Tag Archives: Michele Bresso

Welcoming our students and the community to BC

sonya washington monument april 16 2016

Sonya Christian April 16, 2016

Hello from our nation’s capital.  Washington DC in the spring is the best.  The glittering Potomac, the cherry blossoms…. it appears that folks in DC are out and about and the whole world has come to visit DC all at the same time.

I was at the AACC Pathways Institute with a team from Bakersfield College.  BC was one of 30 colleges selected nationwide through a competitive process to participate in a 3-year Guided Pathways initiative.  The work is focused on getting students to, and through, college quickly while enhancing their learning through coherent and structured pathways.  The three days in DC were intense, attending institute sessions and then coming together as a team to work on our homework.  I was happy to spend an hour in the national mall and walk the pathway between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument on my way to the airport.  Just perfect.  I did read, yet again, Lincoln’s Gettysberg address inscribed on the walls of the Lincoln Memorial.  Read it in my January 30, 2016 blog at http://tinyurl.com/zhnw9fb.

Day 3 AACC Pathways April 16 2016.jpg

Cindy Collier, Diane Troyer, Sonya Christian, Lesley Bonds, Jennifer Johnson, Paula Parks, Eileen Pierce, Marisa Marquez

Here are some highlights from BC in the last two weeks.

Jared Diamond speaks at Bakersfield College


Jared Diamond, Mary Jo Pasek, Jack Hernandez

On April 6th,  BC’s Indoor Theater was packed with students, faculty, staff, and community members to hear Jared Diamond give the first annual Levan Lecture, in honor of Dr. Norman Levan whose great generosity provided many scholarships for BC students, established the Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning, and created the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities, which sponsored Dr. Diamond’s talk.

The audience was enthusiastic and enthralled as Dr. Diamond’s presentation, “The World Until Yesterday: What We Can Learn from Traditional Societies”. Dr. Diamond compared modern society with traditional societies in the areas of recognizing danger, health, raising children, and solving conflict. His thoughtful and engaging talk was filled with vivid examples from his personal life and field work in New Guinea. After his talk, he answered questions from audience members and was given a standing ovation. He then signed books for the many who had brought them.

BC was fortunate to have Jared Diamond, UCLA Professor of Geography, Pulitzer Prize winner, and recipient of many awards, give the first annual Levan Lecture.  The Norman Levan Center for the Humanities intends to sponsor such outstanding speakers in this continuing series of lectures at Bakersfield College.

Thank you to Jack Hernandez and Mary Jo Pasek for helping bring this fabulous speaker to BC!



Grand Opening In Delano


Trustee Agbalog with the Delano group

On April 7th, the brand new Delano Center Library, Writing Center, and Tutoring Center held a grand opening on the Delano campus.  Thank you Trustee Romeo Agbalog and Michele Bresso for attending this event.

The project began as a joint venture two years ago between the library and academic support services who shared the vision of bringing the same services available at Bakersfield College’s main campus to the Delano Center. Through careful collaboration and planning that vision has come to fruition in the form of two, redesigned and newly furnished buildings on the Delano campus.

DelanoWritingCenter2The room formerly used for tutoring has become the new Delano Library, complete with computer lab, a variety of books and materials for check out, and enough space to offer a study area for students. Elisabeth Sundby will serve as Delano’s resident 25-hours-per-week librarian, and she will be joined once a week by other visiting librarians from BC in order to extend the hours.

The spacious, 50-unit computer lab adjacent to the new Library has been transformed into a shared area that now holds the Tutoring Center and the brand new Delano Writing Center.

Located right next door to each other in rooms 1101 and 1102, the Library, Tutoring Center, and Writing Center are a welcome addition to the Delano Center, which will certainly have a positive impact on the success of rural students in northern Kern County!

Tutoring services began at the Delano Campus in September of 2006, and have been available to students since that time. In fall of 2006, Tutoring had 7 tutors who saw 18 tutees for a total of 91 hours. Currently, tutoring has grown to include as many as 35 tutors; and these tutors see, on average, 250 tutees for more than 450 hours each semester during fall and spring. Summer statistics vary depending on classes. These statistics have Delano Campus Tutoring seeing close to 15% of the campus student body.

Monica Huyck was brought on in February 2011 as the then-part-time Tutorial Coordinator. then in August of 2011 as the Tutor Trainer and full time Assistant Professor of ACDV. Monica and Michelle have worked very hard to expand tutoring while maintaining the high standards and services of the center.  Tutoring is now available for Bakersfield College courses in rural areas.

A Sweet Partnership

em's treats with just jeff

Emily Aldritt and Jeff Green

In 2011, 11 year old Emily Aldritt started 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.

Jeff Green, president of the board of the Homeless Center, reached out to the Bakersfield Culinary Arts department to help Emily increase production to raise more money.

The Bakersfield College Culinary Arts department has helped Emily to extend her reach. Leah Carter and Suzanne Durst helped Emily’s team all get their California Food Handlers cards.

BC also opened up the Renegade Room kitchen to Emily & her team over 2 days in December, helping them bake and package the final product. Chef Suzanne’s culinary arts students chipped in and volunteered to help for an entire Saturday of producing and packaging the treats.

Today, the project’s outcome has grown to more than $10,500 donated for 2015, and Bakersfield College is proud of the partnership between the college and this young entrepreneur.

On April 2, Emily received a Youth Hero Award at the American Red Cross Real Heroes Award ceremony. I am so proud of this young lady, and excited that Bakersfield College has been able to assist her!  And Jeff Green, you are amazing and a great friend of Bakersfield College.



Women’s History and More

As Spring Fling Week ends here at BC, we address a very serious issue: rape on school campuses. On April 7 and 8, Professor Kimberly Chin and her students held a Dramatic Reading entitled: Violence in The Lives of Women. This black box theater presentation portrayed the heart wrenching facts about on-campus rape through numerous readings performed by Monique Hansen-Garcia, Jason Glenn, Ashley Neufeld, and Carlos Noriega; songs performed by Victoria Colley; dances by Evan Alvarado, Liz Bolton, Jason Glenn, and Daniel Ochoa; and dark comedy portrayed by Lily Phillips.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1 in 4 women experience sexual assault in college, and many do not report the assault due to fear of judgement, embarrassment, and blame. One scene performed by Carlos Noriega and Sara Alaniz, The Inner Monologue of a Rape, portrayed the mind of a female during her assault. These performances were the finale to Women’s History and More. Since the 1980s, Bakersfield College has participated in National Women’s History Month with a month-long series of programs presented by local and regional leaders among women.

I wrote about some of this year’s other Women’s History and More activities in a previous blog: https://bcpresidentblog.com/2016/03/19/a-whirlwind-week-at-bakersfield-college/. For more about Women’s History and More at Bakersfield College, check out their website at http://womenshistorymonthatbc.weebly.com/

Future Renegades at BC

On April 8th, Bakersfield College welcomed over 700 prospective students to our beautiful outdoor theater on campus as we hosted an open house for the Kern High School District.

After a classic Renegade Welcome in the Outdoor Theater at 09:00 AM, these prospective BC bright minds had the opportunity to participate in engaging, extended orientation style workshops.

Financial Aid 101 teaches the basics of navigating the intense world of paying for college. Student Services Campus Tours places these students directly in the invaluable departments that will guide them to academic success. College 101 encourages these students to discover life at BC through an exciting, Jeopardy-style game show setting.

Thank you to Steve Watkin and our fabulous outreach department for putting on such a great event – and showing prospective students how wonderful it is to be a Bakersfield College Renegade!OpenHouse_3

Kern High School District Open House

This event on April 8th was followed by another event on Saturday with high school students and their parents as we selected our first cohort of students for the Renegade Promise.  It was wonderful interacting with the students and their excited families.


Steve Watkin bragging about the 2,045 ASEPs


Sonya Christian with Alyssa Ramos and her parents


Sonya Christian with Janae Franklin from Independence High


Sonya Christian with Alexandra and Andrew Apatiga 

Delano Relay for Life:

After welcoming the high school students and their parents Saturday morning, I rushed over to Delano to say hello to the Relay for Life team.  Our BCDelano Team just does an awesome job with Relay for Life.  It was great connect with Loy Salarda, Helen Calip, Jason Stratton etc.  And BC took the first place in the auto race event.

Delano Relay for Life April 9 2016.jpg


My dear friends and colleagues in Bakersfield and Delano, do you see why you and I love Bakersfield College? We are….BC!


Congratulations to BC’s 2014 Leadership Academy Participants

Proud leadership moment! Pictured with me and Anthony Culpepper, BC’s Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services (2nd from left) and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, BC’s Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs (far right) are the six Bakersfield College employees in the graduating class of the 2013-14 Kern Community College District Leadership Academy.  The Academy is our district’s grow-your-own leadership development program for employees. The BC graduates of this year’s Academy are (l-r) Greg Cluff, Jason Mattheus, Craig Rouse, Lisa Kent, Richard Marquez and Laura Lorigo.


Bakersfield College’s 2014 Leadership Academy participants!


I received a letter commending our BC Leadership Academy graduates from Michele Bresso, KCCD Associate Vice Chancellor and former BC administrator and faculty member, who directs the leadership program.



Michele writes:

Six Bakersfield College employees are ready for the next step in their leadership journey after celebrating their completion of the annual Kern Community College District Leadership Academy last month. Richard, Lisa, Greg, Laura, Craig and Jason shined on behalf of BC with their commitment to learning about improved ways to serve our students. In the process, the BC team members grew their understanding of the California community college system and our district.

The BC Six joined colleagues from our sister colleges, Porterville College and Cerro Coso Community College, to participate in team projects addressing KCCD’s strategic plan goals. Talk about stepping up to the leadership plate! We are very proud of the BC contingent that worked on three different projects to support meeting student needs. One team gathered best practices from faculty and staff so that they could share great ideas with colleagues district wide. Another team addressed student needs by collecting gently worn professional clothing and then giving away the clothes to students to help them look their best in job interviews. A third team organized campus beautification days at each of our three colleges and involved employees and students in the work crews.

Strong leadership is essential to Kern Community College District. Bakersfield College can certainly be proud of the leaders in its faculty, classified and management ranks!