Tag Archives: Norma Rojas-Mora

BC faculty & Staff — peacemakers, healers, restorers

The eastern sky, friday morning, was unusually soft given that it was bringing in a scorching hot day of triple digit temperatures. Here is a photo gallery from 5:00 a.m. friday morning to 5:40 a.m.

Softness is what I seem to be seeking these days in every context of my life. So, I enjoyed getting this Dalai Lama quote in a text from a colleague. Yes, we need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers.

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, July 11, 2020 … a great day to be a Renegade

I finally watched the musical Hamilton on Disney Plus yesterday. Whoa! Lin-Manuel Miranda… what a genius! I read Ron Chernow’s Hamilton in preparation to watch the show on stage. Then COVID happened and what a delight it was to be able to watch the original cast with Miranda himself playing Hamilton. Check out this one-minute youtube clip from Hamilton with Aaron Burr performing Room Where it Happens.

A Message About International Students

As someone who came to the United States as an international student, I wanted to take a moment and talk about how important the F1 Student Visa program is for our country’s economic strength and the holistic wellbeing of our world.

The United States is home to some of the best institutions of higher learning, and thousands of people come here every year to take part in groundbreaking research and engage with a diverse range of perspectives. International students are some of our country’s most successful entrepreneurs. Approximately 25 percent of the 91 start-up companies worth more than $1 billion had a founder who came to America as an international student, and international students contribute $41 billion to the economy every year.

Important political leaders from around the world came here to study. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, two former UN secretaries-general, and many world leaders have studied at our universities. This is the best way to build global understanding and fellowship and also to inspire communities around the world on the value of democracy and a free society.

Within the next few weeks, I hope that we can find some common ground to keep our international students in the US while safely preventing the spread of COVID-19.

This issue has really gotten to me so much it has put me in the space of the Hamilton inspired phrase #ImmigrantsWegettheJobDone.

Check out Lin-Manuel Miranda at the White House in 2009 (yes, several years prior to the play premiering off-Broadway) while he was working on the lyrics and music for Hamilton based on Ron Chernow’s book. A key line for me was “Another immigrant coming up from the bottom.” Check it out.

Commencement & Paint the Town Red

Marketing Director Norma Rojas delivers BC swag to help Paint the Town Red

Our 106th Commencement will be broadcast tonight, July 11, at 6 p.m. on KGET Channel 17, or at 7 p.m. on Telemundo Valle Central Channel 13 (with antennae, 17.3). This event will also be live-streamed on social media as well.

I look forward to sharing snippets from this broadcast with you in future blog posts – our team has done a phenomenal job putting together a great show to celebrate our amazing graduates! Thank you Norma Rojas-Mora for leading this work along with Nicky Damania.

This week, we celebrated our Early College graduates from Wasco High School and the Wonderful College Prep Academy. I will be sharing videos from that celebration starting in next week’s blog as well.

Also this week we were very busy delivering yard signs and flags to Paint the Town Red in support of our graduating class of 2020.

On Memorial Hospital Facebook: The sun is shining on the graduating class of 2020! ☀️ We’re excited to congratulate this year’s Bakersfield College graduates! We wish you the best and know your futures will be bright!

Ken Keller, Robin Mangarin-Scott

And here is Adventist Health celebrating the class of 2020

Community Voices

Outgoing BCSGA President Samantha Pullido wrote a piece in the Bakersfield Californian about why Bakersfield College is the best college.

“I want to thank each and every person from BC — from the department assistant who answered all my questions, to each faculty member, each counselor and all the individuals who made sure I was set up for success and on the path to achieving my goals. While I am going to miss my BC family, I know I have been equipped with the skills and educational foundation I will need to succeed on the next step in my journey. Why? Because BC is the best college.”

Thank you for your kind words, Samantha. And I want to wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors at Cal State Berkeley – I look forward to seeing what amazing things you will do during your time there and beyond.

Juneteenth

This week, I am sharing three videos from strong women that were part of our June 15 program.

Jennifer Achan, BC Financial Aid Director:

Kimberly Mallory, Medical Administrator:

And this video of Maya Angelou‘s poem “Still I Rise.” Thank you, Valerie Urso, for your work in putting together this wonderful video:

Please visit our Juneteenth website for all the videos from each day of programming, as well as additional information and resources, and testimonials from Bakersfield community members and BC faculty, staff and administration.

Celebrating Corny & Sandi

I wanted to share a few more videos from our retirement celebration for Corny Rodriguez and Sandi Taylor.

Here is my introduction from the event:

And photo roll for Corny Rodriguez:

Photo roll for Sandi Taylor

You can see all the videos from this celebration on the President’s Events website. (Click on “Staff and Faculty Events.”)

Express Enrollment

The Office of Outreach helped approximately 300 students with registering in classes at BC during our express enrollment event on Wednesday. Thank you to Ashlea Ward for helping organize the event, the Marketing team for helping promote the express enrollment on social, and all of the counselors and ed advisors who got our students ready for classes in the fall.

Be Red Cross Ready

The Levan Institute’s series of lectures with the American Red Cross was a huge success this week. The American Red Cross spent three days teaching people in the community some survival essentials for COVID-19, earthquakes, wildfires and extreme heat.

The Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning provides essential courses for all members in the community to enrich their understanding of the world. The Levan Institute course offerings for Fall 2020 will be announced on Sunday, July 19th. For more information, visit the Levan Institute website.

Thank you to the Red Cross and Suzan Pinza of the Levan Institute for putting together these important workshops.

Measure J Update

This week, I was elated to find out that one of the interns working with AECOM on Measure J construction projects is a former BC student.

Bryson Zuspan, a senior at San Jose State studying civil engineering, will be one of two interns helping AECOM on the new Campus Center, Science and Engineering building and other renovation projects. Diana Johnson, a Vice President with AECOM, shared this message from Bryson:

“Before transferring to SJSU, I spent a great deal of time at Bakersfield College figuring the right path for my career. As luck would have it, I have the opportunity to work at AECOM and be a part of a project for my old community college. It feels great to give back to the institution that taught me so much and gave me the resources to become successful in university.”

Thank you to Bryson and AECOM for giving back to the Home of the Renegades!

I also wanted to share these photos that our Astronomy faculty Dr. Nick Strobel took of some of the construction on campus:

Renegade Student Experience

Ramon Carreido, a student worker in the BC Marketing Department, has launched a new podcast offering a student perspective on everything that’s going on at BC. For the first episode of the Renegade Student Experience, Ramon talked to his swim coach Matthew Moon about the swim team’s recruitment process and how they reacted to the season being shortened by COVID-19.

Thank you Ramon and Coach Moon for sitting down to have this conversation. I look forward to more conversations between Ramon and other BC faculty and staff in the future.

Fun Social Media

Our Director of Rural Initiatives and the Delano Center, Abel Guzman, had a nice July 4th holiday with his family:

Dean of Instruction Billie Jo Rice walked the Golden Gate Bridge with her mom. Good job, ladies!

Closing Week

On Monday of Closing Week, we looked back at all of our past Presidential Leadership Award winners:

On Tuesday, we heard from Academic Senate President Steven Holmes:

Also on Tuesday, we shared a message for our students from BC Faculty and Staff:

 

Please see our Closing Week website for all of the videos from this year’s celebration. You can also see videos from previous year’s closing and opening days on the President’s Events website.

Athletics

Blake van Uden Headed to New Mexico Highlands University

Blake van Uden from Renegade Men’s Basketball announced this week that he is headed to play basketball and continue his academic career at New Mexico Highlands University located in Las Vegas, NM. Blake played the last two seasons for Coach Rich Hughes, coming all the way from New Zealand to become a Renegade. Blake’s father also played basketball at BC, making the van Uden’s a multi-generational Renegade family. We are excited for Blake and thank him for his contributions to Renegade basketball and our campus this last few years.

Keep Your Zoom Game Updated with New Backgrounds

Elevate your Zoom game on your next video conference call with these official Renegade themed backgrounds! You may also click here to save them to your desktop.

Click Here to learn how to use custom backgrounds on Zoom.

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

June – A Historic Month. June 12, 1967 Loving v Virginia, June 19, 1865 Black Independence Day

History buffs celebrate June 12th as the “Day of Loving” commemorating the landmark 1967 Loving v. Virginia case under Chief Justice Earl Warren. In a unanimous decision, the Court held that distinctions based on race were generally “odious to a free people” and were subject to “the most rigid scrutiny” under the Equal Protection Clause.”  https://www.oyez.org/cases/1966/395

“LIFE photographer Grey Villet met the Lovings (Mildred and Richard) in 1965, before the landmark case went to trial, when he was sent on assignment to document the day-to-day world of the couple. He captured a simple story, a love story. He took photos of the Lovings watching TV together, playing with their kids and kissing. The photos ran in a 1966 issue, providing a rare look into the private lives of a couple that would have such a lasting impact on the laws of the United States.” Read more … https://www.history.com/news/mildred-and-richard-the-love-story-that-changed-america

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, June 13, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade

Juneteenth Celebration

We had another active week at the Virtual Home of the Renegades as we continue our conversation and celebration leading into Juneteenth.

On Wednesday, Bakersfield College invited the Bakersfield Police Department to sit down for a live conversation with Danny Morrison.  As the national dialogue on police training is more prominent than ever, BPD spoke about their partnership with Bakersfield College and commitment to high quality training for Kern’s first responders.  Chief Greg Terry and Assistant Chief Joe Mullins referenced our current “Principled Policing” training and the value of the Transformational Policing Model in advancing trust between the police department and public. 

If you missed it, you can still check out the stream here: https://www.facebook.com/dannymoshow/videos/3250895348300092/

Thank you to Dr. Tommy Tunson, BC’s Director of Public Safety Training, for bringing the Transformational Policing Model to BC and working to scale it across the state.  Check out his introduction to the panel discussion below. 

On Thursday evening, the Bakersfield Unity Rally was held at St. Peter Ministries in East Bakersfield. Dozens gathered to hear from political leaders, community activists, and students on the power of listening.

The theme of the evening was “if you see something, say something.”

This important community dialogue is just one of the many that have taken place over the last two weeks.  The diversity of speakers reflected the diversity of our community. It also highlighted the unity that exists and the willingness to continue to engage in dialogue and find solutions to various issues we can no longer be silent about, including law enforcement reform, implicit bias, and racism within Kern County.

As Traco Matthews reminded us, “This shouldn’t just be the burden of black people (to work towards equality),” he said. “It should be a mandate for every citizen of the United States of America.”

T-

Bakersfield is so lucky to have NaTesha “T” Johnson, Michael Bowers, Traco Matthews, and other visionary leaders who are leading the way toward healing in our community.

I was at an all-day accreditation commission meeting and therefore was not able to attend in person — here is a video message that I did for the event.

Message from President Sonya Christian for the Unity in Community Peace Rally

The message of listening as a form of healing and showing respect for one another to promote building a better community is part of the call to action Bakersfield College is engaging in through its Juneteenth Conversations and Celebrations.

Thank you to our community members who are promoting BC’s #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation.  Check out their videos:

Next week, Bakersfield College has a full slate of virtual activities planned to commemorate Juneteenth, marking the end of slavery in the United States.  Mark your calendars and tune in each evening at 6:00 p.m. to join us live as we hear from local, statewide, and national leaders, as well as our own brothers and sisters right here in Kern County as we honor the moment and #LightACandle to illuminate the pathforward

Be sure to keep up with the events on our website and use our hashtag to keep the online conversation going.

Thank you NaTesha T Johnson for always being a friend to BC!

NaTesha T Johnson is a community leader who embodies unity and community.  When called to serve on Boards, T is at the table.  When asked to support a community event, T is at the table.  When asked to help inspire and grow the next generation of community leaders, T is at the table.  When BC calls to ask for support and engagement, T is at the table.  A former Renegade cheerleader, T continues to be committed to Bakersfield College.  (T, thank you for your support of BC’s#LightACandle A Juneteenth Conversation.  Your enthusiasm, bright spirit, and honest insights will help open the dialogue on what it means to be black in the workplace. )

Join us June 15-19 to hear her testimonial.

Monday, June 15, 6pm: Tune in to Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook for a livestream presentation.  Among others you can expect to hear from: Congressman and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Congressman TJ Cox, Congressman and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.

Tuesday, June 16, 6pm: Bakersfield College hosts a third #RealTalk on Race in America Discussion with moderator Danny Morrison.  This week, you’ll hear from the youth leading the movement right here in Kern County.  The panelists include: Caleb Warren, 13; Ja’Nell Gore, 20; and Amaya Williams, 19. Ja’Nell is a BC student who writes for South Kern Sol, and Amaya is a BC student athlete in track & field. I am so proud of our BC students who will be speaking up, and I hope you will tune in to support them.

Wednesday, June 17, 6pm: Tune in to Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook for a livestream presentation.  Among others, you can expect to hear from: Supervisor Leticia Perez, Assemblymember Vince Fong, and Kern County Chief District Attorney Investigator Lyle Martin.

Thursday, June 18, 6pm: Tune in to Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook for a livestream presentation.  Among others, you’ll hear from Assemblymember Rudy Salas, and African American Network of Kern County Director Dee Slade.

Friday, June 19, 7-9pm: Tune in to Danny Morrison Media and KBAK’s social media for a live celebration of Juneteenth with local artists and musicians.  

  • 7-7:30pm: Welcome from emcee Danny Morrison with live music
  • 7:30pm: Tune in for our formal program to hear from Bakersfield College, the Bakersfield Police Department, the Kern County District Attorney, and more.
  • 8-9pm: End your week with live music and a celebration of Black liberation

Sunday, June 28, 4-5pm: Save the date and plan to tune in to KBAK for our final program to wrap up Bakersfield College’s #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation program.  

BC faculty on the world stage

Prof. Jeff Newby was invited to address a Global Awareness class at Kansai University in Osaka, Japan. Elvita Sensei, a faculty member at Kansai, asked Jeff to speak on his experiences with COVID-19 in the US/California/Bakersfield and the history of pandemics in general. After a brief introduction, he explained how COVID-19 follows very similar patterns to pandemics of the past, and briefly talked about some of the world’s most disastrous diseases – Bubonic Plague, Influenza, and the Pandemic Spanish Flu of 1918. The focus of his lecture (which went from 10:50 pm – 12:00 am due to the time difference lol), however, was on why COVID is affecting the U.S. so much worse than Japan. Her students seemed particularly interested in this. 

The discussion covered a variety of factors, but the conversation steered toward culture as a huge contributing factor. There were many giggles when he explained that his preferred method of greeting family and friends was a big hug – an obvious no-no in the time of COVID. It was a good, important reminder that no matter where one might be on the planet, we are truly all in this together: one global community in desperate need of empathy and understanding.

BC Hosting Amazon Day

Amazon will be hiring full-time/part-time associates in Bakersfield. They plan to fill upwards of three thousand positions by August 2020 in Bakersfield!

Bakersfield College’s Student Employment Office has partnered with Amazon to host a virtual series promoting Amazons upcoming hiring recruitment. Representatives from Amazon will provide step-by-step information regarding the application, requirements, expectations and benefits for our students and the community.

Pre-registration is required and seats are limited to 500 per session. There will be 4 sessions in June on the 17th and 24th. Links to the webinar will be sent via email to all registered attendees only. To register, please fill out the Amazon Day Pre-registration form.

You can also learn more about this event through KGET and 23ABC‘s coverage.

Online Teaching Certificate offered

BC is excited to announce the launch of the Certificate in Online Teaching.

The program starts with the first course EDUC B30 – introduction to online learning environments. This course is intended for current and future educators as well as anyone interested in online teaching and instruction.

For more, visit https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/onlineteaching.

Parent Info Night

Join Bakersfield College for Parent Info Night! A time for parents of potential Renegades to learn more about Bakersfield College, resources, financial aid, and ways to support your students as they embark on their next educational chapters.

Sessions will be held on June 16 (English) and June 18 (Spanish). Both sessions are from 6-7 pm.

Register online for the English or Spanish session.

Renegade Pantry

BC’s Office of Student Life continues to provide food, hygiene products, and clothes items through the Renegade Drive-Thru Pantry! Students can sign up online or have a question? Email thepantry@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

Closing Week Videos

The Project HireUP team received one of the President’s Leadership Awards:

We took a break on Thursday to stretch and enjoy some photos from the past year:

We shared this video message from the Kern Promise team:

Athletics

CCCAA Board of Directors Adopts Athletics Plan for 2020-21

Last Friday, the California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) Board of Directors unanimously approved a three-part plan to allow the state’s community colleges a return to intercollegiate athletics for the 2020-21 academic year while being directed by health guidelines from the state of California. 

To read the official release from the CCCAA click here: https://www.cccaasports.org/about/Board_adopts_athletics_plan

To read the article written by Clay Cunningham in the Californian click here: https://www.bakersfield.com/sports/college/cccaa-moves-forward-with-fall-sports-plan-expects-final-decision-by-july-17/article_07101556-a776-11ea-85eb-43557ba4722d.html

Memorial Stadium at Dusk

Check out this shot of Memorial Stadium on a clear evening this last week at dusk taken by Brandon Urry. We are all eagerly waiting for a return of all sports – including Renegade Football!

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

Spring is heating up at BC

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 27, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Thinking of Sri Lanka

While the rest of the world was celebrating Easter Sunday with their families, the people of Sri Lanka were fighting a senseless tragedy.

As of Tuesday, more than 300 Sri Lankans were reported dead and 500 more were injured in a series of eight coordinated attacks on churches and hotels, according to an article by Vox. Six of the eight attacks happened in the capital city of Colombo, and attacks also occurred during Easter Sunday church services in Negombo and Batticaloa. The Guardian published a timeline and visual guide to the bombings, which are being blamed on terrorist groups seeking retaliation for the attack on Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand in March.

Sri Lanka is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, located southeast of the Tamil Nadu province on the Indian subcontinent and close to Kerala, the area where I grew up. I last visited Sri Lanka in 2011, and my heart goes out to all the people who have lost loved ones in the attacks.

Moments like this remind me of Mahatma Gandhi, whose 150th anniversary is being celebrated around the world in 2019. He elevated human consciousness by recognizing our infinite capacity for kindness and dignity to counter our species’ infinite potential for violence and devastation.

At BC, wellness and community are part of our core values, and our faculty and staff inspire thousands of students every day to be beacons of light out in their families and communities, spreading love, knowledge and kindness.

In the wake of senseless tragedies such as these, it’s important to consider ways that we can come together to build bridges even in our differences. The battle against hostility and divisiveness starts in our hearts, with our family and friends, in the classroom, outside the classroom — and education is the tool that can help us understand our differences and yet unify us as a people.

My mom and I spent Christmas 2011 in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and split our time between Batticaloa and Columbo, Here is the 200-word piece featured in the 2018 Christmas Edition of The Bakersfield Californian.

Christmas 2011 with my mom Pam Christian in Sri Lanka (Ceylon)

Notre Dame Cathedral Catches Fire

Last week, the world mourned the partial destruction of a historical landmark, as Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral went up in flames.

Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral, most beautiful Cathedral in Paris.
The Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral is a French Gothic style church built to honor the Virgin Mary. Construction on the cathedral started in 1160 AD, and it’s considered one of the greatest architectural achievements in world history.

The roof of Notre Dame caught fire on the evening of April 15 and continued for 15 hours, causing significant damage. However, a lot of the core structure of the building was saved, and there were no deaths or injuries in the fire.

Thanks to approximately $1 billion in donations, the cathedral will be restored to most of its previous glory, but this historic building that has existed for more than eight centuries will never be the same.

Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference

Bakersfield College was extremely proud to be a part of this year’s annual Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference, which was chaired by our very own Director of Communications Norma Rojas-Mora!  Norma put her heart and soul into this event, and it was easy to see her touch in so many different areas.

The Women’s Business Conference was celebrating its 30th anniversay and Norma asked me to introduce the video. Here it is.

The year was 1989. 

Imagine a group of women, twenty-something and thirty-something, coming together at the Home of the Renegades, talking about what it was like to be a women working in our community….. talking about work environments that may or may not have been supportive of women and mothers, talking about gaps in opportunities for women, about behaviors that were considered unacceptable only because you were a woman….talking about general societal issues of the time.

Imagine these women…exceptional professionals,  wanting to transform our community by  empowering all women, but particularly those who were young and just getting started in their professional career…..unleashing the power that is a woman –  helping women Believe in the Power of You.

Phyllis Hullett of Bakersfield College came up with the idea of a conference for women.   She was known to move with conviction, and once she started on a path no obstacle, however large, however daunting could deter her from reaching her destination. But Phyllis was certainly not alone.  She recruited co-conspirators, Lynn Hall, Kay Meek, Cindy Pollard, Sheryl Barbich, Cynthia Icardo, Judy Salamacha, and Mary Jo Pasek. These women became the co-leaders, the Mothers of the first Women’s Business Conference here in Bakersfield. 
The title – “Options Unlimited.”

To honor this 30-year anniversary and the founding mothers, we have a short video. Let’s quiet our minds, breathe in and out, and immerse ourselves in our history as told by some of the 7 visionary women leaders from our community, who first made it happen. 

Thank you Manny de Los Santos and Monika Scott for putting together this video.

I was also asked to introduce this year’s Keynote speaker, Shannen Doherty.  Here are excerpts…

I am here to introduce to you a woman who has grown up in the public eye….. no easy task.  A woman who has engaged with life fully, exuberantly, fearlessly, passionately, ….. and yet with a quintessential sense of openness and vulnerability.  

In 1991 young America fell in love with Brenda Walsh, the young woman who moved with her family from Minnesota to Beverly Hills where she tries to fit into the lifestyle of the rich and famous. 

In 1998 America was Charmed by Prudence “Prue” Halliwell, a powerful and responsible witch who protected the innocent and defeated the forces of evil.

In the past week, as the Shannen Doherty story unveiled itself to me through third party narratives, I discovered the sheer power and boldness in this “petite” 5 ft 4” person who appeared to mesmerize the world around her ….whatever world that might be at that time.

In the most recent chapter of her life, Shannen Doherty teaches us about overcoming severe adversity.   

Falling down is an inevitable part of life.  But getting up and engaging with life with a ferociousness when it appears that you don’t have a drop of life remaining in you….. now that is the story of our keynote speaker.

From becoming a child actress and financially supporting her family to building a booming television career, to receiving a devastating cancer diagnosis, and later slaying the disease and entering remission, Shannen Doherty is living proof that she is not defined by her lowest moments but by the absolute drive to lift up, take off and soar high.

I am also struck by her spirit of hope and gratitude…. Her propensity for creativity, her fearlessness in trying new things, and her bravery in sharing her journey. America fell in love with Brenda and Prue decades ago, but I find myself in awe of the woman Shannen Doherty is today: Survivor, animal rights activist….. inspirational and fearless.

And one day she discovered that she was fierce, and strong, and full of fire – and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears. [Post theshando, March 8, 2019..quote attributed to Mark Anthony]

Bakersfield, I give you the indomitable Shannen Doherty!

shannen doherty

In her honor, the conference focused on encouraging women to be proactive about their health and get mammogram screenings.  It is so easy for us to focus on others, our jobs, our families and forget about our own self-care.  I was extremely honored to be a part of an event with this message, and also very proud of all of the hard work Norma put in!  It was a wonderful event!

women's conference

Andrea Thorson was a rock star with her presentation. I had a young woman who rushed up to me and said that I had a great dean at BC and that she was just coming from Andrea’s presentation. We are BC!

Andrea Thorson

Early College Initiative Award Presented at SGA Student Leadership Dinner

For the first time, dual enrollment students were included in our annual SGA Student Leadership Awards Dinner. The Early College Initiative Award was created in a collaboration between our Dual Enrollment and Student Life departments to recognize high school students who have shown early initiative in taking college courses and starting on their college pathway. Out of many nominations that came in from across all high school districts, five finalists were selected to attend the awards dinner with their families, nominating instructor, and principal.

Osvaldo Casillas and Kathy Rowland
Kathy Rowland and Osvaldo Casillas

The first recipient of the award was Osvaldo Casillas from Mira Monte High School. He was nominated by dual enrollment instructor and BC English Adjunct instructor Kathy Rowland who wrote, “Osvaldo continuously demonstrates a keen dedication to attendance, thorough completion of assignments, and thoughtful contribution to class discussion/analysis.  For almost 4 years, he has strategized a plan for post-secondary education knowing that he will make strides in engineering to broaden opportunities both for himself, family, and his mother who has been detained in Mexico for an extensive timeframe. Nonetheless, he has found a method, a coping mechanism that harnesses all his personal struggles and heartaches into the surety of an academic pathway to success. He is one of the finest young men I have ever met in my 20 years of teaching.”

Mariano Balbueno with Mario Nunez and Susana Salazar (Counselor)
Left to right: Mariano Balbueno, Mario Nunez, and Susana Salazar (Counselor)

The second recipient was Mariano Balbueno from Delano High School. Mariano was nominated by his dual enrollment instructor Mario Nunez who wrote, “Mariano has completed a total of 10 dual/concurrent enrollment courses, and is currently working on four more during this second semester of his Senior year. He has earned a total of 32 general education credits towards an associate degree, all while he has been in high school.  At the end of his senior year, Mariano will have earned a total of 44 college units.”

Finalists with Early College Team
Early College Initiative Award finalists and the Early College team.

Both students received BCSGA student leadership medals that they will be able to wear with pride at their high school graduations this spring. As we continue to embrace our early college students into our campus culture, events such as this are such an amazing way to welcome our high school students into our Renegade family, and to show everyone on our campus just how much our students and our communities benefit from early college opportunities.

Second Annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conference

The 2nd Annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conference took over the Panorama campus this week to honor the history of Chicano Studies programs and the 50th anniversary of the founding of MEChA.

This year’s conference was expanded to three days, packed with panels, speakers, art, music, and film celebrating Chicano culture. Octavio Barajas brilliantly organized all of the programming that happened between Tuesday and Thursday.

Jess Nieto was an activist, philanthropist, and instructor who founded the Chicano Studies program at BC in the 1970s. He also founded Heritage for America, a non-profit organization that helps immigrants with achieving citizenship.

When Nieto passed away just before his 70th birthday in 2017, a team of educators who were inspired by his contributions to BC and the Chicano community founded this conference in his name. The theme for this year’s conference was based on the MEChA motto of “Self-Determination for the Liberation of Our People.”

Corny Rodriguez speaking
Corny Rodriguez speaks passionately about MEChA.
Four students sitting at table with hands folded
Project Conexiones students Edith Mata, Jovana Espinoza, Jennifer Lule, and Erick Plata give a presentation in the Levan Center.

Students from the newly-created BC organization Project Conexiones talked about the founding of their group, which seeks to create a bridge between MEChA, LUPE, and other campus organizations that support Chicano and undocumented students through their education.

Three people sitting at table
Left to right: Dr. Mark Martinez, Steve Barber and Emily Gonzales host a panel on the life of Ray Gonzales, the first Chicano elected to state office in Kern County.

CSUB political science professor Mark Martinez spoke of Gonzales’ gregarious personality and told stories from his time as a CSUB social studies teacher toward the end of his life. Steve Barber, Gonzales’ campaign manager from 1972, talked about Gonzales’ important work in petitioning to redrawing the district lines in Kern County to maximize Latino representation, as well as conducting demographic research that would lead to the creation of Cal State Monterey Bay. Gonzales’ daughter Emily ended the panel with a tearful discussion of his passion and discipline for learning.

Two men standing by painting
Artist Jorge Guillen and Oliver Rosales pose with Guillen’s painting of Ray Gonzales.

After the Ray Gonzales panel, local artists Jorge Guillen and Juan X shared their poetry about the Chicano struggle. Guillen made a portrait of Ray Gonzales in honor of the conference and shared some of his murals in Rexland Acres Park. He also talked the influence that BC professors such as Jack Brigham had on his development as an artist.

BC Jazz ensemble
The BC Jazz Ensemble performs in the Administration Courtyard.
Man blowing trumpet
Kris Tiner performs with BC jazz students.
Man playing bongos
Louie Cruz Beltran performs with the BC Jazz ensemble.
Male and female smiling
Louie Cruz Beltran and Dolores Huerta

The first day of the conference moved to the Administration Courtyard, where attendees ate a delicious spread of enchiladas and tacos provided by Food Services. During dinner, the BC Jazz Ensemble performed in the courtyard with Louie Cruz Beltran, a percussionist, singer and BC alum who has played alongside Tito Puente, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Macy Gray, and some of the most famous entertainers in the world. Paintings of historic Chicano figures by Guillen, BC students and professor Diego Monterrubio were also displayed in the courtyard.

Girl painting portrait of woman
Male painting aztec head
Hispanic Latin painting artwork
BC professor Diego Monterrubio’s painting is displayed in the Administration Courtyard on April 23.

Day one of the conference concluded with a keynote presentation by Sean Arce, a teacher who revolutionized Chicano Studies instruction at the elementary and high school levels. He also represented Tucson high school students in challenging Arizona’s ban on ethnic studies instruction, which was overturned by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Arce v. Douglas.

Man blowing conch
Sean Arce calls in the four directions in a Mesoamerican ceremony that uses a conch shell.
Man pointing at painting
Sean Arce talks about the importance of Chicano Studies.

Arce shared some demographic information about educational attainment rates broken down by race, and explained how Ethnic Studies programs can help to increase educational attainment rates by allowing students of color to see their experiences reflected in the curriculum.

On Wednesday night in the BC Forum, the Jess Nieto Memorial Conference screened the PBS documentary “The Rise of the Brown Buffalo,” about Chicano lawyer and activist Oscar Zeta Acosta.

“The Rise of the Brown Buffalo” was directed by veteran PBS filmmaker Philip Rodriguez, using actors to portray Acosta and the major figures in his life. The film juxtaposes talking head testimonials from the actors with actual photos and footage of Acosta. In the film, Acosta is portrayed by Bakersfield native Jesse Celedon.

Two men with fingers on chins
A screenshot from the PBS documentary “The Life of the Brown Buffalo” screened in the BC Forum.

Acosta was an influential part of the Chicano movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s as a bold and boisterous lawyer representing activists and Chicano militants in Los Angeles during a time of rioting and intense racial strife. He was known for his wild and unorthodox methods of practicing law, and he cross-examined 100 judges, an unprecedented act that demonstrated how the jury selection process for his cases was biased against Chicanos. He also ran for Sheriff of Los Angeles County in 1970.

Acosta’s books didn’t do well commercially despite critical acclaim, and in 1974, he hand-wrote a last will and testament and disappeared in the deserts of Mexico. He was never seen again and is presumed dead.

Two men standing at Jess Nieto Conference
Director Philip Rodriguez and local actor Jesse Celedon speak in the Forum.

The last day of the conference focused on student presentations. Current members of BC’s MEChA gave a current update on everything they’ve done this year and testimonials about how the club helped them connect with their Chicano heritage. Graduate students Randy Villegas from UC Santa Cruz and Francisco Beltran from UC Santa Barbara gave presentations of their research. BC students Jose Bello and Tania Bernal moderated a panel on immigration, and Levan Student Award recipients gave presentations as well. The conference ended with a special baile by Project Conexiones students.

I’d like to thank Octavio Barajas for organizing all of the programming, as well as all of the students, staff and panelists who came out to support such an amazing, legendary man.

Third Annual Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast

On Wednesday, April 24, BC attended the 3rd Annual Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast at Hodel’s Country Dining.  The Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast is one place where community champions who quietly work behind the scenes are illuminated for their phenomenal dedication.

nora dominguez, kimberly white-smith, sonya, lynette, dolores huerta, nan, norma

This year’s honoree and recipient of the Cesar Chavez Legacy Award was Dolores Huerta, who was born on April 10, 1930 in Dawson, New Mexico, but spent most of her childhood and early adult life in Stockton, California.  Dolores found her calling while serving in the leadership of the Stockton Community Service Organization (CSO), when she founded the Agricultural Workers Association (AWA).  In 1955, she met CSO Executive Director Cesar E. Chavez.  The two shared a common vision of organizing farm workers, which was an idea that did not necessarily follow the CSO’s mission.

abel-guzman-brenda-valdez
corny-rodriguez-olivia-garcia
Josefina Flores

In 1962, Cesar and Dolores launched the National Farm Workers Association, where Dolores’s skills were vital to the growth of this organization.  In addition, she was instrumental in the enactment of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, as well as working as a lobbyist to improve workers’ legislative representation.  Later, she fought to elect more Latinos and women to political office.

Dolores has received many honors and accolades over the years, including the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award in 1998 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.  As of 2015, she was a board member of the Feminist Majority Foundation, Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus of the United Farm Workers of America, and President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation.

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Danny Morrison did an amazing job as host.

The breakfast was hosted by Danny Morrison, who is a social and community activist, motivational speaker, and multimedia personality and host of The Danny Morrison Radio Show with the NEW 103.9 The Beat in Bakersfield and the NEW Forge 92.5 in Fresno.  Born and raised in Bakersfield, Danny spends his time mentoring children, performing motivational speeches, and giving back to the community.

nan and sonya
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bc group

It was wonderful to see several members of our BC leadership come out to celebrate Huerta’s accomplishments, including Abel Guzman, Brenda Valdez, Corny Rodriguez, Olivia Garcia, Victor Diaz, and Lisa Robles.  We are BC!  Si, se puede!

Project Conexiones Students Participate in Leadership Conference

Participants attended various workshop topics ranging from career development, political consciousness, social and community activism, supporting undocumented students, systems of higher education, cultural resiliency, unity among students, and learned from many powerful keynote speakers, authors, and influential community organizers.

Students began their morning at MacArthur Park with an appreciation of their indigenous cultural roots as they were greeted by a traditional Aztec danza.

After the final day of the conference, Conexiones students enjoyed a relaxing and fun day at Malibu Beach.

Special thanks to the EOPS and CalSOAP staff who contributed greatly to the planning process. Big shout out to Octavio Barajas (History), Francisco Llamas (History), and Marcela Gamino (EOPS) for serving as advocates and mentors to the Conexiones students.

Business Pathway Career Expo

On Wednesday, Bakersfield College held its Business Pathway Career Expo in front of the library for students to interact with professionals regarding the careers they would like to pursue.

business pathway booth
business pathway booth
business pathway booths overview
business pathway booth

Students talked to people in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship, Computer Science, and Law Enforcement.  These days, employers are looking for more than an education. They are looking for skilled workers with job experience, so the Business Pathway Career Expo gave students a chance to learn about job prospects and internships before they finish college so they can get a head start on their career. The expo also allowed students to interact with several local business owners and industry partners.

business pathway booth
business pathway booth

Cool t-shirt. Thank you.

Pre-Law Student Celebration

The Bakersfield College Pre-Law Program is pleased to report that we have 11 students who completed the Pre-Law program this year. We have students transferring to CSU Bakersfield, CSU East Bay, UC Davis, and Washington State. Best of luck to our Pre-Law graduates!

Pre law students
Graduates present at the celebration (left to right): Leodegario Aguilar, Stephiny Winslow, Linda Eaves, Karla Alvarez, Kiley Thompson, David Arredondo, Robert Bankowski, and Denise Ruiz.
Pre law students
David Arredondo (with guest) and Advisory Council Member Yinka Glover.
Pre law students
David Arredondo, Leslie Cunningham (Director of Cal Law Inc.), Linda Eaves, Karla Alvarez, Robert Bankowski, Pearl Urena, and Leodegario Aguilar.

EOP&S Student Celebration

Last Tuesday, April 23, the EOP&S Student Celebration took place at Hodel’s Country Dining. Check out these great photos!

EOP&S graduates
EOP&S graduates
EOP&S graduates
EOP&S medals

Community Voices: Tom Burke

Check out this piece by Chancellor Tom Burke in The Bakersfield Californian about celebrating community colleges.  Like the chancellor, I’m very proud of the work we have done to serve our community college students.

community voices by tom burke

Read Tom’s entire article on www.bakersfield.com.

Community Voices: Jack Hernandez

Last month, Jack Hernandez wrote a touching piece in The Bakersfield Californian on the topic of suicide.  His words touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes as he wrote about his personal experience dealing with suicide.  As he states in the first paragraph, suicide is a “terrifying, endlessly sad word.”

community voices by jack hernandez

Read Jack’s entire article on www.bakersfield.com.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

William Harland Boyd Gets Plaque

This weekend, a plaque will be dedicated on campus in memory of Dr. William Harland Boyd, who was a history professor and department chair at Bakersfield College.

william harland boyd plaque
william harland boyd plaque

In addition to his BC duties, Dr. Boyd was a co-founder and editor of the local historical society in Kern County, being affiliated with this group for more than fifty years.  This wonderful plaque will be displayed inside our Humanities area, so be sure to stop by and take a look! We are BC proud!

Geology Club Rocks the Sequoias

Francis Benavente, who recently joined the Bakersfield College Geology Club, sent over these great photos of a wonderful field trip they took to see rocks in Sequoia National Park.  Under the direction of geology professor Chris Benker, they hiked up the river to Brush Creek, and got a lot of really awesome pictures.  I’d like to give a special thanks to Chris for providing these amazing opportunities for our students!

BC geology club
BC geology club

View more photos of the Geology Club’s visit to Sequoia National Park.

BC Drumline Beats the Competition at WGI World Championship

Last week, I wrote about our amazing BC Drumline winning the gold medal at the WGI World Championship Competition in Dayton, Ohio.  Director of Marching Arts Ensembles Tim Heasley and Drumline Media Manager Jimmie Taliaferro sent over these videos of the students warming up for the competition.  The actual performance couldn’t be recorded because of copyright reasons, but as Tim puts it, “You had to be there!”  Congrats, again!

Math and Science Retirement Luau

Retirees from the Math and Science Departments were celebrated with a retirement luau on Wednesday, April 24, and I was happy to participate in the festivities.  Patrick Fulks from the Biology Department is also retiring this semester, but was unavailable for the picture.

Group of people at makeshift luau
Left to right: Regina Hukill, Math Department; myself; Richard Darke, Physical Science Department; and Janet Fulks, Biology Department
Group of people at makeshift luau
Left to right: Richard Darke, Physical Science Department; Regina Hukill, Math Department; Janet Fulks, Biology Department; and Bernard Scanlon, Math Department

Thank you to Stephen Waller and Janet Thomas and the Office of Instruction Staff, as well as fellow faculty members of the math, biology, and physical science departments, for putting on the luau party.  Aloha!

Celebrating Earth Day with ‘Eating Animals’

Last Monday night in the Levan Center, Professor Beth Rodacker and Professor Emily Wilson hosted a viewing and discussion of the film Eating Animals to celebrate Earth Day 2019.

eating animals movie poster

The film, which was released in 2017, has received fine reviews and takes a close-up look at factory farming.  Based on the bestselling book by Jonathan Safran Foer, narrated by co-producer Natalie Portman, and directed by Christopher Quinn, Eating Animals takes an eye-opening look at the environmental, economic, and public health consequences of factory farming.

Spotlighting farmers who adopt more humane practices, Eating Animals offers attainable, commonsense solutions to a growing crisis.

Thanks to Beth and Emily for giving our students a chance to view this great film.

View the ‘Eating Animals’ trailer here!K

Spotlight: Office of Institutional Effectiveness

At Bakersfield College, we take pride in our high-touch, high-tech approach to working with our students, and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness has been instrumental in the development and evolution of that approach since its inception in 2016.

office of institutional effectiveness staff
karen, david, dan hall

Institutional Effectiveness conducts research, collects data, and provides reports on everything from accreditation, program review, and enrollment strategies to data coaching, grant funding, and student learning outcomes. This data is used by executive leadership and program managers to inform decisions, track outcomes and effectiveness of initiatives, and direct the daily activities of staff.

This year, the office has launched the Institutional Review Board and developed a process for faculty and staff to request research projects. The Institutional Review Board helps college personnel attain higher education credentials, facilitates applications for federal grants, and maintains ethical standards of research projects at BC. So far, the office has received 385 research requests through the Institutional Review Board during the 2018-19 academic year, Hayward said.

karen and david
Karen Snow and David Buitron

After compiling the information for this year’s Scorecard, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness has noticed an increasing proportion of younger students in the BC student body over the past five years due to the growth of the Dual Enrollment and Early College programs. The shift in curriculum via metamajors and the establishment of Completion Coaching communities has resulted in a significant increase of Hispanic/Latinx students receiving Associate Degrees for Transfer, as well as increases in the number of students attempting 15 or more units in their first term and completing transfer-level math and English in their first year. These are important momentum points in both the guided pathways model and new state funding formula for community colleges.

Institutional researchers have shared BC’s high-tech, high-touch strategies across the nation, including the state Chancellor’s Office, EMSI, the Center for Urban Education, and the RP Group conference this month. In May, researcher Amber Hroch will be presenting at ACCJC’s Partners in Excellence conference about program review.

office of institutional effectiveness staff

This year, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness developed Cognos reports that will help the EOP&S and Veterans’ Services departments streamline the work they do to support students.  They’ve also launched the first phase of a project that will create a centralized data warehouse for all of the information collected across Banner, Starfish, eLumen, and other programs utilized by BC faculty and staff.

I’d like to thank all of the brilliant minds in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness for providing concrete data analysis that continues to drive innovation at BC.

Fun Photos: BC Entrepreneurship Team

Manny Mourtzanos shared a fun photo of the team after the Entrepreneurship Workshop that was offered to BC students following the Business Pathway Career Expo on Wednesday. They enjoyed two very successful events–it’s a good time to be a Renegade!

Manny Mourtzanos, Heather Wight (Executive Assistant, Small Business Development Center), Goli Ameri (President and CEO, StartItUp), Prof. Rudy Menjivar (BC Entrepreneurship & Business Law Faculty), and JP Lake (Managing Partner, Kern Venture Group)
Left to right: Manny Mourtzanos, Heather Wight (Executive Assistant, Small Business Development Center), Goli Ameri (President and CEO, StartItUp), Professor Rudy Menjivar (BC Entrepreneurship & Business Law Faculty), and JP Lake (Managing Partner, Kern Venture Group)

Fun Photos: Power Luncheon

Check out these great photos from Wednesday’s Power Luncheon with Jean Fuller.

crowd listening at the Power luncheon with jean fuller
Power luncheon with jean fuller
people sitting at desks
Power luncheon with jean fuller
Power luncheon with jean fuller
Power luncheon with jean fuller

Fun Photos: College Budget Meeting

Our College Budget Meetings are always an exciting time, as you can see in these wonderful photos.

college budget meeting
college budget meeting
college budget meeting
college budget meeting
college budget meeting
Members of the budget committee being asked to stand and be recognized.

Renegade Athletics

The annual Army All-Star football game at Rabobank is a huge community event that we had the opportunity to sponsor this year. Athletics Program Manager Darrell Ballard and student worker Daniel Kraskey manned a table representing the college before the game and Associate AD Keith Ford presented the Offensive Player of the Game Award at the conclusion of the game. Over twenty of this year’s players are coming to BC this fall to play football for Coach Chudy. We look forward to seeing them on campus!

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11:00 a.m., check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include segments from BC Baseball and Softball, who are both Western State Conference Champions!

Segment with BC Baseball Coach Tim Painton

Segment with BC Baseball’s Kamron Willman and Alejandro Murillo

Segment with BC Assistant Softball Coach Aryka Chavez

Segment with BC Softball’s Natilee Parrish and Ashley Hernandez

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (4/14-4/20) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

Daran Towns, Women’s Swimming

Was named WSC Co-Female Swimmer of the Year, winning all three of her individual races and breaking school records in all three. (500 Free, 200 Free, 100 Free) She was also on the winning 800 Free Relay along with 3 other top 4 relays.

Jacob Whitby, Men’s Track and Field

Placed first in the discus with a throw of 46.63m at the WSC Championships for back-to-back conference championships in that event.

Renegade Volleyball is Tearing it up on the Sand

lady gades beach volleyball
lady gades beach volleyball

The Renegade Women’s Beach Volleyball team hosted both Santa Barbara City College and Glendale College at the CSUB Beach Volleyball courts on Friday and came away with two dominant victories, 5-0 over SBCCC and 5-0 over GC. KCCD General Counsel Chris Hine was at the match to witness the dominating play by our student athletes. View a full album of the matches.

Women’s Soccer Student Athletes Moving On

Renegade Women’s Soccer student athletes Reagan King and Drew Hallum will be continuing their academic and athletic careers at the Division I level this coming season. King has signed with the University of Louisiana Monroe and Hallum, who originally committed to Emerson College, has signed with Appalachian State University. Congrats and good luck!

Jacob Whitby Grabs Back-to-Back WSC Discus Championships

Congrats to Renegade Student Athlete Jacob Whitby who won the Western State Conference Discuss Title that last weekend with a throw of 46.63m. This is now Jacob’s second title in as many years. Congrats, Jacob and good luck the rest of the season!

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:

Stay Connected to Renegade Athletics

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media.

  • Facebook – ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’
  • Twitter – @GoGadesGo
  • Instagram – @gogadesgo
Sonya Christian

Courage and Decency …. the American Way

Good morning Bakersfield. 
It is Saturday, September 1st …. a day of remembering a great American Hero.

John McCain Boston Herald Photo.jpg

“John was above all a man with a code. He lived by a set of public virtues
that brought strength and purpose to his life and to his country. ”
President George W. Bush, Sep 1, 2018

This week was certainly a week of reflection for our nation as our country’s leaders paid homage to a great American hero — John McCain.  Like many of you, I read and listened to stories and messages about his life and the lives he touched.  The message that hit home the most to this immigrant about a country that I love so dearly was delivered by President George W. Bush at the funeral service for Senator John McCain in Washington DC on September 1, 2018.  I quote:

“….Whatever the cause, it was this combination of courage and decency that defined John’s calling, and closely paralleled the calling of his country.

This combination of courage and decency that makes the American military something new in history. Unrivaled power for good….”

To me, every word and every sentence of President Bush’s speech was powerful….full of meaning and spoke to the fundamental character and beliefs that America and Americans embody to the world.  Being constantly vigilant in not slipping into a thought or action that is “unworthy” of the ideals of this great nation.  And when we do, to hear the voice of John McCain reminding us …”we are better than this.”

I have read the transcript of President Bush’s speech many times.  You can find it here: https://tinyurl.com/y76yrymb

And you can listen to his 7:53-minute speech on youtube here.

 

Now back to BC……

Another great week at BC culminating with the visit from the chair of our Accreditation visiting team on a pre-site visit.

Accreditation Team Chair Visits Campus

Quality assurance of higher education in the United States occurs through the accreditation peer review process. Bakersfield College’s peer review is happening this fall, and our entire campus is eagerly awaiting the site visit the first week of October. In preparation for the visit, our evaluation team chair and the team assistant visited our campus to organize logistics, tour their team room for the visit, and meet with some of the team members involved in the development of the Institutional Self-Evaluation Report.

In typical Renegade fashion, BC faculty, staff, and students reported to work in BC red, prepared to greet our guests. Check out these photos:

Jessica Wojtysiak Nick Stroble Steven Holmes Bernadette Martinez James Thompkins

Thanks to Jessica Wojtysiak, Nick Stroble, Steven Holmes, Bernadette Martinez, and James Thompkins for their help today!

The Administration Building staff proudly showed off their BC red today

The Administration Building staff proudly showed off their BC red today

Special thanks to Tarina Perry, Chris Glaser, Nick Strobel, Steven Holmes, Bernadette Martinez, Jessica Wojtysiak, Carlos Barbaran, Jennfier Marden, June Charles, JoEllen Patterson, Liz Rozell, and Lesley Bonds for organizing the visit and meeting with our evaluators.

Lesley Bonds, Sonya Christian, Liz Rozell, Tarina Perry, Chris Glaser Aug 31 2018

BC Has Strong Presence at KCHCC Business Expo

Both Norma Rojas-Mora and Tamara Baker presented at this year’s Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Expo, showing what a team we have here at BC!  Tamara presented on “Branding Yourself and Your Business,” while Norma was a part of a panel named “Women Empowerment: Climbing the Ladder to Success.” Our very own Professor of History Olivia Garcia was the Co-Chair for the event.  Great job ladies!

Norma speaking 1

Norma and Olivia on the panel for women’s success stories.

tamara presenting

Tamara Baker presenting on branding

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Norma Rojas-Mora, Olivia Garcia and Tamara Baker

norma panel

Norma and Olivia representing BC!

Olivia Garcia CSUB Pres Lynette Zelezny BC Histor Prof Javier LLamas

Olivia, CSU Bakersfield President Lynnette Zelezny, and Javier LLamas

Olivia Garcia and Dolores Huerta

Oliva with Dolores Huerta!

Jay Tamsi Norma Raji Brar of Countryside Market and Restaurants Gabriela Mello of Wells Fargo Olivia

Jay Tamsi, Norma, Raji Brar of Countryside Market and Restaurants, Gabriela Mello of Wells Fargo, and Olivia Garcia

Also present were Armando Trujillo of Veterans Services and Domenica Trinidad of CTE, who had a booth for the expo portion of the event.  Thanks Armando and Domenica!

armando

Armando Trujillo and Domenica Trinidad at the KCHCC Business and Conference Expo

BC Ag Department Connecting with Community

Chris McCraw has had a busy couple of weeks!  Last week he spent a couple of days with Kern County CA Ag Teachers Association (CATA) to talk about the opportunities available here at Bakersfield College.  CATA has been around since 1920, promoting and improving the teaching of agriculture here in our Golden State!  A special thank you to Chris for actively promoting the BC Ag department and what we offer here!

 

BC Professor David Koeth in LA Art Exhibit

I am so proud of Professor David Koeth!  He has three paintings in LAUNCH LA’S “Intersection,” a juried exhibit at the Korean Cultural Center.  LAUNCH LA explains the exhibit as follows: “An Intersection occurs when two or more paths cross- where cultures, histories, ambitions or chance converge, creating defining moments of decision, denial or opportunity. For some, the paths are riddled with obstacles or even blocked while for others the way is smoothed. For some the moment is fleeting, for others it lasts a lifetime. The artists of ‘Intersection’ respond to these diverging and converging moments that shape their identities, imbue their work and impact their daily lives.”  

 

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Delano Chamber Award

As I mentioned in the last blog, The Delano Chamber of Commerce recognized BC alongside Assemblyman Salas with Education Award. It is always great to share quality time with friends of Bakersfield College.  The Delano Chamber of Commerce Awards, Installation and Membership Appreciation Mixer was a great opportunity to reconnect with many longtime friends.

Bakersfield College getting the award -Taste of Delano group picture.jpg

 

Sonya Christian and Rudy Salas' rep

Joseph Lopez, Sonya Christian

Judge Robert Tafoya did the honors of swearing in the new Delano Chamber of Commerce Board Members.  He overhead my story about teaching a class in Delano and that Juan Torres was a student and then became my TA.  I said it was then that I fell in love with the people of Delano.  Judge Tafoya started his remarks by mentioning that story and said that my comments held true for him as well. When he began presiding over the Delano courts, he knew he would be there for a long time, because the people he met were the best. Delano is a true treasure in Kern County and Bakersfield College is proud to be part of the fabric of its community. Thank you Judge Robert Tafoya for your continued work in Delano and support for Bakersfield College!

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With Joseph Lopez of Assemblyman Salas’s office

 

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Rich McCrow, Norma Rojas-Mora, Abel Guzman, Michele Bresso, Jaime Lopez, Rachel Lopez, and Juan Torres

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Abel Guzman, Raquel Lopez, Sonya Christian, Jaime Lopez, and Juan Torres

Again, I’d like to thank the Delano Chamber of Commerce and the city of Delano for showing us so much support.  You can check out coverage on the award in this Delano Record article: https://bit.ly/2PUd1dK

Brandon & Norma Visit Telemundo

Norma Gaspar welcomed Brandon Urry as the new Sports Information Director for Renegade Athletics.  It was a pleasant surprise to hear Brandon share his experiences in Argentina where he learned Spanish over fifteen years ago and to see how he has retained the language.  Brandon was excited to share about the sports programs and the upcoming football season. Norma Rojas-Mora encouraged the community to get involved and support Renegade Athletics.  The rooter bus service was highlighted as an opportunity to travel to away games. The sports season has started at Bakersfield College so come on out and support your favorite including football, soccer and volleyball.  Todos Somos BC!

norma brandon telemundo

Norma Rojas-Mora and Brandon Urry on Telemundo!

If you haven’t seen the interview, you can check it out HERE.

BC Has Arrived in Lost Hills!

Starting from conversations that began late last year, BC is finally in Lost Hills!  Here are some photos of when we visited Lost Hills and here is the link to the February 2018 blog post:

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2018/02/10/bc-celebrating-black-history-month-we-are-bc/

Wonderful Tour Group Photo

Admin Team, Lynda Resnick, and Children

The North Kern Adult Education Team who is a part of Rural Initiatives has launched supportive services out in Lost Hills to prepare future Renegades for the EMLS program and eventually CTE certificates as well as degree pathways. The Wonderful company is collaborating with the Adult Education team to bridge the Lost Hills residents’ education gap by encouraging employees to take advantage of BC services offered. Adult Education staff will be onsite at the Lost Hills Community Center every Monday evening to provide language development workshops, as well as transitional and matriculation support to the future renegades. Lost Hills residents will have the opportunity to continue their education in Wasco as we increase offerings in the upcoming semesters.

 

Delano Gets New Carpet.  Small investments make a difference 🙂

BC Delano Campus had new carpet put in three of their classrooms and two of their labs!  

 

Dual Enrollment

Bakersfield College Dual Enrollment team provided a full breadth of training to approximately 60 Kern High School District dual enrollment instructors in preparation for the fall term. Hosted at the KHSD District Board Room, Dr. Dean McGee and Dr. Ben Sherley provided an introduction outlining the many reasons to support dual enrollment and the benefits to students. Director of Outreach and Dual Enrollment, Steve Watkin, and Dean of Instruction, Corny Rodriguez, shared the strong effort and support from Bakersfield College for both instructors and students.

Coverage of topics ranging from enrollment and FERPA to syllabus construction and assessment were provided by Jacqueline Lau, Hilda Rodriguez, Dr. Anna Laven and Mark Osea. Additional information was provided by Abel Guzman, Fernando Lara, Dr. Emmanuel Mourtzanos, Raquel Lopez and Cindy Collier. Participants actively participated in thoughtful discussion about their instructional responsibilities and expressed appreciation for the BC efforts to bring college to students. The strength of our partnership, wealth of knowledge and commitment to support dual enrollment was truly impressive!

Alianza Recycling Presents Check to BC Drum Corp.

Alianza Recycling and Recovery LLC held a free electronics recycling event this past April.  On Thursday, Neil Agness of Alianza Recycling presented our very own Tim Heasley with a check, donating all of the proceeds to the BC Drum Corps!  Thank you to Alianza Recycle for your support!

Neil Agness of Alianza and Tim Heasley check

Neil Agness of Alianza presenting BC’s Tim Heasley with their donation.

Former Renegade and Current Dallas Cowboy Tyrone Crawford Subject of Documentary

Our very own head football coach, Jeff Chudy,  was interviewed by the Dallas Cowboys on campus this last month as part of a documentary on the life of former BC football star Tyrone Crawford and his journey to the Dallas Cowboys. Originally from Canada, Tyrone started his college football career here at BC before transferring to Boise State. He now makes a living as an NFL football player. Watch the documentary by clicking HERE.

Tyronne Crawford

Tyronne Crawford in his BC Renegade days!

Ride the Rooter Bus to Football Away Games this Season

Fans wishing to attend football away games and not have to drive themselves will be able to use the BC rooter bus once again this season. Fans wishing to reserve a spot on the bus need to call the athletics department at (661) 395-4269 by 11:00am the Friday before the game they wish to attend. The cost is $25/person (cash only) and is payable on Saturday before boarding the bus. The fare does not cover the price of admission into the game.

  • September 1st vs. Mt. SAC – bus will depart at 2:00pm
  • September 22nd vs. Golden West – bus will depart at 10:00am
  • October 13th vs. Ventura – bus will depart at 3:00pm
  • October 20th vs. Long Beach – bus will depart at 2:00pm
  • November 10th vs. Canyons – bus will depart at 3:30pm

Ride the Rooter Bus

Women’s Soccer opens the season with a Win

The Renegades women’s soccer team opened up the 2018 season with a home victory over West LA at Memorial Stadium on Tuesday night. Our Renegades scored first and never looked back, winning 6-1. This weekend our women’s team will travel north to the bay area to play against Los Medanos College and Napa Valley College. Best of luck and Go Gades!

Renegade Soccer Player on the Field with win 6 to 1

Women’s Golf Opens Season at South Coast Classic

The Renegade Women’s Golf team opened their 2018 season on the road in Ventura at the South Coast Classic hosted by Santa Barbara Community College. On Sunday they played at Olivas Links Golf Course and on Monday they played at Buenaventura Golf Course. Sophomore and second year player Allie Crawley led the charge for the Renegades, shooting a two-day score of 154.

Complete scores for the team are listed below:

  • Allie Crawley – 154
  • Sydney Crawley – 164
  • Elizabeth Nakagawa – 214
  • Breann Bonkosky – 229
  • Ramanda Lara – 260

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Allie Crawley, Sydney Crawley, Elizabeth Nakagawa, Breann Bonkosky and Ramanda Lara

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics on social media. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.  The Renegades will next be in action on Monday, September 10th against Santa Barbara at Santa Barbara Golf Club.

Stay connected with athletics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube

This Week’s Renegade Report

This week’s Renegade Report highlighted our women’s volleyball team. Assistant Coach Lorraine Aguilar and players Jessica Merante and Shyanne Baez talked about their team goals and upcoming season. To watch all four segments from the 8/30 show click this link: http://gogades.com/video/index. To keep up with what’s happening around Renegade Athletics, visit Bakersfield.com (the Californian website) where the show streams live on their homepage each Thursday at 11:00am.

Renegade Report 2

BC Volleyball players Jessica Merante and Shyanne Baez

Renegade Report

Assistant Volleyball Coach Lorraine Aguilar

BC Partners with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra

BC is once again partnering with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra Next program to provide an enrichment opportunity for many high-school and middle-school students to spend time on our campus prior to attending a symphony concert. Last year, we supported over 100 students. For the 2018-19 season, we anticipate serving over 300 students across six BSO concerts from October to May. In fact, the symphony concert on May 11 will include our very own BC Chamber Singers as guest performers. You won’t want to miss it!

A special word of thanks to Kari Heilman (Executive Director of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra) and Ira Cohen (Founding Member of the BSO Next program) for their grand vision to create a cultural experience in the arts for many students who otherwise would not be able to attend. We are so lucky to have such wonderful community partners. Here’s a picture of the beautiful gift Ira and Kari gave me to recognize BC’s support of BSO Next. I love it!

Sonya - BSO Next

Enjoying my beautiful gift from BSO

Karaoke Knights

On Monday, BCSGA hosted a karaoke event in the Fireside Room to get the campus community prepared for Wednesday’s Student Involvement Festival. Billed as “Karaoke Knights”, students came together to sing karaoke version of popular songs such as “Waterfalls” by TLC and “Smooth” by Santana and Rob Thomas.

 

Student Involvement Festival

This last Thursday, Bakersfield College held it’s 2nd Annual Student Involvement Festival.  This festival is the largest event that takes place during the week-long campus welcome program, and provides the opportunity for students to learn about the Bakersfield College campus and how they can become involved on the campus and in the community.

Dozens of local businesses and community organizations will be in attendance with information booths throughout the campus. Volunteers at the booths will provide students with information about their organizations, sell items, and recruit workers and volunteers.  A huge thank you to Nicky Damania and his team at Student Life for organizing this great event!

 

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BC SouthWest Hosts Pint for a Pass

BC  SouthWest and Houchin Community Blood Bank partnered together and held the first-ever BC SouthWest/Houchin Blood Bank Blood Drive called “Pint for a Pass.”  By donating, students received a free shirt, food and admission to the Kern County Fair. Over 43 pints of blood were received on Thursday ALONE, far surpassing Houchin’s projects and expectations!  This event was a huge success as HCBB collected 48 units, which can potentially help 144 individuals.

Thank you to Stephanie Gibbons and the Houchin Community Blood Bank crew for your hard work, and thank you to BCSGA and KVC for the grant that sponsored the event’s food and drinks.  Also, special thanks to Stephanie Stuart and Theresa Rodriguez for the delicious food, and to Officers Linda Morgan and Ricardo Orozco, Jr. for securing the parking stalls for the buses.  Last but not least, thank you to SouthWest Director Fernando Lara for all of your hard work!  WE ARE BC!

fernando and hbcc crew

Stephanie Gibbons, Fernando Lara and the HCBB crew

I want to thank BC Southwest for stepping up to support our community. It especially warmed my heart to hear that Professor Don Turney provided an extra credit opportunity for students in his Psychology courses who donated blood. Many of Professor Turney’s students took the Renegade Shuttle from the Panorama Campus to the Southwest for this service opportunity. Thank you, Don, for exemplifying the collegial spirit we share at BC, but also for directly benefiting our students,  our Kern County community, and likely beyond!

 

Keep those cars away from campus and ride smart 🙂

Students, faculty and staff, plz carpool to work or join me and ride the express bus from the southwest to the main campus.  That’s what Mindy Wilmot and I do!

Sonya Christian and Mindy Wilmot August 27 2018

 

Float-In

You’ve heard of a drive-in, but have you experienced a “float-in?” Students brought their own floatation devices and watched the movie “The Shallows”… nothing like a good shark movie to make you want to have your feet dangling in water! Thanks to Student Life and Nicky Damania for planning such a wonderful past two weeks!  

 

As I wrap up this post on September 2, 2018, that day after John McCain was laid to rest, I am inspired to ensure that Bakersfield College continues to live up to the principles and virtues this man had for this great country and its people.

….. He was courageous, with a courage that frightened his captors, and inspired his countrymen. …..  He respected the dignity inherent in every life, a dignity that does not stop at borders and cannot be erased by dictators.

Perhaps above all John detested the abuse of power, could not abide bigots and swaggering. He spoke up for the little guy, forgotten people in forgotten places. …….

Where does such strength and conviction come from? Perhaps from a family where honor was in the atmosphere or from the firsthand experience of cruelty which left physical reminders that lasted his whole life. Or from some deep well of moral principle. Whatever the cause, it was this combination of courage and decency that defined John’s calling, and closely paralleled the calling of his country.

Bakersfield College is a place of courage and decency,
where no student is forgotten and the dignity of each is respected.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as the 10th president of Bakersfield College.

We are BC!

sonya christian at Rotary April 30 2015

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Make Learning a Lifelong Activity

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, August 4th and a great day to be a Renegade. 

I had a wonderful week which concluded with a tour of BC in North Kern with Senator Jean Fuller and Trustee Romeo Agbalog.  More on that next week.  But here is a photo, with the McFarland High School leadership team, just to peak your interest.

Romeo Agbalog, Sonya Christian, Jean Fuller, Abel Guzman, Raquel Lopez at McFarland High Aug 4 2018

Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Sonya Christian, Abel Guzman, Senator Jean Fuller, Raquel Lopez, with the McFarland High Principal Brian Bell and his team

 

Bob Allison

Bob Allison

I was inspired yesterday by Bob Allison‘s Community Voices “Make Learning a Lifelong Activity.” He shared how BC’s Levan Institute is beginning its 11th year in operation and thanks to an incredibly generous gift by the late Dr. Norman Levan, BC is able to provide learning and enrichment opportunities to the local 55 and over community.

The piece mentions, “…we have had classes as varied as wine tasting, the afterlife, Photoshop Elements, ukulele, weight training, golf and creative writing. We even had a class on the history, tasting and brewing of beer (with lab!). Field trips are popular, particularly our annual wine trip. The fall 2018 term includes new classes in ceramics, watercolor painting, religion, history, fitness, website construction, making your own videos, kitchen remodeling, a trip to the Peterson Automotive Museum, and others.”

So if you’re interested in returning back to BC or even coming to BC for the first time as an adult learner, there’s never a better time to make learning a lifelong activity.

Bob Allison Community Voices Aug 3 2018.png

Remembering Gloria McLean

The Californian’s Robert Price wrote a piece celebrating the life of Gloria McLean. “Ceiling-shattering legislative aide was ground floor for CSUB’s creation” describes how McLean, who worked with Dorothy Donahoe “became the first woman to serve as an administrative assistant to a state senator and, later, the first woman to serve as a state senate district coordinator.”

Bob Price on Gloria McLean August 2 2018.png

The article goes on to share that Gloria McLean was a Renegade. “McLean was born in Bakersfield to a Scottish-born oilman and his New Zealander wife. She attended Standard School, KCUHS and Bakersfield Junior College, which was then part of the high school campus.”

Gloria McLean cover Californian

Here is Gloria McLean on the cover of The Bakersfield Californian on Saturday, January 22, 1955. She is pictured at the California State Employees Association pre-convention rally. The paper identifies left to right as Earl Chesmore, regional director; Mrs. Patricia Smith, regional secretary; Howard Lake of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Bureau, Gloria McLean, president of the Bakersfield Chapter, and Dale Halverson. “Miss McLean is showing Lake the ‘rebel hat’ that is the official mascot for the Bakersfield chapter.”

You know, the “rebel hat” reminds me that Bakersfield truly is a Renegade community. #WeareBC!

Enjoyed Nick Strobel’s Stargazing piece in today’s paper.

He just wanted to be a Renegade

Romeo the Pup

Romeo the Pup

On Thursday in the late afternoon, this beautiful and happy dog was found on campus sporting his Renegade Red bandana.

With no family in sight, BC sprang into action by sharing on social media, giving him water and some food to keep him hydrated, healthy, and happy.

First thing Friday morning, we took this happy dog to the vet to have him scanned for a microchip and his family was found!

We’ve concluded that Romeo just wanted to be a Renegade for a day. Maybe he was late to Summer Bridge? Whatever the case, we’re happy to report that he’s back with his family because of his micro-chip!

Situations like this remind me just how important it is to be a responsible pet owner and microchip our animals. The American Humane Association estimates over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year and one in every 3 pets will get lost at some point during their life.  When you have your animal micro-chipped, it is also important to regularly keep your contact information updated.

BC’s Voices

In addition to Bob Allison’s inspiring piece, BC’s Jack Hernandez and Nicky Damania also shared their voices this week.

Jack Hernandez penned a piece titled “Nest of truth” which can be read online here.

Jack Hernandez Community Voices Aug 1 2018.png