Tag Archives: Mayor Harvey Hall

Busy Between Semesters at BC!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, December 16th, 2017 and a great day to be a Renegade.

The fall academic semester was over the previous week, students have started their holiday break, but the activities on campus continue.  The only indication that we are during break are the parking lots.  There are a lot of spaces …..

Congratulations to our 26th graduating class of Paramedics!

Bakersfield College first began to explore the need for a paramedic program in the spring of 2003.  This discussion was based on a looming change in California law and the inability of the local paramedic school at that time to meet those requirements.


After discussions with stakeholders in the summer of 2003 (County ambulance providers, Kern County EMS Agency, local hospitals, Emergency Room Medical Directors and college administrators), it was decided the college would explore the feasibility of offering a Paramedic Program.  In the summer of 2003, the Bakersfield College Director of Nursing/EMT programs conducted discussions with ambulance employees and administered a community of interest survey.  The results of the survey indicated approximately 90% of the respondents indicated they would be interested in enrolling in a Paramedic Program.  They also indicated they would be available to attend class full time if there was employer support.


Dean Rich McCrow, Director Tim Capehart with the graduating class

With the assistance and continued assistance of Hall Ambulance Service (thank you Mayor Harvey Hall!), Bakersfield College developed the curriculum, program policies and procedures, recruited personnel and gathered the necessary resources and equipment to implement the Bakersfield College Paramedic Program in January of 2004, and completed the CoAEMSP/CAAHEP requirements in 2006.  In 2014 the paramedic program began an effort to move from a non-credit program to a credit/degree granting program.  That goal was accomplished and in the fall of 2017 the college enrolled their first credit/degree granting program cohort.


This group of 13 graduates is the 26th class to graduate from the Bakersfield College Paramedic Program, and the first to complete the credit granting 3-semester program.  With the addition of these graduates the Bakersfield College Paramedic Program will have trained just over 300 paramedics.


CTE Partnership with FIELD

Nora Dominguez, Sonya Christian, Stephen Schoonmaker, Jenny Zorn Dec 14 2017

Nora Dominguez, Sonya Christian, Stephen Schoonmaker, Jenny Zorn

On Thursday morning I was honored to be a part of an event for the new CTE initiative announced by the FIELD Institute. California Community Colleges play a critical role in lifting the state’s economy, creating the workforce of the future, closing achievement gaps, and providing educational access to all. Jobs requiring only a high school education are becoming more rare, which drives an increasing need for postsecondary education and a degree as the passport to family sustaining wages, and steady employment.

For the past 104 years, Bakersfield College has provided a direct pipeline for the Bakersfield community to reach their goals through quality education and career-based training programs that provide the skills needed to be successful.

Speaking at FIELD

Programs such as FIELD Institute’s EPIC (Escuela Popular Instituto Campesino) promote college-bound thinking and behavior which ripple through the  community for generations – making a positive impact for years to come.

The FIELD grant work will empower our students, provide important opportunities, and increase educational access for many who are socioeconomically disadvantaged and underserved. Students will be placed into CTE pathways with the structure and support to be successful.

Thank you David Villarino for your leadership in pulling together this consortium of colleges and universities. You have been always been committed to providing opportunity and family-wage jobs for the most underserved populations.


It was great reconnecting with Dr. Stephen Schoomaker, a colleague from Oregon who has now moved to California as President of College of Siskiyous.  And it is always fun seeing Nora Dominguez.  Thank you Nora for helping BC with Measure J.

Thank you to the BC team who came out to support the event.  Dean Corny Rodriguez, Dean Cindy Collier, Director of CTE Tony Cordova.  I wish we had snapped a picture.

Clergy Breakfast

Steve Watkin and members of our African-American faculty affinity group hosted a congregation of black church leaders to have breakfast and talk about Bakersfield College’s outreach and student success initiatives for African American students on Wednesday morning in the Fireside Room. Steve shared his progress with increasing African-American enrollment on campus, highlighting the work that the Outreach department and our counselors and educational advisors do to create a welcoming atmosphere for our African-American student body while keeping the standards and expectations for those students high.



Steve Watkin and Julian West

Steve then introduced Julian West, who outlined the work he’s doing to keep students informed of financial aid and on-campus resources students have access to. Steve also introduced the audience to our African American Mentorship Program (AAMP), which hosts inspirational speakers to provide students with examples of black leadership and “real-talk” discussions that provide students with information to succeed, and to dispel toxic ideas about black identity and masculinity.


Bre Parks

Student speaker Bre Parks concluded the presentation with her story about her experience in our ASTEP Umoja Community, and her pursuit of a degree in Communication on the way to becoming a Supplemental Instruction leader and one of our best and brightest student workers on campus. She credits Steve Watkin and the African-American leadership here at BC with helping her deal with her social anxiety, and become a more confident, empowered person ready to graduate next spring and accomplish her dreams after graduation.


Wednesday’s breakfast was an awesome opportunity to share BC’s educational programs with a group of important leaders in our community. I’d like to thank Steve and everyone who helped put the event together and our Food Services department for cooking another great breakfast, and I’m looking forward to establishing greater partnerships with our faith leaders in the future.



Monthly Administrative Council


December 2017 Admin CouncilThe Bakersfield College Administrative Council is a consultative group of administrators and managers. This week Admin Council met for its last time in 2017 to hear presentations from various campus groups and project leads. We heard from Manny Mourtzanos, Kim Nickell, and Kristin Rabe on the Program Review Committee about how the program review process has improved and grown over the past couple of years; Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services, Don Chrusciel shared the Closing the Loop, Mid-year report document; and there were smiles, laughter, and even tears in the room as Chelsea Esquibias, Director of the Bakersfield College Inmate Scholars Program, shared the transformational power of what this program does for inmates.



Chelsea sharing the Inmate Scholars Program update



Stanford University Visit

Chelsea Esquibias was also invited by the The Opportunity Institute and Renewing Communities to present on Inmate Scholars Program, share student’s stories, and speak about the program’s future plans at the Stanford University School of Law.  Attendees were funders contributing to the initiative including the Ford Foundation and the Educational Credit Management Corporation.  They recognized that the program has grown in its first two years to be the largest face-to-face college program with over 2,400 enrollments.  The program operates in eight prisons (soon to be 10) and the local County Jail.  Students in the program have achieved some of the highest success rates at Bakersfield College as the students have achieved above-average grades and pass rates, with over 95% of the students taking transfer-level courses.

The initiative to provide for college in prison is supported by numerous funders. Achievement of an Associate Degree for Transfer while in prison allows students to exit the justice system ready for employment and creates opportunities for them achieve success in our community.  Recidivism (returning to prison) is dramatically reduced with an education and creates a college-going culture in the home.  Students in the program are highlighted throughout the prison system, and problematic issues in the prisons have also reduced since the implementation of college on-site.

Thank you to all of the funding partners and Stanford University, School of Law for providing us the opportunity to educate inmates returning to our community.

Stanford School of Law

Photographed from left to right: Debbie Mukamal, Executive Director of Stanford Criminal Justice Center; Danny Murillo, Co-founder of the Underground Scholars at UC Berkeley; Chelsea Esquibias, Program Director of the Inmate Scholars Program at BC; Rebecca Silbert, Director of Renewing Communities Initiative; Douglas Wood, Program Officer at Ford Foundation.

IMG_1333 (003)Industrial Automation Advisory Committee

On Friday, December 8th, BC’s Baccalaureate Degree, Industrial Automation Advisory Committee met to discuss the curriculum in detail and to get feedback on a proposed additional robotics course. Marketing and high school pathways were also highlighted.

Thank you to all who attended including, Nathan Bender, Jonahan Geersen, Samuel Gomez, Ron K’Miller, Steven Mears, Brian Miller, Blair Pruett, Dick Taylor, and Beth Vaughn. 

BC Faculty included, Roy Allard, Sean Caras, Guanghsu Chang, Tony Cordova, Jason Dixon, Manny Fernandez, Cathie Jones, Klint Rigby, Liz Rozell, Tom Rush, Mary Webb and Martin Perez.

Industrial Automation Dec 8 2017 Advisory Committee Meeting


Industrial Automation Advisory Committee Meeting

Advisory Committee meeting Industrial Automation Dec 8 2017

Office of Institutional Effectiveness

BC’s OIE (Office of Institutional Effectiveness) hosted a half-day retreat on Wednesday with goal setting, reviewing the core values of the college, and bringing the department closer together. We’ve recently added to the team and I was happy to join them for a session of the importance of institutional research.


David Buitron, Lori Ortiz, Karen Snow, Alma Livingston, Nicole Griffin, Sonya Christian, and Craig Hayward

The group learned about some new data software, reviewed updates to existing programs, and closed out the afternoon with teambuilding at a local escape room. Karen Snow told me, “ It really did force us to work as a team and we learned everyone’s particular skills… Like Lori was our MVP because she found so many clues, Alma is quickest at deciphering patterns. I’m good at spinning combination locks and guessing them if it’s only three numbers, and Craig is really good at making us pick up all the pieces and rethink everything. David and Nicole were both awesome at inspiring us to keep inquisitive and motivated to continue.”

After the Escape Room

Em’s Sweet Treats

Em and Chef Suzanne

Em and Chef Suzanne

In 2011, Emily Aldritt began Em’s Treat’em Sweet. The goal was simple – to prepare, package and sell her family’s favorite holiday sweet treats (Muddy Buddies), and donate 100% of the proceeds to two local charities: The Bakersfield Homeless Center and the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault. Last weekend, Emily and The Bakersfield College Culinary Arts Department worked in The Renegade Room to prepare this year’s sweet treats. You can learn more about Em and her project at http://emstreatemsweet.com/

I’ve also covered this sweet partnership in my blog previously at “Welcoming our students and the community to BC.”


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Maintenance and Operations

While most of our faculty and students are away for the winter break, the Maintenance and Operations department is busy making important renovations to the campus. This break is a particularly busy one for M&O, as they’ve got a myriad of projects on their hands. The Gym and Memorial Stadium is currently closed until January 5th for installation of brand-new goalposts on the football field and removing the turf that covers the runways. All of the carpet in the library is also being replaced from December 18th until the 29th, which has resulted in closures and relocation for the IT offices and Archives. Other projects M&O is working on include replacement of all doors around campus to make them more accessible to people with disabilities, campus-wide storage room clean-up, installing new fencing at the Child Development Center, repairing emergency generators, replacing trees on campus, and landscaping renovations on Haley Street.


Aside from all of the above for this year’s break, every January M&O also performs its usual detailed cleaning of all carpet and hard flooring around campus, replaces light bulbs in classrooms, deep cleans all buildings and certifies all fire extinguishers before the start of the Spring semester. The M&O department has their work cut out for them for 2018, and we’re so fortunate to have an incredible team that works year-round to keep BC beautiful.

Emails Worth Sharing

Olivia and Sonya

Olivia Garcia and Sonya Christian

I often say I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever, and you know that it’s because I’m fortunate to have the best colleagues, the best students, and the best community at BC. I received this note from one of our newest full-time faculty, Olivia Garcia, during Thanksgiving and I’m just now getting around to sharing it. She said,

I wanted to take a moment and personally thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the faculty at Bakersfield College. I have been given a meaningful purpose in life, and that is educating and positively shaping the minds of our students. This purpose has rewarded me many times this semester in the form of my interactions with students or simply seeing them take small steps toward their academic achievements and goals.

I was meeting with a student the other day in my office as she was trying to figure out her major and career options. We went over different ideas before I told her, “Find something you love, and it will never feel like work.” It helped clear a lot of things for her, and I was speaking from the heart, for what I do, I know it is truly a labor of love.

I had another student who told me that, after taking my class, he decided to major in history. He had been out of school for awhile; he spent it in the workforce before deciding it was time to return to school and earn his degree. He emailed me recently to tell me how he had conquered his fear of heavy reading in the research phase, and that it paid off for developing a stronger assignment for our class.

He wrote, “I can’t explain what a major weekend this was for me in that area as I spent the majority of my time reading for this class and loved it! Thank you for the assignments. They are really enriching my start in College.”

Then I had another student post on social media the happiness she felt being a part of the Levan Seminar Book discussion that I co-led with Professor Rosales recently. The goal was to meet and discuss the work of author Gabriel Thompson who wrote “Chasing the Harvest,” which is an oral history collection of those who have been a part of the migrant farm worker experience in central California. We put a call out to students via the BC website and announcements in our classes to be a part of this wonderful project, which was set for 10 students. Surprisingly, we got more than 60 students expressing interest! It was tough to select the final 10, but they turned out to be amazing. The selected students met with me and Prof. Oliver over a span of three sessions, including a day when they had the opportunity to visit and speak with the author.

Her social media post, which I am attaching here, is a selfie of her with the author. It touched my heart, and it reinforced my mission in doing the best I can to serve our students. I could go on and on, but I just wanted to show you how students have enriched my life this past semester, and I wanted to express my gratitude for this opportunity. I have spent two decades as a journalist telling other people’s stories and making a impact there. Now, as a faculty member in history, I get to be a small part of student’s lives — their stories by helping educate and guide them to their full potential. Now that’s a treasured gift to be thankful for this holiday season. 🙂

At the Basketball Game on Dec 9, 2017

Basketball Dec 9 2017.jpg

Denise Canning and Todd Hansen at the game

It was wonderful getting to meet our new custodian Felipe Carrillo

Felipe Carrillo Custodian Dec 9 2017

Our fabulous Cheer Team coach Heather Foss

Heather Foss Dec 9 2017

Stig Jantz is everywhere.  I know he has been secretly cloned.

Stig Jantz with students Dec 9 2017

With our no nonsense, no drama, tireless and hard working Athletic Director, Sandi Taylor

Sandi Taylor and Sonya Christian Dec 9 2017 Basketball

And Coach Paula Dahl is the best.  Did not get a picture of her this time.

Suzanne Galindo

Suzanne GalindoWhile at the District office this week, it was great to see Suzanne Galindo, KCCD’s Executive Assistant to General Counsel, Chris Hine. She shared with me the painting she did of the Renegade Knight and Shield at the Homecoming Paint Night hosted by SGA. I covered this and have a group photo in my blog titled, “Our 60th Homecoming at 1801 Panorama.”

From Social Media

Memories on Facebook

The 1948 Renegade Football Team Poster made an appearance on Facebook in a post on the Kern County of Old Facebook page. This post says this team poster was found by “Pepper” at an Estate Sale and donated to Noriega’s Restaurant in memory of Louie ElizaldeCheck it out here on Facebook!

Thank you Jackie Lau for flagging this for me!

Holiday Potlucks on Campus

Holiday potlucks have been taking place on campus all week long. Here are some fun photos!

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Chamber Singers strike again

Received this video from my friend Arlene Braganza with a note

Select threesome of the BC chamber singers performed at Msgr Craig’s Christmas party this evening

Caley Mayhall, April Gregerson, and Markelle Taylor.

And then there is Neo, Dec 2017

Dec 13 2017 Neo.jpeg

Neo Dec 14 2017

Sonya Christian Dec 11 2017


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever


Our BC family gives to the community!

Have you voted yet? And did you vote Yes on Measure J? #MeasureJ 🙂

I did vote on October 30th, a rainy Sunday morning and then dropped off my ballot at the Post Office.  Here is my proof!


Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, November 5, 2016…..A great day to be a Renegade.

This past week was busy on campus with many events including Vet Fest, the Levan Faculty Colloquim, a special FCDC meeting where faculty positions for next year were presented as well as a quick trip to Orange County to present the work on California Guided Pathways at the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges Fall Plenary.  In addition, the Campaign Head Quarters for Measure J was buzzing with activity as the volunteers were shifting gears to the last lap of this marathon.  Four more days to November 8th!

Here we have Prof. Harlan Hunter volunteering his time to lead a team of volunteers to promote Measure J.

Harlan Hunter and volunteers return after precinct walking Nov 5 2016.jpg


So proud of our faculty, staff and students:

Paula Parks and ASTEP:

BC’s ASTEP Program, under the leadership of Prof. Paula Parka, won first place in the Black365 Knowledge Bowl!  Just phenomenal.

Parks says on Facebook:

My students studied their Black history!!! #umojaconf All the ASTEP Umoja students in attendance cheered our team to victory! They all make me so proud!!


Anna Poetker and the Levan Faculty Colloquim:


Anna Poetker, Susan Pinza

Philosophy professor Dr. Anna Poetker presented her research findings on her work with undocumented students at Bakersfield College at the Norm Levan Faculty Colloquium (the longest running program of the Levan Center). Her talk The Struggles and Success of Undocumented Latino/a College Students on Friday, November 4th was a combination of the theoretical background of the philosophical and psychological foundations of the problems facing  undocumented students, personal stories told to her by her undocumented students, and practical ways we can support our undocumented students.


Nick Strobel emailed me:
She gave us the mental framework of the process undocumented college students go through in forming their own identity—“self authorship”. In some ways it is like the maturing process we all go through as we transition from learning values and identity from our family and society as children and then constructing our own identity as young adults in late high school and early college years. However, the consequences for undocumented students can be much more significant for our undocumented students because they are “sewn with two threads” (as one student put it).
They entered this country as very young children, so their values and background are primarily of the United States with a more distant familial connection to the country they came from, but they are not citizens of the U.S. with all the rights thereof. The undocumented students can face strong negative pressures against going to college from society and even from their own families. As young adults, the undocumented students that Anna shared stories about had gone through the phase of tearing down/blasting away the externally constructed identity  shaped by the society and family and then constructing their own identity internally from within.
There are practical ways we can support these students. It starts with acknowledging them and their special needs as undocumented students, being supportive with even something as simple as a smile and listening ear, and letting them know about the resources and rights given to them through the California Dream Act and DACA for attending college and remaining in the U.S.
Alex Gomez prepared a nice spread of Mexican food for attendees to enjoy after the talk.
For more about what BC is doing to support our undocumented students see https://bcdreamers.wordpress.com and https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/president/project-dream-act .
For more about the Faculty Colloquium series, see https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/levancenter/programs#colloquia. The Faculty Colloquium committee needs nominations from faculty for faculty who have done research on interesting topics and would
be good speakers. Contact Susan Pinza with your suggestions.

Flu Shots


According to the CDC, the “flu season” can begin as early as October and last until May. During these months, the flu viruses circulate at a higher rate and an annual flu vaccine is the best way to reduce chances of catching the flu and spreading it to others. Students and faculty from BC’s Allied Health provided free flu shots to BC students and staff on Tuesday morning at the Collins Conference Center. Way to go BC!

Student Volunteers at Allensworth Park


allensworth_houseEvery year, the volunteer coordinator for the CA State Parks invites BC students to a one-day volunteer event at Allensworth State Historic Park. Not only is this a great way to give back, but students also learn about the amazing Colonel Allensworth State Park, tour of the park, and a chance to talk to park Rangers.

This year, they had two groups since so many students wanted to attend. One group dusted the insides of historic homes and the other painted a historic house. Pictured above are BC students Andrea Moreno, Salvador Murillo, Krista Nolan, Payton Brandon, and Mitchell Switalki with the park ranger.

Alongside these students, many others also volunteered. It’s great to know so many of our students are getting involved, helping out, volunteering, and learning about local history!

Thank you to Erin Miller and Krista Moreland for helping to facilitate these great experiences!

Vet Fest at BC!


Veterans Day is a reminder of the price paid for the liberties we enjoy, but it’s also time to reflect on the burden we all share in ensuring our future generations enjoy those same freedoms. We must never forget that it is the strength of our armed forces that has brought us to this point, and it is the strength that will continue to ensure peace.

leticia-perez-at-vet-fest-2016Between now and Veterans Day on November 11th, people throughout America will gather to remember and give thanks to those who have served in our armed forces. But at Bakersfield College, our veterans are our family… you are our friends, classmates, students, staff, and faculty.  Today we honor you and we thank you for your courage, strength, and soul.

Thank you to all of our speakers and guests, especially Supervisor Leticia Perez for her generosity and her commitment to Bakersfield College and to our student veterans.  Our keynote speaker JR Browning was fabulous. A copy of JR Browning’s speech is available here.

You can see more photos in our online gallery at https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/Vet-fest.

Thank you to KGET for the coverage http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/vet-fest-returns-today-at-bakersfield-college

Check out my blog on last year’s Vet Fest.


The Kern Housing Authority

I attended the fundraising gala put on by the Kern Housing Authority and Norma Rojas-Mora.  This is a great organization that does great things for our community.  Here are a few pictures from the event.

Row 1: Here I am with friends of Measure J and friends of Bakersfield College.  NaTesha Johnson, Nicole Parra and Karen Goh.

Row 2: Selfies with Norma Rojas-Mora and Andrea Navarro a culinary graduate of Bakersfield College.  Andrea is currently working at the Padre and reminder me that she taught me the right way to cut vegetables.


A little something:

When this note from Professor Dave Neville found its way to my desk on Wednesday afternoon with its attached project, I just knew I had to share it with you. It says, “Could you find an appropriate time to return this project that Lesley did as a student for my Spanish 2 class at North High School. I was going through papers that I had saved as prime examples of student work and came across this.”

I should add that Lesley Bonds is our director of Student Success and Equity and she’s a graduate of North High, right here in Bakersfield.


The highly educational story that Lesley wrote as a high school student follows a girl named Rosa who accidentally cut herself while running with a knife. Rosa’s doctor could not save her and her friends and brother were very, very sad. Throughout the rest of the story, Juan decides to educate other children about knife safety and he even takes the steps necessary to make his own kitchen safer for his little boy.  You can see in the end, the child cries because the knife drawer is locked, but grows up to be a strong and healthy young man.

Our professors at BC are great people who go the extra mile to let our students, past and present, know that they care… and that’s only one reason why I love this story. BC is Bakersfield… our staff, faculty, and administration love this community. We are Bakersfield and… We are BC!

Also wanted to do a quick shout out to Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Tracy Hall, deans, and Faculty Chairs and Directors who do a phenomenal job every day making sure we have the classes available to our students and also making sure that our students are successful in those classes.  Here are two pictures from the FCDC meeting on Friday, Nov 4th, where the chairs were presenting their requests for faculty positions.  Thank you Corny Rodriguez for getting me these photos.  And thank you FCDC!

Measure J support continues:

As we continue with the campaign for Measure J (#MeasureJ), I want to thank our volunteers for this week:

October 30: Cynthia Munoz, Maria Wright, Jamal Wright, Steve Waller, Ramona Benavidez, Tom Gelder, Dana Heins-Gelder, Ivan Valdez, Marisa Marquez, and Kaylana Demmin.

October 31: Stephen Waller, Steve Watkin, Emmanuel Mourtzanos, Todd Coston, Michelle Pena, Jennifer Achan, Sandi Taylor, Liz Rozell, Corny Rodriguez, Janet Fulks, Shannon Musser, Nicky Damania, Lesley Bonds, Zav Dadabhoy, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Tom Gelder, Bill Potter, Shanell Tyus, Maria Wright, Sarah Baron, Ivan Valdez, Rob Parsons, David Koeth, Paul Beckworth, Nick Strobel, Loy Salarda, and Laura Longo.

November 1: Jackie Lau, Michelle Pena, Todd Coston, Isabel Stierle, Christine Saldivar, Joe Saldivar, Dena Rhoades, Terri Goldstein, Grace Commiso, Heather Skibinski, Ivan Valadez, Kathy Howarth, Manny Mourtzanos, Zav Dadabhoy, Steve Watkin and Stephen Waller.


November 2: Eileen Pierce, Kaitlyn Kirkland, Alexa Rivera, Chris Cruz, Felicia Scott, Maria Wright, Ivan Valadez, Savannah Andrews, Manuel Muralles, Claudio Felix, Brian Nava, Russel Tetzschner, Randi Tetzschner, Danny Verdugo, Debi Anderson, Raul Leon, Shanell Tyus, Marshall Compton, Loy Salarda, Alberto Munoz, Juan Cillarreal, Cain Perez, Connor Turner, Jorge Reyes, Juan Hernandez, Ashlea Ward, Edwin Bernal, Carlos Melendez, Lokai Borthel, Reese Weltman, Edgeir Morcio, Julia Crayton, Josie Guillen, Carlos Barbaran, Heidi Forsyth, Lori Williams, Jose Chavez, Tom Gelder, Kalina Hill, Jackie Brouillette, Steven Watkin, Chris McCraw, Greg Cluff, Heather Baltis, Araceli Navarro, Bill Kelly, Tracy Lovelace, Janet Thomas, Lindsay Ono, and Steve Waller.



November 3: Yadira Guerrero, Gabriel Torres, Brigid Mady, Josh Shackleford, Tom Gelder, Evette Lara, Jackie Lau, Salvador Gomez, John Means, Steve Waller, Paul Beckworth, Grace Commiso, Cristian Gutierrez, Valerie Robinson, Ivan Valadez, Rob Parsons, Chris Cruz, Shanell Tyus, Manuel Muralles, Kristina Whitmore, Todd Coston, Ashlea Ward, Steven Watkin, Terri Goldstein, Maria Wright, John Means, Matt Frazer, and Lawrence Salardo.



November 4: Todd Coston, Carlos Barbaran, Evette Lara, Matt Frazer, Pedro Ramirez, Keesha Collins, Danyel Owens, Paulette Rodriguez, Peter Rodriguez, Emmanuel Limaco, Nicky Damania, Chris Glaser, Lesley Bonds, Sam Moreno, Heidi Allison, Bob Allison, Shanice Watson, Dalton Jones, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Zav Dadabhoy, and Rob Parsons.



Community Voices in the Bakersfield Californian

The support we have received in recent months for Measure J (#MeasureJ) has been spectacular and we’re on a four day countdown to when our community decides whether to invest in the future of the Kern Community College District, including BC’s campus, infrastructure, our mission, vision, and values.

Here are two Community Voices pieces that were published this last week and one letter to the editor.

November 1, 2016. Measure J will help those working in the field by Professor Oliver Rosales. Check out his piece in the Bakersfield Californian.

Here are a few excerpts:

There are tremendous needs in this community and, conversely, tremendous opportunities for making a real impact on people’s lives. I have always enjoyed challenges. Delano is a challenge for Bakersfield College. That’s why the center was built in the first place: to educate the children of farm workers. It is a campus center in the middle of the fields, surrounded by high levels of poverty, poor health outcomes, and low educational attainment.

BC Delano is also surrounded, though, by fields of dreams. My Delano students are the reason I love going to work every day. They ground me and keep me content, “working in the fields” every day as I jokingly tell my wife…

Rosales concludes:

Measure J expands opportunities to teach students of the field. The Bakersfield College Delano campus has been around for more than four decades, first located on Randolph Street (now the Wonderful Academy) and now located west of Highway 99 next to Robert Kennedy High School. Measure J will expand the BC Delano campus by developing additional physical space for students to study, collaborate with faculty, and learn. It is not far-fetched to say that students at BC Delano literally study in the fields.

Let’s pass Measure J and continue to give them the opportunity to dream big and change their communities for the better for decades to come.


November 2, 2016: The Bakersfield Californian published Measure J supports a long-held community vision  (#Measure J) by Sonya Christian 🙂

Check out the web version at http://tinyurl.com/h2m3f8o.

Here is an excerpt

In the early 1900s, our people had a dream, a shared goal and a vision, to make the Central Valley a place of opportunity and unbelievable growth, and they did it. In 1913, a then-isolated and relatively small community decided to open a college campus that initially served only 13 students. …..

and another excerpt

Today, our generation is at a pivotal point. We are facing a challenge to prepare and provide for the next 50 years of growth and evolving education. In the 1950s, that generation of leaders had the courage and foresight to make the investments that have paved the way for strengthening our community. Now it is up to us; it’s our turn to look forward.

and I conclude with:

Let your name be listed alongside, for your children and grandchildren, who, when they look through the historic archives, will say, yes, my parent or grandparent was one of the leaders who look care of me and our community.

I ask you to vote yes on Measure J.




November 3, 2016. Letter to the Editor. Yes on J: Local Health Care needs Educated Workforce by Gitest Patel.

Gitesh Patel Nov 3 2016.png


david-torres-californian-nov-4-2016November 4, 2016. BC is community’s ears, ears; but what about bones? by David Torres

Check out the full article at  http://tinyurl.com/gsafm5r

Here are a few excerpts:

Every day, I see where our community struggles, but more often, I see where it comes together and succeeds. Often, the nexus of that success emanates from our area’s community college: Bakersfield College.

I am a father of five and four of my children have attended BC. Two of my daughters earned their AA degrees at BC. Another started college their before transferring to CSUB and one is currently attending BC in order to satisfy requirements for entrance into medical school. I am also a veteran, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve. I have seen first-hand the innovative ways that BC interacts with its vets and supports their success. BC means a great deal to me and to our community…..

I see the students of Bakersfield College as the eyes and ears of the institution: they see and hear, they learn. The faculty is the heart of BC.

What about the body, the bones? The infrastructure of BC’s campus overlooking the bluffs is 60 years old and it’s starting to show. Put another way, 21st Century learning can’t happen in mid-century facilities. Just think of the advances in architecture, building construction, disability access, and learning technology that have been introduced in the last 50 years.

Our community’s college is in dire need of replenishment, and the time to provide that is now. Measure J, on the Nov. 8 ballot, is the best, most direct way to provide BC with the badly needed funds to carry this venerable, cherished community institution further into the 21st Century.

I urge you support the many needs of our community and the success of your children and neighbors. Join me in voting yes on Measure J.


Thank you to all who have shared your opinions and voices with the community!

List of endorsements for Measure J:

Over 2000 individuals have endorsed Measure J.

Here are a few

Cathy Abernathy, Cathy Abernathy Consultants
Romeo Agbalog, KCCD Trustee
Joe Aguirre, Former Delano Mayor
Dennis Beebe, KCCD Trustee
Sue Benham, Former Bakersfield City Council Member
Kevin Burton, President, SJCH Foundation
Kyle Carter, Bakersfield Mayoral Candidate/KCCD Trustee
Ricardo Chavez, Delano Mayor
John Corkins, KCCD Trustee
Stephanie Cortez, Porterville Chamber of Commerce CEO/President
David Couch, Kern County Supervisor
Ed Davis, S&E Farms
Robert de la Rosa, Ola Raza Director
Jose Flores, Arvin Mayor
Fran Florez, Shafter City Council Member
Mick Gleason, Kern County Supervisor
Karen Goh, Bakersfield Mayoral Candidate
Doug Greener, Bakersfield Fire Chief
Shannon Grove, California State Assembly Member
Jose Gurrola, Arvin City Council Member
Virginia Gurrola, Porterville Councilwoman
Harvey Hall, Bakersfield Mayor
Cam Hamilton, Porterville Vice Mayor
Harold Hanson, Bakersfield Vice Mayor
Chad Hathaway, Hathaway LLC
Ruben Hill, Delano City Council Member
JP Lake, Rain for Rent
Pauline Larwood, Former KCCD Trustee/
Kern County Supervisor

January Lau, January & Associates
Mike Maggard, Kern County Supervisor
Terry Maxwell, Bakersfield City Council Member
Michelle McLean, Arvin Union School District Superintendent
Kay Meek, KCCD Trustee
Liz Morris, 
Delano City Council Member
Arnold Morrison, DJUHS Board Member
Steve Murray, Murray Family Farms
Chris Parlier, Bakersfield City Council Member
Nicole Parra, Former California State Assembly Member
Ruben Pascual, Delano City Council Member
Leticia Perez, Kern County Supervisor
Christy Porter, Jasmine Cetner Inc.
Leticia Prado, Lamont Water District Member
Fred Prince, Omega Financial & Insurance Services
Janet Rabanal, Delano Chamber of Commerce Director
Rosalina Rivera, Delano Union Elementary School District Superintendent
Willie Rivera, Bakersfield City Council Member
Jazmine Robles, Arvin City Council Membre
Rudy Salas, California State Assembly Member
Mary K. ShellFormer Bakersfield Mayor & County Supervisor
Bob Smith, Bakersfield City Council Member
Mark Storch, KCCD Trustee
Milt Stowe, Porterville Mayor
Jay Tamsi, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President
Rob Taylor, Stafford’s Chocolates
Bill Thomas, Retired U.S. Congressman, KCCD Trustee
Grace Vallejo, Delano City Council Member
Jon Van Boening, Dignity Health
Greg Williamson, Bakersfield Police Department Chief
Keith Wolaridge, Panama Buena Vista Union Trustee
Dr. James Young, Retired KCCD Chancellor
Donny Youngblood, Kern County Sheriff
Milt Younger, Attorney
Mark Zaninovich, Sunview Vineyards

Here are some organizations that have endorsed Measure J:

The Bakersfield Californian
Bakersfield City Firefighters Association
Bakersfield College Alumni Association
Bakersfield Downtown Business Association
Building4SUCCESS Inc
California City Chamber of Commerce
California Teachers Association
Delano Camber of Commerce
Democratic Women of Kern
Dolores Huerta Foundation
Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce
Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council
KCCD California School Employees Association
KCCD Community College Association
KCCD Management Association
Kern Agriculture Foundation
Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce
Kern County Democratic Party
Kern County Farm Bureau
Kern County Firefighters Union
Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Kern County Young Republicans (PAC)
Kern Economic Development Corporation
Kern Taxpayers Association
Latina Leaders of Kern County
Murray Family Farms
Ola Raza
Porterville Democratic Club
RA Johnsfam
Renegade Helmet Club
Sikh Women’s Association of Kern County
Veterans of Foreign Wars District #6
Veterans of Foreign Wars #97
Wendale Davis Foundation

4 more days Bakersfield!

November 8th is an important day – make sure your voice counts. To find your nearest polling location, visit http://elections.co.kern.ca.us/elections/Voterinfo/Address.asp


Here is a video that the Bakersfield College Student Government Association (BCSGA) under the leadership of President Matthew Frazer created to Get Out the Vote!  Check it out.

And let’s make sure we follow the advice of Mayor Harvey Hall and retired Congressman Bill Thomas.



There’s so much to celebrate and it’s a great time to be at BC!



That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Transforming Environments, Transforming Lives

Let’s all be Hiromasa today, tomorrow and the next day — open hearted and going to the right path.  Did that get your attention? Read to the very end for the context!

Good Morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, Sep 10th …..another great day to be a Renegade! … topping off a great week to be a Renegade.

  • It was a great week because I woke up to Nick Strobel‘s smiling face in the Californian today discussing the recently discovered exoplanet at our closest star neighbor.
  • It was a great week because Chairman Bill Thomas, Congressman Bill became Trustee Bill Thomas.  Yes, dear friends, on Thursday Bill Thomas was appointed to the Board to finish out Rick Wright’s term.
  • It was a great week because we had the community come out to the College to watch Mayor Harvey Hall cut the red ribbon to the new Aera STEM Student Success Center.
  • It was a good week because of these two community voices pieces in the Californian

Community Voices piece by Cheryl Scott, VP of Kern EDC


Community Voices piece by retired faculty Randy Beeman.


  • It was the week of opening the doors to the Measure J Campaign Head Quarters on 1675 Chester Avenue.  Thank you Greg Bynum for donating this space to us.
  • It was a week of laughter and tears, exhaustion and exuberance….in other words, life, full, vibrant with all the colors of the palette visible.
  • For me it was also a week of continuing to read poetry from my high school book.  Thanks to a friend who brought poetry back to my life.  Here is an excerpt from my blog two weeks ago. You can find the blog at:https://bcpresidentblog.com/2016/08/27/the-end-of-the-first-week-fall-2016/

Out of the blue, one of my friends this week quoted Rudyard Kipling. “But to stand an’ be still to the Birken’ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew” …a line from Soldier an’ Sailor too.  That got me digging out my poetry book, Panorama, from high school and spending nostalgic evenings reading some of my favorite poems.  I thought about the late and absolutely genius Robin Williams as his role in The Dead Poets Society saying “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry… beauty, romance, love, these… are what we stay alive for.”

This particular blog had the most number of comments as indicated by the data analytics.

Here is Michael O’Doherty’s comment: “Both are great Kipling works but I still like Gunga Din the best.”

Here is Peter Reyes’ comment from Texas: “Hey B C. Greetings from Dallas Texas where I am visiting my daughter and family anticipating – actually counting the hours until the big game: USC vs Alabama …and thinking about the upcoming B C football season. I won’t stay away and will be at no less than 5 Renegade games. B C and the community is awesome..Go Gades Go! PeterRenegade!!”

Here is the most recent of my poetry readings

The Soldier’s Dream
by Thomas Campbell

Our bugles sung truce – for the night-cloud had lowered.
And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky;
And thousands had sunk on the ground, overpowered,
The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die.

When reposing that night on my pallet of straw,
By the wolf-scaring faggot that guarded the slain,
At the dead of the night a sweet vision I saw;
And thrice ere the cock-crow I dreamt it again.

Methought from the battlefield’s dreadful array,
Far, far I had roam’d on a desolate track;
‘Twas autumn – and sunshine arose on the way
To the home of my fathers, that welcomed me back.

I flew to the pleasant fields, traversed so oft
In life’s morning march, when my bosom was young;
I heard my own mountain-goats bleating aloft,
And knew the sweet strain the cornreapers sung.

Then pledged we the wine-cup, and fondly I swore.
From my home and my weeping friends never to part;
My little ones kiss’d me a thousand times o’er,
And my wife sobbed aloud in her fullness of heart.

“Stay – stay with us! – rest! – thou art weary and worn;”
(And fain was their war-broken soldier to stay;)
But sorrow returned with the dawning of morn,
And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.

Saturday, September 3rd:

Many of us headed out to Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria to watch the first Renegade Football game of the season.  Although it was 64 degrees with a breeze, the Renegades were on fire.  Here is my end of the game tweet!


For more information on the game check out the gogades website at http://www.gogades.com/sports/fball/2016-17/releases/20160903xl2eoz

Sunday, September 4th:

The week started with Mother Teresa being canonized saint. Here is the song sung by Usha Uthup at her canonization.  Beautiful!


My cousin Daphne, posted a picture of  my Aunt Dorothy with Mother Teresa.  Aunt Doro was my dad’s oldest sister and we used to call her Mother Teresa for her kindness and gentleness.

aunt-doro-with-mother-theresaYou may know of Mother Teresa as simply a well-known Catholic nun who dedicated her life to humanitarian work, but last Sunday, September 4th, Pope Francis declared this amazing and beloved woman Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Here are two articles in case you missed the news, from KGET  and The New York Times.

Saint Teresa, known as one of our greatest humanitarians of all time largely dedicated her life to serving the people of India – but specifically, the poor, destitute, and dying people. At a young age, she learned piety and compassion from her mother, who always taught her to give to others by saying, “My child, never eat a single mouthful unless you are sharing it with others.”

But, regardless of your creed or beliefs … Saint Mother Teresa’s message was and still is universal today. She demonstrated a life worth living; one of finding deep purpose by serving those in need. She taught the world to embrace the suffering, rather than shun them. Hardships are worldwide and pain is experienced by all people. She taught that we should not compare our pains… but, instead bond and support each other because we can understand each other’s hurt. She taught us that suffering is often intensified by solitude and reaching out in kindness can have a tremendously positive effect. People have abandoned suicides, changed faiths, pursued life goals, and have done incredible things because of small acts of kindness.

Saint Mother Teresa is an inspiration of generosity, persistence, resilience, compassion, and love – love with no boundaries.

Today, Saturday, September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. This week our Bakersfield College Student Health and Wellness has partnered with Kern County Mental Health to continue conversation about the increasing national trend on suicide and offer depression screenings for students. There are so many ways to get involved from practicing self-care, to reaching out and checking on others, caring for friends in need, and getting involved with organizations that help.

Today is an opportunity to open up the conversation about a topic that often is neglected, ignored, and stigmatized in our world. To Write Love on Her Arms is a nonprofit that hopes to share the message that hope and help are real. A blog entry on their website from a few years ago reads, “The more we walk through our struggles in silence, the more we deprive others of the benefit of knowing they are not alone. Knowing the truth about the issues is vital, but we can get it from a textbook or Google in just a moment. Unless it is connected with real people, it lacks the power needed to combat stigma. We have to move beyond an awareness of the issues and become truly aware of each other. Real relationships are the true antidote to the separation that stigma breeds between “healthy” and “sick.” Relationships require us to see the real person who is suffering, struggling, recovering, and healing. They are the place in which we find hope and encouragement to keep fighting, and the place where lies are defeated with truth and compassion. This is the path toward hope and healing—for ourselves and each other—and ultimately, toward a society where stigma, shame, and suicide are struggles of the past.” 

Today, it is my hope that we take some time to learn about the warning signs, talk to friends we may be worried about, take the time to love ourselves, and if needed work towards or accomplish the victory of reaching out for help. Let us not stop at being aware of the issue and really, reach out to support one another.

Tuesday, September 6th:  BC AERA STEM Success Center!

Tuesday morning kicked-off the celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony for BC’s new AERA STEM Success Center. As I begin writing about the event, I can’t help but think back to our press event when we stood inside this empty shell of a building, excited for the future possibilities this transformable learning space could offer.


The celebration included a program of speakers and dignitaries, including Mayor Harvey Hall, trustees Kyle Carter and Romeo Agbalog, and AERA President and CEO, Christina Sistrunk. Thank you AERA for this worthy gift to our college, community, and students. Christina Sistrunk is am amazing leader during very difficult times.  Her calmness, fearlessness, and compassion sets her apart.

Check out KERO’s news clip on the ribbon cutting http://tinyurl.com/go4rmsz

The AERA Success Center by its very name tells a story for the students. It says that we have an industry partner dedicated to education, building a community, and one that is willing to commit its name to support this effort. And as a success center, it tells the students that this is the place to find faculty, peer mentors, advising, resources, and the inspiration they need to succeed. Our goal for this facility and our dream for the whole campus is to give students a home away from home, where learning is the focus and distractions can be set aside.


The space where the Success Center stands today was basically a supply closet for Maintenance and Operations for decades, but it was located in a prime spot—flanked by the Math, Science, Engineering and Industrial Technology buildings, right smack in the middle of the STEM neighborhood. With AERA’s gift and the hard work of our faculty, the Success Center will help reverse Southern Kern County’s double-digit unemployment rates and low attainment rates for higher education by empowering a new generation of non-traditional students to pursue degrees in STEM.


Klint Rogby, Lynn Carithers, Christina Sistrunk, Liz Rozell

As a token of appreciation to AERA, Klint Rigby professor of Industrial Drawing and one of our upper division Industrial Automation faculty for the Baccalaureate degree, designed and built a plaque using a laser cutter and expert woodworking skills. Attendees at the event had the opportunity to sign the letters as a reminder of this momentous day!


At BC, there was a team that came together to work on this project including Dean Liz Rozell, MESA director Connie Gonzales, our STEM faculty and staff, Dean for Math and Science Steve Waller, the facilities department, and our district office. Thank you all for your work and dedication to this project!

I’d also like to thank our STEM students for their interest in this project. Our students are the inspiration for everything we accomplish at Bakersfield College.  Jose Chavez, one of our STEM students and a member of the MESA program supporting diversity in math and engineering, spoke candidly about how the STEM programs at BC were an important part of his educational development. A copy of his speech is available online here. https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/download/17554

tweet-aera-center-opening-sep-7-2016We had a great turnout from the community.  Here are some names I remember after my first cup of coffee this Saturday morning: Richard Chapman, Bob Meadows, Vince Fong, Kristen Barnes, ….. Thank you community for coming out.  Thank you faculty, staff and students for coming out.

I’d also like to thank all the media who came out to support BC and share the exciting new things happening on campus. Check out the article from KGET on the AERA STEM Success Center here. Check out Harold Pierce‘s piece on the event at http://tinyurl.com/hjfgowg.  And here is my tweet on his article 🙂


The work on this project started in March of 2013 under the leadership of Susan Hersberger and CEO Guardie Banister.  Thanks Susan and Guardie for your partnership with BC! Here is a tweet from Guardie after the ribbon cutting.


With the opening of the AERA STEM Success Center at Bakersfield College, we’ll be able to change the lives of more people like Jose, and this facility will be a birthplace of transformation for our entire community. Next time you come to BC or drive by on Mt. Vernon and glance over to BC, the sign that says AERA STEM Success Center will be a reminder that this industry giant believes in the transformational power of education and is willing to generously invest in our community and to the education of future generations.

Getting Connected to Service Learning Community Panel

Our Public Health Science students were also in for a treat this week when community leaders from all around town came to speak and discuss topics in the classroom. Coordinated as part of Professor Sarah Baron’s Public Health Science course PBHS21, the goal was to open the minds of students to the world of public health issues.


Thank you to Annalisa Robles, California Endowment; Mariel Mehdipour, Kern County Public Health Services; Adrienne Buckle, Kern County Mental Health; Shelley Northrop, American Lung Association; Maria Jaime, Kern Family Health Care; and Chris Romo, youth journalist with South Kern Sol.

The course focuses on community wellness and behavioral change, so Professor Baron invited leaders so they could share their role in the community as well as orient the students to providing service projects at these agencies. Topics discussed were methamphetamine use in our community, promoting tobacco free environments, changing people’s health behavior, Building healthy communities and the effects of health inequities – “a zip code shouldn’t determine how long a person lives but it does.  In fact, health has more to do with the place you live than doctor’s visits.  The odds are stacked against low-income communities and communities of color.”

After the event, Professor Sarah Baron received an email from a student saying, “I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed listening to the speakers today. This was a very interesting and informative day for all of us.”


Bill Thomas

btThe big news that hit on Wednesday was that Bill Thomas was being recommended to be the next KCCD trustee. An article detailed this news in the Bakersfield Californian. You can check it out here.

Bill Thomas has roots with Bakersfield College from his time as a BC professor, and understands from experience the benefit of attending community college. After high school, Bill attended Santa Ana Community College before transferring to San Francisco State University, where he earned his bachelors and master’s degrees in political science in 1963 and 1965 respectively. Mr. Thomas has spoken about his appreciation for community colleges and notes that it’s where he got his foundation for higher education. He said, “Too many successful people hide the fact that they started in a junior college and only mention the university they transferred to. I have always been proud of the role community colleges have played in helping thousands of people, like me, who would not have been able to go to college at all without a tuition-free local college. Of course, there are tuitions charged now, but they are a fraction of the costs of four-year schools.”


Do you recognize this little boy to the left?

I love this picture.



It was in 1965 that Bill moved to Bakersfield where he joined the BC Renegade family as a political science professor. In 1974, Bill was elected as California State Assemblyman and in 1978 was elected to Congress representing the 18th Congressional District. Even though he was in Washington, Bill always kept in touch with Bakersfield College and BC and the needs of the college remained on his mind.

bt_planetariumMr. Thomas secured $1 million for the remodeling of the planetarium thru bill HR3061. Here is a picture of Bill at the Planetarium unveiling in November 2006 when it was named in his honor along with his two grandsons.  I was here at BC at the time as a Dean of the STEM area when Nick Strobel and I and many others worked on the proposal for this major Planetarium upgrade. However, I was in Oregon at the completion of the work in 2006.  Also, Nov 2006 was three months after my dad Paul Christian passed away.  It is definitely a time in my life that I have vivid memories.

Bill has done great work not only for our country as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, but for our campus and the city of Bakersfield as well. We continue to see and look forward to the improvements brought on by the Thomas Roads Improvement Project and have the terminal at Meadows Field airport that shares his name. Bill, just simply …thank you!

babyThere’s a new baby Renegade in Bakersfield

It’s my joy to announce that we have a new baby Renegade as part of the BC family. Foreign Language faculty, Tom Moran forwarded an email to me earlier this week from Foreign Language adjunct, Yuki Takeuchi announcing the birth of her baby boy.

The email read, “Thank you all for being very supportive for my pregnancy. I would like to announce that my baby boy, Hiromasa Henry Chan, came to this world in the morning of September 4, just one day before due date. Hiromasa means “open hearted and going to the right path” and Henry came from my husband’s childhood English name.  He is big!! 7 lb 11 oz, 19.5 inches.”

I know that all of BC is overjoyed that both baby Hiromasa Henry Chan and Mom are healthy and doing well. I just love his name and the meaning behind it. Rest well and enjoy your time together. We can’t wait to see you both on campus!

Dual Enrollment Changing Lives

cchs-asbCatching up on my inbox this week brought a few more pictures from last week’s Renegade Signing events. Make sure you read last weeks blog to catch all the great info about these events.

Besides the pics, Gusatavo Enriquez recounted his favorite highlight of the events. He says, “The highlight of my night… When we told the students ‘you are a college student and welcome to the BC family’ a parent turned around and hugged her daughter with teary but very proud eyes.”  We are BC! And our students are the inspiration for all we do.


IBM Watson at the US Open

I have been watching the promotion of IBM Watson at the US Tennis Open that will be culminating tomorrow. An article titled, “Watson Makes its Debut in the U.S. Open Mobile App, Making Tennis Fans Smarter Than Ever” really peaked my interest. Artificial intelligence is evolving exponentially every day—self-driving cars are only a few years away from becoming a consumer reality, digital personal assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana get smarter with each information request, and Google designed an AI that was able to beat a Korean grandmaster at the ancient, extremely complex board game Go.

But for the first time this year, attendees at the US Open tennis tournament in Queens, New York are able to utilize the power of a supercomputer for unprecedented access to information. The US Open’s companion mobile app Guest Services is integrated with IBM Watson, a question-answering system capable of interpreting natural, conversational language. Originally designed to beat game show contestants at Jeopardy!, Watson is serving as a digital concierge for the US Open, providing audience members at Flushing Meadows with information about transportation, on-site facilities, nearby food-and-drink options and more, as well as updated, moment-to-moment statistics and advanced analytics data about every match on the court.

As artificial super-intelligences like IBM Watson become a reality and part of everyday life, human civilization will change in ways we can’t possibly conceive. On the threshold of the technological singularity, I suspect there will always be the desire to watch a few sets Grand Slam tennis.  Now, how will Watson impact education of the future!

In conclusion let’s all be Hiromasa today, tomorrow and the next day — open hearted and going to the right path”




That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  


Building A Better BC

At approximately 1:45 p.m. on July 14, 2016 the KCCD Board of Trustees unanimously voted to have a $503 M bond measure on the November ballot. A historic moment!

Board Meeting July 14 2016

The next day, Friday, July 15th, Bakersfield woke up to an amazing coverage of this decision on TV and in The Bakersfield Californian.

Enjoy the two pieces in the Californian — An article by Harold Pierce on page 2 and an endorsement opinion piece by Mayor Harvey Hall.

You can read Harold Pierce‘s article  here: http://tinyurl.com/zu6r7l6


I also want to  thank Mayor Harvey Hall, for his endorsement of the bond measure published here http://tinyurl.com/hdvx7b4


Mayor Hall also spoke in support of the bond at Thursday’s meeting. In his speech, he strongly encouraged the KCCD Board of Trustees to “Dream big for future students” and “be bold in our decisions.”  

One moment in his speech that stood out to me was when he requested that Board members pause to think about the number of lives that have been changed because of attending Bakersfield College… And again to think about the number of families who have been impacted because someone in that family earned a degree or certificate at BC. He said, “Bakersfield College IS a return on investment!”

Following Mayor Harvey Hall, BC Student Government Association President Matthew Frazer took the stand.


Matthew Frazer addresses the Board of Trustees – and a packed crowd of BC supporters!

He opened by sharing memories and experiences he’s had “…growing up in a city where everyone can call Bakersfield College home.”

He made almost everyone in the room smile or chuckle when he spoke of our campus by saying…  “The 1950s look is simply not cutting it for me anymore.”

Wesley Lyons, one of our student veterans, also shared his thoughts.


Wesley Lyons returns to his seat after his speech.

A statistic some of you may have heard, is that 22 veterans commit suicide per day. Their suicides are damaging to our community and opened my eyes that we need more direct services dedicated to these brothers and sisters. And while the campus community can help to Band-Aid it together, there are still lingering effects. The new Veteran Recourse Center will have a larger dedicated space for Veterans to come together to share, support, and most importantly to decompress. The space will also have dedicated tutors for soldiers who have not been dedicated learners in four plus years, and increased administrative support such as additional advisors to cope with an increasing demand for veteran specific knowledge. As a veteran I can tell you, that sometimes I need to know there is a space I can rely on that will help me calm my nerves and where like-minded support will be there for me to relate to.”

The room was packed and the message was clear: Dream Big – our future and the future of the students who attend BC depend on it. The support thus far has been overwhelming and the excitement bursts around us.

BC’s Bond Blue Ribbon Committee came out in full force to support the Board in taking this action.  I was sitting up front, so could not see everyone who was in the packed room.  So let me mention a few: Mayor Harvey Hall, Congressman Bill Thomas, Norma Rojas-Mora, Jay Rosenlieb, Karen Thompson, Michael Bowers, Jay Tamsi, Keith Wolaridge, Michael O’Doherty, Michael Turnipseed and others.

Arvin was present and attendees distributed shirts that said #BCinArvin and many supporters put them on instantly. City Manager Al Noyola addressed the Board along with Jennifer Wood the Director of Building Healthy Communities.  City Council Member Jose Gurrola, an alum of BC, was also present.

You can see more photos online at http://tinyurl.com/z2n6cj3




Last weekend, I shared a bit about a recent visit to Shafter, but today I’d like to explore our neighbor to the southeast, Arvin – and the good things happening there with BC.

Arvin is a beautiful city with a long history of crops, cattle, and oil. Located about 15 miles to the southeast, this Garden in the Sun was named after a land owner’s son from Ohio named Arvin Richardson. The city is frammed by mountains along three sides and surrounded by fertile farmlands so it’s not surprising this small town boomed throughout the decades into a major center of agriculture.

Many families relocated to Arvin during the dust bowl period or “the dirty thirties,” including Dr. Jim Young’s family. Arvin has been his home ever since, even commuting daily to Bakersfield during his time at the KHSD AND KCCD. It was mentioned in an article on Bakersfield.com that he “loved making the drive each morning and afternoon” until his retirement in 1999.  (http://tinyurl.com/zb3coc3)

bc_pres_arvinLike cities across Kern County, Arvin is growing and so are the educational needs of the city. BC first offered 6-8 courses at Arvin High School in 2010-11 increasing the number of courses to 23 by 2014-15. We began implementing 1+1+2 Game Changer this year resulting in an even further increasing number of courses for fall 2016. (Take a moment to check out my August 5, 2015 blog about the Game Changer program http://tinyurl.com/hkm2p6y. A big thank you to Michael Turnipseed and Supervisor Leticia Perez for making this happen.)  With limited space at the current Arvin High School location, BC is investigating alternative facilities to offer classes and services for the rising Arvin student body.

This plan has great urgency as we discovered Arvin High School is preparing for a 16% increase in freshman this fall. This makes AHS the second largest school in the KCCD service area. Arvin and Lamont are among the most densely populated townships in Kern County ranging from 3,500 to 4000 citizens per square mile and have a thirty-percent poverty rate that challenges any in our nation. The education needs of this underprivileged community are an equity issue that has our immediate focus.

BC’s Drumline and Bugle Corps

Saturday, July 16th, night at the Memorial Stadium was magical.  The crescent moon was brilliant on this clear night as the seven Drum Corps teams from across California competed at Bakersfield College with over 2000 spectators in the stands.

Impulse – Buena Park, CA; Incognito – Garden Grove, CA; Watchmen – Riverside, CA; Blue Devils C – Concord, CA; Blue Devils B – Concord, CA; Vanguard Cadets – Santa Clara, CA; Golden Empire – Bakersfield, CA

Check out 16 seconds of the BC Drumline sound:

A group of us attended the event and it was so much fun.  With the hectic pace of work for everyone, I cannot remember the last time I did something social with a group.  Was wonderful seeing my good friend Karen Goh and catching up with her after such a long time.  It was an evening of great music, lots of laughter and tons of selfies. Thank you for coming out and celebrating BC — Kimberly Bligh, Bobby Bligh, Janet Tarjan, Nick Strobel, Lisa Strobel, Jay Rosenlieb, and Karen Goh.


For more pictures check out Karen Goh’s Facebook photos at http://tinyurl.com/zt33hqj

Tim Heasley has done an amazing job starting up Bakersfield College’s Gold Empire Drum and Bugle Corps. His passion and expertise has taken grown the group to 323 member, brass, percussion  and visual performers. Last night BC’s Corps competed in the DCI ‘Resound” and placed third. That is quite an accomplishment for a group in their third year.  Check out a video tribute to Tim Heasley from a high school classmate from West High who was sitting right behind us.

Mary Jo July 16 2016And what can I say about Mary Jo Pasek.  She works hard, she is everywhere, she is dedicated to BC and she is dedicated to this community.  Mary Jo tirelessly promotes the community and BC on social media.  She tirelessly works events even if it means giving our community members rides from their cars to the event in 102 degree temperatures.  She tirelessly volunteers her services for numerous good causes across the community.  Mary Jo, thank you for all that you do.  I am so glad you are at BC. #WeAreBC.

Also a special thanks to our stellar maintenance and public safety staff for making this event happen last night in our Memorial Stadium.  Chief Counts and Bill Potter please say a big thank you from me to your staff.

Chevron Retirees

On Friday, I really enjoyed presenting to the Chevron Retirees Association along with Karen Thompson.  It was a great great group with a lot of stories about Bakersfield College. I enjoyed visiting with both Betty Bean and Janice Meek.  Janice grew up in Lamont, attended Arvin High School and then came to BC where she was a Chamber singer. Janice retired this December as an Area Manager at Chevron and worked at Chevron for a total of 25 years.  

[Talking about Chamber Singers, did you see the July 6, 2016  article by Stefani Dias in the Californian about the play Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Stars Theater? http://www.bakersfield.com/entertainment/2016/07/06/technicolor-dreams-at-stars.html.  There was a shout out the BC’s Chamber Singers.  Here is the line:  “The show is a mix of seasoned performers and new faces, Forzetting said, including members of Bakersfield College’s chamber choir.”]

Chevron was the recipient of the Bakersfield College Foundation award for philanthropy.

Here are some previous blog posts about Chevron:

Feb 4, 2013: Thank you Chevron:

April 9, 2016: BC and the Community –Relationship Runs Deep:

May 28, 2016: It Is The Best of Times

June 25, 2016: Celebrating Our People:

Rocky, the Raccoon

An unexpected guest made his way to the north side of the Admin building on Thursday morning. Officer Marco Sifuentes and Ramon Puga worked simultaneously to get our little Raccoon the help he needed and by that afternoon, a team from the Animal Capture Wildlife Control came to help our little friend.


And good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday July 16, 2016 and a good day to be a Renegade.

sonya at Rotary April 30 2015


That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya ….. the luckiest and happiest college president in the whole world

Daily Inspiration from all things BC!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Sunday, July 3rd and here I am blogging from Eugene, Oregon and thinking that it is truly a wonderful day to be a  Renegade.  

cropped sonya ken woody july 2 2016Apologies for the late blog post… I was travelling and taking care of work related activities and could not get to my Saturday morning ritual.  I did feel sorry missing my exercise class this weekend and instead made up with long walks by the Willamette with two of my favorites — Woody and Ken Murdoff.  Eugene at this time of the year is like a botanical garden with the trees a vibrant green and bursts of colors everywhere.  The daisies, in particular, were crowding the bike paths competing for space with lavenders.  A good friend told me about how spectacular the Willamette Valley is when the lavenders are in full bloom. The high temperature here is around 82 and the low 58.  Hence the sweatshirt for the morning walk.  Check out this 27-sec video of Woody fetching his tennis ball from the water.

Yesterday, July 2 2016, Elie Wiesel, A-7713 his number in Auschwitz, passed away at 87.  A survivor of the holocaust Wiesel was a prolific writer and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.  I was first introduced to him through his book Night.  A powerful story from a young boy who had it all and then lost it all.  Here is an excerpt.

Elie Wiesel with his mother and sisters

Elie Wiesel with his mother and sisters. Source: http://www.achievement.org

Men to the left! Women to the right!

Eight words spoken quietly, indifferently, without emotion. Eight short, simple words. … For a part of a second I glimpsed my mother and my sisters moving away to the right. Tzipora held Mother’s hand. I saw them disappear into the distance; my mother was stroking my sister’s fair hair …and I did not know that in that place, at that moment, I was parting from my mother and Tzipora forever.

So yesterday, carrying the words of Wiesel and the horrors we inflict on each other I was especially sensitive to all of the slightest movements and colors, subtle or bright, as I experienced the sheer beauty of nature in the Northwest part of this great country.  Talking about this great country, tomorrow is July 4th — Happy Independence Day all!

The NY Times has an in-depth article on Wiesel at http://tinyurl.com/jblvgf2

Now, back to BC…… I must say inspiration is all around us each and every day at the college. Often caught up in the business of life, the little things, can be missed and with that, sometimes we miss an opportunity for enormous inspiration, but this week was especially motivating. From the fantastic people who work with their minds and hearts at Bakersfield College, to the current and former students who are accomplishing things beyond their dreams, all the way to the nitty gritty of the hard work we’re doing at BC – It never ceases to motivate and inspire me to continue to do what I do.


A Beckworth selfie

The first example of inspiration came to me on Monday afternoon. I received a fantastic text from Paul Beckworth.

I am in a Hawaiian shirt and jeans, in an air conditioned office, writing up veteran stuff, and getting ready to teach about the gold rush. And you pay me to do it! What a life! It’s a good time to be at BC!

This just reminds me that when you’re doing a job you love, it’s hardly feels like work at all. Our dedicated staff and faculty, bring so much passion to BC which inspires us all.

And then there was the email titled Out with the Old, In with the New that Tom Moran, long standing chair of the Foreign Language Department sent his staff as his farewell email.  Tom Moran, who has given his all to BC and our students and given his all to his family and loved ones.  Let’s toast Tom.

Here are excerpts from his July 1st email:

Dear Colleagues,

As has recently so often been the case, this email is a day late. Yesterday was my final day as chair of the Foreign Language Department. It has been my pleasure to serve in this capacity for the past seven years. It has been challenging, gratifying, fun, rewarding, often intense and always interesting. Each of you has been supportive of my efforts for which I will always be grateful, particularly this last year, which has been enormously challenging for my family. Together we have accomplished much: the Spanish ADT, uniform ASL curriculum, hiring more adjunct instructors, including five full- and part-time Deaf ASL instructors, several successful and on-time program reviews, numerous successful and on-time assessments, more, remodeled, and technology-enhanced classrooms, priority room scheduling, and a host of other projects and initiatives too numerous to list. The programs in our department have grown, improved, and expanded, and that is thanks to you.

I’m grateful to David Neville who threw his hat into the ring to serve as chair. I’m grateful to each of you for offering him your vote of confidence. I know that he will do a good job and I anticipate that you will support him in his new role. I intend to offer him the same support that he offered me, which was considerable.

I’m also immensely grateful to our dean, Manny, whose support of our department has been nothing short of steadfast. We’re so lucky to have him. I’m also grateful beyond words to Patt Davis for all her work—particularly with evaluations—and to my dear Camilla, who has always kept me on task and anticipated our needs, even when I was so frequently rolling off the rails. We’re tremendously fortunate to have our administrative support in FA-69: They’re the finest on campus. I want to thank Sonya for entrusting us with two new positions and to Nan and Manny for helping us to structure our new interpreter education program.

Had I sent this email yesterday, it would have been my final act as chair to offer you wonderful news: With the support of our president, we have been successful in hiring two, new full-time faculty members, bring our total FT pool to eight. What a great time to be in Foreign Language and what a great time to be at BC!

Both of our new hires will be familiar to you, as they have both served as adjunct instructors. Please allow me to formally introduce Jaclyn Krause, ASL, and Sara Palasch, Spanish. Jaclyn has been hired to spearhead our new sign language interpreting program. Sara has been hired to develop the infrastructure that will allow us to begin offering online courses in Spanish and our other disciplines.

This summer, I begin my fourteenth year at BC. It has been a busy one for me, teaching a summer course, participating in our writer’s bureau, serving on a hiring committee, revising curriculum, developing tests, and meeting with students. Although summer is a time for rest and rejuvenation, now is such an exciting time at BC that it’s a bit hard to stay away. Enjoy the remainder of your summers, and I look forward to seeing you all in the fall.

In Gratitude,

Tom Moran

And then on June 15th there was this wonderful piece written by Paula Parks published on the front page of the Bakersfield News Observer.  Here it is

Paula Parks in the News Observer.jpg

Then on Saturday, July 2nd, I get this excited message from Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg with a series of text messages that our year-long planning way-finding project is being implemented. See Photos below.

Nan’s txt:

Our new ‘way finding’ project. Finally ! Over a year in planning they are being installed. New maps also. Love the vintage Renegade Red. Let’s push this color this year. I am a happy Renegade 👍

There are several layers of excitement here. The first, gosh darn it, this project should have happened months ago.  Then there is the color.  Note that Nan does not say just Red, nor does she say just “Renegade Red” but rather “vintage Renegade Red.”  You have got to be in the room when Nan and David Koeth are together.  I swear they speak a different language altogether — the language of colors….the language of design.  And they can keep it up for a looooong time.  I must say that Kris Stallworth, Chair of the Art department, totally speaks this language as well.  He recently sent me this link to the Harvard Library of Color. Check it out.


You would think that things slow down at an academic institution in the summer.  This past week certainly did not reflect that.  Let me highlight just a few items.

Fire Technology Program

Last Saturday, June 25th, right after publishing my weekend blog and rushing to my exercise class I drove over to meet Tim Capehart, Director of BC’s Fire Tech Program, at the Kern County Fire Facility on Olive drive.  The whole field trip was a real treat and I so enjoyed getting to know Tim.

In light of the recent and tragic nearby fires, I couldn’t help by think about how many of these courageous men and women graduated from our Fire Technology Program. The program began in 1956 as a partnership between BC and the Bakersfield Fire Department. Students in the fire science program were hired as paid on-call firefighters by the city and earned $30 a month. They could sleep and study at the fire station south of the college on University, and performed routine station duties such as meal prep, mopping floors, making beds, fire prevention and suppression training.

Bakersfield FD and Kern County FD built a joint fire training center called “The Olive Drive Fire Training Facility” in 1984. Shortly after its completion, BC entered into an in-service agreement with both agencies. [Check out the logo in the picture above Tim Capehart and Mike Lencioni.  It embodies the collaboration between Bakersfield FD, Kern County FD and Bakersfield College].  In the years that followed, the program was run by some awesome coordinators including, Jacki Fisher, Ray Soto, Frank Ramos, and our current Director of Fire/EMS, Tim Capehart.

In 1993, the program produced 51,304 student contract hours and since our programs continue to expand and grow, over the past three years, our students have generated over 200,000 hours of training.

Training schedule June 25 2016 rotated

The students have a training schedule which is pretty intense. Here is a picture I quickly snapped as Mike Lencioni was reviewing the curriculum and training schedule with me.  We offer an AA Degree in Fire Technology, an AS Degree in Wildland Firefighting and an AS Degree in Paramedic studies. We also provide the accredited State Fire Marshal Firefighter 1 & 2 Academies. Both these academies run nine hours a day, forty hours a week, and include night and weekend academies. Both academies run for six months, and cover over 400 hours of training. The training is provided by city and county firefighters.

The academy is run in a para-military style very structured and requiring the students to be extremely disciplined. If students are not performing up to par, they may receive “gigs” and have to run up to the top of the six story tower and ring a bell.  Whew, I got exhausted just looking at the stairs in this tall tower [see picture with Tim and Mike] so can only imagine that this “gig” quickly disciplines these students.  My hats off to them!  The entire academy is intended to instill self-discipline and teamwork, which is essential when they are out working on real fire situations. The cadets are divided up into squads the first night of the academy. If one cadet messes up the whole squad gets the gig, so they learn quickly to help build up, or assist teach other in their squad. They always give 100%.

A program this large and successful could not happen without the support of our industry partners (Bakersfield Fire Chief, Doug Greener, and Kern County Fire Chief, Brian Marshal). Our fire technology advisory board is made up of two Chiefs from each department, they are Deputy Chief Tyler Hartley, Training Battalion Chief Trever Martinusen ‎ from the City, and Deputy Chief Benny Wofford, and Training Battalion Chief Derik Davis, from the Kern County Fire Department.  Vice President Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Dean Cindy Collier, and Director of Fire/EMS Tim Capehart provide staffing support for the advisory committee.


The picture above was taken when Tim, Nan and I presented to a group of stellar Public Safety individuals — Bakersfield Fire, Kern County Fire, Bakersfield Police Department, and Kern County Sheriff’s Office.  The conversation was about meeting future workforce needs and to see if we could collaborate to extend the dollar in meeting needs.  Specifically we were talking about facilities and how to leverage the resources to fund this vision for future generations.

With a heart full of gratitude, thanks to our local firefighters, especially with current fires so close to home, up near the mountains of Kernville. With more than 200 structures destroyed and 43,360 acres burned, our more than 1,700 firefighters work non-stop to keep us safe. Your courage, strength, and dedication is inspiring to everyone.

Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (KCHHC)

The Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (KCHHC) Business Education Foundation is giving a “thumbs up” after one of our faculty, Sarah Baron presented “A Better BC,” which highlights our plans to improve our facilities for the future to address the growth in enrollment, the new expansion into baccalaureate programs as well as antiquated spaces. With several hundreds of members, the Chamber represents over 410,000 Hispanics, and is composed of a cross-section of professionals and business people, who in turn represent corporations as well as large and small businesses. The KCHHC is on a roll doing awesome things! BC can’t be more excited about the ongoing partnership and future opportunities that lie ahead.  Don’t forget to keep in touch with our plans to take care of our facilities by checking out the website at www.abetterbc.com

Business Ed Foundation June 2016

BC’s Blue Ribbon Committee:

BC’s Blue Ribbon Committee met this week on Tuesday, June 28th and members of the Blue Ribbon Committee attended and spoke at the Board of Trustees meeting on June 30th to discuss a potential 2016 bond measure.  The Board took the first of two steps to set the stage for the 2016 ballot.  July 14th will be the Board meeting when they will consider whether KCCD should go out for a measure. Mayor Harvey Hall is the Chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee and Congressman Bill Thomas the Senior Advisor.  Norma Rojas-Mora and Jay Rosenlieb co-chair the community connections group and Michael O’Doherty the Oversight and Accountability group.

California Guided Pathways Project

“As long as we keep asking, ‘Is it good for students?’ we will stay on the right track”
John Nixon, former Mt. SAC President

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, or keep up with Bakersfield College, you know we are among 3 community colleges in California participating in a national project designed to implement guided academic and career pathways at scale. The 3-year project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is led by the American Association of Community Colleges.

On June 29th, Bakersfield College hosted the first California Guided Pathways Project Planning Meeting funded by the College Futures Foundation at the LAX Marriott in Los Angeles. The convening connected national scholars, including Kay McClenney, Rob Johnstone, and Davis Jenkins, with California leaders including Brad Phillips in higher education in order to begin the crafting of a guided pathways initiative suited for California’s unique regulatory and social environment.

Representatives from Bakersfield College were joined by administrators and faculty from the two other participating California community colleges, Mt. San Antonio College and Irvine Valley College, as well as representatives from the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, Achieving the Dream, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), California Acceleration Project, California Community College Chancellor’s Office, Campaign for College Opportunity, Career Ladders Project, Community College Research Center, Educational Results Partnership, Foundation for California Community Colleges, Institute for Evidence Based Change, Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative, and the National Center for Inquiry & Improvement, Research & Planning (RP) Group.

The event was made possible through the generous support of the College Futures Foundation.  Thank you Shawn Whalen and College Futures.


CSU Chancellor’s Office partners

We were so fortunate to have two CSU Chancellor’s Office representatives, Dawn Digrius and Ken O’Donnell, collaborate with us on this work.  It is partnerships like this that will be critical in ensuring success for our students across educational sectors and in alignment with industry needs.

Our website has more information on the dozens of partners committed to making this happen. In the days to follow, we will also add photos from the event, so be sure to check out:

 Check out some of the quotes noted by Lesley Bonds:

  • In California, the barriers are common and known.  As we set the table for a project like this one, let’s go after them as a collective. –Irene Malmgren, VP of Instruction at Mt. San Antonio College
  • How do we ensure success for students through California’s current river delta of transfer pathways? –Craig Hayward, IVC
  • It is becoming more clear to me that we must create conditions so that students don’t have to be heroes in order to be successful –Rob Johnstone, Founder & Director of National Center for Inquiry & Improvement
  • As long as we keep asking, ‘Is it good for students?’ we will stay on the right track –John Nixon, former Mt. SAC president says he left behind a plaque with this question engraved for current president Bill Scroggins
  • It should be written on June 29, 2016 –in three years, California will be the model for transformation nationally – Sonya Christian
  • The manifestation of leadership is institutional organization.  In this work, we need organizational elegance –John Nixon, AACC and ATD Leadership Coach
  • This isn’t another project someone in an office on the south side of campus leads, this is an institutional transformation and will require broad and deep engagement from all –Bill Scroggins, Mt. SAC President

Thank you Lesley Bonds and Jessica Wojtysiak for working side-by-side with me to make this happen.

Lesley and Jessica June 29 2016


Jorge Santos


This week, recent Bakersfield College graduate, Jorge Santos, led an 8-piece Latin Jazz ensemble at The Mark in downtown Bakersfield, paying tribute to the music of legendary Cuban saxophonist and composer, Paquito D’Rivera.

The band was composed of fellow BC alumni along with several local pros, and they played for a packed, enthusiastic crowd. Jorge, who is part of the first graduating class from our new Applied Music program, studied trumpet at BC with Kris Tiner and has played lead trumpet in the BC Jazz Ensemble for the past several years. He has quickly become one of the busiest musicians in town, working regularly with groups including La Marcha, the Mentorship Big Band, and his own combos. His concert was part of the ongoing Bakersfield Jazz Workshop series, which presents a different featured artist every Tuesday night at The Mark. Talk about inspiring!

sonya july 2 2016


That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya ….. the luckiest and happiest college president in the whole world