Tag Archives: Ramon Puga

A Beautiful Rainy Week at BC

Good morning Bakersfield…It is Saturday, March 24th and a great day to be a Renegade.

This past week Bakersfield was rejoicing in the rain that kept visiting us and revisiting almost every day of the week.  What a blessing!

So many highlights from this week…the brightest of them all was the recognition of Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg.

The “Nan” Touch

Nan Gomez-HeitzebergMany know the incredible value that Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Executive Vice President of Instruction Emeritus, has brought over the last 35 years to Bakersfield College and across the Kern Community College District. Yet her impact has been felt beyond our campus, so much that one of our partners, FIELD (Farmworker Institute for Education and Leadership Development), honored her Friday with its Cesar Chavez Legacy Award. (Check out the video for more.)

BC supporting Nan Gomez Heitzeberg as the receipient of the Cesar Chavez Legacy Award

Horace Mitchel and Nan Gomez-HeitzebergThe Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast is one place where community champions, who quietly work behind the scenes, are illuminated for their phenomenal dedication. Our own Nan is a part of this special group.

This years other honorees included Dr. Horace Mitchell, California State University Bakersfield President, who was recognized with the Cesar E. Chavez Lifetime Achievement Award, and Esther Tarango Uranday whose key role in the United Farm Workers earned her the Cesar E. Chavez Si Se Puede Award (posthumously). The Kern Service and Conservation Corps (KSACC) and a group of EPIC High School students and ESL students were also highlighted with Si Se Puede Awards.

It was wonderful to see many community leaders there supporting the event, such as Assemblyman Rudy Salas, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Jay Tamsi, and the office of Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez. There was also a table full of BC leadership.

Sonya Christian and Rudy Salas March 23 2018

Rudy Salas and Sonya Christian

BC table at Cesar Chavez Breakfast

BC table at Cesar Chavez Breakfast

Cindy Collier, Danielle Hillard, Khushnur Dadabhoy, Isebelle Cataneda

Many walked away with a sense of empowerment and renewed vision for their own causes after hearing from keynote speaker Paul F. Chavez, the son of the late UFW labor leader Cesar Chavez.

Paul Chavez

Paul Chavez

Paul Chavez shared personal father-son stories that tugged at the hearts of many in attendance. At one point, Paul reflected on advice his father shared with him, especially in moments of despair and struggle – in particular two that stay close to Paul’s heart: have faith in people; and persevere.

His father always saw what others could become; he saw potential, and his vision helped others find their own path of success.

I connected with Paul’s story. It made me think about the wonderful work we do at Bakersfield College; our goal is also to show hope and success to our students. We want them to see their potential, and we encourage them to never give up. In the words of Cesar Chavez, “Si se puede.”

I was moved to hear the story that Jose Gaspar (who was emceeing the event with Norma Gaspar) told about the passing of Cesar Chavez and how Corny Rodriguez addressed the KC Board of Supervisors to recognize the passing of a great leader.

Corny Rodriguez, Sonya Christian March 23 2018

Sonya Christian, Corny Rodriguez

 

 

 

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We are BC

Last year was the inaugural year for this event and the first recipient of the Cesar Chavez Legacy Award was Sandra Serrano.  Check out my blog from one year ago: https://sonyachristianblog.com/2017/04/01/an-absolutely-uplifting-week-at-bc/

Thank you David Villarino!

Lydia Otero at BC

Tina Mendoza

Tina Mendoza welcomes Dr. Otero

For Women’s History Month and in light of BC’s efforts to preserve and share our local history, Dr. Lydia Otero from the Mexican-American Studies program at the University of Arizona came to the Fireside Room on Thursday to share about the historical preservation projects she’s spearheaded in downtown Tuscon.

BC’s Office of Student Life and the Women’s History and More committee invited Otero as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. Otero, who grew up in downtown Tuscon, was inspired to capture the history of the Mexican-American communities in her hometown that were displaced by urban renewal projects. To Otero’s surprise, her 2010 book “La Calle: Spatial Conflicts and Urban Renewal in a Southwest City” sold out in the Tuscon area within five hours of the first book signing, Otero said.  “Even I didn’t appreciate the desire for local audiences to read about local history, you want to read about yourself.”

Dr. Lydia Otero

Dr. Lydia Otero

While local or regional history can often be seen as less important than larger-scale historical analysis, it’s important to fill in the smaller details about an area in order to understand the larger picture. “What do we know about world history if we haven’t studied local history?” Otero asked. “It’s a history of silences.”

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After the success of “La Calle”, Otero partnered with the Borderlands Theater Company on an ambitious project called “Barrio Stories”. A camera crew recorded oral histories from Mexican-Americans in Tuscon talking about their personal lives, then those stories were re-interpreted as theatrical plays. The Borderlands Theater performed those plays during a four-day festival that utilized promenade-style staging, meaning that audiences could walk around the old town plaza and experience these stories happening at different stages in real time. You’re able to see all of the oral histories and performances on the Barrio Stories Project website, and a documentary about the project is currently in the works.

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Olivia Garcia, Dr. Lydia Otero, Tina Mendoza

Olivia Garcia, Dr. Lydia Otero, Tina Mendoza

Otero is currently working on a book tentatively titled “Quien lo Dice?” about Maria Cordova, a Tuscon woman whose house was seized by eminent domain and all evidence that she had ever lived there was taken out in a failed attempt to make the property a tourist attraction. Throughout her presentation, Otero emphasized the importance of valuing local history and bringing research out of the classroom and into the community.
“Don’t forget the power of memory,” Otero said.

I’d like to thank Tina Mendoza, who worked with Dr. Otero, for her introduction, and I’d like to thank the Office of Student life and WHAM for putting the event together. It gave an interesting perspective on local historical preservation, which we’re working on at BC with the Digital Delano project spearheaded by our Energizing Humanities group. #WeAreBC

Ribbon Cutting in Wasco

Wasco

This week, Juan Torres, Abel Guzman, Gustavo Enriquez and principal of Wasco Union High School, Kevin Tallon celebrated the Ribbon Cutting and Inaugaration of their beautiful brand new student services building. Inside, the building it’s filled with beautiful pieces of art that celebrate the rich history of Wasco High School.

Kern Disability Collaborative

As your community college, BC is always seeking opportunities to improve communication and collaboration with our community partners. To this end, the Director of our Disabled Students Programs & Services (DSPS), Dr. Terri Goldstein, initiated the first meeting of what she is calling the “Kern Disability Collaborative.”  The purpose of the meeting was to pull together those who work with people with disabilities in our community to learn who we are and what we each do.  “Only good things can happen if we have a better understanding of all the resources available, as well as the unmet needs in our community,” said Dr. Goldstein. What started out with 20 invitations bloomed into approximately 50 attendees representing K-12 schools, higher education, non-profit organizations, and State agencies.  “As the meeting date drew closer, individuals were calling and asking to participate in the meeting,” Dr. Goldstein said. The response just shows the need for this kind of group in Kern County.

Kern Disability Collab

Terri Goldstein

Terri Goldstein

The idea for the Collaborative is modeled after the very successful “Kern Veterans Collaborative” which meets monthly at the National Guard Armory.  After voting, the attendees decided that the Kern Disability Collaborative will continue to meet on a bi-monthly basis at Bakersfield College.  The next meeting will be in May 2018, after college graduation, then the meetings will go dark for the summer, reconvene in August prior to the start of the fall 2018 semester, and meet every other month thereafter.

In addition to discussing future meetings, establishing a listserv and web presence, everyone presented their organizational affiliation, populations served, and services provided. BC faculty member, Jaclyn Krause, announced establishing our Interpreter Training Program; which made everyone happy since there are never enough sign language interpreters to go around.  Jimmie Soto, Executive Director of the Independent Living Center of Kern County, spoke about the need to support each other in our quests for additional funding— including partnerships, and letters of support. BC was well represented with DSPS, EOPS, Office of Student Life, Wellness Center, and Veterans Services. There were also representatives from Bakersfield City School District, Kern High School District, Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Taft College, Valley Achievement Center, Bakersfield GLAD office on Deafness, New Advances for People with Disabilities, Path Point, CA Department of Rehabilitation, Kern Vet Center, Kern Regional Center, and Autism Society Inc.

Kern Disability Collaboration

For more information about the Kern Disability Collaborative, please contact Dr. Terri Goldstein at terri.goldstein@bakersfieldcollege.edu, or call 661-395-4590. Everyone is welcome at these meetings!

Bidders Open House hosted at BC

On Thursday morning, BC hosted the local Bidders Open House to educate local contractors about the logistics of bidding on public construction projects. Harold Pierce wrote a great article explaining the event and its purpose in, “As more than $1 billion in school construction projects begin, districts attempt to lure local contractors to work.

Bidders Fair

Bakersfield College is so enthusiastic about the incredible things coming to our community. Thank you Bakersfield and Kern County for supporting education and investing in BC through a Yes on Measure J!

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Eric Mittlestead, Rafaela Cisneros, Kim Crews represented KCCD on the show floor

For all the photos, visit BC’s Smugmug. And thank you to Harold Pierce at the Bakersfield Californian for attending to share the exciting news with the community of Bakersfield. It was nice to see KCCD Trustee Kyle Carter, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Mike Turnipseed and others attend this event.

Harold Pierce and Trustee Carter

Trustee Carter and Harold Pierce speak to a guest at the Bidders Fair

We received this email from Mikin Plummer about the event.

The BC staff was fantastic!!! Thank you! Thank you! The gym was put together perfect and made set up very easy!
Mikin Plummer

Thank you Bill Potter, Eric Middlested, Ramon Puga, and Jim Coggins for pulling together this amazing event.  Thank you Mary Jo Pasek.  Thank You Marlene Heise who works behind the scenes.  #WeAreBC

National Cemetery

Armando Trujillo, Student Veteran Educational Advisor and Lisa Robles Kent Program Manager, Office of Student Success & Equity were honored to represent Bakersfield College at a ceremony that provided full military honors for unaccompanied veterans interred at the National Cemetery who do not have family to recognize and remember them.

National Cemetary (6)

Armando Trujillo, Bakersfield College; Randy Dickow, KC Veterans Collaborative; Maximo Perez, American Legion.

It’s a privilege for BC to honor the great men and women who paid the greatest sacrifice for our country. While there, Armando and Lisa stopped to visit the graveside of Vernon P. Velenzula. I recall that he was spoken of so fondly by KCCD Trustee, Bill Thomas at our Veterans Resource Center unveiling.

National Cemetary (4)

Vernon touched the lives of so many people here at BC and in our community. I only wish I had the privilege of meeting such an inspirational man. A Purple Heart recipient, Valenzuela’s desire to help veterans began early following his return from a tour in Vietnam in 1968. In the early 1970s Valenzuela served as president of the Associated Veterans Students club at Bakersfield College and later as a counselor supporting student veterans. Valenzuela worked for years as a professional therapist who focused primarily on aiding veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and difficulties in making the transition between life in combat and life at home as a civilian.

Art with Impact

Movies for Mental HealthOn Wednesday, students gathered in the Fireside Room to  #SubvertStigma, the goal of  Movies For Mental Health. “Stigma” was the hook, the tag line used by Leslie Poston, our facilitator, to open our awareness and provide perspective on the very complex personal, cultural and societal issues surrounding mental health and mental illness. The audience of 50 students, staff, faculty and community has steadily grown over the past four semesters since Student Health and Wellness Services began hosting Movies For Mental Health. And, so has the diversity of responses and perspectives on the question of what is “stigma.” Audience contributions included: “Shaming”, “barrier”, “judgmental”, “labeling”, “prejudiced”, “isolation” to name a few but ultimately, “stigma” is an erroneous and negative stereotype.

Movies for Mental Health

This is where the movies come in. These are independent submissions, judged in competition; the films are poignant, evocative and selected by Art With Impact to stimulate discussion and reveal the unexpected, uncomfortable and inconvenient in the human condition.

Following the movie screenings and the facilitated discussion, as well as a light meal of fresh seasonal fruit and wraps provided by Chef Eric Sabella, we listened to a panel discussion. The first panelist was a student named Caitlin who shared her very personal experience with profound depression and suicidal tendencies. Following Caitlin was our own Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Rosealinda Carrillo, who shared her own path to strengthen her own personal mental health but also in becoming a professional counselor. Rosealinda exemplifies the adage “you can’t care for others if you can’t care for yourself.” Panelist and Professor of Psychology, Tim Burke lead us through the impact of suicide in his family, his reaction to a diagnosis and treatment for lymphoma and research-proven self-care modalities like meditation, yoga, mindfulness and of course exercise.

The BC Student Health and Wellness Team was joined by guests from the Health Services program of Antelope Valley College, which will be hosting Movies For Mental Health on their own campus for the first time this May. Among those from Antelope Valley College were Dr. Jill Zimmerman Dean of Student Life & Services, Health Clerk Jennifer Winn and Monteigne Long, Veterans Program Coordinator.

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What is the value and importance of #SubvertStigma to students? As individuals and friends, cultures of origin and faiths, and society in general, we must free mental illness and mental health from stigma, shadow, and shame.

 

Spring Fling and 18-19 BCSGA Elections

James Tompkins and Ashley Harp.jpg

James Tompkins and Ashley Harp

This week was “Spring Fling” week at Bakersfield College with various events hosted by BCSGA as well as the Office of Student Life. Kicking off the fun was the “BCSGA Ice Cream and StudOrgs” event. BC’s clubs and organizations were joined by Ben & Jerry’s to promote various student organizations. On Monday afternoon, students were welcomed by BCSGA’s President Dezi Von Manos for her monthly “Cafecito Time” event where students can discuss issues or questions they may have in an open and inclusive way, and on Monday evening, BCSGA hosted an “Easel Event” where participants engaged in a fun evening of painting and light refreshments.

Tuesday was the “Community Movie Day” where the movie Justice League was played for students to enjoy during lunch. On Wednesday we hosted the “Epic Proportions Tour” featuring the musical talents of Gabe Kubanda and People Who Could Fly.

Wrapping up the wonderful events, students also had the opportunity to vote in elections for next years BCSGA leadership. Congratulations to next year’s BCSGA President, James Tompkins and Vice President, Ashley Harp.

Hate Speech and Free Speech Forum

The Levan Center hosted a panel discussion on Wednesday providing legal and historical context to the ongoing debate about hate speech and freedom of speech on college campuses. Students filled out anonymous surveys before the panel asking them some basic facts about First Amendment law and their thoughts about various free speech issues. Levan Center Director Jack Hernandez then gave a brief introduction about some of the recent protests over white nationalist speakers appearing on college campuses before introducing the panel of BC faculty and administration.

Communication professor John Giertz started with a brief overview of the Supreme Court decisions that have shaped free speech law in the United States. Colleges are bound by the First Amendment interpretation established in the 1969 case Brandenburg v. Ohio, which states that no inflammatory speech can be punished unless it incites “imminent lawless action.” In the 80s and 90s, many campuses attempted to enact speech codes and free speech zones, which have all been struck down as unconstitutional on the grounds that a listener’s right to be protected from hateful speech is not as important as someone else’s right to speak hatefully or however else they choose, Giertz said.

left to right: Communication professor John Giertz, Director of Student Life Nicky Damania, History professor Erin Miller, and Levan Center Director Jack Hernandez host a panel discussion about free speech on college campuses on March 21st.

left to right: Communication professor John Giertz, Director of Student Life Nicky Damania, History professor Erin Miller, and Levan Center Director Jack Hernandez host a panel discussion about free speech on college campuses on March 21st.

Dr. Nicky Damania, BC’s Director of Student Life, gave students a practical description of the ways that he deals with free speech issues on the BC campus every day. At BC, Damania is in charge of enforcing academic freedom, which is the legal right of both students and faculty to teach or communicate controversial ideas or facts without fear of bias or punishment.

BC history professor Erin Miller closed the panel with a discussion of the motivating history behind the United States’ free speech protections. Before the Revolutionary War, England used its common law to silence colonial dissent, which is why James Madison made free speech the first priority of the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution. Hateful speech is protected, Miller argues, because once a government agency begins to arbitrate which types of speech are considered acceptable, then speech that challenges authority can be silenced.

High Schools, BC, CSUB coming together

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CCGI

On Thursday morning, BC hosted an intersegmental initiative on data exchange of student academic information.  Right now we (high school districts, BC, CSUB) all have different data systems for maintaining student academic records and as these students in our community move from one segment to another, their academic records are transferred manually.  This is unacceptable in the highly evolved tech world that we live in.  The CSU systemwide Chancellor’s Office and the Community College statewide Chancellor’s Office have come together to solve this problem.  BC is part of this pilot program that is fully funded by the Community College Chancellor’s Office and other private philanthropic groups.

Here are some photos from the work session.

Virginia, Tess De Roy, Ben Duran, Sonya Christian, Grace Commiso, Anna March 22 2018

Virginia Madrid-Salazar, Tess Deroy, Ben Duran, Sonya Christian, Grace Commiso, Anna Garcia

 

 

Steve Watkin and Ben Perlado March 22 2018

Steve Watkin, Ben Perlado

McFarland Superintendent Victor Hopper and team.jpg

McFarland Superintendent Victor Hopper and team

Ryan Gievet and Ben Sherley.jpg

Ryan Gievet, Ben Sherley

Paul Chave and Delano Team with Abel Guzman and Zav Dadabhhoy

Zav Dadabhoy, Assistant Superintendent Jason Garcia, Paul Chavez, Abel Guzman

Steve Watkin, Ben Perlado, Michelle Pena, Ryan Gievet, Ben Sherley

Steve Watkin, Ben Perlado, Michelle Pena, RyanGievet, Ben Sherley

Dave Barnett, Craig Hayward

Dave Barnett, Craig Hayward

Grace Commiso, Anna Garcia, Sonya Christian, Ben Duran.jpg

Grace Commiso, Anna Garcia, Sonya Christian, Ben Duran

Ben Duran, Virginia Madrid Salazar, David Abernathy, Kalina Hill

David Abernathy from Wasco High speaking

David Abernathy, Kalina Hill, Elysa Vargas

David Abernathy (Wasco), Kalina Hill (BC), Elysa Vargas (Wonderful Academy)

See all the photos at BC’s SmugMug.

Future Teachers

The Education Futures Grant sponsored a Future Teachers Open House March 20th on the Panorama Campus. Close to 100 attendees braved the pouring rain to enjoy an informational and engaging evening with presentations, 10 breakout sessions, raffles, social media contest, and vendor booths.

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Presentations and vendors included BC Education Pathways, CSU Bakersfield, University of Lavern, Bakersfield College Career and Technical Education (CTE) & Student Employment Department, Bakersfield College Future Teachers Club, Brandman University, Child, Adolescent, and Family Studies (CAFS) at CSUB, Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK) Head Start, Community Connection for Child Care (CCCC), National University, Point Loma Nazarene University, and Western Governors University (WGU). A similar event was held at the BC Delano campus on March 3rd.

A huge thank you to the Future Teachers Open House Planning Team, Education Futures Director, Kimberly Bligh, Anthony Cordova, Isabel Castaneda, and Erica Menchaca. 

Future Teachers Open House Planning Team

Future Teachers Open House Planning Team

Public Safety Metamajor Pathway Open House

CTE and Public Safety Pathway teamed up to host the first ever Public Safety Open House with 92 Kern High School District students in attendance. The event went full circle beginning with department faculty who provided an overview of the program outcomes and trainings available; student service representatives were available including staff from Financial Aid, CTE and Student Employment; finally, industry representatives from the City Fire Department, County Fire Department, EMS Department, Kern County Sheriff Department, Bakersfield Police Department and California Highway Patrol presented on a panel to share events and experiences in their professions.

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Students were given the opportunity to ask questions, participate in simulations and were even provided a tour of the different department vehicles. It was a great event that provided insight to the pathways available in Public Safety at Bakersfield College. Thank you to Brent Burton, Dominica Dominguez, BC Public Safety Faculty, Department Staff and the industry partners who worked so hard to put this event together.

For all the photos, visit BC’s SmugMug.

KCCD and BC Leadership at CISOA/3CBG

Group Photo

Closest to the screen on the left-Todd Coston (BC), beyond him-Hernando Mondragon (DO), beyond him-David Barnett (DO), moving to the right-Micelle Pena (BC), then Grace Commiso (BC), Somaly Boles (BC), Zach Quiroz (BC) and closest to camera on the right Dena Rhoades (DO).

The Kern Community College District and Bakersfield College were out in full force both attending and presenting at the CISOA/3CBG conference earlier this week from March 18-20th in Ontario, CA.  The conference site says this about the conference, “The partnership of California Community College Chief Information Systems Officers Association (CISOA) and California Community College Banner Group (3CBG) allows us to leverage our resources to present an outstanding array of conference sessions of interest to those who are part of the information technology arena in California’s Community College system.”

BC’s Grace Comisso, Michelle Pena, and consultant, Becky Weaver, presented on Using Starfish for Guided Pathways.

BC’s Todd Coston and Dave Barnett from the District Office presented on Improving IT Communication Using Free and Low Cost Tools

And our Chief Technology Officer, Gary Moser, from the District Office presented on Are You Ready for a CCC Statewide ERP System.

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Finally, the participants had an option to rate each session via a conference app.  As proof that the KCCD/BC team rock the house, check out this rating for Dave and Todd’s session. Todd tells me he isn’t quite sure how you can get 6 out of 5 stars, but he’ll take it anyway!

Rating

An American Education Agenda with Lance Izumi

KCCD and BC were present at a luncheon put on by the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government with guest speaker, Lance Izumi, author of The ‘American Education Agenda’  Top 15 Recommendations for Improving Education. Lance discussed his newly published report, which offers policymakers concrete reforms they can adopt today to ensure every student learns in a safe and nurturing environment, and is well-prepared to meet the changing demands of the 21st century workforce.

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Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Cindy Collier, Lance Izumi, Trustee Bill Thomas, John Means

League of Dreams

The League of Dreams, a nonprofit sports league for young athletes with physical and developmental disabilities, held its opening ceremonies for the 2018 season at CSUB’s Hardt Field on Sunday.  Snagged this picture of Mayor Karen Goh with BC Renegades representing the College in their jerseys during the event.

League of Dreams Opening Day

STEAM Academy

Odella Johnson and Sonya Christian May 19 2017Odella Johnson was featured on KGET’s News at Sunrise program on Wednesday morning to talk about the STEAM Academy, a series of courses to promote science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

Johnson spoke about the importance of the academy, which hosts a course every Saturday from September to April to help students build skills that they can use in their future careers. Open enrollment for next year’s academy, of which BC is a partner, is starting now.

Oliver Rosales

History professor Oliver Rosales wrote an article in the Community Voices section of the Bakersfield Californian on Sunday urging voters in the community to let their lawmakers know that funding for the humanities should be a top priority.

Rosales, who chairs the committee on Energizing Humanities in the Central Valley committee, wrote about how proper funding of the National Endowment of the Humanities and California Humanities will allow those organizations to meet the demand for community enrichment projects in writing, history, philosophy, social studies and other subjects.

“It’s important that we maintain a robust National Endowment for the Humanities, while at the same time mobilize voters to support state funding, as well as opportunities to increase public-private partnerships,” Rosales said.

Oliver Rosales Community Voices March 19 2018

Chris McCraw on Twitter

 mccraw2Official National Ag Day was marked on March 20th and I’ve enjoyed following BC’s wonderful Agricultural Business faculty, Chris McCraw on Twitter @CMcatBC as he shares our BC Ag Club at Kern County’s  #farmdayinthecity! It’s so exciting to see our BC Ag Club students have the opportunity to share their agricultural knowledge with over 2,000 elementary students during this multi-day event!

Kern County is the #1 Ag County in the U.S. and Ag Day is a special time to say THANK YOU to all our farmers and laborers, as well as our BC Agriculture students and faculty for educating and inspiring the next generation of agriculturists!

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So fortunate to have a real vibrant Ag faculty and staff.

Lynette Zelezny

On Thursday, Cal State Bakersfield announced that Lynette Zelezny will be the new president to succeed Horace Mitchell at the end of the academic year.

The announcement was featured in a front-page Q and A article in the Bakersfield Californian written by Harold Pierce, as well as an article by Chloe Carlson for KGET. Zelezny is CSUB’s first female president, and she’ll be transitioning from her role as the provost and vice president of academic affairs at Fresno State to come to Bakersfield. Zelezny has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology from Humboldt State University, a Ph.D. in applied social psychology from Claremont Graduate University, and an MBA with distinction from Fresno State.

City of Bakersfield visiting the Chamber

This week we had the Grater Bakersfield Chamber Board meeting.  I am honored to be on the Board of this wonderful organization — great board members, great CEO and great staff.

I was delighted to see leaders from the City of Bakersfield visit us to discuss some critical needs including the need for more police officers.  The team who presented included City Manger Alan Tandy, Councilman Andrae Gonzales, Concilman Bob Smith, BPD Chief Lyle Martin, Assistant City Manager Chris Huot.

Cindy and Liz

Liz Rozell and Cindy Collier are two amazing people who continue to inspire us all. I loved this photo because we all need to just lean on each other sometimes. Thank you Cindy and Liz for your dedication to BC and the Kern Community College District.

Cindy and Liz

 

We are BC

Sonya Christian at Cesar Chavez Breakfast March 23 2018

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Week One of the Summer Semester!

Lily June 16 2017

Calla Lily. June 17 2017

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, June 17, 2017 and a wonderful day to be a Renegade.

Here’s this year’s garden Calla Lily for you.

You can see last year’s on my June 4, 2016 blog post: https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/06/04/a-community-together/ .

A typical summer week at Bakersfield College — several department retreats where employees get to evaluate last year and then plan for 2017-2018, BC’s incredible Summer Bridge program, and then an underground line from our chiller tanks broke causing the air conditioning to go out.

We had several events planned on campus including Summer Bridge for High School students entering as freshman in Fall 2017 and a high school basketball camp that is hosted by Coach Rich Hughes.  Imaging 200 high school students playing basketball in our gym with no air conditioning and the  temperature forecast to spike to 100 degrees.  Our BC facilities and maintenance group went into action immediately, with alternate plans getting large coolers in the gym so that the event could continue without disruption.

Here is a picture Kimberly Bligh snapped of the Summer Bridge event as they dealt with changes in their plans with the air conditioning down and the high expected to be 96 degrees.

June 16 2017 Summer Bridge

And then our Athletics Director Sandi Taylor, who was worried about the heat in the gym sent me this photo

2017 Summer High School Showcase June 16 2017

This is the email I received from Bill Potter.  BC’s M&O staff rock!  Do you see why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever…

BillPotter_Sonya

Bill Potter

We have been able to isolate the broken water line to only 4 buildings on campus. We are still working to uncover the lines and see the extent of the damage before we can determine how long the repair will take.  Until the repairs can be made these buildings will not have Air Conditioning.

  1. Business Services/Bookstore
  2. LA Building
  3. Forums
  4. Gymnasium
  • Air Conditioning is being restored to the remainder of the campus and all scheduled activities will not be affected.
  • We rented 4 portable swamp coolers and paced them in the Gym for the Basketball Tournament. Coach Hughes has been informed throughout the entire process.
  • I will send another update when we have a timeline for repairs. Our plumbing contractor has assured us they can stay onsite until repairs can be made.  We will do our best to get it restored over the weekend so we can resume Monday morning as normal.

The following team members played an important role in keeping us going today:

Bill Garrett, Landon Webb, Tim Hernandez, Aaron Kidwell, Martin Ramirez, Dennis Spencer, Frank Tinoco, Gilbert Merjil, Jason Brown, David Branson, Dalia Garcia

The rest of the M&O team picked up the slack and kept the campus functioning and other project going.

It was a great team effort.

I love this picture with Charlie, Bill Potter’s son (see below).  This is how we roll at BC.  I remember for Measure J, employees brought out their families to 1675 Chester, our campaign headquarters, to help with phone banking, precinct walking and all other campaign chores. A whole family endeavor.  #WeAreBC!

Thank you to the plumbers from J Noble Binns to helping us fix this major issue that resulted in us shutting down the air conditioning system

So thank you for passing Measure J.  
BC absolutely needs to upgrade its 60-year-old facilities and infrastructure.

sonya-christian-measure-j-oct-1-2016

Neo

Neo June 15 2017 at 8 30 pm

Sonya Christian and Neo June 10 2017

 

I continue to be distracted by Neo’s new mannerisms and pranks. He is sweet, smart and learning fast, but he can be fierce with toys and petunias… In three weeks, he has gone from 10 lbs to 24 lbs.  You see him here being sweet while he plays with me and then his stubborn streak sets in when I am attempting to get his attention at 8:30 p.m. to come in and he just sits by the pool and calmly looks at me without budging an inch.  But I must confess that the Golden Retriever sweetness emerges again and he relents and comes in.

The only reason friends now ping me is to discuss the latest and greatest with Neo.  Here is a sample.

Set 1:

Friend: Were you up at 5:00 a.m. to let Neo out for a potty break.

Me: Lol. That was at 3:20 a.m.

Friend: You need a doggy door.

Set 2:

Friend: Is it true that you have to chase Neo around in the wee hours of the morning in damp grass to get back inside the house after he goes potty outside?

Me: emoji of laughter with tears

Friend: And isn’t it true that he will sit and wait for you to get near him, and after  you give chase, just to get up and run away again….and he will do this repeatedly?

 

Enough about Neo.

BC produces leaders

What a powerful picture of leadership!

BCSGA Presidents with Nicky Damania June 16 2017

President Matthew Frazer, President Dezi Von Manos, President Alex Dominguez, President Clayton Fowler, Dr. Nicky Damania

Loved receiving this photo from Dr. Nicky Damania who hosts an annual dinner which he cooks at his house with all the previous presidents of the Bakersfield College Student Government Association (BCSGA).

 

The group met and reminisced about their years while giving advice to the incoming president.

President Alex Dominguez, 2014-15, is going to the University of Mississippi for law school.

President Clayton Fowler, 2015-2016, will finish his Political Science and Public Service degrees is at UC Davis.

President Matthew Frazer, 2016-17 will be starting at CSUB in Political Science.

President Dezi Von Manos, 2017-18, is working on a double degree in Criminal Justice and Communication.

And Dr. Nicky Damania, Director of Student Life, is starting his fourth year at Bakersfield College and is excited for the next year of student leaders

Start of Summer School

On Monday morning, campus felt alive with energy. Students filled the halls in preparation for the first day of summer class and the Welcome Center was full of student activities. The first day of class is always exciting because it marks another new step in the educational journey towards completion. The week, however, was just as exciting for faculty who welcomed new students into their classes and for BC’s Administration, who came together to plan, strategize, and work on the future of BC and student success.

It’s always great to see students on campus and I loved this photo on Instagram!

Instagram

Admin Council Retreat

The Admin Council at BC is BC’s entire management team. Administrative Council is a forum for communication on issues and trends affecting Bakersfield College, and communicates directly with the president. Each summer, we gather for retreats which help us recap our accomplishments so far, but more importantly work on our plans for moving the college forward.

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Earl Parsons and Manny De Los Santos took the group photos and luckily the weather on Tuesday was not too hot to be outside. Group photography always presents a unique set of challenges, but I think the photo turned out great. Earl later said in an email, “it’s an honor that I am trusted to capture all kinds of important moments for such a historic and life-changing institution as Bakersfield College.”  What a great team of people we have at BC! Can you see why I’m the happiest and luckiest college president ever?

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Sonya Christian addressing the management team

When I walked in the second day of the retreat, there was our new manager Zach Quiroz tapping the ivories on the piano.  Just beautiful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was great panel discussion that left the group with practical take-aways and tools they can use to manage their roles while also creating urgency to implement and improve strategies that work.

Lesley Bonds moderated a fantastic panel which included Tom Gelder on strategic thinking and clarity on priorities, Jennifer Aachan on action orientated communication, Shanell Tyus on clarity in decision making, and Alyse Braaten on starting on the right path and communication.

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Alyse Braaten, Shanell Tyus, Tom Gelder, Lesley Bonds

They shared “8 Things Really Efficient People Do” which is an article by @KevinJDaum. The author points out that focus is vital in his first point that suggests we should stop multitasking. The article goes on to discuss proper planning, appropriate communication, and delegating items that others can do better than we can, especially given our workload. It was a beneficial discussion as we all have the goal to be able to achieve our objectives in record time at BC.

Jennifer Marden, Liz Rozell, and Eric Sabella led a session on recognizing stressors in our lives in order to cope with them,  staying well.  Both Liz Rozell and Eric Sabella did a deep dive when they presented their personal stories, the stressors in their lives and how they cope.  They were open in their descriptions, smart in their thinking and sensitive in their delivery.  Have I told you recently that I am the luckiest and happiest college president…..I get to work with these amazing individuals every day.

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Here is an excerpt from Jennfier Marden’s opening comments:

As the spring semester came to a close, Sonya and I started talking about the various retreats.  Of course at that time there was a lot of energy at BC centered around the Leadership Matters Summit: Reimagining Leadership to Sustain Transformative Change to Advance Student Success & Equity.  The website describes the summit as “three sessions immersed in the theory and practice of change, how to navigate change, how to lead change, how to deal with the friction points, conflicts that arise due to change and above all how to sustain change.”

Sonya and I talked about the amount of change the college is undergoing—from Curriculum to Facilities.  In particular, those of us in this room, the 65 people that comprise the management team of BC, have experienced a substantial amount of change this past academic year.

This seems like a good time to pause and to celebrate the resiliency of the Bakersfield College management team in accomplishing so many things 2016-17!!

From this conversation, and true to form, Sonya asked me to get a team together to facilitate this discussion.  The Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory that we all completed will frame this session, “Wellness Strategies by Being Aware of Stressors in Our Lives”

Change is inevitable and change isn’t always negative.  Often change is a positive experience… buying a new house, welcoming a new baby to the family, a promotion—all examples of positive change.  But regardless of this, change causes stress… increased responsibility, sleepless nights, and unfamiliar territory.

It is how we manage the stress of change in our lives that is important as this has a direct impact to our overall well-being. If our wellness is compromised, will are not able to give our best to our work or our loved ones.

So in the next 28 minutes, Liz, Eric and I will each share thoughts about our personal results from the stress inventory, and Liz will give us a 50,000ft level look at our group scores.  Be thinking about…  How you navigate change, lead others through change, deal with the friction points and conflicts that arise due to change, and above all… how do you sustain change?  Eric will be asking five of you to share your personal reflections. (373 words)

Bill Moseley, Ramon Puga and Imelda Valdez led a session focused on how to stay organized in moving large quantities of work with quality. Ramon shared with the management team that in his line was work, his goal every morning is to come to work and expect the unexpected.  He also talked about how he has been attempting to delegate more.  Imelda, one of our new managers talked about the power of planning.  She is the Director of our EOP&S program and is right now planning the retreat with her team.  I was really impressed with her clarity and focus.  Bill discussed the tech tools he uses to maximize productivity and keep the work moving.  He reviewed his own strategy, which involves dividing his time into three areas; triage, light work, and deep work.  In triage, the work is focused on guiding input, responding to emails, and completing tasks that can be done in under two minutes.  Triage can be done almost anywhere, and isn’t vulnerable to distraction.  Light work consists of planning, reviewing, researching, and organizing.  This can be done in a mildly distracting environment and is perfect for “open door” times in the office.  Deep work takes uninterrupted time and deep concentration.  Bill described creating his environment for deep work as, “door closed, email turned off, and music with no words playing in the background.  By using these three phases of work, anyone can take control of their inputs and outputs, and increase their productivity.

Janet Fulks and Craig Hayward did a great presentation about BC’s students.  Through data, video and story telling the two of them grounded the discussions on the “why” our work matters…..Our students.  and how education transforms lives.

Here are a few highlights from the powerpoint that Janet and Craig used for their presentation.

Pie Chart Student Demographics June 14 2017

When you think about the “needs” of the BC students think about their background

  • Proportion on Financial Aid 69.6%   (that’s 19,228 students)
  • Proportion First Gen 53.9% (that’s 14,891 students)

This picture captures the need being right now!

Need circle

Here is a powerful bar graph that shows increase in wages with specific skill building cluster classes.  Check out Automotive Technology.

Wage Growth related to Skills Builder

Grace Commiso did brief presentations on both days about how BC is developing 18 completion coaching communities among faculty and staff to coach students through their 15-credits in their first semester and successfully completing their English and math requirements in the first year.  The 18 completion coaching communities are comprised of 10 metamajors and 8 affinity groups.

On Wednesday morning, the team was back at it and Dena Rhoades snapped photos of the beautiful breakfast that fueled us through the morning. Thank you chef Eric Sabella and BC Food Services.

AdminCouncil_Breakfast

I loved this tweet from Nicky Damania:

Executive Office Photo

Executive Office - Getting Set-1

The Executive Office is comprised of the President, the three Vice Presidents and the staff.  Here is the team.  and thank you John Farrand for this fun photo.  We retreated for half a day on Thursday.  Thank you Chris Glaser, Somaly Boles, June Charles, Tracy Hall and Jennifer Marden for organizing the different sessions for the retreat.

 

Saluting Keith Wolaridge

Keith WoolaridgeOn Monday, Tom Gelder met with Keith Wolaridge to present him his plaque from Sterling Silver at Uricchio’s Trattoria. Passing a bond initiative is like raising a child…it takes a village. Keith is one of those people who did whatever was needed to get the word out, to ask for the right endorsements, to write the opinion pieces, to make the phone calls, to bolster people’s spirits. Thank you Keith!

To check out all the recipients of awards at Sterling Silver, check out my blog post: Moments that make up Life.

IT’S POSSIBLE

The Outreach team at BC is gearing up for one of the best express enrollment events yet. Coming up on June 20th, anyone and everyone is invited to attend IT’S POSSIBLE – a one-day express event starting at 8:00AM that will help future and current students, no matter where they are in the enrollment or registration process so they can leave with their class schedule in hand, knowing exactly what classes they’ll be attending in Fall. Thank you to everyone on campus who is preparing for this fantastic day!

Check out the event on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1941376366135105  or RSVP on the website at: https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/itspossible

Its Possible

Come out for the Air Force Band

Exciting things are coming to the campus on the hill. On June 28th, at 7:00PM, the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West will perform a free concert at the Simonsen Outdoor Theater at our beautiful campus. This is FREE to the public so I hope you’ll gather your friends and family and visit the campus to enjoy the music.

The United States Air Force Band of the Golden West is stationed in the San Francisco Bay area at Travis Air Force Base and their goal is to foster positive, long lasting impressions of the Air Force and the United States of America using the power of music. They are headed to the Hollywood Bowl and will perform the entire set for everyone at BC. Let’s show them the warmest Bakersfield welcome by packing the theater. See you there!

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Recycling Event at BC

Bakersfield College is partnering with Happy Recyclers to help our community dispose of any unwanted electronics the right way.

Last year, over 500 people participated, giving away over one million pounds of electronics to be efficiently recycled instead of ending up in a landfill. This year, our event will even accept those heavy outdated televisions, which many recyclers aren’t able to process.

BC cares for our surrounding neighborhoods and the ecological well-being of our planet, so come out for an opportunity to clear out your electronic clutter and help the environment on June 24th and 25th from 8:00AM to 5:00PM.

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Student Success During the Summer

Along with eager-to-learn students on campus, our student services have also reopened their doors for the summer! Staff and faculty at BC encourage all students to take advantage of the everything BC has to offer to ensure that all students will succeed with the tools and help they need!

 

This Summer, there is an array of services provided that can help all students achieve their academic goals. Located in the Student Services Center Building, there is an abundance of free academic help. I’d like to spotlight a few:

  • ItsPOSSIBLE_3Dec16-12There is the Math lab where students are able to work on online math classes, get math help for on-campus classes, and even the Extend The Classroom for Math B72.
  • The Writing Center is a gem, where students can make an appointment and speak to an extremely knowledgeable and supportive coach who will guide students through the entire process of writing a solid paper. Amber Smithson, a BC student, offered a great tip. She said, “make sure to take in your assignment sheet, so you can go through each step for you to obtain the best grade!”
  • The Tutoring center is also located upstairs overlooking the math and writing labs. That’s where students can obtain free peer tutoring in 50-minute sessions for most courses and 15-minute drop-in sessions for English and Math only. These peer tutors are amazing because they’re students who have taken these classes and they’re knowledgeable on the material, but they can also relate to the student needing help.  The tutors not only have a passion for learning, but also for teaching and sharing that knowledge with their fellow students. All of these services are offered throughout the Summer and start right away. During the Fall session, they start a week into the semester.

The staff and faculty care so much about student success…

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Superheroes behind the Scenes

David WhalenLike I mentioned earlier, the faculty at BC ALWAYS have student success in their heart and on their mind. When a physics class was left without a professor due to an emergency, Dr. David Whalen stepped in to save the semester. It’s incredible that he has volunteered to change his summer and vacation plans to put BC students first.  Can you see why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president?

Jonathan Schultz introduces us to Prof. Joe Saldivar

Sonya Christian Manhatten Beach day before CA Guided Pathways Advisory Committee

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

An Absolutely Uplifting Week at BC

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, April 1, 2017 and just a fabulous day to be a Renegade.

This past week the campus has been abuzz with activities…..an absolutely uplifting week.

Here is an email with a picture that I got from Francis Mayer.

This is an image I grabbed last week while running errands on campus.  For me, it captures the essence of BC. The father (or father type) is standing beneath the shade of a beautiful tree adjacent to the LA building, and he’s smiling and his posture is relaxed..on second viewing, we see that his two munchkins are scrambling up the arms of this generous tree…and all is well.

A man and two children March 2017.jpg

Is Mom attending classes? Is he enjoying a break with his children before attending classes? While both are lovely notions, in the end it doesn’t matter. BC is a place that is perfect for everyone.

Indeed it is Francis…..BC is a place that is perfect for everyone. #WeAreBC

Here is another great picture I snapped as I rushed out of the Office of Student Success and Equity,  Shauna Turner and her two boys.

Shauner Turner and her two boys March 2017

Let me start with yesterday, when Bakersfield celebrated the inaugural Cesar Chavez Day with a breakfast organized by David Villarino.

1st Annual Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast

It was a beautiful morning celebrating the life of an absolutely inspirational and life changing man. We remember Cesar as a great labor organizer. He gave voice to the voiceless; he became a face for the invisible, and an advocate for social justice. He was a servant for his community and a champion of education as a means leading toward a better life.  Cesar once said, “The end of all education should surely be service to others.” It was fitting that the morning recognized Chancellor emeritus of the Kern Community College District and Bakersfield College’s 7th president, Sandra Serrano.

Sandra Serrano reciving the award from David Villarino March 31 2017

Sandra Serrano receiving the award

With a powerful combination of a strong legal mind, a compassionate heart, and passion for education, there was no one better suited to influence our higher educational community than Sandra Serrano. Her educational leadership is a gift; her work for the community at the local, regional, state and national levels is emblematic of education in service to others.

At the state and national level, she has lived a life of service:

  •    As a member of the Finance and Operations Committee for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
  •    On many boards and committees for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.
  •    As President of the oard for the Chief Executive Officers of California Community Colleges;
  •    As Chair of the Board for the Community College League of California;
  •    and as a member of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Consultation Council.

…  just to name a few.

At the regional level, she has served on:

  •    The Board of Directors for the Kern Economic Development Corporation and
  •    The Central Valley Higher Education Consortium and
  •    The California Council for the Humanities

… just to name a few.

Sandra has served this community over and over, in ways that are visible and in ways that have gone unrecognized. Her work has touched so many lives. Her life of service is part of the strength of our community. It would take more time than I have just speaking to all that she’s done for Bakersfield College – that she’s done for the Kern Community College District, and the thousands and thousands of lives that have been touched, whether they knew it or not, by her work.

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Sandra Serrano, Tom Burke, Sonya Christian

It was an honor to introduce this quiet, sincere, dedicated, fearless, and dynamic woman who has committed her life and her education in service to others.  Thank you David Villarino for putting together the first annual Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast, and thank you also for giving me the opportunity of introducing the first recipient of the Cesar Chavez Legacy award.

There were so many dignitaries in the room.  At the main table there was Supervisor Leticia Perez who is a great supporter of education in general and Bakersfield College in particular.  Then there was Assembly Member Rudy Salas who introduced the keynote speaker, Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa.  When it was my time to speak I shared the story of how Rudy Salas made BC feel so special when i went up to Sacramento to testify to the Senate Budget Committee.

 

It was a joy to see familiar faces at the event, including Chris Cruz, a BC student who works at St. Francis and dedicated his free time to supporting Measure J. It’s incredible to see our BC students contributing to their communities and giving back to the organizations important to them.

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Sonya Christian, Heidi Scott

I also had the opportunity to finally meet the “voice of an angel” Heidi Scott, the director of music and liturgy at the parish. I mentioned hearing Heidi sing in my blog a few weeks ago titled, “Every Day is Something to Celebrate” – Check it out here. She truly is gifted and talented and her voice can inspire and touch my soul.

We had a BC table… of course.

BC at Cesar Chavez Breakfast March 31 2017

Manuel Rosas, Chelsea Esquibias, Victor Diaz, Sonya Christian, Olivia Garcia, Lisa Kent,       Yvonne Almendaris, Maria Wright

Love this picture of Chelsea and Lisa….girls just wanna have fun…..

Chelsea Esquibias Lisa Kent March 31 2017

Chelsea Esquibias, Lisa Kent

The students from FIELD (Farm worker Institute for Education and Leadership Development) helped out with the event.  Lisa snapped this picture with Manuel and me with the Field Students in the background.

Field students March 31 2017

Inspiring post by Professor Bryan Hirayama

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Professor Hirayama with his Distinguished Teaching Award

Speaking of being inspired, Professor Bryan Hirayama wrote a powerful post in the blog detailing his experiences in Bakersfield College’s Inmate Education Program illustrating the depths of the prison industrial complex and how hard we’ll need to work to change the perceptions of incarcerated people in the United States. When people are released out of jail, they’re often told by correctional officers, “We’ll leave the light on for you.” It’s a cynical reference to an old marketing campaign that’s meant to imply that the person getting out of jail is almost certain to come back. Correctional officers know the realities of recidivism rates and the difficulties people on probation or parole face when they go back into society, and many have become numb to the fact that they’re part of an institution that houses more prisoners than any country in the world.

In Bryan’s blog, he describes how he was able to cut through this cynicism for a moment and create an opportunity for the staff to consider why saying “we’ll leave the light on for you” might be a cruel twist of the knife for those inmates who are genuinely striving to rehabilitate themselves.

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Talking about Inmate Education, Chelsea Esquibias partnered with the Opportunity Institute to host the first meeting to Serve Our Formerly Incarcerated Students.  The “Corrections to College California” forum was sponsored by Opportunity Institute/Renewing Communities and Stanford Law School/Stanford Criminal Justice Center. Community partners included Bakersfield College, CSU Bakersfield, Sheriff’s Office, Probation, Parole, Garden Pathways, MAOF.  Chelsea and BC students spoke on panels.

Mayor Karen Goh welcomed the numerous community partners and members of the justice system including CDCR, Lerdo Jail, and the Parole Dept.  Chelsea Esquibias of Bakersfield College, Dr. Jacqueline Mimms of CSUB, and Lisa Stephens of Cerro Coso presented on their school’s initiatives.  The meeting allowed the community to partner with the colleges to build student success for our formerly incarcerated students.  Thank you to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office for attending and the continuous support.

Thank you Chancellor Tom Burke for attending the event.

Celebrating the life of Danell Ward

The BC community lost one of our own this month, Child Development Center Director, Danell Ward. Danell’s time with us was too short but her impact was meaningful and lasting. Those who knew her, understand how much she loved Tinkerbell, from Disney’s Peter Pan. There is a saying, “’All you need is faith, trust and a little pixel dust” which Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg mentioned during the memorial. She said it best through her heartfelt words, “Danell was generous with her faith in others and her trust that there was a better tomorrow was boundless. I am sure that whenever you need a little pixie dust, she has left some behind for you…….. So in her memory, have a little more faith in others than you think is necessary, always trust that tomorrow will be better, and remember that a little pixie dust is always available to you.”

My closest interaction with Danell was in Summer 2015, when the administrative team decided to add in a little fun into our summer planning retreats.  Check out my October 15, 2015 blog for more http://tinyurl.com/mv6ovgd

The entire admin council was divided into groups and Danell was in the group along with Ramon Puga, Liz Rozell, Odella Johnson and myself.  We were supposed to pick and song and lipsync in a competition.  Before any of us could volunteer a song, Danell enthusiastically presented that we should do I wanna be like you from Jungle Book.  And although none of us were thrilled with the selection, who could dare go up against the enthusiastic Danell.  So here you see us performing on the day of our competition.  Danell got sick the previous day and could not join us, so we asked Manny Mourtzanos to join us in her stead.  Enjoy seeing us making complete fools of ourselves in all earnestness and remember Danell and her pixie dust.

Annual International Faculty Appreciation Dinner

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The Annual International Faculty Appreciation Dinner took place on Wednesday and is about building bridges of friendship among international students and their invited faculty guests. The international students plan cultural shows and a formal dinner, as they acknowledge BC faculty who work so diligently every day to ensure that the engine of progress never stops moving.

This event is a joint effort by ISA
(International Student Affairs program ) and  the ISO( International Student Organization). Last night’s event brought together approximately 80 students and faculty for an evening of storytelling, cultural immersion, and  international food; prepared by our own Chef Eric Sabella. You’ll have to check out the photos with the delicious looking international cuisine. This year our international students come from 20 different countries. The largest number of students are from India, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. More pictures are available here!

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Petro Stories at BC’s Levan Center

Thursday evening March 23rd in the Levan Center 20-25 students discussed the Oil Age, Symbolism of Oil. Guest speaker from UC Davis a young rising star in the growing field of ecocriticism, which examines the relationship between literature and the physical environment.

Petro StoriesKern County is one the most prolific oil-producing counties in the state of California. In fact, Kern County is the fourth largest oil-producing region in the entire country. Kern County produces 66% of the oil in California, about 10% of the U.S. oil supply, and approximately 1% of the world’s total oil production. That works out to about 560,000 barrels of oil per day, which at $12 to $15 per barrel is something similar to $2.4 billion to $3.0 billion worth of oil every year.

Petro culture studies Michael Ziser says Oil is everywhere. It’s in the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the roads we drive on and the buildings we live in. Its production employs us and its sale sustains our booming economy. Our lives, our cities, our world are shaped by oil, from the arrangement of streets to the arrangement of geopolitics. According to Ziser, our culture’s investment in oil is not just material, but symbolic as well. If we can recognize the power of oil as a symbol, we just might be able to separate myth from reality, and make more sensible decisions about a sustainable future.

JoshOttum,VanessaEmmett

Commercial Music Professor Josh Ottum also spoke at the event. I recently ran into him with his wife Vanessa and son Emmet at the Haggin Oaks Farmers Market where one of my favorite things to pick up is the fresh, local produce. If you’ve never been, it’s a real treat and you never know who you’ll bump into! You might even catch me at my favorite stand with the sweetest, most delicious oranges.

Speaking of Josh, he recently shared with me a promotional video created by his students highlighting the Commercial Music Program at BC! Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZH1d7ODRQA

Renegade Athletics

Bakersfield College Athletics is a valuable extension of our college that takes folks who want to improve themselves and gives them the tools to do so!

Baseball: Last week, I told you that we’d talk about a baseball player who has made a name for himself this season, and he has done so by taking advantage of resources like BC’s Baseball Coach Tim Painton.

Luke Andrews pitched for Bakersfield College last season, but this season he has been a revelation! According to Coach Painton, he has bought into our program 100 percent, and the results have been phenomenal. He’s walked just eight batters in 64 innings pitched! I am not a baseball expert, but friends who follow baseball tell me this is excellent! Coach Painton says Andrews did this by working hard in the offseason and having faith in hard work! Now he is drawing attention from top scouts, so we know his experience at BC is going to take him places, whether that’s to a professional baseball career or a four year degree. Way to go, Luke!!

Cross Country: Speaking of going places, Cross Country runner Emily Freeman was recently entered into the California Community College Athletic Association’s prestigous Scholar Honor Roll at the CCCAA Spring Convention in Concord, CA.

Athletic Director Sandi Taylor and her indispensable partner, Associate Athletic Director Keith Ford, were both in attendance to honor Emily as she was recognized for her achievement in both athletics and academics.

Emily Freeman, you know what’s coming…You rock!!

Emily Freeman with Sandi Taylor and Keith Ford MArch 2017

BC Swimming hosted The Bakersfield College Relays last weekend, and while Clovis came out on top as a team, Coach Matt Moon was happy with the day for more reasons than wins and losses. Wasco High School’s team came and watched the Relays today, and they got to watch alumni like Steve Santana turn in great performances. Santana is the first college attendee in his family, and he will attend University of California, Santa Barbara in the fall to study Chemistry.

“My family immigrated to this country, so they don’t understand the gravity of me getting in a UC,” Santana told Sports Information Director Francis Mayer, “But swimming really showed me how hard I can work. I wasn’t the best student in high school, and I wasn’t the fastest swimmer. But coming to BC showed me just how hard I need to work, and how it’s possible for me to keep up if I try and apply myself. This was life-changing.”

Harlan Hunter

The BC Track and Field team also competed last weekend, and I know high jumper Jacob Bookout is having another great season. It’ll be exciting to see what he can do at the next level! It was great to see Harlan Hunter, faculty member in Criminal Justice, volunteering his time to help out with track and field.  I snapped this picture of Cesar Patino, sophomore from Wasco High School in the relay where BC placed third.

Cesar Patino March 2017

Cesar Patino

Making Transfer Opportunities a Reality

National University was on Campus Wednesday March 29th to connect with as many Bakersfield Students as possible. Rita Jones and Oscar Hernandez were just a couple of the NU staff available to meet and greet the BC students and help answer all of their questions. Some of the most popular programs asked about was the Bachelor of Science in Nursing-RN completion as well as the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education. They are also the only local university to offer a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Communication. The members of NU were on location from 10 am to 2 pm where they also gave students a chance to spin and win fun NU gear and were also passing out hotdogs and drinks to all those who stopped by. In all, more than 250 BC students stopped to obtain information and speak to the helpful NU associates. As students make it to the end of their time at BC and are considering their options to move to the next step in their academic year, it is opportunities such as these that allow students to have a full array of information and options.

You might remember, BC recently hosted a HBCU Caravan Tour of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. I covered it in my recent blog entry here. This week, I was informed by Lisa Kent that 60!!!  total number of acceptances were provided at this years HBCU event and scholarships amounted to $657,480.00! These opportunities are fantastic for our students

High School Students going to College

I was so excited to see the news that KHSD and CSUB have created a University Promise that codifies and clarifies student pathways from high school to university.  Here is a photo of Superintended Bryon Schaefer, KHSD) and President Horace Mitchell, CSUB, with the beautiful Brenda Lewis.

KHSD CSUB University Promise March 2017

Taft College has Taft College Promise.  BC’s sister campus, Cerro Coso Community College will be announcing the Kern Promise in the Ridgecrest area on April 4th.  And to round off the College Promises being made in our County, BC working in partnership with BCSD, KHSD, and CSUB will be making an announcement on April 28th.  Exciting times!  and great collaboration among the different education sectors.

Check out Harold Pierce’s article in The Bakersfield Californian at http://tinyurl.com/l7lwl72

Project MALES

On Thursday evening, Dr. Emmet Campos and Dr. Victor Saenz, two researchers from the University of Texas at Austin discussed their Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success, which is Texas’ boys & men of color) program at BC. Specifically, they highlighted how K-12, the community colleges, and Texas universities have been working together. They tailored their presentation around projects that our K-12 system, Bakersfield College, and the CSU system might work together on in the future.

Dr. Emmet Campos, Dean Rodriguez, Dr. Victor Saenz, Dr. Mark Martinez

Dr. Emmet Campos, Dean Rodriguez, Dr. Victor Saenz, Dr. Mark Martinez

The goal is to highlight how different education systems can create successful education pathways to graduation for boys and men of color. But it’s especially towards highlighting how Ed.D. / Ph.D. programs and institutes of higher education can do more than provide teachers, by also providing faculty mentors, assessment, and real time research of local education programs. You can check out UT Austin’s Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success program online at http://diversity.utexas.edu/projectmales/

Project MALES March 30 2017.jpg

Dr. Victor Saenz, Dr. Mark Martinez, Dr. Sonya Christian, Mayor Jose Gurrola, Dr. Emmet Campos

It was great seeing so many friends of Bakersfield College.  Here is a picutre of attorney Win Eaton with Miguel Orozco a screenplay writer from Southern California

Win Eaton and Miguel Orozco

Win Eaton and Miguel Orozco

It was great seeing Jeff Flores and Camilla Chavez at the event.  And thank you Dr. Mark Martinez for your collaboration with BV.

Here is a photo of incredible program managers at BC who make things happen.

Lisa Kent, Shanell Tyus, Maria Wright

Lisa Kent, Shanell Tyus, Maria Wright

 

The Art of the Selfie

So many incredible speakers have made their way to BC this week, including Crystal Galindo who shared with a large group of students and faculty, “The Art of the Selfie”.  This exhibit highlighted the Chicana culture, in particular, selfies of the artist herself. In true form of celebrating Women’s Month, Crystal shared her ideas on the stereotypes that surround many women today and how her hope is that her art will show that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. As a Latina woman, she felt that it was important to showcase artwork that would reach a wider audience. As an art student at Sonoma State University, her art professors often were critical of her work telling her that she should, “make it less Mexican” so that she would appeal to a wider audience. Crystal knew passion and what started off as a tribute to herself later turned into a form of self-expression and celebration.

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Crystal Galindo, Photo by Amber Smithson

 

She hoped that her art would speak to those who are not typically portrayed in art and therefore after her show “The Art of the Selfie” her drive to connect with others pushed her to start painting others, those that maybe she had never met in person but had seen the beauty in them. Before she knew it, her artwork was being requested from all of the United States due to her marketing on social media. She soon moved to the bay area where her art shows have been on display and she has been welcomed with warm accolades for her work and portrayal of Latina’s. Regardless of the size jeans you where, the style of your hair, or the color of your skin, as women we must learn to appreciate every inch of ourselves. Take a selfie, strike a pose, but above all find your self-beauty and love yourself!

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Photo by Amber Smithson

On Thursday, March 30th, I dropped by another presentation in our WHAM series– The Evolution of the Selfie: Deconstruction of the Female from 1400 to the Present”

Panel WHAM March 30 2017

Bakersfield College faculty Andrea Thorson & Erin Miller joined Taft College’s Jessica Grimes, faculty of English, & Faheemah Salahud-Din, Executive Director of First and Always Melanin (FAAM), to address the historical & social constructions of femininity, as well as the power these stereotypes continue to exert through language, self-presentation, & individual interpretation.  Tina Mendoza moderated the event.

It was a treat to see the roomful of students and community members to hear from these powerful women speakers.

Here are photos from Olivia Garcia’s Facebook post

Fireside room packed March 30 2017

Group at WHAM event March 30 2017

Juan Felipe Herrera at The Levan Center

Writing about poetry can be one of the most demanding tasks that many students face in a literature class. Poetry by its very nature requires dedication and makes demands on writers who attempt to analyze it, in ways that other forms of literature do not. So it was no surprise on Wednesday March 29th that over a hundred students and faculty attended an evening to remember inside of the Indoor Theater.

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Juan Felipe Herrera. Photo: Lovie Johnson

American poet, author, and activist, Juan Felipe Herrera became the poet laureate of the United States in 2015. He was the first Hispanic to serve in that position and is best known for his autobiographical poems on immigration, Chicano (Mexican American) identity, and life in California. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth. Herrera spent his early years living in tents and trailers in farm communities around Southern California. He shares his life’s information eagerly, and wants his audience to relate to his struggle in life. Encouraging young poets to write poems on anything, even PG&E bills. He shows the audience a son of a migrant farmworkers whose writing fuses wide-ranging experimentalism with reflections on Mexican-American identity through poetry. Herrera, who recently retired as a professor at the University of California, Riverside, mentioned he would use his new position to encourage young poets, and non-poets, to find their voices.

I loved this Facebook post from Olivia Garcia

Juan Felipe Herrera and Olivia Garcia March 29 2017

What a priceless moment it was for me to see my former Chicano literature/poetry professor Juan Felipe Herrera deliver a powerful presentation this evening at Bakersfield College. I even got a chance to introduce my students to him. Here was a Central Valley boy who became the U.S. poet laureate. Like his wife Margarita said, he’s still influencing and inspiring minds, young and old. Thank you, Juan Felipe.

Community Town Hall

BC students, their families, and members of the neighboring Bakersfield community were invited to the Levan Center on Thursday, March 30th to engage in a town hall on issues of immigration law. The event was hosted by the Immigration Justice Collaborative (IJC) in collaboration with CSUB and Bakersfield College. The IJC is a network of twelve lawyers who volunteer their time to host these town halls in various locations in Kern County, to educate our community on their constitutional rights in the United States. Panel discussions were presented in both English and Spanish, and were followed by the opportunity for attendees to engage in one-on-one discussions with local lawyers. The event was organized by Dr. Mark Martinez, Department Chair of Political Science at CSUB, Jay Tamsi President/CEO of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Lisa Kent, Program Manager for Equity and Shanell Tyus, Program Manager for Student Support and Success Program.

Many of the attorney’s you see on this program are on the advisory committee for BC’s Pre-Law program.  Thank you!

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The Renegade Room, Fine Dining at the Campus on the Hill.

I’m constantly impressed by the level of elegance at BC’s Renegade Room, our public restaurant operated by the students enrolled in the Culinary Arts program. This past Wednesday, an exquisite lamb burger was on the menu and I can tell you now… it was juicy and tender, absolutely incredible.

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The goal for the Renegade Room is to have students learn professionalism and service industry standards in a fast-paced, realistic environment. The program entails classes in Nutrition, Cost Control, Supervision, Management, Baking, Food Production, Dining Room Services and Sanitation. Master Chef Suzanne Durst, Chef Alex Gomez, and Chef Anna Melby have over  fifty-years’ experience and  everyone is still  anxious, even the staff when it’s time to open up for the day. The Renegade Room is not even simply room at all, but an affordable upscale restaurant. It’s a great way to enjoy a fine dining experience and one of the best reasons to visit the campus on the hill.

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Next time you want to have a night out on the town, start with dinner reservations at The Renegade Room on Tuesdays or Thursdays… or plan your next business lunch for Wednesday afternoon. You won’t be disappointed, and the students appreciate your support.

Let Freedom Sing

Let Freedom ring….Let Freedom Sing! Last Friday, the Bakersfield College Choir and Chamber singers did just that, conducted by Dr. Jennifer Garrett and accompanied by Patrick Bender, performing a remarkable tribute to the various aspects of freedom.

 

The first half of the concert was dedicated to all those who helped each and every one of attain and maintain the freedoms we hold true today. The Choir and Chamber Singers came together in perfect harmony to sing the National Anthem, after which Dr. Garrett took a moment with the audience to show appreciation for all the Veterans in attendance. As each of the Veterans stood, scattered throughout the seats of the indoor theater, the audience erupted in applause of great gratitude. It’s moments like these that give me chills. I’m proud that #weareBC!

Guest artists accompanied the BC Choir and Chamber singers throughout the night such as, Audrey Boyle on flute, Marla Hansen on violin, and Kris Tiner playing the trumpet.

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Here is a solo piece by Ken Burdick that I posted last week but felt I should repeat.

The second half of the performance was a beautifully commissioned piece written for the BC Choir by Dr. Ron Kean entitled “The Journey of Harriet Tubman”.  This multipart multimedia piece written by Dr. Kean in collaboration with his daughter Hannah was magnificent.  Dr. Garrett and her students also contributed to its creation.  Here is an excerpt with Caley Mayhall that I posted last week and here it is again.

The Bakersfield College Choir has an immense amount of talent and they are in the process of making arrangements to travel to Sydney Australia in June 2018 where they hope to have the great privilege of performing at the famous Sydney Opera House.  So I have two asks of you community members: (1) plz help fund this trip for our students and (2) mark your calendars to take you summer 2018 vacation in Australia and let’s pack the Sydney Opera House with the Bakersfield Community supporting its college.

 

Tonight, they will host a fundraising dinner with choral entertainment themed around Spaghetti Dinner and Broadway. If you have other plans for tonight, change them 🙂  Stop by the BC Cafeteria. The show begins at 5:30 and limited tickets are still available. $15 per person at the door.

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 Levan Faculty Colloquium:

I stopped by the indoor theater on Friday, March 31st,  packing in as many events as I could to support our faculty, staff and students at BC.  Dr. Ron Kean, this year’s recipient of the award, discussed his composition process in three recent commissions including a live performance of the Bakersfield College choirs singing, “Follow the River/The Journey of Harriet Tubman.” This is a five-movement work that incorporates eight African American spirituals in a West African musical framework. “The White Birds,” by W. B. Yeats, is composed in a traditional Irish musical style. “The Rose That Bare Jesu” is a setting of a 14th century English poem using antique style features. These techniques will be discussed and demonstrated in a presentation that is dedicated to the artist in all of us.

Ron opened with the songs Wade in the Water and Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child.  Check out this excerpt.  Just beautiful.  So happy for so much talent at BC….so much dedication….. I am the luckiest and happiest college president event.

Math Articulation Day

Math articulation day March 31 2017

Math Articulation Day was celebrated yesterday as a way to build strong relationships across the independent institutions that serve our communities students. BC math faculty, as well as faculty from local high schools, CSUB, Taft College, Cerro Coso and Porterville Colleges, and math specialists from BCSD gathered to exchange ideas, update each other on curriculum changes and discuss strategies to increase student success. Workshops throughout the day included, dual enrollment, acceleration and compressed courses, “laugh with math” programs, planetarium shows, and using the robotics lab and 3-D printers. Free t-shirts were given to all attendees.

Thank you to Regina Hukill and the entire Math Department for all your work in hosting this great day.

Was so happy to see all of Mary Jo Pasek’s post on Facebook about our Math Articulation Day.  Thank you Mary Jo for all that you do.

Here is a copy of the email Regina sent out after the event:

Hello All—

Math Articulation Day was a lot of fun!  We had around 60 people attend including math instructors from BC, Porterville, Cerro Coso, Berkeley (yes, Eddie Ham was here in the flesh!), UC Davis, CSUB, and KHSD.  We had about a dozen BC students who participated as well.

We appreciate the College Futures Grant which funded the event and paid for the food and t-shirts.  Claudia Sandoval, the representative for the College Futures Grant was also briefly in attendance.  The BC staff for Dual Enrollment helped in getting all the purchases completed through the grant, so we want to thank Cindy Collier, Marissa Jeffers, and Anna Laven.

Many thanks to all of you who worked on this event:  Math Faculty–Tom Greenwood, Kurt Klopstein, Kris Toler, Mike Fredenberg, Alba Romero, Jon Brown, and Donna Starr.  Other BC Faculty—Erica Menchaca, and Nick Strobel.   CSUB Faculty—Charles Lam.  KHSD Math Specialist—Kyle Atkin.  BC Students—Freddy Padilla, Isabelle Recinos, Kevin Starr, Tyler Starr, Devin Serna, Patrick Chao, Allyson Milburn, and Emily Davis.

We also want to thank our dean, Steve, who supported us in putting on this event, and his staff Janet Thomas and Heather Barajas.

And, a special thank you to Josh Lewis who worked diligently to set up the speakers, write the agenda, help with the planning, and who was the MC for the day.

We do have some t-shirts left, so if anyone who couldn’t attend Math Articulation Day wants a t-shirt, please come see me, or send me your shirt size and I’ll put one in your mail box.

Great Day!  Great Fun!

Regina Hukill

Some posts from twitter:

Kimberly Bligh tweet math articulation day Nick Strobel March 31 2017

Kimberly Bligh tweet Erica Menchaca

Kimberly Bligh Kris Toler Math Articulation Day

BC’s incredible Automotive Program:

BC’s automotive program is very much integrated with our business and industry partners in the community.  Here is a Facebook post from faculty member Andrew Haney

Starting in August I ventured into the process of writing a grant. I had no idea what I was doing but had some great help from faculty member that did. They guided and directed me with great experience. Today I was able to finalize all the purchases that the grant awarded to us. I ordered four (4) new factory level software subscriptions to use on the factory scan tools and one new factory scan tool for Chrysler.

I went to Three Way Chevrolet and signed the purchase agreement for the Brand new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt and will have it on Monday on campus, it will be used in training new technologies to student and for program promotion and business when needing to get around town. I then confirmed the order is placed and will be shipping soon for a brand new Generation 3 smog machine which if we did not get Bakersfield College would have lost our Smog and Emissions training certification program from the state. All said and done it totaled just over 80,000.

Thank you Sarah Futrell Baron Liz Morris Rozell Sonya Christian Nan Gomez Heitzeberg and everyone else who was involved in this for helping and guiding me through the process. WE ARE BC, and the automotive program is going to be so much stronger going forward with all the work that has been done by all the faculty that works in this program area.

 

Friday, March 31st at BC:

I started the day with the inaugural Cesar Chavez Celebration and then popped in to see our faculty and staff working away on BC’s accreditation self evaluation work.  And then attended part of Ron Kean’s presentation and finally the Math Articulation Day.  Here are some photos and Facebook posts.

BC’s accreditation Laboratory, Friday, March 31st:

Group at Accreditation Lab March 31 2017

Michele Pena, Sue Vaughn, Debi Rosenthal, Jennifer Johnson, Maria Wright

Accreditation Lab March 31 2017

Todd Coston presenting at the Accreditation Lab

Qiu Jimenez and Talita Pruitt Accreditation Lab March 31 2017

Qiu Jimenez, Talita Pruitt

 

 

 

I’d like to end with one more quote from the Cesar Chavez.

Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.” – Cesar Chavez,  Address to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Nov. 9, 1984

Thank you BC for an absolutely uplifting week!

Sonya Christian cropped March 17 2017

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

The little things we do!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, December 10th….a good day to be a Renegade!  a good week to be a Renegade.

Campus was buzzing this week as students crammed in last-minute studying, raced to complete finals and closed out fall 2016 as another successful semester – but life has a humorous way of always making the busiest of times also some of the most memorable.

On Wednesday night, multiple gas leaks were reported on campus and immediately the BC team jumped into action. The President’s Cabinet received news at approximately 9:30PM that PG&E disconnected gas to the main campus and that’s when the work began. Without heat and throughout the night, Bill Potter, Chris Counts, Ramon Puga, Michelle Pena, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and Zav Dadabhoy worked to make sure Thursday’s finals and events could resume as normal. In addition, all of the deans were on standby to respond to whatever was the outcome of work of the technical team.  Also a shout out to Liz Rozell, who answered my call from Sacramento and went immediately to work.  Stephen Waller who headed out to campus.  Manny Mourtzanos, Cindy Collier, Corny Rodriguez, Shannon Musser, …..

Approximately 365 finals were scheduled for Thursday, so a list of alternate spaces and a plan B was drafted. However, by 1:00AM, repairs were estimated to be complete within 3-5 hours, and by 7:30AM, campus was up-and-running like nothing had happened!

Thank you Zav Dadabhoy for taking this picture on Wednesday, Dec 6th night, and sending it to me while I was in Sacramento.

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Chief Chris Counts, Bill Potter, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg on campus with Zav Dadabhoy

BC is a gem because of its people – the dedication of our staff, faculty, administration, and students make this campus a great place to be. Thank you again to everyone who pulled together to make sure classrooms had heat and finals could resume as scheduled on Thursday morning. #WeAreBC #TodosSomosBC

Caroling and Culinary extravaganza:

Saturday, December 3rd: Our BC Chamber singers, faculty and staff sang Christmas carols to us, and our Culinary students and faculty chefs cooked an incredible meal.  Two of our trustees, Kyle Carter and Romeo Agbalog, attended the event. Thank you trustees.  It is always a treat to have you on our campus.

I also enjoyed seeing many community members out to support BC as well as our faculty and staff.  Pauline Larwood, so wonderful to see you!

 

I enjoyed catching up with Brian Burrows, past CEO of the Bakersfield Symphony orchestra, as well as Phil McDermott, son of Greg McDermott whom I have known for many years.

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And the icing on the cake was a surprise guest, Senator Jean Fuller and her husband Russell Fuller.  Senator Fuller is a Renegade and I enyoyed hearing her talk about her time at BC, how she was in the Fireside Room listening to President Simonsen and about how BC made a tremendous difference in her life.  Senator Fuller is just amazing….smart, beautiful, and so caring.  She is a warrior for issues important to the Central Valley and her negotiating skills have served us very well.  Let’s take a moment to toast this incredible human being.  To Senator Jean Fuller!

And I love this picture of my mom, Pam Christian, who, after dinner wanted a more comfortable chair and found herself this cozy corner.  She loves Christmas music, and I was so happy watching her relaxing and listening to her favorite songs. You can even spot her in the background of the group picture above, staying warm and having a good time.  So glad you came to the event mom!

Glad to see faculty, staff and their families out to support this event.  Loved having the young Strobel, Kelly, with us who had just completed a physics project with cranes, pulleys and weights.  How fast our children grown up.

And thank you Camilla for triggering a bidding war on a live auction item!

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Rob Parsons, Isabel Stierle, Becki Whitson

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Nick, Kelly and Lisa Strobel

 

I captured a few videos on my iphone.  Yes, I have a new phone, the iphone 7.  So you should be seeing more videos in my blog posts.  Except, only a week after I got the phone, I dropped it and there is a crack across the front face 😦 … I’m told it can be repaired at the mall, or maybe I’ll leave it as a reminder to get the iphone 8 as soon as it comes out.

Pat Davis is the best.  Here are 26 second of Pat doing Santa Baby.  Jen Garret we need Pat to do this again in December 2017!

 

I so loved this Christmas rendition of Santa and his Sleigh performed extravagantly by Dr. John Gerhold to the tune of Bennie and the Jets.  I found myself responding to the music the moment the first chords exploded from the keyboard, matched by the power of John’s voice, and sent the music reverberating across the room.  Turn on your sound and turn up the volume, because Heeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeee’s John Gerhold!!

 

If anyone could have followed John Gerhold with a stellar performance, it was Ken Burdick doing The Impossible Dream from The Man from La Mancha with his fabulous voice and great presence.  This is what we do at BC…  The Impossible Dream, transforming lives.  Let’s look at these magical lyrics and then turn up the volume and listen to Burdick.

To dream … the impossible dream …
To fight … the unbeatable foe …
To bear … with unbearable sorrow …
To run … where the brave dare not go …
To right … the unrightable wrong …
To love … pure and chaste from afar …
To try … when your arms are too weary …
To reach … the unreachable star …
This is my quest, to follow that star …
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far …
To fight for the right, without question or pause …
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause …
And I know if I’ll only be true, to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm,
when I’m laid to my rest …
And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach … the unreachable star …

 

Finally, I am glad Jen Garrett caught a video of Mason Edwards and Kelsey Celeste singing this duet. https://www.facebook.com/jennifergarrettdma/videos/10209738052381028/

The evening before the event, Jen Garrett and her students were in the cafeteria late into the night getting the place ready for us.  Jen sent this txt: “You should see the cafeteria! And we aren’t finished yet. It will be even better. The snowflakes aren’t showing on the ceiling yet!”  Talk about a faculty member going the extra 100 miles to engage our students, the single most important ingredient in student learning. #WeAreBC

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Here are more pictures:

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Guided Pathways:

We were excited to hear on December 6th that the College Futures Foundation funded the California Guided Pathways Proposal a major initiative that BC is promoting as a framework statewide to build on and integrate the work of student learning and achievement in California’s Community Colleges.  Harold Pierce of  The Bakersfield Californian covered the story on Thursday, December 8th.  Check out Pierce’s coverage at http://tinyurl.com/hz7tqfn.

Here is an excerpt

The model provides structure to students selecting classes. Counselors would plan course schedules based on whether students want to receive two-year degrees, or transfer to a four-year university, check in on them regularly and create pathways for success.

Students would be assisted from point of entry through employment in a chosen field, according to the Foundation for California Community Colleges, which spearheaded the effort.

 

Guided Pathways would limit the number of students taking courses not necessary for their goals and move them through the community college system faster, clearing enrollment backlogs that districts have for years faced.

“The Guided Pathway model provides a structured framework for colleges to lead institutional change and improve student success,” said incoming California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “I applaud the colleges and partners who’ve taken an innovative leadership role tailoring a national model to benefit students in California.”

Btw, Eloy Oakley is the incoming Chancellor of the California Community Colleges.  He starts on Janaury 1, 2017.  We also have a new Chancellor for the Kern Community College District, Tom Burke.  Let’s welcome Chancellor Eloy Oakley and Chancellor Tom Burke to their new roles.

So proud of the work done by the BC team who has been helping with the statewide work — Lesley Bonds, Nick Strobel, Jessica Wojtysiak, and Janet Fulks.  It has been great partnering with Kay McClenney, Rob Johnstone, and Kathy Booth.

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Shawn Whalen

But the man who connected the dots and worked hard behind the scene to make it happen is Shawn Whalen.  I am sure he is going to hate it that I am calling him out.  But truly he is the person who has worked diligently bringing us together, asking the tough questions, keeping the equity conversation front and center, and stretching for high levels of performance from the colleges.  Here’s to Shawn Whalen! I am so glad to be working with you!

 

Talking about Guided Pathways, there was a statewide Guided Pathways workshop in Sacramento on Wednesday (Dec 6th) and Thursday (Dec 7th). This workshop was funded by the Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative led by the statewide Vice Chancellor Theresa Tena and BC took a leadership role in pulling together the programming for the event.  It was also a treat to have a fabulous BC team attend.  I rode back on the train with the team and so enjoyed hearing the group work, talk and laugh together.  The best part of working at BC is the camaraderie, the love, respect and admiration we have for each other.

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Andrew Haney, Matthew Garrett, Janet Fulks, Eleonora Hicks, Maria Wright, Steve Watkin, and Grace Commiso took time out of their busy schedules to attend the IEPI Guided Pathways Workshop in Sacramento this week. #WeAreBC

 

NEH Grant for Delano

delano-grant-logo-neh_logo_horizontal_rgbThere is always something to celebrate at Bakersfield College and I’m so excited to share that the Delano Campus Library has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a digital project to record Delano’s past. Our rural campus and neighboring communities deserve this kind of recognition and attention. Their stories are one-of-a-kind and the difference education can make in their neighborhoods will forever change the people, families, and generations that reside there. I could not mention such a great achievement for the Delano campus and community without thanking Dr. Oliver Rosales for his continued passion and dedication to improving the lives of our students in rural Kern. I so look forward to seeing the project, “Digital Delano: Preserving an International Community’s History” come to life through the fantastic resources provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities!!

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Oliver Rosales

It’s POSSIBLE

Higher education makes a world of opportunities possible, but what do young people do when they don’t know where to start or where to find the answers?

That’s where the BC Outreach team steps in with events that make enrolling in college an easy and successful experience. The goal is that students walk away from this one day event with a class schedule in hand, ready to take on the college adventure – and that’s just what the BC Outreach team does. Last Saturday, December 3rd,  at It’s POSSIBLE, new students were helped individually, regardless of status within the enrollment process to enroll, find courses, and set up their educational plan for the next couple years depending on what they were trying to achieve. Different goals include certificates and different types of degrees. There’s a lot you can accomplish at BC and there’s so many resources offered to help you achieve your goals. And the whole family comes out to help.  Here is Debi Anderson with her husband Jerry and their cute grandson.

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Kaleidoscope

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The next day, BC’s Renegade Band, Concert Band, and Orchestra had their concert in the Edward J. Simonsen Performing Arts Center. Tim Heasley opened the evening with the extraordinary talents of the Bakersfield College Renegade Marching band, where they did something a little different than expected in an indoor concert. With stage choreography, they performed Bolero, composed by Maurice Ravel and arranged by Jay Bocook.

kaleidoscope_band-orch_4dec16-1Kathryn Kuby then took the stage as she conducted the Bakersfield College Concert band and Orchestra. This was her first performance at BC and she surely did not disappoint. Kuby selected a wide variety of pieces for the audience ranging from Holiday classics, a John Lennon medley, a piece by John Williams, and a personal favorite Symphony no. 25 in G Minor, Allego con brio. All in all the performance from these exceptionally talented renegades was definitely a treat for all who were in attendance.

Vision for the Valley

On Wednesday, The Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, along with event partners including The Bakersfield Californian, Wells Fargo, Chevron, Aera, and San Joaquin Community Hospital hosted a crowd of over 300 people in BC’s indoor theater for the Vision for the Valley conference.

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Over 300 local professionals were greeted by Nancy Ortiz, President  & CEO of the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, followed by Michelle Chantry, CEO of The Bakersfield Californian, and myself  to kick off the multipart event.

 

The first panel focused on election impact on California businesses and the San Joaquin Valley.  I got this nice picture of Richard Beene, Dan Walters and Michelle Chantry in the green room.

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STEM Education was in the spotlight for the second panel and I had the joy of joining my fellow panelist, Adam Alvidrez of Chevron and our moderator, Nick Ortiz of GBCC on the stage. Local STEM education programs for workforce development are of vital importance to Kern County and the future success of our region.

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The final panel on healthcare innovations wrapped up the event by exploring the future of key programs and exploring how to provide effective and innovative healthcare.

Thank you to all the fantastic partners, presenters, and attendees who contributed to making this event one-of-a-kind. It was great to see Bakersfield Mayor Elect, Karen Goh upcoming KCCD Chancellor, Tom Burke in the audience, JP Lake, Cathy Butler, Jim Scott, Bob Meadows, and so many friends of BC.

When Students say Thank You

Mariah Earl just successfully completed her first semester of the Registered Nursing program and sent a thank you email to her professors. After making its way to my inbox, I just knew I had to share —

mariah-earl-photo-2Dearest Professors, As my first semester of the Registered Nurse program draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment and thank you for your instruction that has played a vital role in my success as a nursing student thus far. We have to take a lot of pre-requisite classes before beginning the program, but none are nearly as valuable as Anatomy and Physiology and Microbiology. The time I spent mastering the topics of the courses you teach was time well spent as an investment in my future success, not just as a student, but as a nurse giving care to patients.

I recognize that it takes an extra effort on the part of the professors to offer instruction that is relevant and emphasizes real-life public health issues. Thank you for taking those extra steps on behalf of your students.

I’ve had study groups with many different classmates this semester and I’ve noticed that the students who are struggling the most are the ones that are weakest in their A&P and Micro knowledge. Their struggles are partly related to not mastering the material at the time they took the classes and partly due to how long it took them to get accepted into the program after taking the courses. I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity I had to do Supplemental Instruction for Profs. Fullks and Tavoni. Those two semesters kept the material fresh in my mind, and teaching others helped cement the knowledge in my brain.

If I were to be so bold as to offer any advice to your future students, it would be to treat your classes as seriously as they would treat the classes in the actual nursing program. Microbiology and Anatomy and Physiology are not classes that should be taken just to check off of the pre-req list. They should be taken with intention of mastery. All of the organ systems and disease conditions (plus more!) will be revisited in the nursing program. If they take the time to learn it now, then they will get to sleep a little more at night during the program and worry less about exams. Speaking of exams, thank you for the exam questions that require a lot more critical thinking. I didn’t necessarily enjoy them at the time, but they helped train my brain to think in a new and improved way.

I don’t want to bore you with all the topics that have helped me so far, but here’s a quick bullet list:

  • Nervous system and neurotransmitters
  • Hormones (origin, target, and action)
  • BP regulation (short term and long term, especially the R-A-A system)
  • Immunity (humoral, cell mediated, active/passive, natural/acquired, and antimicrobial therapy)
  • Principles of gas exchange, and respiratory diseases
  • Carbonic acid formula
  • Fluid, Electrolyte, and Acid Base Balance (especially this!)
  • Diabetes

Truly, I can’t thank all of you enough. I appreciate your knowledge and the ways you’ve challenged me to grow as a student. Warmest Regards, Mariah Earl”

When a student says thank you, there’s an instant feeling of purpose, of making a difference, and of knowing that what you do each day as an educator is and will change lives.  It’s something I can’t accurately describe in words, but I hope Mariah and all of our students know… we at BC… staff, faculty and administrators – we can’t thank you enough as well. You are the heart and soul of what drives us each day. You are the future so be brave and follow your dreams boldly. Thank you for your dedication to your studies – it’s the most important thing you could do. You’re an inspiration for us, your fellow students, and your community.

BC’s Nursing Students Graduate!

Here are some pictures of our RN and VN students graduating.  Thank you Nan and Cindy.  And Nan wanted me to include the Nightingale Pledge a modified “Hippocratic Oath” composed in 1893 by Lystra E. Gretter and a Committee for the Farrand Training School for Nurses, Detroit, Michigan. It was called the Florence Nightingale Pledge as a token of esteem for the founder of modern nursing.

I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.

Community Voices: Jack Hernandez

 I loved seeing Jack Hernandez’s piece in the Californian. He begins by saying,
“When I came to BC many years ago, I saw by the front door of the administration building a plaque dated 1955 with the words, “Only the Educated are Free.”

Did you know that plaque still resides on the right-hand side of the admin buildings entry doors?  Jack’s article made me take a moment and pause Monday morning when I arrived on campus. Thank you for the reminder Jack, of what it means to be free.

bc_plaque

If you haven’t read the piece, make sure to take a moment. It’s worth your time and available at http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/community-voices-only-the-educated-are-free/article_0e788a32-0784-58a7-b775-5eedf25ceff8.html

BC Adjunct Faculty Olivia Garcia on BC Public Safety

oliviagarcia_fromopeningdayAny time a tragedy strikes at a school or college, it affects all educational campuses across the globe and we feel it, right at home on the campus of BC. Last weekend Olivia Garcia, a local journalist and adjunct faculty member, featured BC public safety Director, Chris Counts, in a published piece. Olivia said, “The recent attack at Ohio State University has left a somber mood at colleges and campuses throughout the nation.” Check out the piece at http://www.bakersfield.com/columnists/olivia-garcia-bc-public-safety-official-reflects-on-ohio-state/article_3858defc-bd72-5a7c-9574-ac4da11df084.html

Equity TV and David Moton

Kate Pluta sent me the link to Equity TV episode featuring David Moton, Department Chair of English.  I loved watching and hearing from both Francis Mayer and David Moton.  Check it out.

Pueblo Fest — Mark your Calendars, March 17th, 18th, 19th, 2017

Recently I had dinner with Arnoldo Avalos, member of the Board of Governors for California’s Community Colleges and he talked about this music festival he is bringing to the Central Valley.  Very exciting.  Guess where I am going to be on March 17th, 18th and 19th…

Here is a picture with Arnoldo Avalos when he visited Bakersfield College in his official capacity as a member of the BOG. From left to right: Arnoldo Avalos, Connie Conway, Sonya Christian, Romeo Agbalog, Vince Stewart

Avalos Conway Christian Agbalog Stewart April 29 2016

Arnoldo Avalos, Connie Conway, Sonya Christian, Romeo Agbalog, Vince Stewart

Here is an excerpt from an email he sent me.

I want to introduce you to Pueblofest – the first ever regional Mexican music festival in the history of the United States being held at the international ag-center in Tulare CA. Pueblofest is a family friend event with a social purpose. The venue holds up to 100k people. The music will attract our community now we need to inspire them! We plan to have over 100 nonprofits at the music festivals to help educate and provide services to concert goers.

Pueblofest has an amazing line up of artists like Tigre del Norte, Tucanes de Tijuana, Intocables, Voz del Mando, Original Banda el Limón, Cheque Peña, and others coming to the Central Valley. In addition, we will have many motivational speakers like Jose Hernandez (US astronaut), Dr Raul Ruiz MD (3 degrees from Harvard – US congressman), Amanda Renteria (1st Latina Chief of Staff for US Senator) and many others.

Check it out http://pueblofest.com/

 

 

The Bakersfield Californian, a community gem!

Did you notice that I referred a lot to The Bakersfield Californian in my blog.  TBC is a local treasure.  Been with us for over 100 years.  As an aside, in response to a question posed by Richard Beene, Lois Henry at the Vision for the Valley sent a call out to the community to support the work journalists do!  I agree!

Cindy Collier — BC’s gem

On Friday, I was interviewing a candidate for a position here at BC and she talked about why she wanted to come to BC.  She said it was because of the people who work here.  They seem to watch out for each other and care for each other.  And the example that she gave me was our Dean for Allied Health and CTE Cindy Collier.

condy-collier-and-grandkids-nov-2016

So I went back and read an email Cindy recently sent me.  So, you see Bakersfield, this is why BC is so special

Good morning Sonya,

Just wanted to share a few photos with you from our VN and RN pinning ceremonies that were held this week.  I was particularly moved by the story of Brandy Billingsly one of our VN graduates who shared her journey through nursing school.

brandy-billingsy-dec-9-2016A single mom with 3 children, spoke of the challenges of nursing school, the long hours in class and studying that kept her away from her children, she cried as she apologized for the countless football games missed, the early mornings that she had to wake her children up to take them to their “Nana’s” house so that she could be in the clinical setting at 6:00 a.m., the weekends that she had to give up because she had to work,  but at the same time she graciously thanked her employer for allowing the opportunity to work every weekend for the past 18 months so that she could complete nursing school.  She thanked her classmates for being her family and allowing her to cry on their shoulders when she failed a test or just couldn’t understand her material, and she thanked her professors for showing up each and everyday teaching and re-teaching her the material so that she could be the best nurse possible. As she wiped the tears from her eyes she looked out into the audience and told them that she wasn’t very strong, but she had to be strong so that she could do this (complete nursing school) for her family so that they could have a better life. And she then looked back at her classmates and told them “WE ARE SIMPLY AMAZING”!  And I looked around the audience of family members, friends and faculty totally moved by her story, I thought yes she’s right – our students are simply amazing.

 After coming home, I had the opportunity to reflect upon my own week and I was reminded why I chose to work at a Community College, it’s because of our students and the way that we (BC) change their lives.  Leaving our doors this week we have over 75 nursing graduates (RN and VN) who will very soon enter the workforce and will have the opportunity to earn beginning wages of greater than $50,000/year which is a family sustaining livable wage. This is huge, not only for our students but our community as well.

As I continue to reflect on why I am so blessed to work at BC, I also am amazed and awed by the support that we have from our community. Yesterday’s advisory board meeting for our Industrial Automation Baccalaureate degree was just awesome.  I listened to these high-powered business men and women who were so thankful for BC to take on the challenge to be one of the 15 pilot college’s, but at the same time had no problem being very frank with us on how we market our program, use data and systems to track our students and program’s success and quite frankly meet their needs for the 21st century employee.

Listening to our partner’s from KHSD who talked about the shared vision for students, through Dual Enrollment and Pathways that align curriculum and programs from 9th grade on, made me proud of the work that we’ve done with Dual Enrollment (despite its challenges). But most importantly what awed me the most was our students; they spoke of how this new degree has opened the door of possibilities for them.  One student who is currently working full-time in the field, while attending our program shared how he knows completing this degree will provide him with so many other career opportunities, he will no longer be stuck in an entry level job.  Another student shared how she really wanted to be an engineer, but last year while in the Calculus, Chemistry, Physics series she discovered she was pregnant with her 3rd child and she just couldn’t ask her family to take on the responsibility of raising her children for the next 4+ years while she completed the necessary courses to earn this degree, but the Industrial Automation degree now provided her with an achievable degree and on-top of it all she really loved what she was learning – she was enjoying putting things together and this program really made sense to her.

So, my dear president even though I am really exhausted and I believe your speech at the President’s Cabinet retreat in August about our 20-mile march this semester was a bunch of baloney, because this semester really has been a 20-mile sprint, I am grateful for you and the fact that you allow each and every one of us to be a part of this privilege to change student’s lives.  So, thank you for inspiring us to think beyond the status quo and for empowering us to move exciting ideas forward.

Cindy, thank you for your email!

It is the holiday season friends.  We have so much to be thankful for.  Reach out to the person close to you and give them a hug.  I am right now in my office and I walked over to say hello to Jackie Lau working away in Admission and Records to give her a hug.

 

jackie-lau-and-sonya-christian-dec-10-2016

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — with Jackie Lau on campus on Saturday, Dec 10th.

The end of the first week…Fall 2016

Casey Sorrell, Krista Sorell, Baby Jack Aug 26 2016

Casey, Krista and Jack Sorell

Baby Jack “is going to be a Renegade football player like his dad,” said Krista Sorell, the young mom with her husband Casey at the Memorial Stadium watching the Renegade scrimmage against Antelope Valley.  The young family was there with their parents and this generational support for Renegades is not uncommon.  As you can see baby Jack is already in Renegade Red.  Thank you Sorell’s for your support of Bakersfield College.  We are BC!

 

Btw, I didn’t get their email address, so, if any of your reading the blog know the Sorells, could you forward the blog link to them?

Good Morning Bakersfield! It is Saturday, August 27, 2016 and a phenomenal day to be a Renegade!

Week One of Fall 2016

Last Saturday, I was filled with anticipation for the students to arrive on campus and boy, was I not disappointed! The students have filled the campus and BC is alive!

On Wednesday, Sue Vaughn, Director of Enrollment Services and who has served our students in Admissions and Records for over 20 years, stopped by my office to let me know our enrollment numbers have hit an all-time high. On Thursday, we hit a headcount of 20,268.  This is just for the fall term.  Wonder what the number is going to be for 2016-2017.  In 2015-2016 we had approximately 27,000 students.   Together, let’s build A Better BC for our growing student body and the future generations.  Check out our efforts to do so at http://www.abetterbc.com/.

Many of our departments volunteered to staff welcome tents, “ask me” carts, or extended hours to assist students with their needs. Food services rocked the house and fed a growing number of students wanting snacks and nutritional meals, campus safety was on top of things, answering every call and addressing the increased traffic and congestion around campus. Student Life prepared amazing activities and events every day of the week. Each department contributed in a unique way to this successful start to a new year. We are BC! And our entire community works together to make sure our students are prepared, and equipped with the tools they need to be successful. Here’s to a great Fall Semester and 2016-2017 academic year!

Carlos!

Carlos

Sonya Christian with Carlos Barbaran

In addition to new students, we also have new faculty and staff on campus. This week our office staff walked in to a beautiful memo on their desks written by Carlos Barbaran, our custodian. Carlos welcomed the 22 new staff with a letter explaining how to best reach him if help is needed and kind gestures like this remind me how people at BC always go out of their way to do that little extra something.

 

Carlos, along with many others, takes pride in his loyalty to BC. He has such a unique story and background which was detailed in an article titled “Immigrant from Peru comes to U.S., finds home at Bakersfield College.” This fantastic article, from a 2009 issue of The Renegade Rip explains how Carlos, born in Lima, Peru, found himself in Bakersfield accepting a job at BC and made a true home here. He took classes in real estate, communication, and English; volunteered for local and global initiatives; earned numerous awards including a Congressional award from Congressman McCarthy, an award from Mayor Hall, and from the Governor of Peru; and he’s spoken to state officials in Sacramento on behalf of Bakersfield College.

In his letter to staff this week, Carlos notes that “The key to success is great communication” and he’s taken the first step to opening the door of communication with all our new staff.

With over 20 years of dedication to Bakersfield College, thank you Carlos.

I encourage you to read the article on Carlos as it’s an incredible glimpse into one of the hundreds of people who make up this amazing and diverse college.

Kate and Sonya JAn 25 2015 in OaklandKate!

The second example of going above and beyond was brought to my attention via an email from Kate Pluta. She said…

We have had a wonderful team work through the process of adding additional English B1a sections (last week there were over 700 students on waitlists).

Dave Moton who wouldn’t give up on finding more and more adjunct faculty. Tina Johnson who worked closely with Tina Chamberlain to find classrooms–magic! Tina Johnson who emailed and called students to tell them they were moving from a waitlist to a new section (online or at the same time). Angela Craft who made sure they had office space and keys and sent them their class lists because they couldn’t yet access them until they were in the system. Tina Chamberlain–the eye in the middle of the storm, who calmly added the classes, ensured loads were correct, and kept track of newly-hired faculty as they were finalized by HR so the names could be changed from STAFF to theirs.  A & R staff who moved the waitlists. HR who verified that adjunct faculty could take on an additional section or sections and then made sure they were processed in time so they could step in the classrooms the first week.  Dave Moton who kept on top of the process and shepherded the new faculty or new-to-full-time faculty. Nan who responded so quickly so that we could move adjunct into temporary full-time status for the fall.  Her faculty led to two additional online 1a sections. 

What a wonderful team effort that most won’t know about, but many students who didn’t have a class have one now!  I am sure there are more people involved, but this list gives you an idea of the teamwork involved. –Kate Pluta, Dean of Instruction”

It’s a fantastic day when we can push ourselves to go above and beyond to accommodate our growing number of students.

Jahnea!

And a third example was brought to my attention through email but started on social media. Mary Jo Pasek received this Facebook message from the parent of one of our new students! It said…

Hey, MJ … sending a shout out to thank Jahnea Palfrey via you, for making my son’s day yesterday!! There was a glitch in the enrollment system and Jahnea took time to listen and help resolve the issue … school starts for my son on Monday and he cannot be any more thrilled to be part of the BC Renegade family!! ThankyouThankyouTHANKYOU”

People like Carlos, everyone mentioned in Kate’s email, and Jahnea are the hands and heart of BC. Every member of the BC community across buildings, departments, and even across campuses go above and beyond each day to make BC the best choice for our students. Days like these are one of the reasons I’m the luckiest college president in the world!

Winterfest

Winterfest.jpg

Cooler days are headed our way as we begin the countdown to Winterfest! Beginning December 21st, BC’s Memorial Stadium will come to life as a winter wonderland featuring not one, but two outdoor ice skating rinks, an obstacle course, zip line, and 18 days of seasonal family fun. I can’t wait to see our BC staff, faculty, administration, friends, and community enjoying this monumental event.

The Three-Way Chevrolet Condorstown Outdoor Classic presented by Mission Bank will be the ultimate signature event held on January 7th at 6:00 PM. On Tuesday, I joined the Condors Organization and community partners on the field for the press event and I’ll tell you – standing under the late August, mid-morning sun, it’s hard to imagine an ice cold environment for a wintry wonderland. But, I’m assured by the brilliant people putting this rink together, that this feat, including 600 tons of sand, will be a success! Check out the interview on CondorsTV to see what will go into creating this outdoor ice rink at https://twitter.com/Condors/status/768512055900905473.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0040.JPGMemorial stadium was built in 1955 with the grand vision of bringing the community together – creating extraordinary occasions through hometown favorites, such as Renegade Football. Throughout the years, it’s been a place of rich history, athletic achievement, world records, and dreams… and now the Condors playing ice hockey outdoors in this signature venue will bring our community together once more. Winterfest will truly make Memorial Stadium the “coolest” place in Bakersfield for two-and-a-half weeks of seasonal entertainment.

CondorsTV has a recap of Tuesday morning on their Youtube channel. I encourage you to check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABHlhNCZdjY.

And we have a great photo gallery from the press conference – check it out at https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/Condors-at-BC-stadium-2016/! Thank you to Manny De Los Santos and Dylan Wang for sharing their photography skills.

Thank you to Matthew Riley, President of Bakersfield Condors; Mayor Harvey Hall; Ted Nicholas, President of Three-Way Chevrolet; A.J. Antongiovanni, President of Mission Bank; Chris Huot, Assistant City Manager of Bakersfield; Kelly Buchberger, Vice President of Player Development, Edmonton Oilers (NHL); Gerry Fleming, Head Coach, Bakersfield Condors; Barry Sherer, International Hockey Events; and Rich Cubin, Rink Specialists.

Winterfest announcement group August 23 2016

Chris Huot, A.J. Antongiovanni, Ted Nicholas, Sonya Christian, Harvey Hall

All information regarding Winterfest, tickets, and the Bakersfield Condors game versus The Ontario Reign can be found at http://www.bakersfieldcondors.com/classic/.

And extra thank you’s to Ramon Puga, Martin Ramirez, Sandi Taylor, Keith Ford, Roger Fessler, Erin Kidwell, Landon Webb, and Patrick Harrison, who came out to help set up the event, and helped break it down afterwards.

After the announcement of Winterfest, I started thinking about Ice Hockey and its history in the state of sunny California.

Did you know the first Calfornia hockey game was held in Los Angeles in 1917? Within a few short years, college hockey gained immense popularity with teams popping up at both USC and UCLA by the mid-1920s. The essential Zamboni was even invented in Paramount, California in 1949. In 1959, the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena opened giving the city a suitable venue for the NHL to visit, with exhibition games and visiting minor leagues.

After a short stint with the Western Hockey League, Los Angeles was learning to love hockey and by the late 60’s, the NHL was looking to expand. The Kings began an era of hockey growth that has just never really stopped. Their first game was in Long Beach, CA on October 14, 1967.

But they’re not the only team we have today. We now have 3 NHL teams, 5 AHL teams, and countless adult and youth teams across the state. And other ice sports have a connection with California – just look at Michelle Kwan, a two-time Olympic medalist, five-time world champion, nine-time U.S. figure skating champion, and southern California native.

Wayne Gretzky’s trade to LA may have led to a hockey boom, but it’s the true love and dedication of the hockey fans who keep that boom going strong. If you’ve never seen a game, you just have to experience it in person. I hope you’ll come and bring your friends and family to the “campus on the hill” for this memorable Winterfest event.

Voice of the Animal

I’m always excited to share something unique that our fine faculty are up to in their spare time, and last week, I mentioned Matthew Garrett’s book, Making Lamanites: Mormons, Native Americans, and the Indian Student Placement Program, 1947-2000. It’s now available online at http://content.lib.utah.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/upcat/id/2022/rec/1.

RaeandJoshProfessor Rae Ann Kumelos shared some awesome news with me this week that I’d couldn’t wait to highlight. First off, she and Professor Josh Ottum of the newly established Commercial Music Program at BC, have partnered together to record and score the Voice of the Animal show. As part of the Commercial Music program curriculum, students will have a guaranteed commercial venue to produce sound and musical content, and will gain valuable exposure and experience in creating material appropriate for a national audience on a variety of social media and broadcast platforms. In addition, she tells me, students will have national commercial experience to include in their portfolio, and BC and the Commercial Music program will receive acknowledgment at the end of each show.

Just last week, Rae Ann and Josh were in the studio recording our first programs – check out the selfie! It’s an incredible opportunity for our students and we’re so lucky to have Rae Ann and Josh at BC!  We are BC! We are all about developing talent and all about J for Jobs!

If you’re wondering about Voice of the Animal, it’s Rae Ann’s radio show with international exposure. It’s broadcast on the Animal Radio Network via XM Satellite Radio, I-Heart Radio podcasts,  and over 140 independent radio stations in the US and Canada, and it reaches almost 500,000 listeners.

In addition, Rae Ann also has a new book coming out titled Wild Wisdom: Animal Stories of the Southwest, published by Rio Nuevo. The book is available now on Amazon – and you can check out more on her website, www.voiceoftheanimal.com.

Hispanic Chamber Business Conference
and Familiar Faces

On Thursday, August 25th, the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce held the 22nd Annual Hispanic Business Conference and Expo. Mary Jo Pasek and Tom Gelder were on hand to set up a beautiful display with BC themed goodies and represent Bakersfield College while I saw many familiar faces of BC supporters throughout the day.

First to catch my eye was Jay Tamsi, the CEO of the KCHCC.  Jay is a strong supporter of education and a great partner of the college.  Jay, the Business Conf. was a huge success. Thank you for all that you do for the community and for BC!

Next, BC alumna Lynne Grimes holds BC close to her heart with many fond memories of her time as a BC Renegade. She was an editor for the Rip and sang with our renowned BC Chamber Singers during her years as a student.

Three former students of BC have come together to create a small business, KIT Community, that supports tech and innovation in Kern County.  They were promoting their work at the Business Conference and stopped by the BC table.  We are going to collaborate with these youngsters and promote tech innovation and the entrepreneurial mindset.

Schilling Christian Aug 25 2016

Sonya Christian and Stephen Schilling

Stephen Schilling, CEO of Clinica Sierra Vista and a fantastic partner of BC also was in attendance and stopped by to say hello. He posted in his official message on the Clinica Sierra website that, “Clinica Sierra Vista is a testament to what can be accomplished when there is a sincere desire to serve. We have faced many challenges, not the least of which have been recent mandates to reduce health care costs. Yet we continue to forge ahead to meet those changes and prepare for a new era without compromising our mission. As we celebrate over forty years of success, we are still aware of the myriad of challenges facing us. There is still much to do as we try to reach those who are still not receiving adequate health care. We view the coming years with excitement as we continue our role in providing much-needed services in the ever-changing health care arena never forgetting who it is we truly serve.”

A truly inspirational message from a first-class leader in our community — Clinica Sierra Vista is build upon a foundation of caring for the community and “it is truly a program of local, state and federal resources meeting the needs of our very at-risk patient populations.” For more information about Clinica Sierra Vista, please check out https://clinicasierravista.org/.  Thank you to all BC staff and students who volunteered to staff the table — Lisa Kent, Mary Jo Pasek, Tom Gelder, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Nicky Damania, Sarah Baron, Asha Chandy, and Corny Rodriguez.  

DBA

At the Business Conference, I snagged a selfie with Cathy Butler, president of Bakersfield Downtown Business Association (DBA).

DBA

Selfie. Sonya Christian with Cathy Butler

Did you know the Bakersfield DBA was formed after the historical earthquake that devastated the Bakersfield area? It’s true! In 1954, two years after the historic earthquake wreaked havoc on over 100 buildings in Bakersfield, the DBA was established to bring business back to Bakersfield. Since then, it has worked diligently to improve the downtown area and keep Bakersfield safe, clean, and beautiful. And Cathy Butler is the heart and soul of the DBA!

A quick visit to their website reminded me that the Taste of Downtown event is back again this year. Did any of my blog readers attend last year? For information, check out http://bakersfielddba.com/taste-of-downtown-2016/

Student Leaders from BC, PC and CCCC Meet:

Last Saturday, August 20th, after publishing my blog, I headed out to Porterville College to join Tom Burke, CFO of KCCD, to present information about the bond and Measure J (remember J for Jobs) to student leaders from BC, PC, and CCCC.  It was delightful to see our students across KCCD be so enthusiastic, so curious, and so involved.  I was also really impressed with the advisors at the three colleges — Nicky Damania (Bakersfield), Carrin Blyth (Porterville) and Pam Campbell (Cerro Coso).  Porterville College President, Dr. Rosa Carlson, joined us and we had a wonderful and energetic conversation with the students.  And of course a shout out to the fabulous BC SGA Prez Mathew Frazer.

SGA Retreat Aug 20 2016

Arvin in the News:

 

The City of Arvin is definitely on the move. A groundbreaking ceremony was heldl on August 25th on the  Garden in the Sun Park on Bear Mountain Blvd.  Community Leaders were out in large numbers supporting the city.  Among them, Mayor Harvey Hall, who is also the honorary chair of the BC Bond Blue Ribbon Committee; Kern Community College Trustees Dennis Beebe and Kay Meek; as well as the Vice President of the Kern Economic Development Corporation Cheryl Scott.  Cheryl is also on the BC Foundation Board and is taking a leadership role on the Blue Ribbon Committee for the bond.  I also must do a shout out to Jim Young,  BC alum Jose Gurrola who is on the City Council, Mayor Jose Flores, City Manager Al Noyola, Jazmine Robles, and the entire Arvin City Council.

Ribbon Cutting Aug 25 2016

BC Athletics

Let’s now hear from Francis Mayer, BC’s Sports Director on the happenings with BC Athletics:

COACH CHUDY CALLS ANTELOPE VALLEY SCRIMMAGE PRODUCTIVE

“At this stage, you’ve got to look at it in bits and pieces; unfortunately we weren’t as consistent across the board as we needed to be. We had some missed tackles that led to more yards after the catch than you want to see, and then the mistakes…Our first two pays of the offensive series resulted in procedure penalties and those are momentum killers, and we repeated it. Those are killers…”

Chudy addressed the different looks BC trotted out against Antelope Valley.

“The game is evolving, and we are trying to get our best eleven players on the field every play whether that’s on offense or defense. Each play is it’s own unique play, and you take it one play at a time with your best eleven out there, that’s what we are trying to focus on…we are fortunate to have a lot of speed, and we have to utilize it. We won’t chuck n’ duck fifty times a game…we will try to be a balanced attack and make them cover the field; if they aren’t putting enough guys in the box, we’ve got to run downhill. When they gang up, we’ve got to throw to the edges and we are lucky enough to have guys who can take that five yard catch and turn it into a big gain,” Chudy explained.

No score was kept, but Chudy and his staff said they were more interested in finding hungry players. “We are finding out who can do what; that’s what this was about…it’s not about keeping score. It’s about correcting mistakes and pointing out things that were done correctly. And when we watch film tomorrow we’ll see who was doing the little things. Because the one thing they can control is their own effort. It doesn’t take talent; it just takes a lot of heart, guts, and mindset,” Chudy said.

THE BAKERSFIELD COLLEGE MEN’S SOCCER TEAM LOST THEIR REGULAR SEASON OPENER 2-1 AT SANTA MONICA COLLEGE

Coach Martinez Aug 2016

Coach Martinez

The Bakersfield College Men’s Soccer Team lost their regular season opener 2-1 on the road to Santa Monica College, their first regular season game in almost 30 years after being reinstated for play this year.

“We held our own for the first 45 minutes, we were a little bit disorganized and it took us some time to get into the flow of things. We held them off the score sheet in the first half, and we came out in the second half and committed a turnover around the 20 minute mark of the second half that led to their first score. And then with about eight minutes left in regulation, we got a throw-in deep in their half by Alberto Munoz, and Braulio Guiterrez collected the ball, shook off the defender, and placed a nice cross to Kevin Hernandez who calmy headed the ball in to the far post with about eight minutes to go.”

The excitement of having scored the very first goal in so many years at BC, and the blood might have boiled to hot from that adrenaline rush and one of their wingers beat our guy in the one-on-one and scored off of that cross to give them the last lead of the game.

Frank Arreola had eight saves while giving up two goals in the net for the Renegades.

“You can’t dwell on it, we’ve got another game in four days,” Martinez said.

The ‘Gades will host West Hills-Lemoore in their home debut in Memorial Stadium Tuesday at 7p in the second half of a double header that sees the women’s team play West Hills-Lemoore at 5p.

LADY ‘GADES WIN OPENER 4-1 AT LA VALLEY

After coming out of the half tied at 1s, Bakersfield ripped LA Valley for three goals to run away

“I’m really thrilled to say we had four different goal scorers,” Head Coach Scott Dameron said, “Because I think that’s the strength of this year’s team; we are pretty balanced.”

Ali Castro scored the first goal from about 40 yards out, and Dameron called it an “absolute bomb”.

Sabrina Sanchez set up the ‘Gades second goal just one minute after entering the game in the second half as a sub; she slipped a ball through to Amelia Lopez who drove the ball home from about 18 yards out.

But Sanchez wasn’t done being helpful, and about 15 minutes later she found Maria Carrillo with a similar ball that only required nimble collection and a steady shot to beat the keeper.

3-1 ‘Gades.

Odalys Espinoza scored BC’s final goal on a PK given after a handball on a corner kick.

VOLLEYBALL OPENS REGULAR SEASON 2-0 WITH WINS OVER CHAFFEY COLLEGE AND RIO HONDO @DAY ONE OF LA PIERCE TOURNEY 

The Bakersfield College Volleyball team opened their 2016 season with a 3-0 win over Chaffey College and a 3-1 win over Rio Hondo in day one of the LA Pierce Tournament Friday.

 

The Lady Gades will resume play Saturday at 1pm against Mira Costa, and 6:30p against either Pierce or Santa Barbara.

MEN’S AND WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY OPEN SEASONS AT OXNARD INVITATIONAL

Cross Country Aug 2016

The Bakersfield College Women’s Cross Country team finished eighth out of 10 teams competing in the 5k race, while the Men’s team placed eighth out of 11 teams in the four mile race.

Sydney Roman was the top individual finisher for the women with a time of 20 minutes and 56 seconds (25th place), while Patrick Alvardo finished first for the men with a time of 22 minutes and 23.9 seconds (22nd)

Rudyard Kipling

Out of the blue, one of my friends this week quoted Rudyard Kipling. “But to stand an’ be still to the Birken’ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew” …a line from Soldier an’ Sailor too.  That got me digging out my poetry book, Panorama, from high school and spending nostalgic evenings reading some of my favorite poems.  I thought about the late and absolutely genius Robin Williams as his role in The Dead Poets Society saying “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry… beauty, romance, love, these… are what we stay alive for.”

Rudyard Kipling, known for notable works including “The Jungle Book” and “If-“ was born in Bombay, India and found his talent at a young age as the editor of his school paper. He is quoted as saying “If history were taught in form of story, it would never be forgotten.” So, it was no surprise when researching Soldier an’ Sailor too, that it has a true historical reference to the sinking of the HMS Birkenhead in 1852. The poem pays homage to the Royal Marines who went down with the ship and gave lifeboat priority to the women and children on board. “The synonymous ‘Birkenhead drill’ became an exemplar of courageous behavior in hopeless circumstances”

The themes in Rudyard Kipling’s works include valor, adventure, and bravery. I’ve often mentioned my affinity for The Jungle Book (Check out July 9th’s blog when I saw the new movie) and one of my favorite stories in the collection is the one of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, the courageous mongoose who protects his family against the snakes. You can see a clip of the cartoon on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl7f2ytS7Vw.

While these two stories are thoughtfully different – one of perishing soldiers and one of a brave little creature – they both have the same unfailing message that heroes (who can come in any shape or form) strive to do the right thing by putting others first.

That’s a wrap – and I can’t wait to see what next week has in store.

sonya thoughtful fall 2016

 

 

Until next Saturday…..

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya  

The luckiest and happiest college president