Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, July 29th and this week was a great week to be Renegade.
I traveled to Hawaii for a few days, experiencing the Aloha spirit and a sense of Ohana (family) that reminded me what a great place it is that we work and live. Bakersfield, a community that takes care of you.
Photos at the Oahu airport. Arriving and then leaving.
Close your eyes and listen to Iz perform Somewhere Over the Rainbow and feel the cool ocean breeze on your face and in your hair.
As I walked the miles along the shores early each morning, I was thinking about all the people at Bakersfield College, the city of Bakersfield and the county of Kern and felt fortunate to be living my life among folks who have an adventurous spirit, boundless talent, a love for their place, and a caring heart for their neighbor.
Mick Gleason said it best in his State of the County address on January 27, 2016
We are not defined by the price of a barrel of oil, or how much rain falls from the sky, but rather by the character of the people who live here. We have achieved great things in the past, and we are going to do amazing things in the future. As long as we continue to
embrace the pioneering spirit of those who made Kern County’s first 150 years so
successful, I am certain that our next 150 will shine even brighter…….
Kern County, be proud of who you are, but not boastful. Be bold in your dreams and your
decisions, but not rash. And whatever you do, be fearless in your resolve.
Kern County, this is for you. Bakersfield, this is for you. Bakersfield College, this is for you….today’s blog titled Live, Love, Ohana, Aloha.
Commonly known as Diamond Head, but officially named Mt. Leahi, this incredibly beautiful spot is one of Hawaii’s (and the world’s) most famous volcanic craters. Smartdestinations.com says, “At the top of the 760-foot summit, you’ll behold breath-taking panoramic views of Waikiki and the rest of the South Shore.” And travel guides always suggest that this early morning hike is always well worth it. I started the hike at 6:45 a.m. and would recommend to you to start it at 6:00 a.m. right when they open. And since Hawaii is three hours behind California, 6:00 a.m. is not all that early.
I have hiked Diamond Head several times, the first being with my dad Paul Christian who passed away in 2006. An amazing human being with a big laugh. Here is the picture from many moons ago on Diamond Head.
Life Is Not Measured By the Number of Breaths We Take,
But By the Moments That Take Our Breath Away
Talking about volcanoes and Diamond Head made me think of the Geology and Earth Sciences faculty back home at Bakersfield College. Understanding the materials that make up the earth and the expansive world we live in, minerals, rock types, the earth’s surface and its unique regional qualities and features.
I remember when I was a faculty member, and Robert Schiffman was the lead faculty in geology. And this upcoming year, one of the new 55 faculty joining BC is in Geology. Our region is the ideal learning environment for students in geology. There are unique local geological features such as the Kern River formation on the way to Hart Park, Red Rock Canyon, and Soda Lake in southeastern San Luis Obispo County.
While mentioning the Kern River, have you seen the drone footage posted by The Bakersfield Californian? I mentioned it on Twitter and It’s an absolutely stunning video. Check it out here.
BC also has the Geology Club, a student organization aimed to create a community outside the classroom for STEM and non-STEM students who are passionate about Geological, Natural/Earth and Environmental Sciences, as well as Anthropology, Archeology, and Astronomy. Members participate in group discussions and hands-on experience through field trips and have great opportunities such as scholarships and internships. #WeAreBC
I had never hiked Manoa Falls in all my visits to Oahu. What a gorgeous hike through rain forests. Definitely a must when you visit Honolulu.
Here is a cute 14-second video of President Obama visiting Manoa Falls.
BC faculty are always proud of their students
Speaking of students gaining experience through opportunity… Chemistry Faculty, Deborah Rosenthal recently was bragging about one of her students “my joy is in my student’s success” and I loved the story about Baldeep Sandhu – a BC student who has had two internships this summer. You see my dear students, BC faculty are so focused on your success. They are always watching out for opportunities for you. They watch with pride as you succeed.
The first, with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the other with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In both internships, Baldeep worked with professional engineers on projects that affect the community such as water well system, irrigation systems, reservoir liners, and maintenance assessment projects. With BLM, he said, “we went out on the field a lot and got to see many cool locations. One picture is me taking a lunch break on the edge of a cliff and the other is in a little oasis deep in public land.”
Baldeep will be back at BC for one more year to finish his engineering courses. He has applied for internships to gain experience and says because of this summer, he now has a stronger resume going forward. It’s so great to see BC students thriving in a great learning environment that our faculty and staff provide for them. #WeAreBC
December 7, 1941 is burned into our history books in letters of fire. President Franklin D. Roosevelt addresses Congress on December 8, 1941
On Wednesday, July 26, 2017 I visited again the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, the site of one of the worst tragedies in American history.
Pearl Harbor was established as an American military port in 1899, shortly after its annexation as a US territory following the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Hawaii’s role as an important trade hub and military garrison would continue to grow, making Pearl Harbor a prime target for surprise attack by a Japanese air strike on December 7th, 1941, a date that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed would “live in infamy.”
The attack on Pearl Harbor propelled the US into World War II, changing the fate of the entire planet. The events of that day forced American society to the brink of its capabilities, inspiring a myriad of important scientific and industrial breakthroughs culminating in the creation of the first nuclear weapon. Over 75 years later, the world we live in today was shaped by the bombs that dropped over Pearl Harbor.
If you have not visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial I would suggest that you do. The 25-minute video prior to heading out to the actual Memorial over the sunken battleship Arizona that has entombed over a 1000 of the 1,177 sailors and marines killed during the bombing, is very powerful and is bound to get you teary eyed. The names listed on the wall of the Memorial are those who rest below the water within the Arizona.
The announcer at the Memorial said that there are five living soldiers from the Arizona who are still alive and they have the right to be buried with their shipmates in the Arizona. She pointed out last year (2016) that J.D. Anderson joined his twin brother D.J. Anderson who was killed in the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. In the photos below you can pick out J.D.Anderson who is listed on the short wall of the Memorial and then D.J. Anderson who is one of the first listed on the large back wall.
The attack took place on December 7, 1941, a quiet sunny Sunday morning. Being the weekend, many of the offices were closed and there was a minimal contingent of soldiers on duty. The photo below is displayed at the Museum at Pearl Harbor. it compares the military strength in the Pacific of Japan to the US in 1941. Take a moment to study the picture.
Sunday morning at approximately 7:00 a.m. the new long-range radar detector installed at Opana Point on the north shore of Oahu, detected approaching aircrafts. The soldiers on duty messaged Fort Shafter in Honolulu about the approaching aircrafts. Lt Kermit Tyler who who received the message indicated that there was nothing to worry about and that the radar was picking up the B-17 flying bombers that were dispatched from California. While on practice maneuvers outside the harbor that morning, an American destroyer spotted a Japanese submarine attempting to sneak into the harbor. The submarine was fired upon, immediately reported — and ignored.
From wikipedia: The attack commenced about 45 minutes later in two waves by a total of 353 Japanese aircrafts launched by six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four sunk. All but the USS Arizona were later raised and six returned to service and went on to fight in the war. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five submarines lost, and 64 servicemen killed. One Japanese sailor, Kazuo Sakamaki, was captured.
Memorial build above the Battleship Arizona:
Visiting the Pearl Harbor Memorial reminded me of the importance of history. We need to understand where we came from in order to know where we’re going. We have a talented group of faculty in our history department…great great scholars with a remarkable focus on our students. Today let me spotlight three of the them.
Dr. Oliver Rosales who was recently awarded a National Endowment of the Arts grant for $100,000. Then, Congressman Kevin McCarthy personally asked our own Prof. Paul Beckworth to review the House’s upcoming update on the GI Bill, while Prof. Matthew Garrett just published an award-winning book on Native American children who left their reservations to live with Mormon foster families during the latter half of the 20th Century.
Here is more on the #Forever GI Bill. An excerpt from an email that Paul received.
After you and nearly 40 veteran, military, and higher education organizations signaled our strong support for #ForeverGIBill, Congress announced bipartisan legislation to improve the GI Bill. The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 includes everything we’ve advocated for and more. It will:
- Expand GI Bill eligibility to Guard and Reserve Members
- Provide full benefits to Purple Heart recipients and Yellow Ribbon benefits to survivors
- Grant additional benefits to students pursuing a STEM degree
- End the 15-year delimiting date
The Colmery Act of 2017 already enjoys 57 co-sponsors (26 Republicans and 31 Democrats) from the House and is supported by one of the largest coalition of veteran, military, and higher education organizations to date.
Can you believe Summer is almost over? Time flies when you’re at BC and having fun and especially if you’re involved with BC Summer Bridge. This dedicated team of faculty and staff has committed to making sure new students are equipped with the resources and tools they need to be successful in their first year at BC! I love all the updates and photos on social media from this incredible program… can you see why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever?
On Instagram, the Summer Bridge team shared that they did Tower Building on Monday and by Wednesday, this fun video was posted on YouTube. Check out all the fun our new upcoming students are having at Summer Bridge!
BC’s Industrial Automation Advisory Committee
This fall, we are welcoming our first senior semester of the Industrial Automation Baccalaureate students and we are all excited to see them flourish. I can’t wait to see where they land after graduation.
BC’s Baccalaureate in Industrial Automation is proof of the forward thinking of leadership at BC and in the community. Over the past few years, the Industrial Automation Advisory Committee has been on a journey… one of friends and partners who have worked to develop a curriculum that meets current workforce need and these people have made a 4-year degree at Bakersfield College possible.
This degree path is truly for our students and it’s for our community because through high demand careers with local opportunities, Bakersfield will thrive. Blair Pruett, who chairs the committee has rallied the troops to see this initiative grow. Blair has been supported by Liz Rozell and BC’s terrific faculty who work tirelessly to make things happen for our students and serve as a bridge between in the Industrial Automation program and the industry.
Committee membership includes alumni, associates and friends of the INDA disciplines and they are selected from among professional leaders of business, industry, government, and education. Thank you to the committee: Adam Alvidrez, Nathan Bender, Paul Blake, Melinda Brown, Edwin Camp, Morgan Clayton, Allen Cowart, Tim DeKorte, Tunde Deru, Patrick Free, Jonathan Geersen, Samuel Gomez, Shawn Hatton, Bill Little, Ron K’Miller, Dean McGee, Brian Miller, Ed Neilands, Paul Niemer, Fred Nilson, Brianne Pluta, Blair Pruett, Adam Stephens, Dick Taylor, Ancel Thompson, Beth Vaughn, Thomas Wilson, David Wolfer, Lisa Wong, and Walt Wiegel.
And thank you to our Industry Partners including, Aera, Stantec, Chevron, Target, Kern Steel, Dryers, Califa Farms, Bolthouse Farms, Frito-Lay, The Wonderful Company, JG Boswell, and more.
I know we’re all counting down the days to see our first graduates cross the stage on graduation night with their Baccalaureate Degrees in Industrial Automation from Bakersfield College!
Rainbow Field Day
On Wednesday July 12, all preschoolers attending the BC Child Development Center were invited to participate in a Rainbow Field Day. Learning activities were planned by our CHDB B41 lab students and supervised by staff, student interns and parent volunteers from the center. As you can see, a wonderful time was had by all. Thank you Sue Vaughn for the adorable photos!
This Week on Facebook
So proud of Clayton Fowler, BC SGA President 2015-2016
Sally Sterns is already gearing up for the next Gardenfest so there’s guaranteed to be plenty of goodies and treats for all attendees.
Our previous Gardenfest was featured in my blog here last April and it was great that the event took place around Earth Day, as well.
As soon as the date for the next Gardenfest is announced, I will be one of the first to announce it right here on my blog so stay tuned.
Next, Welding professor, Jeremy Staat, posted what his Summer Camp students have been up too! How awesome is this?
And finally, I saw this post by Art faculty, Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio featuring Sandro Botticelli’s artwork. One of my favorite pieces from this great artist is Primavera, which means Spring. In the center, we see Venus in a sacred grove or garden where the treeline almost creates a halo around her. Wikipedia says that the painting was created in the late 1270s or early 1480s, but that datings vary. It also says this piece is “one of the most written about, and most controversial paintings in the world.”
My favorite Botticelli is the Primavera which I saw at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Details of Botticelli’s life are sparse but he apprenticed at the young age of 14 and in 1481, Pope Sixtus IV had Botticelli and other prominent Florentine and Umbrian artists to fresco the walls of the Sistine Chapel. For more, check out
Distinguished Young Women of California
Distinguished Young Women is a national scholarship program and the official website states the goal is to inspire “high school girls to develop their full, individual potential through a fun, transformative experience that culminates in a celebratory showcase of their accomplishments. Distinguished young women strives to give every young woman the opportunity to further her education and prepare for a successful future.”
Congratulations to Kimberly Marquez of Bakersfield who was named “Distinguished Young Woman of California” for the Class of 2018. Kimberly will go on to represent California at Nationals! You can see the whole list of this year’s participants at http://ca.distinguishedyw.org/participants/.
Congratulations also to Cathy Abernathy who is California’s Distinguished Woman of the Year. Thank you to our Mayor, Karen Goh, another brilliant Bakersfield woman, for the photo which includes both Kimberly (back row, 4th from the left) and Cathy (front row, right side).
It’s great to see local women from Bakersfield being acknowledged for the incredible things they’re doing. At BC, I’m surrounded by smart, passionate, intelligent, creative, and inspiring women who do wonderful things each day. Women such as Liz Rozell and Connie Gonzales who are two women engineers, passionate about STEM and inspiring young women to get involved in STEM careers. There are women leaders all around us, both at BC and in Bakersfield.
Did you see the highlight piece on District Attorney, Lisa Green by ABC23? She is not only the first female D.A. in Kern County, but also a distinguished and inspirational female leader in our community. The article mentions of the 58 District Attorneys in California, only 18 are women. View the video clip here.
BC Renegade Clappers bringing smiles to India
A woman from Bakersfield named Sharon recently traveled to India to visit elementary school children and teach them about Bakersfield. When she contacted BC and requested anything we wanted to share with the kids, our team knew exactly what would make them smile. BCSGA Hand clappers, BC stickers, and a pendent for the classroom! These photos are sure to warm your heart. Thank you Sharon for sharing the spirit of BC.
Renegade, Tyrone Crawford
Renegade Alumni and Dallas Cowboy, Tyrone Crawford was highlighted in an interview on KGET on Wednesday where he said, “i remember every single second in Bakersfield. It’s one of the best times in my life.” He went on to mention good years, great coaches, and great teammates. View the clip at KGET.com!
Article in the LA Times
On my flight to Honolulu, I grabbed the LA Times and saw this piece about the struggles of California farmers to adjust to mechanization as its labor force continues to decline. Some farmers are even converting their fields from labor-intensive crops such as grapes or vegetables to almonds, which can be easily shaken from the tree mechanically.
For some crops, even mechanization cannot replace the efficiency of human labor. Stockton’s asparagus industry, for instance, is harvesting only 21 percent of the asparagus spears it used to 15 years ago, as there have been no technological innovations to replace the efficiency of human judgment needed to sift through perennial asparagus beds to determine which are ripe.
As the world population continues to grow and create less arable space for growing crops, California will have to reform its agricultural processes to meet the demand and continue to feed the world. In the article, UC Davis economist Ed Taylor says that “California agriculture just isn’t going to look the same… you’re going to be hard-pressed to find crops grown as labor-intensively as they are now.”
What does this mean for our valley? Read the whole article, “As California’s labor shortage grows, farmers race to replace workers with robots” at latimes.com.
What about Neo?
When I was in Hawaii I did several conference calls with folks back on campus. One call was with Dylan Wang, Monika Scott, and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg. Dylan and I were on the phone prior to Monika and Nan getting on so I was telling him about Hawaii and asked him his thoughts on relocating the BC campus to Oahu. To which Dylan responded “Yes” with enthusiasm….then paused “but what about Neo?” 🙂
Well, Neo is discovering high places much to my mom’s dismay and she laments “Sonya, when are you going to teach him some manners.” To which I responded that her grand daughter was spoiling him. Of course, in her eyes, my daughter can do no wrong.
And it was such a treat to have my daughter at home two weeks in a row. She will be back again next week. She was in Canada this past year and is now back in LA. Just the wonderful aspects of life!
This is what Neo does when we put him outside to do his thing…..Instead he plops himself in front of the water cooler that is on the patio.
In case you are wondering, he is 43 lbs now.
Live, Love, Ohana, Aloha
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
the luckiest and happiest college president ever