Today, we pass a milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic. While the first US death was announced on February 29, 2020, later studies found that the first US death from COVID-19 was on February 6, 2020. Since then, over 450,000 people in the United States have died due to COVID-19.
It has been a harrowing year, but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as more and more people receive the vaccine.
This week, Bakersfield College was given official approval as a site to administer to COVID-19 vaccinations. The college is engaged in discussions with Kern County Public Health to develop plans to support the vaccination effort in Kern County. To prepare for our first shipment of the vaccine, BC staff members who will be on-site to assist members of the community at the clinic got their first doses of the vaccine. I received these photos of Zav Dadabhoy, Nicky Damania, and Steve Watkin getting vaccinated.
I also wanted to share this note from Zav:
“Nurse graduated from Bakersfield College. Said it was the best thing since sliced bread. Lots of praise for the program overall, specially for Lisa Harding. I learned something new today, don’t put hand sanitizer on a glove. It destroys the protection of the glove. Thanks BC nursing!”
I am so excited that once again, BC can step up and offer support to a community that has always supported us. Here is a photo of Bill Kelly getting his vaccination. Thank you Prof. Deb Rosenthal for facilitating BC employees over 65 getting their vaccinations. I am collecting and sharing vaccination photos and videos so plz send me your photos/videos by emailing email@example.com.
Our fantastic nursing faculty and students, BC’s pandemic heroes, have already been hard at work giving vaccines at various sites throughout Kern County.
Art professor David Koeth also sent in a photo from his sister-in-law Sharon Nold, who received her vaccine from a BC nursing student at the Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley Hospital drive-through last weekend:
And Nursing Department Chair Alisha Loken shared this post on her Facebook page about her nursing students giving out vaccines:
I’m so proud of our nursing students and faculty, who are continuing to work on the frontlines of this pandemic to keep our community healthy and safe!
Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, February 6, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.
Dr. Michael Saag Breaks Down the COVID-19 Vaccine
For our first President’s Virtual Seminar of 2021, we invited special guest Dr. Michael Saag, a dean of global health at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and a prominent researcher of infectious diseases, to educate the campus about vaccines. Dr. Saag answered questions from BC students Ian Spark (Pre-med) and Kassandra Sweeney (Public Health Sciences) about the human body’s immunization process, projections of how the COVID-19 vaccine rollout will expand over the next few months, and his personal experience with contracting COVID-19 in the early weeks of the virus. Dr. Charles Daramola gave a brief introduction of Dr. Saag’s accomplishments and answered questions from students and staff in online chat about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Today, I’d like to share one of Dr. Saag’s answers from the seminar. He talks about how long he thinks the vaccine rollout might take
You can find the rest of his videos, as well as other videos from our Virtual Seminar Series, on the COVID-19 Resources page.
I wanted a share another poem from Jack Hernandez:
When death left me
in the waiting room
I ordered my usual coffee
read the morning news
as voices blathered
on the big screen
covering the wall
adjoining the locked
door I had entered
I was unsure
when my appointment
when death would diagnose
I had heard
he could be blunt
or sadly soft.
Either way I thought
I’d look him in the eye,
smile, then say,
“I have lived well
and like the wind
I will always swirl
beyond your door.”
Zav Dadabhoy Presents at Immigration Legal Services Webinar
In addition to receiving the vaccine, Zav Dadabhoy spoke at a Chancellor’s office webinar about services for undocumented and immigrant students. Zav focused his comments around the importance of a creative supportive environment for undocumented students, integrating support for students across disciplines and service areas across the campus, and keeping the community informed about their immigration rights and opportunities to support their success.
Watch the full presentation from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office for more details about the Immigration Legal Services Project. Zav’s comments start around 47 minutes into the Zoom video.
Early College Administrators Convene to Celebrate Success and Discuss Future Opportunities
As you may have seen on Twitter, I welcomed 150 administrators and counselors from our Early College partners at a virtual convening hosted by our Outreach & Early College team last Friday. I was so happy to see some of our longtime partners there like Wonderful College Prep Academy, Wasco High School, Kern High School District, Delano Joint Union High School District, and McFarland High School Early College, as well as some of our newer partners like Garces Memorial High School, Taft Union High School, and Monache High School from Porterville. It amazes me how many high schools now offer entrances to our guided pathways through Dual Enrollment on their campuses, and how we continue to push forward on an exponential trajectory to keep expanding opportunities and access for all high school students all across Kern County.
The data shared during this meeting showed that our enrollment numbers for Dual and Concurrent Enrollment continued to increase through Spring 2020, Summer 2020, and Fall 2020. As the group planned for next school year, several representatives from BC shared about pathways opportunities through CTE, Title V- Health Sciences, Kinesiology, Public Safety Training, and more. It is amazing to see the high school and BC staff working together to continue bridging the gap between high school and higher education for all students, and I am excited to see our plans for Early College implementation continue to progress within each of our partnering districts.
The meeting closed with a preview of a new online platform, DualEnroll.com, that will replace our current Dual/Concurrent Enrollment form. With the constant growth in enrollments through Dual Enrollment and Concurrent Enrollment, this new platform will help to streamline the enrollment process for our high school students, their parents, and the high school sites.
Umoja Community starts Employment Prep Academy for Students Interested in Nursing
Umoja Community is partnering with Nursing and Job Placement to offer students an opportunity to be part of the newly established Umoja Employment Preparation Academy. We are so grateful to Morgan Clayton, president of Tel-Tec Security, for funding this program for a pilot group of five students.
Over the spring semester, the Umoja students will work with Venessa Reyes, education advisor, on planning their schedule and preparing to apply to the nursing program; with Dr. Ken Robinson, leadership consultant, on identifying their strengths and growing as a leader; with Vikki Coffee, Job Placement, on preparing a resume and identifying their career interests; with Dr. Paula L. Parks, Umoja English professor, on discussing Black Man in a White Coat; and with practitioners in the medical field. Many of the speakers are associated with Dignity Hospital, where Clayton is Chairman of the Board.
Dr. Michael Williams, the first African-American COO of St. Joseph’s Hospital, spoke with students this past week. He started his career in nursing, continued his education to earn a masters and doctorate, and over a period of 14 years moved up from bedside nurse to charge nurse, chief nurse, director, then COO.
“If you really put your mind to it, you can move up. You have to take your destiny in your own hands, get out of your comfort zone, and get the necessary experiences,” explained Williams, who combines his clinical knowledge and education with experience in project management, facilities, and budgets.
“What stuck with me,” said Alexis, “was that I need to get out of my comfort zone, ask for help, and seek challenges.”
Dr. Williams acknowledged the barriers he faced in becoming the hospital’s first Black administrator and encouraged students to advocate for themselves, ask others for advice, and earn the practical experience, degrees, and overall skill set for the position they want.
Upon completing the Employment Prep Academy, students will receive a scholarship and continue the following two semesters on-site at Dignity Health. Huge thanks to Morgan Clayton, Tel-Tec; Carla Gard, Nursing; Vikki Coffee, Job Placement; Dr. Ken Robinson, Umoja Advisory Board Member; and Dr. Paula L. Parks, Umoja Coordinator for making this opportunity possible for outstanding Umoja students.
CCRC Hosts Seminar on Costs of Guided Pathways
On Wednesday, February 3, I was a featured panelist at a nationwide panel on the costs of guided pathways. The panel, which was hosted by the Community College Research Center (CCRC), featured “Redesigning America’s Community Colleges” author Davis Jenkins, as well as Anthony Culpepper, a Vice President of Administrative Services at Glendale College who was instrumental in BC’s early implementation of the guided pathways model during his time as our Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services. The moderator was CCRC Senior Research Associate Hana Lahr, and Vice Chancellor of Finance and Facilities Planning Lizette Navarette talked about the statewide trends in pathways funding.
The forum centered around a technical report from the CCRC that examined the average increased costs for implementation of guided pathways at community colleges. The report concludes that a majority of the costs around guided pathways comes from hiring more advisors to be embedded within each of the learning and career pathways. All of the colleges in the study, which includes BC, are moving forward with guided pathways during the COVID-19 pandemic due to increased retention and graduation rates and making the colleges more efficient as a business.
You can check out the video below:
Opening Day Spring 2021
Today I’d like to share two more videos from our Opening Day Spring 2021 Programming, which took place January 12-14.
BCSGA President Gian Gayatao provided the traditional BCSGA President’s welcome:
And we took a look back at previous opening days:
You can find all the videos from our Spring 2021 Opening Day programming on the BC website.
In The News
Bakersfield Californian Tours Measure J Projects
The Bakersfield Californian visited the Panorama Campus on Monday to report on the latest developments with Measure J. Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Mike Giacomini led reporter Emma Gallegos and photographer Alex Horvath on a tour of the renovations in the Campus Center, the new Science and Engineering building and Memorial Stadium while answering questions about construction timelines, infrastructure, swing space and more.
Check out the photo gallery on the Bakersfield Californian website.
For more information about Measure J, visit the A Better BC website.
Art Professor gets recognition
Joseph Tipay, Studio Art professor, was honored in Bakersfield Life Magazine. Readers were asked to nominate area educators who have gone above and beyond for their students during the pandemic.
Community Voices: Dr. Brijesh Bhambi
Dr. Brijesh Bhambi penned this piece in the Bakersfield Californian, The Solution is Inside the Box.
Dr. Bhambi discusses the need to accelerate vaccination to make sure we are safe from COVID-19. He says that the easiest and fastest way to ensure the most people are vaccinated is to allow doctors and pharmacies to give the vaccine.
“Release the vaccine to doctors and pharmacies. Relationships there are underpinned by trust and familiarity. Patient records already exist. Compliance to guidelines should be encouraged, but thrust of vaccination has to be vaccination. We should resist the temptation to overthink. Sometimes the solution is inside the box.”
Dr. Bhambi and I have been having an online conversation about COVID-19, vaccinations, and other topics at our shared blog, https://bhambiandchristian.com/.
Spotted on Social Media
EMT Program Director Brett Burton was a guest on KNZR Talk Radio, on The Law with Tony Lee:
Check out the video:
BCSGA shared this inspiring quote:
The BC Library Instagram account shared this photo of Faith Bradham and Laura Luiz (thank you to Mindy Wilmot!):
Mary Jo Pasek shared this photo in support of Go Red Day for heart disease awareness:
Isabel Castenada shared this picture of a Bridge to BC planning session with Kimberly Bligh and Ashlea Ward:
Celebrating National Girls and Women in Sports Day
This last Wednesday, February 3rd was National Girls and Women in Sports Day. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the day which is meant to “Inspire girls and women to play and be active, to realize their full potential” – as stated on the Women’s Sports Foundation website. The day was meant to highlight the stories and paths of student athletes, coaches, administrators and lawmakers to provide equitable access to sports for all girls and women. These pictures are just a small sample of the many Renegade women we celebrate who have come through our campus to be an example and pave the way for future women’s opportunities in sports. We are proud of these women and celebrate their achievements both on the field and in life.
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
the luckiest and happiest college president ever