Tag Archives: Olivia Garcia

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

Women Who Create Ripples in Our Community

In light of celebrating International Women’s Day, I found myself browsing this post of 21 Powerful Quotes to Celebrate International Women’s Day and found myself pausing at this one by Mother Teresa.

"I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."
Mother Teresa Quote. Graphic from boredpanda.com

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.

Women in Leadership with Trustees
(L-R) Cynthia Giumarra, Rosalina Rivera, Blanca Cavazos, Sonya Christian, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Romeo Agbalog, Shannon Grove, and Jean Fuller
Liz Rozell and Jean Fuller

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.

Attendees at Womens Panel

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.

Standing ovation from the audience

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.

Olivia Garcia
Olivia Garcia
BCSGA President Ashley Harp and Sonya Christian
It was awesome to see BCSGA President Ashley Harp in attendance.
KCCD Trustees Nan Gomez Heitzeberg and Romeo Agbalog
KCCD Trustees Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Romeo Agbalog

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.

Jesse Oropeza speaks to the parents in the room

More workshops like these are planned to keep future Early College students involved. Stay tuned!

Early College Flier

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.

Sonya Christian speaking at the Wonderful Ag Prep Graduation Celebration in August 2018

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.

Graduates stand to thank Lynda and Stewart Resnick
Thanking Lynda and Stewart Resnick

KCCD Trustee Jack Connell Visits BC

Students, Pepper and Trustee Connell
Industrial Automation students pose with Pepper, the robot and Trustee Connell

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.

Yasmeen Reyes and Trustee Connell
Yasmeen Reyes and Trustee Connell
Jose Marquez introduces Trustee Connell to a robotic machine
Jose Marquez introduces Trustee Connell to a robotics machine
Trustee Connell visits BC Nursing
Trustee Connell visits BC Nursing
Trustee Connell visits a BC workshop
Trustee Connell visits a BC workshop
Trustee Connell Visit
The tour ended with a lunch provided by BC’s Food Services.
(Back) Trustee Connell, Todd Coston, Jennifer Johnson Bernadette Martinez
(Front) Mike Giacomini, Liz Rozell, Nick Strobel, Jessica Wojtsjiak.

Industrial Automation hosts local HS students

Students learn about the Industrial Automation program

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.

HS Students see robotics in action
HS Students see robotics in action

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.

Industrial Automation staff with R2D2
Industrial Automation staff with R2D2

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

Graphic by Tish Gamez

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.

(R-L): Emily Andrews, Jerusha Crystian, Emma Jordan-Scott, Jenna Joy Fernandez, Angela Caffee, Lorea Laverty, Lindsay Pearson, and Lucy Brown.
Photo by Michelle Guerrero
(R-L): Emily Andrews, Jerusha Crystian, Emma Jordan-Scott, Jenna Joy Fernandez, Angela Caffee, Lorea Laverty, Lindsay Pearson, and Lucy Brown.

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.

BC LUPE Group Photo

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.

BHS Parents Presentations
BHS Parents Presentations

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

Hilary Matfess speaks at BC's Levan Center
Hilary Matfess speaks at BC’s Levan Center

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.

Meathead Movers and Student Employment
Meathead Movers and Student Employment

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.

The 2019 Kern County Career Expo

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

BC Team at Connecting the Dots
BC Team at Connecting the Dots

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

Renegade Student

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 and Heather Pennella attend the conference
Susan Hubbell and Heather Pennella attend the 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

Mayor Karen Goh, Lynnette Zelezny, Sonya Christian, Beatris Espericueta-Sanders, Norma Rojas-Mora, and Lourdez Nilon
Mayor Karen Goh, Lynnette Zelezny, Sonya Christian, Beatris Espericueta-Sanders, Norma Rojas-Mora, and Lourdez Nilon

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.

Mayor Karen Goh, President Lynnette Zelezny, President Sonya Christian
In true red style, BC Cheer was on hand for the event! Cheer coach Heather Foss expecting her first baby.

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.

Bill Moseley FB post

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!

Collage by Earl Parsons
Photos by Earl Parsons

Ordiz-Melby Architects

Jeannie Bertolaccini and Danny Ordiz

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!

The team hard at work! A Better BC in action!

Renegade Report

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!

Fun Photo of Coach Dahl and Trustee Agbalog

Coach Paula Dahl and Trustee Agbalog at the McFarland Basketball game

Renegade Athletics Roundup

Let’s celebrate women

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, March 2, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Women in Leadership

Five women sitting and talking

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.

Check it out: One on One with Robert Price: Guest Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian.

Bob Price, Sonya Christian, and Joseph Luiz
Robert Price, Sonya Christian, and Joseph Luiz

Behind the Scenes

One on One Behind the Scenes Video

Some fun pictures of behind the scenes. For more, visit the One-on-One photo gallery.

2019 Diversity Champion Award

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.

Cal Law Diversity Champion Award
Manny Mourtzanos, Yinka Glover, Corny Rodriguez, and President Thuy Thi Nguyen with BC’s award

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.

BC students and staff with Dr. James Chaffers

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.

Fox Theater Marquee
Fox Theater Marquee
Professor Rudy Menjivar and Professor Valerie Robinson
Professor Rudy Menjivar and Professor Valerie Robinson

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.

Daniel Rios talks about labor and music in East Bakersfield during the 1960s.
Daniel Rios talks about labor and music in East Bakersfield during the 1960s.

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.

Daniel Rios plays music from Kern County Soul and R&B artists from the 1960s.
Daniel Rios plays music from Kern County Soul and R&B artists from the 1960s.

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.

Billy Haynes from the Original Souls and Johnny Gomez from the Paradons perform in the Levan Center.
Billy Haynes from the Original Souls and Johnny Gomez from the Paradons perform in the Levan Center.

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.

Daniel Rios, Billy Haynes and Johnny Gomez answer audience questions in the Levan Center.
Daniel Rios, Billy Haynes and Johnny Gomez answer audience questions in the Levan Center.

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

Clementine Wamariya
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.

Clementine Wamariya speaks emotionally with hand gesture.
Clementine Wamariya speaks emotionally with hand gesture.

“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.”

Clementine Wamariya smiles with hands on hips in front of the lectern.
Clementine Wamariya smiles with hands on hips in front of the lectern.

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!

BC's Faculty Diversification Meeting
BC’s Faculty Diversification Meeting
Corny Rodriguez at the Faculty Diversification Meeting

See more photos in the ASCCC Faculty Diversity Regional @BC Gallery.

Question, Persuade, Refer

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.

Lord speaking to the crowd from the lectern.
Lord speaking to the crowd from the lectern.

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”.

QPR Suicide Prevention Presented by Eric Lord, LCSW on a slide behind Lord.
QPR Suicide Prevention Presented by Eric Lord, LCSW on a slide behind Lord.

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

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg
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.

Liz Rozell speaking with Nan at the front table.
Liz Rozell speaking with Nan at the front table.

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.

Sonya and Nan.
Sonya and Nan.
Sonya videoing Nan with her phone.
Thank you Earl Parsons for this photo
Nan speaking
Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

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.

Lincoln Dinner

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, …..

STEM Truck

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.

A simulation of the Search and Rescue Automation Hardware (SARAH) system is displayed inside the US Army STEM Truck.
A simulation of the Search and Rescue Automation Hardware (SARAH) system is displayed inside the US Army STEM Truck.
A cameraman from KERO gets ready to interview a US Army soldier on the air in front of the STEM truck parked in the Renegade Food Court area.
A cameraman from KERO gets ready to interview a US Army soldier on the air in front of the STEM truck parked in the Renegade Food Court area.

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.

An iRobot drone used to remotely disarm explosives is displayed inside the US Army STEM truck.
An iRobot drone used to remotely disarm explosives is displayed inside the US Army STEM truck.

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.

Steve Watkins claps to get the audience's attention
Steve Watkins claps to get the audience’s attention
A full auditorium listening to Wendale.
A full auditorium listening to Wendale.

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.

A full audience for the panel with Juvenile Justice slide behind them.
From Left to Right: Pat Smith, Criminal Justice Professor, Dr. Dixie King from Transforming Local Communities, Liz Gonzalez from Bakersfield City School District, Sgt. Nicole Anderberg from BPD, Officer Joshua Deutinger from BPD, Deputy Bobby Sherrill from Kern County Probation Department, Leticia Limon from Kern County Superintendent of Schools and Nichol Ruiz from Kern County Behavioral Health & Recovery.

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.

BC staff with the Gay's in the Reading Room.
BC staff with the Gay’s in the Reading Room.

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.

Kirk and Stacy Russell in the Reading Room.

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.

Lisa Caputo is talking to students about internships in public health ambassadors and STI Peer Health Educator.  Thanks to the support of The California Endowment and Kaiser Permanente for making the startup of these programs possible. 
21 interns and Sara Baron

What has everyone a-twitter?

Trustee Romeo Agbalog appeared on the radio show Money Wise.

Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government thanking everyone.
Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government thanking everyone.
Aaron Resendez thanking everyone.
Aaron Resendez thanking everyone.

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.

Sarah Baron, Cris Cruz-Boone, Abel Guzman, and Lesley Bonds

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.

Renegade Report

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 and Tanner Lopes.
Kylee Fahy and Tanner Lopes.

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

BC Wester State Conference All Conference, sketch photo effect.
BC Wester State Conference All Conference, sketch photo effect.
BC Wester State Conference All Conference, sketch photo effect.

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!

BC Western State Conference All Conference of the 3 women in action poses, sketch photo effect.

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):


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Continuing Partnerships in the Community

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!    

Dr. Jean Fuller showing off her new Academic Senate shirt.

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.

Early College Community Launch Event Invite

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.

Chancellor Tom Burke, Dr. Kathy Murphy, Sonya Christian, Business Man of the Year Corny Rodriguez, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg
Assembly Member Rudy Salas, Senator Shannon Grove, Corny Rodriguez, Senator Melissa Hurtado

Spotlight: Corny Rodriguez

Sonya Christian and Corny Rodriguez

The Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce honored Cornelio (Corny) Rodriguez for this year’s Businessman of the Year at Saturday’s event.  Corny received this recognition for his work within the community and in support of a college going culture among the youth of Kern County.  Corny came to BC in 1991 as the Director of the Chicano Cultural Center at Bakersfield College.

Throughout the years, he has held a number of different positions on campus including President of Academic Senate, Director of the Delano Center, Director of Outreach, Director of ACCESS (Association of Cultural Centers for Student Success), and Professor of Political Science.  Corny has been a consistent champion for increasing graduation rates at BC, and has worked tirelessly to advance student success and develop leaders within the community. Congrats Corny!!! Your BC family is so proud!

Black History Month Conference at BC

Lives were changed at Bakersfield College on Friday, February 8, 2019, with the Black History Month Conference themed “Black Excellence.” Students from Bakersfield College and high schools all over Kern County engaged in a truly excellent and engaging conference with African Soul International and keynote speaker Reverend Dr. Charles L. Dorsey.

BC Umoja Vice President and President

After a light breakfast in front of the PAC Indoor Theatre, students from approximately 15 high schools from Kern County filed into the theatre singing to some of their favorite pop songs playing on the speakers. Bakersfield College Umoja Community Club President and Vice President professionally emceed the indoor theatre portion of the conference, engaging the students from the very beginning. They taught the students about Umoja ASTEP, which is a program that integrates academics, support services and African-American culture through educating the whole student, body, mind and spirit, through an ethic of love. There are over 60 Umoja programs state-wide. They also taught the students some African words, including the “umoja” which is Kiswahili for “unity.”

Chancellor Burke speaking

Chancellor Tom Burke welcomed the students and encouraged them to pursue college. He shared with them his own son’s struggles to find his place in the world and how BC helped him find his path to Engineering and ultimately graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Engineering Robotics. He called BC an “educational oasis” to prepare for transferring to a larger university and pointed out that transfer students outperform those entering universities directly as freshmen.

African Soul International captured the audience with a powerful introduction to African drums. Then, the founder and artistic director of the organization, Dr. Jewel “Adama” Jackson, came out on stage singing. She immediately enthralled the audience, and had them singing together “When the Saints Go Marching In.” She led the audience through an African ritual, signaling to heaven that the drums were a conduit of positive energy, and giving libations of water to plants. A very spiritual, moving and uplifting ritual.

Jewel further taught the students about Africa, that it is the largest free-standing continent with 54 countries and 2,500 nationalities with their own languages and cultures. Most Africans can speak 4-7 languages. She pointed out that Africa is a major exporter of diamonds and gold, and we all carry a little bit of Africa in our pockets as cobalt is used in our cell phones. There are rich parts, just as there are poor parts. She brought several students onto stage and taught them dances, one about celebrating moving to the next level in life and the other celebrating the harvest, because they are the harvest. The African Soul International was fun, engaging and educational. I recommend bringing them to all of the high schools in Kern County.

With such an excellent and energizing opening performance, it was hard to believe that the keynote speaker could keep that sense of energy and engagement going, but Reverend Dr. Charles Dorsey did just that. After driving 3 hours and conducting interviews with the media, he had the energy to run onto to the stage and immediately engage the audience. He began by handing out a copy of his book Fathers and Sons Speak: Telling My Father’s Story to an audience member who had the closest birthday to his own, giving the book to the young man, telling him it would change his life, and giving him his personal phone number and telling him to call him once he had read the book.

Dr. Dorsey’s presentation was nothing short of inspiring as he engaged the students in a “Signing Day.” He gave them four decisions that he wanted them to make:

  1. Decide not to miss another opportunity.
  2. No more excuses.
  3. Succeed… no matter what.
  4. Be a difference maker.

I would like to thank Dr. Paula Parks and the members of Umoja that put on this excellent event for Black History Month. Thank you, Chancellor Burke, for taking time out of your busy day to speak to the students. Thank you Mary Jo Pasek and all of the staff that assisted in putting on this event. Check my blog next week for details on the rest of this event as the students continued with several workshops. We are BC!

BC Ag Ambassadors Visit Cal Poly SLO

Bakersfield College’s Agriculture Ambassadors went to California Polytechnic State University, SLO for the Agriculture Ambassador Conference last weekend. At the conference BC’s Ag Ambassadors got the chance to highlight the activities they are doing to promote BC’s Agriculture Department. Of the 14 colleges in attendance, BC was the only community college to present. They held their own with the 4-year universities and we are BC PROUD of them!

Our Ag Ambassadors also had the chance to hear from many guest speakers about the different job opportunities in the agriculture industry. With the central valley being the breadbasket of the world and Kern County the #1 county for agriculture production in the nation our students have a lot of job opportunities in this industry.  

Spring semester is a busy time for our Ag Ambassadors. They will be doing outreach activities at the World Ag Expo and upcoming Career Fairs. They will also be visiting local high schools and promoting Bakersfield College’s Agriculture Department. Their goal is to help and encourage the next generation of agriculture students. Bakersfield College opens many pathways for students to succeed and the Ag Ambassadors are doing an excellent job at sharing these opportunities with future BC students. WE ARE BC!

Joe Saldivar Speaks at Kern County Science Fair

Our own Dr. Joe Saldivar, Biology department chair, has been asked to be the guest speaker at the Kern County Science Fair-2019 on March 12 at the Convention Center. The annual science fair hosts hundreds of 4th through 6th graders competing for a chance to move on to the California Science Fair. Dr. Joe as he likes to call himself, has participated in Renegade Talks and has been a valuable faculty member at BC. To check out one of Joe’s Renegade Talks click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WfznL9M16U

Faculty member Joe Saldivar

Bakersfield College collaborates with Ridgeview High for first Journalism Day

Educators and journalists gathered on Feb. 1 at Ridgeview High to discuss their careers in journalism and provide career development advice to Kern County high school students.  BC student Paige Atkison, who recently concluded a successful semester as editor-in-chief of the Renegade Rip, BC’s award-winning student newspaper, spoke about the importance of the profession.  “Journalists write the first draft of history,” she said.
   
Speakers also included BC journalism professors Erin Auerbach and Christina Lopez, as well as BC history professor Olivia Garcia (a longtime journalist) and CSUB journalism professor Jennifer Burger.  Local journalists Nick James (Sports Director, KGET), Kelly Broderick (Producer, KERO), Erin Briscoe (PIO Kern High School District and former KBAK anchor), Mark Nessia (Bakersfield Life and the Kern Business Journal) and freelance photojournalist Nick Ellis participated as well. They spoke about their careers, the direction the profession is moving in and the importance of education. Speakers gave students advice and emphasized the skills, both interpersonal and technical, that students will need to develop to succeed in the profession.   They also talked about the ways journalists can make a difference in their communities through accurate, ethical and thorough reporting.

From left: Ridgeview High Journalism Advisor Kristen Hunter-Flores, CSUB professor Jennifer Burger, BC professors Erin Auerbach, Olivia Garcia and Christina Lopez at Journalism Day

Students studying print, digital or broadcast from East, South, Ridgeview, Centennial and Bakersfield High School attended. The first event also included a contest in which Renegade Rip editors selected first place, second place and honorable mentions in four categories from participating high schools: front page/cover design, photo, news story and feature.
   
Ridgeview journalism advisor Kristen Hunter-Flores and BC Professor Auerbach coordinated event, which will be held at Bakersfield College in 2020.

Greenfield Union School District Mini Science Olympiad

BC Professor Deborah Rosenthal shared photos from the mini science olympiad event which offers the opportunity for middle school students in the GATE program at Greenfield Unified School District. They met for a half day for two Saturdays.  The STEM department does about 10-12 mini chemistry and physics competitions. There were over 30 BC volunteers, all of whom were either STEM or Education majors. Thank you to the volunteers for assisting in this great event!  WE ARE BC!

BSO Next Program

The Performing Arts Department took part in the BSO Next program, which hosts local high school students for a ‘taste of BC’ (dinner and a chance to see various elements of the College). Last Saturday, Professor Tiner and some of his BC Jazz students performed for a group of Music students from Cesar Chavez High School. After a wonderful evening of entertainment and dining, the students proceeded to the Rabobank Theatre for a Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra concert. Kudos to Professor Tiner and his students for organizing such a wonderful event! And thank you Manny Mourtzanos for always sending me photos and videos of our performing Arts faculty and students. You are the eternal champion for the department.

BC at the Getty Villa’s College Night

Last Monday, Dr. Nicky Damania took students to the Getty Villa. A total of 20 individuals made it to the college night at the Getty. This annual event comes with a free dinner and many craft stalls for students to engage with. The group toured behind the scene at the Getty, learning how the conservationists take ancient artifacts, restore them and display them around the world. Many college students from Southern California were in attendance and enjoy the Festival of Lights, music, and the experience of a lifetime. Some of the craft stalls were color magnets, spray painting murals, creating a Turkish eye, tattoos, making olive branch halos, and learning how to make clay pottery. It looks like everyone had a great time!  I’ll have to attend one down the road.

Financial Aid Fest

In honor of Financial Aid Awareness Month, BC’s Financial Aid Department hosted a resource fair in front of the CSS Building on Tuesday and Wednesday with games, food, raffle prizes, and representatives from other BC student services, including EOP&S, DSPS, and CTE.

The event was designed to encourage students to complete their financial aid applications before this year’s Cal Grant deadline, which is March 2. The Financial Aid Department is also hosting a series of application assistance workshops to help students throughout the month of February. To find a full list of Financial Aid Workshop dates, visit the Upcoming Finaid Workshops page.

Thank you Financial Aid for making education a reality for our more than 30,000 students. If students have any questions, they can email the Financial Aid office at bc_faid@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

Distinguished Speaker: Carol Swain Ph.D.

Dr. Carol Swain

On Thursday, Distinguished Speaker Dr. Carol Swain visited BC for a series of speeches in the Levan Center, telling the inspirational story of how she rose from extreme poverty to become one of America’s leading black conservative intellectuals.

Dr. Swain, a retired professor of political science who has taught at Princeton and Vanderbilt, grew up in rural Virginia with 11 brothers and sisters in a house with no electricity or running water. She had to sleep on the kitchen floor, and all of the children had to share the same bath water that was heated over a stove. She dropped out of high school and by the age of 20 was married with 3 children. After attempting suicide by overdosing on pills, a medical professional inspired her to pursue an education.

Dr. Swain earned her GED and enrolled at Virginia Western Community College. A librarian at the college helped her with a full-time job working nights and weekends at the school library, which helped pay her way through an associate’s degree in business from Virginia Western and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Roanoke College.

“I grew up believing in the American dream,” Dr. Swain said. “I believed that if I worked hard, I could overcome the circumstances of my birth.”

She went on to earn a Ph.D. in political science at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where her dissertation became the controversial book “Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African-Americans in Congress”. To gather research for the book, Dr. Swain travelled with white and black members of Congress for a qualitative study. The book’s conclusions about descriptive vs. substantive representation and political party as a more important signifier for black representation than race earned her nationwide recognition, and it was a recipient of the D.B. Hardeman Prize and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award upon its publication in 1993.

“Within academia, I did well because I had mentors,” Dr. Swain said. “I was a single-minded seeker of my degrees.”

Dr. Swain went on to become an advisor to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and serve on the National Council on the Humanities under President George W. Bush. After retiring from Vanderbilt in 2017, Dr. Swain is now a contributor to The Epoch Times and hosts her own podcast titled Be the People.

Dr. Swain’s journey is a symbol of the transformative power of education, and what people can accomplish with the right guidance and drive. I’d like to thank BC’s Office of Student Life and the Liberty Institute for inviting Dr. Swain to campus.

Finish in 4 Welcome Event

On Friday, BC held the Welcome to Finish in 4 event an opportunity for our students to meet the Finish in 4 counselors and staff, completion coaching team (including our CSU partners) and other students in the program. BC provided guidance with program eligibility, information on how to obtain book vouchers, as well as assistance with signing and completing the Finish in 4 agreement and educational planning.

In case you didn’t know, the Kern Promise’s Finish in 4 is our joint collaboration with CSUB that supports the increase in student completion with an Associate Degree for Transfer within 60 semester units at BC. Students are then guaranteed admission to CSUB in a related major, and will complete an additional 60 semester units to earn a bachelor’s degree! The Finish in 4 efforts aim to guarantee that students can complete their transfer degree in 2 years at Bakersfield College and baccalaureate degree in the following 2 years at CSUB. Together, the goal is to move students through to the next stage of their educational and career goals in a more efficient and impactful way.

LINKS Academy Career Day

On Saturday, January 26th Connie Gonzalez (MESA Director), Cynthia Quintanilla (Counselor), Laurel Mourtzanos (Counselor), and Dr. Steve Waller (Dean of Instruction) participated in the L