Tag Archives: Louis Amestoy

BC has a Presence in every Corner of Kern County!

Good morning Bakersfield. 
It is Saturday, September 22, 2018…..a great day to be a Renegade.

Loved waking up Friday morning and seeing this piece by faculty emeritus Dr. Jack Hernandez.  Very inspiring.

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I was notified earlier this week via email that the Delanonow.com shared photos from the first Renegade home football game, along with the story of McFarland students attending in an article titled “Bakersfield College President hosts McFarland High School at BC Football Home Opener.” It was a lovely surprise! Thank you Delanonow.com! And thank you Aaron Resendez!

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33rd Annual Business & Industry Leaders Breakfast

On Thursday morning, the Golden Empire Gleaners hosted the annual breakfast with Master of Ceremonies, Kevin Charette of KGET and special guest speaker, Traco Matthews, Kern Co. Superintendent of Schools.

Treco Matthews at Gleaners Breakfast

The breakfast, with opening prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, and information from the Gleaners, was a moving event that highlighted the importance of pantry and food service organizations. Traco Matthews shared personal stories about how he grew up “food challenged,” where he and his family would sometimes go without a meal. He shared how when as a child, his mom told him that Thanksgiving might be cancelled because they could not afford the food, but that a woman came through with a donation that changed his life. He asked that, when it comes to people facing hunger, if we can give and if we can share, then we should, because no one should go hungry. His message — Open your hearts.  Open your minds.  Open your wallets (generosity).

TreccoMatthews at Gleaners Breakfast with head table

Traco Matthews speaking at the Gleaners Breakfast

Chancellor Tom Burke and his wife Tina Burke are very involved with the Gleaners, and had invited me to be a guest at his table. It was a powerful reminder that we are fortunate to have so many community leaders who give their support, share their own stories, and engage with life-changing issues.

I enjoyed running into Louis Amestoy.  He is with Aera now, though I got to know him when he was a reporter with The Bakersfield Californian.  He, along with Francis Mayer, was part of the original team that created the Renegade Report. Thank you Louis for your belief in community colleges and your belief in Bakersfield College.  We are BC!

Gleaners Breakfast with Louis Amestoy

Sonya Christian, Louis Amestoy

Our Bakersfield Mayor, Karen Goh was there beaming and as always supporting our community.  I grabbed some of the photos she posted in her album on Facebook.  🙂

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Karen Goh, Tom Burke, Sonya Christian, Norma Rojas-Mora

I met Jose Gonzales, who was recently appointed to coordinate and resolve issues related to homelessness.  Here is an article on when the Kern County Supervisors appointed Jose to this position https://tinyurl.com/y9qpgzyc.  Here is another photo of me and Heidi Scott, the woman with a voice of an angel who gave me courage to sing in public.

Heidi Scott and Sonya Christian April 19 2018

Heidi Scott, Sonya Christian

Organizations such as the Golden Empire Gleaners do truly make a difference in the lives of people throughout Kern County and our communities. According to their website,

“Throughout its 33 year history the Golden Empire Gleaners has fed millions of Kern County residents.  Last year alone, over 200,000 people were served by distributing 2 million pounds of food.  Currently the Gleaners averages 18,000 people per month served.”

Grimmway Foundation

I had the pleasure of attending my first Grimmway Foundation meeting on Thursday, where the organization partners with students, teachers, and parents to support initiatives that improve education and community wellness throughout Kern County. The mission of Grimm Family Education Foundation according to their website is:

“Helping make vibrant communities in Kern County with our charter schools and Edible Schoolyard programs by closing the achievement gap, improving the health of students and families, and creating economic growth in the communities that we serve. By being fiscally responsible and innovative, we will broaden community impact through our programs, partnerships, research, fund development, and community outreach.”

casey Yeazel presenting at the Grimmway Foundation meeting

Casey Yeazel presenting at the Grimmway Foundation

Casey Yeazel, Chief Academic Officer for Grimmway Schools spoke about how Grimmway Schools is a growing network of high-performing, college-prep public charter schools in Kern County. It was also great to see David Franz of Shafter, Morgan Clayton, President of Tel-Tec Security Systems, Tricia Bland of LEAN Consulting, and Barbara Grimm, Founder and CEO of Grimmway Education.

The Edible Schoolyard initiative provides hands-on learning, and sensory experience to students through garden and kitchen classrooms. Visit esykerncounty.org to learn more and check out this incredible Edible Schoolyard menu of delicious items that I enjoyed for lunch.

Grimmway Edible Schoolyard Menu

The conversations were passionate, engaging and practical all at once.  I am so glad to be part of such a dynamic group.

Army STEM Trailer

On Thursday, the Army STEM Trailer was on campus to offer a firsthand look at how the Army integrates evolving technology to improve the safety and effectiveness of soldiers. The Army STEM Trailer is a multi-million-dollar technology demonstrator, which has hands-on simulators illustrating the science and technology that goes into equipping modern soldiers, including robotic systems and night vision.The trailer was stocked with armor that students could  hold and try on, incredible displays of soldiers in full kit, and demonstrations of software used for simulating what might actually happen on the field.

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The purpose of the event is to provide students with an understanding of the practical implications of STEM research and illustrate how the Army integrates evolving technology to improve the safety and effectiveness of soldiers. The trailer also provides an opportunity for students to learn about possible careers after college.

Thank you to the crew on campus for sharing with our students and community the incredible technology that goes into supporting and protecting our troops.

STEM Speaker: Erica Vela-Toussaint

STEM Speaker Erica Vela-Toussaint

STEM Speaker Erica Vela-Toussaint

Erica Vela-Toussaint visited Bakersfield College for some coffee, cookies, and conversation with students. She shared her journey from picking grapes and packing fruit in the central valley to her current position as Pipeline Management Regional Manager (Africa/Latin America) for Chevron Pipe Line Company. She shared her incredible journey as a small-town Latina in a male-dominated profession, inspiring students to not only strive for a flourishing career, but a life’s purpose.

Women’s Golf

The Women’s Golf team hosted the Bakersfield Tourney on Monday 9/17 at Kern River Golf Course. Participating in the tournament along with Bakersfield College were Antelope Valley, Citrus, Moorpark, Canyons and Santa Barbara. As a team the Renegades finished 3rd, behind Santa Barbara (2nd) and Canyons (1st).

Renegade Womens Golf 2018

Renegade Womens Golf 2018

Individually, Sydney Crawley placed 3rd on the day, shooting a 75. Full team results are:

  • Sydney Crawley – 75
  • Allie Crawley – 77
  • Elizabeth Nakagawa – 91
  • Breann Bonkosky – 100
  • Ramanda Lara – 119

The Renegades will next take to the course in Morro Bay on Sunday (9/23) and Monday (9/24) starting at 8:30am on both days.

4th Annual Community Swimming Lessons

Our men’s and women’s swim programs put on the annual community swimming lessons this past Saturday 9/15 from 8am-2p. Over 70 community children, the best attendance yet for this event, participated and received a 30-minute free swim lesson. In addition, members of the both swim teams took part in a 6-hour swim relay throughout the entire event. We look forward to hosting the event again next year and helping even more youth become more water friendly.

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Renegades of the Week

This weeks Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week are Gabby Lugo from Women’s Cross Country and Jose Lara from Men’s Soccer. Gabby Lugo ran a 19:35 at the SoCal Preview to place 19th individually (out of 191 runners). It was a personal and season best. Jose Lara, Men’s Soccer – scored the game winner in 2-1 victory over East LA and added another goal in 2-1 win over West Hills Lemoore on Friday. We are proud of these two and all of our Renegade Athletes that represent our college so well.

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Football On a Two Game Winning Streak

BC Football Shane Jones

On Saturday, September 15th, our Renegade football team shut out the visiting Santa Monica Corsairs 56-0. It was a big win for our football team going into their 4th week of the season.

Elisha Ortiz led the Renegades with 12 rushes for 104 yards and two TD’s. Shane Jones carried the ball six times for 77 yards and three TD’s and Isaiah Martin ran eight times for 91 yards and a TD.

Our football team is currently ranked #15 in the state and looking forward to their next game at Golden West on Saturday 9/22 at 2pm.

Photos from Football game:

Last shot BC playing Santa Monica Sep 15 2018

Absolutely love seeing families and kids at the games.  It is truly a family event.

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Yasmine (daughter of Lily and Romeo Agbalog) and her friend Kelley 

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Bill Moseley and his family

Wrestling Takes 2nd Place

BC Wrestling Team PhotoOur wrestling team took home 2nd place as a team at the Sacramento City College wrestling tournament this weekend.

Both Marcus Hutcherson and Adrian Godinez placed 2nd in their weight divisions, and Jeremy Mass placed 3rd. Our wrestling team will next be in action traveling to West Hills on Saturday 9/22.

Volleyball sweeps Palomar

Women's VolleyballThe Women’s Volleyball team hosted Palomar Friday night at the Gil Bishop Sports Complex and swept the Comets, 3-0. Leading the way for BC was Penelope Zepeda with 12 kills, Lanie Camarillo with 9 kills and Bianca Logsdon with 7.

Our Renegade volleyball team is now 8-1 and ranked 12th in the state. They will next travel to Mt. SAC on Saturday 9/22 to play both Mt. SAC (10:30am) and Cypress (1:00pm).

BC Men’s and Women’s Soccer

Coach Vayron Martinez and his 2018 Men’s Soccer team are on a 4-game winning streak, most recently beating West Hills Lemoore (2-1) and College of the Sequoias (4-1). Coach Martinez recently commented on how much the team has developed a true team identity “They trust each other and they believe in each other and that’s the most important thing. You can feel the atmosphere on the bench”. Keep an eye on this team as they progress through the season.

Our women’s soccer team lost their first game of the season last week to Fresno City College, but remains highly ranked in the state at #12. Coach Scott Dameron is very confident in the team’s ability.

Upcoming Athletics Events

Athletics events coming up this coming week 9/22-9/28. Come out and support our Renegades as they represent our college! See all the details at Gogades.com!

Suicide Awareness Month – Lunch & Learn

Amber Smithson Presentation (1)

Stella Ponce in BC’s Student Health and Wellness Center emailed on Tuesday morning to remind our campus that September is Suicide Awareness Month. She shared that suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among those 10 to 34 years old according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

The Student Health Center hosted a Brown Bag Lunch Series that included guest speaker Amber Smithson, Director of Business Development for Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, to the Fireside Room to speak on this topic. She shared some troubling statistics about suicide and mental health in the United States, where 18.1% of adults have experienced an anxiety disorder such as post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.

Amber Smithson Presentation (2)

Amber shared the importance of educating ourselves about the signs of concern, and the tools of prevention. She emphasized the value of therapy and support and that it’s always okay to seek the help you deserve.

There are many resources to help, including:

Amber left her audience with a lasting message…

“Be there for someone else and be there for yourself. Everyone on this planet is worth another breath.”

Writing Center Grammar Jam

On Thursday, the Writing Center hosted a brand new workshop called “Grammar Jam.” In this workshop, Melissa Gonzales led students to learn the basics of parts of speech, sentence patterns, fragments, run-ons, and other common writing errors. Workshops like this are especially valuable because writing skills are helpful for any course.Thanks to the Writing Center team for all they do to support our Renegade students!

Delano Community Clean Up Day

FB_IMG_1537545253760The Rural Initiatives team along with BC Delano Campus students, represented BC proudly at the Delano Annual Community Clean-Up, Saturday, September 15th. Participants are recipients of the Rural Initiatives STEAM Scholarship awarded by the Delano Campus and sponsored by Southern California Edison. This opportunity made possible by the collaboration among several K-14 agencies and other community organizations. Its always great to have BC staff working together with the students we serve! Special thanks to Abel Guzman, Jaime Lopez, and the whole BC crew!

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Hispanic Heritage Month 2018

Nan and BC student and staff

On Saturday, September 15th the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce kicked off celebrations for Mexican Independence Day in style, starting with El Grito de Dolores (The Cry of Dolores), also known as El Grito de la Independencia. This celebration memorializes when Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Roman Catholic priest in the small town of Dolores, rang the church bells on September 16, 1810, sparking Mexico’s War of Independence. The event included live entertainment, mariachi music, folkloric dancers, a vendor street fair, and was celebrated in real time with Mexico City with a live, projected broadcast. BC was well represented at the event, including Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Paul Beckworth, Lisa Kent, Khushnur Dadabhoy, and Armando Trujillo.

 

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El Bracero

Hat and BC logoOn Friday, September 14th, BC students, faculty and staff spent an evening at CSUB, both on-stage and in the audience, for “El Bracero – A Mariachi Musical.”

BC Student Clubs were represented by Emmanuel Limaco, Valente Trujillo Padilla, and Gemma Trujillo Padilla (MECHa) and Diego Reynoso (Free on the Outside).

Set in the 1950s at the height of what was known as the Bracero Program, El Bracero is a dynamic one-act Mariachi Opera which fuses mariachi music, ballet folklorico, and powerful opera style set pieces. El Bracero highlights the challenges and injustices workers faced in the U.S.

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Ballet Folklorico Dancers

El Bracero was written by Rosalinda Verde from Visalia, CA and the story is based on Braceros who came to California’s Central Valley during World War II as part of the Bracero Program as legal farm laborers. For 2018, the Revival of El Bracero will bring new songs and a special tribute to Braceros still living in the U.S. The music in El Bracero is performed by Mariachi Águilas de J. Carlos Ozuna  one of the premiere mariachi groups in California.


BC was well represented by Abel and Lorena Guzman, Jason Stratton and Lillian Pimentel Stratton, Lisa Robles, Zav and Khushnur Dadabhoy, and Corny Rodriguez.

Lamont Dia De La Independencia Parade

BC Adult Education TeamThe Bakersfield College Adult Education team participated in the Lamont Dia De La Independencia Parade and Festival on Sunday, September 16th.

Congratulations to Professor Monterrubio

Volunteer BC Art Faculty Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio

Diego Monterrubio

Professor Diego Monterrubio has been invited to exhibit his incredible artwork in a solo show at his alma mater, Porterville College. His pieces will be showcased as an alumni, as an artist of the Central Valley, and as a young boy from Lindsay, California with big dreams who worked hard to earn an MFA and become a Professor of Art. The exhibit will run for one month in the Porterville College Art Gallery and opening night reception will be October 5th from 5pm – 7pm.

Alegres Sueños – Jones Gallery

img_9894-x3The directors of the Wiley and May Louise Jones Gallery are proud to present to work of Los Angeles and San Diego based artist Mrbbaby. The exhibition opened on September 6th but will be up through October 11th, 2018. The work displayed shows the artists reflection on her experiences as a Latina growing up in Southern California.

The Wylie and May Louise Jones Gallery is located at the main campus on Panorama drive within the Grace Van Dyke Bird Library. The Fall 2018 hours of operation will be Monday-Thursday: 1:00-4 P.M.

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Student Employment Spotlight on Public Safety

BC’s Public Safety Department at Bakersfield College employs approximately 50 students at any given time during the school year for various positions including cart drivers, front office assistants, ticket writers, and Public Safety Cadets. The Cadets are uniformed student employees who assist officers with foot patrol around all areas of campus. Students in these positions provide officers first-hand alerts, extra eyes and ears.

Public Safety Group Photo

Public Safety Group Photo

Did you know that BC’s Director of Public Safety, Chris Counts, first joined Bakersfield College in 1988 as a Cadet himself? He brought this program back because he is passionate about providing not only safety to our campus but also career opportunities to students exploring law enforcement. Public safety shows their appreciation by recognizing four student employees each month with a photograph display in their office.

Public Safety Student Employment Wall

If students are interested in exploring career opportunities in Public Safety, they can apply for On Campus positions via bakersfield.jobspeaker.com or attend the Public Safety Career Expo on October 10th, 10:00 am—2:00 pm.

 

Spotlight on BC IT

Alliance Fundraiser October 11 2017 Gary Moser, Sonya ChristianKCCD’s Chief Information Officer in the IT department, Gary Moser sent the newest ITBytes newsletter this week which featured a spotlight on Wifi service updates across the district. He said,

Having completed the requisite planning and scoping work for expanding and refreshing Wi-Fi network services district wide, implementation is now underway. Over the next 12-18 months, cabling work and new equipment installation will be taking place to expand Wi-Fi services (most indoor areas at BC and Delano) and refreshing existing Wi-Fi equipment district-wide for improved performance and reliability. So be on the lookout for IT and vendor personnel working on this project in the coming months. It is also worth noting that the BC and Delano portions of this project has been made possible (funded) by Measure J.

Vital improvements, such as this, will continue to support our students with their education. Thank you Bakersfield and Kern County for supporting BC Renegades by voting yes on Measure J!

Emails Worth Sharing: Getting our “Geek On”

Matt Jones emailed this week to share a photo that a student of his took. Matt said,

“I just wanted to take a minute (also having been encouraged by several peers) and share with you an image that a student of mine took during our first class this semester. As you may or may not know, Professor Savanna Andrasian and I are team teaching an English B2 course. However, our approach to the course is reasonably unique, as our pursuit, of advanced composition and critical thinking, with our students, is all done through Harry Potter. In the course we spend time analyzing the story within the books, but also take it outside of the printed material and explore the phenomenon across multiple forms of media and technology.

Attached to this email is a picture that student, Regina Carver, took of the two of us as we delivered our opening lecture in our Wizarding robes. Enjoy this image of two of your faculty getting their “GEEK ON” during class!”

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Friends, have I told you yet that I’m the happiest and luckiest college president ever? 🙂

Emails Worth Sharing: Cadets!

I received an email which made me chuckle on Thursday evening from Professor Deborah Rosenthal. She said,

On my way to swimming this evening I stumbled upon our BC cadets protecting us.  Apparently they found a HUGE black widow in the bushes!

BC Cadets

Letters Worth Sharing

Rialto Middle SchoolThis week, BC received a heartwarming letter from a student at Rialto Middle School requesting a few college promotional items for a good cause. The letter was handwritten and said,

“My school is working very diligently on strengthening our college-going culture”

Our Community Relations team is sending the middle school a handful of BC popsockets, pendents, and mechanical pencils because, we too, are working diligently on strengthening our college-going culture! #WeAreBC!

College Council in Session

College Council was in session yesterday. BC’s College Council is a collegial, consultative, and oversight body designed to serve the good of the College. The group facilitates timely, factual, and clear communication between constituents and the President. It provides recommendations to the President on college-wide matters. The Council oversees implementation of the Strategic Directions Plan and ensures institutional quality using ongoing and systematic planning and evaluation to refine key policies and processes, and to improve student learning.

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The presentations were rigorous and data rich.  So proud of the work of BC.

Amber Hroch and Michele Bresso presented on the Education metamajor pathway followed by Corny Rodriguez and Pam Rivers on the Ag Pathway

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College Couoncil Group Sep 21 2018.jpg

Sarah Baron and Alicia Loken presented on Accreditation

Chris Glaser, Saran Baron, Alicia Loken at College Council

Chris Glaser, Sarah Baron, Alicia Loken

Web Content Training in Session

This week, Aricia Leighton and Chris Blakemore hosted web training for various faculty and staff

Aricia Leighton leading web training

Fun Photos

William Velazquez Sunset Photo Sept 17

Deborah Rosenthal with Renegade Knight

Deborah Rosenthal with Renegade Knight

Great photo of the BC Team at the Strategic Enrollment Management Conference

BC Team at SEM Sep 21 2018.jpg

Liz Rozell, Janet Fulks, Krista Moreland, Billie Jo Rice, Laura Larkin

Panorama Creative Music Summit

Manny Mourtzanos sent me this video of a piece written by our commercial music student Morgan.

 

 

Feb 10 2018 Sonya Christian Walking Neo 2

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Providing pathways to the future and building a better BC

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, July 23rd and I woke up to a wonderful piece by Jeff Evans in The Bakersfield Californian above the fold.  Indeed, a wonderful day to be a Renegade.

Here is an fuzzy image of the article taken on my iphone.  For the entire web version check out http://tinyurl.com/h2f79wy.  There is also a 15-minute video segment of Louis Amestoy interviewing Jeff Evans on the gymnasium and other athletics facilities that are on the BC facilities needs list.  Note this is a “needs list” not a “wish list”.  I particularly appreciated the comment that these facilities serve all of our students and not just our student athletes.

Jeff Evans Californian July 23 2016

 

The “Athletics facilities” is only one project of the numerous facilities needs on this 60 year old campus on 153 acres with over 30 buildings.  80% of the projects are capital improvements focusing on buildings where we have instruction in Math, Science, Agriculture, Humanities, etc. For the entire project list check out www.abetterbc.com.

The college faculty and staff have been focused on student success for over a century, and in the last three years have particularly focused on connecting with students when they are still in high school and gearing them up for college and the workforce.  Approximately 80% of BC’s students are first in their families to go to college, so the faculty and staff take the time to be their guides and their coaches as these first-time students learn to navigate college and learn how to be learners and gain the skills to enter the workforce.  Nick Strobel describes it well in about 500 words in his Community Voices piece on Wednesday, July 20th in The Bakersfield Californian.

Nick compared our new pathways initiative to the GPS in a car. Just as a GPS will help you get back on track if you make a wrong turn, the pathways we are creating can help guide students through life events that may “knock them off the college path.”

Nick Strobel July 20 2016

This is such an exciting initiative, and I am so happy that BC was one of just 30 colleges chosen to be part of the AACC Pathways Project.

Nick’s piece is online at http://www.bakersfield.com/news/opinion/2016/07/20/a-road-for-community-college-students-bc-s-gps.html.

So you see dear community members, BC meets students where they are and provides incredible opportunities for them to find their calling, whether in athletics, the arts and humanities, social sciences or in math and science.  What our faculty do for our students is nothing short of incredible.

Eisenhower Fellowship

Here’s a note I received from a talented Bakersfield College student:

My name is Rey Fernandez, a mechanical engineering major. From Fall 2015 to early Spring 2016, I had the opportunity to be one of the Dwight Eisenhower recipients because of the MESA program. This research opportunity exposed me to the transportation field, and taught me the role of engineers in the Transportation Research Board. Attending this TRB Conference in Washington D.C. gave me a lot of professional experiences.

I just want to thank you for bringing this research opportunity to MESA students last year, and again, for this upcoming year.

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Former BC student featured on SiriusXM

Brandon McNaughton—who is from Bakersfield, attended BC, and received his BS in Physics from CSUB—was featured on SiriusXM in February.

He was interviewed for 30 minutes by Steve Blank on “Entrepreneurs Are Everywhere” about his biotech company, and the importance of understanding customer needs when developing a product or solution. The episode can be heard via SiriusXM on Demand.  Here is a link http://tinyurl.com/jyvzg9l

His company, Akadeum Life Sciences, is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has developed a new method to separate individual cells from biological samples, such as blood. He is also one of the 100 stars of Bakersfield College. A proud Renegade!

Here are some previous blog posts highlighting our faculty and staff and what they do to create a wonderful learning environment for our students.

April 3, 2015: Levan Center: St. John’s Lecture. Greg Schneider and The Brothers Karamazov

https://bcpresidentblog.com/2015/04/03/levan-center-st-johns-lecture-greg-schneider-and-the-brothers-karamazov/

September 1, 2014: Arts and Humanities:

https://bcpresidentblog.com/2014/09/01/arts-and-humanities/

June 22, 2015: BC faculty and staff are rock stars

https://bcpresidentblog.com/2015/06/22/middle-schoolers-lead-the-way/

Speaking of our amazing faculty and staff,  let me tell you about a project that has surfaced this summer among a small group.  The idea is to get students to do their homework at the college in a structured environment so that they develop the habits of learning.  Being disciplined, persevering with their school work etc.  Just amazing dedication and commitment from the faculty!  I got to hang out with some of them.  Here are photos to prove it 🙂

 

Thank you all for your work.  A special shout out to Eileen Pierce, Kim Arbolante, Maria Wright, Kate Pluta, Stephen Waller, and Isabel Castaneda as well as Kimberly Bligh and Erica Menchacha who piloted Ac Dev 72 in the spring.

Political Leaders and their connections to BC.

kevin-mccarthy-sonya-christian-art-gentry-may-6-2016Regardless of your political views and affiliation, it is truly inspirational to consider what leadership and strength blossoms from our own backyard – Bakersfield, Kern County, and of course, at Bakersfield College. House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, took the stand on Tuesday evening to address the convention attendees and the nation, but Mr. McCarthy’s road to becoming the successful and influential political figure he is today, is one that began in our hometown.

He enrolled at BC after high school, opened a little local sandwich shop named Kevin O’s Deli, and earned a degree from CSUB. As his interest in politics peaked, he volunteered to clip newspapers in the office of Rep. Bill Thomas, to gain insight and learn from a fantastic role model.

Congressman Bill Thomas also has roots at BC – from beginnings as a political science faculty at BC to chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, there is so much to say about Bill that’s inspirational. We are so fortunate to have him as the senior advisor to our Blue Ribbon Committee and as a friend and supporter of Bakersfield College.

Mayor Harvey Hall is not shy to share his love of BC and he details his relationship in an article published on Bakersfield.com regarding the recent bond measure announcement.

Senator Jean Fuller, another political leader, earned her AA degree at Bakersfield College in 1970. After more than 30 years as an educator and Superintendent of Bakersfield City School District, sh e was elected in 2006 and “immediately recognized as a leader by her colleagues and has used her administrative experience to make impactful decisions that focus on increased efficiency and accountability.” (Source)

Our first female mayor, Mary K. Shell, also attended BC and continues to support Bakersfield College today. During the time of her retirement, the Bakersfield Californian even referred to her as “the most popular politician in Kern County history.” We are so lucky to have insightful and influential political leaders likes these and many others, including Rudy Salas, Andy Vidak, and Shannon Grove.

The people of Bakersfield and BC students, past and present, continue to make a difference in our community, state, and nation. I can’t wait to see what our current students have in store for the future of our country.

Latina Leaders

Last Saturday, July 16th, BC was present in full force at the Latina Leaders banquet.

This is my second year attending the event and I am even more impressed by the work they do. For more information check out their website at http://kernlatinas.com/.  Congratulations to ISABEL BRAVO, LOURDES VARGAS NILON, and GABRIELA MELLO on their recognition.

 

Norma Rojas Mora the president of Latina Leaders is a remarkable woman who in on our Bakersfield College Foundation Board of Directors and she is also the co-chair of the Community Connections group and the Blue Ribbon Committee on the Bakersfield College bond measure.

Here are the Bakersfield College folks who attended: Isabel Casteneda, Evette Lara, Janet Tarjan, Maria Wright, Paul Beckworth.  Thank you Karen Goh for the photos.  You are a good friend of Bakersfield College.

Check out my post from last year’s Latina Leaders banquet when Lisa Kent and Camilla Chavez were among the recipients of the leadership award.
https://bcpresidentblog.com/2015/07/12/somos-el-colegio-de-bakersfield/ 

 

Staff Retreats

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Summers at Bakersfield College involve less instructional time, which gives the staff and administrators an opportunity to meet for one-day on-campus retreats. These provide a foundation for fostering positive connections, critical planning, and preparing our teams to better support the needs of the faculty and students.

Entertaining themes for these retreats keep everyone refreshed as group activities, informational talks, and fun competitions re-energize and re-focus everyone for a new academic year.

Check out more photos from our summer retreats at https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/2016-Retreats/.

It’s hard to believe – we are beginning to count down the days until opening day of Fall 2016!

Here is a picture of my Cabinet during our retreat in June.

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Sonya and Maggie July 23 2016

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya ….. with Maggie who is visiting for two days.

Vision for the Valley: Kern County Leaders Look to the Future at BC

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Sonya Christian

Whether you’re titans of industry, learned academics or pre-schoolers on the playground, there’s a simple rule that holds true — talking through problems is usually the most effective path to workable, sustaining solutions.

 

Unfortunately, we’re all so busy with our daily lives (especially this time of year) that we have a hard enough time identifying the problems, let alone crafting the complex answers needed to settle them.

So how do we as a community solve the multi-layered puzzle of addressing Kern County’s critical infrastructure needs?

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Richard Beene (TBC), Nick Ortiz (Chamber), Victoria Rome (NRDC),    Tupper Hull (WSPA)

Well, there are few experiences more energizing than listening to a collection of very smart people talk about very important things — so BC was thrilled to host the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Vision for the Valley summit this week.

Nick Ortiz and our friends at the Chamber really outdid themselves, creating a half-day symposium that assembled some of our area’s most knowledgeable business, legislative and analytical minds to examine issues we all face every day (whether we think about them or not) — issues around energy, water, agriculture, housing, transportation and their interlocking impacts on Kern County’s economy.

Before I get into the content of the summit’s multiple panels, a quick congratulations to the Chamber and our team at BC for the great visual presentation on the Simonsen Performing Arts Center stage.  From the Scandinavian type furniture to the backdrop to the impressive lighting package, the production crew behind the summit did a phenomenal job.

As for the panels themselves…well, delving into “big think” topics like this can be an enormous challenge, but the summit’s roster of insightful speakers — under the well-orchestrated direction of moderators Richard Beene and Louis Amestoy of the Bakersfield Californian — crystallized the major points around these complex issues, making them all very relatable.  Elizabeth Sanchez did a piece in the Californian on the summit which can be found at

http://www.bakersfield.com/news/2015/12/08/thomas-urges-county-to-seek-half-cent-transporation-sales-tax.html

The Energy, Sustainability and the Economy panel, for instance, brought together natural opponents for a spirited discussion of where the oil industry is headed, particularly focusing on its impact on Kern County, the San Joaquin Valley and the rest of the state’s transportation needs.

Much of the conversation with conservationist advocate Victoria Rome with the National Resources Defense Council and Western States Petroleum Association vice president Tupper Hull centered on state regulation, both its impact on oil producers and whether California was going too far — or not far enough — in overseeing the industry’s activities.

While Victoria was encouraged that California’s 140,000 electric and hybrid cars on the road today could hit the 1 million benchmark by 2030, both agreed the state’s need for oil would likely remain strong for years to come.

“We need to stop looking for simplistic answers to complex questions,” Tupper said.

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John Burtchaell (Wells Fargo), DeeDee D’Adamo (State Water Resources Control), Lois Henry (TBC), Louis Amestoy (TBC)

That was a theme that held true throughout the day, including a deep-dive look at the impact of California’s drought on our groundwater demand during the Agriculture and Water Resources panel. DeeDee D’Adamo, a board member with the State Water Resources Control Board, defended and explained, and in some cases, commiserated over the state’s water use policies. Lois Henry made the issues clear in a pragmatic and a “let’s cut to the chase” approach of addressing these complex issues.

Water use in California has reduced by 27 percent in the five months since emergency conservation regulations began in June.  While there was general agreement that it will be a long-term,  multi-year effort to replenish state water reserves, there was a sense that some form of permanent conservation measures would remain in place even once the drought is declared over, helping to protect the state from future water shortage issues.

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Louis Amestoy (The Bakersfield Californian), Greg Bielli (Tejon Ranch),   Bill Thomas (former Congressman), Dave Cogdill (former State Senator)

The third and final panel of the day, a round-table talk about housing, land use and transportation, was also a strong contender for highlight of the day, particularly thanks to the spirited engagement and effusive charm of panelist, retired congressman and luminary BC faculty emeritus Bill Thomas.

I wasn’t here during Bill’s teaching career on this very campus from 1965 to 1974, but those nine years as a political science faculty were part of the beginnings of one of Kern County’s most storied political careers.  Bill’s 27 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, highlighted by his chairmanship of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, grant him a unique perspective on issues that few others could offer.

One of Bill’s political passions is transportation — and like the true statesmen he is, Bill didn’t hold back, crusading for Kern County to keep pushing through apathy and threats of adjudication to complete the scores of local transportation projects undertaken by his namesake Thomas Roads Improvement Program (TRIP).

Ret. Rep. Bill Thomas and former state Sen. Dave Cogdill on the Housing, Land Use and Transportation panel

Ret. Rep.Bill Thomas, former state Sen.Dave Cogdill 

For those who don’t know the history, TRIP has been overseeing the use of $630 million in federal funds secured by Thomas in 2005 to tackle Bakersfield’s specific transportation problems.

He repeatedly framed it as transportation issues that arise when an “east-west” county resides within a “north-south” state. The projects include the completed construction of the Westside Parkway, the State Route 178/Fairfax Road Interchange, the State Route 58 gap closure and the State Route 178/Morning Drive Interchange.

Right now, one of TRIP’s top priorities is to begin work on their largest project, the Centennial Corridor, which will ultimately connect State Route 99 and Interstate 5.  But Thomas warned about the danger of obstructionist attorneys using CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) statutes to slow Corridor construction via unnecessary litigation.

“Adjudication takes a long time and costs a lot of money,” Thomas said. “That’s their way of trying to control the outcome.”

Bill also made some news during the summit, coming out in support of Kern County voters approving a half-cent tax measure that would mark Kern as a “self-help” county, earmarking funds for future county transportation projects.  More importantly, the designation would significantly boost Kern County’s ability to secure state and federal money to carry such projects to completion.

As a staunch Republican acutely aware of Kern County voters’ pervasive anti-taxation stance, Bill told the crowd he understood initial bristling to the idea — but warned the cost of not attaining “self-help” status and losing out on federal transportation dollars to other areas made passing the tax infinitely more cost-effective for the county and its residents.

Talking through water regulations and oil production restrictions and transportation funding can seem like dry policy wonk chatter, capable of making anyone’s eyes glaze over. But at the end of the day, all of these critical conversations come back to some simple questions — how does this affect the people of Kern County and how do we make everyone’s lives better through our collective decisions?

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Sonya Christian (BC), Mary Jo Pasek (BC), Karen Goh (Garden Pathways), Michael Turnipseed (Kern Tax)

It was wonderful to see the community out at the college to engage in these discussions. Events like the Vision for the Valley summit help point us toward ways of enriching the life of every single Kern County resident…and we at BC couldn’t be happier to play our part in making events like this happen.

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Ramon Puga from BC. Helping with the take down