“They’re not celebrating at Disneyland quite yet, but you might have thought those at Bakersfield College on Sunday had already arrived at the happiest place on earth. Cars and trucks lined up to make their way into the parking lot abutting University Avenue for a poke in the arm in the form of one of 1,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses. The event was dubbed the first mass drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Kern County, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who wasn’t smiling.”
Beautiful writing….. beautiful words…..
We kicked off the clinic with a press conference with some wonderful speakers:
Norma Rojas-Mora, BC Director of Communication and Community Relations:
Assemblyman Rudy Salas:
KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog:
Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez:
David Torres, Centric Health Foundation Chairman:
Imelda Ceja-Butkiewicz, President of the Kern Inyo Mono Central Labor Council:
Jay Tamsi, Co-founder of Kern County Latino COVID-19 Task Force:
Joseph Lopez, on behalf of State Senator Melissa Hurtado:
The entire day had an air of celebration and collaboration as so many different people and groups worked together to get 1,000 vaccine shots-in-arms for the clinic. It is amazing what we can accomplish when we all work together toward a common goal.
Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, March 27, 2021, my dad’s b’day … a great day to be a Renegade.
Photos & Poetry
This week, a friend sent me this amazing photo…the heavens have opened:
I thought of this photo – these gray skies broken up by a few rays of radiant sunshine – when I read this poem that Jack Hernandez sent to me:
The little yellow flowers along the freeway exit road smile as I wait for the light to give me permission to go.
Some sunless days though, eager winds sowing dust, they stay tightly closed, I drive on unsure and cold.
Another friend of mine, who lost her partner, shared this poem from Khalil Gibran:
It is said that before entering the sea a river trembles with fear.
She looks back at the path she has traveled, from the peaks of the mountains, the long winding road crossing forests and villages.
And in front of her, she sees an ocean so vast, that to enter there seems nothing more than to disappear forever.
But there is no other way. The river can not go back.
Nobody can go back. To go back is impossible in existence.
The river needs to take the risk of entering the ocean because only then will fear disappear, because that’s where the river will know it’s not about disappearing into the ocean, but of becoming the ocean.
Magnificent sunset photos at BC taken by Janet Tarjan on March 25th
Morning walk celebration of dad’s birthday.
Jess Nieto Conference
The 3rd Annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conference was held this past week. Professor Jess Nieto established the Chicano Studies program and Chicano Cultural Center at Bakersfield College. He was an entrepreneur, civil rights activist, educational leader and mentor to countless students.
The conference this year included a wonderful mix of education, entertainment and celebration. Contributions from student organizations, professors, community leaders and partners make this a truly special event. Panels include “Unraveling Latina Stereotypes: Latinas Unidas in Conversation”, “Celebrating the Legacy of Cesar Chavez, the Farmworker Movement, and the Ongoing Work of the UFW and Cesar Chavez Foundation” and many more.
Check out this video from Abel Guzman, Executive Director of Rural Initiatives, which was part of the opening day programming:
Dolores Huerta spoke via Zoom with Dr. Taína Caragol, Curator of Latino Art & History at the Smithsonian Institution. The event was co-sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, the Wylie and May Louise Jones Art Gallery at Bakersfield College, and the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities at Bakersfield College.
Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en los Campos is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. See the virtual tour and get more information at the Jones Art Gallery.
Measure J – Thank You Nicole!
I love this photo of Nicole Parra and her dog, Bailey, sitting in front of our first Measure J Project – the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center.
Thank you, Nicole, for managing our Measure J campaign. We could not have done it without you, and I’m so glad you were able to enjoy the fruits of your labor 5 years later!
Gone are the days of receiving thousands of paper application submissions! We are excited to announce the launch of our new online program, dualenroll.com, that has replaced the paper form submissions for Dual Enrollment and Concurrent Enrollment. Students from all high schools can now use Dual Enroll to register for Summer 2021 and Fall 2021. This transition will streamline services for students and will make these opportunities more accessible in distance and online learning environments.
Kara McDonald, program manager for Student Success & Equity, wrote this piece about the importance of embracing peace instead of conflict – and highlighting the new Peace Initiative that Bakersfield College will be embarking on over the next 18 months.
“This initiative includes the Peace Garden that will soon begin construction on BC’s campus, as well as a series of projects done in partnership with other community groups working toward peace. Finally, the Peace Initiative includes a seminar series designed to engage small groups of women, veterans, educators and police in conversations about what peace looks like here in Kern County and how we build it.”
On Tuesday, we will kick off the Peace Initiative with the first installment of the Peace Initiative Seminar Series, “Mothers for Peace.” For more information, or to register for the Zoom event, visit the Bakersfield College website.
Community Voices: Our lives, our stories
Jack Hernandez, retired director of the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities, wrote a piece about how our lives live on in the stories, minds and memories of those who know us.
“But we all have an afterlife on this earth. An afterlife of our stories remembered by those who have known us for many years. Many live on in my mind: the stories of dad working two jobs to send me to college, of mom sending me off every morning to school, filled with breakfast and secure in her love. My Bakersfield College students, friends and colleagues during my many years here after I drove to Bakersfield from Detroit, not knowing what to expect when I came down Edison Highway in my own “Grapes of Wrath.””
Bakersfield College Ranks 3rd in State
Check out this video & article on KGET – BC ranks 3rd in degrees awarded among California Hispanic serving institutions!
“Bakersfield College said in recent years they have worked on improving student outcomes, reducing achievement gaps and increasing access for students using a Guided Pathways approach. Since BC first started its Guided Pathways program in 2014, the college has seen growth and improvement across multiple student success metrics.”
Spotted on Social Media
Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh shared this post about our vaccination clinic:
Bill Moseley shared his delicious weekend plans:
Jessica Wojtysiak also had a delicious night, courtesy of BC’s culinary arts students:
And Kristin Rabe shared the daisies outside her porch:
Alyson Dees Named CCCWVCA State Player of the Week
Women’s Volleyball are undefeated thus far in the abbreviated Spring I season and to top it off, sophomore Alyson Dees was named the California Community College Women’s Volleyball Coaches Association (CCCWVCA) State Player of the Week for her performance against Cerro Coso the week prior. Alyson embodies the spirit of the team and as her coach Carl Ferreira said “one of the most amazing things about Aly is how much selfless energy she gives to her teammates. If that’s not enough, she’s an even better person.” Congrats Alyson!
That’s all for now. Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality. sonya – the luckiest and happiest college president ever
The transformation of our campus for the next 50 years has begun! Major changes will be taking place over the next 10 years ranging from construction of new buildings, renovations of buildings, and major repairs to our campus infrastructure. The grand opening of our first building, the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center, was on December 10, 2019
Thank you for voting Yes on J!
The Bakersfield College Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center
After years of preparation and development, our community gathered on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019 for a historic milestone in Renegade history. With college and district leaders, community members, students, supporters, family, and friends, BC officially opened the new Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center, a space dedicated to student veterans and the first completed Measure J building.
Thank you KCCD Trustees
I could not be more proud of everyone who helped bring this grand vision into reality. Attendees who came from across the country were greeted with a massive American flag that billowed proudly, flying above the newly christened building from an extending ladder on a Kern County Fire Department truck. Dignitaries on the dais outside of the center included Chancellor Tom Burke, Mayor Karen Goh and Congressman Bill Thomas, as well as KCCD Trustees Jack Connell (a Navy veteran), Romeo Agbalog, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and President of the KCCD Board John Corkins. There were also representatives from about 40 student organizations on campus. Trustee Kay Meek was viewing the live stream, unable to attend the ceremony in-person. She was one of the most vocal supporters for the construction of the new center as the first Measure J project, and her presence was missed.
This new 4,700 square foot facility is dedicated to student veterans and includes a tutoring room, conference room with whiteboards and television, a lounge area with two televisions, coffee bar, fridge, microwave, computer area and outdoor patio area.
This space is dedicated to the education, wellness, and transformation of our students, therefore it’s only fitting that this place is named after Vernon Valenzuela. Vernon was a Vietnam combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient. He was a Bakersfield College student in the 1970s and later became a licensed counselor who spent the rest of his life working with veterans and their families; his legacy will live on forever in its walls.
This center would not be possible without the leadership of Paul Beckworth, who opened the ceremony by thanking Armando Trujillo and his team for all they do to help our Renegade veterans. Armando was a protégé of Vernon Valenzuela, the founder of the first veterans’ clubs at BC and CSUB, and I could think of no one else who is better suited to extend Vernon’s love and empathy to a new generation of Renegade vets. Armando also announced an annual scholarship that will be offered through the VRC for years to come.
When our local veterans are returning home, this new center will be the place they can come to to find support, comfort, and comradery with fellow Renegades. For over 100 years Renegades have put on the uniform, and when they were ready to trade in their boots for books, BC knew its responsibility. BC’s mission continues to be to educate our veterans, mind body, and soul, and to celebrate the impact that veterans have had on BC.
I surprised Paul Beckworth by presenting him with the President’s Leadership Award during the ceremony. Over these last seven years, Paul has advocated on behalf of our student veterans here on campus, in the community, and in the state. He and a group of student veterans were fearless in “occupying” a vacant room adjacent to their existing cramped space, quietly doing the necessary remodeling work. He has written public letters to our student veterans, to our faculty veterans, to our staff veterans. He is brave, kind, funny, open, tender, with a passion to respect, honor and support his fellow brothers and sisters from the military.
I also introduced incoming manager Jenny Frank, who comes to us from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
This special facility is the first of many made possible by the tremendous community support of Measure J. There is a very, very long list of individuals to thank, but Trustee Kay Meek deserves special recognition for her constant focus and dedication.
The impact of Trustee Meek’s work was evident in the words of student veteran and Veteran Club President Ilene Garcia during the grand opening, who said, “As soon as I walked in, I felt that camradery and bond that I had been missing that you instantly obtain when you join the military. Finding that comfort zone in civilian life is essential for veterans returning home. We crave the structure and sense of belonging that the military instills in us. The Veterans Resource Center at BC provides this.”
BC Veterans Club President Ilene Garcia took a moment to explain how the team at BC creates a structure and a sense of belonging that helps soldiers readjust to civilian life. She also thanked all of us at BC for making this center a priority with the funding from Measure J.
Vernon’s wife Lise Valenzuela offered some personal anecdotes about how BC changed her husband’s life. After serving a tour of duty in the Vietnam War, Vernon found his confidence and his calling as a student at BC, and he dedicated the rest of his life to helping other veterans like him find their calling through higher education.
Former Trustee Bill Thomas talked about how Vernon’s imposing physical presence, and his empathy and talent for listening, inspired respect from anyone who had a conversation with him. Bill highlighted Kay Meek’s work and her emphatic message to all that she wanted this to be the very first project of Measure J. He also previewed the ribbon cutting ceremonies to come as more Measure J projects finish construction.
Attendees were treated to the beautiful music of BC’s Chamber Singers. led by the talented Dr. Jennifer Garrett. I’m happy that Brandon Urry captured these videos so that I can share then with you.
Award-winning photojournalist Max Becherer started his career right here at BC as a student of Kris Stallworth, and he took pictures of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for publications like the Washington Post and Time Magazine before becoming the Photo Editor of the New Orleans Advocate. He donated several of his most famous photographs from those conflicts to the VRC and attended the groundbreaking alongside his family.
As Paul described in his closing address, the VRC is more than just a place of learning. It is a place where our veteran students can heal from the physical and psychological wounds of combat, supporting each other through all of their struggles. Thank you Paul, Armando and our Veterans Affairs team for dreaming of this safe space for healing, and thank you to our Measure J team for making that dream a reality. I would also like to thank Tamara Baker for organizing the ribbon cutting and open house, as well as everyone who contributed to making this event such a success.
Here are some of the elected officials or their reps in the photo below. Left to right: 1. Congressman Kevin McCarthy (Monica Martin, rep) 2. Congressman T.J. Cox (Joseph Lopez, rep) 3. Assemblyman Vince Fong (Lauren Skidmore, rep) 4. Mayor Karen Goh 5. Congressman Kevin McCarthy (Perry Finzel, rep) 6. Senator Melissa Hurtado (Ricardo Del Hoyo, rep) 7. City Councilman Willie Rivera, Ward 1 8. Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez, District 5 (Nicole Villaruz, rep) 9. Assemblyman Rudy Salas (Athena Skapinakis, rep)
I would like to recognize those who actually built the facility, taking it from plans to a reality: local companies IBI Group, Inc. and JTS Construction. Also, I would like to thank AECOM/Parsons for all of their hard work on this project (and the other 14 Measure J projects), for finishing the job ahead of time and under budget. AECOM/Parsons joined our team in 2017 to design the Measure J master plan, and have been managing all of the projects from the very first meeting until the last. All of the above groups not only met our expectations, but went well above. The bar has been set high!
Most importantly, I’d like to thank the community of Kern County for supporting Renegades today and for the next 50 years through Measure J.
And in closing, I will quote the words of Paul Beckworth, BC’s Faculty Director of Veteran Services as he addressed BC’s students… “Thank you for your courage, for believing in yourself and for pursing an education. Thank you for choosing Bakersfield College. This place is for you.”
Love these “behind the scenes” pictures.
BSO-BC Home for the Holidays Concert
Here is my promised weekly Christmas music from our Chamber Singers during the month of December
Led by the amazing, Dr. Jennifer Garrett, the BC Chamber Singers are an absolutely stunning group who shares their voices with the world. They performed a fun version of Jingle Bells and the Renegade Mens Chorus- sang “The 12 Days of Christmas” mixed with various other Christmas carols.
The evening included sing-alongs with the audience and it was really fun to celebrate the holiday season with family and friends.
Adventist Health was a sponsor of the evening and I saw Sharlet Briggs, CEO of Adventist, who referred to Mary Poppins and a “spoon of sugar makes the medicine go down”. She went on to observe how a teaspoon of music can make the medicine go down too!
BCSGA Attends the Kern Tax Annual Meeting
BCSGA President Samantha Pulido, BCSGA Student Activities Manager Perla Villegas, KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke, KCCD Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzberg, KCCD Director Dave Teasdale, and BC Director of Student Life Dr. Nicky Damania attended the Kern Tax 80th Annual Meeting at the Bakersfield Country Club. Kern Tax is the county’s leader on reviewing and educating about taxpayer issues and dollars. The keynote speaker was founding chief executive and Senior Fellow, President Emeritus of California Forward, Jim Mayer who presented “Transforming California.” His presentation focused on performance-oriented government, society-oriented business, and entrepreneurial civic organizations working together to engage in community resolutions.
Before the speaker, there was a video montage of various Kern leaders thanking Kern Tax for their 80 years of service to Kern County, and especially highlighting the leadership and work of Mike Turnupseed for the association and our community. What a pleasure to have two of our strong student leaders in attendance at this engaging community event.
Human Rights Day Social Justice Student Conversation Event
Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on December 10th each year. At Bakersfield College, student organization YES (Youth Empowered Success) brought two NFL players to campus for a student centered event to bring awareness to various social justice topics. Student organization YES president, Jose Bello, was the emcee of the event and encouraged his fellow Renegades to pay close attention, listen, respect one another, and use their voice for the good of humankind. Jose also took the mic to say a few words in Spanish to thank his mom who was in attendance, for all her support.
Two special guests who took the stage were Joshua Norman and Demario Davis, two NFL players who take pride in their activist roles for human rights. They encouraged students to be sources of support for one another and to give words to the voiceless.
In the early morning before the speaker presentations began, students in attendance participated in a cultural dance outside in the courtyard. This collaborative dance was a symbol of cultivating community, peace, and social responsibility.
And once again, Reyna Harvey is everywhere! Spotted her interviewing Joshua Norman and Demario Davis outside the event.
Renegades Finish Finals!
This week was also finals week so the library began offering their Extended Study Hours last week, which will run through Wednesday.
The lobby portion of the library is the busiest and loudest section with check-in, food, tables, and chairs for group studying. BCSGA Officers and Office of Student Life help ensure everything runs smoothly with the help of volunteers.
As a result of the efforts this semester of Todd Coston and Kirk Russell, the entire first floor of the library is a place for students to spread out and study. Students need to feel supported now more than ever as they attempt to cross the finish line this semester.
Campus Safety at Porterville College
Our colleagues at Porterville College planned a day of safety drills and invited BC’s Dr. Nicky Damania and Monika Scott to observe the activity. It was a great opportunity and a good experience. Both Nicky and Monika are involved with the planning of BC’s full-scale active shooter scenario and response drill taking place next year. This activity planned for April 8, 2020, will be a cross county, multi-agency drill to test our preparations and enhance our collaboration and response. Special thanks to Todd Dearmore, Safety and Security Manager at Porterville College for a successful drill and for the invitation to observe.
Networking and Nursing
Bakersfield College’s Nursing Department held its 1st annual Entrée to Employment for the graduating Vocational Nursing Program students. A number of health care agencies within Kern County were present at BC to recruit our stellar vocational nursing students and to discuss future career opportunities.
A gourmet dinner was provided by the Renegade Room as the students and staff networked with industry partners. Carla Gard, Director of Nursing Programs and Associate Dean of Instruction, highlighted the program objectives, rigor, and faculty’s dedication to developing skilled and competent nurses.The Vocational Nursing Entrée to Employment was such a success that students had several employment options by the end of the event! So proud!
Crane Visit for OSRM Students
Students in OSRM B10 Occupational Safety had an opportunity to see safety in action when they viewed campus construction up close as part of a class module on crane safety. Bill Campe from SC Anderson, and Kurt Hettinger from SL Shaw Company hosted the students, providing an overview of crane operations. The crane was operated by Trent Gardner.
The large crane is just the right tool to hoist steel beams into place for the new building. Workers deftly navigate the structure, guide steel beams into position and rivet them into place. Following established safety procedures is essential to ensure that they are not injured on the job.
Lifting heavy loads safely takes more than a big crane. The operator relies on detailed lift charts that specify how much the crane can lift at a specific angle. Need more horizontal distance? That reduces capacity. Wind? Reduce capacity or stop work if gusts are too strong. Want to watch the crane work? Stand clear of the swing radius or risk being hit or crushed by the crane’s big back end. This quick visit provided a view of safety in action.
Students enjoyed the “field trip” and the opportunity to watch two world-class companies safely work to build the future of BC. Measure J — a learning lab for our construction students.
Fun Photos: College Council
I’m always proud of the work that College Council does. The presentations are rigorous and focus on our performance metrics.
The last College Council meeting for the semester was on Friday, December 6th. The council received updates on various institutional topics ranging from Early College to Meta Major Pathways and more. Just a reminder to the reader….This group is a collegial, consultative, and oversight body designed to serve the good of the entire College. The group facilitates timely, factual, and clear communication between constituents and the President. It provides recommendations to the President on college-wide matters.
Giving Thanks: CARE & CalWORKs Workshop
The Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) and California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) programs hosted a Thanksgiving Workshop, providing a bonding opportunity for parents and their children and to build a network of support at Bakersfield College.
The Thanksgiving Workshop provided the students a break from studying for finals while their children engaged in fun-filled arts and crafts activities. Additionally, students received a turkey donated by Costco to help them celebrate Thanksgiving with their families.
CARE and CalWORKS are programs under the EOPS Department, serving BC students who are also parents, with CARE parents being single head of household. Both programs are designed to promote student educational success by offering specialized services to parents receiving public assistance (CalWORKs/TANF/Tribal TANF) with a primary goal to increase wage earning power, leading to self-sufficiency.
Fun Photos: Executive Office Holiday Potluck
Fun Photos: Renegade Road
William Velasquez from BC’s IT department is a talented photographer and often will share the beautiful pictures he captures on campus. He shared an email earlier this week the following photo and said…
“As I was driving away and looked at the banners on the fence, I ponder on the thousands of student athletes that walked this same road. They found the road to success. So I parked my car and took my phone out and took a few pics. This is one of them. The Renegades Road.”
William Velasquez, 2019
Renegade Athletics Volleyball vs. Chaffey
Enjoy these highlights from Renegade Volleyball’s first round playoff win at home over Chaffey back on Nov. 26th. Renegade Volleyball enjoyed another terrific season this year. They captured a fourth consecutive conference championship and finished the season with a 21-3 overall record. Way to go Coach Carl Ferreira and team!
Kern Schools Federal Credit Union Renegades of the Week
Alyssa Gonzalez, Women’s Basketball – Alyssa was a driving force in helping the Renegades to an 86-29 victory over Taft on Friday (12/6). She totaled 17 points going 5/9 from 3-point and adding 4 assists, 3 steals and 3 rebounds. Jonathan Hunter, Wrestling – Jonathan pinned all of his opponents at the Southern Regionals this last Saturday at Santa Ana College to place first in the 174 lb. weight class and qualify for the CCCAA State Finals this coming weekend.
Renegade Athletic events ‘On the Hill’ this coming week
Be sure to put on your Renegade Red and cheer on our student athletes as they compete this coming week. If you can’t make it in person, check GoGades.com to catch the livestream. Join us on 12/20 at 5pm – Men’s Basketball vs El Camino
Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, February 9, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.
Early College Launch in McFarland
Next week is it! BC will be holding the Early College Launch event at McFarland High on Wednesday, Feb 13th. Retired Senator (and Renegade) Jean Fuller will be there to talk about the program, and the impact that it will have on our region. Check out Superintendent Resendez’s piece in The Delano Record about the launch as well!
Join us as we launch this program at McFarland High School on February 13th at 5:00 pm! It promises to be a remarkable event. For information you can visit www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/earlycollege.
2019 Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Gala
Last Saturday night Bakersfield College attended the annual KCHCC Gala at the Marriott hotel. BC is a proud supporter of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (KCHCC), with five Renegades as boardmembers: Olivia Garcia, Lisa Kent, Tony Cordova, Norma Rojas-Mora, and Corny Rodriguez. I’d like to thank Ricky Marsel for sharing some of his photos. Great work, KCHCC!
We were pleased to have at our table Congressman TJ Cox and his delightful wife Kathy Murphy. Also, Senator Melissa Hurtado was at our table and I was pleased to get to know her. Senator Shannon Grove and Assembly Member Rudy Salas were also at the event.
Spotlight: Corny Rodriguez
The Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce honored Cornelio (Corny) Rodriguez for this year’s Businessman of the Year at Saturday’s event. Corny received this recognition for his work within the community and in support of a college going culture among the youth of Kern County. Corny came to BC in 1991 as the Director of the Chicano Cultural Center at Bakersfield College.
Throughout the years, he has held a number of different positions on campus including President of Academic Senate, Director of the Delano Center, Director of Outreach, Director of ACCESS (Association of Cultural Centers for Student Success), and Professor of Political Science. Corny has been a consistent champion for increasing graduation rates at BC, and has worked tirelessly to advance student success and develop leaders within the community. Congrats Corny!!! Your BC family is so proud!
Black History Month Conference at BC
Lives were changed at Bakersfield College on Friday,
February 8, 2019, with the Black History Month Conference themed “Black
Excellence.” Students from Bakersfield College and high schools all over Kern
County engaged in a truly excellent and engaging conference with African Soul
International and keynote speaker Reverend Dr. Charles L. Dorsey.
After a light breakfast in front of the PAC Indoor Theatre, students from approximately 15 high schools from Kern County filed into the theatre singing to some of their favorite pop songs playing on the speakers. Bakersfield College Umoja Community Club President and Vice President professionally emceed the indoor theatre portion of the conference, engaging the students from the very beginning. They taught the students about Umoja ASTEP, which is a program that integrates academics, support services and African-American culture through educating the whole student, body, mind and spirit, through an ethic of love. There are over 60 Umoja programs state-wide. They also taught the students some African words, including the “umoja” which is Kiswahili for “unity.”
Chancellor Tom Burke welcomed the students and encouraged them to pursue college. He shared with them his own son’s struggles to find his place in the world and how BC helped him find his path to Engineering and ultimately graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Engineering Robotics. He called BC an “educational oasis” to prepare for transferring to a larger university and pointed out that transfer students outperform those entering universities directly as freshmen.
African Soul International captured the audience with a powerful introduction to African drums. Then, the founder and artistic director of the organization, Dr. Jewel “Adama” Jackson, came out on stage singing. She immediately enthralled the audience, and had them singing together “When the Saints Go Marching In.” She led the audience through an African ritual, signaling to heaven that the drums were a conduit of positive energy, and giving libations of water to plants. A very spiritual, moving and uplifting ritual.
Jewel further taught the students about Africa, that it is the largest free-standing continent with 54 countries and 2,500 nationalities with their own languages and cultures. Most Africans can speak 4-7 languages. She pointed out that Africa is a major exporter of diamonds and gold, and we all carry a little bit of Africa in our pockets as cobalt is used in our cell phones. There are rich parts, just as there are poor parts. She brought several students onto stage and taught them dances, one about celebrating moving to the next level in life and the other celebrating the harvest, because they are the harvest. The African Soul International was fun, engaging and educational. I recommend bringing them to all of the high schools in Kern County.
With such an excellent and energizing opening performance, it was hard to believe that the keynote speaker could keep that sense of energy and engagement going, but Reverend Dr. Charles Dorsey did just that. After driving 3 hours and conducting interviews with the media, he had the energy to run onto to the stage and immediately engage the audience. He began by handing out a copy of his book Fathers and Sons Speak: Telling My Father’s Storyto an audience member who had the closest birthday to his own, giving the book to the young man, telling him it would change his life, and giving him his personal phone number and telling him to call him once he had read the book.
Dr. Dorsey’s presentation was nothing short of inspiring as he engaged the students in a “Signing Day.” He gave them four decisions that he wanted them to make:
Decide not to miss another opportunity.
No more excuses.
Succeed… no matter what.
Be a difference maker.
I would like to thank Dr. Paula Parks and the members of Umoja that put on this excellent event for Black History Month. Thank you, Chancellor Burke, for taking time out of your busy day to speak to the students. Thank you Mary Jo Pasek and all of the staff that assisted in putting on this event. Check my blog next week for details on the rest of this event as the students continued with several workshops. We are BC!
BC Ag Ambassadors Visit Cal Poly SLO
Bakersfield College’s Agriculture Ambassadors went to California Polytechnic State University, SLO for the Agriculture Ambassador Conference last weekend. At the conference BC’s Ag Ambassadors got the chance to highlight the activities they are doing to promote BC’s Agriculture Department. Of the 14 colleges in attendance, BC was the only community college to present. They held their own with the 4-year universities and we are BC PROUD of them!
Our Ag Ambassadors also had the chance to hear from many guest speakers about the different job opportunities in the agriculture industry. With the central valley being the breadbasket of the world and Kern County the #1 county for agriculture production in the nation our students have a lot of job opportunities in this industry.
Spring semester is a busy time for our Ag Ambassadors. They will be doing outreach activities at the World Ag Expo and upcoming Career Fairs. They will also be visiting local high schools and promoting Bakersfield College’s Agriculture Department. Their goal is to help and encourage the next generation of agriculture students. Bakersfield College opens many pathways for students to succeed and the Ag Ambassadors are doing an excellent job at sharing these opportunities with future BC students. WE ARE BC!
Joe Saldivar Speaks at Kern County Science Fair
Our own Dr. Joe Saldivar, Biology department chair, has been asked to be the guest speaker at the Kern County Science Fair-2019 on March 12 at the Convention Center. The annual science fair hosts hundreds of 4th through 6th graders competing for a chance to move on to the California Science Fair. Dr. Joe as he likes to call himself, has participated in Renegade Talks and has been a valuable faculty member at BC. To check out one of Joe’s Renegade Talks click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WfznL9M16U
Bakersfield College collaborates with Ridgeview High for first Journalism Day
Educators and journalists gathered on Feb. 1 at Ridgeview High to discuss their careers in journalism and provide career development advice to Kern County high school students. BC student Paige Atkison, who recently concluded a successful semester as editor-in-chief of the Renegade Rip, BC’s award-winning student newspaper, spoke about the importance of the profession. “Journalists write the first draft of history,” she said.
Speakers also included BC journalism professors Erin Auerbach and Christina Lopez, as well as BC history professor Olivia Garcia (a longtime journalist) and CSUB journalism professor Jennifer Burger. Local journalists Nick James (Sports Director, KGET), Kelly Broderick (Producer, KERO), Erin Briscoe (PIO Kern High School District and former KBAK anchor), Mark Nessia (Bakersfield Life and the Kern Business Journal) and freelance photojournalist Nick Ellis participated as well. They spoke about their careers, the direction the profession is moving in and the importance of education. Speakers gave students advice and emphasized the skills, both interpersonal and technical, that students will need to develop to succeed in the profession. They also talked about the ways journalists can make a difference in their communities through accurate, ethical and thorough reporting.
Students studying print, digital or broadcast from East, South, Ridgeview, Centennial and Bakersfield High School attended. The first event also included a contest in which Renegade Rip editors selected first place, second place and honorable mentions in four categories from participating high schools: front page/cover design, photo, news story and feature.
Ridgeview journalism advisor Kristen Hunter-Flores and BC Professor Auerbach coordinated event, which will be held at Bakersfield College in 2020.
Greenfield Union School District Mini Science Olympiad
BC Professor Deborah Rosenthal shared photos from the mini science olympiad event which offers the opportunity for middle school students in the GATE program at Greenfield Unified School District. They met for a half day for two Saturdays. The STEM department does about 10-12 mini chemistry and physics competitions. There were over 30 BC volunteers, all of whom were either STEM or Education majors. Thank you to the volunteers for assisting in this great event! WE ARE BC!
BSO Next Program
The Performing Arts Department took part in the BSO Next program, which hosts local high school students for a ‘taste of BC’ (dinner and a chance to see various elements of the College). Last Saturday, Professor Tiner and some of his BC Jazz students performed for a group of Music students from Cesar Chavez High School. After a wonderful evening of entertainment and dining, the students proceeded to the Rabobank Theatre for a Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra concert. Kudos to Professor Tiner and his students for organizing such a wonderful event! And thank you Manny Mourtzanos for always sending me photos and videos of our performing Arts faculty and students. You are the eternal champion for the department.
BC at the Getty Villa’s College Night
Last Monday, Dr. Nicky Damania took students to the Getty Villa. A total of 20 individuals made it to the college night at the Getty. This annual event comes with a free dinner and many craft stalls for students to engage with. The group toured behind the scene at the Getty, learning how the conservationists take ancient artifacts, restore them and display them around the world. Many college students from Southern California were in attendance and enjoy the Festival of Lights, music, and the experience of a lifetime. Some of the craft stalls were color magnets, spray painting murals, creating a Turkish eye, tattoos, making olive branch halos, and learning how to make clay pottery. It looks like everyone had a great time! I’ll have to attend one down the road.
Financial Aid Fest
In honor of Financial Aid Awareness Month, BC’s Financial Aid Department hosted a resource fair in front of the CSS Building on Tuesday and Wednesday with games, food, raffle prizes, and representatives from other BC student services, including EOP&S, DSPS, and CTE.
The event was designed to encourage students to complete their financial aid applications before this year’s Cal Grant deadline, which is March 2. The Financial Aid Department is also hosting a series of application assistance workshops to help students throughout the month of February. To find a full list of Financial Aid Workshop dates, visit the Upcoming Finaid Workshops page.
Thank you Financial Aid for making education a reality for our more than 30,000 students. If students have any questions, they can email the Financial Aid office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Distinguished Speaker: Carol Swain Ph.D.
On Thursday, Distinguished Speaker Dr. Carol Swain visited BC for a series of speeches in the Levan Center, telling the inspirational story of how she rose from extreme poverty to become one of America’s leading black conservative intellectuals.
Dr. Swain, a retired professor of political science who has taught at Princeton and Vanderbilt, grew up in rural Virginia with 11 brothers and sisters in a house with no electricity or running water. She had to sleep on the kitchen floor, and all of the children had to share the same bath water that was heated over a stove. She dropped out of high school and by the age of 20 was married with 3 children. After attempting suicide by overdosing on pills, a medical professional inspired her to pursue an education.
Dr. Swain earned her GED and enrolled at Virginia Western Community College. A librarian at the college helped her with a full-time job working nights and weekends at the school library, which helped pay her way through an associate’s degree in business from Virginia Western and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Roanoke College.
“I grew up believing in the American dream,” Dr. Swain said. “I believed that if I worked hard, I could overcome the circumstances of my birth.”
She went on to earn a Ph.D. in political science at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where her dissertation became the controversial book “Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African-Americans in Congress”. To gather research for the book, Dr. Swain travelled with white and black members of Congress for a qualitative study. The book’s conclusions about descriptive vs. substantive representation and political party as a more important signifier for black representation than race earned her nationwide recognition, and it was a recipient of the D.B. Hardeman Prize and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award upon its publication in 1993.
“Within academia, I did well because I had mentors,” Dr. Swain said. “I was a single-minded seeker of my degrees.”
Dr. Swain went on to become an advisor to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and serve on the National Council on the Humanities under President George W. Bush. After retiring from Vanderbilt in 2017, Dr. Swain is now a contributor to The Epoch Times and hosts her own podcast titled Be the People.
Dr. Swain’s journey is a symbol of the transformative power of education, and what people can accomplish with the right guidance and drive. I’d like to thank BC’s Office of Student Life and the Liberty Institute for inviting Dr. Swain to campus.
Finish in 4 Welcome Event
On Friday, BC held the Welcome to Finish in 4 event an opportunity for our students to meet the Finish in 4 counselors and staff, completion coaching team (including our CSU partners) and other students in the program. BC provided guidance with program eligibility, information on how to obtain book vouchers, as well as assistance with signing and completing the Finish in 4 agreement and educational planning.
In case you didn’t know, the Kern Promise’s Finish in 4 is our joint collaboration with CSUB that supports the increase in student completion with an Associate Degree for Transfer within 60 semester units at BC. Students are then guaranteed admission to CSUB in a related major, and will complete an additional 60 semester units to earn a bachelor’s degree! The Finish in 4 efforts aim to guarantee that students can complete their transfer degree in 2 years at Bakersfield College and baccalaureate degree in the following 2 years at CSUB. Together, the goal is to move students through to the next stage of their educational and career goals in a more efficient and impactful way.
LINKS Academy Career Day
On Saturday, January 26th Connie Gonzalez (MESA Director), Cynthia Quintanilla (Counselor), Laurel Mourtzanos (Counselor), and Dr. Steve Waller (Dean of Instruction) participated in the LINKS Academy Career Day at Emerson Middle School. Connie represented BC by providing the opening remarks for the event, and several of our BC MESA students assisted the attendees with science experiments and demonstrations.
I’d like to recognize the following BC MESA students for all of their help:
Brian Aguilar, Anthony Collin, Alejandra Zapata, Kayla Scott, Ian Spark, Peter Rodriguez, Eddie Meza, Andres Orea, GemmaTrujillo, Issac Garcia, Sabrina Lugo, Jonathan Martinez
Students even had the opportunity to make slime! This event was a wonderful opportunity to engage with middle school students and showcase BC’s STEM pathway!
Porterville College Foundation Hall of Fame Dinner
Last Friday Porterville College honored softball coach Vickie Dugan, Distinguished Alumni Steve Schultz (father of BC counselor Jonathan Schultz), and others at their Foundation Hall of Fame celebration. BC’s Culinary Arts Department provided the meals for the evening. You can read a preview for the Foundation Hall of Fame celebration in last week’s blog. Take a look at the photo below as the BC team prepares for the dinner. I’m extremely proud of our Culinary Arts program as they continue to shine bright in the Kern Community. Thank you Chef Pat Coyle for sending me this photos and bragging about the students.
Dr. Nicky Damania Leads Workshop at KCCD
Dr. Nicky Damania, director of Student Life, hosted a joint districtwide workshop for all three campuses at the district office last week. The workshop was “Helping Key Faculty and Staff Understand Bystander Intervention Theories to Assist Students in Various Predicaments.”
Over the last several years, bystander intervention training has become one of the most recommended and effective strategies to address campus issues. The Step Up! Bystander Intervention Program was developed leading practitioners, using evidence-based research and theories around bystander behavior. Hundreds of campuses are using it to address a wide variety of campus issues, concerns, populations and applications. Whether its AOD use, violence, mental health or any other concern, proactive bystander intervention is something we all can use to help someone in need. This was a needed training that all three institutions felt they needed to have in order to better serve our students.
The Step Up! bystander intervention program is a comprehensive training program that was developed using leading experts, theories and concepts in bystander behavior. The foundation of the program is a 5-Step decision-making process that helps students (or any participant) walk through a logical process, starting with noticing an event and eventually taking action to help. Each step is backed by research, information and/or skill-building to help the step and the progression make sense. Thank you Nicky for making sure that everyone at KCCD stays informed!
Our very own graphic designer Eric Carillo managed to snap this GORGEOUS photo of a rainbow off the bluffs during the rain break on Tuesday. He attributed it to perfect timing, but I’m thinking he might have a knack for it.
The Rural Initiatives team met with Delano Union Elementary School leadership on Tuesday. It is crucial that BC builds equitable and early access to higher education for children in our rural community. Through a partnership with our friends at DUESD, we are going to move closer to doing just that!
BC Athletics’ Manager of Communications and Community Relations Brandon Urry tweeted a photo of his son as the new BC Batboy! We love seeing our Renegade families join in!
BC’s Maria Wright and Miguel Cuate from Academic Support Services were on “The Pulse” to explain why BC is a place for everyone and once you’re a student here, we have the support services to make sure you can be successful. Thank you Danny Morrison! If you missed the segment live, you can hear the recording online at www.thebeat1039.com!
BC’s new food trailer Gades Grub is officially here! Students and visitors can enjoy warm food from our amazing Food Services team at the beautiful Gades Grub trailer! Thank you to Stephanie Stuart and Jennifer Sanderson for all of your hard work on getting this trailer on campus, and thank you to Eric Carillo for doing such a great job on the design!
Renegades of the Weeks
Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (1/27-2/2) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week.
Paige Darstein, Women’s Tennis – Coming off a torn ACL last season, Paige had a dominating 6-0, 6-0 win in her #2 singles matchup against Reedley. Trey Harmon, Baseball – Went 7 for 16 (.438) last week in four games in which the Renegades went 4-0. Trey also had 7 RBI with two doubles and a triple for the week.
Congrats to Jasmyn Rodriguez for Winning The Bakersfield Jockey Club Award.
Jasmyn Rodriguez of BC Women’s Basketball was awarded the Bakersfield Jockey Club Award this week at the Club’s monthly luncheon at Hodel’s. The Club is a local non-profit whose goal is to honor local high school and college athletes for the accomplishments. Congrats Jasmyn! Thank you for representing BC with class!
If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11a, check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include segments BC Athletics Associate AD Keith Ford and BC Women’s Beach Volleyball student athlete Penelope Zepeda.
Segment with Keith Ford
Segment with Penelope Zepeda
Roundup of Athletics Events this week
As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click for the story on GoGades.com):