Tag Archives: Leticia Perez

Bakersfield College – Bakersfield’s Disneyland

I woke up on Monday, March 22, to this headline in The Bakersfield Californian, written by its executive editor, Christine L. Peterson:

Christine L. Peterson

‘Today is a victory’: BC hosts first mass drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Kern

“They’re not celebrating at Disneyland quite yet, but you might have thought those at Bakersfield College on Sunday had already arrived at the happiest place on earth.

Cars and trucks lined up to make their way into the parking lot abutting University Avenue for a poke in the arm in the form of one of 1,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses.

The event was dubbed the first mass drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Kern County, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who wasn’t smiling.”

Beautiful writing….. beautiful words…..

We kicked off the clinic with a press conference with some wonderful speakers:

Norma Rojas-Mora, BC Director of Communication and Community Relations:

Assemblyman Rudy Salas:

KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog:

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez:

David Torres, Centric Health Foundation Chairman:

Imelda Ceja-Butkiewicz, President of the Kern Inyo Mono Central Labor Council:

Jay Tamsi, Co-founder of Kern County Latino COVID-19 Task Force:

Joseph Lopez, on behalf of State Senator Melissa Hurtado:

The entire day had an air of celebration and collaboration as so many different people and groups worked together to get 1,000 vaccine shots-in-arms for the clinic. It is amazing what we can accomplish when we all work together toward a common goal.

Check out more photos from our first mass drive through clinic on BC’s SmugMug website.

And be sure to check the BC Covid-19 Vaccine Clinic web page for information about future clinics!

I also wanted to share a few of the vaccination photos I’ve received this week.

Our KCCD Chancellor, Tom Burke:

Chancellor Tom Burke

Trustee Kyle Carter, who was vaccinated by Miss Yen from the BC Nursing Program:

Astronomy Professor Nick Strobel:

History Professor Olivia Garcia:

Instructional Technology Instructor Alex Rockey & Biology Professor William Rockey:

If you have a photo of your COVID-19 vaccination, please send it to president@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

And be sure to check out our gallery of vaccinations.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, March 27, 2021, my dad’s b’day … a great day to be a Renegade.

Paul Christian, Sonya Christian

Photos & Poetry

This week, a friend sent me this amazing photo…the heavens have opened:

Arvin, CA

I thought of this photo – these gray skies broken up by a few rays of radiant sunshine – when I read this poem that Jack Hernandez sent to me:

Exit Road

The little yellow flowers
along the freeway exit road
smile as I wait for the light
to give me permission to go.

Some sunless days though,
eager winds sowing dust,
they stay tightly closed,
I drive on unsure and cold.

Another friend of mine, who lost her partner, shared this poem from Khalil Gibran:


It is said that before entering the sea
a river trembles with fear.

She looks back at the path she has traveled,
from the peaks of the mountains,
the long winding road crossing forests and villages.

And in front of her,
she sees an ocean so vast,
that to enter
there seems nothing more than to disappear forever.

But there is no other way.
The river can not go back.

Nobody can go back.
To go back is impossible in existence.

The river needs to take the risk
of entering the ocean
because only then will fear disappear,
because that’s where the river will know
it’s not about disappearing into the ocean,
but of becoming the ocean.

Magnificent sunset photos at BC taken by Janet Tarjan on March 25th

Morning walk celebration of dad’s birthday.

Jess Nieto Conference

The 3rd Annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conference was held this past week. Professor Jess Nieto established the Chicano Studies program and Chicano Cultural Center at Bakersfield College. He was an entrepreneur, civil rights activist, educational leader and mentor to countless students. 

The conference this year included a wonderful mix of education, entertainment and celebration. Contributions from student organizations, professors, community leaders and partners make this a truly special event. Panels include “Unraveling Latina Stereotypes: Latinas Unidas in Conversation”, “Celebrating the Legacy of Cesar Chavez, the Farmworker Movement, and the Ongoing Work of the UFW and Cesar Chavez Foundation” and many more.

Check out this video from Abel Guzman, Executive Director of Rural Initiatives, which was part of the opening day programming:

You can see all the Opening Day programming in a YouTube playlist.

A Conversation with Dolores Huerta

On Thursday, the Jones Art Gallery exhibit Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en los Campos officially kicked off with a Conversation with Dolores Huerta.

Dolores Huerta spoke via Zoom with Dr. Taína Caragol, Curator of Latino Art & History at the Smithsonian Institution. The event was co-sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, the Wylie and May Louise Jones Art Gallery at Bakersfield College, and the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities at Bakersfield College.

Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en los Campos is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. See the virtual tour and get more information at the Jones Art Gallery.

Measure J – Thank You Nicole!

I love this photo of Nicole Parra and her dog, Bailey, sitting in front of our first Measure J Project – the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center.

Thank you, Nicole, for managing our Measure J campaign. We could not have done it without you, and I’m so glad you were able to enjoy the fruits of your labor 5 years later!

Dual Enroll

Gone are the days of receiving thousands of paper application submissions! We are excited to announce the launch of our new online program, dualenroll.com, that has replaced the paper form submissions for Dual Enrollment and Concurrent Enrollment. Students from all high schools can now use Dual Enroll to register for Summer 2021 and Fall 2021. This transition will streamline services for students and will make these opportunities more accessible in distance and online learning environments.

Dual Enroll is a win-win! Check it out at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/earlycollege/how-to-enroll.

In the News

Community Voices: Building a peaceful future

Kara McDonald, program manager for Student Success & Equity, wrote this piece about the importance of embracing peace instead of conflict – and highlighting the new Peace Initiative that Bakersfield College will be embarking on over the next 18 months.

“This initiative includes the Peace Garden that will soon begin construction on BC’s campus, as well as a series of projects done in partnership with other community groups working toward peace. Finally, the Peace Initiative includes a seminar series designed to engage small groups of women, veterans, educators and police in conversations about what peace looks like here in Kern County and how we build it.”

On Tuesday, we will kick off the Peace Initiative with the first installment of the Peace Initiative Seminar Series, “Mothers for Peace.” For more information, or to register for the Zoom event, visit the Bakersfield College website.

Community Voices: Our lives, our stories

Jack Hernandez, retired director of the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities, wrote a piece about how our lives live on in the stories, minds and memories of those who know us.

“But we all have an afterlife on this earth. An afterlife of our stories remembered by those who have known us for many years. Many live on in my mind: the stories of dad working two jobs to send me to college, of mom sending me off every morning to school, filled with breakfast and secure in her love. My Bakersfield College students, friends and colleagues during my many years here after I drove to Bakersfield from Detroit, not knowing what to expect when I came down Edison Highway in my own “Grapes of Wrath.””

Bakersfield College Ranks 3rd in State

Check out this video & article on KGET – BC ranks 3rd in degrees awarded among California Hispanic serving institutions!

“Bakersfield College said in recent years they have worked on improving student outcomes, reducing achievement gaps and increasing access for students using a Guided Pathways approach. Since BC first started its Guided Pathways program in 2014, the college has seen growth and improvement across multiple student success metrics.”

Spotted on Social Media

Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh shared this post about our vaccination clinic:

Bill Moseley shared his delicious weekend plans:

Jessica Wojtysiak also had a delicious night, courtesy of BC’s culinary arts students:

And Kristin Rabe shared the daisies outside her porch:


Alyson Dees Named CCCWVCA State Player of the Week

Women’s Volleyball are undefeated thus far in the abbreviated Spring I season and to top it off, sophomore Alyson Dees was named the California Community College Women’s Volleyball Coaches Association (CCCWVCA) State Player of the Week for her performance against Cerro Coso the week prior. Alyson embodies the spirit of the team and as her coach Carl Ferreira said “one of the most amazing things about Aly is how much selfless energy she gives to her teammates. If that’s not enough, she’s an even better person.” Congrats Alyson!


That’s all for now.
Until next time.

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

June – A Historic Month. June 12, 1967 Loving v Virginia, June 19, 1865 Black Independence Day

History buffs celebrate June 12th as the “Day of Loving” commemorating the landmark 1967 Loving v. Virginia case under Chief Justice Earl Warren. In a unanimous decision, the Court held that distinctions based on race were generally “odious to a free people” and were subject to “the most rigid scrutiny” under the Equal Protection Clause.”  https://www.oyez.org/cases/1966/395

“LIFE photographer Grey Villet met the Lovings (Mildred and Richard) in 1965, before the landmark case went to trial, when he was sent on assignment to document the day-to-day world of the couple. He captured a simple story, a love story. He took photos of the Lovings watching TV together, playing with their kids and kissing. The photos ran in a 1966 issue, providing a rare look into the private lives of a couple that would have such a lasting impact on the laws of the United States.” Read more … https://www.history.com/news/mildred-and-richard-the-love-story-that-changed-america

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, June 13, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade

Juneteenth Celebration

We had another active week at the Virtual Home of the Renegades as we continue our conversation and celebration leading into Juneteenth.

On Wednesday, Bakersfield College invited the Bakersfield Police Department to sit down for a live conversation with Danny Morrison.  As the national dialogue on police training is more prominent than ever, BPD spoke about their partnership with Bakersfield College and commitment to high quality training for Kern’s first responders.  Chief Greg Terry and Assistant Chief Joe Mullins referenced our current “Principled Policing” training and the value of the Transformational Policing Model in advancing trust between the police department and public. 

If you missed it, you can still check out the stream here: https://www.facebook.com/dannymoshow/videos/3250895348300092/

Thank you to Dr. Tommy Tunson, BC’s Director of Public Safety Training, for bringing the Transformational Policing Model to BC and working to scale it across the state.  Check out his introduction to the panel discussion below. 

On Thursday evening, the Bakersfield Unity Rally was held at St. Peter Ministries in East Bakersfield. Dozens gathered to hear from political leaders, community activists, and students on the power of listening.

The theme of the evening was “if you see something, say something.”

This important community dialogue is just one of the many that have taken place over the last two weeks.  The diversity of speakers reflected the diversity of our community. It also highlighted the unity that exists and the willingness to continue to engage in dialogue and find solutions to various issues we can no longer be silent about, including law enforcement reform, implicit bias, and racism within Kern County.

As Traco Matthews reminded us, “This shouldn’t just be the burden of black people (to work towards equality),” he said. “It should be a mandate for every citizen of the United States of America.”


Bakersfield is so lucky to have NaTesha “T” Johnson, Michael Bowers, Traco Matthews, and other visionary leaders who are leading the way toward healing in our community.

I was at an all-day accreditation commission meeting and therefore was not able to attend in person — here is a video message that I did for the event.

Message from President Sonya Christian for the Unity in Community Peace Rally

The message of listening as a form of healing and showing respect for one another to promote building a better community is part of the call to action Bakersfield College is engaging in through its Juneteenth Conversations and Celebrations.

Thank you to our community members who are promoting BC’s #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation.  Check out their videos:

Next week, Bakersfield College has a full slate of virtual activities planned to commemorate Juneteenth, marking the end of slavery in the United States.  Mark your calendars and tune in each evening at 6:00 p.m. to join us live as we hear from local, statewide, and national leaders, as well as our own brothers and sisters right here in Kern County as we honor the moment and #LightACandle to illuminate the pathforward

Be sure to keep up with the events on our website and use our hashtag to keep the online conversation going.

Thank you NaTesha T Johnson for always being a friend to BC!

NaTesha T Johnson is a community leader who embodies unity and community.  When called to serve on Boards, T is at the table.  When asked to support a community event, T is at the table.  When asked to help inspire and grow the next generation of community leaders, T is at the table.  When BC calls to ask for support and engagement, T is at the table.  A former Renegade cheerleader, T continues to be committed to Bakersfield College.  (T, thank you for your support of BC’s#LightACandle A Juneteenth Conversation.  Your enthusiasm, bright spirit, and honest insights will help open the dialogue on what it means to be black in the workplace. )

Join us June 15-19 to hear her testimonial.

Monday, June 15, 6pm: Tune in to Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook for a livestream presentation.  Among others you can expect to hear from: Congressman and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Congressman TJ Cox, Congressman and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.

Tuesday, June 16, 6pm: Bakersfield College hosts a third #RealTalk on Race in America Discussion with moderator Danny Morrison.  This week, you’ll hear from the youth leading the movement right here in Kern County.  The panelists include: Caleb Warren, 13; Ja’Nell Gore, 20; and Amaya Williams, 19. Ja’Nell is a BC student who writes for South Kern Sol, and Amaya is a BC student athlete in track & field. I am so proud of our BC students who will be speaking up, and I hope you will tune in to support them.

Wednesday, June 17, 6pm: Tune in to Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook for a livestream presentation.  Among others, you can expect to hear from: Supervisor Leticia Perez, Assemblymember Vince Fong, and Kern County Chief District Attorney Investigator Lyle Martin.

Thursday, June 18, 6pm: Tune in to Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook for a livestream presentation.  Among others, you’ll hear from Assemblymember Rudy Salas, and African American Network of Kern County Director Dee Slade.

Friday, June 19, 7-9pm: Tune in to Danny Morrison Media and KBAK’s social media for a live celebration of Juneteenth with local artists and musicians.  

  • 7-7:30pm: Welcome from emcee Danny Morrison with live music
  • 7:30pm: Tune in for our formal program to hear from Bakersfield College, the Bakersfield Police Department, the Kern County District Attorney, and more.
  • 8-9pm: End your week with live music and a celebration of Black liberation

Sunday, June 28, 4-5pm: Save the date and plan to tune in to KBAK for our final program to wrap up Bakersfield College’s #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation program.  

BC faculty on the world stage

Prof. Jeff Newby was invited to address a Global Awareness class at Kansai University in Osaka, Japan. Elvita Sensei, a faculty member at Kansai, asked Jeff to speak on his experiences with COVID-19 in the US/California/Bakersfield and the history of pandemics in general. After a brief introduction, he explained how COVID-19 follows very similar patterns to pandemics of the past, and briefly talked about some of the world’s most disastrous diseases – Bubonic Plague, Influenza, and the Pandemic Spanish Flu of 1918. The focus of his lecture (which went from 10:50 pm – 12:00 am due to the time difference lol), however, was on why COVID is affecting the U.S. so much worse than Japan. Her students seemed particularly interested in this. 

The discussion covered a variety of factors, but the conversation steered toward culture as a huge contributing factor. There were many giggles when he explained that his preferred method of greeting family and friends was a big hug – an obvious no-no in the time of COVID. It was a good, important reminder that no matter where one might be on the planet, we are truly all in this together: one global community in desperate need of empathy and understanding.

BC Hosting Amazon Day

Amazon will be hiring full-time/part-time associates in Bakersfield. They plan to fill upwards of three thousand positions by August 2020 in Bakersfield!

Bakersfield College’s Student Employment Office has partnered with Amazon to host a virtual series promoting Amazons upcoming hiring recruitment. Representatives from Amazon will provide step-by-step information regarding the application, requirements, expectations and benefits for our students and the community.

Pre-registration is required and seats are limited to 500 per session. There will be 4 sessions in June on the 17th and 24th. Links to the webinar will be sent via email to all registered attendees only. To register, please fill out the Amazon Day Pre-registration form.

You can also learn more about this event through KGET and 23ABC‘s coverage.

Online Teaching Certificate offered

BC is excited to announce the launch of the Certificate in Online Teaching.

The program starts with the first course EDUC B30 – introduction to online learning environments. This course is intended for current and future educators as well as anyone interested in online teaching and instruction.

For more, visit https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/onlineteaching.

Parent Info Night

Join Bakersfield College for Parent Info Night! A time for parents of potential Renegades to learn more about Bakersfield College, resources, financial aid, and ways to support your students as they embark on their next educational chapters.

Sessions will be held on June 16 (English) and June 18 (Spanish). Both sessions are from 6-7 pm.

Register online for the English or Spanish session.

Renegade Pantry

BC’s Office of Student Life continues to provide food, hygiene products, and clothes items through the Renegade Drive-Thru Pantry! Students can sign up online or have a question? Email thepantry@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

Closing Week Videos

The Project HireUP team received one of the President’s Leadership Awards:

We took a break on Thursday to stretch and enjoy some photos from the past year:

We shared this video message from the Kern Promise team:


CCCAA Board of Directors Adopts Athletics Plan for 2020-21

Last Friday, the California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) Board of Directors unanimously approved a three-part plan to allow the state’s community colleges a return to intercollegiate athletics for the 2020-21 academic year while being directed by health guidelines from the state of California. 

To read the official release from the CCCAA click here: https://www.cccaasports.org/about/Board_adopts_athletics_plan

To read the article written by Clay Cunningham in the Californian click here: https://www.bakersfield.com/sports/college/cccaa-moves-forward-with-fall-sports-plan-expects-final-decision-by-july-17/article_07101556-a776-11ea-85eb-43557ba4722d.html

Memorial Stadium at Dusk

Check out this shot of Memorial Stadium on a clear evening this last week at dusk taken by Brandon Urry. We are all eagerly waiting for a return of all sports – including Renegade Football!

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Thank you for voting Yes on J!

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

Thank you for voting Yes on J!

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

The Bakersfield College Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center

Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center. Dec 10, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Diego Ross from JTS Construction and Armando Trujillo

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

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

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

Armando Trujillo addressing the audience

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Thomas, Kay Meek, Tom Burke, Steven Holmes

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

Veterans Club President Ilene Garcia and fellow veterans

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

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

Lise Valenzuela

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

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

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

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

Photographer Max Becherer sharing his photography.

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

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

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!


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

A busy Homecoming Week at BC!

Asha Nicky Sonya with 4x8 Oct 21 2016.jpg

“I don’t think there’s any jobs like back then.” – Bob Thompson

Two years ago, in 2014, The Washington Post published a story following Bob Thompson, a man from Southern California who had never gone to college, but as a young man in his hometown of Downy in the 1960’s it was easy to find a decent job. Since it was the proud hub of aerospace manufacturing, he quickly secured a job at a local plant with no higher education.

At the end of the video clip, he said, “Today’s world – I don’t think there’s any jobs like back then. Today’s world – you have to be educated… college educated, or trades, something like that. But to just go out and get a job, a nice paying job, I think those days are over with.You can check out the short video clip here on Washingtonpost.com.

His words have stuck with me over the past week… Especially as I’ve witnessed the amazing dedication from individuals who persistently support BC and Measure J. It is BC’s goal to provide necessary job skills for the people of this community for the next 50 years.


Michael Turnipseed supporting Measure J

Georgetown University, in its Job Growth and Educational Requirements Through 2020, has predicted that, “By 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the economy will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school” and “The United States will fall short by 5 million workers with postsecondary education- at the current production rate- by 2020.” https://cew.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Recovery2020.ES_.Web_.pdf

Bakersfield College – and community colleges nationwide – are the pipeline to prepare the workforce for both middle-skill jobs and transfering to higher levels of educational obtainment and the highly-skilled workforce. A lot has changed since the 1960s, and the demands for more education will increase, right along the increasing number of students. The success of our community, the success of our local economy, and the health of our people depend on locally and technically trained prepared students to meet this upcoming demand.  #MeasureJ


David Torres supporting Measure J

This was made clear at the Kern Workforce Summit on October 19th organized by Supervisor Leticia Perez, Teresa Hitchcock and a team of business and industry partners.  Unfortunately, I did not take my own pictures at the event, so here is a collage from Karen Goh’s facebook page.  Thanks Karen!



Supervisor Leticia Perez supporting Measure J

David Womack, a retired USAF colonel, is the senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente in Kern County.


David Womack

Have you seen his piece in the Community Voices section of the Bakersfield Californian? He says,

Measure J has the potential to transform our region and create a tipping point for generations to come. Here is how your vote will make a difference.

He concludes with:

Desmond Tutu once said, “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they are falling in.” Measure J is our upstream opportunity. You can choose to invest in the health of our community and wellbeing of our veterans.

You can choose to vote Yes on Measure J.

Find out how by checking out his letter at http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/community-voices-how-measure-j-can-improve-kern-s-health/article_4516a34e-973f-527d-a569-256b8f93fa9b.html

David Womack Oct 18 2016.png

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, October 22nd …. Homecoming at Bakersfield College and an amazing day to be a Renegade.  An amazing day following an amazing week of activities both on-campus and off-campus.

And why would the week not be great when we had Scott Cox in it 🙂

First Look with Scott Cox


Scott Cox, Marlene Heise, Bill Thomas, Sonya Christian

Retired Congressman and KCCD Trustee, Bill Thomas and I were guests on First Look with Scott Cox this past week to talk about Measure J.  It was really a lot of fun.  Also notice Hop, Mike Hopper, with the Measure J sign.  We was wonderful and so funny.  Thank you Marlene Heise for making this happen.

A recording of the live video is available on First Look’s Facebook page at


Measure J Update


The Kern County Farm Bureau Endorses Measure J.  See press release


Thank you President Jeff Rasmussen and Beatris Espericueta Sanders and each member of the Board for your support of Measure J.


Beatris Espericueta, Heather Baltis, Sonya Christian



Doug Starr of the Kern Ag Foundation supports Measure J

Over 1800 individuals have endorsed Measure J.  Check out the list at http://www.yesonj2016.com/endorsements.html

Here are some examples in alphabetical order:

Kevin Burton, President, SJCH Foundation
Kyle Carter, Bakersfield Mayoral Candidate/KCCD Trustee
David Couch, Kern County Supervisor
Jose Flores, Arvin Mayor
Karen Goh, Bakersfield Mayoral Candidate
Doug Greener, Bakersfield Fire Chief
Shannon Grove, California State Assembly Member
Harvey Hall, Bakersfield Mayor
Harold Hanson, Bakersfield Vice Mayor
Mike Maggard, Kern County Supervisor
Kay Meek, KCCD Trustee
Terry Maxwell, Bakersfield City Council Member
Chris Parlier, Bakersfield City Council Member
Leticia Perez, Kern County Supervisor
Leticia Prado, Lamont Water District Member
Willie Rivera, Bakersfield City Council Member
Rudy Salas, California State Assembly Member
Mary K. Shell
Bob Smith, Bakersfield City Council Member
Jay Tamsi, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President
Bill Thomas, Retired U.S. Congressman
Greg Williamson, Bakersfield Police Department Chief

Milt Younger

What’s happening at the Measure J Head Quarters?

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Volunteers are coming from all around to give their time and talent to ensure Measure J is a success!

Here are some smart, beautiful and talented women who support Measure J

Womenendorsing Measure J.jpg

January Lau-CEO January & Company (Bakersfield)

Norma Rojas-Mora-President Latina Leaders of Kern County (Bakersfield)

Pauline Larwood-Retired Kern Community College Trustee/Kern County Supervisor (Bakersfield)

Connie Perez-CPA (Bakersfield)

Sue Benham-Retired Bakersfield City Council (Bakersfield)

Mariela Gomez-student ( Bakersfield)

Carolina Espinoza-student (Bakersfield)

Raji Brar-Owner Countryside Market & Restaurants (Bakersfield)

Tina Miller-Host “Open Up” talk show (Bakersfield)

And here is the fabulous Nicole Parra.  I love this picture.


Nicole Parra supporting Measure J

At the headquarters this week, I had a minute to chat with Malique McClanaan, a high school student volunteering with his mom who also wants to take dual enrollment classes at BC.


I also saw smiling faces like Manny De Los Santos and Venessa Reyes, who made phone calls to voters.


Manny De los Santos, Vanessa Reyes

I snagged a selfie with adjunct faculty, Kaureen Brady. And Kenneth Mireles, Carlos Baraban and Paul Beckworth also hit the phones and chatted with potential supporters.


Sonya Christian, Kaureen Brady


It was great to also see Ken Byrum, a local attorney, a member of our Board of Directors and a strong supporter of Bakersfield College phone banking out on behalf of Measure J.


Ken Byrum phone banking

Check out our Academic Senate Vice President volunteering her time phone banking.

Andrea Thorson phone banking Oct 2016.jpg

Andrea Thorson phone banking Oct 19, 2016

Here is Dena Rhoades, Kathy Howarth, and Kristin Rabe counting and preparing Measure J yard signs!


Dena Rhoades, Kathy Howarth, Kristin Rabe

Matt Stahl and I took a look at the voters map for walking precincts.


Sonya Christian, Matt Stahl

BC is a family and so it was refreshing to see Grace Comisso downtown at Measure J headquarters with her whole family, even the baby in tow! Marissa Marquez and her daughter Clarissa were on hand to help with whatever was needed!

The Delano crew also got together. The committee meeting for lunch and “walk” planning took place – Here is Raquel Lopez, Alma Feathers, Carolina Madrigal; Juan Torres; Gustavo Enriquez; Abel Guzman; and Helen Calip.


Shout out to Volunteers:

Tuesday, October 18th:

Terri Goldstein, Michelle Pena, Keri Kennedy, Adel Shafik, Amanda Rangel, Lesley Bonds, Ashlea Ward, Claudio Felix, Shanell Tyus, Manuel Muralles, Josie Guillen, Steven Watkin, Debi Anderson, Tom Gelder, Paul Beckworth, Jackie Lau, Yadira Guerrero, Chris Glaser, Steve Waller, Cynthia Munos, Jay Rosenlieb

Wednesday, October 19:

Jackie Lau, Carlos Banbaran, Pat Smith, Heather Barajas, Tracy Lovelace, Kristin Rabe, Loy Salarda, Lisa Kent, Kathy Howarth, Dena Rhoades, Somaly Boles, Chris Glaser, Steve waller, Keesha Collins

Thursday, October 20:

Lesley Bonds, Lisa Kent, Brenda Silva, Silvia Silva, Jason Page, Mark Osea, Keesha Collins, Terri Goldstein, Michelle Pena, Linda Cordobam, Josh Shackelford, Jackie Lau, Sergio Maldenado, Salvador Gomez-Pantoja, Shohreh Rahman, Matt Hinson, Sam Moreno, Steve Waller, Chris Glaser, January Lau, Tom Gelder, Janet Tarjan

Friday, October 21:

Stephen Waller, Keesha Collins, Kalina Hill, Jackie Brouillette, Shanell Tyus, Pedro C. Ramirez, Tom Saba, Janet Tarjan, Elina Garcia, Maria Duenas, Brenda Silvia, Sam Moran, Daulton Jones, Shanice Watson, Liz Rozell, Kate Pluta, Ruben Chavez, Mariah Earl, Iris Gonzalez, Loy Salarda, Nicky Damania, Teresa McAllister, Chase McAllister, Lucero Cisneros, Andrea Lopez, Lesley Bonds

And a little birdy told me that some people didn’t sign in – you know who you are!

Homecoming 2016!

School spirit is alive at 1801 Panorama Drive! The week was off to a magical start with our campus’s first “Quidditch Tournament!” Students drew a crowd as they participated in the magical sport created by J.K Rowling in her Harry Potter series. Teams were formed, competitions began, and no one walked away empty handed! You have to see the pictures to see a glimpse of how this whimsical sport was a fantastic start to Homecoming Week at BC!

On Tuesday, BCSGA set up bumper ball soccer for students! Large plastic balls were inflated for one person and that’s how the games began! Student booths for Student Life and BCSGA were on hand to get students involved and assist with the bumper games.

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Wednesday was all about fun and food with a special event Tacos & Tie-Dye out in the Renegade Crossroads. As you can imagine, tie-dye was incredibly messy and the tacos from the Taqueria el Roble del Leon Taco Truck are always a hit with the students.



Campus was fired up on Thursday in preparation for the big weekend. Students listened to music and enjoyed pancakes at the traditional Pep Rally and Pancake Feed! The BC Cheerleaders and BC Drumline raised the excitement and our campus spirit with stellar performances.


It’s an exciting time to be on campus, and this evening is the best chance to reconnect with your community college – Bakersfield College! Homecoming 2016 is going to be the best one yet and it all takes place tonight starting with the Big Red Dinner! You don’t want to miss the parade and big game vs. Cerritos College.

I hope to see you up at “the campus on the hill” tonight! For Homecoming 2016!!

Third Thursday

There were two events this past Thursday, October 20th — the third thursday prayer group luncheon for public sector leaders and the Downtown Business Association’s event in the evening.  Our mayor Harvey Hall was recognized at both events.

I enjoyed hearing the McKinley School Choir perform and found this youtube video of them receiving a check from Robin Mangarin on behalf of Dignity Health.

Another event that happened Thursday evening was the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government.  Thank you JP Lake for having me as your guest. I did not take photos but found this collage on Karen Goh’s Facebook.  Thank you Karen Goh!


Creative Experiences at BC

BC at Via Arté

It is through the music and art curriculum and experiences that BC students are prepared for a myriad of creative fields. From professional music to drawing, painting, ceramics, architecture, digital media and more, our students accomplish great things. Each year, the Bakersfield Museum of Art presents Via Arte at The Marketplace where artists recreate a traditional Italian street painting festival with original chalk art.

Check out these incredible pics from Art adjunct faculty, Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio and BC Art student, Emily Lloyd.


BC Chamber Singers

On Monday, our BC Chamber singers were featured on First Look with Scott Cox. If you missed this wonderful highlight of Dr. Jennifer Garrett and a portion of the BC Chamber Singers, make sure to check out this link for the recording!


Yesterday, on Friday evening, this group of talented students took the stage along with the entire BC Chamber Singers, BC College Choir, Lucy Adams on french horn, Naomi Rivera from Marvin Ramey’s Experience Dance, and one of our own BC students Linda Snoddy on bagpipes. The beautiful Indoor Theater was filled with talent and the evening’s theme was one to remember: Life and Death.

Here is the Director’s Note to us:


Dr. Jen Garrett emailed me… “I have done quite a few concerts in my life, but I don’t think any of them have meant as much to me as this one.  I thought of the idea just over a year ago on the day my Mom passed away and I had to do a rehearsal with College Choir immediately after I arrived home from traveling to see her one last time.  I knew then that I wanted to do something to honor her.”

I did not take photos but saw Cara Jackson at the vent.  When she gets her pictures to us, I will go ahead and add them to this blog.  So check back.

Here are two of my favorite songs from the evening and since I did not take a video of the BC Choir performing, I found the songs on youtube take a few moments to close your eyes and listen and see the amazing Jen Garrett with her choir, in her pale but bright blue dress with a delicate black vest.

We Rise Again:

Peace Like a River

All of the choir members have made dedications to people that have influenced their lives–both people still living and those that have passed on.” The BC Choral program is constantly working to bring light to our community through performance, art, and music. The next performance is December 2nd for “Winter Around the World” – you don’t want to miss it.  We love you Jen Garrett!

Lucian Ban & Mat Maneri:

Tomorrow, Sunday October 23rd at 6:00pm, the BC Jazz Program presents a unique evening with Transylvanian born, NYC-based pianist Lucian Ban and Grammy nominee Mat Maneri, who will share their musical discoveries. Admission is free, open to the public and also for our students. Performing Arts adjunct faculty, Susan Scaffidi shares more about these incredible artists in her article on Bakersfield.com.

I hope you’ll check it out.

Traveling to Mars at BC


BC’s planetarium director, Nick Strobel, presented a Mars Travel Guide on Thursday at BC’s very own William M. Thomas Planetarium on Thursday. This special show covered the hazards of the months-long flight to Mars, properties, the atmosphere and geology, weather, and the history of our explorations on the surface of Mars from Viking to Curiosity.

planetarium1Nick said, “To give it proper justice would probably require a whole semester’s worth of a class or at least a six-hour show but most people, I suspect, would find that a tad too long.”

Just a tad, he said!

What a fabulous gift for the community at BC – the gift of knowledge and education concerning one of our most interesting subjects – space!

Check out this link for more about the Bakersfield College Planetarium or click here to read one of Nick’s biweekly Bakersfield Night Sky articles.

Student Initiatives

African American Mentor Program:

Making a transition to a new environment such as college can be overwhelming, especially for first-time and first-generation college students. That’s why Bakersfield College strives to offer many diverse student organizations and initiatives. One initiative in particular, the African American Mentor Program, is one that incorporates drop-in mentors, peer mentors, resiliency guidance, and general assistance to encourage students to be motivated in their studies.

Julian West is the coordinator for AAMP and he has said, “A big part of what AAMP is for and what I do, is to ensure that African American students feel like they belong at BC and get them comfortable with using these services. We have a network of dedicated staff and community members that are addressing the unique issues faced by African American students.”


The group holds weekly meetings with dedicated black tutors, or “real talk” sessions in which students can speak their mind and talk about any issues on or off campus.

The most recent “Real Talk” was conducted by Danny Morrison of Hot 94.1 radio, who runs Project Dynamo, helping children strive in school. I’m told Danny spoke on how important it is to break the cycle of black stereotypes and how it must strive from motivation to change and its talks like this that help motivate our students and keep them on track.

The mentors of AAMP make note of and reach out to students when they are missing items like educational plans or financial aid paperwork. They incorporate a very intrusive approach to educational advising including outreach and even text message reminders!

BC is a family and nothing makes us more proud than to see students accomplish their goals and better their future; services like AAMP on campus allow us to do that.

If students want to get involved, find contact details and more at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/student/aai/aamp

Spotlight On: The Grace Van Dyke Bird Library


This week, I’d like to take a moment to focus on our fabulous library.  This is the newest building on campus, built in 1996.  Most of the other buildings were built in 1956.

The Bakersfield College library is a tremendous academic resource to students in need of books, reference books, articles, research assistance, research workshops, or just a quiet place to study.  The library subscribes to 12 online research databases and offers access to 150,000 electronic books in addition to the 80,00 print volumes housed in the library. The library staff consists of 5 full-time librarians, 3 adjunct librarians, and 4 support staff. The library is open 62 hours each week, including Saturdays.

Each semester librarians teach 2-3 sections of Library B1 (Introduction to Library Research), almost 70 research workshops, and well over 100 discipline-specific library orientations. In Spring 2016, a small library was opened at the Delano Campus, staffed by both adjunct and full-time BC librarians.

The Delano library is open 24 hours each week.

There are a total of 70 library workshops available to students every semester. These workshops help students learn research strategies, which give tips on how to find information about a certain topic by using key words; find books, including e-books and using the library catalog, as well as using EBSCOhost and other scholarly sources needed for researching. To find the schedule of all library workshops, visit the website: https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/library/workshops


The library hosts an annual Cerro Author Lecture, thanks to the generous bequest of Dolores Cerro. This year, we’re pleased to host Andy Weir, author of “The Martian”, which is now a major motion picture.

This book portrays the story of a young astronaut, Mark, left stranded by his crew after being presumed dead during a sand storm on Mars.

Left with only broken machinery, and no way to contact Earth, Mark is left to rely on his intuition and knowledge to survive. The book has proven to be a page-turner and hard to put down!

Weir will present programs to our students, faculty and staff on October 25th and 26th. On October 25th, he will also present a public program at 7 pm at the Indoor Theatre – all are welcome to this free event! For more information visit the Bakersfield College Librarian desk, or see https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/library/cerro-authors.


You can follow the library on both Instagram (bc_library) and Twitter (LibraryatBC)

Celebrating our favorite red!


The days are ticking down to Nov. 8th, and a few short days later, Jennifer Marden will be saying “I do!”

Last weekend, it was a great thing to see so many friends and colleagues take the time out of our busy lives on a Saturday afternoon to celebrate with Jennifer and her soon-to-be-husband, Mark. Stepping out into the patio at the Pyrenees Café was like stepping into a Tuscan retreat.

The food was delicious, including the gorgeous cake made by BC’s Rad Tech Dept. Assistant, Anita Karr.  Thank you to the special party planners, Kathy Howarth, Tracy Hall, Cynthia Munoz, and Becky Dargatz.

Jennifer’s wedding website says that even with an ocean, the 2nd largest city in America, and a mountain range between their homes, they did everything possible to spend as much time together and now their wedding is quickly approaching! There’s so much to celebrate at BC, but I’m glad last Saturday afternoon was all about Jennifer. Congratulations Jennifer Marden and Mark Serratt – I can’t wait to share a picture from the joyous occasion in a few short weeks!

Sonya and Pam in Singapore

Sonya Christian, Pam Christian

That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — 

reading Jenn’s note about her mom made me go back through old pictures.  Here I am with Pam Christian in Singapore many years ago.