Tag Archives: Matthew Garrett

Hello Summer and Summer Bridge Students!

Neo June 3 2017Good morning Bakersfield…. It is Saturday, June 10th and a great day to be a Renegade.

I spent a significant part of this week at the accreditation commission meeting in San Jose.  The accreditation peer review process for quality assurance is truly remarkable and I am so glad the United States still upholds this process.

I missed Neo who seemed much bigger when I got back home.  In the three weeks I’ve had him he went from being 10 lbs to 19 lbs.  Growing up fast and you can see it in his paws.

The drive back from San Jose was a bear with accidents on both 101 south as well as on the Pacheco pass….. It was quite the drive and my phone died and I did not have a charger handy, and I was tired….. It was a good thing that I got a book on tape, something I don’t usually do.  I got it from amazon.com, and no it was not a drone delivery three hours after I placed the order.

The book titled “The Life We Bury” was listed as a bestseller in the New York Times list.  I started listening to the book on my drive to and from Mammoth last week.  But the numerous conf calls resulted in me not making much progress.  But coming back from San Jose, without my phone, I got through much more, though not quite all yet.

Kimberly Bligh has been busy this summer, scaling up summer bridge for our incoming students and engaging faculty across campus to come spend a day with the incoming freshman during their orientation.

Dr. Matt Garrett’s post on Facebook and his response to Olivia Garcia says it all

Matt Garrett Summer Bridge June 2017.png

Summer Bridge is a one-day seminar for new students. It increases success and retention for all new freshmen by giving them the tools and resources they need to succeed. Each morning begins with faculty on hand to greet the eager students and share with them their wealth of knowledge to help acclimate them on their new academic path.


The students break out into smaller groups joining faculty members sprinkled throughout the room for networking and chatting. It’s here where their first friendships on campus are formed… together, they are on this journey, and it’s a time to ask questions and get  information for their classes, their major’s and also their first day concerns.

Students share their dreams, goals, and aspirations for their future, encouraged and cheered on by those faculty members brought together by Dr. Kimberly Bligh.

The students are also given a guided tour by faculty and student leaders who show them first-hand all of the various buildings located throughout campus. This is an amazing way for students to feel even more comfortable when they arrive on the first day of class, it enables them to focus more on their academics rather than worrying and searching aimlessly for their needed classes. Students are able to obtain their schedules and throughout the tour faculty and staff able answer any questions they may have. Students also learn a little background on BC, when it was founded and when the campus was moved up on the hill.But one of the greatest benefits for students who participate is what they learn about all of the wonderful services that BC has to offer.

The students were shown where the Veteran’s Lounge, Renegade Pantry, Renegade RIP, Student Health Services, Counseling Center, Writing Center, Math Center, Tutoring Center, Financial Aid, and Supplementary instruction centers were all located on campus.

IMG_5832All of these services and much more are there to help the students be as successful as they can be – providing them the tools they need to achieve their goals.


Eileen Pierce, Manager of Academic Support — Supplemental Instruction, shared how SI works and how it  benefits all the students who attend at least five to six sessions per semester.

We are a family. We thrive and flourish together with the help of each other, because… We are BC!

Summer Bridge June 7 2017



See more photos and stay up to date with Summer Bridge on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/summerbridgeBC/

BC’s Inmate Scholars Program

The Inmate Scholars Program was nominated for the 2017 Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, Beautiful Bakersfield Awards.  Each year, the Chamber holds an annual gala to honor those connected to the community and to recognize the efforts to improve the quality of life in Bakersfield.

Aera won an award

Aera winning an award at Beautiful BAkersfield June 3 2017.png

Thank you Nick Ortiz and all at the Greater Bakersfield Chamber for bringing to us Beautiful Bakersfield

Nick Ortiz, Hillary Haenes Beautiful Bakersfield

Bakersfield College is honored to be recognized as a community leader.

Inmate Scholars, Bryan Hirayama, Chelsea Esquibias, Rich McCrow, Letty Garza, Doug Grimsley, Gerald Cantu, Kaitlin Hulsy, Isaias Hernandez

(from front, clockwise) Bryan Hirayama, Chelsea Esquibias, Rich McCrow, Letty Garza, Doug Grimsley, Gerald Cantu (behind placard), his wife,  Kaitlin Hulsy, Isaias Hernandez

The Central Valley has more than ten prisons and correctional facilities. Recidivism is high — of the incarcerated who are released, over 76% return to prison.  The Inmate Scholars Program provides college courses inside of the local prisons to educate those before release.  Associate Degrees earned in prison have been shown to reduce recidivism to below 5% thus saving taxpayers over $70,000 per year per inmate as well as creating a safer and more thriving community.

Inmate Scholars, Rich McCrow, Doug Grimsley, Gerald Cantu

Rich McCrow, Doug Grimsley, Gerald Cantu

Education is the key for our incarcerated population.  Thank you to all of those Bakersfield College employees that serve students in the program, and thank you to those who attended the dinner; Rich McCrow, Chelsea Esquibias, Bryan Hirayama, Doug Grimsley, Isaias Hernandez, Gerald Cantu, Kaitlin Hulsy, Isaias Hernandez and many more great Renegades!  We are BC!

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And then I saw this great post by Supervisor Leticia Perez on Facebook:

Leticia Perez June 7 2017.png

Retreats and reflections during the summer

President’s Cabinet had two retreats this summer, the first one at the Delano Campus on June 1st and the 2nd on the Panorama Campus here in Bakersfield on June 5th.

2017 President's Cabinet June 5 2017


President's Cabinet Retreat June 5 2017



At Delano the focus was on BC’s Rural Initiatives, Dual Enrollment, and Inmate Education.  After presentations and discussions, we headed for a tour of the Randolf Campus in Delano.

Cabinet Retreat in Delano June 1 2017.JPG


Bakersfield College originally offered courses in Delano at the Randolf campus.  This is where I was first involved as a faculty member — I taught math via interactive TV but would often drive up to the Randolf campus to meet with students.  During that time, a group of us in the math department wrote an Eisenhower grant to improve STEM education in Delano with a focus on parent education.  I then went away to work in Oregon for 10 years and when I returned as President, the Delano campus had moved to Timmons Ave, and the Randolf campus was leased to the Wonderful Academy.  Wonderful was and is a great partner of Bakersfield College.  Wonderful now has built their own campus for their Charter School and the Randolf campus has reverted back to BC.  I do want to thank Wonderful for donating all the classroom spaces they had built and improvements they made during their stay at the campus.  Lynda Resnick thank you.  Noemi, thank you.

Here are pictures of the Cabinet tour of Randolf campus.

Randolf Campus June 1 2017.JPG

Cabinet at Randolf Campus June 1 2017.JPG

Nicky Damania and Grace Commiso planning for Student Services

Nicky Damania and Grace Commiso Randolf Campus June 1 2017

Alex Dominguez

Alex Dominguez was the President of BC’s Student Government in 2014-2015, going on to be the Student Body President at CSUB.  Alex had a wonderful graduation and it seemed that everyone from Bakersfield was there to celebrate this young man’s future and presence in our lives!

Alex Dominguez

Alex Dominguez, Sonya Christian

Terri Goldstein Alex Dominguez Nicky Damania June 3 2017

Terri Goldstein, Alex Dominguez, Nicky Damania


Here are some links to blog posts that spotlighted Alex:

This one is a long blog but scroll until you see the picture with Alex Dominquez (2014-2015), Calyton Fowler (2015-2016), Matthew Frazer (2016-2017)


Some fun photos:

Ramon Puga and his son

Ramon Puga at his son's graduation.png

So I was at the ACCJC commission meeting and this is what happens to my office when I was not there — Mission Occupy!


Jennifer Marden, Tracy Hall, Tarina Perry, Somaly Boles


Sonya Christian at Randolph Campus June 1 2017That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

(at the Randolf campus in Delano)

Celebrating our talented students. Commencement 2017

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, May 20, 2017…one week after graduation and a phenomenal week to be a Renegade.

Graduation 2017

BC 103 Commencement

The 2016-2017 Academic Year ended on a wonderfully high note.  There were so many important and inspiring events during the last few weeks of the semester, but everything culminated in Bakersfield Colleges 103rd Commencement Ceremony.  Here is the slideshow of images from the evening:

Bakersfield College Commencement 2017 - May 12, 2017
Bakersfield College Commencement 2017 - May 12, 2017
Bakersfield College Commencement 2017 - May 12, 2017

So proud of Somaly Boles who graduated with her associates degree.  Seriously smart, incredibly talented, a calm personality, no drama, and so beautiful.  The entire Executive Office was so excited.  Here are some photos with Somaly.

Somaly Boles and Tarina Perry May 12 2017

Somaly Boles and Tarina Perry May 12, 2017


Somaly Boles and Chris Counts May 12 2017

Somaly Boles and Chief Chris Counts

This year we thought we would try a new approach to all of the pre-commencement celebrations.  We have the Chicano-Latino, African American, Veterans, and Delano pre-commencement celebrations.  So let’s take a looks at two  of the four celebrations.  I will have the Veterans and the Delano celebrations in my next blog.

African American Pre-Commencement

Our African-American graduates were specially recognized in the Indoor Theater at the African-American Pre-Commencement Ceremony on Friday afternoon. This event started with beautiful music, as the audience sang along to James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” After the opening prayer by Pastor Prince Charles, Outreach Director Steve Watkin offered some words of encouragement, asking students to do their part to “help us continue to be proud of you.” Financial Aid Director Jennifer Achan introduced keynote speaker Brenda Lewis, assistant superintendent of instruction for the Kern High School District. Lewis told her story of growing up with 11 siblings in poverty to become one of Kern County’s first black high school administrators. She urged the students to carry themselves with honesty, integrity and ethics and to help others who struggle along the way.

“You must continue preparing to succeed,” she said. “Be the one who clears the way for others to succeed.”


African American Pre-Commencement 2017

Graduating student speaker Sharita Knowles told a powerful story about how she went back to school after having children, worked full time at a hospital every night to support her family while she went to classes during the day, and how members of the BC family such as Janet Fulks, Steve Watkin and student peer mentors helped her get a job at the Welcome Center so that she could see her kids at night.  “I thought I had a plan,” Knowles said, “but if our plans don’t line up with God’s plan, then they’re not really plans at all.


African American Pre-Commencement 2017

“At BC, a whole new world opened up—experiences that I’d never known I’d experience,” said Knowles, who the other students affectionately refer to as “Momma Bear”. “Coming to school here was a huge sacrifice…but it was all worth it.”

The Chicano and African-American Pre-Commencements are living demonstrations of the truism that education is the great equalizer in our society. Regardless of the racial, socioeconomic or other struggles that define your past, an education at BC offers the opportunity to overcome those obstacles and build a new legacy for yourself and your family.

Chicano Latino Pre-Commencement

The Chicano/Latino Pre-Commencement Celebration took place at the Outdoor Theater


Chicano Latino Pre-Commencement 2017

on Friday and began with a traditional dance ceremony as family members gathered. Women dressed in ornate costumes moved in beautiful syncopation to the trance-inducing rhythm of two young boys drumming between ferns on the Outdoor Theater stage. One woman burned incense in a wooden bowl to accompany the ritual, spreading good intentions throughout the theater and invoking the spirits of the ancestors.

Victor Diaz served as master of ceremony, leading the crowd to a bilingual chant of “WE ARE BC” before introducing Dean of Instruction Cornelio Rodriguez, who’s been organizing the Chicano/Latino Pre-Commencement at BC since 1994.


Victor Diaz, MC of the 2017 Chicano Latino Pre-Commencement

Rodriguez said how grateful he was for everyone who helped organize the event and was awestruck at how it has grown to become one of the most anticipated events of the year. As an expression of that gratitude, he presented Diaz with the sash used 24 years ago at the first Chicano/Latino celebration.

The keynote speaker for the Pre-Commencement was television journalist Christina Lopez, who spoke about her struggles as the child of farm workers who became a first-generation college graduate at the height of the economic recession, and how she overcame her obstacles to succeed a TV reporter in Bakersfield and a documentarian chronicling the life of civil rights leader Dolores Huerta. Lopez offered an important message for other first-generation graduates.

“Never lose sight of dreams that propel you to a future filled with purpose,” she said. “Don’t just dream, but dream bigger for yourself, your community and your family.”

After Lopez spoke, each student got the opportunity to take the stage and thank all of the parents, teachers, friends and family that encouraged them to get through college. On days like this, I’m so proud of all our faculty and campus leaders who change the lives of people in our community every day and create opportunities for upward mobility to our Latino community.

Remember… Somos BC!

Back to the 103rd Commencement

Here are some more photos of the incredible evening

The four readers: Prof. Jennifer Johnson, Dean Corny Rodriguez, Prof. Paul Beckworth, Prof. Cynthia Quntanilla

Thank you Trustee Kyle Carter and Trustee Romeo Agbalog for attending the 103rd commencement.  It is always a treat to have our trustees at college events.

Kyle Carter Sonya Christian Romeo Agbalog

Trustee Kyle Carter, President Sonya Christian, Trustee Romeo Agbalog

BC SGA President Matthew Frazer, thank you for a fabulous year.  I will miss you!

Matthew Frazer Sonya Christian May 12 2017

President Matthew Frazer, President Sonya Christian

The platform party for the 103rd commencement.

Standing: Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Vice President Zav Dadabhoy, SGA President Matthew Frazer, Academic Senate President Steve Holmes, Trustee Kyle Carter, Prof. Bernie Scanlon, Vice President Don Chrusciel, General Counsel Chris Hine, Prof. Paul Beckworth, Prof. Corny Rodriguez

Sitting: Vice President Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, President Sonya Christian, Prof. Jennifer Johnson, Prof. Cynthia Quintanilla

Platform Party for Commencement 2017

Platform Party for the 103rd Commencement

Nicky Damania and Michelle Pena

Nicky Damania and Michelle Pena May 12 2017

Bernie Scanlon and Chris Hine

Matthew Frazer and Steven Holmes 

Full gallery of photos are available at

Commencement Day was incredible. I have a team of people to thank, especially Jennifer Marden, Tracy Hall, Kristin Rabe, Lesley Bonds, and Chris Glaser. So many roles, so many volunteers, so many names to mention. From our ushers, to Francis Mayer, our emcee to our name readers, and photographers. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Food Services.jpg


2017 Commencement BTS

The 2017 Commencement Committee included:

Karimeh Amin
Gayla Anderson
Paul Beckworth
Vanessa Bell
Ralph Burnette
Cheryl Caswell
Christopher Counts
Victor Diaz
John Farrand
Eric Garcia
Tracy Hall
Christy Haycock
Eryn Justice
Laura Lorigo
Jennifer Marden Serratt
Francis Mayer
John Menzies
Rachell Morehouse
Michelle Pena
Jack Pierce
Ramon Puga
Kristin Rabe
Corny Rodriguez
Monika Scott
Dennis Spencer
Pearl Urena
Sue Vaughn
Angelica Vasquez
Steve Watkin

More behind the scenes photos

The day before commencement with the Dream Team — Tracy Hall, Jennifer Marden, Kristin Rabe, Lesley Bonds, Chris Glaser

Commencement Prep May 11 2017

Tracy Hall, Jennifer Marden, Sonya Christian, Kristin Rabe, Lesley Bonds, Chris Glaser

On-Campus Mentorship

I received an email from Tarina Perry (and Administrative Secretary from my office), who told me about her amazing experience as a mentor to a group of students on campus:
Tarina Perry with Andres Abundis

In June 2015, I contacted Lesley [Bonds] inquiring if a classified member could be a mentor and she said she “would love to get me connected with a group of mentees”.  Well, she certainly “hooked me up”!  When she said “group”, I was not anticipating TEN (10) students!!  However, it turns out that most needed occasional directional information and only a select few fell under my wing.  Although one student is struggling, I am there to offer guidance and encouragement; another student changed her major and is moving right along.  I’m most excited to share that Andres Abundis (photo attached) was able to graduate with a major in Business Administration with his Associate in Science Degree for transfer to Cal State Long Beach with a 3.44; Dean’s list for Spring 2016/Fall 2016.

Along the way there were many times he wanted to drop a class or needed assistance with just a quick edit of an essay and I was there to lend a hand.  Together, we worked on his resume, attended BC football games, and he even went to the hockey game with my boys.  I am glad to say he is and always will be a longtime friend of the family.

Thank you Lesley for this amazing opportunity; both Andres and I have grown so much from this experience!”

Umoja End of the Year Gathering

Thank you Paula Parks for leading this work!

The event was definitely one of celebrating our students.  I was sitting next to a fabulous woman Sharon Randall, who is a community mentor for the ASTEP program.  A retired Biology teacher, Sharon was so enthusiastic about the program.

Umoja Celebration May 18 2017

The star mentor was none other than our June Charles.

This is what Kimberly Bligh tweeted

Kimberly Bligh tweets about June Charles May 18 2017.png

Tyler Johnican from Umoja  is heading to China

After the Umoja program Zav, Nan and I were talking in the parking lot just telling stories about what a great year this was for BC.  And then Jackie Lau joined us and we were talking about Measure J.  Jackie was a constant at 1675 Chester Avenue the headquarters for the campaign.  Phone banking, precinct walking…..  Thank you Jackie!

Jackie Lau and Sonya Christian May 18 2017

Jackie Lau, Sonya Christian

That same evening, the evening of May 18th, there were three events happening on campus — Softball Hall of Fame dinner, the ASTEP-Umoja celebration, and the Landscape meeting.  I was rushing back to campus after briefly attending the pre-Stemposium dinner event at Luigis organized by Cheryl Scott of Kern Economic Development Corpporation (KEDC).  More on the Stemposium in next week’s blog.

Coach Christie Hill at the Softball Hall of FAme

I was so delighted to see Kanoe Bandy, Athletic Director at Taft College at the event with her husband Don Bandy who was being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Kanoe Bandy and Don Bandy May 18 2017

And in the Fireside Room Lindsay Ono was there with the Kern County California Landscape Contractors Association.  Here is a video posted on Prof. Ono’s Facbook page.  So proud of BC faculty and out curriculum.


Summer Institute

The last three years, BC has had a summer institute right after graduation.  The summer institute is a professional development event for faculty and staff and the focus has been on improving our student success rates as it relates to students completing a certificate or degree.

Here are some photos that Janet Fulks sent me.

Stem Metamajor

Stem metamajor Summer Institute May 17 2017.JPG

Public Safety

Public Safety Metamajor May 17 2017

Health Sciences Metamajor

Health Science Metamajor May 17 2017.JPG

Catch all for students who are undecided

Exploratory Summer Institute May 17 2017


Education Metamajor May 17 2017


Business Summer Institute May 17 2017

Behavioral Science Metamajor

Behavioral Science Metamajor Summer Institute May 17 2017

Arts and Humanities

Arts and Humanities Metamajor May 17 2017.JPG

Odella Johnson’s Retirement

Hard to beleive that so many of the colleagues I started with at BC are retiring.  On Friday, May 19th, we recognized Odella Johnson at the Four Points Sheraton.  BC colleagues were there in full force in addition to the Alapha Kappa Alpha sorority group and the Links group.

BC Gang at Odella Johnson's Retirement Party

Here is Odella with her AKA sisters

Odella Johnson with the AKAs.jpg

It was a treat hearing all the wonderful Odella Stories. I am here in this picture with two women who spoke at the retirement.  Rhonda Williams, President of The Links and Michelle Fambrough, President of Alpha Kappa Alpha.

Odella Johnson's Retirement Party May 19 2017

It was wonderful seeing Jackie Fisher there looking so well and so strong.

Sonya Christian and Jackie Fisher

And here I am with woman of the evening, Odella Johnson

Odella Johnson and Sonya Christian May 19 2017

Here is a 13-ish minute video of Odella on Equity TV

Celebrating Olivia Garcia

Celebrating History Professor Olivia Garcia‘s recognition as Garden Pathways’ “Women with a Heart for Bakersfield” award. Congratulations, Olivia!! Pictured here with Dean Mourtzanos and History Professors Jason Stratton, Paul Beckworth, and Matthew Garrett.

Olivia Gardia

Garden Pathways Honors History Professor Olivia Garcia with a “Women with a Heart for Bakersfield” Award

Our fabulous mayor, Karen Goh


Garden Pathways Honors History Professor Olivia Garcia with a “Women with a Heart for Bakersfield” Award

‘Labor of Love’ from inmate education

Chelsea Esquibias from the Inmate Education Program in Delano sent me another uplifting story from the program:

Jesse Perez, 38 years old, is housed at Kern Valley State Prison, B Yard, Level 4 Main Line.  He has been incarcerated since he was 12 years old and was convicted as an adult at 16.  He has sued CDCR twice and won due to his 20 years in solitary. Today in speech class, he gave a speech about dreams and creating an unofficial partnership with prison officials for social change and continued rehabilitative programs.

After his speech, he passed out a sample form letter (click here to see the letter) to students to send to elected officials and others.  He wants everyone to know how thankful they are for the college program and the rehabilitative steps being taken.

Here is a snippet:

“So, as prisoners in an active general population setting, and in proactive acknowledgement of the tentative nature of the current favorable reality, we’d be of service to ourselves if we embrace fully the idea of an unofficial partnership with prison officials.  A partnership geared towards making the current rehabilitative trends a permanent fixture in prison life.”

Adding to this, Jesse’s letter was forwarded directly to Governor Brown!

Thank you for your continued support to Bakersfield College.  I am honored to serve these students and assist them as they achieve their goals.  Thank you for your belief in us.

Retired BC Professor gets Lifetime Achievement Award

Celebrating the heritage of BC is important and exciting.  I love hear about accolades given to our past teachers and staff.  This week I heard of Helen Gordon’s recognition, her are here words about her time during and after BC:

Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 1.30.09 PM

I taught English and study skills at Bakersfield College for 21 years, retiring from the classroom in 1995.  While an English professor at BC, I also served the Bakersfield Californian editorial board as a citizen representative for one year.  Keeping in touch with BC, I received the Levan Faculty Colloquium award in 2011 for my research into Shakespeare, “Sleuthing the Shakespeare Mysteries.”

I also contributed a poem to the new journal begun by Jack Hernandez that year.

I had moved to Santa Barbara in 1995  to bring my husband (Rev. Clifton B. Gordon) for assisted living care.  To help supplement our retirement income, I took a job at UC Santa Barbara for 5 years as an editor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.  I really enjoyed helping graduate students polish their papers for publication in prestigious journals or conference proceedings.

After my husband’s death in 2004, I turned again to scholarly and creative writing. I also trademarked a word game, “Anagrabber” which I field-tested for 5 years and am now beginning to market with the help of two grownup grandsons.

I worked closely with Jerry Ludeke developing the Learning Center which now bears her name.

You can view the full press release here:

Law Day

BC again hosted “Law Day” for pre-law students to get an idea of what they’re in for when they move on to Law School.  Most of the panelists are either judges or lawyers, but offer encouraging advice to BC students who want to explore the field.

Here is the article from The Rip about Law Day: http://www.therip.com/news/2017/05/02/bc-hosts-law-day-on-campus-for-students/

Team_Photo 2

I covered this event more in depth in my May 7th blog but when I saw the article in The Rip, I wanted to highlight it again.  Here is the link to my blog post


How Do BC Staff Prep for Events?

On Wednesday, May 24, 2017, Bakersfield College will host the second annual guided pathways summit, Leadership Matters: Reimagining Leadership to Sustain Transformative Change to Advance Student Success & Equity. When BC prepares for an event of this magnitude, we go all out.

Chris Glaser has gathered a group of ushers and event staff to help with our summit check-in and crowd control. But putting all of the pieces of an event together is an intense process!

BC Leadership Ushers

Thank you to our event ushers and event staff (from left to right) Tarina.Perry (holding a picture of Rosalee Pogue and Helen Harp), Tracy Hall (holding the event diagram breakdown), Yolanda Aguilera, Chris Glaser, Marissa Jeffers, Anita Karr, Bernadette Martinez, and Maria Diaz. All are holding out their phones showing Slack!

See that document Tracy Hall is holding? That’s a complete diagram breakdown of the crowd flow for the event check-in. Our ushers will know exactly where to be, what to say, and who to go to for help.

I was also introduced to Slack. Slack’s slogans are “where work happens” and “team communication for the 21st century” and that couldn’t be closer to the truth! It’s this neat collaboration software for your computer and mobile device and it’s been taking off with our teams!

And how is our team prepping the details for Leadership Matters? By sending ideas, comments of encouragement, files, photos, updated files, and more ideas, all within Slack. It’s very fast-paced and super engaging, but you know what? That is how BC rolls!

The Ralph Bailey Show

Mike Turnipseed asked me to sit in for him on his weekly spot on the Ralph Bailey show. We discussed the Kern Promise, Measure J, and the Industrial Automation Baccalaureate Program.  Ralph had me laughing and I had so much fun being on the show.

Thanks for the time Ralph!

Sonya Christian and Ralph Bailey Cropped May 18 2017

Sonya Christian and Ralph Bailey

From Facebook

Theresa McAllister post’s picture of Wasco High Students at Summer Bridge

Theresa McAllister's FAcebook post WAsco High Students at Summer Bridge.png

The Veeps

Thank you Vice Presidents for a fabulous 2016-2017.  I could not have done it without you!  Selfies by Zav!

Exec Team Part 2 May 16 2017

Don Chrusciel, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sonya Christian, Zav Dadabhoy

Exec Team May 16 2017

Don Chrusciel, Sonya Christian, Neo, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Zav Dadabhoy

Zav Dadabhoy Nan Gomez Sonya Christian Don Chrusciel 2017.jpg

Zav Dadabhoy, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sonya Christian, Don Chrusciel

Superhero behind the scenes

Blanca Blanco had the night shift on Thursday evening and we had three programs on campus.  Thank you Blanca for all that you do.


Here is Blanca! She can always be seen with a smile on campus.

What a week!

And then there is Neo who has turned my life upside down.  Last night he ripped a strip of carpet.

And here he is sleeping peacefully like a little angel

Neo in bed May 20 2017

And then there is the ball

Sonya Christian MAy 12 2017

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

So many reasons to celebrate! We are BC!

Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, October 8th ….another great day to be a Renegade.

This week was a week of travels for me.  Denver early in the week for the AACC Pathways institute and then Orange County to present on Guided Pathways on Friday.  Another big highlight of the week was the Measure J Open House on Tuesday evening.

But let me start my blog with Jim Norsworthy, class of 1965. I met Jim and his wife at a BC football game and captured a short video of him describing his time at BC:

Pathways Team at AACC Institute in Denver, CO

PathwaysTEam.jpgI traveled with the BC Pathways Team to Denver this week to attend the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Pathways Institute. Bakersfield College is one of 30 community colleges selected to participate in this 3-year initiative funded by the Gates foundation.

Janet Fulks, Maria Wright, Kimberly Bligh, Kate Pluta, Lesley Bonds, and Stephen Waller joined me on this trip.

Check out my previous blog, February 5, 2016from San Antonio at the very first institute. In July, I recapped about a similar Pathways event held at LAX and here’s where I posted about Nick Strobel’s piece describing in only 500 words how the pathways initiative is like a GPS for students.

Traveling Adventures

Traveling home from Denver on Tuesday was quite the adventure as well. I arrived bright and early at the airport and went through security like normal. Denver is a beautiful city with a wonderful transportation system, even inside its airport. I took the “people mover” train to concourse B where I’d wait for my flight… and the system is so well designed. I learned from Wikipedia that its layout is based upon the train inside Atlanta’s airport and the systems are nearly identical. Anyway, upon settling in and getting my breakfast burrito, panic immediately set in. I realized I had left my ID back at security and had to go back to get it.

I had to wait, but the TSA agents were kind and helpful in the process. It’s often easy to dismiss the service these men and women provide as simply inconvenient during the rush of travel, but it’s truly helpful and an important public service. Safety is always a team effort and it was a common theme through multiple interactions during my trip home. Once I made it on the flight and before takeoff, the cabin crew on my United flight announced that all Samsung Galaxy phones needed to be switched off during flight unlike other phones which could be turned to airplane mode. If you’ve followed the news recently, there’s been a recall on these phones due to safety issues and you can check out the article about this notice on SmarterTravel.com.

I arrived in Bakersfield, safe and sound, inspired and ready for everything this week had in store and headed straight to the Measure J Open House.

Volunteers for Measure J!

Do you know how to “sign” Yes on J?  Let’s watch and learn from Tom Moran.

BC is woven deeply into the fabric of this community. We have incredible students and relentless support from the people all over Kern County. It is wonderful to see so many people willing to spend time working for a better future for our community colleges. I am grateful for their hard work and support.

You can find out more about Measure J, and fill out an online endorsement form, at www.yesonj2016.com.

Measure J Open House:

There was also a fabulous open house for the Yes On J campaign on Tuesday night. There was great turnout, and the support and kind words about Bakersfield College were overwhelming.  Thank you Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Andrea Thorson for leading a team to make this happen on short notice.

Photos from the open house are posted on the Yes On J 2016 Facebook page.

I’d like to share some videos from the event from a few of our supporters. More videos will be on the Yes On J Facebook page soon, so check back!

Harvey Hall

Harvey Hall Open House Oct 4 2016.jpg


Bill Thomas

Bill Thomas Open HOuse Oct 4 2016.jpg


Leticia Perez



Mike Turnipseed

Wayne Kress

Wayne Kress Measure J Open House Oct 4 2016.jpg



Other Speakers and pictures:


Presentations and endorsements:

On October 5th, Bill Thomas, JP Lake, Nicole Parra and I attended the Kern County Farm Bureau Board of Directors meeting.  It was wonderful seeing all our Ag faculty out there in full force to support the needs of the college and the Ag department.


JP Lake, Bill Kelley, Sonya Christian, Bill Thomas, Heather Baltis, Chris McCraw, Lindsey Ono, Greg Cluff, Bill Barnes

On October 6th, JP Lake presented to the Renegade Helmet Club.  I am happy to say that the club unanimously endorsed Measure J.

JP presenting to the Renegade Helmet Club Oct 6 2016.jpg

Also this week, Cheryl Scott informed me that the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council endorsed Measure J.

Over 100o individuals have endorsed Measure J.  To check out the list, visit


Last week at the Kern County Fair

Thank you to all the volunteers at the Measure J booth at the Kern County Fair.  Thank you Trustee Kay Meek who staffed the booth Sunday afternoon.  Unfortunately we did not get a picture of her hard at work.

Vounteers at work:

Thank you to all the volunteers who phone banked this last week.  Here are just some names of the many who turned out at the Campaign Head Quarters to help.

Michelle Pena, Linda Cordoba, Josh Shackelford, Jackie Lau, Peggy Gonzales, Sergio Maldando, Sal Gomez.

Kathy Rosellini, Chelsea Esquibias, Shannell Tyes, Abel Guzman, Nielly Damamia, Isabel Casteneda, Lucero Cisneros, Iris Gonsalez, Sam Moreno, Sandra Beckworth, Paul Beckworth, Natesha Johnson, Katie Johnson

And they come young 🙂  Isabel Castaneda’s 5 year old.  Just precious.


Delano promoting Measure J:

Delano was out during the Harvest Festival promoting Measure J


Kern Shakespeare Festival

This week the Shakespeare Festival at BC kicks off and will last for the upcoming two weeks.

Brian Sivesind, the new director for the Drama Department, is excited to be heading the 32nd annual festival.

In preparation for the play of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” 28 students and 2 faculty spent 7 weeks, 5 days a week making sure the performance would blow people away. Brian Sivesind commented that he “wants the audience to be amazed at the level of talent and commitment that BC students have put into Shakespeare.”

This modernized version of the comedy tells the story of two people who fall in love, elope into the desert and due to magical forces are caught in a love triangle that includes other people.

It also incorporates elements of Burning Man, a real event, in which thousands of people assemble in the desert each year to burn a huge wooden art structure. Then, return to civilization leaving no trace of being there.  Have you been to Burning Man?

Students participating in the play also had a chance to comment.

Ryan Lee, playing the character of Lysander, said,” I want to have fun and act and focus on the building of the character and that’s what drives me.”

Juliana Benavides commented, “I was not real familiar with Shakespeare, but decided to give it a try. I love the feeling of being on stage and bringing myself into the world of the play.”

Tickets are available through Vallitix, and the show is held at the Outdoor Theatre. The festival began this weekend, and continues next week, with shows at 7:30 pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.

Industrial Automation Student Gathering

IndustrialAutomation.jpgThe BC Industrial Automation students gathered on Tuesday evening to mingle and prepare for potential internships that may come up with quick deadlines.

Stephanie Baltazar, our Job Development Specialist, was on hand for a special resume workshop and to help students improve their resumes.

It’s been an exciting journey so far for this incredible group of students.The Renegade family is so proud of these trailblazing students and I can’t wait to see what they can accomplish as they reach for the stars!

Congratulations to Helen Calip!


Helen Calip, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sonya Christian, Jay Tamsi

BC is a campus without boundaries and our staff in Delano accomplish incredible things each day. I have to extend a warm congratulations to Helen Calip, our lead coordinator of Admissions and Records for the Delano Campus. Last month, she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Delano Union School District by the Delano Union SD Hall of Fame Committee for Outstanding Service to the community.

This is not the first recognition for her service to the Delano community either. In 2012, she was voted Woman of the Year by the Filipino Community of Delano for excellent community service, and in 2010, she was awarded Woman of the Year by the Delano Chamber of Commerce.

Helen works diligently with heart, helping the Delano faculty and staff to meet academic and professional needs while actively engaging and serving the people of her community.

Thank you and congratulations Helen! Everyone at BC is so proud you are part of our family.

Emergency Responder Training

The week at BC was off to a safe start as the BC Public Safety Department held hour-long Emergency Responder Trainings on Monday and Tuesday. The training was open to all employees, especially our new faculty and staff, so that everyone knows what to do in case of an on campus emergency.

Chief Chris Counts, our Director of Public Safety recently said in the newest Annual Safety Report, “Do not hesitate to ask the Dept. of Public Safety staff any questions you may have about your personal safety. You will find that the staff members are interested and welcome the opportunity to assist with your concerns.”

Our campus community is very lucky to have such caring and dedicated public safety personnel. These are people who want nothing more than to serve and improve our campus! I cannot adequately express how grateful I am for our BC Public Safety team – Thank you for all that you do!

Homecoming & the Big Red Dinner!

1957-November-7-1.jpgThe excitement is ramping up on campus for the annual Homecoming celebrations that take place later this month. This year will mark the 59th Homecoming at 1801 Panorama Drive and the upcoming activities are themed around building the Renegade community for the future, focusing on the next 50 years to come. Over the past year as a BC Community, we have enjoyed reuniting with our past and looking back at our campus traditions while we plan for the future so this announcement is especially exciting.

The front page of the Renegade RIP in 1957, in large bold letters read “Campus Open House Features Spaghetti Feed” and there’s no better way to celebrate where we started and where we’ve come — so we’re doing it again!

Community members, leaders, alumni, families, friends of BC, and colleagues – this spaghetti dinner will be the tailgate of the year and with your attendance and support, we can make it the best one yet!

The celebration kicks off with a spaghetti feast with salad, roll with butter, and water or soda – plus the famous BC flying saucer cookie! With the purchase of dinner, you’ll get admission to the grand homecoming football game, entertainment by the BC Drumline and music department, cheerleaders, and more. Come back to the campus on the hill for Homecoming 2016.

Tickets are available on Vallitix.

For more information about Homecoming, check out https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/homecoming.

I can’t wait to see you there!!

Driven by Art: Public Art Project at BMOA

bmoaIt’s a beautiful thing when creativity and community collide and that’s why we’re so lucky to have the Bakersfield Museum of Art in our neighborhood. In celebration of the BMOA’s 60th anniversary, they invited the community to participate in “Driven by Art” where various groups and organizations painted and decorated 33 miniature fiberglass 1956 style pickup trucks.

Why 1956? An article about the event on BakersfieldMagazine.net tell me, “That was the year the Museum was founded, of course!” The article also states that 13 of trucks have been promised to the Bakersfield Foundation and will be permanently installed along the Westside Parkway.

Bakersfield College was well represented through art faculty, David Koeth and adjunct professors, Cameron Brian and Nano Rubio.


This is a uniquely Bakersfield take on successful community art projects like Chicago’s “Cows on Parade,” New York’s “Big Apples,” Vacaville’s We Know Jack, Riverside’s “Giant Oranges” and Cincinnati’s “Big Pig Gig.”  33 small-scale 1956 era fiberglass pickup trucks were painted, embellished, and festooned, and will be on display until January 2017 in downtown Bakersfield.   In addition, 12 of the trucks will be donated to the City of Bakersfield and permanently installed on the Westside Parkway in 2017.

A map with the location of each truck can be found at: http://www.bmoa.org/map

Photos below: “RockArt” is by David Koeth and Nano Rubio, “Citrus” is by Cameron Brian.


We also had BC alumni who worked on the trucks including, Liz Sherwyn, José Lemus, and Lorraina Paz. Check out the video by KGET at http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/driven-by-art-public-art-project-debuts-at-the-bakersfield-museum-of-art and follow the Bakersfield Museum of Art on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BMOA1930.


Thank You Mr. Jensen


It was a celebration on Wednesday evening at William M. Thomas Terminal at Meadows Field Airport when the Honor Flight Kern County came back into town. A band played live music, miniature American flags were in every person’s hands, and the red, white, and blue spirit was at an all-time high.

HFKC says on their website that there are approximately 46,000 veterans in Kern County with over 8,000 of them World War II and Korean Vets. Their mission is to honor and send Kern County’s vets to Washington to see the memorials built in their honor, for their service and dedication to our country. The top priority on these flights is given to the most senior veterans and those who are terminally ill. Every veteran accepted by HFKC travels at no cost to him/her and these trips are memorable and life changing.

I was made aware of a special man, Mr. Mervin Jensen – a loyal supporter of BC for over 50 years – who would be traveling on the honor flight and I was honored to write him a letter of appreciation and be on hand to welcome him home upon his flights arrival in Bakersfield. Mervin and his friends regularly attend BC football games and their common love for BC and friendship has helped them through their elder years, loss of spouses, and chronic illness.

We are BC, and our sense of community and comraderie is an integral part of our Bakersfield identity. Thank you Mr. Jensen – your love and enthusiasm for the Renegades is unrivaled and BC thanks you for your steadfast support. Furthermore, thank you for your service, your courage, and for serving the United States of America. We are so incredibly grateful for what you’ve done.


Cristian Gutierres, Mervin Jensen, Sonya Christian, Karen Goh, Paul Beckworth

A special thank you to Karen Goh for inviting me to participate in this special opportunity. Karen is a big supporter of education and a consistent supporter of Bakersfield College. Thank you Paul Beckworth, BC’s Veterans Faculty Lead, and Cristian Gutierrez, 8 year Marine vet, STEM major, and BC’s Veterans Club Vice President who also joined me in the celebration for Mr. Jensen. To learn more about Honor Flight Kern County, visit http://www.honorflightkerncounty.org/

BC Faculty and Staff Featured:

Matthew Garrett


In late August, I announced on my blog that Dr. Matthew Garrett’s book, Making Lamanites: Mormons, Native Americans, and the Indian Student Placement Program, 1947-200 would be releasing the following month.

If you haven’t had a chance to pick one up, it is available on Amazon and it’s the winner of the Juanita Brooks Prize in Mormon Studies. From 1947 to 2000, some 50,000 Native American children left their homes on reservations to live with Mormon foster families. Making Lamanites traces this student experience within cultural and institutional landscapes to reveal how and why many of these Native youth adopted a new notion of Indianness.

Andrea Thorson:

andriathor-01-jmHere is a great piece by our student reporter for the Renegade Rip, Joshua Fisher, featuring Professor Andrea Thorson.  Here is an excerpt:

Thorson feels that she teaches as more than just a career, she says it is a lifestyle. Classes to her are like sub-family communities and everyone’s voice should matter. Embedded inside her is a morally high expectation of her students.

The picture was taken by James Macias for the Renegade Rip article.

Andrea represents the talent and commitment to students of BC faculty and staff.  We are BC! For more, check out:


A note from Jack Hernandez:

On March 29th, 2017, the second annual Levan Lecture will be given by Juan Felipe Herrera, the current Poet Laureate of the United States.  He has written award-winning poetry and fiction. He has also written nonfiction and children’s books.

Please save this date.

Faculty on a CSU panel

From Facebook.  Reggie Williams, Marcus Duarte-Smith and Dahna Rasmussen.

Reggie Williams on CSU Panel Oct 2016.jpg

BC Athletics:

Coach Chudy and his staff led the Renegades into Murdock Stadium on the El Camino Campus in Torrence, CA.  After giving up the lead with 39 seconds to play, the Renegades pulled out the victory with a 70-yard 5-play drive and scoring the go ahead touchdown with 3 seconds to spare! Check out http://www.gogades.com/landing/index  to watch the highlights.

With a bye this week, Renegade Football opens National Northern Conference play on Oct. 15th at Moorpark College, 6pm kickoff.

Volleyball opened Western State Conference play with two impressive 3-game sweeps over Glendale on the road Wednesday night  and Santa Monica at home on Friday night. Coach Carl Ferreira has prepared his team through a touch preseason schedule to make a run at the conference championship.

Women’s Golf Team led by Coach Brittney Goehring placed third as a team at Western State Conference Match #5 on the San Dimas Golf Course.  The Renegades were led by Janette Chhuon Chan with a round of 77, while Brandi Borjon turned in an 86 to finish second on the team.



Mackenzie Hernandez

Sophomore, volleyball, setter

Had a strong all-around match with 30 assists, 15 digs and four blocks last week to lead the Renegades to a 20-25, 25-14, 25-18, 23-25, 15-9 win over Moorpark, the same team that beat the Renegades 3-0 one week earlier. The Bakersfield High graduate leads BC in assists (332) and aces (24), and is second in digs

(125), third in blocks (18) and fourth in kills (83).



Sophomore, football, wide receiver Derrick Vickers

Caught eight passes for 205 yards and a touchdown while adding two rushing touchdowns. His 53-yard reception with six seconds to play set up his own game-winning 1-yard TD run to beat El Camino 42-38. Vickers, named the National Northern League’s Player of the Week for special teams and all-purpose, has a state-leading 11 touchdowns to help BC to a 4-1 start.

Mark your calendars:

October 21, 2016: BC Choir’s Fall concert.

October 22, 2016: Join us for Homecoming.  This year we are going big!

December 17, 2016: BC Choir along with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra will perform a Holiday Concert at the Fox Theater.

March 29, 2017: Levan Lecture



That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Launching Fall 2016 to Build A Better BC!

Good morning Bakersfield.  Today is Saturday, August 20th, the day after my grandmother Hilda Sparrow’s b’day and two days after BC’s Opening Day.  Hilda Sparrow, Nana as I called her, was born in 1908 — that would make her a 5-year-old in 1913 when leaders here is Bakersfield launched the first community college in Kern County, Bakersfield College.  Last night when mom and I were out for our evening walk, rather late yesterday because of going to the new release of the 1959 epic movie Ben Hur, we enjoyed the fabulous moon and talked about Hilda Sparrow. Nana, this blog is for you!

Back to Ben-Hur, the music done by Hungarian composer and pianist Miklós Rózsa is just wonderful.  Here it is on Youtube.  See if you enjoy it as much as I do.



Opening Day 2016

Indoor theater aug 18 2016.jpg

It’s been an eventful, exciting, and super-hot Bakersfield summer leading up to one of my favorite times of the year – Fall.   And this week at BC, we gathered to celebrate Opening Day kicking off our monumental fall semester of 2016.

Our faculty, staff, and administration look forward to seeing the halls filled with students and our campus brimming with activity. Our campus comes alive when the students are present – after all, they are the center and the inspiration for all we do.


Chef Eric Sabella and his team prepared a bountiful, delicious, and healthy lunch of fresh salads and a selection of different wraps. It’s always a treat when we gather together as the whole BC staff to enjoy lunch (or any kind of food, really) together.

In a special way, I’d like to recognize folks who spent the last several weeks preparing for opening day.


Our fantastic team of ushers –  Chris Glaser (lead) –  Somaly Boles – June Charles
Heather Barajas – Isbael Casteneda – Bernadette Martinez – Jacki O’Bannon Strong
Felicia Scott – our wonderful students

Contributors to the content of the program – Kate Pluta – Nan Gomez-Heitzberg – Zav Dadabhoy –  Bill Potter – Lesley Bonds –  Steve Waller –  Nicky Damania

The M&O team – Ramon Puga – Rachell Morehouse – Jason Brown

Our video, media and technical team – Manuel De La Santos –  Kristin Rabe – Kevin Ganger

Our graphics and printing – Dylan Wang

My creative writing partner – Monika Scott

And the two women who are complete rockstars – Shannon Musser and Jennifer Marden

 The program followed lunch and almost every seat in the Indoor Theater was filled. The sea of familiar faces and red Renegade pride gets me every time. It’s an incredible sight to see and I hope you’ll check out some of the photos if you couldn’t be there in person.

Our BCSGA President, Matthew Frazer took the stage introducing himself and welcoming everyone to the celebration. He spoke as a true leader of our next generation:

IMG_6313Knowing how my life has been impacted, I felt a calling to serve for the greater good. Last spring, impacted me in two life altering ways that I am grateful for… finally be wedded to my girlfriend of three years, and to announce my candidacy for BCSGA President.  I am happy to report I survived both this summer, so far. I’m still married and expecting, and I am standing before you as the 2016-2017 Bakersfield College Student Government Association (BCSGA) President. I am Matthew Frazer.

This year, my goal is for us to be more visible and vocal on campus. We hope to achieve this goal by hosting an array of events all year long and by doing so we wish to inspire others to be just as equally impactful.”

I can’t wait to see what our incredible student body has in store this year – it is a great time to be a Renegade.

This fall, we will see the great work of our excellent departments come to life. Enrollment is booming, students are excelling, and we have our first set of history making juniors in the industrial automation baccalaureate program at BC!

As of today, Saturday August 20th, there are exactly 80 days till our community decides on the investment and outcome of Measure J so it was fitting that during Opening Day, we revisited the innovative history and evolution of BC’s ground breaking past.  Together let’s build…A Better BC.  We will have the State of the College posted next week.

Our story began in 1913 and took a gigantic leap in the 50’s as we claimed a campus of our own, moving to Panorama Drive. Today, 50 years later, we continue to dream big because BC’s tale isn’t over. Our campus gives life to the endless opportunities for future generations and along with our students. We’re writing the next chapter and it’s up to us to direct the story.

Here is the conclusion from the State of the College:

We live in an era of viral soundbites and tweets rather than one of comprehensive and detailed discussion. But let us not be reluctant to tell our story, openly and honestly; boldly in all its detail; and in all its glory.

Let’s joyfully shout out the BC story from the roof tops for the next 82 days and beyond.

Let us use Twitter….Facebook… Instagram and Snapchat.

Can we get 82 pieces of writing in the community voices section of the Californian? Every day from now until November 8th. We are BC and we are a Jewel of Kern County.

 We will continue to balance bold new directions with elegance and poise. We will continue to encourage punctual completion with gentle compassion and strong support. We see the face, heart, and brilliant mind of each individual student in the crowd of thousands and our mission is as important as it’s ever been.

I’m proud to say the state of Bakersfield College has never been stronger

Just like in 1913 – Just like in the 50s –

Now, in 2016, we stand together to write the next chapter of BC’s story….

Together, let’s build…A Better BC

WE are BC!

We had great presenters during the 4-hour plenary including the stretch breaks to support our Wellness core value.  Here are some pictures:


Our day continued with presentations by employee groups and a community panel. Thank you to Mike Turnipseed, Olivia Garcia, Karen Goh, and JP Lake – your words, voice, and wisdom will resonate with us this fall semester. Thank you for your involvement and for being a voice of the community!

Community Panel Opening Day Aug 18 2016


Community Panel 2We welcomed all the new faculty to our roster and concluded our indoor presentation with faculty awards and recognition. Congratulations to Shirley Trembley Distinguished Teaching Award recipient, Kenward Vaughn, Margaret Levinson Faculty Leadership Award recipient, Jennifer Johnson, and recipient of this year’s Norm Levan Faculty Colloquium, Anna Poetker.

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What makes this year one for the history books, besides our record setting enrollments and student success accomplishments, is our upcoming date of November 8th.  But what makes this year one that I’m so proud to be a part of right now – right here – today, and in the present – is the fantastic people who make up Bakersfield College. Your energy, your smiles, your laughter, your involvement in our Opening Day stretch breaks, your willingness to stand and be recognized makes a lasting impact on me – and encourages me as President of BC each and every day.  Thank you colleagues.  We Are BC!


 New Student Convocation

What an amazingly spirited experience, right after Opening Day on Thursday night introducing new student Renegades and their families to the BC community!

As soon as students walked towards the Outdoor Theatre they were greeted by the Bakersfield College Student Government Association, received welcome packets and enjoyed food and refreshments before the start of the event.


Chef Eric Sabella and the food services team are just phenomenal!

Chef Eric kicked off the ceremonies with a wonderfully delicious chili & cornbread meal with the perfect blend of spices. His team set the stage for the evening of excellence as the cheerleaders, faculty, and staff paraded down the stairs with the accompaniment of the BC Drumline, in celebration and commitment to the incoming freshmen.

The BC Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Jennifer Garrett, performed a breathtaking piece by Scott Farthing entitled “Come Travel with Me.” With references to Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road”, the piece encourages the young spirit to explore the journey of life. Jen, you are the best!

Our drumline and cheer leaders were just awesome!  Prof Becky Whitson was in great form….loved her energy and style.  And she did not lose it when she was introduced as a sociology faculty rather than a psychology faculty 🙂  And thank you Tom Moran for these wonderful photos!

cheerleaders aug 18 2016.jpg

Renegade students, their families, faculty, staff, and administration all joined in taking oaths to support the incoming student renegades in their commitment to academic success as we all join together to make BC a better place of higher learning.


Student Life Director Nicky Damania was very busy putting on such a wonderful event.

In talking with the students and their families at the event, I met a family that traveled a few hours to meet the staff, faculty, and students. They have an incoming freshman starting on Monday that was not able to attend the event; however, they wanted to meet the school community that would help cultivate their son’s educational experience. They expressed comfort in knowing that the entire campus community is invested in the success of their son. Even though he will have to leave home to pursue his academic goals, they are confident that he will be looked after and supported. That is the core of our work!

I want to thank CJ for teaching me how to sign We Are BC and Nan for prompting it.

Was very proud of all the Convocation Speakers — Steven Holmes, Academic Senate President; Mathew Frazer, SGA President; Manny Mourtzanos, Dean of Instruction; Corny Rodriguez, Dean of Instruction; Chief Chris Counts, Director of Public Safety. And of course the emcee for the evening.  The fabulous Nicky Damania.

Sonya_CaraThis shows how the faculty and staff  are important in helping our students excel at BC and in life and demonstrating what it means to be student and what it means to be a Renegade. Thank you everyone who showed up for this event, even in the heat, and helping make this tradition a meaningful experience for our students.

I also got a chance to take a selfie our student Cara Jackson, who does fabulous work taking photos for my blog! I’m so glad to share a photo of the young woman behind the camera with all of you.

Matthew Garrett’s Making Lamanites

MakingLamanites.pngI’m excited to share that Matthew Garrett’s award winning book Making Lamanites will be released next month. It is the winner of the Juanita Brooks Prize in Mormon Studies for it “traces student experiences within contested cultural landscapes to reveal how and why many of these Native youth adopted a notion of Indianness.”

Donald L. Fixico from Arizona State University says, “Using historical themes of colonization, assimilation, and identity, Matthew Garrett presents an extraordinary revelation of indigenous resilience among 50,000 native students during the second half of the twentieth century. This brilliant exposé advances our understanding of Indian-white relations and it is truly an award-winning book!”

How lucky are we to have such dedicated, interesting, and accomplished professors like Matthew Garrett at BC. Make sure to keep an eye out for details on where you can get this book! We Are BC!


International Students

Welcoming  F-1 visa students to our college and community is not a new concept; in fact, the arrival  of international students at Bakersfield College has been since the 1970’s, upon the arrival of Filipinos and Cambodians to Kern County.

International students are a vital part of our campus and community. Their attendance at our colleges bring diversity and enrich the college experience for our domestic students who may not otherwise have a chance to travel abroad or experience other cultures.  International students expose both the student body as well as the faculty and staff to different cultures and ideas.

Since 2013, there has been an approximate 30% increase in the enrollment of F-1 visa studentsIMG_7873 every year.  In fact, in Spring 2016, 88 F-1 Visa students representing 26 different countries, joined Bakersfield College. Students from Saudi Arabia are the largest group at 30%; the other 70% come from India, Mexico, Vietnam, Yemen, and Nigeria.

An increase in the number of international students can boost our local economies, create a worldly and diverse student population, and prepare our future generations for a globalized workplace. All international students pay for their American education with personal or family funds.

Thank you Shohreh Rahman for leading this work for the college.

Share Memories:

Loy Salada’s post on the Ice Bucket Challenge from two years ago just popped up on Facebook.  So fun!  Here it is


sonya virginia 2015 cropped


That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday…..

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  


The luckiest and happiest college president

Social Science Department Pioneers Wide-Ranging, Award-Worthy Work

Prof. J. Stratton

Jason Stratton, Department Chair

I was collecting blurbs to showcase leadership and engagement of our faculty and staff for opening day and I received a fabulous zip file from Jason Stratton via Paul Beckworth on the happenings in Social Science.

Let’s sit back and enjoy our faculty colleagues in the Social Science department.

The Social Science Department has been, is currently, and will continue to work diligently to make Bakersfield College and the community around it a place for student growth.  This growth is fostered through individual faculty members’ publication of academic works, by contribution in the shared governance process, by support of student activities as an advisor/mentor/or chaperone, through involvement in social outreach to the communities we serve, through developing cultural activities/experiences and either bringing them to campus or leading field trips that allow the students to participate in this type of growth.

Prof. Randal Beeman first walk

Randy Beeman

Faculty members take leadership roles and are engaged with work on committees to make the college a stronger institution, they work on committees to recruit the ‘right’ candidate to join our family, they work on committees to improve instruction on campus, and they participate in regional or statewide initiatives to improve education for all students in higher education. They work with the media to help explain current developments and their works serve as source materials in documentaries.

Here is a sample of our achievements and activities in Social Science.  It is not a comprehensive list:

Prof. Randy Beeman has spent considerable time in composing a series of articles and books within agricultural history, with such a strong focus on the Agricultural Labor Movement that Carlos Santana’s daughter (and himself) used some of the data in a film project they are working on that is centered on Dolores Huerta.

In addition, discussions have begun either to digitize his collected works for UC Merced, or to house them as the Beeman Agricultural Labor Collection within CSUB’s special collections area.

Prof. Oliver Rodriguez

Prof. Oliver Rosales has been similarly busy in his time here at Bakersfield College. At this October’s Western History Association Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon, he is participating as a panelist on Borderlands History. Earlier this month, he organized a panel presentation on the historical legacies of the Latino Civil Rights Movement, which was held at the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association’s Annual Meeting in Sacramento.

Bakersfield College was awarded a Cal Humanities: Community Stories grant for $10,000.00.  This grant will help record & distribute untold stories of Bakersfield multiracial civil rights past.  The grant  partners with CSU Bakersfield Public History Institute and Oral History program.

Bakersfield College was awarded a Latino Americans: 500 years of History!  grant for $10,000.00.  This grant is funded by the American Library Association & National Endowment for the Humanities.  The grant funds the screening of the new PBS Latino Americans documentary and a host of public programming events associated with film screenings.  Bakersfield College will host as a first event a “Delano Grape Strike symposium” event on Thursday, Sept. 24 in partnership with CSU Bakersfield.

Erin Miller

Erin Miller

Prof. Erin Miller has been very engaged on campus through her contributions in the Women’s History events and in bringing recipient of the AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award and Chico State University graduate student Ms. Taylor Herren to BC last March to serve as the final speaker in the Women’s History Month activities.  Ms. Herren was instrumental in the CSU system adopting a sustainability policy, and she gave a presentation that focused upon female leadership in academia and the sciences.

Prof. Miller’s contributions to our college via her participation in the Habits of the Mind program have had a significant impact in improving our students’ abilities. Prof. Miller has many other activities as well, and they tend to be similarly focused upon enhancing our students’ lives and opportunities.

Prof. Matthew Garrett (the FIRST Professor Garrett on campus!) has worked well with other constituents of our college to enhance our student’s lives, both intellectually and culturally.

Matthew Garrett

Matthew Garrett

Prof. Garrett represented and was point person for the History Department as he collaborated with SGA and the Performing Arts Department to help organize the Frederick Douglass event in the Spring 2015 semester, a cultural event that brought history to life for our students. Thank you to ALL parties involved!

He assisted (amongst many others) with Dept. Chair Kimberly Bligh’s Summer Bridge program. As if his commitment to enabling student growth was not enough, his book manuscript earned the Juanita Brooks Prize this summer.

In addition to his consistent work to enhance student understanding and abilities, Prof. Christian Parker took the time this summer to try to contextualize national events for a local television station. You can see the story, which includes clips from his interview, here.

Whether it be traveling the length of the state as part of their role as Academic Senate President like Prof. Steven Holmes, traveling to various conferences for the final stages of the ‘Give a Student a Compass’ program with the CSU system and the new 3CSN movement focused on Threshold Concepts and Wicked Problems, leading students on field trips to cultural sites such as the Getty Museum like Prof. Daymon Johnson, working with the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society on campus like Prof. Charles Kim, or other student organizations, the Bakersfield College Social Science Department has consistently demonstrated a willingness to go that extra step to make education better for our college.

Our Social Science faculty colleagues rock! We ARE… B.C.!