebook – Nick Strobel posted the following after the family saw The Last Jedi on December 26, 2017.

Strobels after The Lst Jedi Dec 26 2017

Small contingent of Strobels saw “The Last Jedi” today (lit Star Wars sign in the background was washed out). One battle scene after the other with several places where it could have ended the movie, that after a while I felt like I did with the last of the Hobbit movies: when does this thing end? Some new things not seen in previous movies were a mind-link of two characters with the Force, another person surviving the vacuum of space with the Force, and a Jedi master using the Force to project himself across light years of space in a state of pseudo-corporeal existence.

Tom Pasek on Facebook:

Tom Pasek Post about his sister Dec 2017.png

Coach Rich Hughes on twitter:

Rich Hughes Dec 29 2017.png

BC’s Pre-med Club on Facebook — Rebecca Cabeza, Rebecca Sinor, Catherine Pereira

Rebecca Cabeza, Rebecca Sinor, Catherine Pereira

 

Cindy Collier

Cindy Collier Dec 29 2017

Dena and her new pup Bob.  10 weeks and 15 pounds.

Dena Rhoades and Bob at 10 weeks Dec 2017

Sonya Christian in 22 Reef Street Dec 23 2017

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Moments that make up Life

Neo from Eisha's Facebook May 14 2017Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, May 27th….always a good day to be a Renegade.

A lot happened this week…A lot has happened to people around me.  Gains and losses. All interwoven in the fabric of life.  It gives us pause and the realization that it is the little moments that make up life.

Let me start by revisiting the 103rd commencement.

Commencement

I’m happy to still be covering parts of our incredible Commencement Day on May 12th.

Thank you Manny De Los Santos for this great video!

Last week I did not have the potos for the Delano pre-commencement celebration and the Veterans pre-commencement celebration.  So I decided to hold off and post it this week.  I did receive an email expressing disappointment that I did not have them last week.  My apologies.  Sit back and enjoy our students in Delano and our student Veterans.

Delano Pre-Commencement Celebration:

Students at the Bakersfield College-Delano Campus are part of a close-knit community — one really gets to know the faces around the center. This couldn’t have been made much clearer than by the remarks that followed.

 

DelanoCommencement (6)

Trustee Romeo Agbalog

Trustee Romeo Agbalog gave words of encouragement to the graduates in attendance. He talked about his experience as a student at Bakersfield College. Mr. Agbalog specifically talked about the role that our longtime Admissions and Records Technician, Helen Calip, played in enrolling him in his first class at Bakersfield College-Delano. In recounting the experience, Mr. Agbalog, full of heart, looked at Helen sitting in the audience and thanked her for what she did for him. We feel very fortunate to have such a passionate representative on our Board of Trustees.  Thank you Trustee Agbalog for taking the time to be present at important events.  Our students really appreciate it.

 

DelanoCommencement (2)Our keynote speaker for the event was adjunct faculty member, Victor Krumdick. Mr. Krumdick is retiring after 26 years of service to the college. Raquel Lopez and Carolina Madrigal introduced him and shared stories about the amazing work he has done in Delano, in and out of the classroom. Mr. Krumdick is one of the friendliest people around campus. He brings a positive energy to the Delano Campus that not many can match. He shared some wise and poetic words with the students, in hopes that they live life to their fullest potential.

Then came the moment everybody was waiting for. Each student had the opportunity to stand in front of the group and share words of appreciation for their guests, as well as for the staff and faculty. The majority of the students made it a point to thank the faculty members who believed in them and supported them along the way. Each student received a medal to recognize their accomplishment.

DelanoCommencement (3)

BC Delano Pre-Commencement Reception

DelanoCommencement (4)

BC Delano Pre-Commencement Reception

DelanoCommencement (1)

BC Delano Pre-Commencement Reception

DelanoCommencement (5)

BC Delano Pre-Commencement Reception

The ceremony was followed by a reception at which students, staff, faculty, and guests enjoyed light refreshments. The joy and pride that the families had that day was very contagious. After some socializing, many of the students headed to main campus to participate in the 103rd commencement. 

Veterans Pre-Commencement

“Aim High …. Fly, Fight, Win!” , “Non sibi sed patriae, (Not for self but for country)”, “Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful)”and “This we’ll defend” all typically followed by a Hooray!

Veterans pre-commencement May 12 2017

These are the official mottoes for the four branches of military, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and the Army. A week ago Friday, six Bakersfield College students gathered for their pre-commencement ceremony and all of these branches were represented with pride and honor. These six students worked hard, diligently at their studies, juggled families, work, and outside responsibilities while still making time to study, write those papers and pass those exams. When Paul Beckworth addressed these BC Veterans, he recognized their service to this country and the service to this school, “Stay up late and write a paper, I’ve served 2 tours in Iraq, piece of cake.”

After Paul and Armando Trujillo  spoke to the Veteran students and their honored guests, they then invited the students to come up one at a time and be stolled by a member of their family and then speak of their appreciation for those who helped them on this journey.

The resonating theme throughout everyone’s comments was that of the genuine camaraderie that can be found within the walls of the Veteran’s lounge. When soldiers get together, there is an instant bond that is irrefutable and instantaneous, they all share a trait that will connect them forever, a love and duty to this country… and now, alumni of BC.  #WeAreBC

The graduates all thanked their loved ones present for their patience, love and support, first while they were enlisted, then now with them completing their education at Bakersfield College. It is absolutely amazing to know that by 2018 there will be a new Veterans lounge thanks to the passing of Measure J. The new veterans facility will provide these soldiers with a place to meet together, work on their studies, get tutoring help, speak with counselors, and just find solace within the confines of a place where like-minded individuals can meet and empower one another to keep working hard to achieve their academic dreams. I hope all of our alumni Vets will come back to see, share, and visit this upcoming wonderful advancement for the Veteran’s at BC.

veterans

From Left: Jeff Patterson, Fernando Bocanegra (standing), David Dullum Jr. (squatting), Robert Lira, Professor Paul Beckworth, Stephanie Short, Armando Trujillo, Bernadette Martinez and Reigine Tovar


For more photos check out
https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/Veterans-Pre-Commencement-2017/

 

KEDC and the STEMposium

On May 19, 2017 was the ‘STEMposium’ event organized by the Kern Economic Development Corporation (KEDC), and held on the Bakersfield College campus. This event raises awareness of the amazing technology-related fields in and around Kern County. The KEDC works with high schools to foster awareness and excitement for the Stem disciplines so that young students can move on to become leaders in tech-driven fields.

Here is a list of some of the organizations represented:
Chevron, PG&E, Wells Fargo, S Power, California Resources Corporation, Bakersfield College, Taft College, BHE Renewables, Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, Ikea, GTEDC, Ordiz Melby, and Texas Instruments. (Click here for the full gallery of images)

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2017 STEMposium at Bakersfield College

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Vince Fong at the 2017 STEMposium

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2017 STEMposium at Bakersfield College

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2017 STEMposium at Bakersfield College

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2017 STEMposium at Bakersfield College

I enjoyed Christina Sistrunk’s talk at the Stemposium about women in the Stem area.  We are fortunate to have such a great CEO for Aera.  I have blogged about Aera being a great patron of education in general and Bakersfield College in particular.  Aera gave a large donation to BC to the development of a Stem Success Center.

Check out my Sep 10, 2016 blog about the Aera Stem Success Center
https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/09/10/transforming-environments-transforming-lives/

Also enjoyed seeing Michael Kane from Cerro Coso giving a ted-like talk.  He was fabulous.  Michael is an Aquatic Ecologist who has spent time teaching around the world including Brazil and Costa Rica.

Michael Kane from Cerro Coso May 19 2017

Michael Kane

Amber Smithson, the student blogger was out and about covering the Stemposium.  Here is a shot of her in action and one with me.  Amber, you are amazing!

Bob Meadows emceed the ted talks event.  I wish I had snapped a picture with him.  Bob Meadows, you are the best!

On Thursday evening, KEDC hosted a Pre-STEMposium event at Luigi’s.  It was a fun event and I enjoyed visiting with Mindy Wilmot and her husband who teaches Project Lead the Way at Bakersfield High School.  I ran into Lauren Skidmore and Chancellor Tom Burke attending and snapped this photo.

 

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Lauren Skidmore and Chancellor Tom Burke

Here I am with Director of MESA (Math, Engineering, Science Achievement) Connie Gonzales:

Stemposium-ConnieGonzales

Sonya Christian with Connie Gonzales


The visionary and the one who did the detailed work to pull all this together is Cheryl Scott.  Just an amazing person!

Cheryl Scott with Sandi and Scruffy Facebook picture

Cheryl Scott

Sterling Silver

I want so start my writing on this year’s Sterling Silver with Josh Ottum.  Josh was there with his students and they played Linda Ronstadt’s Blue Bayou.

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Josh Ottum and his family

I wish I had jumped up and rushed over and gotten a video for you to enjoy.  It was sooooo good.  But I was dressed in fancy clothes and high heels and thought I would embarrass BC in front of dignitaries if I made a mad dash to get a video clip.  Instead I waited patiently and completely immersed in the music.  Later when they were done, I calmly walked over and expressed how I loved the song and how Ronstadt’s Blue Bayou was my favorite.  To which Josh responded “yes of course” that they knew it was my favorite  because they had read my blog and that is precisely why they played it.   Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever.

 

Sterling Silver is the annual fundraising event for the Bakersfield College Foundation.  This year, Tom Gelder and I decided to convert the event from a fundraiser to a thank you to the community for passing Measure J on the November 8th ballot and to recognize individuals who put in a lot of effort to make all of this happen.

The main honorees of the evening were Mayor Harvey Hall who was the chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee and Congressman Bill Thomas who was the senior advisor to the campaign.

Mayor Harvey Hall:

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Tom Gelder, Harvey Hall, Sonya Christian

You don’t get to be Bakersfield’s longest serving mayor without doing things well, and Harvey Hall does a lot of things well.   Political campaign committees need strong leadership and Harvey provided that throughout the process.  From space at Hall Ambulance for committee meetings, running the meetings on a tight schedule, making financial contributions to the campaign, to inspirational speeches when we needed them, Harvey was always there for us.  I remember when I went to meet with Mayor Hall to ask him if he would chair the Bond effort.  I had documents and a file to talk him through the details and make a compelling case for why he should say yes to chairing the committee.  Harvey looked at me and only 10 seconds into my pitch, which I had rehearsed at length, he just said “yes”.

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President Sonya Christian, Mayor Harvey Hall

When it comes to Bakersfield and Bakersfield College I know Harvey is there for us.  And apparently Harvey had a clone which made it possible to be there for so many of us, often it felt like, at the same time.  On behalf of all at Bakersfield College I can say that we could not have asked for a better person to chair this effort and be the face for the Bond Measure. A true friend of Bakersfield College, Mayor Harvey Hall.

Congressman Bill Thomas:

BC Sterling Silver _004

As I’ve gotten to know Bill Thomas, I now realize that his middle initial “M” stands for “Make it Happen”…. Make it happen now…. Actually why did you not make it happen….

You don’t get to be chair of the House Ways and Means Committee without getting to the crux of every problem and forging brilliant solutions on a daily basis.  We’d like to think that he gained these skills as a professor at BC but I imagine he was a force of nature from an early age.

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Bill Thomas, Sharon Thomas, Peggy Goodwin, Greg Goodwin

In the realm of major capital campaigns, you won’t find many, if any, that raise $503 million in such a short time.   Bill Thomas played a major role in making it so.  Strategist, advocate, negotiator, mentor, inspiring leader all come to mind.  On a personal level, I could not have had a better mentor as I navigated this unknown territory of a bond campaign.  I remember the day when the congressman let the finance committee know in no uncertain terms when we failed to file a document in a timely way.  But it is that level of focus on detail and moving easily between vision, strategy and operational particulars that makes Bill Thomas the leader that he is.  And although he tries to hide it, he has a big teddy bear heart for this community and for Bakersfield College.  The combination of brilliant intellect and huge love for his community is what made the entire Measure J team fall in love with the congressman.  He was at 1675 Chester Avenue every day, multiple times a day.

BC and the BC Foundation tonight salute Bill Thomas.

Michael Turnipseed:

Mike was not able to attend Sterling Siver, so here is the picture Tom Gelder snapped when he came to his office to pick up with award.

Michael Turnipseed May 24 2017

JP Lake:

Here is JP picking up his award.

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Karen Thompson

Did not get the photo of Karen receiving the award yet.  Will update the blog when I get it. So tune back in.

Karen Thompson and Pat Thompson May 17 2017

When it became clear that we were going to go for the passage of Measure J, we felt the Foundation was in good hands with Karen Thompson as the Chair of the Board of Directors.  We were so right.  The Foundation stepped up to provide the majority of the monies needed to finance the campaign and Karen stepped up to steer the work of the Measure J Committee.  That’s leadership!  Her efforts are truly remarkable by the fact that Karen was changing jobs at the time.  I don’t think any of us realized how much work would be involved in getting Measure J passed, but Karen did whatever it took to get us through successfully.  Thank you, Karen!

Norma Rojas Mora:

Tom Gelder Norma Rojas Sonya Christian

Having someone on your committee who has their hand on the pulse of the community is vital to communicating the needs of the college in a way that resonates with voters.  Norma Rojas-Mora served that role and many other roles on the Committee as she has on behalf of the BC Foundation’s board.  Smart, strategic, trusted and hard-working are just a few of Norma’s attributes which she displayed early and often throughout the planning and implementation process of the Measure J campaign.  Friend and advocate for Bakersfield College is another title that fits.  Thank you, Norma!

Michael O’Doherty:

I got this picture from Karen Goh’s Facebook.

Tom Gelder Michael ODoherty Sonya Christian from Karen Goh's Facebook

Marines are famous for doing whatever it takes to make their mission a success.  Michael O’Doherty, past chair of the BC Foundation, demonstrated his Marine Corps roots as the Measure J Campaign Treasurer.  There were maybe three people in the room (e.g. Bill Thomas, Harvey Hall, and Karen Goh) who knew how complicated campaign committee reporting is.  After the Measure J Campaign, now there is a fourth — Michael!  And who volunteers for such a thankless task?  When the going gets tough, the tough get going!  Thanks, Michael, for another job well done!

Jay Rosenlieb

Nick Ellis.   www.aNickPhoto.com.   661.706.7999

 

What can I say.  Jay was there from the very beginning.  Since Jan 2016.  You co-chaired the community connections group with Norma Rojas during the educational campaign phase.  You co-presented to so many organizations.  You were our spokesperson to the Board of Trustees as you updated them on the work of the Blue Ribbon Committee.  You phone banked, you put up signs, you opened Klein Denatale for us to work.  Plz tell Kimmie that she was absolutely instrumental in the work.  When we ran out of food, you hopped in the car with Corny and came back laden with goodies.  You spent your evenings at 1675 Chester and helped carry trash out and shut down the campaign headquarters for the night.  We spent countless hours in Starbucks strategizing.  You partnered with Michael O’Doherty to submit the public disclosure forms.  On behalf of the present and future students of Bakersfield College; on behalf of the present and future faculty and staff of Bakersfield College, I thank you.

Sue Benham:

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Sue Benham, Sonya Christian. From Karen Goh’s Facebook

Most of us don’t face the risk of waking up in the morning and having the details of your wedding appear in the local paper, but I suspect Sue is used to that.  Besides, it was a great picture.  She also is used to advocating for things that matter..things that benefit the community.  Like the old E.F. Hutton commercial, when Sue Benham talks, people listen.  She is eloquent. She is honest. She is direct. And she is beautiful. Sue speaking out on behalf of Measure J made a difference.  When Bill Thomas asked you to play a leadership role you unhesitatingly said yes.  You opened the doors for us at the Bakersfield Californian and you were consistently there willing to help out. Your email address always warmed my heart when I started typing your name and it popped up – sbenham4kids@aol.com

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Sue Benham (second from left), played a key leadership role in Measure J.

Mostly it was through Measure J that I got to know you and realize how fortunate our community is to have Sue Benham. There is a recurring theme this evening that cannot be overemphasized.  Measure J passed because many people care about Bakersfield College and what its future means to Bakersfield and Kern County.  Sue Benham is one of those people.  And when Sue Benham spoke about Measure J, people listened.

Thank you, Sue!

Remaining Honorees:

Passing a bond initiative is like raising a child…it takes a village.  Bakersfield College has benefited from those many members of the “village” that we recognized.  The previous honorees are those who played an especially pivotal roles in the workings of the actual Measure J Committee. It’s equally important to recognize those who did whatever was needed to get the word out, to secure the right endorsements, to write the opinion pieces, to make the phone calls, to bolster people’s spirits.  Probably my favorite vision is Rick Kreiser coming down to Campaign headquarters on a Sunday afternoon to fix a copy machine because we needed lists run off for phone banking that evening and didn’t have a back-up copier. When there was the need Rick answered the phone … as did so many others that we recognized. Thank You!

Group recognition

Michael Bowers – Senior District Representative for Senator Andy Vidak

Ken Byrum – BC Foundation Board member

Fran Florez – BC Foundation Board member

Rick Kreiser – BC Foundation Board member –

Fred Prince – Bakersfield Black Chamber of Commerce President

Cheryl Scott – BC Foundation Board member and KEDC VP

Jay Tamsi – Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President

Keith Wolaridge – Panama Lane/Buena Vista School Board President

Here I am recognizing Tom Gelder at the Foundation Board of Directors meeting.  We make a powerful team.  Gelder (Exec Director of BC Foundation) and Christian (President of BC)  🙂

Tom Gelder and Sonya Christian May 25 2017 cropped

Gelder and Christian

Thank you Trustees for attending:

A few more photos:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2017 Sterling Silver

See more of the images from “Sterling Silver” here! (https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/2017-Sterling-Silver/)

Here are some more images from Mayor Karen Gohhttps://tinyurl.com/yahu6j58

 

On May 22nd, after the May 17th event, this is what Herb Benham had to say about Congressman Bill Thomas and secondarily about BC.

`We should do half as much in our lifetimes: Saw Bill Thomas at a dinner at Bakersfield College last week honoring people who helped raise half a billion through the Measure J campaign.”

“Every time I see the man, he’s thinner, Sharon, his wife was there and she is a sweetheart, and I am reminded how much good Bill has done he’s done for Kern County. Almost a billion for the Thomas Road Improvement Program and then helping with the bond measure that will help modernize BC over the next 30 years.”

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2017 Sterling Silver

The dinner also made me feel good about BC all over again. Talk a force for good.

Here is the link to the piece in the paper: https://tinyurl.com/kr4t7w8

Manny de Los Santos put together this video with some of the Measure J faces.  We had the video playing during dinner at Sterling Silver.


Valley Public Radio

KVPR-ValleyEditionOn May 16th, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Joe Moore on Valley Public Radio. Together, we packed a lot of conversation into such a short time. We kicked off with The Kern Promise, covered Guided Pathways, and even Measure J. Valley Edition is dedicated to covering issues important to Central Valley residents, so I was very excited to cover things we’re working on in education and at BC!

Joe Moore is the Director of the Program Content for Valley Public Radio and he’s the host of Valley Edition. Joe’s bio on the website says in 2008 that he was named one of Fresno’s “40 under 40” by the publication Business Street.

Thank you Joe Moore and Ezra Romero

I really enjoyed my time talking with Joe.
http://kvpr.org/post/interview-bakersfield-college-president-sonya-christian-kern-promise#stream/0

Follow Valley Edition on Twitter @ValleyEdition.


Congratulations Lindsay Ono

Lindsay Ono PicI am so glad to announce that Environmental Horticulture Professor, Lindsay Ono has been awarded a grant through the ECMC Foundation and the Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD). He has been working with other community colleges and CORD with the Mapping Upward Initiative on the state stackable Horticulture Certificates.  This 3-year grant will allow Professor Ono and other college professors to continue their work and complete the curriculum updates for the Horticulture program. Shasta College and Reedley College are also receiving this grant. Congratulations Lindsay!!


Remembering Earl Wallace Cory, Jr.

Earl Wallace Cory, Jr was known on campus as Wally Cory. Jerry Ludeke reminded me that in print, his name was shown as E. Wallace and in person it was Wally. He was a retired History Professor with 34 years of service and who passed away on May 18th. Wally had been in Payson, Utah Veteran’s Home for the past three and a half years and in the hospice program there since last fall.


Leadership Matters Summit at BC

It’s a great week to be a Renegade and a great time to be at BC. This past week Bakersfield College had the privilege of hosting the Leadership Matters: Re-Imagining Leadership to Sustain Transformative Change to Advance Student Success & Equity conference for various community college’s throughout California. We were so pleased to hear from the California Community College Chancellor, Eloy Oakley who discussed, “Advancing Educational Attainment & Equity in California. Leadership Matters.” It was a day of great knowledge and it set the stage for us to build urgency in the way we look and approach at the “Guided Pathways” initiative. I look forward to sharing with you all more about this day of encouragement, change, unity, and leadership within California’s 113 community colleges in next week’s blog. But for now enjoy this picture that I snapped the night before the big event.

Shawn Whalen Sonya Christian Eloy Oakley May 24 2017

Shawn Whalen, Sonya Christian, Eloy Oakley

 

 

Superheroes:

Jonathan Schultz, faculty at BC, has been doing brief videos of BC staff for his students and all students at the college.  Check out his interview with Dr. Oliver Rosales, History faculty.

Archiving the Past & Future of California’s Central Valley: Humanities Collaboration in the San Joaquin Valley

Oliver Rosales

Oliver Rosales speaking

On May 23 the Levan Center for the Humanities hosted a one-day symposium event for about 30 area educators, writers, and artists.  Faculty from both Bakersfield College, CSU Bakersfield, and the Kern High School District were also in attendance.  Entitled “Archiving the Past and Future of California’s Central Valley: Humanities Collaboration in the Southern San Joaquin Valley,” the event was a culminating part of a California Humanities “Community Stories” grant in hold with Bakersfield College.  The program included two panels and a keynote address.  The morning panel focused on local archives and cultural preservation efforts at CSU Bakersfield, Bakersfield High School, and the Kern County Museum.  The afternoon panel featured recent state and federal recipients of grants focused on the cultural diversity of the San Joaquin Valley.

Kristine Diekman

Kristine Diekman

Kristine Diekman, Professor of Media at CSU San Marcos, delivered a keynote address.  Her talk, based on her project “Run Dry,” focused on Tulare’s recent water crisis and how ordinary residents in rural Tulare County experienced lack of access to clean water.  Here’s a quote about her project from the Los Angeles Times: “The project is designed to record the stories of people living in California’s Central Valley without water or clean water, and contextualize these stories within the themes of human migration, equity and poverty, and California water policy.”

Lori Wear

Lori Wear Presenting at the event

The event was recorded by Bakersfield College’s media services and will be transcribed and made available through Bakersfield College’s Social Justice Institute website.  College faculty and area educators, as well as potential grant writers, will be interested in reviewing the panel discussions and keynote addresses to discover more about funded projects focusing on the San Joaquin Valley.

A few fun photos from this week:

From twitter Jose Cortez leading Region 5 in California for Student Government Associations.  Congratulations Jose! #WeAreBC!

Jose Cortez May 27 2017 Chair of Regon 5

Our Chief of Public Safety at an event with Grace Commiso’s baby

Chris Counts May 21 2017

 

Risky moves right after…..here is Bill Moseley

Bill Moseley May 25 2017

Two of my favorites people.  I remember them when they were little girls.

Erin and Kristin Tarjan May 28 2017

Erin Tarjan and Kristin Tarjan

Check out our faculty Prof. Jason Stratton, Prof. Bernadette Towns, and Prof. Lily Pimental-Stratton on the Great Wall of China. #WeAreBC

Sonya Christian May 19 2017

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Strengthening Kern County One Degree at a Time

Good morning Bakersfield, it is Saturday, April 29, 2017 and such a fabulous day to be a Renegade.

Yesterday was the culmination of an incredible day after an incredible week.  So much activity at BC that I will need to punt some of the events to next week’s blog.  Let me start my blog with The Kern Promise.

Bryon Schaefer Sonya Christian Horace Mitchell April 28 2017

Bryon Schaefer, Sonya Christian, Horace Mitchell

Imagine: Over the next 10 years, Kern County will advance our education attainment rates, increase the health of our community, engage our youth, and decrease poverty.

Kern Promise Logo

In Kern County, one in four residents live in poverty, with just 22% of Kern County residents 25 years of age and older holding an Associate’s Degree or higher, compared with California’s average of 39%. In the next ten years, more than six out of ten jobs will require employees to have more than a high school diploma. Today, only 40% of U.S. adults ages 25–64 are adequately prepared for the workforce.

Education is the key to equity, social mobility, and economic prosperity. This drives the work of educators throughout Kern County, and been the foundation for envisioned and implemented institutional, instructional, and student service policy changes locally and statewide in recent years.

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Horace Mitchell, Sonya Christian, Bryon Schaefer

 

With a critical lens on issues of equitable educational attainment, Kern County educators and industry leaders have been working to provide opportunities for applied learning through internships with business and industry partners, to embed academic support services for first generation and low- income students throughout the students’ pathways, and create pathways for success. Albeit a grand vision, the community is committed and inspired to usher in this vision, the promise of a college opportunity: The Kern Promise.

KernPromiseEven-042817s Group.jpg

Yesterday was an incredible day. It was one of hope, laughter, excitement, enthusiasm, but most of all – a promise. In front of almost 1,000 Kern County High School students, I was joined on stage by community leaders, political representatives, and industry partners to pledge our commitment to The Kern Promise.

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By working together with Kern High School District and CSUB, the Kern Promise is a commitment in action at Bakersfield College to help students complete their Associate Degree for Transfer within two instructional years through structured support, priority access to courses, and financial assistance to those who qualify. The Kern Promise focuses on a shared responsibility model where students will work with Completion Coaches and follow a clear path to success. In return, each promise student is required to maintain good academic standing and commit to their studies.

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Bree Parks

It was bright and sunny morning yesterday and as each school filled the stands at the Outdoor Theater, our student emcee, Bree Parks, shouted their school names and a roar spread across the auditorium. While they waited for the event to begin, students were engaged in games, videos, group selfies, and activities chanting, “We are BC!”

When our program began, Chancellor Tom Burke, gave his remarks exclaiming that the Kern Promise would be one of the best ways our future Renegades can contribute to the future of our city, state, community, and their own personal lives as well.

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Chancellor Tom Burke with dignitaries

I was joined by the initiative’s founding partnering institutions – Kern High School District Superintendent, Bryon Schaefer, and CSUB President, Horace Mitchell who also shared their excitement of the program. I remember specifically seeing the faces of the many students in the audience when Dr. Mitchell said that promise students who make it through that program, would be guaranteed acceptance into CSUB. Dr. Schaefer said that KHSD would work toward getting more high school students enrolled in college preparatory classes and promoting dual enrollment programs that allow students to complete college courses through BC while still being enrolled in high school.

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Horace Mitchell, Sonya Christian, Bryon Schaefer

The mornings dignitaries and guests even took a moment to share some words with the students before signing a commitment document. Mayor Goh touched on the ways education “transforms and advances communities.” Check out this video!


KCCD Trustee, Bill Thomas urged the crowd to look into the program and said,  “Dr. Mitchell would like many of you here today to graduate as Roadrunners, but before you run, you have to walk. If you follow the Promise, everyone here will deliver.”

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Retired Congressman and Trustee Bill Thomas

Supervisor Leticia Perez a strong supporter of Bakersfield College and a believer in the tranformative power of education said that she was proudly representing the Fifth District of Kern County.

Leticia Perez The Kern Promise

Supervisor Leticia Perez

Kern Taxpayers’ Association CEO, Michael Turnipseed described The Kern Promise as “instrumental in closing the education gap in Kern County”, while Michael Bowers, speaking for state Senator Andy Vidak, said that the program is “certain to create a pathway to success.”

Michael Turnipseed at The Kern Promise April 28 2017

Michael Turnipseed, CEO Kern Taxpayer’s Association

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Michael Bowers representing Senator Andy Vidak

This kind of monumental promise is the kind of promise that only a community, working together can make. Thank you to BC’s educational partners and the KCCD Board of Trustees for providing such a powerful initiative for the students. Thank you to all of these community and industry leaders for supporting education in Kern County. Thank you to the elementary, middle, and high school educators in Bakersfield and in Kern County for preparing students before they begin college.

Mary Barlow Superintendent of Schools April 28 2017

Mary Barlow, Superintendent of Schools, Kern County

Mayor Jose Gurrola a Renegade and a Runner spoke in support of The Kern Promise and shared the vision of having a Bakersfield College satellite campus co-located with Arvin High School.

Mayor Jose Gurrola at The Kern Promise April 28 2017

Mayor Jose Gurrola

Mayor Jose Gurrola signing The Kern Promise

Mayor Jose Gurrola signing The Kern Promise

Keenan Hochschild stopped by with a message from Congressman Kevin McCarthy

Sonya Christian with Keenan Hochschild

Keenan Hochschild representing Congressman Kevin McCarthy

 

Michael Herrera representing Senator Jean Fuller.

Michael Herrera at The Kern Promise April 28 2017

Michael Herrera representing Senator Jean Fuller at The Kern Promise

 

Lauren Skidmore represented Assembly Member Vince Fong at the event.

Lauren Skidmore for Vince Fong The Kern Promise

 

Amanda Sampson represented Assembly Member Rudy Salas

Andrea Sampson representing Rudy Salas at The Kern Promise

Amanda Sampson representing Assembly Member Rudy Salas

The Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is a great partner of BC.  Here is Jay Tamsi, CEO of the KCHCC

Jay Tamsi at The Kern Promise April 28 2017

Jay Tamsi, CEO KCHCC

Nick Ortiz, CEO of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce pledged his support for The Kern Promise

Nick Ortiz at The kern Promise

Nick Ortiz, CEO Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce

Kristen Barnes, CEO of the Kern Community Foundation pledged scholarship dollars to support The Kern Promise students.

Kristen Barnes at The Kern Promise April 28 2017