Tag Archives: Naina Patel

Bakersfield College – A Peace Garden of Learning, Reflection & Renewal

Have you met Dr. Naina Patel? Well, she is a quiet force in our community promoting peace and wellbeing. I got to work alongside Naina last year as she she was coordinating the Gandhi celebrations here in Bakersfield. During these celebrations, we had the fortune of having Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Arun Gandhi speak to the students in our Early College Program in Delano. What a treat! Check this out in my October 5, 2019 blog titled – Live simply so others can simply live https://sonyachristianblog.com/2019/10/05/live-simply-so-others-can-simply-live/

Here is a 9:31-minute video from Opening Week where we unveiled the Peace Garden project. If you don’t have time to watch the whole video, then start at the 6:56 timestamp and hear the message from Dr. Naina Patel and the Gandhi committee.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, August 29, 2020…a great day to be a Renegade

Friends, let me introduce you to Abel Guzman, BC’s Exec Director of Rural Initiatives. You will see why he is a “20 under 40 to watch”.

If you want to read more check https://www.bakersfield.com/bakersfield-life/20-under-40-people-to-watch-abel-guzman/article_ca10b660-db37-11ea-85b3-2fe32045cc28.html

Community Voices

Romeo Agbalog, Trustee for the Kern Community College District, wrote a great piece in the Bakersfield Californian highlighting the work the college has done to continue providing quality education to our students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the midst of widespread unemployment and economic austerity, now has never been a better time to enroll at Bakersfield College. While most of us are sheltered in place, we can take advantage of this time to upskill or chart a new career path to compete in tomorrow’s job market, or post-COVID-19 economy, and be able to do this all from the comfort and safety of your own home.”

Slowing Down

Here is another poem from the fabulous Jack Hernandez:

He did not notice
his steps were less
quick jaunty
a past tense,
then he heard
he was slowing
down to that pace
reserved for snails
and wobbling legs.

He rejected those words
even as young walkers
passed him as though
a sign stuck in place,
“slow” is a relative
term he thought,
philosophy giving him
the nudge he needed.

Panorama Creative Music Summit Goes Virtual

Presented by the Jazz Studies and Commercial Music programs at Bakersfield College, the Panorama Creative Music Summit is an annual showcase for acclaimed musicians, local performers, and BC faculty, students, and alumni performing original music and exploring a range of styles and creative approaches across the jazz-pop continuum.

Ordinarily the summit takes over our beloved Simonsen Performing Arts Center for a weeklong series of workshops and live concerts. This year, thanks to support from the Lydia Jennings Finlinson and Burns L. Finlinson Endowment of the Bakersfield College Foundation, the music summit is transitioning to an online format that will feature weekly live sessions with guest artists.

Each artist will give a 20-30 minute solo performance followed by an artist talk and Q&A with students. These sessions will be held on Zoom and broadcast free to the public via Facebook Live on the Bakersfield College Jazz Studies page.

Check out Blue Bayou performed by Josh Ottum and Kris Tiner for Opening Week.

#LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation

I am continuing to share videos from Bakersfield College’s #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation productions from June. Today, I am wrapping up with the videos from the June 17th program.

Daron Mackey, Educational Advisor with Outreach & School Relations:

Traco Matthews, Social Pastor and Adjunct Professor:

Please visit the Bakersfield College website to see more videos, testimonials and resources from the #LightACandle project.

BC Foundation presents online newsletter

Did you catch the premiere issue of the Bakersfield College Foundation‘s new newsletter, Panorama?

This first issue includes a welcome from the Foundation’s new executive director, Cheryl Scott. Previously Cheryl served on the foundation’s board of directors for 7 years, and was also active in the Measure J campaign.

Bakersfield College Foundation Executive Director Cheryl Scott and I

I also loved seeing the “Your BC Story” section of the Panorama newsletter. This issue featured Bob Meadows, Class of 1975. Bob wrote about his time writing for the Renegade Rip and how he met his wife Vicki at BC:

“I grew up at BC, I discovered my abilities at BC, I overcame challenged at BC, and I found love at BC. My life’s foundation was built at BC and has supported me ever since. Thank you Bakersfield College.”

“Your BC Story” will be a regular feature in the Panorama newsletter, and I am excited to hear from more of our proud alums. Those interested in sharing their stories can fill out the form on the Foundation website.

You can read the newsletter on the Bakersfield College Foundation’s website. Thank you Cheryl Scott and Heather Penella.

BC’s MESA Program in the news

Bakersfield College faculty and students recap the first week of virtual learning by Tyra Majors

#GoodTrouble: Celebrating the Life of John Lewis

This week, I am sharing two videos from Bakersfield College’s #GoodTrouble: Celebrating the Life of John Lewis production. These videos focus on Congressman Lewis’ political contributions.

R. Allen Bolar, BC Political Science Professor:

Michael Bowers, Vice President of Public Affairs & Government Relations at Centric Health California:

You can see all the videos from the #GoodTrouble production on the Bakersfield College website.

Opening Week 2020

This Thursday, we wrapped up our Opening Day celebration. This year’s celebration was virtual, and ended up spanning two weeks, with five days of productions.

I’d like to share my introductory remarks from Day 1 of the Opening Week festivities:

Commencement 2020

As you may know, this year the Bakersfield College Commencement celebration went virtual with a Special Televised Commencement Tribute broadcast on July 11, 2020 on KGET, Telemundo and steaming on Facebook.

Today, I’d like to share a few videos from that production.

There’s a Pathway for Everyone at Bakersfield College:

Health Sciences Program Spotlight:

Graduates Part 5:

Videos and photos from this year’s Commencement festivities, including the Early College celebration, can be found on the Bakersfield College website.

Spotted on Social Media

I wanted to share this heartwarming post from Jessie Ryan, executive vice president at The Campaign for College Opportunity:

Heart bursting: My daughter asked me to take her to Target tonight to use the allowance she had saved to buy some special school supplies – our first outing in weeks. Unfortunately, Target was closed due to a COVID case. Brooklyn was disappointed but as we drove home she saw an elderly homeless woman. Without thinking twice she produced her $20 bill and said, “Mother pull over and give it to her.” “Are you sure honey, that’s all your savings”. She didn’t hesitate, “Yes, she needs it more than me”

Endee Grijalva, Adult Education Program Manager for South Kern, modeled her new Bakersfield College mask (and fantastic Renegade Red hair!):

And in honor of National Dog Day this week, I’d like to share a few of the posts I caught from our Renegade family. Carlos Medina, Lesley Bonds, and Mindy Wilmot all shared pictures of their pets:


Throwing it back to the beginning of Renegade Athletics

We are just a few years short of the 100th anniversary of Renegade Athletics in the year 2022. Originally with just a football team founded in 1922, the department has grown to its current total of 20 men’s and women’s sports over the last century. In the process our Renegade athletic teams have captured a total of 184 team conference championships, 15 state championships and 10 national championships. In addition they have won countless individual conference and state championships in a variety of sports. Pictured above is the original 1922 Renegade football team (thanks to our fabulous BC Archives team). This makes our football program one of the oldest in the state! 

Jon Baker finds success as an agent

I wanted to share this article from the Bakersfield Californian about Bakersfield native Jon Baker, who is a successful sports agent. Jon was a star athlete at both Foothill High School and Bakersfield College.

Renegade football runs deep in the Baker family – Jon’s father, William Baker was hired as the team’s official doctor in 1979.

And Jon has continued to assist the BC football team. R. Todd Littlejohn, who was hired as BC head football coach in January, is represented by Jon and said that Jon’s connections have been helpful to him in his new role.

“He can point out people to me that I need to get involved with. When you’re gone and you’ve been away for so long, your pool of people might get smaller.

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

2019, here we come…..

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, January 5, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Gandhi Turns 150

On a planet of more than 7 billion people, it’s striking when the actions of just one individual cause a ripple effect that changes our lives. And yet there are those individuals who set seemingly unattainable goals, work their entire lives to achieve them, and inspire millions of others to follow in their footsteps.

I saw this ad for “A Tribute to Mahatma Gandhi” in the Bakersfield Californian last week.
Ravi and Naina Patel

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was inspired by his Hindu faith and national pride to become a civil rights activist, fighting to free India from the yoke of colonial rule under the British Raj. Through a lifetime of non-violent civil disobedience and leading by example, Gandhi was able to achieve independence for almost a billion people, which earned him the title “Mahatma”, or “venerable” in Sanskrit. His approach to civil rights would inspire other similar efforts throughout the world, notably Martin Luther King’s non-violent protests in the United States in the ’50s and ’60s, or Nelson Mandela’s anti-apartheid movement in South Africa in the ’80s and ’90s.

October 2, 2019, Gandhi’s 150th birthday, will be celebrated worldwide as the International Day of Non-violence, and recognized in India as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday. In Bakersfield, Gandhi’s 150th birthday will be celebrated with a year-long series of events, kicking off with a screening of the Academy Award-winning film “Gandhi” starring Ben Kingsley in the Fox Theater on Sunday, January 13 at 2 p.m.

On March 30, the Ravi and Naina Patel Foundation and the Institute for Religion, Education and Public Policy will host a Festival for Peace and Non-violence at Cal State Bakersfield’s Don Hart East Lawn. The keynote speaker for the event will be Eisha Mason, Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement for Non-violence, who will give a presentation on the life of Mahatma Gandhi.

As Gandhi famously said, “be the change that you wish to see in the world.” To be that change we must believe in ourselves and act to realize our goals.

Taking the Polar Bear Plunge

Matt Moon and BC’s Swim Team hosted a Polar Bear Swim in the chilly morning yesterday. Participants had the option of taking a quick dip in the pool before jumping right back out, or taking a 25-yard swim across the pool. Either way it sounds like an experience for the daring at heart.

The Bakersfield Californian promo’ed the event in their article “Jump into 2019 with Polar Bear Swim and Dip at BC.” Then they covered it in a piece titled, “Bakersfield College holds first Polar Bear Swim” with some great photos. Here is one — check out The Bakersfield Californian for the rest.

Alumni Al Black jumps in to BC’s Pool. Photo by Alex Horvath of The Bakersfield Californian
I ran into KCCD staff member Cynthia Munoz at an exercise class early Saturday morning – come join us in 2019!

BC Dual Enrollment shining in Santa Barbara

On Thursday and Friday (Jan. 3-4), members of the Bakersfield College dual enrollment, outreach and CTE teams attended and presented at the Get Focused…Stay Focused! conference in Santa Barbara. Dr. Anna Laven co-presented with Claudia Johnson from SBCC on dual enrollment program logistics and with Dr. Darla Cooper of the RP Group on integration of dual enrollment in Guided Pathways. Dr. Laven also facilitated a working session on dual enrollment. 

Wondering what Get Focused…Stay Focused! is?  It is a well researched curriculum that supports student introspection in college and career choices, culminating in a ten-year plan. Offered as Student Development B3, 9th grade high school students earn college credit while gaining critical insight about their strengths, aspirations and career goals. STDV B3 continues to be the largest single dual enrollment course offering at Bakersfield College, and is an important first step for any student in clarifying their path. 

Attendees from across the state learned about the course itself, as well as opportunities to make connections with strong workforce and guided pathways work. 

BC had a large group in attendance — Steve Watkin, Kylie Swanson, Savanah Andrews, Tony Cordova, Alexander Clark, Martin Perez, Dawn Mosley, Carlos Medina and Dr. Anna Laven. A special thank you to Letty Garza of Academic Innovations for hosting a Bakersfield College dinner!

BC Food Services Stands Out with Rockstar Student Employees

Stephanie Stuart and Angelica Jauregui

Stephanie Stuart, Food Service Manager, hires over 20 student employees each semester. They admire her creativity in the kitchen, and would like to be like her!

Stephanie recognized her student employee, Angelica Jauregui for the way she starts every shift with a huge smile, a wonderful attitude that she brings out in others as well, and also for her skills, mastering every station in food service over the past two years.

Measure J is bringing some much needed upgrades to the cafeteria. With that progress comes challenges in the transition, and Aa Food Services Manager, Stephanie has been decisive and creative, soliciting food truck options to keep our students well fed as they study, and even creating a BC Gades Grub food truck of our own! She and her team are also creating new menu items to meet location challenges during the renovation. Follow the food service team on social media @bcfoodscene

Fun Photos: Preparing for Spring!

We’re all hard at work preparing for Spring, but Jennifer has us pause for photo opportunity. So many smiling faces!

Sitting, from left to right: Corny Rodriguez, Steve Waller, Abel Guzman, Michele Bresso
Standing, from left to right: Sonya Christian, Liz Rozell, Dan Hall, Andrea Thorson, Rich McCrow, Bill Moseley, Carla Gard

BC Choir Sings in the Sydney Opera House

Congrats to the BC Choir for their role in helping with the premiere of The Secret of the Sea at the famous Opera House in Sydney, Australia! They are in the center–the entire seating chart was based around them!

Check out the video below to see their wonderful performance.

BC Partners with Local Employers

Meathead Movers, a company new to Bakersfield, was on campus at the end of last semester to recruit student athletes looking for part-time employment. Their company provides their student athlete employees with flexible work schedules and study time, and provides opportunities for promotion — all while emphasizing their mission, “To support student-athletes working their way through college in pursuit of their own American dream.” The company strives to build strong work ethic, accountability, integrity, as well as a sense of social responsibility.

Meathead Movers Job Fair on campus

Last semester, 34 Bakersfield College students applied for jobs at the Meathead Movers job fair, and we will partner with them throughout the coming school year. Applications are still available in the Student Employment Lab on campus. Thank you Darrell Ballard, Program Manager, Kinesiology and Domenica Trinidad, Job Developer, for organizing this effort.

Last Chance Express Enrollment

Registration Rocks at BC!

BC will host another Express Enrollment event to assist incoming and returning Renegades with registration for the Spring semester. As we like to say, “It’s possible to become a Renegade in just one day!”

Invite anyone you know who might want assistance to come to campus on January 9th between 1PM and 6PM to get on the path to a college degree, certificate or job ready skill. All they need to do to get started is show up and we’ll work with them to take it from there to success!

Sterling Silver 2019 Coming Soon

Do you have your tickets yet for the 2019 Sterling Silver Gala and Dinner? Or have you marked your calendar for March 23, 2019? To get your tickets just call the BC Foundation Office today at 661-395-4800!

Tom Gelder, Sonya Christian, Marko B. and Theo Zaninovich

Sterling Silver is a college fundraiser hosted by the Bakersfield College Foundation, and those who have attended know that the Foundation knows how to host a wonderful evening. It’s hard to believe this will be the 11th annual evening of delicious culinary creations, amazing music, fellowship, and giving — creating support for BC students.

Last year, the event took place at BC’s library, a wonderful setting for our 200 guests. A highlight of the evening was honoring Kenneth M. Byrum with a presentation of the inaugural Bakersfield College Foundation Service Medal. Ken has been on the Foundation Board since its inception in 1975, and he continues to serve and support the students Bakersfield College through his work for the Foundation. The generosity and spirit of the Byrum family was present in full force that evening , with family members coming to town from across the country.

The Byrum Family at BC

Fun Photos: Snow Bunny

Thanks to Carlos Barbaran for snapping this photo of an adorable bunny from Colorado!

Bunny in snow

Farewell to Christmas Trees

BC has once again served as a community recycling location for Christmas tree recycling. Real Christmas trees are biodegradable, which means they can be easily reused or recycled for mulch and other purposes, but make sure before you drop them off that they’re free of all your precious ornaments and decorations!

Fun Photos: Construction on Campus

New year, new progress. The old Campus Center is being demolished to make way for newer and better buildings. I can’t wait until our new campus buildings and renovations are a reality!

Fun Photos: The Talented Mr. Santos

Had a great time with Manny de los Santos this week making a video for Opening Day.

Men’s Basketball Beats Glendale

Men's Basketball Beats Glendale in Western State Classic

The Bakersfield College Men’s basketball team hosted Glendale College in their first game of the Western State Classic on Friday evening, and came away with a commanding 81-68 victory.

The Renegades got off to a fast start with a 35-21 lead at halftime. In the second half the Renegades continued to apply the pressure as Glendale tried mounting a comeback. Bakersfield never lost the lead, and led
throughout the half — at times by as many as 14 points.

Leading BC in scoring for the game was Shahadah Camp with 22 points and 5 rebounds. Anieus Medrano added 19 points and 6 rebounds.

With the win the Renegades improve to 9-6 overall on the season.  

Fun Photos: Jack Hernandez

I love this photo of Jack Hernandez preaching in downtown Lenox, MA after having a great latte! 😀

Sonya Christian