Tag Archives: Paula Dahl

BC Hits the Ground Running in 2020

The first week of 2020 at BC was an active one, and for me the highlights included watching our Basketball teams play at the Gil Bishop gymnasium and seeing the Measure J campus center construction moving so rapidly. Btw, the team won the first conference game against Citrus College 65-40!

The two weeks that BC was closed for Christmas were just great. I had the perfect vacation at home …the first week with my daughter who visited for four days for Christmas, what a treat to have her for that long a time. The second week quiet with lots of walks, curling up in front of the fireplace with a book, cooking, and catching up on home projects. Talking about reading here are a few of my favorite reads from 2019.

  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
  • The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
  • The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
  • Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, January 25, 2020… A great day to be a Renegade.

Back to basketball and athletics. Not sure if you were aware that student athletes outperform the college average in metrics for academic performance. These kids play hard in their sport and work hard in their coursework. Here is a quote from the my recent State of the College report: student-athletes outperform the general student population on all of the Guided Pathways Momentum Points. In fact, in Fall 2018, 62% of first-time student-athletes attempted 30+ units in their first year, compared to their peers at 12%. Our coaches are the very best. It was wonderful watching Coach Paul Dahl, Coach Rich Hughes, and Coach Aaron Chavez in action yesterday.

McFarland Cougars and BC Renegades are so connected… The fabulous Superintended of McFarland, Aaron Resendez tweets:

Here is a 17-sec fun video of our Men’s team.

Renegade Mens Basketball

2020 Women’s Empowerment Summit at BC

Mark your calendars for the Fifth Annual Women’s Empowerment Summit to be hosted at Bakersfield College on Saturday, April 25, 2020.  This annual Summit is organized by the California Latino Leadership Institute (CLLI) and launched in 2016 to address Central Valley women’s issues with gender gaps, career barriers and prospects for the future.  You can learn more about it at their website

Last year’s conference featured appearances from Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez, California Assembly Member Rudy Salas, and several women from the local petroleum industry. Aera Energy President and CEO Christina Sistrunk was also recognized by CLLI as the 2019 Distinguished Woman and Petroleum Advocate of the Year.  Check out this great video from last year’s Summit and please join us for this year’s wonderful event!

BC Welding Students Tour PCL Industrial Services

BC Job Developer Carlos Medina organized an industry tour of PCL Industrial Services for our Bakersfield College welding students on December 20th. Thank you to Carlos for organization this, and thank you to PCL Industrial Services for opening doors for our students!

Welcoming BC Students With One Day Express Enrollment

The new year is upon us, and the Spring 2020 semester is about to begin in just a few weeks here at BC. To get our students ready, the Outreach Department held a One-Day Express Enrollment event in the Welcome Center to integrate members of the community into the Renegade family.

Counselors and student interns made sure that the incoming students got into the right classes that fit into their busy schedules. I would like to congratulate all of our future Renegades for letting us help you reach your educational goals.

BC Welcomes 26 New BPD Officers

Friends, family, and members of law enforcement packed nearly every seat in the Indoor Theater on Thursday to celebrate 26 new officers who had just finished the Bakersfield Law Enforcement Training Academy. Bakersfield Police Department Class 19-01 is the first to graduate from the new training facility on California Avenue and the first wave of new officers that will hit the streets since the passage of Measure N, which provides $58 million in funding to enhance public safety around the city.

Photo courtesy of The Bakersfield Californian

I would like to thank the Bakersfield Police Department for choosing the home of the Renegades to host their graduation ceremony. Check out the article by Quinn Wilson of the Bakersfield Californian to learn more about Class 19-01.

State of the BC Agriculture, Nutrition and Culinary Arts Pathway

At the last College Council meeting the Agriculture, Nutrition and Culinary Arts (ANC) Completion Team consisting of Juan Manzano, Dominca Trindad, Corny Rodriguez and LeAnn Riley presented the status of their pathway.  They found that since Fall 2014, the number of first-time students in the pathway has increased by almost 2.5 times to a total of 304 students.  If you include dual enrollment numbers, it has increased nearly six times!! Great job, team!!    

The ANC Pathway provides a large variety of exciting degree options that will lead to many in-demand careers. The focus of this pathway is to learn while doing by offering courses designed for students to have hands-on experience, develop problem-solving skills, and provide industry standard experience. Students can earn a variety of industry accepted certificates of achievement and associates degrees for those who want to enter the workforce directly from Bakersfield College. Some of those areas of concentration include occupational safety and risk management, forestry, animal science, and heavy equipment technician to name a few! You can check out all of the degrees and certificates offered at the ANC website

Student Employment Scoop: Careers in Overdrive

This week’s Student Employment Scoop newsletter (see excerpt below) highlighted the ongoing work in BC’s Authomative Technology department.  Take a look and learn about the opportunities BC has to offer!

Automotive Technology Associate Professor Vic Posey, in just a few short years, has grown the Automotive Internships into a model program. Assessing student’s strengths, he invites students to participate each summer to be placed at different companies throughout Kern County. Over the summer two particular students shifted their careers into overdrive. Diana Barrios began as an Engineering major, but also wanted to learn some basic maintenance so she registered for the Introduction to Automotive Technology course and was hooked. Over the summer she was placed at GMC Motor City and after only one month was offered a full time position. But because she was still working towards her degree she agreed to a part time position with GMC who was willing to work around her school schedule. Diana is the second in her family to attend college, she is the only female Gas Drivability Technician at GMC, and has moved into a full time position. Diana only has one class left to complete her Automotive Technology Associate Degree.

Shifting gears to Edgar Villasenor, who much like Diana, was the second in his family to go to college. He was placed at Jim Burke Ford Quick Lane for his internship, and within 2 weeks completed his required 60 hours. His work ethic and diligence caught the attention of his internship supervisor and one month after completing his required hours they called to offer him a full time position. Ford was able to provide flexibility with his school schedule. Edgar is a Lube Technician for Jim Burke Ford Quick Lane but wants to work bumper to bumper in the main shop one day and has 4 classes left to graduate in May 2020.

Both students agreed that when the opportunity to connect with the industry presents itself to TAKE IT! But you have to put in the work and want to be there. They also say, “It’s not enough to just do your school work, you must learn how to effectively communicate with coworkers and customers.”

Pictured Left to Right Diana Barrios, Vic Posey, Edgar Villasenor

Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee Community Awards Breakfast

Two members of the Renegade family will be recognized at this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee Community Awards Breakfast on January 20. Josephine Triplett was a long-time child development professor here at BC, and Polly Warren is a community service organizer whose husband Harvey Warren was a BC counselor.

BC’s Steven Watkin at last year’s annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Awards Breakfast Celebration at the MLK Community Center. Rev. Watkin was the master of ceremonies for the event. Photo courtesy of The Bakersfield Californian.

The breakfast is held at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center every year to honor individuals for their acts of generosity and kindness in the community. Honorees include civil rights attorney Kathleen Faulkner, Dolores Huerta, and Memorial Hospital CEO Ken Keller.

Thank you to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee for recognizing our Renegades. For more information about the breakfast, read Ema Sasic’s article in the Bakersfield Californian.

Fun Photos: Bill Potter Working Hard

Upon returning from Winter Recess, life at BC can get hectic, but leave it to Bill Potter to find some time to turn work into play!

Bill putting his Measure J construction knowledge to work.

Fun Photos: BC Supporting Astromech Droids

I returned to campus this week and found a Christmas present waiting for me in my office…. Astromech Droid sweatshirt (often most recognizable as R2D2 in the Star Wars saga).  Thanks to a dear colleague who knew that I was a Star Wars fan and this sweatshirt has Industrial Automation emblazoned in bold with Astromech Droid in smaller lettering underneath it. A marriage of BC and Star Wars.

Governor Newsom’s Focus on Education

Reporter Michael Burke recapped Governor Gavin Newsom’s first year of higher education initiatives in an article published in EdSource on Monday.

In his first year of office and with the help of the state legislature, Governor Newsom has increased the number of available competitive Cal Grants, increased funding for the California College Promise, and launched the Council for Post-Secondary Education, an advisory board of education, business and labor leaders to help Newsom shape policy on college access and student success initiatives. The article quotes several experts and analysts from the California higher education community, including Campaign for College Opportunity President Michele Siqueiros, one of our partners in the Educational Systems and Intersegmental Pathways Task Force.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

In 2020, Newsom and the legislature will be working on reforming financial aid to cover non-tuition costs. Check out Michael Burke’s informative, detailed article for more information about the present and future of community college statewide.

Jeff Chudy Steps Down as Renegade Football Coach

After 16 seasons of leading the Renegade Football program, head coach Jeff Chudy decided to retire from coaching, and back to full time teaching, this last week. Including his time as an assistant coach, Jeff has spent almost 30 years roaming the sidelines at Memorial Stadium coaching football. We are grateful for his many years of service to the college and the countless hours he spent teaching and leading our Renegade student athletes. The 2012 football season he coached was particularly extraordinary when he led the Renegades to a record of 11-2 and the State Championship, routing City College of San Francisco 35-14 in the title game at Memorial Stadium in front of over 18,000 fans.

Coach Jeff Chudy

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (12/29-1/4) Kern Schools Federal Credit Union Renegades of the Week:

Julie Hernandez, Women’s Basketball – Julie was a driving force in helping the Renegades to a huge come-from-behind victory at home last Saturday against Reedley College, 68-63. She was 40% from the field, led the team in rebounds with 11 boards, scored 13 points and had 3 assists.

Javier Gallardo, Men’s Basketball – Javier led the Renegades in two big wins hosting the Western State Classic this last weekend. In their 106-52 win over Santa Barbara he had 22 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. In their 101-54 win over Oxnard he had 13 points and 7 rebounds.

Renegade Athletics Updates From This Past Week

Men’s Basketball Hosted 2020 Western State Classic

Game 1 win over Santa Barbara, 106-52

Game 2 win over Oxnard, 101-54

Women’s Basketball with come-from-behind victory over Reedley

Athletic events ‘On the Hill’ This Coming Week

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

Wed. 1/15 Women’s Basketball vs Glendale, 5pm

Wed. 1/15 Men’s Basketball vs. Glendale, 7pm


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC Students Visit The White House!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, January 21st and such a fabulous day to be a Renegade.

It was great waking up to a piece by Nick Strobel.  Also read a piece by Harold Pierce which I tweeted. Here is a jpg of the front page of the Eye Street section of The Bakersfield Californian.  And the weblink http://tinyurl.com/h2eg6u2 

nick-strobel-stargazing-jan-21-2017

I love the way Nick starts his piece:

This was first week of the spring semester at Bakersfield College and classes are full! The week before was filled with workshops, including a two-day institute on the college GPS (Guided Pathways System), followed by Opening Day, which focused on the college GPS. Good stuff happening!

Great stuff happening up in the sky too with our two closest neighbors: Brilliant Venus continues to close in on orange-red Mars in our evening sky in the southwest. Venus is the super-bright star in the southwest after sunset and Mars will be to the upper left of Venus. By the end of the month, they will be almost within the same field of view of typical binoculars.

and I also love how he ends it

A NOTE ON SCIENCE

I’ll close with a comment about the process of science. As a science educator, I read with great interest Robert Gebelhoff’s column that ran in last Sunday’s Californian about using science as a political tool. Although we have discovered much about our universe that we’re confident enough to bet our life on, there is still a lot that is unknown and tentative. Science is a human endeavor and it isn’t perfect, but the process of science has built into it a way to take into account our human fallibility.

Instead of “arguing from authority,” the process of science uses peer review to double-check (triple-check, quadruple-check, etc.) our ideas and ultimately, nature will be the final judge of what’s true or not — nature has the final veto power over any of our ideas. Studies and theories based on facts are published in peer-reviewed journals for other research teams to pick apart and find the defects in the argument or method.

When an idea has been tested many times by many independent groups and has withstood all those tests, then the reasonable approach is to assume that the idea is close to the truth.

Here is the link to Harold Pierce’s article A hidden health crisis: Toxic stess driving up Kern death rates.  http://tinyurl.com/hbnnafk

Talking about the Bakersfield Californian, I got a text message from Francis Mayer letting me know that Louis Amestoy is back in Bakersfield.  Welcome home Louis!  So happy to have you back.

I was also excited to see a facebook post that our very own Dr. Matthew Garrett presenting to the Miller-Eccles group.

 

 

Here is a “copy and paste” from Jen’s post:

Tonight I got to accompany Matt as he spoke at the Miller/Eccles group at CSU Fullerton. They asked him to speak about his newly published book. He spoke with passion and was clearly knowledgeable, well researched, and well prepared. They were amazed by the way he connected to the audience and what a great speaker he is. He also responded well to all of their questions. He has another tomorrow night and I know it will go well also. His 10 years of work came through tonight. I am so proud of him!

Talking about being proud, here is the intro slide to Matt’s presentation:

Intro slide to Matt Garrett's lecture Jan 20 2017.jpg

Do you notice something?  It says Bakersfield College and the email is @bakersfieldcollege.edu.  Yes!  You see my dear community members, Dr. Matt Garrett is a great scholar respected widely for his work and he teaches at BC.  The Miller-Eccles group is a group of affluent professionals and retired academics that fly out big name scholars for a small private lecture each month. Next month speaker is Laurel Thatcher, a Pulitzer Prize winning professor with an endowed chair at Harvard. The following month they have Christine Durham, the first woman appointed to the Utah Supreme Court. And among this group of speakers if our Bakersfield College faculty.  Yes!

How fortunate our students are…..students most of whom are first in their families to go to college.  Matt represents many of our faculty who are recognized scholars. #WeAreBC

Well, back to last week…. Whew, what a week.  Lots of travel. And I made sure that I remembered my power cord, phone and other necessities….  The week started on Martin Luther King Jr. day on Monday January 16th.

Martin Luther King Jr. will be a person who forever stands out in people’s minds as a leader who gave voice to the injustice of social inequality and racism, and demonstrated “non-violent civil disobedience as a means to expose racial injustice.”  I was surprised to know that King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech was not his first at the Lincoln Memorial. Check out this list of ten things you might not know about MLK. How many did you know? Leave a comment after checking out the link! http://tinyurl.com/ktwjdo3

Here is a 17:27-minute youtube video …I have a dream

mlk_img_0573The week was off to a wonderful start when on Monday, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Awards Breakfast. The morning was hosted by Danny Morrison, local radio personality and columnist with the Bakersfield Californian. The keynote speaker, Bishop Broderick Huggins, is a pastor at St. Paul Baptist Church in nearby Oxnard, CA. As an advocate for higher learning, he earned his Bachelor of Theology, a BA in Religon, a PhD in Religious Philosophy and a PhD in Theology. In 1995, he founded the Saint Paul Seminary and Bible Institute where he currently serves as President and Principal Professor. Bishop  Dr. Broderick Huggins spoke truth to power. He told the audience, “Change will not happen unless people are uncomfortable.  Justice, mercy, humility work together. We need the hearts of people to change.”

It was fantastic to see the BC gang in attendance at such a great celebration.

mlk.JPG

shanell-tyus-and-familyI was sitting next to Shannel Tyus, manager of our Student Success Program, and Destiny, a student who wants to get into our nursing program. Loved getting to know both of them.  Here is Shanell with her beautiful family.  A young mom juggling family with little ones and committed to a greater calling of working with our first generation students and transforming their lives.  The Student Success Program that Shanell oversees focuses on best practices of educational planning and others that have had a very positive impact on our students. #WeAreBC

The room was packed and it felt as if the entire community turned out in support.  Our political leaders here in Bakersfield and in Sacramento were there in full force. Now for some photos of the event – see for yourself!

Bishop Broderick Huggins, Steve Watkin, Sonya Christian;
Sonya Christian with BPD Chief Lyle Martin;
NaTesha Kindred, Karen Goh, Jay Tamsi, Shannon Grove, Vince Fong

 

Sonya Christian, Pastor Martha Johnson; David Valadao, Jay Tamsi, Rudy Salas

Shanell Tyus, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Harlan Hunter

shanell-tyus-nan-gomez-heitzeberg-harlan-hunter-jan-16-2017
Join me in congratulating this year’s award recipients who were recognized  make a difference in our community:

Sgt. Claton Madden, Bakersfield Police Dept.
Steven W. Schilling, President & CEO of Clinica Sierra Vista
Manuel Carrizalez, Director & Founder of Stay Focused, Reach for Greatness
Dr. Rhonda Williams, President of The Bakersfield Chapter of the Links, Inc
Dr. Evelyn Young, CSUB, Executive Assistant to the President
Pastor Josephate Jordan,  Christ First Ministries
Raquel Jones, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Bakersfield Chapter
Rev. Dr. Oscar J. Anthony, Pastor St. Peter R.C.C.M. for his passion in unifying the Pastors
Danny Morrison, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 2017 Host
Dr. Bishop Broderick Huggins, Pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church and MLK 2017 Keynote

Guided Pathways and Board of Governors

bog_eloy

On Tuesday, Jan 17th, I attended the Board of Governors meeting in Sacramento.  I think this was the first meeting with our new California Community College Chancellor, Eloy Ortiz Oakley. If you haven’t had a chance to learn a little about him, check out  http://tinyurl.com/3jzbryw for his bio and this recent article from The Los Angeles Times, “Long Beach educator will be first Latino to lead California community colleges.

bog_garyThe Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges sets policy and provides guidance for the 72 districts and 113 colleges that constitute the system. The 17-member Board is appointed by the Governor and formally interacts with state and federal officials and other state organizations.

I was happy to see Gary Reed who warmly welcomed me and was supportive as I got ready to present to the BOG on Guided Pathways. Member Reed lives in the Tulare area and spoke positively about the linked learning program with Porterville College, the High School and the community. So happy to have one of our very own from the Central Valley on the BOG.  I also learned that Pauline Larwood was also on the BOG when she was on the KCCD Board of Trustees.

I co-presented with Vice Chancellor for Institutional Effectiveness, Theresa Tena who is wonderful to work with.  And Mario Rodriguez, Vice Chancellor of Finance, who presented the Governor’s budget to the BOG is just fabulous.

cropped-image-arnoldo-avalos-connie-conway-sonya-christian-romeo-agbalog-april-29-2016The other two BOG members that I have blogged about are Arnoldo Avalos and Connie Conway. Here is a picture of both of them with Trustee Romeo Agbalog from April 29, 2016 when they visited Bakersfield College.

I was really impressed with the level and sophistication of discussion.  As I opened my remarks, I told them that the CA Community Colleges were in very good hands under their leadership.  The president of the BOG Cecelia Estalano is one smart person and facilitated complicated discussions in a very skillful manner.  Wow!

I am not sure if I’ve already blogged about an article written by Nick Strobel and me about Guided Pathways that was published in the League for innovations, but here it is….
https://www.league.org/leadership-abstracts/what-guided-pathways-model

BOG Member Pamela Haynes who is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Los Rios district mentioned that 9-page article as a must-read in understanding Guided Pathways.  Yes!  Here is a picture of Pamela Haynes.

I also want to give s shout out to the student member of the BOG Eman Dalili.  He is a smart, caring young man and I was so proud sitting in the audience watching him engage with the discussions.

 

 

Kern Education Round table

group-education-roundtable-jan-18-2017

You may recall I shared with you information regarding the California Community College Chancellor’s Office announcing their investment of $15 million to support local communities in coming together to guarantee students a mechanism to complete their first two years of higher education in a community college, where they can seamlessly transfer to a university, or become competitively employable for careers with family-sustaining wages.

Bakersfield College is answering the call in response to the California College Promise Innovation Grant request for applications by proposing to introduce The Bakersfield Promise Program (a scaled iteration of The Renegade Promise) in close partnership with Kern High School District (thank you Superintendent Bryon Schaefer) and California State University Bakersfield (thank you President Horace Mitchell). On December 21st, educational, political, and business community leaders in Kern met at BC in the Fireside Room for the first of three College Promise Education Roundtables. Check out my Dec 24, 2016 blog https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/12/24/happy-holidays-from-bc/.  The third will most likely be on March 8, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. with a potential public statement from the three institutions.

BC staff joined together this past Wednesday, January 18th with community partners from Kern Community Foundation (thank you Kristen Barnes) and educational partners from Kern Community College District (KCCD), Kern High School District (KHSD), as a smaller operational work team to continue the conversation and narrow in on the strategy for our collaborative work ahead. Dr. Janet Fulks and Shanell Tyus (BC) facilitated the discussion by providing an overview of our grant application and goals, and solicited feedback from attendees.

Vickie Spanos led members of KHSD in a discussion about their successes to date in closing achievement gaps among Kern High School District students as they prepare for graduation and college entry. Recommendations on opportunities to partner further as the promise unfolds were shared and received with great enthusiasm! The information shared will continue to guide not only the final development of the grant application, but the direction of The Bakersfield Transfer Promise.

 

Kristen Barnes Philanthropy-Matters

Kristen Barnes

Dr. Kristen Barnes from Kern Community Foundation (KCF) shared highlights from the work done through the College Access Convening Committee and the importance of continuing the great work shared among these educational and community partners. She also shared information regarding the potential for financial partnership opportunities through scholarships made possible by Kern donors.  Kristen is a rock star!

 

Guests in attendance included:

KCCD Associate Vice Chancellor John Means,
From KHSD: Vickie Spanos, Christy Fraley, Ben Sherley, and Ryan Geivet,
From Kern Community Foundation: Dr. Kristen Barnes,
From Bakersfield College: Dr. Janet Fulks, Dr. Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Rich McCrow, Dr. Stephen Waller, Keri Kennedy, Dr. Nicky Damania, Steve Watkin, Cindy Collier, Dr. Emmanuel Mourtzanos, Jennifer Achan, Marissa Marquez, Michelle Pena, Dr. Zav Dadabhoy, Tom Gelder, Sandi Taylor, Shanell Tyus, Cornelio Rodriguez and
Renegade Promise Program Student Magdalena Pantelon.

As we near the completion and submission of our grant application we are thankful for close educational, industry, and political partners. The synergy surrounding this promise to students and members of the Kern community is taking us through the home stretch!

 

Coach Paula Dahl

coachdahlOur Renegade Women’s Basketball team is led by Coach Paula Dahl, who recorded her milestone 300th win earlier this season, and in my opinion she’s one of those folks whose influence transcends even her athletes and students.

Her team opened the season with five straight losses. And while Coach Dahl was dejected, she never gave up, and she showed us all what a “Coach Dahl-type team” is; it’s a group of athletes who each have specific skills but not necessarily the complete package as individual athletes. But Coach Dahl’s superpower is in bringing together those individuals where each of their strengths can shine, and benefit one another. Yes, Coach Dahl builds TEAMS.

If you think about it, this is what we should all be doing – helping peers, family members, and friends put their best strength forward while not drawing attention to their faults, and having folks in your circle doing the same for you.

I’ve learned that saying “it’s not about the wins” is more than a well-worn sports cliché at Bakersfield College; it’s part of the Renegade Way…and I’m learning more and more about that hallowed code with every athletic event I attend!

East Hills Mall

On Wednesday, big plans were revealed by the owners of the East Hills Mall. The plans for a 350,000-square-foot “destination open-air lifestyle center” are showcased in an article by the Bakersfield Californian. Check out the exciting news at  http://tinyurl.com/z9qxjql

Spring 2017

Even though the weather this week did not quite feel like “spring has sprung,” the Spring 2017 semester is very much alive at Bakersfield College. It’s an incredible sight to see eager students already at-home on campus when I drive in every morning. They’re excited to learn and browsing through books, checking their cell phones, and chatting with fellow students. The first week of a new semester is always a fantastic time… Isn’t there something great about opening up a brand new book, or writing on the first page of a new notebook?

Healthy Campus Designation

Our campus is lively, and we’re also healthy! On Jan. 13, First Lady Michelle Obama joined representatives from BC and the other Healthy Campus Challenge winning schools for a group photo. Alexa Rivera, Ray Purcell, and Vincente Lopez visited on behalf of our campus and I’d love to share an email from our two students sharing their experience.

whitehouse_healthycampuschallengewinningschools

“Dear President Christian,

As representatives of the Student Health Advisory, thank you again for the opportunity to represent Bakersfield College at the White House to receive the Healthy Campus Challenge Award. Both Vicente and I are extremely grateful. As expected, Vicente and I were able to gain valuable information from our current government leaders about, not only health care reform, but also about student leadership and advocacy. Throughout the White House Healthy Campus event, Vicente and I were able to converse with several influential leaders ranging from individuals that not only represented the 60 campuses in attendance, but also the Senior Manager of Partnerships, for the Partnership for a Healthier America. In addition to expanding our professional networks, we were also able to listen to several government leaders, such as the Senior Advisor to the President, emphasize the importance of student involvement. They explained that students are the most influential voice in a college campus. Because of our understanding of our student body, we, the students, have the ability to positively impact our college campuses through our involvement. After the panel discussions and speakers at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, we were fortunate to be invited to the East Wing of the White House. There we met First Lady, Michelle Obama, and a portrait was taken of the campus participants with the First Lady. Mrs. Obama explained that although all of our present healthcare may soon change as a result of defunding the Affordable Care Act, the goal of making sure that people throughout the nation are insured in healthcare is and will always be an important issue that we as a nation have to continue to work towards. The First Lady was also very appreciative of our work throughout the White House Healthy Campus Challenge, building on the increased enrollment among the demographic group who is most inequitably under covered and who’s academic careers are vulnerable to unexpected illness. All in all, the experiences Vicente and I have gained have not only empowered us to continue to improve the overall health and well being of Bakersfield College, but it has also motivated us to continue to work hard and be engaged. We are hopeful that after we are able to relay our gained experiences and knowledge to our student body, that they too will be motivated to continue to work towards their goals. This has truly been a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Thank you,

Alexa Rivera and Vicente Lopez”

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sonya-christian-bc-holiday-party-2015

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever

 

Thank you Bakersfield, for a great 2016!

2016 — a year of great friendships, great love, great partnerships, great collaboration. 

Thank you Bakersfield, thank you Kern County for a great 2016! My blog post from January 2, 2016 (https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/01/02/2016-the-force-awakens/) ends with

Warm wishes to each and every one of you in this amazing community from all faculty, staff and students of Bakersfield College.  Here’s to a glorious 2016!

And what a year it has been. A year when the force was definitely with BC.

A year when BC:

  • produced an increase in student numbers that far exceeds the statewide trends
  • improved student success outcomes
  • created efficiencies that save both time and money for students and taxpayers
  • broadened outreach to Kern county residents, particularly in rural Kern
  • engaged throughout the community, connecting with business and industry leaders, other educational sectors, and community organizations
  • positioned the college for even more opportunities in grant funding.

And thank you for passing Measure J!

50058052351__d475d29b-01c3-43e5-b511-163349ebdf77

bruce-the-election-dog-nov-9-2016

Bruce our campaign dog

The campus is closed during the week between Christmas and New Year BC.  So things have been relatively quiet on the work front with faculty, staff and students spending time with friends, family and loved ones.  A few of us have been periodically connecting on grant applications that are due in early February.  Most meetings have been via 7:30 a.m. conference calls or meetings at Panera Bread, since offices are not heated to conserve energy during this week.

I published my last blog as I was on a plane from LAX to Toronto.  The few days in Toronto with Eisha were perfect — walks, talks, netflix, friends, and good food.  The buildings are so well insulated and heated that you can practically walk around inside in a t-shirt, and Eisha taught me how to dress for the cold during our walks.  She let me use her ear muffs, which worked wonders in keeping me warm.  I did not take many photos this week (I am regretting it now), but here are a few.

What a difference in attire….July 2016 in Canada and Dec 2016 in Canada

Mom was with us last Christmas and joined us in Toronto when we visited in July, but she did not want to face Toronto in December. Here is a picture of three generations on Christmas 2015 which popped up on Facebook.

eisha-christian-pam-christian-sonya-christian-dec-25-2015

Kwanzaa Celebration Dec 28, 2016

It was a lot of fun attending the Kwanzaa celebration for the second year in a row.  I found myself being inspired by the music and the storytelling.  I walked away with much joy and a renewed commitment to spend time with loved ones.  Met up with my friends Karen Goh and NaTesha Kindred at the event.  Here are a few pictures from both of them.

It was fun talking to the group from the Cain Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church Young People’s Department.  David Sandles  standing to my left in the photo, is a Freshman at Bakersfield College and a Biochemistry major.  So cool!

Photo on the left: NaTesha Kindred Johnson, Karen Goh, Sonya Christian

Photo on the right: The Kwanzaa 2016 organizer Bakari Sanyu.

 

Cathy Abernathy Nov 19 2015

Cathy Abernathy, Rotary, Nov 19 2015

On December 29th I had a series of meetings and joined Cathy Abernathy who was hosting the Ralph Bailey show, and had invited me to be a guest and talk about the happenings at BC.  Of course I said yes.  It is truly an honor to share the wonderful things happening at BC and also wonderful to hang out with Cathy.

We talked about the work BC is doing with KHSD, about the Career Technical Education programs, the new Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation etc. We ended with the spectacular event of having an outdoor ice rink in the magnificent Memorial Stadium– 2016 Winterfest!  If you have not purchased your tickets yet, you should!  January 6th is the celebrity game with Wayne Gretzky(!), and January 7th the Condors play.

I wish I had taken a picture when I was in the studio with Cathy,  but I did not do much of that this week.  Maybe it is because I am so irritated with myself for having dropped my iphone yet again and widened the crack on the glass…

December 30th, a group of us watched the Bakersfield College Basketball team win yet another game under the leadership of the fabulous coach Paula Dahl. Our students are such a treat and Coach Dahl rocks.  It was great to meet Paula’s brother David and his wife who came in from Utah to spend New Years.  The young women you see behind David Dahl are students from Stockdale High School, who I am hoping will be future Renegades, and here’s a picture of Sandi Taylor, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and me having a great time at the game.

I also connected with Christy Haycock at an exercise class session and Wayne Cooper at CALM’s Holiday Lights.

Here is the LA Times article about the Holiday Lights at CALM.

http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-christmas-lights-20161218-story.html

Bakersfield Life today:

Saw this great piece on our Dean of Allied Health, Cindy Collier

bakersfield-life-dec-31-2016

bakersfield-life-2-dec-31-2016

 

I spent much of this morning reading previous blog posts and enjoying thinking about all that happened at Bakersfield College and in our community.  Here are a few in case you have time to click through:

March 25, 2016 post: The State of Kern County is Strong

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/03/25/the-state-of-kern-county-is-strong/

 

April 2, 2016: Life at BC is about living life fully.

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/04/02/life-at-bc-is-all-about-living-life-fully/

 

April 9, 2016: BC and the community — relationships run deep

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/04/09/bc-and-the-community-relationship-runs-deep/

Calla Lily June 4 2016

 

June 4, 2016: A community together

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/06/04/a-community-together/

An excerpt from the post

So here is a calla lily for you, my community, for all that you do on a daily basis to support each other and support the students at BC.

Thank you Fred Misono for making my visit to Bakersfield West Rotary so memorable.

And let’s remember Tharrell Ming — a community leader.

 

June 9, 2016: We are Bakersfield….We are BC

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/06/19/we-are-bakersfield-and-we-are-bc/

This blog covers two presentations on the bond measure during the educational phase of the campaign to the Hispanic Chamber and Kerntax.  A quick note here on Donna Carpenter — we miss you!

 

July 16, 2016: Building a Better BC

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/07/16/building-a-better-bc/

This blog covers the July 14th board meeting when the trustees voted to put Measure J on the ballot.

Let’s remember Mayor Harvey Hall’s words on Measure J. Thank you Mayor Hall for all that you have done for BC and for Bakersfield.

TBC_HarveyHall_7.15.2016

 

August 26, 2016: Launching Fall 2016 to Build a Better BC

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/08/20/launching-fall-2016-to-build-a-better-bc/

This post is about BC’s Fall Opening Day.  I typically do my State of the College address once a year during Fall Opening.  Here is an excerpt:

We live in an era of viral soundbites and tweets rather than one of comprehensive and detailed discussion. But let us not be reluctant to tell our story, openly and honestly; boldly in all its detail; and in all its glory.

Let’s joyfully shout out the BC story from the roof tops for the next 82 days and beyond.

Let us use Twitter….Facebook… Instagram and Snapchat.

Can we get 82 pieces of writing in the community voices section of the Californian? Every day from now until November 8th. We are BC and we are a Jewel of Kern County.

 We will continue to balance bold new directions with elegance and poise. We will continue to encourage punctual completion with gentle compassion and strong support. We see the face, heart, and brilliant mind of each individual student in the crowd of thousands and our mission is as important as it’s ever been.

I’m proud to say the state of Bakersfield College has never been stronger

Just like in 1913 – Just like in the 50s –

Now, in 2016, we stand together to write the next chapter of BC’s story….

Together, let’s build…A Better BC

WE are BC!

 

September 24, 2016: Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future; Faith is the courage to dance to it today.

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/09/24/hope-is-the-ability-to-hear-the-music-of-the-future-faith-is-the-courage-to-dance-to-it-today/

 

October 8, 2016: So many reasons to celebrate. We are BC!

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/10/08/so-many-reasons-to-celebrate-we-are-bc/

This is a great one.  A must watch.  Many video of community leaders talking about BC.  This includes Mayor Harvey Hall, Congressman Bill Thomas, Mike Turnipseed, Wayne Kress, David Torres, Fred Prince …..

 

 

Wishing all of you a wonderful 2017.  Another year of great friendships, great love, great partnerships and great collaborations.

Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future;
Faith is the courage to dance to it today.

 

sonya-dec-25-2016

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Catching the Olympic Spirit

 

Sonya Jen Paula August 12 2016

Sonya Christian, Paula Dahl, Jen Garrett

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, August 13, 2016 following a week of Olympics and a week of great activity at BC….a great week to be a Renegade.  

 

On Friday, after my Land Rover was broken into (yes…..quite bummed about that) I spent a few brief moments with Jen Garrett and Paula Dahl at the Starbucks on 24th.  I just sat back watching these two incredible women talk about what they did this summer and all I can say dear community members, is that we are so fortunate to have such incredible faculty members at BC taking care of our students, taking care of our community.  No wonder I always repeat over and over and over again that I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever.  These two women inspire me!

Let’s start with Rio or should I say #Rio2016…..

The Olympic spirit is contagious and it’s hard to not get caught up in the highlights of terrific athletic merit and examples of superb sportsmanship. It’s easy to sit back and enjoy the thrilling Olympics, but sitting back also makes me truly appreciate the hard work, dedication, training, resilience and sheer talent of these athletes and their preparation for these few weeks in Rio.  Anticipation and preparation are two ingredients to success….BC has done this over the last 100 years and now it is our turn to anticipate and prepare for future generations.  And that we are doing through our facilities planning as we build, together, A Better BC!

women_gymnastics_team

Every unique story stemming from Rio has struck me as particularly moving, but one article caught my attention specifically. U.S. Women Jump, Spin, and Soar to Gymnastics Gold from the New York Times explains just how these girls earned gold. The author explains – It started with “A strong start on the vault” followed by Gabby Douglas getting “her moment.” These young women maneuvered the trials by “avoiding trouble on the balance beam” and closing the victory with “great performances.”

The charismatic U.S. women’s gymnastics team is a shining example of what makes America great –dedication, the opportunity to explore our talents and passions, the ability to freely pursue them, tough training, incredible grace, and banding together to accomplish great things. Our biggest advantage as a nation also stems from our diversity as displayed on the roster by these fantastic women. Laurie Hernandez is Latina, Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas are black, and Aly Raisman and Madison Kocian are white. Together, they offer a glimpse into the beautiful mosaic of American diversity.  A single “i” in the collective “we”.  i-BC….and yes, We are BC!

Our world is full of perils and challenges, but the camaraderie on display at Rio 2016 offers a view of our increasingly diverse future; one that we can all take pride in being a part of. Let us continue to be inspired as we witness the beauty in diversity of people working together and striving for excellence.

The track and field competitions have just begun on Rio’s schedule, which reminds me of Jim Ryun (yes, spelled “Ryun”) and his record setting accomplishment at our own Memorial Stadium. A side note: I recently learned that Jim Ryun went on to serve in Congress with our very own Bill Thomas.  On June 23rd of 1967, a world record time was set by Ryun of 3:51.1 running the mile during the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. A video, uploaded to Youtube, shows this unbelievable feat.  (Thank you Shannon Musser for finding this in the archives for us.  And thank you Jerry Ludeke for all that you do for the archives, a true treasure of Bakersfield College.)

That year was the first of five times Memorial Stadium would be home to the championship event. It is my hope that moving forward, BC can continue providing adequate spaces as more records are set at The Home of the Renegades.  Together, let’s build A Better BC for generations to come.

Talking about building A Better BC, Tom Burke and I were on the Jim Scott show on KGET this past Saturday, August 6th sharing information about the KCCD Bond that will be on the November ballot.  If you are interested in this 30-minute video segment check it out on the KGET website at http://tinyurl.com/z7eoxue.

Program for Energy Academy Graduation August 11 2016On Thursday evening, after the Board meeting, I attended the graduation ceremony of the Energy Academy which started on May 21st.  Check out my previous blog post at https://bcpresidentblog.com/2016/05/21/so-much-diversity-and-we-are-bc/

 

It was such a great event.  Besides celebrating our BC students going through this intense Saturday program I enjoyed the friendship of different community groups coming together to make meaningful and transformative opportunities happen for this community. The Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce puts this program together with funding from Chevron.

The student speaker Larry Dano was just phenomenal.  He shared his story in the oil industry going through the ups and down of the cyclical economic climate.  He is a BC student who is in the Fire Technology program while he is working towards a baccalaureate degree in Industrial Safety.  Larry is also a student veteran.  Armando Trullijo, BC’s Ed Adviser for student vets was present at the graduation beaming with pride as he introduced Larry to me.  Here is a selfie with Larry right after I gave him his certificate.  The second picture is with David Alanis, a KCHCC member who was at my table and a lot of fun to hang out with.

Lauren Skidmore did a fabulous job facilitating the entire academy and giving up her Saturday mornings to be with this cohort of students.  Thank you Adam Alvidrez and Jay Tamsi for your leadership.  It was great fun sitting at the same table with Norma Rojas-Mora, Michael Bowers and others.  The final word on the Energy Academy must be about Lisa Kent.  This beautiful and talented young woman is so committed to BC and our community.  Thank you Lisa for all that you do!

The BC Team came out in full force to support the Energy Academy graduates.  See below –Armando Trujillo, Connie Gonzales, myself, Jay Tamsi, Lisa Kent, Lesley Bond.  Also, a quick shout out to two more students, Andrea Hernandez and Jose Chavez, with Skidmore, Gonzales, and Kent.

Our Staff is a Great Team

All this focus on Rio and team work reminds me of the great staff and faculty I’m lucky to be working with at BC. Taking care of our current facilities and campus is a constant and growing challenge for a team of truly awesome people.

These efforts wouldn’t be possible without the leadership and dedication of our Facilities and Operations staff. I’d like to mention Ramon Puga and Andrea Watson, who have stepped up and taken on additional responsibilities without being asked. Their attitude is commendable because these two will do whatever it takes to get the job done.

These two, however, are part of a much larger team – everyone at BC plays a unique role in what we do. Thank you Ramon and Andrea for your example of leadership and dedication!  And thank you Bill Potter, Director of Facilities, for your commitment to BC.  Together we will modernize our buildings and infrastructure for future generations….together we will upgrade our learning spaces from the 1950s to accommodate new technologies….together we will build A Better BC!

Another example of quality at BC is the Peer Mentor program, led by Maria Wright. This last week, the PMLA (Peer Mentor Leadership Academy) trained 50 new student employees over a four-day period.

PMLA 2

These students will begin doing student success work in the tutoring center, counseling department, supplemental instruction, and outreach. The training they received focused on students helping students and enhancing their role as Peer Mentors as a means to increase students success campus wide. These great young people are going to make a great difference in the lives of their fellow students! Each student seen individually…. It is all about  customizing for the individual and scaling up for the collective.  i-BC! and We are BC!

This week was also MESA Week Zero. MESA workshops started off in helping students interested in STEM classes.

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This marks year nine for the program, where various workshops – including organic chemistry camp, biology, and engineering are taught. The main goal in providing workshops all week was to get students ready for STEM classes and give insider knowledge specified for each major. BC professors assisted in providing different curriculum projects, which showed students what they would be learning and how they could apply it on the job. Seeing each individual student within the whole group.  Yes, i-BC! and We are BC!

Consuelo Gonzalez, MESA director, said she believes that “in order to be successful in science and engineering you need to have life coaching and the right discipline.” These five-day workshops going on all week are sponsored by Chevron and MESA.

Introducing the new GoGades.com

Gogades.jpgA wave of updates has washed over our campus this past summer. Have you seen the new signs around campus, the newly poured walkways, and fresh coat of paint in the parking lot? In addition to those and many more, BC Athletics has a new website! You can’t miss the pop of Renegade Red, while checking out the accomplishments of our fantastic student athletes.

GoGades.com features a slideshow highlighting the most recent news and photos about Renegade sports. You’ll find news, photos, videos and a schedule for every BC sports department, as well as information about tickets, recruiting, athletic facilities, sponsorships, directions around campus and more. The redesign couldn’t have come at a better time, with the fall 2016 semester right around the corner.

Football is a proud staple at BC and I hope you’ll join me at our first home game against Chaffey College at BC’s Memorial Stadium on September 10th. This fall also marks the return of Men’s Soccer to BC after a 30-year absence. Along with head coach Vayron Martinez, I’m excited for the future as this program builds from the ground up into a legitimate competitor in the Western State Conference.

Thank you to our Sports Information Director, Francis Mayer, for his work on this site, everyone who works to cast a spotlight on our student athletes, and everyone at BC  and in the community  who supports them! Go Gades!

For more info about Renegade athletics, including former BC quarterback Logan Kilgore making his first professional start in the Canadian Football League, I hope you’ll be sure to visit Gogades.com.

Howard Swan Award

RonJen1Another staple at BC is our talented music faculty. Since 1985, every summer, at the CACDA (California American Choral Directors Association) conference near Yosemite, a director is awarded the Howard Swan Lifetime Achievement award. This award recognizes an outstanding retired choral director in our state and candidates are nominated by the California ACDA Board of Directors and voted upon by past Presidents.

This year it was awarded to our own Ron Kean! Many well respected choral directors in California spoke about Ron’s dedication to the choral art. The speakers focused on the way he brought multicultural music to the forefront of choral music and made it accessible and something choral directors did not have to be afraid to try. They talked about his quiet and humble dedication as he served as President of the ACDA Western Division, President of the Music Association of California Community Colleges (MACCC), 6 years as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Ethnic and Multicultural Perspectives, and more.

The “Lifetime” Achievement Award seemed insufficient as Ron’s dreams and support go well beyond his tenure at any institution or office. He continues to support ACDA through workshops and sharing of his years of experience. And he wholeheartedly supports Bakersfield College in his so called “retirement,” still teaching the World Music class he created. He also conducted the BC Choirs and BSO in an unforgettable opening of our Outdoor Theater, and supports the choral program in any way he can.

Jen Garrett and many others also talked about the way his compositions will live on beyond any of us. He has made a personal difference in so many lives–as a professor, choral conductor, leader, composer, and most importantly, as a friend and colleague. Many lives have been greatly enriched and blessed because of Ron. Congratulations!!

In an email last week, Ron told me “retirement can open the doors to creativity.”  “The White Birds” is one of 5 commissions he’s done in the past two years.  He has judged choral music festivals at Bakersfield High School, Fresno State, USC, Santa Rosa Community College, and this Fall at Cal State Long Beach and guest conducted in Hawaii, Bali, and for the Santa Monica/Malibu School District Honor Choirs.  The photo was taken at St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland just after the premiere of “The White Birds,” with poetry by William Butler Yeats.  It was co-commissioned by the two conductors in the photo, Lou De La Rosa from West Valley College in San Jose, and Dr. Jeffrey Benson from San Jose State University.  “The White Birds” was performed for the opening of the first ever Limerick Choral Music Festival, for the mayors of Limerick and Dublin, and at the end of each concert. I’m told each performance was followed by a standing ovation – I believe it too!RonIreland.jpg

Renegades in the Community

BC is connecting our community in both simple and meaningful ways.

Sometimes, all it takes is a 35 mile drive and the need for a diet coke to connect staff and students! Tracy Lovelace from our Educational Media department sent me this video – I hope it’ll make you smile, just like it did for me.

Janelly, we’re proud that you’re a Renegade! Thanks for sharing Tracy.

Cropped Aug 12 2015 Community Leaders Gathering

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya 

(This picture, posted by Karen Goh one year ago at the African American Leaders breakfast, popped up on Facebook after a year.)

Sprinting toward semester’s end

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, April 30, 2016….A good day to be a Renegade.

This day 68 years ago, in 1948, the Land Rover debuted at an auto show.  An incredible car designed by the British car company and owned now by Tata Motors was initially intended to be used for farm work but quickly became popular with the public.  Needless to say…I love my Land Rover.

It was another “normal” week at BC–with the Spring performance of our Jazz Ensemble to the One-act festival theater, Career day, High school students attending BC’s Law day, the SGA awards ceremony, baseball, track….. After being on the road for several weeks, and MIA at our athletic events it was great to catch up on baseball after completing faculty interviews late on Friday.  Nan was at the track meet and we exchanged messages from different parts of the campus celebrating our students and coaches.

Baseball finished the regular season in a dramatic fashion, winning 14 of their last 16 games to clinch a playoff berth.  Playoff seeding will be announced on Sunday, a strong possibility we will play at home on May 6th & 7th. Thank you Coach Tim Painton.

Western State Conference finals were held on the newly resurfaced track Friday afternoon with 500 student athletes vying for qualifying marks to the Southern California meet. A beautiful day with a beautiful track resulted in numerous personal best marks. Thank you Coach Pam Kelley.

Softball swept a doubleheader from Antelope Valley on Tuesday to clinch a playoff berth for the fist time since 2012.  There was no quit in these ladies with multiple lead changes throughout both games. Playoff seeding announced today. Thank you Coach Christie Hill.

Board of Governors visits

Avalos Conway Christian Agbalog Stewart April 29 2016

It was a treat having two members of the Board of Governors, Arnoldo Avalos and Connie Conway, visit BC on Tuesday, April 26th.  Rather than doing a special series of presentations, we decided to fit their itinerary into what was happening at BC.  The morning started with them attending an annual event where we connect with leaders from high school and share with them the advances made on the goals set the previous year.  After that, they toured the campus and connected with faculty and students in the sciences, music, CTE etc. Thank you Joe Saldivar, Jen Garrett, Liz Rozell, Manny Gonzales, Clayton Fowler, Nicky Damania and others who helped.  And the fabulous Jennifer Marden who pulled all this together.

Both Arnoldo and Connie were open, direct and clearly enjoyed being on a college campus and interacting with faculty, staff and students.  Here is a blurb about them from the Chancellor’s website:

Arnoldo Avalos has been the founder and chief executive officer of the Avalos Foundation since 2013. He was head of compensation and the global compensation manager at Facebook from 2008 to 2013 and senior global compensation manager for Google from 2006 to 2008. Avalos held multiple positions at Cisco Systems from 1999 to 2006, including compensation manager, corporate recruiter and manager of business operations. He was a system consultant at Andersen Consulting from 1996 to 1999 and farm manager for Avalos Farms from 1989 to 1996. Avalos is a member of the Latino Community Foundation Board of Trustees and a founding member of Hermanos Unidos. He earned a Master of Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Connie Conway has been a member of the California Women Lead Board of Directors since 2008. She served as a member of the California State Assembly from 2008 to 2014, where she was Minority Leader from 2010 to 2014. Conway was a member of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors from 2000 to 2008, serving as chair in 2005 and 2008. She was chair of the Cities Counties Schools Partnership in 2007 and president of the California State Association of Counties in 2006.

It was a wonderful surprise to have Trustee Romeo Agbalog join us. He was able to rearrange his schedule and connect with both Avalos and Conway.

I enjoyed meeting Vince Stewart, Vice Chancellor of External Affairs from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, and hear about the great things being undertaken statewide.

Pre-Law Program: First Graduates & Law Day Conference

Prelaw2As many of you know, Bakersfield College has developed a Pre-law Program over the past two years. We are one of 24 of community colleges in the state of California participating in this program.

This program is designed to help students matriculate more easily from Bakersfield College to a four-year university and on to a participating law school.

We are happy to report that this year our first graduating class of three students has completed the recommended courses for our Pre-Law Program. Bailey Bryson, Michael Esqueda and Fernando Singh were honored at a Pre-Law celebration on Monday. We are estimating that we will have at least 15 graduates in 2017!

We are so excited that members of our Advisory Council were able to attend. Thank you Steven Katz, Courtney Lewis, Mark Pafford, Bethany Peak, Brett Price, H.A. Sala, Rebecca Murillo, Roberta Tafoya, David Torres and Alekxia Torres-Stallings.

On Friday, April 29th,  over 200 students from local high schools packed the Indoor Theater for our annual Law Day Conference. It’s always inspiring to see so many young people enthusiastically pursuing their interests and future career goals, and choosing to visit Bakersfield College.

BrandonStallings_SonyaChristian_MannyMourtzanosShortly before the event, I met Brandon Stallings, a deputy District Attorney and representing the State Bar Board of Trustees. He shared that our local rural communities suffer a real lack of attorneys, and that for our justice system to work we need dedicated students who are interested in a law career and want to stay local.

To help inspire these young people and foster their career goals, local professionals were on hand to share stories and answer questions. Thank you to all attorneys and volunteers involved, especially Honorable Louie L. Vega, Adayinka Glover, Esq., Christian Zoller, Bethany Peak, Esq., Michael J Yraceburn, Esq., Honorable Steven M Katz, Esq., H.A. Sala, Esq., and Alekxia Torres-Steallings, Esq.

EricHogan_DeanMWe have great faculty and staff at Bakersfield College, like Manny Mourtzanos, our Dean of Instruction, who makes these events fun and captivating for our future students. While opening the program, Manny asked if anyone could recite the Miranda Rights by memory. Surprisingly, hands flew up and Eric Hogan from Bridges Academy was chosen to come up. Without hesitation, Eric was able to say aloud the entire Miranda Rights before a packed theater of fellow students – Well done, Eric.

In fact, did you know this year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1996 Miranda vs. Arizona ruling? It’s a great day when you can learn something new. And as time has gone by, the Miranda Rights have become an icon in pop culture, as seen in some of our favorite movies, but also as an integral part of American culture.

During my opening remarks I referred to the two movies that capture the creativity, sharpness, and performance abilities of a young lawyer played by Tom Cruise in both instances — The Firm and A Few Good Men.  Sydney Pollack’s The Firm was done in 1991 where Cruz plays a young lawyer who joins a prestigious law with a sinister dark side and the strategy he adopts to bring them down.  A year later Rob Riner has Cruise playing the lead role along with Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men.  You have got to check out this classic scene from A Few Good Men.

 

SonyaChristian_DouglasGrimsleySpeaking of great faculty, it was fantastic to see Professor Douglas Grimsley, who is involved with our inmate education plan. Grimsley is one of our pioneering faculty who knows that his investment is helping folks get back into society – something that is true to the mission of Bakersfield College; Providing opportunities for students from all diverse backgrounds to engage productively in their communities and the world.

GroupShotAs you may know, Bakersfield College is selected by the State Bar of California to participate in the Community Colleges Pathway to Law School Initiative, which provides a transfer-pathway for students to one of at least six prestigious law schools in our state.  But beyond that, the law program at BC is a rigorous path that is a true investment and will sharpen any student’s critical thinking, writing skills, and leadership qualities.

 

Project BEST

 

 

HOrace Mitchell Sonya Christian Project BEST April 23 2016Fuchsia Ward Project Best April 23 2016

Steve Watkin invited me to attend the Project BEST event last Saturday, April 26th.  In fact it was great seeing an entire BC gang at the table–Harlan Hunter, Reggie Bolton, Paula Parks, Christopher Anderson, Ishmael Kimbrough, and our ATEP students.

This was my first introduction to Project BEST and I was impressed and inspired by the caliber of our High School students as well as the commitment from our community. Project BEST (Black Excellence in Scholarship and Teaching) is a partnership between the Kern High School District, California State University, Bakersfield, the local business community, parents and students. It is privately funded and financially administered by the Kern High School District Education Foundation, a 501(c) 3 organization.  It was wonderful connecting with Dr. Horace Mitchell, President of CSUB, who is clearly committed to this program and on the spot increased CSUB’s financial support for these students.  The icing on the cake was when Fuschia Ward, the KHSD administrator in charge of the program, received an award for her leadership.  For those of you who do not know Fuschia, you are missing out on someone very special.  I met Fuschia when I spoke at the Kern Kiwanis Club and immediately could sense that this woman is passionate and makes things happen.  On Saturday, she read a beautiful poem that she had read in previous Project BEST events.  This last week I must have read it a 1000 times….. well, that might be a slight exaggeration 😉 Here it is:

Don’t You Quit – An Inspirational Poem

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than

It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out –

The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Renegade Promise at the Kern County Alliance

 

 

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Jacqueline MimmsOn Thursday, Kristen Barnes, CEO of the Kern Community Foundation, invited us to present the Renegade Promise to a group of Educators across Kern County.  The story of the Renegade Promise is a story of collaboration and partnership, a story about adaptation, a story about saying “yes” rather than “no”, a story about making this happen despite the odds.  The heroes in this story are the faculty, staff and administrators from KHSD, BC and CSUB who have been laser focused on moving students through our educational pathways faster and not compromising their learning; on the contrary, enhancing their learning.  Presenting along with me were Dr. Jacqueline Mimms from CSUB, Vickie Spanos from KHSD, and Lesley Bonds from BC.  These three women are brilliant, beautiful, passionate and work tirelessly.

Vickie Spanos 2Lesley Bonds

Check out my Feb 5, 2016 blog to learn more about this collaborative work being led by Kristen Barnes.  http://tinyurl.com/jptv4xh

Wasco High Summer Bridge

Wasco Sumer Bridge April 2016.jpgSummer Bridge is an essential part of a student’s journey to becoming a college student.  Throughout summer 2016, BC will engage 2,000 new students in this extended orientation where they’ll learn how to access important campus information, discuss success strategies for the transition into college, take a campus tour, and hear from important academic and student affairs support services about the many offerings available to them.  Thank you Dr. Kimberly Bligh for your leadership.  For more information about Summer Bridge, email bcsummerbridge@gmail.com.

This week, BC hosted 60 Wasco High School future Renegades on the Panorama campus and the Delano campus for the first Bridge of the season!  These attendees arrived to campus bright and early Monday morning for a campus tour led by one of our amazing Promising Professionals, Sharita Knowles, and Educational Advisor Claudio Felix.  Title V Director Kimberly Bligh and Counselor Keri Kennedy led the group through success strategies and resources as they transition from high school to college.  Monica Huyck at the Delano pitched in to host the students at the Delano campus on Thursday for a campus tour and review of the new facilities and support services available to our Rural Renegades.

Student Leadership & Recognition Awards Ceremony

On Friday morning, the Office of Student Life and the amazing Dr. Nicky Damania held the Student Leadership and Involvement Awards Ceremony. The ceremony is intended to recognize the accomplishments of student organizations and student leaders at Bakersfield College. This annual event, offers chance for all registered student organizations and student leadership to present their achievements to the rest of the College community, and be recognized for their accomplishments.

Romeo Agbalog SGA Awards April 29 2016.jpgA special thank you to Trustee Romeo Agbalog for attending the event and for your powerful words that leadership is about building others up – not just building oneself up.  And thank you Tom Moran for all that you do for BC.  Do you see Tom signing to the left of Romeo?

Clayton Fowler and Sonya Christian April 29 2016Before I get into the many honorees, I should first recognize a student who has been working hard to engage students and make BC a better place for future Renegades: our BCSGA President, Clayton Fowler.  It has been Clayton’s advocacy for students that has catalyzed our work on a number of projects; most notably, our Renegade Promise.  Stay tuned for details!

Onto the awards…

Student Employee of the Year: Awarded to an outstanding student in recognition of exceptional contributions to their office or department of service during the academic year.

  • Bradley Parrot, EOP&S/Care/CalWORKs
  • Paulette Rodriguez, BCSGA

Most Valuable Renegade (MVR): Awarded to intercollegiate student athletes who through their involvement at BC have made significant contributions to the quality of life for their fellow athletes.

  • Daryan Heathcott, Women’s Volleyball
  • De’Andre Dickson, Men’s Basketball

Renegade Spirit Award: Awarded to student leaders who bring spirit and enthusiasm to the Bakersfield College community through their involvement on campus.

  • Allison Guzman, American Sign Language Club

Service Award: Awarded to a student whose behavior embraces civic responsibility and service to the community on a campus, local, regional, national, or global level.

  • Anhelica Perez, Office of Student Life at Delano

President’s Leader of the Year Award: Awarded to student leaders with a distinguished record of extraordinary leadership, service, spirit, advocacy, and involvement within the college community.  Recipients will have a history of positive and significant accomplishments resulting in major contributions that enhance the quality of life at the college.

  • Alia Brost, ACS Chemistry Chapter Club

Event of the Year: Awarded to a registered student organization that sponsored an event promoting social interaction among students.  The effectiveness of the planning, publicity, and execution of the event will be considered.

  • Def-Nation, American Sign Language Club
  • Relay for Life, Relay for Life Club

Renegade Spirit Award (Organization): Awarded to a registered student organization that brings spirit and enthusiasm to the Bakersfield College community through their programs and activities.

  • Disabilities Inspire and Support Change Club
  • Gender and Sexuality Awareness Club

Student Organization of the Year: Awarded to a registered organization that is organized, active, and maintains strong membership.  This student organization continually strives to increase their impact and influence on the campus community. You should follow them on Twitter @WECOMMBC

  • WECOMM Club

Outstanding Student Organization Advisor(s): Awarded to a faculty or staff member that goes above and beyond their expectations of an advisor, is an integral part of the organization, and shows dedication to the mission of the organization.

  • Jonathan Hernandez, WECOMM Club

Grace Van Dyke Bird Leadership Scholarship Award: Given annually to one freshman student attaining the highest standards of leadership, citizenship, service, and overall accomplishments while a student attending Bakersfield College.  This award is dedicated to the first president of Bakersfield College who showed great pride and shared a great vision for education in Kern County.

  • Arthur Tondin

Alumni Association Honor Trophy Scholarship Award: Given annually to one sophomore student attaining the highest standards of leadership, citizenship, service, and overall accomplishments while a student attending Bakersfield College.

  • Tania Bernal

Samuel W. McCall Outstanding Professor of the Year Award: Given annually to a Bakersfield College faculty member who has been nominated and selected by the students.  The award spotlights the college’s “super teachers.”  The finalists include:

  • Bernard Scanlon, Mathematics
  • Deborah Rosenthal, Chemistry
  • Reggie Williams, Philosophy
  • Paula Parks, English
  • Jennifer Garrett, Performing Arts
  • Stephen Tavoni, Biological Sciences
  • Nick Strobel, Physical Science/Astronomy
  • Paula Dahl, Athletics

Congratulations to Reggie Williams, Philosophy, for your selection as the Samuel W. McCall Outstanding Professor of the Year!

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Here is a picture of Trustee Agbalog with Bill Parker.  Bill has been at BC for 39 years and he absolutely gives his heart and soul to the campus.  We love you Bill Parker!

Bill Parker and Romeo Agbalog April 29 2016.jpg

Fourth Annual High School Leaders Breakfast

Presbreakfast1On Tuesday, we hosted the 4th Annual President’s Breakfast. About 60 education partners (counselors and administrators) from our high school service area came to our Fireside Room for a quick and insightful update and discussion. We talked about our strides in collaboration with Guided Pathways, Dual Enrollment, Multiple Measures, and our High School Matriculation Visits.

Mr. Arnoldo Avalos (Board of Governors Member, CCCCO) told the story of how, in higher education, personal connections matter. “That first week, so difficult, completely frazzled and I met one person. A counselor for Chicano Studies…she took me aside and said, ‘Are you ok?’”

Vickie Spanos (Director of Instruction, KHSD) spoke about the Kern High School District and how the “seeds of partnership,” have been sewn with BC. Connie Conway (Board of Governors Member, CCCCO) touched on how important the role the Board of Governors has in supporting California’s Community Colleges. And Vincent Stewart (Vice Chancellor for External Relations, CCCCO) expressed his excitement at visiting Bakersfield College for the first time and getting to interact with our charismatic administrators, faculty, staff, and students.

The work that we do for our students is paramount. It was so exciting to celebrate our collaboration successes this year, even as we begin the conversations about where we are headed for next year! Thank you! And here is BC’s Outreach Team.  You make BC look good. Thank you!

Outreach April 29 2016 cropped.jpg

 

Alex Victoria April 27 2016Kern’s Poet Laureate:

On Wednesday I attended a poetry reading hosted by the Bakersfield Arts Council. The event featured the poetry of Kern Poet Laureate Don Thompson who read from several of  his published works, provided context for the poems he read, and offered comments on his life in poetry. The evening started with original readings by  students from Taft College, CSUB and BHS. (Pictured at right is Taft College’s Alex Victoria.) I so enjoyed attending the event.  Don Thompson is Kern’s Poet Laureate for the next two years. It was a treat seeing several friends taking in an evening of poetry.  To know more about Kern’s Poet Laureate check out http://writersofkern.com/2015/12/29/poet-laureate/

2016 Phi Theta Kappa induction.  Thank you Prof. Charles Kim for your leadership.

PTK Induction April 2016 cropped.jpg

Thank you Delano Chamber and Janet Rabanel for your generosity.

Donation from Delano Chamber Janet Rabanel April 28 2016.jpg

It truly is a great time to be at BC.

PS …

As we finish our Spring 2016 semester, I wanted to extend an invitation to our community to join us as we celebrate our students.

Our Performing Arts joint music concert in the Outdoor Theater on Wednesday. May 4th at 7:00 p.m.

Our Chicano/Latino celebration will be on Thursday, May 5, at 5 pm in our beautiful Outdoor Theater. Latina icon Dolores Huerta, founder of the Dolores Huerta foundation, will be the featured speaker. The celebration will feature food, art, music and dancing.

Our Black Graduates Recognition Ceremony will take place on Tuesday, May 10, at 6 pm in the Indoor Theater. We welcome the public to this free event.

Our Delano campus will hold a Pre-Commencement celebration from 11:30 am – 3 pm on Friday, May 13. Food and entertainment will begin at 11:30, with a recognition ceremony beginning promptly at 12 pm. This event will be on our Delano Campus, 1450 Timmons Ave. in Delano.

And of course, our 102nd Bakersfield College Commencement will be held on Friday, May 13 at Memorial Stadium. Gates open at 5:30 pm, and the ceremony will begin at 7. We will conclude with a spectacular fireworks display. Don’t miss it!