Tag Archives: Manny de Los Santos

BC & Bakersfield: Community Strong

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, August 10, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

2019 Media Music Jam

If you have not heard the name Steve Flores, well…. let me introduce you to him. He is the energy, vision and spirit of the Media Music Jam, and he did the impossible….. he got me to say “yes” to being a participant in this year’s Media Music Jam.

Thank you Manny De Los Santos for putting together this 1-minute video.

This year’s SOLD OUT event raised $71,320 and still counting for the Kern County Cancer Fund. Over the past six years, they’ve raised $442,447 to help families pay medical expenses related to their cancer treatment. 

Thanks to Heather Foss and Manny De Los Santos, who supported me as I partnered with Robert Price on his rendition of “Let’s Work Together,” and line danced with Lyle Martin and Robert Rodriguez to Rachelle Murcia performing “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” while the talented Cindy Zimmer did a fabulous job on the violin

Lyle Martin, Sonya Christian, Robert Rodriguez
Robert Price in action singing Let’s Work Together
Manny De Los Santos, SonyaChristian and Heather Foss

KGET and The Bakersfield Californian covered the event and provided additional information on the history of this tremendous event. 

Welcoming Our first Cougar-Renegade Class of 2023!

This last Wednesday, Bakersfield College hosted thirty of our incoming McFarland Early College students. These students are a small group of the 280 freshmen that will begin their college pathway at McFarland High School this Fall.

The group started their day with a welcome breakfast hosted by Outreach and Dual Enrollment Director Steve Watkin. Our Early College Program Manager Kylie Swanson then introduced them to becoming a Renegade, dual enrollment, and what their next four years would look like as they pursued an associate degree for transfer while they were in high school.

Students were given a choice of four different summer courses to visit—and these 14-year-old students fit right in! While they were a little shy at first, the Early College students loved the opportunity to see what a college class is like and to participate in the course discussions. After their course visits, the team gathered again for a tour of our beautiful campus.

Welding instructor Jeremy Staat gives our newest Renegades an up close look at our Welding program McFarland High School will have a strong Welding Early College program that will prepare students to complete Welding degrees and/or enter the workforce here in Kern County.

Following their tour, I had the pleasure of hosting this amazing group of students for lunch. I invited some very special guests to join me in welcoming our newest Renegades to the family — Senator Jean Fuller, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Superintendent Aaron Resendez, and Principal Justin Derrick all gave the students advice and encouragement as they embark as trailblazers for secondary and higher education in the United States.

A lovely lunch with my newest Renegades!
Students being encouraged and welcomed by our amazing retired state Senator Dr. Jean Fuller.
Trustee Romeo Agbalog shares his passions and what he had to overcome as he connected with our students to inspire them to never give up.
President Sonya Christian, Principal Justin Derrick

Each student was then interviewed by one of our distinguished guests. When asked what three words describe how he felt when he thought about starting college this Fall as a high school freshman, young Isaiah said he felt “nervous, but excited and READY!” Fellow student Melina stated, “I am excited to be a Renegade. I am starting college at 14-years-old, and I am going to keep going until I get a master’s degree.” Our video team captured these interviews, and I can’t wait to share the final project with you! It will be amazing to track these students along their journey to Associate Degree completion four years from now.

The students then had another opportunity to sit in on college courses, including a special tour of our photography studios where Kris Stallworth gave the students a hands-on lesson in creating photo-grams.

Early College Student – Class of 2023
Early College Student – Class of 2023

As we closed out the day there was a growing sense of excitement for their future at BC, and I can’t wait to welcome these students back to BC each year leading up to Spring 2023 when I will proudly be able to hand them their degrees on our commencement stage. 

They are McFarland Cougars. They are Bakersfield College Renegades. They are our Cougar Renegades, Class of 2023.

Lesley Bonds recognized as a 20 Under 40 person to watch in Bakersfield

The Bakersfield Life’s magazine’s Mark Nessia hosted the event recognizing the 20 young individuals under 40 recognized for their leadership and service to our community. Our amazing Lesley Bonds was selected to be in this group.

Eduardo Torres Vargas, Manpreet Kaur, Lesley Bonds, Nancy Solis-Vargas
North High Connections. Jessica Mathews, Jennifer Williams-Cordova, Jack Bertrand

BC Hosts Kern EDC Board Meeting

BC hosted Kern Economic Development Corporation’s last board meeting of the year here at the BC campus.  BC strongly supports Kern EDC’s mission to stimulate and diversify Kern County’s economy. When Measure J was on the ballot in 2016, Kern EDC endorsed the measure for its economic development benefits, which was unusual for an organization that doesn’t usually adopt a position on ballot measures.

Dr. Jean Fuller and Mike Giacomini
Jennifer Serratt and Trustee Romeo Agbalog
Dave Howlett and Cheryl Scott
Supervisor Maggard and Steve Renock
Richard Chapman and David Womack
Dr. Jean Fuller, Wayne Kress, Arvin Mayor Jose Gurrola, and Chancellor Tom Burke

Mike Giacomini gave attendees a quick update on the Measure J projects, and Dr. Jean Fuller presented on the new Early College program.  It was great to provide our prominent community members with updates and information on all of the great things happening at BC.  I can’t wait to host them again in the future! 

Mike Giacomini presenting to the board
Dr. Jean Fuller presenting to the board
Dr. Jean Fuller highlighting the Early College program.

Jack Scott Fundraising Institute

A team from Bakersfield College had the opportunity to attend the Jack Scott Fundraising Institute this week, held at the beautiful Claremont Graduate University. The two-and-a-half day conference kicked off with remarks from the California Community College District Chancellor, Dr. Eloy Oakley, on Wednesday evening. Dr. Oakley discussed the future of community college funding in California, large employer partnerships with community colleges, and the need to help students with cost-of-living expenses, including housing and medical costs. Wednesday evening concluded with a reception for the 40 attendees at the home of Claremont President, Dr. Len Jessup.

Heather Penella, Chancellor Eloy Oakley, Norma Rojas Mora
Tom gelder, DeLacy Ganley, Heather Penella, Jack Scott, Norma Rojas-Mora, Pendleton Armistead

Thursday had a full day of interactive presentations covering topics ranging from visionary leadership, fundraising trends and strengthening business and corporate partnerships. Friday concluded with sessions highlighting the importance of strategic planning and skills on bringing plans to reality. Tom Gelder, Norma Rojas-Mora and Heather Pennella had the opportunity to make impactful connections with conference faculty and attendees alike.

Community Voices: BC’s Core Values Help Us Be better 

BC’s Nick Strobel had a published piece in the Community Voices section of The Bakersfield Californian on Saturday, discussing BC’s core values and strategic directions and how they can transform lives for the better. Be sure to check it out! 

Summer Bridge

Summer Bridge continues to orient incoming freshmen with its awesome Summer Bridge program, a first-year student success course.  Chancellor Burke even dropped by to see the program, and meet the newest Renegades.  If you know of a student who would benefit from this program, please visit the website to sign up for a session!    

BC staff at Summer Bridge
BC staff at Summer Bridge
Isabel Castaneda, Chancellor Tom Burke and Kimberly Bligh
Students at the Summer Bridge session
Chancellor Burke at a Summer Bridge session

BC Scholarship in Memory of Stephanie Marie Gonzalez

Rich McCrow reached out to me this week about a scholarship opportunity in memory of the amazing Stephanie Marie Gonzalez.  The Criminology/Criminal Justice team created a scholarship through the BC Foundation in her memory to assist Bakersfield College Criminal Justice & Corrections students with their education.  

In memory of Stephanie Marie Gonzalez

Stephanie was a BC alumni and a Kern County juvenile correctional officer at Juvenile Hall for 15 years until she passed away from a brain aneurysm at the age of 35.  Stephanie passed away in 2017, but her spirit lives on here at BC. She was an exceptional student and beloved by all Criminology faculty.

If you would like to contribute to this scholarship in Stephanie’s memory, please go to SupportBC.org or call the Bakersfield College Foundation at 661-395-4800.

Olivia Garcia recognized

Mark Nessia recognized Olivia Garcia in his article in the Bakersfield Life Magazine.

Fun Photos:

2019 Bakersfield Young Professionals (BYP) Summit: Chesi Womack sent over a photos from last week’s 2019 BYP Summit, a great event for young professionals in our community.  The speakers focused on emotional intelligence, decision making, stress management and leadership. Chelsi said, “It was a very informative and inspiring event to be a part of!” I love seeing our Renegades in the community! 

Chelsi Womack, Tiffany Simpson and Yolanda Aguilera
Photo from Facebook. Pam Boyles, the runner on the beach 2011
Manny Mourtzanos: The Artist

Manny Mourtzanos sent over to me his latest artistic creations featuring Billie Jo Rice, Bill Moseley and myself at the new BC SouthWest construction site at CSU Bakersfield, along with the infamous Kit Foxes.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? 🙂

Athletics on the Radio

Brandon Urry, our athletics communications manager, was on the radio this week with Danny Morrison of 103.9 The Beat and Fernando Ambriz of 92.5 La Campesina to talk about our athletics departments recent #19 CCCAA NATYCAA ranking (up from #31 the year before!), Memorial Stadium construction and the many summer sports camps/clinics happening at BC over the summer. We are excited for another big year of Renegade Athletics!

Brandon Urry and Danny Morrison
Brandon Urry and Fernando Abriz

President’s Cabinet Retreat

On Tuesday, President’s Cabinet met to discuss goals and work plans for the 2019-2020 academic year. This group is composed of direct reports to the President of Bakersfield College, as well as other members who serve at the discretion of the president. President’s Cabinet provides a forum for vetting decisions prior to implementation.

Attendees at the President’s Cabinet Retreat
Bill Potter and Mike Giacomini
President’s Cabinet members at the retreat
Corny Rodriguez, Bill Moseley, and Manny Mourtzanos
Manny Mourtzanos presenting
Corny Rodriguez presenting

Exec Office Retreat

The Executive Office held its retreat earlier this week, with myself, the three Vice Presidents and our Exec Office staff.  It’s always a fun time with this group! 

President Christian trying her hand at the wheel
Zav Dadabhoy speaking at the retreat
Chris Glaser, Billie Jo Rice, Mike Giacomini, and Jennifer Serratt
Jordaun Bennett spinning the wheel
Catherine Rangel spinning the wheel
Tarina Perry at the wheel
Chris Glaser’s turn!
Chris Glaser, Jordaun Bennett, and Catherine Rangel

Early College Retreat

We held our very first Early College retreat this week and I’m excited to see what the future holds for this amazing team! 

President Christian, Abel Guzman, Steve Watkin and Michelle Pena
Kylie Swanson and Ashlea Ward
Abel Guzman, President Christian, Michelle Pena and Steve Watkin

Exec Office Birthday Celebration

The Exec Office celebrated birthdays this week, namely Chris Glaser, Somaly Boles, Jennifer Serratt, Brenda Gamlowski and Mike Giacomini. Happy birthday everyone!!!

Chris Glaser, Somaly Boles, Jennifer Serratt, Brenda Gamlowski, Mike Giacomini
Lunch celebration in the Exec office


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Remembering Those We Lost This Memorial Day

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, August 10, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Memorial Day started in 1868 as Decoration Day, a remembrance of those who died during the Civil War. Over the years, cities and states designated it as a legal holiday, and in 1971, Congress established Memorial Day as a national holiday to take place on the last Monday of May every year.

Every Memorial Day, a special ceremony is held at Arlington National Cemetery, where the President or Vice President lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Locally, Bakersfield’s oldest traditional Memorial Day celebration takes place at Union Cemetery, this year featuring speeches by Kevin McCarthy and local veteran Bill Glaspie, who fought the Nazis on the beaches of Normandy 75 years ago on D-Day. The Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary held their sixth-annual Thousand Flags event, and Tehachapi celebrated with a parade and ceremony through downtown. KERO provided a list of local Memorial Day events on their website.

Congressman Kevin McCarthy with Paul Beckworth and guests at the Union Cemetery on Memorial Day.

At BC, we are proud of our veteran students and have a particular duty to support them through their education. We’re reaffirming that commitment to our local veterans with the construction of the new Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center, the first Measure J project, slated for completion this fall.

Rendering of the soon to be finished Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center.

We remember the sacrifices made and lives lost defending the freedom and sovereignty of the United States. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten.

I’d like to share this quote from James A. Garfield at that first Memorial Day commemoration at Arlington National Cemetery in 1868.

“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and virtue.”

Emails Worth Sharing

I’d also like to share this email that our Director of Veterans Services Paul Beckworth sent on Monday.  Our duty to support veterans goes much deeper than academic support, as Paul’s words of encouragement for our veterans make clear.  Thank you for all that you do Paul, and thank you to those who have served our country.

“Hello Region V Veteran Services colleagues,


Today, May 27, 2019, is Memorial Day.


The vast majority celebrate it as the unofficial start of summer.  Many Americans honor the day and the dead, in a variety of heartfelt ways.  However, there is a much smaller group whose acknowledgement of the day goes deeper than most.  It is personal, it is emotional, and it is visceral. While today we remember the fallen, we must keep in the mind the ones who were left behind; their families and fellow warriors.  There are people I know who wish to be left alone today and others who do not want to left alone for fear of what their emotions might lead them to. Sometimes, people remember with laughter and tears, while others do so with the bottle and with tears.  


For those who lost comrades, or family or best friends, please do not go to those dark places inside you.  If you do go there do not stay there. We need you, here, with us. We know the 22 a day suicide rate among veterans.  It is terrible. Do not be a part of the 22. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Depression is serious. It is a weight the likes of which cannot be described, only experienced.  If your arm is hurt, you go the doctor. If your head/heart hurts, go to a doctor. There is no shame in it. It is often said that the soldier is not the only one who goes to war.  The family does, too, in its’ own way.


Those of you who work closely with veterans may not have lost a loved one, but assisting veterans for years can take a toll, especially for counselors and advisors.  Who counsels the counselors? Seriously. There are several of you who have worked with veterans for many years now. Make sure to take care of yourselves. Go to veteran-specific conferences, sit in the hotel lobbies and have venting sessions with your colleagues from across the state.  Let iron sharpen iron. Get help just like we tells our veterans to do. I am pretty sure most of you have walked a veteran to your on-campus mental health professional at least once. If you need to take a walk to one yourself, please take it. We need you, here. Your military-affiliated students need you, here.  


While today can be very emotional, one of the best ways we can honor the fallen is to take care of our minds, bodies, and spirits.  In this way we can continue the work ahead of us, making them proud.”

Paul Beckworth, May 27, 2019 Memorial Day

BC Friends in Sacramento

Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE)  hosted its 2019 Latina Action Day in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 22. Our own Nicole Parra facilitated a panel discussion, and I was thrilled to see BC students impromptu participation.  Evelyn Torres, a Studio Arts, Graphic Design & Communications major volunteered to be the voice of millennials on the panel.  

Nicole Parra and panelists at the 25th Annual Latina Action Day.

The panel on California’s Present and Future Workforce examined the challenges and opportunities the state is facing as we look to filling workforce needs.  The conversation regarding career education included an informative discussion of the value of apprenticeship programs, and the role community colleges in meeting workforce needs. Evelyn shared a student perspective on the importance of providing opportunities for all students, including those who need short term training leading to employment.

Evelyn Torres alongside panelists discussing education and workforce needs.

Thank you Norma Rojas Mora for your work in Sacramento.

Rural Initiatives Classified and Support Staff Appreciation Celebration

Last week, the Rural Initiatives classified and support staff were recognized by the management team in a surprise celebration of Classified Appreciation week. This celebration brought together members of the RI team that serve a region that extends from Arvin to Delano. I’m grateful for the focused dedication and passion for serving our rural students. Thank you Rural Initiatives Classified and Support Staff for everything you do for our Bakersfield College Rural Renegades. Also thanks to our RI Management team, especially Jaime Lopez for coordinating such a special celebration.

Rural Initiatives Classified and Support Staff at the celebration
Carolina Madrigal and Rural Initiatives Classified and Support Staff at the celebration.
Public Safety Officers Matthew Rodriguez and Linda Morgan
Kim Collins, Academic Liaison (left) and Monica Huyck, Tutoring Services Team Leader
Group photo of the Rural Initiatives Classified and Support Staff
North Kern Adult Education team (From left to right) Jaime Lopez, Jesus Jimenez, Kim Collins, and Thalia Solorio
Manuel Muralles and Carolina Madrigal

Administrative Council Retreat: Day 1

This last Thursday we had the first day of our annual summer retreat with our college-wide administrative council. BC Food Services provided a fantastic breakfast spread and a delicious salad bar later in the day for the lunch. I opened the session with an overview of our college strategic plan and highlighting the fact that we now have 37,000 students! Our administrative council fanned out across campus in teams as they completed in a scavenger hunt.

Attendees preparing for Day 1 of the Administrative Council Retreat.

Members of our college Program Review Committee briefed the council on best practices for conducting their program reviews for this coming year and Manny Mourtzanos provided a training on aligning work plans to direct us as embark on a new year. It was a great retreat and great work that we will regroup on to finish up on a second day in early June.  

Attendees preparing for Day 1 of the Administrative Council Retreat.
Attendees preparing for Day 1 of the Administrative Council Retreat.

Umoja’s End of the Year Celebration

This week, Umoja held its end of the year celebration to acknowledge its graduates and mentors. Students joined together to celebrate their academic success and celebrate their mentors who dedicated time and energy to support their scholarly journey at BC. Thank you to Dr. Paula Parks for sending over these photos, and for your dedication to our students.  If you’d like to learn more about Umoja, make sure to check out their website!

BC Umoja students and graduates
Austyn William, graduate and Umoja’s first SI leader
Graduate Jade Slack with Dr. Parks, Mr. Ward, and Mr. Rosas, Umoja’s first counselor.
Graduate Kim Evans with Dr. Park and Jonathan Ward.
TiYante Patterson, who is transferring to Morgan State in the fall.
Emcee Korrie Edwards, who is also the outgoing Umoja Club president.
Dr. Park and Mr. Ward preparing a ritual for the Umoja community.
Some of the 2018-2019 graduates with Joe Coughlin, who acknowledged the graduates with Coconut Joe’s gift card and cash. Thanks for your continued support, Joe!
Some of the Umoja students who graduated from BC. The tee-shirts show that as they become BC alum, they are always part of Umoja.
Some of the awesome, dedicated Umoja mentors
The audience sang the Black National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing”

Conexiones Rurales Dreamers Conference

The Conexiones Rurales Dreamers Conference on Friday, May 17th at the Delano Campus allowed our Rural Renegades to learn about several topics including programs and services offered by our college and other local institutions. This opportunity was funded by the Catalyst grant received by Bakersfield College. Thank you to our Conexiones Estudiantiles/LUPE student organization, their advisors and the Rural Initiatives team, especially Jesus Oropeza, Jessica Garcia, and Jaime Lopez for bringing these fantastic opportunities to our rural communities.

Conexiones Estudiantiles LUPE student panel sharing their stories with Conexiones Rurales students.
Rural Initiatives Executive Director Abel Guzman speaking to students.
From left, Octavio Barajas, Marivel Servin, Manuel Rosas
Conexiones Estudiantiles LUPE students and their advisors.
Conexiones Rurales and Conexiones Estudiantiles students with BC Faculty and Staff

BC Cheerleaders at the New Kids On the Block Remix Tape Concert

Wow!  Does BC know how to pump up the crowd, or what?!  Also, what an amazing throwback to have the New Kids On the Block perform here in Bakersfield!  They definitely have “the right stuff.”

The Bakersfield College Cheerleaders on stage with New Kids on the Block!

I want to thank Cheer Coach Heather Foss for making possible this phenomenal experience for our students. It’s hard to describe the energy of the packed Rabobank and and the pride I felt in seeing our students on stage.

Thank you Manny de Los Santos for capturing this video. You are the very best!!!!!!

Cooking a Healthy Meal with Chef Alex Gomez

This week our Executive office team demonstrated their culinary skills at our Wellness & Professional Development Session:  Cooking a Healthy Meal with Chef Alex Gomez.  The team learned cooking and cutting techniques, and were given recipes to prepare — then eat! We enjoyed Cauliflower Tacos, Cilantro Rice, and Grilled Zucchini.

The Exec team preparing delicious and healthy meals.
Sharon Bush, President Christian, Billie Jo Rice and Mike Giacomini
Chef Alex Gomez and Jennifer Serratt
Sharon Bush, President Christian, Billie Jo Rice diligently following the recipe.
Sonya Christian, Billie Jo Rice and Mike Giacomini preparing their healthy dishes.

The Executive Office has a standing Wellness Initiative that began a couple years ago, as well as a new Training/Professional Development Initiative that began last year. Chris Glaser and Tarina Perry worked with Chef Alex for help in meeting goals for both initiatives and did he ever deliver! The training was clear and engaging, the menu healthy, and the food delicious. We worked in teams to prepare the meal, and then enjoyed our meal together as we discussed our takeaways from the day.  Thank you to Chef Alex and Chef Suzanne Tangeman for working with our team on this, and thank you to Chris and Tarina for organizing the activities!

Chefs Suzanne Tangeman and Alex Gomez
With Billie Jo Rice and Liz Rozell
Chef Gomez teaching Liz and me secrets of the trade.
Chef Suzanne Tangeman, Chef Alex Gomez, Billie Jo Rice & Christian Flores-Castaneda

Progress on Memorial Stadium

The renovation of the Memorial Stadium track and football field is moving along nicely. The work will be completed in time for this fall’s football season. We are all excited to see the finished product! Also, thank you to Brandon Urry for capturing these photos.

Drone footage of Memorial Stadium construction
Drone footage of Memorial Stadium construction
Drone footage of Memorial Stadium construction
Drone footage of Memorial Stadium construction

Photos that make me happy

Monika Scott and Nicky Damania at Aladdin

Family weekend at Lake Arrowhead

Memorial Day weekend with family at a cabin in Lake Arrowhead.

Lake Arrowhead, May 26, 2019
President Christian and her dog Neo


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Let’s celebrate women

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, March 2, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Women in Leadership

Five women sitting and talking

To celebrate the kickoff of Women’s History Month at Bakersfield College, yesterday I hosted a panel discussion on Women in Leadership.  California Senator Emeritus and Early College champion, Jean Fuller served as the guest moderator while four esteemed panelists shared their stories, accomplishments, challenges, and more. Thank you to guests Shannon Grove, Republican State Senator, 16th Senate District;  Blanca Cavazos, Taft Union High School District Superintendent; Cynthia Giumarra, Local Attorney and minister;  and Rosalina Rivera, Delano Union Elementary School District Superintendent for participating on the panel.

The fabulous Manny De Los Santos recorded the event and I hope to have many photos and videos for you in next week’s blog. Stay tuned!

One on One with Robert Price

On Wednesday afternoon, I enjoyed being a guest on One on One with Robert Price, @stubblebuzz . The Bakersfield Californian is a great resource for this community with engaged reporters, like Joseph Luiz who visits BC often and always ensures he has the right info to create the best report possible for the people in our community.

Thank you, Robert, for having me on the show to share with our community the latest on Measure J, BC Southwest, Early College, and education transforming the Central Valley.

Check it out: One on One with Robert Price: Guest Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian.

Bob Price, Sonya Christian, and Joseph Luiz
Robert Price, Sonya Christian, and Joseph Luiz

Behind the Scenes

One on One Behind the Scenes Video

Some fun pictures of behind the scenes. For more, visit the One-on-One photo gallery.

2019 Diversity Champion Award

Bakersfield College received the 2019 Diversity Champion Award from the California LAW Pathway for its excellence in building the Community College Pathway Program.  The awardees were chosen at the California LAW Board of Directors meeting in November and winners were announced to the to the California State Bar and the CPA Advisory Council. Deans Corny Rodriguez and Manny Mourtzanos, and Pre-Law Advisory Council Member Yinka Glover accepted the award on behalf of BC at the Omni Hotel on February 22, 2019.

Bakersfield College is honored to receive the award.  I would like to thank the California LAW Pathway for the recognition, as the Pathway to Law Program at BC was designed with innovation and creativity in mind in order to keep Bakersfield College Pathway Students engaged and inspired to achieve success in the law.  Congrats to our Pathway to Law program and to our amazing prelaw team including Corny Rodriguez, Christian Zoller, Edward Borgens, Charles Kim, Marilynn Sanchez Avila, and Pearl Urena! I would like to recognize Foothill College President Thuy Nguyen for her statewide leadership in establishing this program.

Finally thank you to the Pathways to Law advisory committee chaired by David Torres. Thank you David for your unwavering commitment to Bakersfield College and our students. Here is the list of the committee members — Adeyinka Glover, Steven Katz, Jeannie Kraybill, Courtney Lewis, Cynthia Loo, James Maddox, Rebecca Murillo, Bathany Peak, Brett Price, H.A.Sala, Robert Tafoya, David Torres (Chair), Alekxia Torres-Stallings.

Cal Law Diversity Champion Award
Manny Mourtzanos, Yinka Glover, Corny Rodriguez, and President Thuy Thi Nguyen with BC’s award

Celebrating Black History Month

In conjunction with the community organization Harlem and Beyond, Bakersfield College was honored to have Dr. James Chaffers, Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of Michigan. Dr. chaffers was the Senior Design Juror for the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial statue in Washington, D.C. See the Bakersfield Californian Article: Bakersfield College celebrates Black History Month.

BC students and staff with Dr. James Chaffers

Gades Grub Grand Opening

Food Services celebrated the launch of the Gades Grub food trailer with a grand opening event in the Gym Huddle on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. The event featured a live DJ, free samples of some of the delicious food that Gades Grub has to offer, and other giveaway prizes. Students were eager to try some of the delectable options that will now be available to them from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Thursday.

BC at Startup Grind Global Conference

BC was represented by Professors Rudy Menjivar and Valerie Robinson at the Startup Grind’s Global Conference in Silicon Valley. This is for startups everywhere, especially the who’s who of the Silicon Valley startup scene. With more than 8,000 individuals, mostly entrepreneurs, venture capital investors, and professional service providers attending the two-day event, the conference provided an environment unlike anything else – a community coming together for invaluable education, connection, and inspiration.  The event had a roster of world-class speakers and thousands of entrepreneurs looking to build relationships, and it was great to see that BC was well represented.

Fox Theater Marquee
Fox Theater Marquee
Professor Rudy Menjivar and Professor Valerie Robinson
Professor Rudy Menjivar and Professor Valerie Robinson

Culture of Power

On Valentine’s Day, Daniel Rios, a Ph.D. student in Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego and a BC graduate, shared his passion for researching communities of color in East Bakersfield with BC students and staff. Rios presented research at A Culture of Power: Race, Youth, Labor and Sound in East Bakersfield, 1966-1974, in the Levan Center. The event was organized by commercial music professor Joshua Ottum as part of the Energizing Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley grant.

Daniel Rios talks about labor and music in East Bakersfield during the 1960s.
Daniel Rios talks about labor and music in East Bakersfield during the 1960s.

Rios’ presentation began with an overview of race and labor relations in Bakersfield in the early-to-mid 20th Century. Communities of color in Bakersfield were locked into low socioeconomic status via discriminatory housing practices that persisted until the 1970s and forced into low-level employment as farm, sanitation and domestic workers. In 1966 and 1972, black, Chicano and Latino sanitation workers in Bakersfield went on strike to fight for unionization and protest unhealthy working conditions and the dehumanizing way they were treated by white property owners. Protesters were met with heavy resistance by police and organizations such as the White Citizens Council.

Daniel Rios plays music from Kern County Soul and R&B artists from the 1960s.
Daniel Rios plays music from Kern County Soul and R&B artists from the 1960s.

At this same time, an often-overlooked music scene was booming around dance halls frequented by communities of color across East Bakersfield. While many music historians have documented the local country music scene known as the Bakersfield Sound, the contributions of doo-wop, soul and R&B groups are rarely discussed in academic circles. Groups from Kern County such as the Paradons, the Montereys, and Little Ray Jimenez were recording Billboard Top 40 hits while performing in local venues such as Salon Juarez and Fraternity Hall.

Billy Haynes from the Original Souls and Johnny Gomez from the Paradons perform in the Levan Center.
Billy Haynes from the Original Souls and Johnny Gomez from the Paradons perform in the Levan Center.

The majority of the groups, such as The Original Souls, were multicultural, composed of a mixture of Filipinos, Latinos and blacks. In 1969, the Original Souls beat out country and psychedelic rock bands to win a Battle of the Bands competition at Lake Ming attended by approximately 4,000 people.

Daniel Rios, Billy Haynes and Johnny Gomez answer audience questions in the Levan Center.
Daniel Rios, Billy Haynes and Johnny Gomez answer audience questions in the Levan Center.

After Rios’ presentation, Johnny Gomez of the Paradons and Original Souls bassist Billy Haynes, who went on to perform with Tina Turner and Lou Rawls, performed a few songs in the Levan Center and talked about their history in what is commonly referred to as the East Bakersfield Sound. “There was a lot of oppression in our town back then,” Haynes said. “We made people feel proud of our community.”

Thank you Daniel Rios for sharing his important research on the intersection of labor relations and music in Kern County, as well as Joshua Ottum and the Energizing Humanities cohort for organizing this event and Reggie Williams for the use of the Levan Center.

The Girl who Smiled Beads: Clementine Wamariya

Clementine Wamariya
Clementine Wamariya

On Thursday, Distinguished Speaker Clementine Wamariya gave several speeches in the Levan Center, sharing the powerful story of traveling through 9 different countries as a refugee to escape the Rwandan genocide.

Wamariya read from her memoir The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After, which was written during a major crossroads in her life. She was several years removed from the traumatic experience of fleeing the genocide with her sister at the age of 6, living in refugee camps and illegally crossing borders to seek freedom in the United States before being reunited with her parents on an episode of “Oprah”. In 2014, she had returned to Rwanda to attend an event in a soccer stadium where the history of Rwanda and the genocide was being re-enacted and memorialized, and she was so triggered by the memories that the re-enactment brought out that she had to immediately leave and fly back to the United States. She listened to Nina Simone’s cover of “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles on repeat and cried the whole way home, and the message of that song inspired her to write her memoir.

Clementine Wamariya speaks emotionally with hand gesture.
Clementine Wamariya speaks emotionally with hand gesture.

“I had lived opposite lives,” Wamariya said. “I had everything and nothing. I could stay anywhere in the world, but I didn’t have a home.” She continued, “I felt like that song was burning me, but I realized that if I could bear the sun, and my people could bear working in the sun, that it could be a source of strength.”

Wamariya spent five years researching her life and past with an investigative journalist to write “The Girl Who Smiled Beads,” which became a New York Times bestseller upon its release in 2018. The book talks about the lessons that she learned as a young child from her mother, a devout Catholic who imparted the value of sharing everything, never taking more than what you need, and having reverence for fruits, plants and the Earth. To this day, Wamariya likes to ask the question, “What fruit are you?” The answer reveals a lot about where someone comes from and how they view themselves, and driving through the farms of the Central Valley helped her relate to this area as a place of sharing, where fruits and vegetables are spread across the world.

When the genocide happened, Wamariya went to live with her grandparents and eventually ended up in a refugee camp, where people had to wait in line to eat corn and walk six hours for water. When she eventually decided to flee and cross the first of 8 borders to escape the horrors of war, she thought that she would have to jump over a chasm in the ground to get from one country to the other. Instead, time and distance passed and she didn’t even realize that she was in another country. Borders aren’t even real,” Wamariya said with tears in her eyes. “The Earth is the only thing that’s real, and everything else is made up.”

Clementine Wamariya smiles with hands on hips in front of the lectern.
Clementine Wamariya smiles with hands on hips in front of the lectern.

Wamariya pleaded for attendees of her presentations to be motivated by joy and not by fear, for when someone is motivated by joy, they realize that they don’t have to take someone else’s joy to experience it for themselves, and they’ll never believe that they have to take someone’s life to maintain their joy.

Since her appearance on “Oprah” in 2006, Wamariya has gone on to receive a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Comparative Literature from Yale University and serves on the boards of Women for Women International and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Thank you Olivia Garcia, History Professor, for coordinating Clementine Wamariya’s visit as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series, and to the Office of Student Life, the BC African-American Initiative Committee and the BC Women’s History and Awareness Month (WHAM) Committee. See more events for Women’s History Month.

Faculty Diversification Meeting

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges held the Spring 2019 Hiring Regionals at Bakersfield College on Thursday, February 21, 2019. Faculty diversity is a critical component in the support of student success, and each California community college has a responsibility to develop a workforce that reflects the diversity of its community and is best prepared to serve the college’s specific student populations.  The event presented important considerations for faculty hiring, including ways to diversify and expand hiring pools and reshape search processes to focus on candidates who understand and are committed to our students.

Thank you Dr. Janet Fulks and Prof. Steven Holmes for bringing this statewide event to BC. Thank you Tarina Perry for coordinating the event with the graceful touch that is so you!

BC's Faculty Diversification Meeting
BC’s Faculty Diversification Meeting
Corny Rodriguez at the Faculty Diversification Meeting

See more photos in the ASCCC Faculty Diversity Regional @BC Gallery.

Question, Persuade, Refer

Eric Lord, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist and adjunct instructor at CSUB, taught a program known as “Question, Persuade, Refer,” or QPR, which demonstrates how to recognize when someone may be suicidal, persuade them to seek help, and refer them to the proper authority that can save their life. Lord was invited to give the QPR presentation by the mental health interns at the Office of Student Life, who work closely with the Student Health and Wellness Center to assist students dealing with serious mental health issues.

Lord speaking to the crowd from the lectern.
Lord speaking to the crowd from the lectern.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death on college campuses, and 31 percent of college students have considered committing suicide, Lord said. These are preventable deaths, and all it takes is the courage and empathy to ask the right questions when students are suffering, help them realize that there are people who love them and want them to succeed, and help them find the resources they need to get their lives back, whether it’s a mental health professional, or in more extreme cases of suicidal ideation, law enforcement.

Lord compared being suicidal to being locked in a house that is on fire, and suicide appears to be the only doorway to escape. “When somebody wants to die and not be around anymore, there’s a lot that leads them to that moment,” Lord said. “If we can use the power of our words and our relationship to folks, we can open up another door.” Suicidal ideation is related to a number of systemic issues, such as the loss of a job, the ending of a relationship or the death of a loved one, and some ways to recognize that someone may want to commit suicide include recently acquiring a gun, putting personal affairs in order, chronic drug and alcohol abuse, or saying things like “I just can’t go on” or “I won’t be around much longer”.

QPR Suicide Prevention Presented by Eric Lord, LCSW on a slide behind Lord.
QPR Suicide Prevention Presented by Eric Lord, LCSW on a slide behind Lord.

It’s important that when you recognize some of these symptoms, you talk to the person in a blunt and direct, yet caring way. Don’t be afraid to use words like “death”, “kill”, and “suicide.” In the moment that you ask the question, make eye contact with them and say, “Have you thought about killing yourself?” or “Are you going to commit suicide?” Never phrase the question as, “You’re not going to commit suicide, are you?” because it makes the other person feel like you don’t actually care and they shouldn’t be honest with you.

When you find out that the person in question may want to end their life, persuade them that it’s not the answer and show them that you and others care and want them to live. Get other people in the individual’s life involved, such as family, friends, doctors, or clergy members. Then, refer them to a group such as BC’s Students of Concern Team or a mental health professional and follow up with them via a personal visit or phone call to establish a connection and ensure that they won’t be punished for seeking help. If you think that they won’t receive help and they’re going to follow through, contact Public Safety or law enforcement. You can find more information about suicide prevention from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and share their number 1-800-273-8255.

Thank you to the Office of Student Life’s mental health team for inviting Eric Lord to campus for this important professional development opportunity. Thank you Dr. Nicky Damania.

BCSGA Power Lunch with Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg
Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

When Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg enrolled in college as a sociology major, she had no idea that she would embark upon a journey that would lead to being elected on the Board of Trustees for the Kern Community College District. But at every stop along the way of her 35-year career in education – whether it was as an art professor, a preschool teacher, or one of BC’s longest-serving administrators – Nan’s faith in her ability to prioritize and solve problems propelled her to success in every new endeavor to which she applied herself.

Nan spoke to BC students and staff in the Levan Center about her journey in education and her plans for the Board of Trustees during Monday’s Power Lunch organized by the Legislative Affairs Department of BCSGA. All three Vice Presidents and I were in attendance to hear from a woman that inspired all of us so immensely and continues to inspire us today.

While she has accomplished many things during her career, Nan says that her students have kept her humble and put things into perspective. The first accomplishment Nan has been able to celebrate during her short stint on the Board of Trustees was the approval of BC’s new Southwest Center to be constructed on the CSUB campus. “The part that made it so sweet was that I knew how much work that was done to make it happen,” Nan said.

Liz Rozell speaking with Nan at the front table.
Liz Rozell speaking with Nan at the front table.

While she has attended many Board of Trustee meetings as a BC administrator, it is surreal for her to be sitting at the other side of table and balancing the concerns of students, constituents and instructors, as well as her fellow board members, she said. However, she feels up to the task of continuing to be aware of everything happening in Kern County education in order to position the District to best serve Area 1 of the KCCD. “It’s not the paperwork that makes you get up every day,” Nan said. “It’s knowing that you’re going to do something that helps someone out.” She said, “That feels like a big deal to me most days.”

I’d like to thank Mustapha Barraj and BCSGA for organizing Monday’s Power Lunch. I know we’ll be hearing a lot more from Nan in the future.

Sonya and Nan.
Sonya and Nan.
Sonya videoing Nan with her phone.
Thank you Earl Parsons for this photo
Nan speaking
Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

Congratulations to Laura Luiz

The American Library Association (ALA) is recognizing BC reference librarian Laura Luiz for her outstanding contributions to student learning and community engagement with the BC Get Out The Vote program.

In a press release on Wednesday, ALA, in conjunction with the Association of College and Research Libraries, announced Luiz as the winner of the 2019 Community and Junior College Libraries Section EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Program Award, which includes a $750 award and a plaque that will be presented to Luiz at the ALA’s annual conference in Washington, DC.

Get Out the BC Vote was a campaign that helped BC students on the Panorama and Delano campus get registered to vote in the 2018 midterm elections. There were also workshops and online resources breaking down every candidate and initiative on the midterm ballot and helping students to properly discern fake news and disinformation.

ALA award chair Laura Mondt of Northern Essex Community College had effusive praise for Luiz and the Get Out the BC Vote campaign. “Laura Luiz’s efforts with Get Out The BC Vote allowed the library to connect with the Student Government Association to help students become informed voters and promote news literacy,” Mondt said.

Luiz and the library have plans to expand the Get Out the BC Vote program for the 2020 midterm and presidential elections.

Lincoln Dinner

I was fortunate to attend the Kern County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner on February 22, 2019, as the guest of Senator Jean Fuller. The featured keynote speaker was newly elected Congressman Dan Crenshaw who has an incredible story as a former Navy SEAL who lost his eye in an IED blast.

Last November, Dan also appeared on Saturday Night Live and bits of this skit were referenced last Friday evening. This is a “Must watch.”

It was great to see CSUB President, Lynnette Zelezny at the event, as well as KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog and his wife, Lilly. I unfortunately did not snap a picture of many of the community leaders who support education who were there — JP Lake, David Bynum, …..

STEM Truck

On Tuesday, February 19, 2019, representatives from the US Army visited the BC campus to show off various military robotics technologies to students in the Renegade Food Court area.

Both KGET and KERO featured the US Army STEM Truck in its afternoon broadcasts, and soldiers demonstrated all of the innovative technology the Army uses to save lives every day.

A simulation of the Search and Rescue Automation Hardware (SARAH) system is displayed inside the US Army STEM Truck.
A simulation of the Search and Rescue Automation Hardware (SARAH) system is displayed inside the US Army STEM Truck.
A cameraman from KERO gets ready to interview a US Army soldier on the air in front of the STEM truck parked in the Renegade Food Court area.
A cameraman from KERO gets ready to interview a US Army soldier on the air in front of the STEM truck parked in the Renegade Food Court area.

Inside the truck, students could participate in a simulation of the Army’s Search and Rescue Automation Hardware, also known as SARAH, which uses aerial and ground drones to locate missing persons. Students also had the opportunity to check a drone created by the iRobot company for remotely disarming explosives. Above the iRobot drone, there were videos demonstrating various robotic prototypes developed in conjunction with Boston Dynamics, including the infamous “Big Dog” robot and another robot that can jump up stairs and run 28.3 miles per hour, which is slightly faster than Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man.

An iRobot drone used to remotely disarm explosives is displayed inside the US Army STEM truck.
An iRobot drone used to remotely disarm explosives is displayed inside the US Army STEM truck.

Thank you to the Army for inspiring our students to pursue careers in STEM, as well as everyone who worked to make their visit possible.

Wendale Davis Foundation 11th Annual Leadership Conference

The Wendale Davis Foundation is an intervention, prevention, mentoring foundation with a mission to educate, motivate, and rehabilitate at-risk youth. On Friday, February 22, 2019, a series of workshops were held at BC with topics such as HIV/AIDS Awareness, Gang Intervention, Life/Coping Skills, and more. It’s a great day any time BC invites young people to campus to learn and embrace a healthy and successful future.

Steve Watkins claps to get the audience's attention
Steve Watkins claps to get the audience’s attention
A full auditorium listening to Wendale.
A full auditorium listening to Wendale.

Juvenile Justice Employers

The Criminal Justice, Public Health and the Career Education Department collaborated to host the first Juvenile Justice Employer Panel on February 27, 2019. The primary focus of this event was to inform students in the Public Safety Pathway, Public Health Science, Psychology and/or Sociology majors about the different career paths they can follow after completing their education. Each panelist discussed their role working on prevention and intervention with troubled youth and tools they use to reduce criminal behavior. With over 100 students and special guest, Ricardo De Hoyo a District Representative of Senator Melissa Hurtado, in attendance, employers answered questions related to educational background, past and current work experience and employer expectations.

A full audience for the panel with Juvenile Justice slide behind them.
From Left to Right: Pat Smith, Criminal Justice Professor, Dr. Dixie King from Transforming Local Communities, Liz Gonzalez from Bakersfield City School District, Sgt. Nicole Anderberg from BPD, Officer Joshua Deutinger from BPD, Deputy Bobby Sherrill from Kern County Probation Department, Leticia Limon from Kern County Superintendent of Schools and Nichol Ruiz from Kern County Behavioral Health & Recovery.

Dean and Adah Gay Reading Room Refurbishment

If you haven’t been in the Grace Van Dyke Bird Library recently, check out the refurbished Dean and Adah Gay Reading Room.  The Gay family created an endowment back in 2007 to help maintain the room but until recently the goals of this endowment were not fully realized. New chairs, lamps and plants have been added, plus additional electrical outlets to assist students in recharging their electronic devices.

BC staff with the Gay's in the Reading Room.
BC staff with the Gay’s in the Reading Room.

David and Catherine Gay, Andreas, Emily (Gay) and Eva Dauner joined Kirk and Stacey Russell (Library), and Heather Pennella, Tom Gelder and Dana Heins-Gelder (Foundation) to rededicate the space last Saturday evening, February 23, 2019.  The new furniture arrived last Friday just before noon and the students began enjoying it immediately.

Kirk and Stacy Russell in the Reading Room.

From Earth to the Universe Planetarium Show

Last week Dr. Nick Strobel held one of his amazing planetarium presentations called From Earth to the Universe.  Community Relations Manager Tamara Baker brought her parents to the event, excited to show off the beautiful William M Thomas Planetarium, which boasts the largest dome in all of the Central Valley!  Tamara said that Dr. Strobel delved into the evening stars, and showed attendees how to identify different constellations and how to find true north. Tamara said that she and her family cannot wait to go star gazing up at their cabin.  Thanks Dr. Strobel for always putting on such great and informational presentations for our local community!

Degree With a Guarantee

Near the end of last year, I participated in an interview with Gary Stern for an article focused on Degrees with a Guarantee at California Community Colleges. Check it out the Hispanic Outlook Article: Degree Guarantee.

Public Health Program in Case Study

Sarah Baron and BC’s Public Health Sciences program were featured in a case study published by the Community College Journal of Research and Practices. The report published on February 19, titled “Practical Lessons in Public Health Program Implementation: Perspectives from the Field,” was co-written by Baron and discusses the way BC’s program offers a health navigator certificate and a general transfer degree developed with support from the Society for Public Health Education. Our Public Health Sciences program is creating the next generation of advocates for healthy communities, and I’m confident that their work will make the San Joaquin Valley a happier, healthier places for thousands of people.

Lisa Caputo is talking to students about internships in public health ambassadors and STI Peer Health Educator.  Thanks to the support of The California Endowment and Kaiser Permanente for making the startup of these programs possible. 
21 interns and Sara Baron

What has everyone a-twitter?

Trustee Romeo Agbalog appeared on the radio show Money Wise.

Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government thanking everyone.
Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government thanking everyone.
Aaron Resendez thanking everyone.
Aaron Resendez thanking everyone.

Speech Intramural Competition in Delano

Last Saturday, the BC Delano Campus hosted a speech intramural competition featuring Panorama and Delano students, as well as Arvin High and homeschooled Early College students.

Sarah Baron, Cris Cruz-Boone, Abel Guzman, and Lesley Bonds

There were close to 80 people in attendance for the speech intramural, which featured BC communication faculty and student judges evaluating students in a number of different speech competitions, including informative speech, persuasion, special topics, and impromptu speaking. Christine Cruz-Boone, a communication professor at BC and one of the judges for the event, said that Arvin High freshmen swept all top three places in the informative speech category, and homeschool student Samantha Craig earned second overall in impromptu speaking. Delano Campus student Itzel Hernandez won first place in the persuasion competition, and Panorama students Gloria Sanchez, Mandy Canada, and Lindsey Brackett also placed in various categories. The diverse group of BC participants got the opportunity to test out communication skills that they learned from BC instructors in a practical environment.

Abel Guzman, who attended the final round and awards ceremony of the competition, was impressed by the students who participated and compiled a series of emails about the intramural for entry in this week’s blog. As our Early College program continues to grow, I’m excited to see the ways that our Early College kids interact with the more traditional student population.

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11a, check out the segments from this week’s show. This week’s highlights included segments with BC Men’s Tennis Head Coach, Noel Dalton and BC student athletes Conrad Dalton, Luis Aceves and Moses Jimenez. 

Renegades of the Week

This week’s (2/17-2/23) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

Kylee Fahy and Tanner Lopes.
Kylee Fahy and Tanner Lopes.

Kylee Fahy, Softball – Pitched 26 innings (1 no-hitter) with a .269 era, 41 strikeouts, six hits, one run, one earned run in helping softball go 4-0 for the week.

Tanner Lopes, Men’s Swimming – The only Renegade individual event winner at the Mt. SAC Invite last weekend, taking the 50 breaststroke and also getting two other top-ten finishes. He was part of two top six relays and was the highest scoring male swimmer from BC helping the men finish 6th overall.

Men’s and Women’s Basketball Post-Season Awards

BC Wester State Conference All Conference, sketch photo effect.
BC Wester State Conference All Conference, sketch photo effect.
BC Wester State Conference All Conference, sketch photo effect.

Huge congratulations to our men’s and women’s basketball student athletes who received recognition from the Western State Conference. Renegade Men’s Basketball student athletes Anieus Medrano and Shahadah Camp were been named to the 2018-2019 Western State Conference All-Conference team. Marcus Jones was also recognized as the Co-Defensive MOP for the conference. Renegade Women’s Basketball student athletes Jasmyn Rodriguez, Dasia Wandick and Brianna Mendez were named to the 2018-2019 Western State Conference (WSC) All-Conference team. Congrats! And way to represent BC!

BC Western State Conference All Conference of the 3 women in action poses, sketch photo effect.

Roundup of Athletics Events this week

As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click for the story on GoGades.com):


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Unity in Our Community

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, May 18th and woke up this morning to the very sad news of the passing of a legend in our community, Mayor Harvey Hall.

Unity in Our Community

harvey-hall-open-house-oct-4-2016

Harvey Hall speaking on behalf of Measure J

When we hear the phrase Unity in Our Community the face that comes to mind is that of Mayor Harvey Hall.

Joseph Luiz says in his article in The Bakersfield Californian:

One of the main phrases he used during that time was “Unity in Our Community,” reflecting his desire to recognize accomplishments, the city’s diverse population, celebrations and more.

Harvey Hall was a die hard Renegade. Most recently, Mayor Hall was the chair of the Measure J bond for Bakersfield College, KCCD.  He did a great Community Voices piece for The Bakersfield Californian.

TBC_HarveyHall_7.15.2016

The picture below was taken at the opening event of BC’s Social Justice Institute which Harvey Hall was the founding co-chair, along with Milt Younger.

Harvey Hall and Milt Younger LEA

Mayor Hall, RIP, I thank you for your steadfast and unwavering support of Bakersfield College.

Now, onto other topics….

Woke up this morning to two pieces in the Californian authored by BC faculty.  BC’s Japanese faculty member Yuki Takeuchi wrote a community voices piece on teaching in the prison.  (https://tinyurl.com/ycfwozjb)

Yuki Takeuchi Community Voices May 18 2018.png

The second piece was Nick Strobel’s Stargazing article.  Nick Strobel took a moment to recognize the historic significance of last week’s Commencement before promoting the Kern Astronomical Society’s free public star party tonight at Barnes and Noble on California Avenue.

Nick Strobel Stargazing 1

Tonight, star gazers will be able to view Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest planets in the solar system, at about the same altitude above the horizon but at opposite sides of the sky. Nick’s column also talks about the Mars InSight lander currently flying toward the Red Planet with the hope of being able to relay information back to Earth by utilizing the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter already on the planet.

In June, the Kern Astronomical Society will be meeting for another stargazing at Panorama Park, then the group will be at the Park at River Walk for July’s event.

Find the article at: https://tinyurl.com/y94st4xp

Em and Chef Suzanne

Chef Suzanne and Emily Dec 2017

And then I received this email from Darlene Mohlke of Castle and Cook who also serves with me on the Homeless Shelter Board and the Chamber of Commerce Board.  Her granddaughter Emily Aldritt was recognized as the California Student Volunteer of the Year.

Here is the interview we discussed today. https://tinyurl.com/y82v4xz4.   If it were not for the two wonderful mentors Emily has in Leah Carter and Suzanne Tangeman there would not be a story or a Governor’s Award.  The BC Kitchen, and her BC chef’s uniform are proudly on display!

Emily Aldritt, you inspire us!

Governor's website May 2018.png

More on the 104th Commencement

I am still reminiscing about BC’s 104th Commencement last weekend. The evening was surely one to remember. We celebrated student accomplishments, transformation, and life changing moments with graduates and their families. It is ceremonies like May 11th that make visible the way that lives are changing in this community one degree at at time.

Check out this video created by Manny De Los Santos covering five of the 104th commencement speakers.  You can definitely see Manny’s creative touch.  Love the music in the background.

i-bqstz6t-xl

CommencementDr. Robert Allison served as President of Bakersfield College from 1997-1998, but he has a long history of heart and contribution to the college in a multitude of roles. In an email earlier this week, he was also reminiscing about the incredible evening of May 11, 2018.

He said,

I want to thank you for including me in the magnificent graduation ceremonies last Friday evening. You should know that the experience was very special to me. As I sat on the podium and gazed at the massive crowd, which must have been at least 10,000, I reflected on the 55 years that I have been a part of Bakersfield College. I thought about the record number of graduates as compared with the number in 1964 and other graduations and, of course, the significance of our first bachelor’s degrees awarded – and that I was there to be a part of that.

I thought about the many changes we have seen but that essentially BC is, as it always was, about bringing educational excellence to our communities. Margaret Levinson, whose job I later filled, was the dean of instruction in 1963. She made it clear to us neophyte instructors that BC’s academic standards were as high as any university and we should not forget it. Our curriculum was not based on Berkeley’s for nothing!

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Chancellor, Trustees, Past Presidents, Vice Presidents, and graduates of the 2018 Baccalaureate Class in Industrial Automation.

Congratulations to BC Firefighters!

Firefighter Grad - Program

On May 15, we celebrated the graduating class of 2018 Firefighter I graduates. The Bakersfield College Fire Science program was first set up by joint efforts of Chief Phil Pifer of the Bakersfield Fire Department and Norman Harris, coordinator of technical vocational education at Bakersfield college in 1956.

A special curriculum was designed for Bakersfield city firefighters which included academic courses required for an associates of arts degree, the on-the-job training included the use of all types of fire fighting equipment, and the use of motorized fire equipment under emergency conditions.

This fire science program developed into an in-service program for all fire agencies in Kern county. The main agencies involved were Bakersfield fire department and Kern County Fire Department.

 

Welcoming Jim Ryun to Memorial Stadium

Jim RyunBakersfield College is honored to host the 2018 CCCAA Track and Field Championships this weekend and we are privileged to welcome Jim Ryun back to Memorial Stadium where he shattered the world record for fastest mile with a blazing fast 3:51.1 mark on June 23, 1967. A crowd of 10,000 cheered him on that evening.

 The Bakersfield Californian highlighted this week’s festivities with track-and-field legend Jim Ryun. Ryun who also served as a member of the House of Representatives from 1996 to 2007, hosted a meet-and-greet at the Sheraton Hotel on Thursday and signed autographs.

See the video of Jim Ryun at Memorial Stadium on youtube!

 

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Bob Covey and Ron Jones, photo from http://theleanberets.com

Bob Covey brought some historical details about the event in 1967 to campus and shared them with Athletic Director, Sandi Taylor and Sandi, in turn shared them with me! Bob Covey coached over 40 years for Bakersfield College, Oregon State, and USA olympic development. It’s amazing to learn about the rich history that has taken place at the Home of the Renegades. Bob has shared more about the history of Track at Bakersfield College in a Podcast at theleanberets.com! Listen here.

79th Track and Field Championships by Bob Covey

Mary Jo Pasek organized a meet and greet on Thursday evening and it was a great evening of story telling.  Thank you Joseph Bergman for the photos.

BC welcoming Jim Ryun May 16 2018.jpg

Stig Jantz, Sandi Taylor, Sonya Christian, Ann Ryunm Jim Ryin, Mary Jo pasek

BC Selected as Recipient of Innovation Award

Jessica Wojtysiak and Lesley Bonds riding the train May 14 2018

Jessica Wojtysiak, Lesley Bonds

It’s an exciting time to be at BC and it’s an exciting time for California Community Colleges. BC was selected by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office as one of 11 community colleges to be awarded a share of $20 million to further development and implementation of programs that strengthen student success.

For the innovative design and mapping of transfer pathways through technology and systems integration, Bakersfield College was named the recipient of $2,300,000. The funding aims to advance implementation of high-tech, high-touch guided pathways strategies that ensure all students have access to fully mapped and well-designed transfer pathways no matter at what point from which they are accessing the institution.  Nick Strobel, Jessica Wojtysiak, Lesley Bonds and I rode the train to Sacramento to accept the award.

Nick Strobel and Sonya Christian on train

Nick Strobel and Sonya Christian on train

BC continues a strong commitment to not only opening our doors to students from all backgrounds, but also to intentionally and systematically support them through a Guided Pathway to degree and certificate completion once they’re here. This award will provide a continuation of efficiently and effectively clarifying the path towards degree and certificate completion which in turn, leads to sustainable jobs regardless of background.  The health of our community depends on an educated and well-prepared workforce.

It’s an exciting time at the home of the Renegades!!

 

Cecilia V. Estolano

As the four of us were waiting for the announcement at the Board of Governors (BOG) meeting in Sacramento, we followed the deliberations and discussions on the various items.  I was struck by the level of engagement and rigor in the discussions among the members of the BOG. Topics ranged from equity, to student completion, accountability of budgets, technology innovation and integration, transfers – both to CSUs and UCs, and preparing a strong workforce for our state. At this meeting Executive Vice Chancellor Van Ton-Quinlivan and Visiting Vice Chancellor Omid Pourzanjani presented the heavy lift from CCCCO to integrate technologies at the systems level but with the necessary flexibility at the local college level to customize functionality. During the presentation, Dr. Pourzanjani specifically called out the Pathways Program Mapper to make his point.  Cecilia V. Estolano is the President of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and I was really impressed with how she ran a tight and engaging meeting. The full list of the Board of Governors is available on the website along with short biographies if you’re looking to read more.

So proud of our faculty and staff:

Armando Trujillo: On Friday, May 11th, our very own  Veterans Educational Advisor Armando Trujillo, graduated from the University of Southern California, earning a Masters of Social Work Degree with a Military Social Work and Veterans Services sub-concentration.

Armando Trujillo USC MSW Graduation1

Armando Trujillo with daughter Alina (who will attend CSU Monterey Bay) and son Adam

Armando is an inspiration to the student-veterans and military-connected students he serves.  He is a prime of example of what a student-veteran can accomplish.  Armando enlisted in the Marine Corps while still in high school.  In 2003 he fought in Iraq with 3rd ANGLICO (Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company) as a forward observer.  After his service he became a correctional officer.  Several years later he began attend college, culminating in his masters degree.

Armando Trujillo USC MSW

Armando’s work with veterans at Bakersfield College has paid dividends for his students, with well over 40% of BC veterans completing/transferring within three years.  His holistic, intrusive, guided pathways model approach has made Armando an invaluable member of BC, getting student-veterans on the right path and keeping them on it.  Those students he works with know they have a compassionate, and professional advisor who understands their struggles as both veterans and students.

Armando Trujillo USC

The picture above was snapped when Armando was presented with a USC cake in the Veterans Lounge upon completion of his MSW work a few weeks before graduation

Bakersfield College says to Armando Trujillo, MSW, “Well done Devil Dog!  Semper Fi.”

And thank you Paul Beckworth and Armando Trujillo for all that you do for our student veterans.

Oliver Rosales was at the capitol to advocate for the importance of humanities education and collaborative partnerships in California and especially in the Central Valley.

 

Oliver Rosales presenting at the capitol May 16 2018

Summer Bridge

We are off and running again with our Summer Bridge.  Kimberly Bligh who leads this effort is scaling up this program every summer.  Here is a great picture of three faculty at the Wasco Summer Bridge.

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Erica Menchaca, Teresa McAllister, Jessica Wojtysiak

Express Enrollment at BC SouthWest

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With our 2018 Commencement in the rearview mirror, it’s incredible to think that Summer courses at BC SouthWest begin next week! Hosted by Outreach with support from Financial Aid, Counseling, and more, the May 15th Express Enrollment at BC SouthWest helped new students enroll and get classes they need. The crew helped 80 new, continuing and returning students register for classes at our BC Southwest campus, and there are three more express enrollment events planned for this summer at the BC main campus on June 19th, July 10th and August 7th from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Students will also be assisted with enrollment during our on-campus Summer Orientation events at the main campus from 1-5 p.m. on June 5th, July 24th, and August 14th.

Outreach spreads the good word about BC’s  academic programs and student support services as they reach out at local high schools and various community events, supporting future students, assisting them through the application and matriculation process through orientations and enrollment events.

During the orientation and enrollment events, prospective students learn about our supportive faculty and caring staff, our Student Life and athletic programs, about the affordability of BC compared to 4-year and private institutions, and all of the campuses we have available throughout Kern County, including at BC Southwest, the Weill Institute downtown, Delano, Shafter, Wasco and online.

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The Outreach Team at Bakersfield College

Starfish Training

Dean of Instruction, Andrea Thorson worked with Pam Rivers to get the presentation ready for Monday morning. Over 45 faculty attended the afternoon training and I heard they left wanting more!  There are more trainings to be added for staff and faculty throughout the summer as we unveil this powerful high-tech, high-touch tool.

 

BC Students on a Sacramento Legislative Trip

Last Thursday, May 17, 58 students (including students from Delano campus) left at 4 a.m. to head up to the state capitol for the Annual Sacramento Legislative Trip, returning to campus the same day only after 11:30 p.m. They were accompanied by Biology Department Chair, Dr. Joe Saldivar, classified staff members Theresa Rodriguez, Rosa Castro, and Public Safety Officer Jason Mattheus, ASL interpreter Natasha Bailey, and administrators Dean Grace Commiso and Dr. Nicky Damania.

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BC Group in front of capitol

This one-day event takes students and staff to our state capitol to tour the Capitol Building, meet our local legislators in their work environment, and also to explore downtown Sacramento and Old Sacramento. This year, the attendees started their exploration of legislative processes by viewing the State Senate in session. They were greeted by Senator Andy Vidak who graciously introduced them to the State Senate, and by Senator Jean Fuller recognizing the leads Ms. Ashley Harp, Bakersfield College Student Government Association Vice President, Ms. Grace Commiso, Dean of Student Success and Counseling, and Dr. Nicky Damania, Director of Student Life and Advisor to the Bakersfield College Student Government Association.

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Ryan and Annette

They then met with Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin and her Chief of Staff, Ryan VanZuylen, regarding Assembly Bill 705. They discussed many aspects of the bill from conception, to planning, implementation, and the hopes of the bill serving to support community college students. As they shared the value of the bill, many students expressed their struggles as an entering community college student and how if this bill had been implemented before, they would have been able to progress further/sooner in their educational goals. As shared by Annette Brasher a communication and human services major “If you wanna start at the beginning basics, for instance math, then you can, but in my instance I was placed there but I should have been placed in College Level Statistics which I feel I was ready for, but was not given the chance.” Annette has been attending BC part-time for the past eight years, during which time it has taken her four semesters to get to transfer level math. Before closing, Ryan shared his personal career path to working for Assemblywomen Irwin’s office and giving advice to our students who are interested in the field of legislative policy.

Leaving Irwin’s Office, the attendees went to the Assembly Floor to meet with Assembly Members Mr. Rudy Salas and Mr. Vince Fong. The Assemblymen shared what their passions are and what big policy reforms they are leading. Assemblyman Salas discussed his passion for the awareness of valley fever and Assemblyman Fong responded to a student question regarding community healthcare. Once again, Assemblyman Salas took an extra moment and pointed out to the students some unique characteristics of the Capitol building that only the insiders know about. He does this annually for our students. After that everyone went to lunch and upon return participated in a private extensive tour of the Capitol building which also included historical facts not only about the building but the legacy of the Office of the Governor. The day concluded with everyone traveling from the capitol building to Old Sacramento while enjoying the downtown area and grabbing a bite to eat before heading back home.

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Group with Assemblymen

Historically, this annual trip has been funded and hosted by the Center for Kern Political Education under the purview of the late Jack Brigham, who was a faculty member in Political Science. In 2016, the Office of Student Life started hosting the annual event. Since then the Bakersfield College Student Government Association has funded this trip on behalf of the Center for Kern Political Education knowing its value and keeping the legacy of Professor Brigham alive.

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THANK YOU BAKERSFIELD

IMG_1097It’s a great honor to be selected by our community as the Favorite of 2018 in the “Best College/Higher Learning Source” category of the Bakersfield Californian’s annual Readers’ Choice Poll. While BC did not win the Best of 2018 title, which went to Cal State Bakersfield, it’s still amazing to have the hard work being done by our educational system recognized for the impact to our community.

Congratulations CSUB! I’m so thankful for our collaboration with The Kern Promise Finish in 4 and all the student success and completion initiatives we accomplish together.

Talking about CSUB,  Steve Mayer of The Bakersfield Californian did a great piece on Horace Mitchell  who is retiring this year.  Check it out: https://tinyurl.com/ydxhr2cs.  

The article ends with comments from me.  Here is an excerpt:

Sonya Christian, Horace MitchellSonya Christian, president of Bakersfield College, said Mitchell’s impact has indeed been felt in the larger educational community.

“Generations of Kern County and Bakersfield students will benefit from the seeds of vision, hard work, and dedication planted by … Mitchell,” she said.

 

“The Kern County educational system has never been more connected, more efficient, or more collaborative than now. College transfer rates from Bakersfield College to CSU Bakersfield have bloomed significantly and collaboration between our institutions has strengthened and grown.”

During the 2016-2017 academic year, transfers from BC to CSUB increased nearly 22 percent from the year prior, Christian said, and efforts made in collaboration with Bryon Schaefer and the Kern High School District to increase college attendance directly from high school have been highly effective.

 

Finish in 4“The Kern Promise and the newly adopted Finish in 4 program is substantial evidence of Dr. Mitchell’s footprint which will benefit this community and its students for generations to come,” she said.

Mitchell is proud that the university’s relationship with local industry has grown under his leadership, and not just in financial support. The university’s very curriculum and structure has changed to support new majors, new degrees and even new directions in the areas of agribusiness, petroleum and associated engineering.

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The university even has an office at BC to help make the path between the two institutions easier and more successful for students.

“It has truly been a privilege to partner with Horace during his presidency at CSUB,” Christian said. “He has been a true champion for excellence and student success outcomes. His commitment and dedication to diversity and equity has made an indelible impact on our Kern County educational system and is the legacy of his presidency. His transition into a well-deserved and hard earned retirement is one to be celebrated.”

 

Another Great Partnership Between BC & CSUB

On Tuesday, a group of community leaders from Bakersfield College and CSU Bakersfield got together to have a collegial conversation at a community favorite coffee shop, Dagny’s Coffee Company. The group included Octavio Barajas, a BC History Adjunct Faculty, Dr. Michael Burroughs, the Executive Director of the CSUB Kegley Institute of Ethics and Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Ian Anderson, Education/Development Consultant and a BC adjunct faculty in Political Science, Dr. Nate Olson, Associate Director for Campus Programs, Kegley Institute of Ethics, Heidi Forsythe, a BC and CSUB Adjunct Faculty in Communication, and Dr. Nicky Damania, BC Director of Student Life.

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The group discussed various topics and initiatives that revolved around methods of creating community awareness and education regarding previously incarcerated students. All members of the group are hosting various events next year to shine a light on the needs of previously incarcerated students. The Kegley Institute of Ethics will be hosting Father Gregory Boyle for their 2018 Fall Lecture on November 13 at the CSUB Dore Theater. The Office of Student Life hopes to host a speaker on September 13th in conjunction with their Distinguished Speaker Series which is also in collaboration with the Kern County Library One Book Project.  Also included in the events as a keynote speaker is author Baz Dreisinger who wrote this year’s One Book Project book, Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World.

What great partnerships BC and CSUB build upon.

 

Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government

On Thursday, May 17th, I was delighted to spend the afternoon with Chancellor Tom Burke, President of the KCCD Board of Trustees, Kay Meek, and Trustee Bill Thomas at the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government (KCFSG) luncheon speaker series.

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Executive Director of KCFSG Romeo Agbalog introduced the two speakers.

 

Matt Patterson talked about the Janus v. AFSCME case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Patterson is a graduate of Columbia University and coaches California’s local elected officials on financial sustainability, government transparency and economic prosperity. He is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Washington Times and FoxNews.com among many others. He has served as researcher for Charles Krauthammer, was senior fellow in labor policy for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and was executive director of the Center for Worker Freedom at Americans for Tax Reform.

Mayor Chuck Reed talked about the pension reform efforts in San Jose that he led.  Mayor Reed has been recognized for this effort nationally and by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, other national media, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities. The story of his work in San Jose has been noted in Michael Lewis’s Boomerang and Fate of the States by Meredith Whitney.

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That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

 

We are BC!

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

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

Panel at Women's Empowerment

Carla Musser and Liz Rozell May 5 2018

 

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

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

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

Less than a week to Commencement

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

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

BC Commencement 2016

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

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Nan Gomez Heitzeberg

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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Quinn Heitzeberg, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Jim Heitzeberg

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

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Nan Gomez Heitzeberg with Resolution from Board of Supervisors

Nicole Villaruz and Nan Gomez-Heitzberg

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We love you Nan!!!!

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

 

 

AB 705 Workshop

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

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

Michele Siqueros

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

Nicole Bryant, Nika Hogan, Janet Fulks

Nicole Bryant, Nika Hogan, Janet Fulks

 

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Janet Fulks

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Craig Hayward

Summer Serpas

Summer Serpas

Alice Perez

Alice Perez

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

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Michele Siqueiros and Sonya Christian

Michele Siqueiros and Sonya Christian

Sonya Christian and Nick Strobel

Sonya Christian and Nick Strobel

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

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

3rd Annual BC Law Day Conference

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

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

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

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

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

Dual Enrollment Celebration

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

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Cornelio Rodriguez

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Adventures with BC Geology Club

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

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

 

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

 

The group trudged up the Kelso Dunes.

 

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

Black and Gold Scholarship Banquet

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Mayor Karen Goh

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

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

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

Honors Fiesta

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

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

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BCSGA Transition Ceremony

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

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

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Student Art on Display

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

 

Renegades Voices in the Community

Kori Masilon

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

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

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

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

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

Olivia Garcia

Olivia Garcia

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

She quotes Dr. Rosales in the piece:

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

Renegade Athletics

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

Romeo Agbalog, Lily Agbalog, Victoria Perez

 

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

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#21 Kara Morgan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrating Retirees

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

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

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Kay Meek and Felix Ramirez

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

 

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Celebrating Faculty and Staff

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

 

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

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

 

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

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ASCCC Career and NonCredit Education Institute 2018

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

ASCCC Career and NonCredit Education Institute 2018

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

Physics Olympics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guided Pathways Peer-to-Peer Work Plan

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

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Sonya Christian 3 May 4 2018

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever