Tag Archives: Oliver Rosales

A week of roses speaks Hope

With the month of March having unseasonably high temperatures, some of us worried that the cooler wetter weather was left behind and we could be in for an early brutal summer with the potential for another CA drought. And then April surprisingly brought us rains with beautiful clouds and burst of flowers, with roses all around our neighborhood. Enjoy the sprinkling of roses throughout this blog post that I captured for you during my Neo-Bessie walks.

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 17, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade

A Birthday

Here is another great poem by Jack Hernandez

Photo by Earl Parsons

As I turn into a new year
I feel the cycle narrowing,
the road to the ocean shorter
where I will sit on a rock
and see the expanse before me,
I do not walk on water
only the earth behind me
with its soft snow fallen winters
and rising green springs,
I could spread tears on the rock,
instead I will enfold myself
in memories as the waves
embrace me.

Continuing to celebrate National Poetry month with youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman

Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s Words of Hope

I thought I’d awaken to a world in mourning.
Heavy clouds crowding, a society storming.
But there’s something different on this golden morning.
Something magical in the sunlight, wide and warming.

I see a dad with a stroller taking a jog.
Across the street, a bright-eyed girl chases her dog.
A grandma on a porch fingers her rosaries.
She grins as her young neighbor brings her groceries.

While we might feel small, separate, and all alone,
Our people have never been more closely tethered.
The question isn’t if we will weather this unknown,
But how we will weather this unknown together.

So on this meaningful morn, we mourn and we mend.
Like light, we can’t be broken, even when we bend.

As one, we will defeat both despair and disease.
We stand with healthcare heroes and all employees;
With families, libraries, schools, waiters, artists;
Businesses, restaurants, and hospitals hit hardest.

We ignite not in the light, but in lack thereof,
For it is in loss that we truly learn to love.
In this chaos, we will discover clarity.
In suffering, we must find solidarity.

For it’s our grief that gives us our gratitude,
Shows us how to find hope, if we ever lose it.
So ensure that this ache wasn’t endured in vain:
Do not ignore the pain. Give it purpose. Use it.

Read children’s books, dance alone to DJ music.
Know that this distance will make our hearts grow fonder.
From a wave of woes our world will emerge stronger.

We’ll observe how the burdens braved by humankind
Are also the moments that make us humans kind;
Let every dawn find us courageous, brought closer;
Heeding the light before the fight is over.


When this ends, we’ll smile sweetly, finally seeing
In testing times, we became the best of beings.

California History on Bakersfield’s CW 12

Tomorrow, April 19, Bakersfield College History Professor Oliver Rosales will be hosting a new series on Bakersfield’s CW at 12:00 noon about California history. The show, “Our California Story: Community Stories and Digital Preservation in the San Joaquin Valley,” is a community engagement forum connected to the California History course students will enroll in through Bakersfield College. 

Oliver will be interviewing experts on local history and archiving. This week, he interviews Javier Llamas and Olivia Garcia from our own history department.

This is an opportunity for viewers to learn more about Central Valley history and become a part of developing our California story. Many thanks to Manny De Los Santos and Shannon Musser for helping put together this television experience to our local community.

BC’s Distinguished Speaker Series Presents: Dr. Tony Iton

Our final Distinguished Speaker for the semester was our first to lead their discussion through a webinar presentation. Dr. Tony Iton, the Senior Vice President for Healthy Communities at the California Endowment, delivered a presentation via Zoom on Wednesday titled “Zip Code vs. Genetic Code: Which is a Better Predictor of Health?”

Dr. Iton’s presentation on health in rural communities was hosted by Public Health Professor Charles Daramola and Office of Student Life Director Nicky Damania.

If you want to keep engaged with BC’s health equity and rural health work, please follow the Health, Equity, and Learning (HEAL) page, events, and HEAL Twitter account. Thank you, Dr. Tony Iton, for presenting and engaging with BC students, faculty, and staff. And, thank you to Dr. Charles Daramola, Nicky Damania, Benny Balderrama, and the Office of Student Life for coordinating such an informative webinar.

Spring Fling

Our talented group of representatives in the Bakersfield College Student Government Association (BCSGA) have been very busy with moving our annual Spring Fling festival online. The BCSGA team brilliantly organized a fun group of activities through Discord, Zoom and other virtual platforms.

Thank you to our BCSGA representatives and their supporters in the Office of Student Life for keeping Spring Fling Week fun for our campus community. Read more about all of the activities below, and follow BCSGA on Discord.

Escape the Room: Report Back from Valerie

Let’s check out the text-based Escape the Room challenge through the virtual chat service Discord. Valerie Urso, a Web Content Editor in the Marketing Department, describes her experience of solving the elaborate puzzle:

“This Monday, I played the BCSGA’s Escape the Room challenge as part of the Spring Fling week slate of virtual events. Once I got through the hurdle of signing up for Discord and figuring out how it works (like Slack, but cooler-looking), I was ready to begin. 

The game was cleverly constructed using a Google form, a Powerpoint and finally, a website with a secret challenge. I had been expecting to click around on a single screen, in an environment that looked pulled straight out of Clue, looking under lamps and behind bookcases. Instead, I found myself on a quest to solve riddles with a unique story customized to being a student at Bakersfield College. I was impressed with the work and creativity that went into putting together a game from the ground up. 

As a bit of a puzzle nerd who in their youth racked up an unseemly number of hours playing Myst, I have to congratulate the BCSGA team for making something original that was both fun and challenging. Whenever I got stuck, there was a clue to help me along, but nothing that made the quest too easy. I’m pleased to report I did, in fact, “Escape the Room” and made it through the final stage to claim my prize.”

For more, check out: https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/event/virtual-spring-fling-renegades-surf-the-web. Thank you to Benny Balderrama for leading this event and helping out with Spring Fling. I can’t wait to see what you have in store next.

All-Campus Virtual Forum Videos

I have been doing a virtual seminar series via zoom and you can find these videos by visiting the COVID-19 Response page . Here are a few videos.

April 6, 2020 line up — Fong, Fuller, Chapman, Agbalog

Vince Fong gave us an update on how the State Assembly is operating to serve Californians during the unprecedented times.

Retired California Senator Jean Fuller offered her perspective on the impact that COVID-19 is having on schools across the country. In her 48-year career as a public servant, only natural disasters compare to the level of response that this situation requires.

Richard Chapman, CEO of the Kern Economic Development Corporation, gave his prognosis for how COVID-19 will affect the Kern County’s business climate.

Romeo Agbalog spoke on behalf of Kern Citizens For Sustainable Government to talk about how Bakersfield College is establishing the model for other colleges to efficiently move their programs online.

April 7

Radiologic Technology student Sara Navidad shared the challenges she had with moving to an online environment.

Computer Science and Engineering major Krissy Coggshall talked about what she’s learned about learning and working as a Child Development tutor online.

Commercial Music student Izzy Foster misses the opportunity to perform live with her peers, but she’s still getting ready to transfer to the Berklee College of Music in Boston next year. She also performed a song at the end of the All-Campus Virtual Forum.

BC “Do Good, Feel Good” Campaign

The BC “Do Good, Feel Good” campaign is still in motion! This week, we’re reaching out to the Mission at Kern County, which is in dire need of supplies for babies and children, including hand sanitizer, wipes, diapers, and toiletries. These supplies would greatly benefit those in need, including BC’s very own Project HireUp students.

For questions or donations please reach out to Endee Grijalva directly at endee.grijalva@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

Thank you to all who have donated or supported the BC “Do Good, Feel Good” Series, and thank you to Endee Grijalva for leading this wonderful campaign!

Thank You to Our Essential Workers

Thank you Valerie for putting together this photo display to recognize our Essential Workers

Photos submitted by Bill Potter in M&O and Shelley Casteneda in Public Safety with messages from their staff. 

Thank you to all our essential workers who are going in every day to make sure our campus is kept safe and secure. I deeply appreciate your commitment to the health and safety of our BC community. 

Fun Photos: Everything Is Going to Be Okay

Veronica Hathaway, a Department Assistant with the Office of Instruction, shared this great photo of her dog Bella Marie. Thanks, Veronica!

And here is Bessie…growing up fast.

BC Nursing Students Join Battle Against COVID-19

Our third-semester students joined the battle last week and began working as COVID-19 screeners at Bakersfield Heart Hospital. Thank you to all our nursing students who are working on the front lines of the pandemic to protect us all. 

Another big thank you to our classified staff and their families, who have been making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the form of cloth face masks and caps. Thank you to BC staff Venessa Reyes and Robin Patterson, and their mothers Corrine Reyes and Vivian Patterson, for working hard to meet the national shortage of PPE. Over 170 masks have been distributed to students and faculty to keep them safe as they provide patient care.

#BCGoesOnline

Thank you to everyone who is continuing to share their experiences on social media using the hashtag #BCGoesOnline. Here are some of the responses that came through this week: BC librarian Allison Burch and her pup Mr. Unicorn are eager to help and support students online!

Kalina Hill shared a message of encouragement following the “Lean On BC” video message.

She also took this photo of her screen during our All-Campus Forum with political and community leaders.

BC’s Career and Technical Education Department sent a creative message to BC’s student employees wishing them a Happy National Student Employee Appreciation Week!

Marbella Avalos shared a photo of Dr. Iton’s fantastic presentation for the BC Distinguished Speaker Series. 

Dolores Huerta’s 90th Birthday

Civil rights leader Dolores Huerta turned 90 this past weekend! I enjoyed watching community members celebrate her special day with a birthday car parade

Huerta was born on April 10, 1930, in Dawson, New Mexico, but at the age of three, she moved to Stockton, California.

In 1988, Huerta was a recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award, and in 2012, President Barack Obama awarded her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest civilian honor in our nation.

See the coverage of this amazing woman in my March 17, 2018 blog post when she visited BC. https://sonyachristianblog.com/2018/03/17/bc-is-booming-with-activities/

Emails Worth Sharing: In Memoriam – Ron Dethlefson

Ron Dethlefson (Photo by Jill Wettersten)

Jerry Ludeke at the BC Archives sent this email commemorating Ron Dethlefson, who taught at BC for 27 years in the Communication Department. He was the advisor to our student radio station KBCC for 14 years and published expert work about early records and phonographs. Read the full email below:

Dear BC family:

The normal cycles of life go on even as Covid 19 surrounds and constricts us.  We’re grateful for the technology that still lets us keep in touch.

Easter morning Ron Dethlefson, 82, died peacefully in a nursing home after several years living with Alzheimer’s disease.  Ron retired in 1996 as a full professor after teaching for 27 years at BC. He started in 1969 teaching speech in the Communication Department.  Then in 1972 he became advisor/instructor for the fledgling radio broadcasting station KBCC which he guided until 1986, when he returned to teaching speech.  

Ron was always known for his outstanding radio voice and a good sense of wry humor.  Few people knew, however, of his outside interest. Ron was considered an expert consultant in the area of early records and phonographs which he began collecting and writing about in 1953.  His books and other writings on Edison Blue Amberol Recordings are highly regarded. In 2012 the ARSC (Association for Recorded Sound Collection) awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award. He also volunteered as a consultant while he did research at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.  

At Bakersfield College, Ron was active in the Academic Senate and his wife Barbara, who survives him, was active in Faculty Wives and served in the very first volunteer tutoring program offered to BC students.  The Dethlefson family is planning a celebration of Ron’s life in July at Wesley United Methodist Church where they have been active participants for many years.

If you go to the BC Archives website, you will see two changes.  First, it is my personal pleasure to call your attention to the listing which shows Mindy Wilmot as the new Director.  She is ready for the challenge, and we on the staff are all excited to have her. (I will continue as an archives assistant, so you will still hear from me once in a while.)  Our second change is that photos, which were once visible on the website, disappeared after January. They are only temporarily in hiding while arrangements are being made to let them move to a happy little cloud.  It may be summertime before that changeover is completed.

Meanwhile……Stay well….and let us hear from you.
Jerry Ludeke, for the Archives

Archives Throwback: Hispanic Culture – An Energetic Group in the BC Tradition

Let’s hear from Earl Parsons as he digs into our archives

For the third part in our series looking back at the Panorama Campus in the mid-60s, we turn to the 1966 Raconteur for a feature on the first Hispanic Culture Club in Renegade History. The club was founded by Spanish professor Ray Gonzales, who would go on to become the first Latino ever to represent Kern County in the State Assembly, as well as a diplomat for the US State Department in Central America.

Ray Gonzales passed away in 2018 at the age of 80, and many of our Renegade faculty regarded him as one of their greatest friends and mentors, including Dean Corny Rodriguez and History Professor Octavio Barajas, who organized a roundtable discussion about Gonzales during last year’s Jess Nieto Memorial Conference.

Artist Jorge Guillen and Oliver Rosales stand next to a painting of Ray Gonzales that Guillen created for the 2019 Jess Nieto Memorial Conference
Left to right: Dr. Mark Martinez, Steve Barber and Emily Gonzales speak on a panel about the life of Ray Gonzales, the first Chicano elected to state office in Kern County.

Read the article below, and stay tuned next week for more glimpses into Renegade life during the mid-60s.

Hispanic Culture: An Energetic Group in the BC Tradition

One of the newest clubs on campus, the Hispanic Culture Club, did not lag in getting organized or active. Under the advisorship of Ray Gonzales, a BC alumnus and Spanish instructor, the club had its constitution accepted early in the fall semester. 

At Christmas, the 26 members sponsored a canned food drive for needy Bakersfield families. In addition, they chipped in Christmas trees and much-needed clothing for the underprivileged. During the spring semester, they planned a dance and Spanish fiesta and also participated in the annual Spring Carnival with a taco booth.

Athletics: Resilience II Workouts Released This Week

Thank you Brandon Urry for the Athletics Roundup

As we continue our social distancing protocol in an effort to flatten the curve and protect our at-risk population and frontline workers, BC Athletics has your training covered! Our fantastic Renegade Kinesiology faculty including Zack Peters, Konrad Dahl and Matt Moon have put together the next phase of at-home workouts for our student athletes. Like the first phase, all exercises require nothing more than a chair, a towel, and your own bodyweight. Visit the GoGades website to get started with Resilience II.

Next Level Gades!

This week, we saw another group of Renegades commit to the next level while continuing their academic and athletic careers. First, from Renegade Baseball, Alejandro Murillo (pitcher) is headed to the University of Nevada, and Rich Garcia (infielder) is headed to the University of Antelope Valley. Both of these student athletes were key players for Coach Tim Painton and were great examples to their teammates of hard work and dedication.

Secondly, from Renegade Football, Paxton Winders announced he is headed to further his education and football career at Western Illinois University. We want to wish all three of these the very best in the future.

Renegade Student Athletes Will Receive “Make-Up” Year of Eligibility

23ABC sports reporter Matt Lively put together a story this week on the fact the California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) has granted another season of eligibility to spring sports student athletes due to their seasons being cut short this spring. He talked with our Men’s Golf Coach Wes Coble and men’s golf student athlete Blake Keesey on the topic. Blake is one of about 9,500 student athletes that will be affected state-wide by this new policy.

Jackie Robinson Day

Wednesday was National Jackie Robinson Day. The day is celebrated because Jackie Robinson (a four-sport star at both Pasadena City College and UCLA) first stepped on the field in the Major Leagues as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, effectively breaking the color barrier in professional sports. 

In 1997, Major League Baseball (MLB) officially retired his jersey number ‘42’ across all MLB teams. On April 15, 2005 MLB declared April 15th as Jackie Robinson Day and on this day every player wears the number 42 to honor his legacy. Although Jackie faced much persecution personally and to his family, he never wavered and stood fast in his resolve to be viewed not by his skin color but by his ability to compete on the field. The movie ‘42’ which came out in 2013 perfectly portrays the hardships he endured in his plight breaking the color barrier. As we are all at home staying safe, now is a great time to watch (or re-watch) this film.

===

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Live simply…so others can simply live

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

What a week…. started with Arun Gandhi visiting BC and Delano and ended the week in San Diego at a statewide meeting. Snapped some great photos, and snuck away one evening to check out Old Town San Diego.

Sunset Oct 2 2019….. Don’t forget your three wishes

Old Town San Diego is home to the first European colonial settlement in California. The San Diego Presidio and Mission San Diego Alcala were established in 1769. The mission was later moved further up the San Diego River, but the Presidio remained the center of town until the 1860s, when Alonzo Horton developed present-day downtown San Diego.

Today, visitors can wander through lush gardens, browse in shops for unique treasures, indulge great Mexican food, listen to strolling mariachis, tour a haunted building, or spend a day at a museum. Year round, Old Town is the place to be for food, folklore, and fun. For dinner, I had a chille releno and sopapillas which were delicious … although I must say that the sopapillas in New Mexico are the best I have had yet.

It seemed that there were many celebrating birthdays at the restaurant. Got introduced to the song Las Mananitas that is traditionally sung to wake up loved ones on their birthdays. So here it is for those of you celebrating your birthdays this weekend.

Arun Gandhi Speaks in Delano

This week’s visit by Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, made me go back and watch clips from Richard Attenborough’s 1983 movie Gandhi, which won a total of 8 Oscars including best picture, best director, and best actor.

Here are some clips, starting with a 2:37-min clip from the movie on his early years in South Africa.

A 2:43-minute clip

The funeral scene

Chamber Singers with Dr. Jen Garrett perform two pieces… You Will Be Found, and Bridge Over Troubled Water

Abel Guzman captured a side view of the Chamber Singers performing these two songs on facebook live.

When Dr. Arun Gandhi took the stage at Delano High’s RFK Auditorium on Monday, he started by asking the audience to participate in a thought experiment. He had everyone pair up, asking one person to hold their fist clenched as tightly as possible, while the other person did anything they could to get it open. After a few seconds struggling to force their partner’s hand open, he asked a simple follow-up question, “Did anyone ask their partner if they would open their hand?” This simple exercise helped motivate the primary theme of Arun Gandhi’s talk, the pervasiveness of violence in our everyday lives and how by reducing the passive violence within ourselves we can reduce acts of physical violence and conflict in our larger society.

The grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Arun’s appearance in Delano is one of the highlights of a full year of programming honoring the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth in 1869. Arun grew up in South Africa in the 1940s and became full of anger at a young age as he fell victim to prejudice in his home country. For his well-being, his parents sent him to live with his grandparents at the Sevagram ashram in India for two years. During that time, “Grandfather,” as Arun simply calls him, taught him how to channel his anger and react peacefully. Arun’s stories about his time at Sevagram are collected in his most recent book, The Gift of Anger and Other Lessons from My Grandfather.

Arun’s time with both of his grandparents taught him about anger, and in fact he says that it was his grandmother that taught his grandfather that reacting in anger was ineffective. He tells more about his grandmother in his book The Forgotten woman: The Untold Story of Kastur Gandhi.

I was happy to see that three of our trustees were able to attend this event — Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Trustee Jack Canale, and Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

Arun described how physical violence is what most of us think of with the word violence, but there is also non-physical violence, or passive violence. When we over consume or waste abundant resources for our own comfort, we are acting with passive violence against the environment and humanity. Passive violence creates the conditions for and fuels physical violence, so recognizing that in our own actions becomes the conduit of change. We can stop over consuming and wasting our resources. Arun’s grandfather taught him that we must, “live simply so others can simply live.” 

Arun spoke of great leaders such as Cesar Chavez and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who studied Grandfather, even as he advised that their work was not done, and that we will not get rid of violence and know peace until we stop subjugating others, identifying people by labels, and judging others. To know peace, we must accept each other as human beings.

Sonya Christian with Arun Gandhi

In response to a question, Arun Gandhi said there is no more honorable work than manual labor and to never be ashamed of working in the fields. He stressed that education is not just for upward mobility, but for better understanding, and to never stop educating yourself as education is about enlightenment.

BC history professor Oliver Rosales moderated a Q&A session with Arun Gandhi, asking what his grandfather would think about the ways that his approach to non-violent political protest influenced Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, and countless other civil rights leaders over the last century. Arun responded that while Grandfather’s philosophy of “ahimsa” or non-violence is effective for resolving grievances between conflicting cultures, it is primarily a tool for self-improvement and growth, and people will continue to engage in the same conflicts over and over until they evolve to address the root causes of conflict within themselves.

See a short clip of his response in this Bakersfield Californian video.

Check out Robert Price‘s piece on the front page of The Bakersfield Californian “‘Never submit to cowardice,’ another Gandhi urges.”

Loved the coverage from Univision where the reporter talked to students as well as Abel Guzman, BC’s Exec Director of Rural Initiatives.

https://www.univision.com/local/fresno-kftv/nieto-de-gandhi-comparte-ensenanzas-con-estudiantes-del-condado-kern-video

Also KGET: https://tinyurl.com/y5n3f3kx

I want to recognize the person who really brought the community wide celebrations to life, Dr. Naina Patel. BC got engaged with these celebrations when Naina texted me on January 4, 2019 inviting us to participate. Thank you Naina Patel!

Dr. Naina Patel

Thank you Dr. Nicky Damania and the Office of Student Life, Abel Guzman, Executive Director of Rural Initiatives, Rene Ayon, Principal of Delano High School, Delores Rodriguez, Principal of RFK and everyone in the Renegade family who made his visit as warm and welcoming as possible.

Here are some fun pictures of the BC Team that made it happen.

The Gandhi Celebration will continue throughout the Fall semester. On October 25, you can check out the BC Choir and Chamber Singers at the Building Bridges in the World event, which will honor Gandhi’s legacy through singing and accompaniment by the Synergy String Quartet.

Distinguished Speaker Series: Erin Gruwell

Teachers can truly have a remarkable impact on their students’ lives. Our Distinguished Speaker from this past Wednesday, Erin Gruwell, is a perfect example of this. When assigned freshman English classes full of students that nobody believed could really succeed, she was determined to make a difference. Her heart and determination led her to capture her students’ stories in journals, which lead to the start of The Freedom Writers Foundation and the publication of The Freedom Writer’s Diary, a book composed of the students’ true stories written in Gruwell’s class.

Erin Gruwell

After the success of the Freedom Writers Diary, the story of Gruwell and the Freedom Writers was later adapted into a 2007 film starring Hilary Swank. Check out the trailer of the movie on youtube.

Gruwell lead a series of presentations in the Indoor Theater, getting very emotional in the process while showing clips from the “Freedom Writers” movie to describe how close they were to what actually happened. She brought out special guest Narrada Comans, one of the original Freedom Writers, who talked about the ups and downs of his life as a Freedom Writer over the last 20 years, and what a difference it made to be able to share his story and have the voice that “Ms. G” gave him.

Joining the audience in the Indoor Theater to hear the powerful message of Erin Gruwell and Narrada Comans were more than 500 dual enrollment students from Independence, Bakersfield, Mira Monte, Frontier, Ridgeview, McFarland, Vista, Cesar E. Chavez, Delano, and Robert F. Kennedy high schools. When the Dual Enrollment Department heard that Erin Gruwell would be coming to speak at BC, they purchased 500 copies of The Freedom Writer’s Diary to put into our dual enrollment classrooms across the county. These students were excited to meet Gruwell and her former student Narada in real life, and there were many emotional moments as students came to get their books signed and shared a bit of their own stories. 

Erin Gruwell and friend on stage

I would like to thank Erin Gruwell and Narrada Comans for being a part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. I would also like to thank BCSGA and the Cerro Author Series committee for putting this event on and continuing to bring great guests.

Erin Gruwell on stage

Our next Distinguished Speaker will be Dr. Paula Green from the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, who will be giving a presentation in Forum 101 on October 23. I hope to see you there!

Valley Fever Town Hall

On New Years Day in 2012, Rob Purdie woke up with an aggressively painful headache that wouldn’t go away. His energy felt depleted, and any amount of light in his eyes would intensify the migraines even further. As the weeks passed, he visited several doctors to try to find a cause, but none of them could give an answer.

Valley Fever Town Hall panel

By Valentine’s Day of that year, Purdie was hospitalized with Valley Fever, and the doctors at Kern Medical were beginning the months-long fight to save his life.

Valley Fever Town Hall panel

Purdie was one of the panelists for a town hall on Valley Fever at the Indoor Theater on Thursday. Congressman TJ Cox and the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical organized the event, which provided the public with essential information on one of the deadliest diseases in the Central Valley, with approximately 3,000 cases diagnosed in Kern County alone last year.

Valley Fever Town Hall panel

Congressman Cox briefly spoke at the beginning of the event about what his team is doing to bring awareness of Valley Fever to the nation’s capital, with the hopes of securing financial resources for increased research into treatment. His comments were followed by the Valley Fever Institute, a panel of world-class medical experts who are working to save those affected with Valley Fever while conducting clinical trials and research to minimize the symptoms and eventually cure the disease.

Valley Fever Town Hall panel

Purdie’s story is typical for the majority of people afflicted with Valley Fever, as the nature of the symptoms make it difficult for a doctor to discover the cause if they don’t know to look for it. Valley Fever is caused by breathing in airborne spores of a fungus that is prevalent in the soil throughout the Southwestern US, but occurs in Central California in particular. The symptoms typically manifest as a flu that never ends. By the time that Valley Fever is usually diagnosed weeks or even months after symptoms appear, the disease has progressed into life-threatening complications.

Valley Fever Town Hall panel

The Valley Fever Institute aims to increase awareness of the disease so that people can be aware of the symptoms and let their primary care physicians know when they might need to be tested. To prevent getting Valley Fever, the institute recommends taking preventative safety measures like watering the ground when working or playing around soil and dirt.

Valley Fever Town Hall panel

At the end of their presentation, members of the Valley Fever Institute took questions from the audience about the economic impact of the disease, as well as what low-income patients can do to secure resources for treatment, which can cost thousands of dollars per month.

KGET Channel 17’s Eytan Wallace was in attendance to provide local media coverage for the event. Visit KGET.com to read more.

Thank you to Congressman Cox and the Valley Fever Institute for this important informational event, as well as everyone at BC who helped provide a welcoming space for this event to occur.

Early College Football Night

Pictured, in no particular order: Steve Watkin, Mayor Karen Goh, Jean Fuller, Romeo Agbalog, Brian Bell (McFarland High School Principal), Tony Cordova, Kimberly Bligh, Aaron Resendez (McFarland Unified School District Superintendent), Jim Beltran (McFarland USD Board of Trustees President), and Angel Turrubiates (McFarland USD Board of Trustees Vice President)

I was so happy to have Early College students from McFarland High School Early College and Arvin High School join me at last Saturday’s home football game! Before the game began, students were invited to a resource fair where our wonderful CTE, Counseling, Umoja, EOPS, Next Step, Finish in 4, Outreach, Rural Initiatives and Early College teams were giving out swag and information to these young Renegades. The students also enjoyed free tacos and played lawn games together while waiting for the football game to start.

Early college football night
Pictured, in no particular order: Jean Fuller, Russell Fuller, Jerene Bastisti, Pam Chambers, Dana Brennen, Joe Brennen, Courtney Dunbar, Lindsay Mayo, Kaelyn Peterson, Brent Peterson, Annie Beard, and Jeremy Beard 

The game started with McFarland Unified School District Superintendent Aaron Resendez doing the coin toss, and at halftime we had two Early College students compete to win the relay challenge. Both students left winners, with prizes provided by our Athletics Department.

Check out these great photos of KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog and McFarland School District Superintendent Aaron Resendez being interviewed at halftime by Vance Palm

And, here are some great shots of our amazing new football field!

Thank you to Kylie Swanson and Early College, Outreach, and Athletics for providing this exciting event for our Early College students. I can’t wait to do this again next year!

Here are some pictures — thank you Mayor Karen Goh.

New Employee Orientation

Bakersfield College has a new way to connect with our employees. This week kicked off our New Employee Orientation, welcoming recent classified and management employees with a full-day orientation designed to get them acclimated to the college and more knowledgeable about BC processes and structure. We welcomed employees from financial aid, athletics, food services, and many others.

BC new employees group shot
Front row, left to right: Rena Hamblin, Michelle Puentes, Michelle Kruse, Lysander Ramos
Back row, left to right: Benjamin Balderama, Jonathan Hernandez, Jeff Keith, Alexis Pitcher, Fidel Cabuena, Nick Chidgey

Participants learned about public safety, IT, BC’s culture, and got to take a tour of the campus. Along with this orientation, Michele Bresso, Todd Coston, Dena Rhoades and Pam Rivers have developed New Classified and New Manager academies that will kick off in November, designed to continue the professional development of new employees and those who want to increase their skills.

Welcome to BC, new employees! We can’t wait to learn together.

BASECAMP 2019: Prison Educators Retreat

BC’s Inmate Scholar program and Cerro Coso Community College, in collaboration with the Corrections to College California organization and New York University’s McSilver Institute, co-hosted the first ever Prison Educators Retreat at Tehachapi Mountain Park on September 26-29. Known as BASECAMP2019: Prison Educators Retreat, the event focused on professional development opportunities and personal wellness during a multi-day and overnight retreat located in a unique natural setting, as opposed to the traditional hotel conference venue.

Inmate Scholars Program Retreat

The event was attended by nearly 80 people teaching face-to-face college programs throughout California’s prisons and jails, including Bakersfield College, Cerro Coso Community College, College of the Redwoods, Southwestern Community College, San Diego City College, Cuesta College, Antelope Valley College, Norco College, Imperial Valley College, Allan Hancock College, Columbia College, Folsom Lake College, Chaffey College, Cal State LA, and the Prison University Project in San Quentin.

Inmate Scholars Program Retreat

Bakersfield College Inmate Scholar program attendees included Dan Hall, Angelica Perez, Diana Alcala, Camilla Anderson, Heidi Forsyhe, Dana Heins-Gelder, Bryan Hirayama, Michael Muhme, Shawn Newsom, Gabriel Searcy, La-Reina Villanueva, Joseph Tipay, Sue Ann Villaros, and Sara Wallace.

Inmate Scholars Program Retreat

BC Program Managers Support the Bakersfield Homeless Center

Last Friday evening, four of BC’s program managers were spotted at the Crystal Palace in support of the Bakersfield Homeless Center at their annual Boots and Bachelor auction. Both ticket sales and bids directly support the mission and action of the Bakersfield Homeless Center, which provides services for those in need across Kern County. The BAKHC website states that the center “creates a strong safety net for homeless and at-risk families by providing a broad continuum of services which begins with basic shelter.”

Kylie Swanson, Monika Scott, Endee Grijalva, Lisa Robles
Cowgirls Kylie Swanson, Monika Scott, Endee Grijalva, and Lisa Robles roped in a good time! Yee-haw!
Lisa Robles and Endee Grijalva decked out with light-up swag
Lisa Robles and Endee Grijalva decked out with light-up swag!

Watch the video below to learn how the Bakersfield Homeless Center got started.

Phillips 66 Industrial Automation Presentation

The Career Education Department welcomed Phillips 66 on Wednesday, September 25 for an industry overview presentation of their company. Phillips 66 brought several members from their team including representatives from Lost Hills, Taft, Long Beach, their headquarters in Houston, and our very own Industrial Automation Graduate, Edwin Marroquin, who completed his Baccalaureate in May 2019.

Phillips 66 presentation and students
Phillips 66 team tours Industrial Automation labs.

The Industrial Automation students had an exclusive opportunity to meet and greet with members from their team which included their West Region Engineering Operator, Lead University Technical Recruiter and Director of University Relations. Phillips 66 was so impressed by our faculty, modern labs, and students’ participation, they envision a greater investment into the college and its programs in the future.

Phillips 66 presentation and students
Students receiving insight information from Phillips 66 team.
Phillips 66 presentation and students
Students meet and greet Phillips 66 staff.

Watch Edwin’s success story below:

You Gotta Have Faith

Librarian Faith Bradham presented a paper last December at the Library Assessment Conference in Houston, TX. This paper showcased a mixed-methods assessment of library services at BC she completed in Fall 2017. The conference proceedings have now been published and her paper is available to read now. Way to go, Faith!

Faith Bradham

Fun Photos

Outreach Reaches Out

Web Content Editor Aricia Leighton shared this great photo of the Outreach team after the Arun Gandhi event. They pulled their team together at the last minute and helped out tremendously.  Thanks, everyone!

Outreach department
Boy Scouts of America 2019 Distinguished Citizens Gene and Linda Voiland
College Council

Here are some great photos that Jennifer Serratt sent over from our College Council meeting on Friday.

Found on Facebook: Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio

Adjunct Art Professor Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio tagged me on Facebook in this photo of a beautiful sculpture he created.  The size of this piece is 18 feet tall × 16 feet long × 5 feet wide. Which is bigger: the sculpture, or his artistic talent!

Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio Art
Found on Facebook: Renegade Softball and Cheer Team at St. Vincent De Paul’s BBQ

Mary Jo Pasek had a wonderful evening with her BC family working at the St Vincent BBQ.

Found on Facebook: Partners in Arvin

Endee Grijalva, Program Manager for Adult Education, sent me this flashback to the accreditation forum, where BC saw tremendous community support from our partners in Arvin.

Left to right: Abel Guzman, Casey Yeazel (Grimmway Academy), Jesse Oropeza, Ed Watts (Arvin High Principal), Endee Grijalva, Lupe Aguirre, and Jaime Lopez

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (9/22-9/28) Kern Schools Federal Credit Union Renegades of the Week.

renegades of the week

Lanie Camarillo, Volleyball

In two wins last week Lanie collected 22 kills and zero errors. In the 3-1 win over Canyons (9/25) she had a .387 hitting % and in a 3-0 sweep over Glendale she had a .500 hitting %.

Bryan Gaxiola, Men’s Cross Country

With a time of 21:38 Bryan took first place at the Bakersfield Invitational in leading the men’s cross country team to their first, first place finish as a team of the season.

Men’s Basketball Serves at the Mission of Kern County

This last Saturday our men’s basketball team headed to the Kern County Mission to serve the homeless and needy people of our county. They served meals and even took the time to play basketball with the residents, and showed off their dunking abilities! Thanks Coach Righ Hughes for getting your student athletes involved in our community.

Renegade Report: Volleyball

Watch this week’s edition of the Renegade Report on the Bakersfield College Athletics Facebook page featuring our three-time conference champion volleyball team. Coach Carl Ferreira along with players sat down with host Kenny Calvin to discuss the season and who they think would play them in the movie of their life.

Renegade Athletics Scores

Upcoming Athletics Events ‘On the Hill’

Be sure to put on your Renegade Red and cheer on our student athletes as they compete this coming week. If you can’t make it in person, check GoGades.com to catch the livestream. Events include:

  • Tues. 10/8 @ 4pm – Women’s Soccer vs. Citrus
  • Wed. 10/9 @ 9am – Women’s Golf hosts Bakersfield Tournament (WSC #6)
  • Fri. 10/11 @ 6pm – Wrestling vs. Moorpark

Stay Connected to Renegade Athletics

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Inspirational Speakers, Visitors, and Guests on Campus

Good morning Bakersfield…..

41 Plumeria_previewIt is Saturday, March 10th and a great day to be a Renegade.  I started last week’s blog travelling to an accreditation visit and today, I am travelling again, with my blog to keep me company.  What a good way to pass the time.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,

but by the moments that take our breath away.

 

BC was active this week and let me start with Anita Hill’s visit to the campus.

Anita Hill at BC

On International Women’s day this Thursday, we were lucky to have Anita Hill in the Indoor Theater to talk about reimagining equality for the 21st Century and how the national conversation about sexual harassment has evolved both before and after her remarks during Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings in 1991.

Anita Hill at BC

Anita Hill at BC

Hill, who is currently a professor of law and women’s studies at Brandeis University said she was inspired by the countless women before her who had worked to find justice for workplace sexual harassment in the 70s and 80s, culminating with the Supreme Court’s decision in the 1986 case Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, ruling for the first time that sexual harassment was a violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Hill’s testimony inspired women around the country to bravely speak up about sexual harassment and abuse in their homes and workplaces. Over 25 years later, the #MeToo movement is rapidly spreading across the nation.

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The audience in the Indoor Theater gives a standing ovation for Anita Hill before she took the stage.

Hill also stressed the importance of tackling issues of racial injustice along with injustices facing women, as progress on both issues tends to happen hand-in-hand with each other. In the 21st Century, we need to envision equality not as an abstract philosophical concept, but as a practical part of our personal development that grows and evolves with us every day.  “Dare to be a catalyst for change,” Hill said. “We are living in a moment in time where we are being pushed to live out our ideals of equality.”

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left to right: Levan Center Director Jack Hernandez, social studies professor Olivia Garcia and Anita Hill talk before Hill’s speech in the Indoor Theater on March 8th.

I’d like to recognize Jack Hernandez and the Levan Center for bringing Anita Hill to BC, Olivia Garcia for her beautiful introduction speech, and all of the people in the community for coming out to engage in a conversation about equality on International Women’s Day. See at the photos at Smugmug. 

 

 

MESA STEM and Pre-Health Conference

Last weekend, our Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) Department held a conference on the BC campus to show high school and college students that anyone can develop the skills needed to earn a career in STEM or healthcare fields.

Steve Waller

Dean Steve Waller

The MESA STEM and Pre-Health conference last Saturday brought together industry leaders and educators in the community and throughout California to showcase all of the career options available to someone with an education in math, science or pre-health. The conference started with students packing the Indoor Theater for the opening festivities, and Dean Steven Waller emphasized the importance of developing one’s competence in math, as it establishes the foundation for thousands of potential job opportunities.

“As you plan your career, be sure to keep math in focus,” Waller said. “It’s possible to be successful without math, but with it you can be even more successful.”

Waller then introduced keynote speaker Dr. Jose Antonio Diaz, an Arvin High graduate who went on to study microbiology and genetics at UC Berkeley, Stanford and UC Davis, where he’s currently a post-doctorate research fellow studying the prevention of cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

Diaz’s mother contracted Valley Fever when he was a child, which inspired him to pursue a career in biology in order to help others suffering from serious debilitating illnesses. Diaz pushed himself outside of his comfort zone throughout his career, both as a first-generation college student moving from Arvin to Berkeley for undergraduate studies, and by transitioning fields from biology to medicine once he realized that it would help expand his research.

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Diaz, who gave his keynote speech in Spanish and English, sought to motivate the audience to push themselves outside of their comfort zone like he did. “Be ambitious with setting your goals, and take chances,” Diaz said. “Embrace change, and don’t be afraid of failure.” Diaz was part of the team that discovered Nest RNA, which determines resistance to microbial infections in mice. He is now working with a CRISPR gene editing machine to test whether he can safely modify human cells with Nest RNA in order to prevent diseases such as Valley Fever and salmonella.

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After Diaz’s presentation, students broke up into groups to attend a series of workshops in the Science and Engineering and Math and Science Buildings. Representatives from UCLA, CSUB and Fresno Pacific University hosted seminars on how to apply in the STEM and nursing programs at their respective universities, and many other workshops were hosted by members of the BC family, such as counselor Mark Osea’s presentation about STEM Guided Pathways, educational advisor Pedro Ramirez’s workshop on BC’s LUPE program and resources for DREAMers, professor Dillon Giblin’s seminar about career opportunities in STEM, and BC nursing graduate Stephanie Perez talking about how her time in our program helped prepare her for a career in health care.

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CSUB’s Chevron FAB LAB also hosted a maker space in the AERA STEM Success Center where students could watch a toy prototype being made on a 3D printer, as well as a virtual reality sandbox projected using the motion sensor on an Xbox One Kinect.

While MESA volunteers handed out lunch to students in the patio area of the Science and Engineering building, several organizations hosted a resource fair with booths for students to visit and learn more information. Participating organizations included BC’s Pre-Med and Engineering clubs, Univision, Kern Medical Center, the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Center, and the American Society of Civil Engineering.

Thank you to all our MESA staff, especially Connie Gonzales as well as all of our industry and education partners for inspiring young people our community to achieve careers in healthcare and STEM. I look forward seeing some of the students from this year’s conference taking STEM and pre-health classes at BC.

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BC and BCSD Youth Summit

At the March 3 event, the Bakersfield College African American Mentor Program (A.A.M.P.) partnered with the Bakersfield City School District to put on its first-ever Youth Summit.  The Youth Summit hosted over 150 African American middle school students at Bakersfield College to emphasize the importance of education, highlighting education as a tool for developing knowledge and character.  The summit invited keynote speaker Ken Morris who delivered a memorable speech about his family history: Ken is a direct descendant of Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass. He moved the audience with his description of what his great grandfathers had to overcome in order to receive an education, and closed his presentation with a message of perseverance and hope.

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Kimbrough

Professor Kimbrough

After the keynote the middle school students joined small group workshops on education, black culture, and community service. One of the most notable workshops was led by Bakersfield College’s own professor of African American history, Ishmael Kimbrough. Professor Kimbrough talked about the most important elements of the Black community and the importance of good role models of Black culture.  The group of students hung onto Kimbrough’s every word, were enjoying themselves, and the positive energy in the room allowed for a lots of engagement. Kimbrough highlighted some of the negative portrayals of Black culture that are in the media and explained how they perpetuate negative stereotypes. Kimbrough goes on to state, “Success is not flashing cash and gold teeth, that’s a false idea of success”, “the basis of black culture is family, culture, and common goals.”  

Speaker

Kimbrough concluded his workshop with a message that we have it within our power as a community to topple steep obstacles and inaccurate depictions in the media by learning about what our culture truly is. He emphasizes that despite the negative stereotypes of black culture, African-American boys and girls are not problems that need to be solved—they’re assets.

Tejon Tribe Visits BC

It was a packed house, with students, faculty, and the community coming out to hear tribal member Sandra Hernandez talk about the Tejon Tribe’s culture and history. The Tejon tribe is the only recognized tribe in the Bakersfield area, and its members are made up of Kitanemuk, Chumash, and Yokuts people, the first people in southern San Joaquin valley.

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Sandra opened up the presentation with a warm welcome in the Kitanemuk language, (the language of the indigenous Indians of Kern County) and then began to share her story and their plans for their future. Sandra spoke powerfully of her ancestors struggle and how their land and their status of a tribe were taken from them by the settlers who came here after them. She explained that in the early 1900’s their Chief Juan Lozada began the fight to get back their status as a tribe and hopefully be able to rebuild what was lost.

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Sandra Hernandez and Matthew Solis

When Chief Juan Lozada was asked by the US government how long his tribe has been here, he replied, “We been here since the first time the sun’s come up.” This set off a spark with the Tejon Tribe and ever since then, as a group and as a family, they have been fighting the government to be reaffirmed. Most recently, at the forefront of this fight, was Tejon Tribal chairwoman Kathryn Montes Morgan (Granddaughter of Chief Juan Lozado) who helped end this case as a victory for the Tejon Tribe. Sandra was proud to tell us that as of January 2012 the United States of America reaffirms the Tejon Tribe.
Although this was an exciting moment for the Tejon Tribe Sandra says the rebuilding has just begun. Being federally recognized is a huge step in the right direction, they now have to rebuild their Tejon Tribe community. She also adds, The Tejon Tribe will do this by reaching out to our neighborhoods, to educate them on our culture, heritage and history of our family, while also encouraging our youth to experience our way of life as a Tejon Tribe.

Thank you to Krista Moreland, Sandra Hernandez, and everyone who made this event a reality. 

 

 

Mini Science Olympiad

I loved seeing these photos from BC’s involvement at the Greenfield School District. Daniel Ahn, Chris Benker and a dozen BC STEM and Education majors helped 46 fifth-graders with various learning, but fun activities! It is a four week program. Meg Stidham helped along with the fantastic Deborah Rosenthal

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Activities included a Tallest Bridge Competition and I heard Chris Benker will do a skateboard demo at the end. During Week 4, the students will come to BC for astronomy fun.  Thank you to all our BC volunteers for bringing the Renegade spirit to our local Greenfield School District.

Mini Science Olympiad Student Volunteers

Ximena’s baby Leo

Thank you Debby Rosenthal for sending me this picture.

Ximena and baby Leo.

BCSGA Power Lunch

Romeo Agbalog

Romeo Agbalog

Romeo Agbalog, the Kern Community College District Trustee representing Delano and surrounding rural areas, sat down with BC students in the Fireside Room on Tuesday to share the story of how he overcame being a first-generation college student and young father on his path to advocating for students in public office. BCSGA hosted Agbalog as part of its Legislative Affairs Power Lunch series, in which public officials from the community tell their stories and answer questions from students. The Legislative Affairs Department of SGA, which is responsible for informing BC students on any new or developing laws pertaining to their education, has previously hosted state senator Jean Fuller, as well as Vince Fong and Rudy Salas from the California Assembly.

 

Agbalog credits political science professor Stephen Holmes with recognizing his potential and inspiring him to develop an interest in public service and administration. With Holmes’ inspiration, he went on to work behind the scenes for several Kern County campaigns, but he never thought he could hold public office. Eventually, after some strong persuasion by local political leadership, he realized that he had an opportunity to be actively engaged with improving his son’s education by serving on his local school board. At the age of 24, he campaigned door to door in his community and spoke directly with voters to beat out two incumbents for a spot on the Delano Union School District board.

Rayven Acosta Webb and Romeo Agbalog

Rayven Acosta Webb and Romeo Agbalog

After serving the Foundation for BC’s Delano Campus, Agbalog now advocates for rural students on the KCCD board, helping to expand services at the Delano Campus while bringing post-secondary education to Arvin and Shafter.  Throughout his discussion, he imparted the value of taking advantages of every opportunity presented to you, in life and in education. “When times get tough and you’re ready to quit, I want you to think about the people who have seen things in you that you didn’t see in yourself and use that for motivation,” Agbalog said. “Prove to those people you were worth the investment.”

SGA Power Lunch

Blood Drive on Campus

BC students gave back to their community at Campus Center on Wednesday and Thursday, donating to the Houchin Community Blood Bank during our annual blood drive. Students signed up to donate blood in front of the Fireside Room before walking over to one of Houchin’s three buses parked in front of the Campus Center.

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Active Shooter Response Trainings at BC

Last month, another school shooting tragedy took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida which claimed the lives of 17 people. This week, the Department of Public Safety and Chief Chris Counts hosted several Active Shooter Response Training workshops to teach our students and staff what to do in the event that an active shooter situation happened on our campus.

Chief Counts 2

Public Safety Chief Chris Counts broke down the proper response into three parts: “Run, Hide, Fight”. The first thing you should do if you hear gunfire is to evacuate the area as far as you can and try to take as many people with you. If that’s not possible, choose a location to hide out of the shooter’s view where you’re protected and you’re movement isn’t limited, then use furniture or heavy equipment to barricade entrance into that area. If you can’t run or hide, then your last resort is to remain calm while acting as aggressively as possible to fight for your own life and the lives of others.

In the overwhelming majority of active shooter cases, there was some indication that the attack was going to occur before it happened. In order to prevent these attacks, Counts stressed the importance of reaching out to authorities if there’s an indication that other people’s lives may be in jeopardy. Our Public Safety Department’s motto is “If You See Something, Say Something and Do Something About It”, and recognizing the signs of a potential attack is key to preventing it.

There will be three more Active Shooter Response Trainings on March 21 st at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 6 p.m. in the Indoor Theater. If you haven’t attended one of these training before, I recommend going as soon as possible in order to stay educated on how to respond to one of these emergencies. It may save your or someone else’s life.

Manny DeLosSantos even spotted friend and supporter of BC, Adam Alvidrez at the training this week.

Adam Alvidrez

Adam Alvidrez at BC

Leading from the Middle

Craig Hayward, Mark Osea, Billie Jo Rice, and Jennifer Johnson are currently attending the Leading from the Middle Academy being held at the Kellogg West Conference and Hotel in Pomona.  The project that they are tackling is how to represent our pathways programs using 21st century visual tools.  Can’t wait to see the end result of their yearlong work together as a team.

Craig Hayward Mark Osea Billie Jo Rice Jennifer Johnson

Craig Hayward Mark Osea Billie Jo Rice Jennifer Johnson

Jen Garrett on Scott Cox Show

Jen Garrett was on the Scott Cox Show Wednesday morning advertising for our big Sydney Bound Benefit Concert this Saturday! Only a few more days to buy tickets. You don’t want to miss this!

Jen Garrett and Scott Cox

Jen Garrett and Scott Cox

Seen on Instagram

Thank you to Lydia Ranger and Monty Byrum for their continued support of the BC Chamber Singers

Lydia Ranger on Instagram

Lydia Ranger on Instagram

Capitol Weekly Spotlights Bill Thomas

An article in Capitol Weekly published on March 1st examined how Trustee Bill Thomas’ influence in the House of Representatives continues to be felt more than a decade after retiring as the Congressman for California’s 22nd District.

bill-thomas-croppedDorothy Mills-Gregg wrote about how Thomas mentored two of the most powerful people in Congress right now—House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Thomas’ direct successor, and Oversight Committee Chair Devin Nunes, who Thomas inspired to run for Congress while helping him with campaign strategy along the way. The article also looks back on Thomas’ career and accomplishments while in Congress. I especially love the photo they used with the big YES ON J poster behind him.

“The only tools I ever had was listen to what people want, build a coalition and pass legislation,” Thomas was quoted as saying in the article. Florida Congressman Mark Foley was also quoted about Thomas’ tenacity and passion for serving voters. “Thomas is also known for losing his temper when people are unprepared, earning a reputation for sharp interrogations,” Foley said.

Thank you Trustee Thomas for all you’ve done to support BC, Bakersfield, and Kern County.

International Women’s Day

Sonya Christian and Tom Burke

Sonya Christian and Tom Burke

On Thursday, KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke emailed all KCCD Employees sharing some inspirational quotes. He said, “Today is International Women’s Day, so in acknowledgment of this day I thought I would share with you some inspiring quotes from several women who have had an impact on society.”  These are the quotes he shared:

  • Golda Meir said you should, “Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” I agree that everyone in our District has the ability to succeed.
  • If Rosa Parks believes, “Knowing what must be done does away with fear”, then we ALL can succeed by pushing ourselves during those difficult moments”
  • “Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.” Oprah Winfrey  Imagine what we could become.
  • “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” Following the words of Mother Teresa, the experiences during our day-to-day interactions can create a much healthier environment for students, staff, and faculty.
  • Sonia Sotomayor said, “A surplus of effort could overcome a deficit of confidence.” I need everyone to be a part of our District’s success.
  • Joan Rivers once said, “I was smart enough to go through any door that opened.” Take every opportunity that is offered to you!
  • I will end with this quote: “We need to start work with the idea that we’re going to learn every day. I learn, even at my position, every single day.” – Chanda Kochhar

Chancellor Burke ended his message by saying, “There are great things happening every day at the colleges and the district office. On this International Women’s Day, I celebrate all of your accomplishments, dedication to the Kern Community College District, and look forward to the things to come!”  Thank you Tom Burke!

24th Norman Levan Faculty Colloquium

dsc02596-x4On Friday, the Levan Center for the Humanities held the 24th annual Norm Levan Faculty Colloquium in honor of the current Norman Levan Faculty Colloquium Award recipient, Oliver Rosales, and all past award recipients.  Oliver presented his lecture on Bakersfield into U.S. Civil Rights History: Exploring Multiracial Social Activism in the American Far West. The presentation was followed by a question and answer session, presentation of his award, and refreshments in the Norman Levan Center for Humanities.

Thank you to the Norm Levan Faculty Colloquium Committee, Susan Pinza, Chair, Bob Allison, John Gerhold, Alex Gonzalez, Donna Starr, Jack Hernandez, Richard Marquez, and Erin Miller. Also, thank you to the many others who help put on this event, including the Students of the Renegade Room for the refreshments, Manny De Los Santos and Kristin Rabe for the media arrangements,  FCDC and Archives Association.

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Susan joked that for those that were able to attend the Reimagining Equality: Inclusive Communities in Post-Obama America lecture the night before, Anita Hill was the opening act for Oliver’s lecture. We are so fortunate to have these opportunities to bring such important people to BC.

dsc02636-x4Did you know that Oliver is a Renegade? He received his AA here at BC and went on to get his BA at UC Berkeley, his Master at CSUB and his PhD at UC Santa Barbara. He then returned to be a Renegade and brought with him his education, his excellence and his drive to find and publish the contentious historiography of activism that touches many of our students and our community. He is also a supporter of the National Endowment for the Humanities and recently returned from DC where he met with congress concerning the NEH budget. Oliver’s award is well deserved. Can you see why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

Celebrating Jeannie Parent

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Jeannie Parent

Jeannie Parent, a BC faculty member who teaches English for Multilingual Students, will be mentioned at the Wendy Wayne Ethics Awards on March 21st. Cal State Bakersfield’s Kegley Institute of Ethics hosts an awards ceremony every year recognizing people who make positive contributions to the community. Jeannie is being honored for her work as the founder of the non-profit organization Kern Welcoming and Extending Solidarity to Immigrants (KWESI), a group of volunteers who visit immigrants in detention at Mesa Verde Detention facility in Bakersfield, and advocate for justice on their behalf.

She tells me that the organization is connected to a larger, national network called CIVIC, which is committed to ending the isolation of immigrants in detention. and she says “Many of the people we visit are asylum seekers, and we not only visit them in order to end the isolation they feel when they are imprisoned for months on end (sometimes indefinitely), but we support them if and when they are released on bond or when they win their cases; this may include helping with temporary housing, transportation, food, clothing, and phones, as well as communicating with families and finding legal assistance for them. I started visiting people weekly three years ago when Mesa Verde opened.”

You can read a full list of the Wendy Wayne Ethics Awards recipients in an op-ed written by Michael Burroughs in the Community Voices section of the Bakersfield Californian.

Student Resources in The RIP

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Paige Atkinson

Student Reporter, Paige Atkison wrote a beautiful article for The Renegade RIP highlighting the various student services offered at BC.

She said, “Whether or not you believe you need to find extra academic or health resources, it can be useful to familiarize yourself with the programs made available to you by Bakersfield College.” Check it out at www.therip.com

Photo from http://www.therip.com

Let me conclude my blog with my trip to Guam.

Long flight — about 6 hours to Honolulu and then another 8 hours to Guam.  We were a team of 10.  Standing: Susan Kazama, Sylvia Dorsey-Robinson, Bill Hirt, Vernoica Ogata, Susan Murray, Laurie Huffman, Gene Huff, Charles Sasaki. Sitting: Sonya Christian, Lesley Bonds

 

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Sonya Christian MArch 6 2018 GuamMost of my time was spent on accreditation work but I did get out for regular early morning walks. After a regular 3:00 a.m. zoom video call with Jennifer and the Vice Presidents, I headed out for my walk north on San Victores all the way to the point and then back to the hotel on the beach.

At 4:00 am it is very quiet – ocean breezes and unpredictable rain showers. At 5:00 am the runners start, looking serious, maybe training for the Guam Marathon coming up on April 8th.

After the official visit I did get in a driving tour around the southern half of the island. The island coastline is very beautiful, white beaches, great diving and full of history from war in the Pacific Theater. Guam is 6000 miles from the US west coast, 3 hours from Japan, on the edge of the Philippine Sea and 210 miles from the Marianas Trench – the deepest part of the oceans of the world.36 Talofofo Bay_preview.jpeg

The island reminded me in some ways of Kerala, India, with its contrasts in wealth and three-story cinderblock shopping complexes, except Guam as part of the US has building codes that don’t allow the maze of electrical wires that you see in southern Indian villages. The island is seeing a resurgence of the indigenous Chamorro culture, and is over 80% catholic so my driving tour included many beautiful churches that in some ways reminded me of the tropical churches of Kerala as well.

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Spent my last evening on The Beach (on Gun Beach Road).  Guam’s largest Bar and Grill is located on this beach front property.  However, there are secluded nooks that make this part of the island the best place to witness the sunset….. a spectacular, romantic, spiritual and most perfect sunset. A piece of heaven certainly descended on this part of the world that memorable evening.  Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

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Sunset March 9 2018 Gun Beach.jpg

Loved the Plumeria and the Flame of the Forest Trees.

Thank you Susan Murray for some of the great pictures.

Exhausted and at the Guam airport heading back home.

Leaving Guam Airport March 10 2018

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.

Sonya Christian early morning walk on the beach March 8 2018

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Kern County Unites to Support Women

Good morning from Sacramento, sipping coffee in my hotel room that has a window seat, overlooking Sacramento that is just waking up.

With the primary office of the State Chancellor’s Office in Sacramento, I find myself often on the train between Bakersfield and Sacramento.  Yesterday I took the last train from Bakersfield which got into Sacramento Valley Station at 12:15 a.m. and got to my hotel close to 1:00 a.m.

In the afternoon I presented at the CCLC New Trustee Workshop along with two wonderful colleagues, Bill McGinnis (Trustee from Butte College) and Sandy Fried from the State Chancellor’s Office.  The talk was well received.

Bill McGinnis, Sandy Fried, Sonya Christian Jan 27 2018

I was not the only presenter from Bakersfield College.  BC’s Dean of Institutional Effectiveness Dr. Craig Hayward also presented at the conference with Linda Wah, Trustee from Pasadena City College.

Craig Hayward and Linda Wah presenting at Trustees Workshop at CCLC Jan 28 2018

This past week has been active for Bakersfield College with teaching and learning and activities within the campus and within the community.

Let me start with our NEH grant invited speaker Gabriel Thompson…..

Book Talk: Gabriel Thompson

Author Gabriel Thompson

Author Gabriel Thompson

On Thursday evening, the cohort for our National Endowment of the Humanities grant invited author Gabriel Thompson to the Levan Center to talk about Fred Ross, a community organizer whose direct action techniques would inspire Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and the presidential campaign of Barack Obama.

Thompson’s book “America’s Social Arsonist” tells the story of how Fred Ross’ experience working at the Arvin/Weedpatch farm south of Bakersfield that inspired John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” led to a career organizing voter registration drives in Latino-American neighborhoods to help those communities fight for equal representation in local and state government. Through Ross’ work as the founder of the Community Service Organization, he trained Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in his techniques that emphasized face-to-face contact and empowering marginalized groups over fundraising and awareness.

Gabriel Thompson speaks to the packed room

Gabriel Thompson speaks to the packed room

Ross’ technique of house-meeting organizing would become the hallmark tactic of the United Farm Workers, who organized the Coachella grape strike in the 1970s. Many of Ross’ voter registration techniques, which included driving voters to the polls and educating them on how to read and vote on a ballot, would later be successfully utilized by Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, Thompson said.

While Ross was inspired by popular leftists of the 1930s such as Woody Guthrie, Thompson emphasized that Ross favored tangible results that could hold power accountable over any particular ideology. Ross, who also fought to get Japanese-Americans out of internment camps during World War II, was a diligent organizer and a perfectionist who left no stone unturned while amplifying the voices of his women organizers, whom he found to be “diligent, natural, fearless leaders,” Thompson said.

Thompson became inspired to write about Ross while researching his book “Working in the Shadows”. He spent a year working alongside Latino immigrants in low-wage industries across the United States, and in his research he found that little was written about Ross despite the huge legacy that he left in American political activism.

Jack Hernandez

Jack Hernandez speaks in the packed Levan Center

It was an honor to have Thompson talk about his work documenting an important but largely unknown footnote in Kern County’s political history, and I’m excited to see all of the stories that Oliver Rosales, Andrew Bond and Joshua Ottum are going to be surfacing during their work on this grant.  So proud of our faculty. #WeAreBC

Andrew Bond and Oliver Rosales at the event

Andrew Bond and Oliver Rosales at the event along with Jack Hernandez

Thank you Manny de Los Santos for live streaming this event.