Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, October 31, 2020, a Blue Moon Halloween … and a great day to be a Renegade.
Chancellor Oakley & CCC Board of Governors Visit Bakersfield College
On Monday, Chancellor Eloy Oakley, senior administrators from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, and members of the Board of Governors made a virtual visit to BC to meet with students, faculty, staff, and members of the community.
The Chancellor’s Office concluded their visit with a virtual town hall. Chancellor Oakley shared about his office’s Vision for Success, outlining goals to help us hold ourselves accountable for student performance. Chancellor Oakley answered questions about adult education, his personal history as an administrator at Long Beach City College, technology infrastructure at community colleges, and more.
He then presented BC with a Certificate of Recognition and a $5000 donation to the food pantry.
I enjoyed seeing Eloy’s tweet after this event:
Finish Line Scholars
Before Chancellor Oakley’s visit, the Chancellor’s Office and the Foundation for California Community Colleges announced that BC was one of the recipients of the Finish Line Scholars fund, a $100 million pledge distributed to 34 community colleges over 20 years. The Finish Line Scholars program provides scholarships to students who are halfway through their education plan of completing a degree or transferring to a 4-year university. Funding for the program was provided through a gift from the Jay Pritzker Foundation.
Beautiful Bakersfield Awards
Last Saturday night, the Greater Bakersfield Chamber announced the winners of the 3oth Annual Beautiful Bakersfield Awards.
Congressman William M. Thomas received the Harvey L. Hall Lifetime Achievement award.
While William M. Thomas is known nationally for having spent 14 terms in D.C. from 1979 to 2007, and as Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee in his final 6 years before retirement. Those of us in Bakersfield know Bill for the ways he has fundamentally changed the landscape of the city we call home.
His life’s work – tending to the daily details of navigating the intricacies of sometimes very obscure legislative matters – has been regularly punctuated by major wins in service to the community. Consistently ranked among the brainiest in Washington, Thomas strategically used his influence to improve the lives of the residents of Bakersfield. As one drives the streets of Bakersfield, walks the Bakersfield College campus, or flies into Bakersfield Airport, it is impossible to miss his contributions.
Through his coalition-building skills Congressman Thomas secured nearly a billion dollars in congressional funds for Bakersfield:
Successfully earmarking $722 million in federal transportation funding for Kern County roads, single-handedly connecting the I5 to the Sierras, and opening access to education and employment for some of the region’s most isolated communities
Garnering $40 million in congressional funding for the Valley Fever Vaccine Project
Obtaining $14.7 million for improvements to Bakersfield’s Meadows Field Airport
Yet, his service to the community didn’t end upon retirement. In 2016, he joined the Kern Community College District Board of Trustees. During his tenure, the district secured half a billion-dollar bond measure to support facilities and infrastructure improvements for the next fifty years. During his time as chair of the district’s Board Accreditation Committee, each of KCCD’s three colleges’ fully accredited status was reaffirmed.
With these contributions, it is no surprise that as we fly into the William M. Thomas Terminal, we are greeted by a bust of a man who has done so much for this community. And while Bakersfield will forever associate “The Congressman” with Bill Thomas, we remember Bill first as a young Bakersfield College professor. The first in his family to go to college, Bill paved the way for thousands of community college students, residents in our rural communities, and local leaders.
Congressman Thomas remains committed to Bakersfield’s residents, and only recently retired from public service as a KCCD Trustee.
Other winners included:
CityServe, which won the Chairman’s Award. CityServe distributed goods through 109 chuches of all denominations to help 20,000 households, as well as distributing backpacks, sleeping bags and other goods to area homeless. CityServe is also partnering with Bakersfield College and County of Kern to provide job skills training to those who are living in our local shelters.
John P. Lake, who was named Business Person of the Year. JP created the Kern Venture Group, the first angel investor fund for local entrepreneurs. He is also one of the founders of the Kern Initiative for Talent and Entrepreneurship (KITE).
Give Big Kern – One Day to Celebrate the Giving Spirit of Kern County, which received the A Better Bakersfield award. In 2019, this event raised nearly $430,000 from 2,800 donors and secured more than 88,000 volunteer pledged hours for 114 participating charities.
Thank you Nick Ortiz and the Chamber for this fabulous event. A special shout out to Hillary Hanes – the lead staff for this event.
Padrinos de Bakersfield College
Abel Guzman shared an email this week announcing the relaunch of Padrinos de Bakersfield College:
“Padrinos was an initiative led by our now retired dean, Cornelio “Corny” Rodriguez for many years. Our hope is to honor his years of service by relaunching and continuing the group’s work.“
This week, the group celebrated their relaunch by hosting a Dia de Los Muertos curbside pan dulce pick-up event on Friday.
Check out these photos from the event:
At the end of the last academic year, Corny won a lifetime achievement award. Check out these two videos.
Video Tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg
I asked the Women’s History Month Faculty Leads and the BC Pre-Law Club to put together a tribute to the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that premiered on Thursday, October 29, live at 5:30 p.m on BC’s YouTube channel and Facebook live. The video features Kern County Superior Court Judges Robert Tafoya and Susan Gill, Commissioner Cynthia Loo, and District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer.
Today, I am sharing my introduction from the tribute.
You can view the full 36 minute tribute video at https://youtu.be/yHWGakqaLZc. I will continue sharing pieces from this production in the coming weeks.
Thank you to Olivia Garcia, Maria Wright, Pearl Urena, Norma Rojas-Mora for their work in coordinating this tribute, and thank you to Valerie Urso and Manny de Los Santos for the video production and content editing.
The Effects of Colorism on Latina and Black Youth Panel
Bakersfield College’s Latinas Unidas and Latina Leaders of Kern County bring another discussion panel to discuss the sensitive topic of discrimination. According to the Pew Research Center, Latino and Black youth with darker skin tones are six times more likely to face discrimination due to the color of their skin. Panelists will speak about colorism in the Latinx and Black community. Register now for the panel taking place on Wednesday, 11/4/2020 – 5:30PM.
This is the third in the webinar series; webinars were also held on October 22 and October 29.
During the October 22 webinar, Sandy Woo-Cater, Co-director for the Kern Coalition Against Human Trafficking, shared some of her experiences with racism – particularly in a bi-racial relationship:
November 11 is the Veterans Day holiday to honor those who have served our country both in war and peace. At BC, we celebrate and honor our veteran students for the whole month. This year, celebrations include the Distinguished Speaker David French, the invitation-only 30 Unit Coining Ceremony & Touch Point and the Success Pack distribution. Get details on the BC website at Veterans Month.
Last year in November we celebrated the month with the opening of the VRC. See other highlights of our celebration in my November 10, 2019 blog. Here are a few pictures from previous events:
Art on PBS
BC Art Adjunct Faculty Diego Gutierrez Monterubio was featured on Valley PBS this week with a 5-minute film “Pintor Diego.” The film, along with 9 other local films, was part of this year’s #TheBigTell.
Thank you Diego Gutiérrez Monterrubio for sharing your story with the Central Valley.
Chemistry professor Deb Rosenthal sent me this photo of construction of sthe new Science building. Even while we are not able to be on campus, work continues to create #ABetterBC.
“Dasein”, a poem by Jim Lynn (1971)
The following poem by Jim Lynn was published in the May 26, 1971 edition of the Renegade Rip. Loosely translated from German, the word “dasein” equates to the English word “existence” and was a frequent expression used by the philosopher Martin Heidegger.
Yonder, in the Panhandle, My thoughts are hiding Until after the sun Has paled the horizon Then shall we meet In mortal union Within corpse of lilac corpse And pass the image of a friend. The basking tombstone. We shall nurse the choking Of a Sophist pond But we know she cannot smile, For the clandestine curse Of time, in stealthy stalking, Muses our isolation. And after the variegate cliffs Are clothed in peignoir Of twilight shadow We shall wait for Soliloquies of crickets To die in solitude, Leaving us alone With the pond, Wherein we weep For the passing Of Spring
– Jim Lynn
Spotted on Social Media
Anthropology Professor Krista Moreland shared these photos of her cat, Pepper:
Maria Wright, Director of Student Support Services, shared a picture of her son getting into the Halloween spirit:
New Renegade Themed Zoom Backdrops Are Here
Step-up your Zoom game on your next video conference call with these official Renegade themed backgrounds! Right-click each image to save the background.
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
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
Here is another great poem by Jack Hernandez
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Emails Worth Sharing: In Memoriam – Ron Dethlefson
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.
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 Livelyput 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 RobinsonDay. 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
Saint Mother Teresa demonstrated a life worth living; one of finding deep purpose by serving those in need, acting as a light in dark places, and inspiring others around the world to act in kindness. Saint Mother Teresa is an inspiration of generosity, persistence, resilience, compassion, and love – love with no boundaries.
Throughout my life, incredible women have taught me, mentored me, guided me, loved me, and inspired me and the best way I know how to thank them is to pay it forward. When women support each other, unbelievable things can happen.
A favorite song of our family growing up. Recognizing moms….. Let’s listen to Mother of Mine.
Women in Leadership Panel
Speaking of inspirational women, last Friday, March 1st, I hosted a panel in the Levan Center with some of Kern County’s most inspirational women leaders in politics, business and education to talk about their pathways to success. This panel was moderated by the inspiring Jean Fuller. It was great to see BC’s Levan Center filled with students, staff, and women from our community. Additionally, KCCD Trustees Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Romeo Agbalog came out to support the event.
Jean Fuller – the first Republican woman ever elected to state office in California and a decades-long champion for BC – was the perfect moderator for our panel on Women in Leadership. Food Services provided a lovely selection of hors d’oeuvres and ornate plating and tea cups to create an elegant ambiance for the event, as well.
The panel consisted of some of the most successful women in Kern County. California Senator Shannon Grove represents the 16th State Senate district, taking Fuller’s place at the end of her second term. Shannon Grove — Senator, Entrepreneur, Veteran, Leader.
Blanca Cavazos has broken barriers throughout her career in education, becoming the first Latina principal of Arvin High School before being appointed as the first Latina Superintendent of the Taft Union High School District. Her family immigrated to the United States from Mexico when she was three years old. Blanca Cavazos — Superintendent, change maker, trailblazer, leader.
Cynthia Giumarra practiced law for more than 20 years, overcoming many barriers that women lawyers faced in the 1970s and ’80s, when it was still uncommon to see women on the other side of the courtroom bench. Since 2000, she has turned her life over to her faith, counseling women and leading Bible studies as a licensed minister for the Canyon Hills Assembly of God Church while raising awareness and fundraising for anti-human trafficking causes. Cynthia Giumarra — Minister, advocate, attorney, leader.
During Rosalina Rivera’s tenure as the Superintendent of the Delano Joint Union High School District, several schools in the district have been recognized with prestigious awards, including the California Distinguished Schools Award, the U.S. News and World Report Nation’s Best High School Awards, and the National Title I Distinguished School Award. In 2013, Rudy Salas recognized Rivera for her leadership and dedication, stating that she “is unwavering in her commitment to the children and the community of Delano.” Rosalina Rivera — Superintendent, innovator, collaborator, leader.
Even with all of their success, the panelists at the Women in Leadership event recognized the importance of balancing their personal lives and being committed to their families. While they have all had to remain strong to overcome barriers and accomplish their goals, finding time to quietly be with their families has helped them stay humble and keep things in perspective when dealing with coworkers and employees.
Thank you to all of our panelists for taking time out of their busy schedules to speak to our students, and thank you to Prof. Olivia Garcia for organizing the programming for this event.
Early College Parent & Student Workshop in Arvin
On March 6th, Members of the Early College Team which included Jesse Oropeza, Couselor and Maggie Rodriguez, Support Specialist, welcomed Arvin High Early College students and parents Wednesday night with smiles and tasty food! The onsite support team facilitated a workshop, engaging students and parents together in learning about the education process.
More workshops like these are planned to keep future Early College students involved. Stay tuned!
Celebrating our first Early College Graduates
Last May, thirty-eight Wonderful Ag Prep Renegades walked the stage at Memorial Stadium in recognition of earning a college degree from BC through the Early College program a few weeks prior to receiving their high school diploma. Then later that August, the amazing team at Wonderful Education hosted a special celebration for their graduates and families and I was fortunate to share some remarks at this life-changing event. I first shared this in my blog on August 18th, 2018 and you can see the original post here.
Lynda and Stewart Resnick, you had a vision for the Central Valley. You had a vision for this graduating class of 2018. You not only had the dream, you also created the infrastructure and the programming to make this dream come true. You invested significant resources because you believed in these communities, you believed in these young minds. With your work, you are transforming the Central Valley into a place of big dreams.
Sonya Christian, August 11, 2018
Take a moment to listen to these successful and inspirational young people who have completed the program and how it has impacted their futures.
Thank you Lynda and Stewart Resnick for your passionate investment in education, qualify of life and family, and the future of Kern County. We will be recognizing the Resnick’s at Sterling Silver on March 23rd.
KCCD Trustee Jack Connell Visits BC
This week, BC faculty, staff, students, and administration welcomed one of our newest Trustees, Mr. Jack Connell to campus for a visit and tour. Trustee Connell represents the Area II service area and joined the KCCD Board in November 2018 with Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg.
When Trustee Connell first arrived, he was welcomed by the VP Team, Liz Rozell, Zav Dadabhoy, and Mike Giacomini. Benny Balderrama, Program Manager for Campus Center Events and Services, and Samantha Pulido, SGA Vice President, provided an overview of Student Life, while Heather Penella welcomed Trustee Connell on behalf of the Bakersfield College Foundation. Deans of Instruction, Corny Rodriguez and Manny Mourtzanos, dropped by to highlight some of our outstanding institutional initiatives and instructional work.
Afterwards, Trustee Connell enjoyed a tour of the Nursing Skills Lab hosted by Ronnie Knabe, Automotive Engine Lab hosted by Justin Flint, and the Baccalaureate Robotics Lab hosted by Tom Rush. He met our BC humanoid robot, Pepper, and was instructed on how to maneuver robotic arms by INDA students, Yasmeen Reyes and Jose Manriquez. Student Carlos Medina discussed student employment using Jobspeaker.
Industrial Automation hosts local HS students
On March 1st 2019, Bakersfield College Industrial Automation hosted over 60 students from West High School, Regional Occupational Center, and Robert F. Kennedy High School to explore the Industrial Automation program.
Students were provided an overview of the Baccalaureate Degree, Career Education certificates and degrees, Campus Life, Student Government Association, Financial-Aid and a campus tour. At lunch, all guests were surprised by a special guest from a galaxy far far away.
Art on the Fly
BC’s Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio has been working with one of BC’s art students on the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and making a large-scale painting on the fly. He said in an email, “We are representing and concluding Black History Month on the Hip Hop & Poetry side. I teach Art and Hip Hop…”
Professor Monterrubio says that his students talk about art, but also about music and other areas of the humanities, and how important it is to learn from these different realms. His student Keiolani inquired about African American female singers who showed empowerment with their music and life. Monterrubio shared that Lauryn Hill started in a group called The Refugees that was shortened to the Fugees in the 90s. He said, “I explained to my student that her music has transcended decades and is still as empowering today as it was in the nineties. So during that short conversation in regard to Black History Month and inquiry of my student, we decided to get some acrylic paint and use what we’ve learned in class regarding contrast/scale and create a huge portrait of Lauryn Hill. As an educator of color, it’s important to teach identity and diversity when my students ask for it or need to hear it. We are educators. I am here for them. Together we make art.”
Passionate Professor: Bill Kelly
Thank you to Tabatha Mills at KGET for spotlighting a true Renegade and Ag champion and BC legend, Bill Kelly.
UNCOMMON WOMEN AND OTHERS is a comedy/drama set in an East Coast women’s college during the 1970s and the second wave of feminism. Five former classmates compare notes on their activities since graduating and then, in a series of flashbacks, are seen back in their college days and we learn of the events, some funny, some touching, some awkward, some outrageous, that helped to shape them.
The play was presented in the Simonsen Performing Arts Center indoor theater and had its final showing last weekend. It was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein, and directed by theatre faculty member Bob Kempf.
Project Conexiones Estudantiles de BC
As a result of their leadership development, LUPE students are highly involved in Project Conexiones Estudantiles de BC, a new venture on campus to unite recognized student organizations on campus and community agencies who are advocates and raise the awareness of the issues affecting undocumented students on campus.
In addition, engagement in the community and early outreach to our local high school students has been a major point of emphasis for the spring semester. LUPE has been intentional in advocating for post-secondary education for all Kern County residents, regardless of their immigration status.
Six LUPE student leaders visited the Parent Center at BHS and addressed over thirty Spanish speaking parents and their students ranging from 9th – 12th grade. The information disseminated ranged from: Student Success Strategies, College Expectations, the Freshmen Experience, Resiliency/Perseverance Testimonies, EOPS Program, Dream Act/FAFSA, Scholarship Opportunities and how parents can better support and motivate the next generation.
Beyond #BringBackOurGirls: Women and Conflict in North East Nigeria
Journalist, research analyst and Yale Ph.D. candidate Hilary Matfess came to campus on Wednesday to present her research on women’s roles in the Boko Haram insurgency group in North East Nigeria. Titled “Beyond #BringBackOurGirls: Women and Conflict in North East Nigeria”, Matfess’ visit was organized by the Women’s History and More Committee, who are focusing this year’s Women’s History Month programming on discussions of women in war.
Matfess originally came to Nigeria to interview men who had defected from Boko Haram, a jihadist insurgency that initially started as a religious volunteer group before evolving into one of the world’s most violent terrorist organizations. When she discovered that getting access to Boko Haram soldiers was pretty difficult, she decided to focus her research on women who were either abducted or volunteered to join Boko Haram.
“It became clear to me that these women’s experiences were not being highlighted,” Matfess said. “Understanding women’s experiences in their totality is crucial to understanding conflict.”
Over one million Nigerians have been displaced from their homes as a result of the Boko Haram conflict, and rampant corruption and human rights abuses in displacement camps by the Nigerian military gave women few safe options to turn to. International attention of Boko Haram peaked in 2014, when the group abducted 276 young girls from a school in the town of Chibok. A group of Nigerian activists started the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, which became rapidly shared across social media and led to several of the girls being released. However, Matfess said that the campaign oversimplified the complexities of the Boko Haram conflict and ignored the thousands of other people who had been abducted by the group, and negotiating for the release of several Chibok girls resulted in the group abducting even more women in the region due to their perceived increase in value.
Thank you to BC’s WHAM committee, BCSGA, and Hilary Matfess for the enriching and informative event.
Spotlight on Student Employment
The Student Employment department hosted their second hiring recruitment for local moving company Meathead Movers on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. During the recruitment, 28 students completed onsite applications and several others picked-up an application to return at a later time. We also had several students inquire about current on-campus employment and upcoming events at our jobspeaker tent.
Erin Norton, Operations Manager for Meathead Movers, will provide an update on number of hires within the next couple of weeks. He has also requested another hiring recruitment in April as he is impressed the caliber of students Bakersfield College produces. Thank you Domenica Trinidad, Job Developer for coordinating this event and a special thanks to Darrell Ballard, Athletics Program Manager, for his continual efforts in helping our students.
Kern County Career Expo
Speaking of gainful employment, the 2nd Annual Kern County Career Expo was held, Thursday February 28, 2019. In partnership with the Kern High School District, Bakersfield College Career Education supported this large scale event that drew in approximately 5,700 middle school, high school and early college students to explore career options within Kern County.
There were over 140 companies in addition to, Regional Occupation Center, Bakersfield College, Taft College and Cal State Bakersfield to support students on the path to their future careers. Check out all the photos on BC’s Smugmug!
Connecting the Dots: Data-Informed Integrated Planning
A power team from BC attended the Connecting the Dots: Data-informed Integrated Planning conference in Fresno on March 1st. Nick Strobel, Dan Hall, Amber Hroch, Tony Cordova, Craig Hayward, Erica Menchaca, Billie Jo Rice, and Todd Coston spent the day looking through the student success dashboard, looking at data, identifying what we are doing now and then looking for opportunities to do things better. All of this work then funneled down to how we can use this information to fill the gaps of our strategic plan so we can meet the goals set by the state for the Vision For Student Success.
Counseling Department Award
Exciting news emerged from the BC Foundation this week that a self-funded Counseling Department award has been established. Fifteen members from the Counseling (Panorama & Delano), EOPS, DSPS, and BSIA departments came together and signed up for automatic, monthly payroll deduction. The contribution will total $285 per month generating $3,420 per year to support deserving BC students! The first $500 award will be given out this spring. What an amazing demonstration of care, teamwork and leadership!
CASE District VII Conference
Susan Hubbell, Financial Information Manager and Heather Pennella, Alumni & Donor Relations Manager attended the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District VII Conference in Anaheim, representing Bakersfield College and the BC Foundation. CASE District VII represents institutions in the western region of the U.S., including Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah. The four-day conference was stacked with sessions focused on alumni relations, advancement services, philanthropy, leadership and communications. Susan and Heather took part in many educational sessions during the conference to bring back information and apply it to the Foundation’s growing efforts towards improved alumni outreach, donor stewardship and a robust scholarship program.
Go Red Luncheon
On March 1, 2019 the American Heart Association held its annual Go Red Luncheon. What a fantastic event with incredible turnout! Bakersfield College was well represented by the BC cheerleaders.
Adventist Health’s Beatris Espericueta-Sanders and Kiyoshi Tomono were gracious hosts as Norma Rojas-Mora and I joined Mayor Karen Goh, CSUB’s President Zelezny and Lourdes Nilon, from Bakersfield High, Tamara Clark, and from Adventist Health Dr. Anabiet Udofia, Heather Van Housen. There was a sea of red as the community came out to understand the importance of heart health and to build awareness around knowing the symptoms of a heart attack. The American Heart Association cites that one in three women is living with some form of cardiovascular disease and it kills one woman every 80 seconds. To prevent the disease, the organization recommends understanding family health history, knowing your numbers and making lifestyle changes like eating smart, managing blood pressure and being more active.
Seen on Facebook: BC at Shafter City Council
Last Tuesday, Dean of Academic Technology Bill Moseley joined Shafter Educational Liaison David Franz at the Shafter City Council meeting, to speak in support of the proposed Shafter Library and Learning Center expansion. The Shafter Learning Center has partnered with BC to offer study space and support for BC students who live in Shafter, and may offer classroom space in the future for BC classes.
Career Ladders Project Partnership
These Affinity Team rock stars, Pedro Ramirez and Armando Trujillo along with their stage manager Lisa Robles went on tour sharing the good news surrounding Guided Pathways from a Completion Coaching Community perspective. The group started their tour at the Building Diversity Conference in L.A., moving on to their second gig in Long Beach at the Achieving the Dream Conference and ended their tour in NYC at the League for Innovation conference where former BC AAI champion and current Director at Career Ladders Project Julian West received the 2018 Innovation Award.
The partnership and collaboration between Bakersfield College and Career Ladders Project is an important one as we continue the work in making Guided Pathways a success.
Photos of Campus at Dawn
Earl Parsons of BC’s Marketing team shared these photos with me and they were too beautiful not to include! Enjoy!
We have been so fortunate to work alongside local firm Ordiz-Melby Architects for our new Campus Center. They have been wonderful partners and have been working diligently to make sure that our new Campus Center will benefit the campus, students, and our community! The new campus center will have many exciting features, including a new food services area, student life offices, and a 500-person conference room! Thank you to Jeannie Bertolaccini, Danny Ordiz and Bob Varner for your partnership to build A Better BC!
If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11am, check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights included segments with BC Head Cheer Coach Heather Foss and BC Cheerleaders Jasmine Garcia and Karlee Nelson.
Renegades of the Week
Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (2/24-3/2) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week.
Bailey Pike, Women’s Swimming – In the first Western State Conference meet she took first in the 1650m Freestyle (19:37.41), lowering her season best time by 23 seconds and finishing over a minute ahead of the second place swimmer, helping the women take first overall at the meet.
Zach Williams, Baseball – He was 8 for 10 (.800) in three games last week. He had a total of 8 RBI, 2 stolen bases and 2 home runs (one grand slam and one three-run homerun).
Zach Williams named SoCal Player of the Week An big congrats
to Zach on not only being Renegade of the Week, but also being named SoCal
Player of the week by the California Community College Baseball Coaches
Association (CCCBCA) for his big week last week!
Seven Renegades Named to the 2018 SCFA Scholar Athlete Team
We are proud to have student athletes who not only take care of business on the field, but in the classroom as well. This year we have seven Renegade football student athletes named to the Southern California Football Association 2018 Scholar Athlete Team. The seven include: Jeremiah Johnson (DB, Soph, Garces HS), Nathan De Jager (PK, Soph, Bakersfield Christian HS), James Thomas (DE, Soph, Independence HS), Monolete Robinson (DB, Soph, Centennial HS), Andrew Magana (DL, Fresh, Bakersfield HS), Carson Olivas (P, Soph, Bakersfield HS) and Blake Brown (OL, Soph, Garces HS). Congrats and keep up the great work academically!
Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, March 2, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.
Women in Leadership
To celebrate the kickoff of Women’s History Month at Bakersfield College, yesterday I hosted a panel discussion on Women in Leadership. California Senator Emeritus and Early College champion, Jean Fuller served as the guest moderator while four esteemed panelists shared their stories, accomplishments, challenges, and more. Thank you to guests Shannon Grove, Republican State Senator, 16th Senate District; Blanca Cavazos, Taft Union High School District Superintendent; Cynthia Giumarra, Local Attorney and minister; and Rosalina Rivera, Delano Union Elementary School District Superintendent for participating on the panel.
The fabulous Manny De Los Santos recorded the event and I hope to have many photos and videos for you in next week’s blog. Stay tuned!
One on One with Robert Price
On Wednesday afternoon, I enjoyed being a guest on One on One with Robert Price, @stubblebuzz . The Bakersfield Californian is a great resource for this community with engaged reporters, like Joseph Luiz who visits BC often and always ensures he has the right info to create the best report possible for the people in our community.
Thank you, Robert, for having me on the show to share with our community the latest on Measure J, BC Southwest, Early College, and education transforming the Central Valley.
Bakersfield College received the 2019 Diversity Champion Award from the California LAW Pathway for its excellence in building the Community College Pathway Program. The awardees were chosen at the California LAW Board of Directors meeting in November and winners were announced to the to the California State Bar and the CPA Advisory Council. Deans Corny Rodriguez and Manny Mourtzanos, and Pre-Law Advisory Council Member Yinka Glover accepted the award on behalf of BC at the Omni Hotel on February 22, 2019.
Bakersfield College is honored to receive the award. I would like to thank the California LAW Pathway for the recognition, as the Pathway to Law Program at BC was designed with innovation and creativity in mind in order to keep Bakersfield College Pathway Students engaged and inspired to achieve success in the law. Congrats to our Pathway to Law program and to our amazing prelaw team including Corny Rodriguez, Christian Zoller, Edward Borgens, Charles Kim, Marilynn Sanchez Avila, and Pearl Urena! I would like to recognize Foothill College President Thuy Nguyen for her statewide leadership in establishing this program.
Finally thank you to the Pathways to Law advisory committee chaired by David Torres. Thank you David for your unwavering commitment to Bakersfield College and our students. Here is the list of the committee members — Adeyinka Glover, Steven Katz, Jeannie Kraybill, Courtney Lewis, Cynthia Loo, James Maddox, Rebecca Murillo, Bathany Peak, Brett Price, H.A.Sala, Robert Tafoya, David Torres (Chair), Alekxia Torres-Stallings.
Celebrating Black History Month
In conjunction with the community organization Harlem and Beyond, Bakersfield College was honored to have Dr. James Chaffers, Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of Michigan. Dr. chaffers was the Senior Design Juror for the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial statue in Washington, D.C. See the Bakersfield Californian Article: Bakersfield College celebrates Black History Month.
Gades Grub Grand Opening
Food Services celebrated the launch of the Gades Grub food trailer with a grand opening event in the Gym Huddle on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. The event featured a live DJ, free samples of some of the delicious food that Gades Grub has to offer, and other giveaway prizes. Students were eager to try some of the delectable options that will now be available to them from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Thursday.
BC at Startup Grind Global Conference
BC was represented by Professors Rudy Menjivar and Valerie Robinson at the Startup Grind’s Global Conference in Silicon Valley. This is for startups everywhere, especially the who’s who of the Silicon Valley startup scene. With more than 8,000 individuals, mostly entrepreneurs, venture capital investors, and professional service providers attending the two-day event, the conference provided an environment unlike anything else – a community coming together for invaluable education, connection, and inspiration. The event had a roster of world-class speakers and thousands of entrepreneurs looking to build relationships, and it was great to see that BC was well represented.
Culture of Power
On Valentine’s Day, Daniel Rios, a Ph.D. student in Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego and a BC graduate, shared his passion for researching communities of color in East Bakersfield with BC students and staff. Rios presented research at A Culture of Power: Race, Youth, Labor and Sound in East Bakersfield, 1966-1974, in the Levan Center. The event was organized by commercial music professor Joshua Ottum as part of the Energizing Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley grant.
Rios’ presentation began with an overview of race and labor relations in Bakersfield in the early-to-mid 20th Century. Communities of color in Bakersfield were locked into low socioeconomic status via discriminatory housing practices that persisted until the 1970s and forced into low-level employment as farm, sanitation and domestic workers. In 1966 and 1972, black, Chicano and Latino sanitation workers in Bakersfield went on strike to fight for unionization and protest unhealthy working conditions and the dehumanizing way they were treated by white property owners. Protesters were met with heavy resistance by police and organizations such as the White Citizens Council.
At this same time, an often-overlooked music scene was booming around dance halls frequented by communities of color across East Bakersfield. While many music historians have documented the local country music scene known as the Bakersfield Sound, the contributions of doo-wop, soul and R&B groups are rarely discussed in academic circles. Groups from Kern County such as the Paradons, the Montereys, and Little Ray Jimenez were recording Billboard Top 40 hits while performing in local venues such as Salon Juarez and Fraternity Hall.
The majority of the groups, such as The Original Souls, were multicultural, composed of a mixture of Filipinos, Latinos and blacks. In 1969, the Original Souls beat out country and psychedelic rock bands to win a Battle of the Bands competition at Lake Ming attended by approximately 4,000 people.
After Rios’ presentation, Johnny Gomez of the Paradons and Original Souls bassist Billy Haynes, who went on to perform with Tina Turner and Lou Rawls, performed a few songs in the Levan Center and talked about their history in what is commonly referred to as the East Bakersfield Sound. “There was a lot of oppression in our town back then,” Haynes said. “We made people feel proud of our community.”
Thank you Daniel Rios for sharing his important research on the intersection of labor relations and music in Kern County, as well as Joshua Ottum and the Energizing Humanities cohort for organizing this event and Reggie Williams for the use of the Levan Center.
The Girl who Smiled Beads: Clementine Wamariya
On Thursday, Distinguished Speaker Clementine Wamariya gave several speeches in the Levan Center, sharing the powerful story of traveling through 9 different countries as a refugee to escape the Rwandan genocide.
Wamariya read from her memoir The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After, which was written during a major crossroads in her life. She was several years removed from the traumatic experience of fleeing the genocide with her sister at the age of 6, living in refugee camps and illegally crossing borders to seek freedom in the United States before being reunited with her parents on an episode of “Oprah”. In 2014, she had returned to Rwanda to attend an event in a soccer stadium where the history of Rwanda and the genocide was being re-enacted and memorialized, and she was so triggered by the memories that the re-enactment brought out that she had to immediately leave and fly back to the United States. She listened to Nina Simone’s cover of “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles on repeat and cried the whole way home, and the message of that song inspired her to write her memoir.
“I had lived opposite lives,” Wamariya said. “I had everything and nothing. I could stay anywhere in the world, but I didn’t have a home.” She continued, “I felt like that song was burning me, but I realized that if I could bear the sun, and my people could bear working in the sun, that it could be a source of strength.”
Wamariya spent five years researching her life and past with an investigative journalist to write “The Girl Who Smiled Beads,” which became a New York Times bestseller upon its release in 2018. The book talks about the lessons that she learned as a young child from her mother, a devout Catholic who imparted the value of sharing everything, never taking more than what you need, and having reverence for fruits, plants and the Earth. To this day, Wamariya likes to ask the question, “What fruit are you?” The answer reveals a lot about where someone comes from and how they view themselves, and driving through the farms of the Central Valley helped her relate to this area as a place of sharing, where fruits and vegetables are spread across the world.
When the genocide happened, Wamariya went to live with her grandparents and eventually ended up in a refugee camp, where people had to wait in line to eat corn and walk six hours for water. When she eventually decided to flee and cross the first of 8 borders to escape the horrors of war, she thought that she would have to jump over a chasm in the ground to get from one country to the other. Instead, time and distance passed and she didn’t even realize that she was in another country. Borders aren’t even real,” Wamariya said with tears in her eyes. “The Earth is the only thing that’s real, and everything else is made up.”
Wamariya pleaded for attendees of her presentations to be motivated by joy and not by fear, for when someone is motivated by joy, they realize that they don’t have to take someone else’s joy to experience it for themselves, and they’ll never believe that they have to take someone’s life to maintain their joy.
Since her appearance on “Oprah” in 2006, Wamariya has gone on to receive a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Comparative Literature from Yale University and serves on the boards of Women for Women International and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Thank you Olivia Garcia, History Professor, for coordinating Clementine Wamariya’s visit as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series, and to the Office of Student Life, the BC African-American Initiative Committee and the BC Women’s History and Awareness Month (WHAM) Committee. See more events for Women’s History Month.
Faculty Diversification Meeting
The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges held the Spring 2019 Hiring Regionals at Bakersfield College on Thursday, February 21, 2019. Faculty diversity is a critical component in the support of student success, and each California community college has a responsibility to develop a workforce that reflects the diversity of its community and is best prepared to serve the college’s specific student populations. The event presented important considerations for faculty hiring, including ways to diversify and expand hiring pools and reshape search processes to focus on candidates who understand and are committed to our students.
Thank you Dr. Janet Fulks and Prof. Steven Holmes for bringing this statewide event to BC. Thank you Tarina Perry for coordinating the event with the graceful touch that is so you!
Eric Lord, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist and adjunct instructor at CSUB, taught a program known as “Question, Persuade, Refer,” or QPR, which demonstrates how to recognize when someone may be suicidal, persuade them to seek help, and refer them to the proper authority that can save their life. Lord was invited to give the QPR presentation by the mental health interns at the Office of Student Life, who work closely with the Student Health and Wellness Center to assist students dealing with serious mental health issues.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death on college campuses, and 31 percent of college students have considered committing suicide, Lord said. These are preventable deaths, and all it takes is the courage and empathy to ask the right questions when students are suffering, help them realize that there are people who love them and want them to succeed, and help them find the resources they need to get their lives back, whether it’s a mental health professional, or in more extreme cases of suicidal ideation, law enforcement.
Lord compared being suicidal to being locked in a house that is on fire, and suicide appears to be the only doorway to escape. “When somebody wants to die and not be around anymore, there’s a lot that leads them to that moment,” Lord said. “If we can use the power of our words and our relationship to folks, we can open up another door.” Suicidal ideation is related to a number of systemic issues, such as the loss of a job, the ending of a relationship or the death of a loved one, and some ways to recognize that someone may want to commit suicide include recently acquiring a gun, putting personal affairs in order, chronic drug and alcohol abuse, or saying things like “I just can’t go on” or “I won’t be around much longer”.
It’s important that when you recognize some of these symptoms, you talk to the person in a blunt and direct, yet caring way. Don’t be afraid to use words like “death”, “kill”, and “suicide.” In the moment that you ask the question, make eye contact with them and say, “Have you thought about killing yourself?” or “Are you going to commit suicide?” Never phrase the question as, “You’re not going to commit suicide, are you?” because it makes the other person feel like you don’t actually care and they shouldn’t be honest with you.
When you find out that the person in question may want to end their life, persuade them that it’s not the answer and show them that you and others care and want them to live. Get other people in the individual’s life involved, such as family, friends, doctors, or clergy members. Then, refer them to a group such as BC’s Students of Concern Team or a mental health professional and follow up with them via a personal visit or phone call to establish a connection and ensure that they won’t be punished for seeking help. If you think that they won’t receive help and they’re going to follow through, contact Public Safety or law enforcement. You can find more information about suicide prevention from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and share their number 1-800-273-8255.
Thank you to the Office of Student Life’s mental health team for inviting Eric Lord to campus for this important professional development opportunity. Thank you Dr. Nicky Damania.
BCSGA Power Lunch with Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg
When Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg enrolled in college as a sociology major, she had no idea that she would embark upon a journey that would lead to being elected on the Board of Trustees for the Kern Community College District. But at every stop along the way of her 35-year career in education – whether it was as an art professor, a preschool teacher, or one of BC’s longest-serving administrators – Nan’s faith in her ability to prioritize and solve problems propelled her to success in every new endeavor to which she applied herself.
Nan spoke to BC students and staff in the Levan Center about her journey in education and her plans for the Board of Trustees during Monday’s Power Lunch organized by the Legislative Affairs Department of BCSGA. All three Vice Presidents and I were in attendance to hear from a woman that inspired all of us so immensely and continues to inspire us today.
While she has accomplished many things during her career, Nan says that her students have kept her humble and put things into perspective. The first accomplishment Nan has been able to celebrate during her short stint on the Board of Trustees was the approval of BC’s new Southwest Center to be constructed on the CSUB campus. “The part that made it so sweet was that I knew how much work that was done to make it happen,” Nan said.
While she has attended many Board of Trustee meetings as a BC administrator, it is surreal for her to be sitting at the other side of table and balancing the concerns of students, constituents and instructors, as well as her fellow board members, she said. However, she feels up to the task of continuing to be aware of everything happening in Kern County education in order to position the District to best serve Area 1 of the KCCD. “It’s not the paperwork that makes you get up every day,” Nan said. “It’s knowing that you’re going to do something that helps someone out.” She said, “That feels like a big deal to me most days.”
I’d like to thank Mustapha Barraj and BCSGA for organizing Monday’s Power Lunch. I know we’ll be hearing a lot more from Nan in the future.
Congratulations to Laura Luiz
The American Library Association (ALA) is recognizing BC reference librarian Laura Luiz for her outstanding contributions to student learning and community engagement with the BC Get Out The Vote program.
In a press release on Wednesday, ALA, in conjunction with the Association of College and Research Libraries, announced Luiz as the winner of the 2019 Community and Junior College Libraries Section EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Program Award, which includes a $750 award and a plaque that will be presented to Luiz at the ALA’s annual conference in Washington, DC.
Get Out the BC Vote was a campaign that helped BC students on the Panorama and Delano campus get registered to vote in the 2018 midterm elections. There were also workshops and online resources breaking down every candidate and initiative on the midterm ballot and helping students to properly discern fake news and disinformation.
ALA award chair Laura Mondt of Northern Essex Community College had effusive praise for Luiz and the Get Out the BC Vote campaign. “Laura Luiz’s efforts with Get Out The BC Vote allowed the library to connect with the Student Government Association to help students become informed voters and promote news literacy,” Mondt said.
Luiz and the library have plans to expand the Get Out the BC Vote program for the 2020 midterm and presidential elections.
I was fortunate to attend the Kern County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner on February 22, 2019, as the guest of Senator Jean Fuller. The featured keynote speaker was newly elected Congressman Dan Crenshaw who has an incredible story as a former Navy SEAL who lost his eye in an IED blast.
Last November, Dan also appeared on Saturday Night Live and bits of this skit were referenced last Friday evening. This is a “Must watch.”
It was great to see CSUB President, Lynnette Zelezny at the event, as well as KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog and his wife, Lilly. I unfortunately did not snap a picture of many of the community leaders who support education who were there — JP Lake, David Bynum, …..
On Tuesday, February 19, 2019, representatives from the US Army visited the BC campus to show off various military robotics technologies to students in the Renegade Food Court area.
Both KGET and KERO featured the US Army STEM Truck in its afternoon broadcasts, and soldiers demonstrated all of the innovative technology the Army uses to save lives every day.
Inside the truck, students could participate in a simulation of the Army’s Search and Rescue Automation Hardware, also known as SARAH, which uses aerial and ground drones to locate missing persons. Students also had the opportunity to check a drone created by the iRobot company for remotely disarming explosives. Above the iRobot drone, there were videos demonstrating various robotic prototypes developed in conjunction with Boston Dynamics, including the infamous “Big Dog” robot and another robot that can jump up stairs and run 28.3 miles per hour, which is slightly faster than Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man.
Thank you to the Army for inspiring our students to pursue careers in STEM, as well as everyone who worked to make their visit possible.
Wendale Davis Foundation 11th Annual Leadership Conference
The Wendale Davis Foundation is an intervention, prevention, mentoring foundation with a mission to educate, motivate, and rehabilitate at-risk youth. On Friday, February 22, 2019, a series of workshops were held at BC with topics such as HIV/AIDS Awareness, Gang Intervention, Life/Coping Skills, and more. It’s a great day any time BC invites young people to campus to learn and embrace a healthy and successful future.
Juvenile Justice Employers
The Criminal Justice, Public Health and the Career Education Department collaborated to host the first Juvenile Justice Employer Panel on February 27, 2019. The primary focus of this event was to inform students in the Public Safety Pathway, Public Health Science, Psychology and/or Sociology majors about the different career paths they can follow after completing their education. Each panelist discussed their role working on prevention and intervention with troubled youth and tools they use to reduce criminal behavior. With over 100 students and special guest, Ricardo De Hoyo a District Representative of Senator Melissa Hurtado, in attendance, employers answered questions related to educational background, past and current work experience and employer expectations.
Dean and Adah Gay Reading Room Refurbishment
If you haven’t been in the Grace Van Dyke Bird Library recently, check out the refurbished Dean and Adah Gay Reading Room. The Gay family created an endowment back in 2007 to help maintain the room but until recently the goals of this endowment were not fully realized. New chairs, lamps and plants have been added, plus additional electrical outlets to assist students in recharging their electronic devices.
David and Catherine Gay, Andreas, Emily (Gay) and Eva Dauner joined Kirk and Stacey Russell (Library), and Heather Pennella, Tom Gelder and Dana Heins-Gelder (Foundation) to rededicate the space last Saturday evening, February 23, 2019. The new furniture arrived last Friday just before noon and the students began enjoying it immediately.
From Earth to the Universe Planetarium Show
Last week Dr. Nick Strobel held one of his amazing planetarium presentations called From Earth to the Universe. Community Relations Manager Tamara Baker brought her parents to the event, excited to show off the beautiful William M Thomas Planetarium, which boasts the largest dome in all of the Central Valley! Tamara said that Dr. Strobel delved into the evening stars, and showed attendees how to identify different constellations and how to find true north. Tamara said that she and her family cannot wait to go star gazing up at their cabin. Thanks Dr. Strobel for always putting on such great and informational presentations for our local community!
Degree With a Guarantee
Near the end of last year, I participated in an interview with Gary Stern for an article focused on Degrees with a Guarantee at California Community Colleges. Check it out the Hispanic Outlook Article: Degree Guarantee.
Public Health Program in Case Study
Sarah Baron and BC’s Public Health Sciences program were featured in a case study published by the Community College Journal of Research and Practices. The report published on February 19, titled “Practical Lessons in Public Health Program Implementation: Perspectives from the Field,” was co-written by Baron and discusses the way BC’s program offers a health navigator certificate and a general transfer degree developed with support from the Society for Public Health Education. Our Public Health Sciences program is creating the next generation of advocates for healthy communities, and I’m confident that their work will make the San Joaquin Valley a happier, healthier places for thousands of people.
What has everyone a-twitter?
Trustee Romeo Agbalog appeared on the radio show Money Wise.
Speech Intramural Competition in Delano
Last Saturday, the BC Delano Campus hosted a speech intramural competition featuring Panorama and Delano students, as well as Arvin High and homeschooled Early College students.
There were close to 80 people in attendance for the speech intramural, which featured BC communication faculty and student judges evaluating students in a number of different speech competitions, including informative speech, persuasion, special topics, and impromptu speaking. Christine Cruz-Boone, a communication professor at BC and one of the judges for the event, said that Arvin High freshmen swept all top three places in the informative speech category, and homeschool student Samantha Craig earned second overall in impromptu speaking. Delano Campus student Itzel Hernandez won first place in the persuasion competition, and Panorama students Gloria Sanchez, Mandy Canada, and Lindsey Brackett also placed in various categories. The diverse group of BC participants got the opportunity to test out communication skills that they learned from BC instructors in a practical environment.
Abel Guzman, who attended the final round and awards ceremony of the competition, was impressed by the students who participated and compiled a series of emails about the intramural for entry in this week’s blog. As our Early College program continues to grow, I’m excited to see the ways that our Early College kids interact with the more traditional student population.
If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11a, check out the segments from this week’s show. This week’s highlights included segments with BC Men’s Tennis Head Coach, Noel Dalton and BC student athletes Conrad Dalton, Luis Aceves and Moses Jimenez.
Renegades of the Week
This week’s (2/17-2/23) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:
Kylee Fahy, Softball – Pitched 26 innings (1 no-hitter) with a .269 era, 41 strikeouts, six hits, one run, one earned run in helping softball go 4-0 for the week.
Tanner Lopes, Men’s Swimming – The only Renegade individual event winner at the Mt. SAC Invite last weekend, taking the 50 breaststroke and also getting two other top-ten finishes. He was part of two top six relays and was the highest scoring male swimmer from BC helping the men finish 6th overall.
Men’s and Women’s Basketball Post-Season Awards
Huge congratulations to our men’s and women’s basketball student athletes who received recognition from the Western State Conference. Renegade Men’s Basketball student athletes Anieus Medrano and Shahadah Camp were been named to the 2018-2019 Western State Conference All-Conference team. Marcus Jones was also recognized as the Co-Defensive MOP for the conference. Renegade Women’s Basketball student athletes Jasmyn Rodriguez, Dasia Wandick and Brianna Mendez were named to the 2018-2019 Western State Conference (WSC) All-Conference team. Congrats! And way to represent BC!
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 (click for the story on GoGades.com):
Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, February 9, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.
Early College Launch in McFarland
Next week is it! BC will be holding the Early College Launch event at McFarland High on Wednesday, Feb 13th. Retired Senator (and Renegade) Jean Fuller will be there to talk about the program, and the impact that it will have on our region. Check out Superintendent Resendez’s piece in The Delano Record about the launch as well!
Join us as we launch this program at McFarland High School on February 13th at 5:00 pm! It promises to be a remarkable event. For information you can visit www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/earlycollege.
2019 Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Gala
Last Saturday night Bakersfield College attended the annual KCHCC Gala at the Marriott hotel. BC is a proud supporter of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (KCHCC), with five Renegades as boardmembers: Olivia Garcia, Lisa Kent, Tony Cordova, Norma Rojas-Mora, and Corny Rodriguez. I’d like to thank Ricky Marsel for sharing some of his photos. Great work, KCHCC!
We were pleased to have at our table Congressman TJ Cox and his delightful wife Kathy Murphy. Also, Senator Melissa Hurtado was at our table and I was pleased to get to know her. Senator Shannon Grove and Assembly Member Rudy Salas were also at the event.