Tag Archives: Rich McCrow

Inspiration All Around Us!

Good morning Bakersfield, it is Saturday, March 4th and a fabulous day to be a Renegade.

Had a crazy long week and am so happy to be back in my own bed at home, sipping coffee, hearing the “hoo-h’HOO-hoo-hoo” of the barn owl in the back yard.

Sunday through Thursday I was chairing an accreditation team – actually, both the district team and the team for one of the colleges within the district.  Lesley Bonds was also on the team.

The Accreditation Process in the United States is truly remarkable.  It is a peer review process of assurance of institutional quality and integrity.  Larry Braskamp wrote about the peer evaluation process in his essay, on Being Responsive and Responsible in the CHEA publication.

“Faculty have had a remarkable history of being able to run their own affairs, i.e., the academic community itself has determined the standards held for the faculty and has judged the quality of their work. Accreditation is one manifestation of this position, since it serves as a mechanism for peers, mostly within the academy, to judge the worth, value and merit of academe. Despite this, the work of the faculty (academics) has never been totally isolated from the larger society. Being accountable-responsive and responsible-has always been embedded in the social contract between society and higher education.”

Site visits are an incredible experience.

Driving Back to BC!


After the site visit Lesley and I were driving back to Bakersfield when a truck in front of us dropped several large sheets of thick glass on the road.

The first picture is Lesley holding a piece of glass that was stuck in the groove between the windshield and the hood of the car.  The second picture is Lesley checking  out the tire pressure.  The third picture is with Florenzio who was definitely a talker and very charming.

Florenzio, our mechanic was from Beliz. When he learned we were heading back to Bakersfield, he was excited that we might know something about the dairy industry. He shared with us a cultural tradition: El pajarete. As I understand, el pajarete is an early morning drink made from fresh cow or goat milk, tequila, a bit of powdered chocolate, and sometimes instant coffee.

College Council and leadership Academy:

Friday morning I spent at College Council and was so happy to be back on campus and see the faces of the folks I work with.  We have several substantive items on the agenda and each with ha task group with substantive, collaborative, and rigorous presentations.  Have I told you recently that I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

One if the items presented and discussed was SB 769 which is the follow up to SB 850 the legislation that was passed in 2015 to allow 15 community colleges to offer a baccalaureate program.  SB 769 will expand SB 850 to include more colleges or have the same college offer more degrees.  Bakersfield College had several candidates on the list last time when we finally decided to pick Industrial Automation.

Right after College Council I hopped in the car and headed out to Delano where Rich McCrow was hosting the Leadership Academy of the Kern Community College District.  This year’s cohort of the Leadership Academy is just a very engaged and action oriented group.



When I walked in Chelsea Esquibias was presenting on the Inmate Education program.  Did you know that BC has the largest Inmate Education Program in the country?  I did not. Now with the passage of Proposition 57 it is even more critical that we develop the skills essential to find a job for those who are transitioning out of incarceration.  Prop 57 was on the November 8, 2016 ballot that supports increasing parole and good behavior opportunities for individuals convicted of nonviolent crimes.

Rich McCrow is the lead administrator for BC responsible for this program and he has done an outstanding job developing an effective program in collaboration with faculty and staff. Bryan was the pioneer at BC to teach at Kern Valley Prison.  He started a reflections on prison education blog that you must check out

Here is a post from his January 22, 2017 blog signed as Professor H

The semester is off and running. I meet my last group of new students tomorrow and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t eager to get back to work. Two of the yards I am teaching in this semester are new and one I taught in last year at this time. Seems to me that I am going to encounter the usual suspects every semester. Regardless of whether or not they have taken a class from me in the past or not, the similarities between them are obvious. These bright, dedicated, and knowledge-seeking students want more than the government issue. Students are walking in with the nostalgia every professor hopes and dreams of with a new crop. Eyes wide open, pencils freshly sharpened, and whatever paper they could scrap together, the feeling in the area is something good is on the horizon. I feel so honored to be a part of this work and witness the changing of the tide. Here is to another great semester inside. I will keep you posted as we move along.

After Chelsea we heard from Trustee Romeo Agbalog and Trustee Bill Thomas.  It is a real treat having our trustees engage with activities on our campuses.

Romeo Agbalog and Bill Thomas March 4 2017.jpg

Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Trustee Bill Thomas

Both trustees had their beginnings at a community college. Trustee Agbalog at the Delano Campus of Bakersfield College and Trustee Thomas at Santa Ana College. Trustee Agbalog talked about the intentionality and leadership of individuals in Delano that resulted in an Elementary School, a high school, and a college all being located on the same street– Heitt Street.  Only place you can go from Kinder to college.  He inspired the group by telling them leadership was not about a position or title, but the engagement and the actions of the work.  Trustee Thomas shared the history of the Kern Community College District and engaged in Q&A about the financing.  The two trustees were well received by the Leadership Academy cohort.

After a great lunch, we heard from a panel that talked about our partnership with Delano and what is working and what not so well.  Some of them were operational issues and some policy.  Since there were many of us listening to the issues (John Means, Vice Chancellor of Ed Services, Trustee Bill Thomas, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Director Rich McCrow and myself), I think we will get these issues resolved!


Paul Chavez, Martin Lonza, Marleni Florez, Vanessa Renteria, Elma Barraza

Here are the panelists:

Paul Chavez, Director CTE & Dual Enrollment, Delano Joint Union High School
Martin Lonza, Principal, Wasco Independence High Schools

Marleni Florez, Asst. Director, Wasco Adult Ed Programs

Vanessa Renteria, Assistant Principal, McFarland High School

Elma Barraza, Assistant Director, Operations, Fresno Pacific University(Bakersfield)

Rich McCrow and the Delano gang did an outstanding job hosting the Leadership Academy.  Victor Diaz brought me to tears with a fabulous introduction.  And I loved that Victor and Tarina distributed the link to my blog.  Thank you!  I got to meet Matt Wanta, Director of Nusring, from Cerro Coso and Elmer Aguilar, Program Manager of the SSSP/Equity.  Both incredibly motivated and committed to student success.  Also enjoyed getting to know Deanna Campbell, Director of the Mammoth and Bishop centers of Cerro Coso Community College.  Just an incredibly smart and engaged individual.  Deanna invited us to have a retreat up at Bishop or Mammoth and I’m taking her up on it – the Exec Team of BC will be doing out summer retreat up there.  Thank you Deanna.

Here is the list of participants in this year’s Leadership Academy:

Chris Dison, Christine Morales, Gustavo Enriquez, Raquel Lopez, Reese Weltman, Tarina Perry, Tracy Lovelace, Victor Diaz, Zenaida Tutop, Matthew Wanta, Rebecca Rock, Elmer Aguilar, Patricia Serrato, Cathi Jacob


BC Kicks off Women’s History Month:

Erin Miller and WHAM (Women’s History And More) got the show on the road with a great presentation on March 2nd at the Levan Center on slavery, race, sexuality and stories to go along with the topic of African American enslaved women crossing the Middle Passage. Jennifer L. Morgan, a professor of Social and Cultural Analysis from New York University visited with the intention of discussing what it meant to be one of the women on the ships.  Professor Morgan is the author of the book, Laboring Women: Gender and Reproduction in New World Slavery, published in 2004 and she wanted to pursue the topic of enslaved women because of family ties, African American history, and share these stories. She stated that her speech was intended to, ” show how they were treated, how from scraps of archives and evidence we learn that women suffered the horrors of the middle passage, and struggled with the knowledge of how to express it.” The Middle Passage refers to travel from Africa to the Americas in the 1600-1800’s and includes the Caribbean, and Latin America. Professor Morgan mentioned in her speech that enslaved women were mistreated by serving as “bedfellows for Englishman on board, thrown overboard to serve as examples for others on board, and even had to give birth while in the depths of the ship.”.  Here is a “copy and paste” from Olivia Garcia’s Facebook page:

In the words of BC history professor Oliver Rosales, “it was a great evening for history at BC.” Students, faculty and staff were treated to a thoughtful dialogue on “Women in the Middle Passage: Gender, Slavery, and the Problem of Writing History,” presented by Dr. Jennifer Morgan, a historian who teaches at New York University. The Levan Institute was jam-packed. Special thanks to WHAM organizers, history professors Erin Miller and Tina Mendoza, and Jack Hernandez of the Levan Institute. #bc #history


Thank you to Cara Jackson for the photos!  And Olivia Garcia, I got some of the photos from your Facebook post.

Fernanda Martinez our student reporter from the Renegade Rip did a great coverage on the lineup for WHAM.  Check it out


So proud of our Renegade Rip and our student journalists!

National Engineers Week

In celebration of National Engineers Week, the Bakersfield College Engineering and Industrial Technology Department partnered with the local chapter of the American Society of Petroleum Engineers to host an Engineering Day for approximately 500 high school students from across Kern County last weekend.

These students had the opportunity to get a glimpse into college life, find out about various STEM majors, learn about career possibilities for each major, and query BC faculty. This year, the BC Baccalaureate Industrial Automation students provided demonstrations of two interactive class projects. Additionally, community organizations such as Chevron, Summit ESP, AERA, California Resources Corporation, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Safety Engineers, Taft College, and the Society of Petroleum Engineers provided high school students with information about careers in engineering throughout Kern County.


Thank you to all the faculty and student presenters who supported the event, as well as the fabulous planning staff – Yadira Guerrero, Mary Jo Pasek, Steve Watkin, Ashlea Ward, Martin Perez (BC) AND Allison Escovedo (EB Resources) and Pam Willis (Aera Energy).

Financial Aid Awareness Week

Visitors, guests, and even some students walk through Bakersfield College campus each and every day and give little heed to the large building located in the center of campus that has the ability to change lives. Just past the large glass doors, is an area full with information. It can be overwhelming to say the least. However, it’s there that students are fortunate enough to take part in one of the many workshops that BC’s Financial Aid offers to all BC students.

This week, February 27th – March 3rd, 2017 is dedicated to Financial Aid awareness. And it’s during this week that the campus especially goes all out to help all of BC students get the most out of their budgets. For example, on Tuesday February 28th, a “Cash Course Management” workshop took place where the Financial Aid team shared tips about when to start the FAFSA process and even had a time set aside where they were able to walk the students through those steps and give them help on their paperwork. They discussed the various types of grants, scholarships, and loans that are available to the college student today and how each one of them has their own pro’s and con’s, or special requirements.

The underlying theme of the week was that each one of us has the power to have financial stability in life. It’s ok to ask questions, in fact it’s the best thing you can do. Students on campus every day are encouraged to ask, explore, debate, and question. It is not only important to have that sense of determination with your studies but to have them with your finances as well. If there is something that you are not familiar with, look it up, seek out the information you need.

Take advantage of their knowledge at the Financial Aid office and allow them to help you help yourself! The struggles are real with finances, the cost of classes, books, supplies, and even how much to spend on food – why not make a budget so that instead of worrying about money matters, you can focus on academic matters.



It’s a great time for BC Track! The first conference meet held was in Ventura on Feb. 24th, and had three double winners for the Renegades. Coach Kelley and her staff have done a great job preparing our track teams despite the cold rainy weather, weather that even forced the cancellation of a track meet in southern California.


In just the third meet of the year, two freshman and a sophomore led the Renegades to a second place finish for the men and a third place finish for the women.


Cesar Patino

Freshman Cesar Patino won the 1500 meters in 4:03.02 which is on pace with state championship times. He also won the 800 meters (1:59.35) and was second in the 3,000 meters (9:06.51).

Sophomore Jacob Bookout won the high jump at 6’5”, triple jump at 42’7” and was second in the long jump at 21’ 7”.

Freshman Jasmine Green won the 100 meters (12.79), 200 meters(26.72) and ran on the winning 4×100 relay team (50.57). Green also placed 2nd in the long jump 16’ 3”.

Check out more at http://tinyurl.com/htrojap

More on athletics

After playing what is likely the toughest pre-season schedule, Coach Painton‘s baseball team is 2-0 in conference play. They play  are at home tonight at 6:00pm against West Los Angeles College. Offensive leaders include Harry Tyler with a .310 batting average and Tyson Brewer with 5 extra base hits and 10 runs batted in.

Coach Hill‘s Softball team (8-6 overall, 4-1 WSC) put up 50 runs and 50 hits as they beat Santa Monica 25-5 and 25-1 in WSC action Tuesday at Santa Monica.

Alexis Solis led the Renegades with a total of 3 homeruns and 16 RBI for the day!

Jefferson Elementary Classes Visit BC!

img_0229Tuesday was an exciting afternoon for the 4th and 5th graders visiting campus from Jefferson Elementary. Two classes of 4th graders and one class of 5th graders traveled through the halls of the various campus buildings to catch a glimpse of what college really looks like. I’m told they were so enthusiastic and even waved at students in their classrooms saying, “Hello smart people!” In addition to the campus tour, the children were treated to a special showing by Nick Strobel at BC’s Planetarium.

Judy Dudley, a tutor at Jefferson Elementary sent over a packet of thank you cards, drawings, and notes for Dr. Strobel. They are just too cute – I have to share a few.

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Jennifer Garrett Visiting Liberty

I often say I’m the luckiest college president in the world. It’s true! It’s true for many reasons, but one is I get to work with the most incredible staff and faculty in the world. Jennifer Garrett, BC’s Choral Director often visits various High Schools to share all the upcoming and exciting things happening in our music programs. I know she is an inspiration to our future Renegades!

BC at Condors Game

Last Friday night, the Bakersfield Condors graciously invited the BC family to their home game at Rabobank against the Ontario Reign.  What an exciting game!  If you missed it, the Condors made an incredible comeback to win in the third period.  The energy at the games is always fun and contagious!  We are so grateful for a strong partnership with the Condors and love everything they do for our great town during games and in the community.  Thank you Matt Riley for being a friend of Bakersfield College.  And thank you Mary Jo Pasek for making this happen.

Flying Saucer cookies from BC!

On Facebook, there is a group called “Kern County of Old,” where in last July someone posted about these great cookies they used to have at Bakersfield College.  The story goes that Valentina Valena (1909-2002) came up with this recipe while working in the BC cafeteria.  Valena had worked at one of the first directors of the BC kitchen while the college was meeting at Kern County Union High School (now known as “Bakersfield High School”).  By the time Valena retired after 40 years with KHSD and BC, she had made a simple oatmeal cookie that people remember to this day.  What an amazing little bit of BC history!


Here is the post on Facebook, but make sure to see some of the comments where people have posted tips and updated versions of the recipe.


Thank you Fred Misono from the Bakersfield West Rotary Club for sending me the link to the Facebook post.

Check out my June 4, 2016 post where I met Fred Misono for the first time when we presented Measure J to the Rotary Club.  He made the visit so much fun.  Click on the link and enjoy Fred Misono!



Susan Wiggins

It’s wonderful to hear stories about BC and our alumni. It seems like every person is connected to our campus in one way or another. If you’re not an alumnus/a yourself, a family member, friend, or their family has a connection to the Renegades and it’s wonderful to see how alive “The Renegade pride” is in our community.

Have you seen Robert Price’s article about Susan Wiggins? What an amazing article about an even more amazing woman. We have incredible people in our community – people who are dedicated, fearless, kind, and able to accomplish anything. Check out the article about Susan here: http://tinyurl.com/zey6dnc

Both photos are file photos from The Bakersfield Californian website.

Susan, you’re an inspiration! And I just can’t wait to see what our current Renegade students will accomplish in their futures too.  And thank you Bob Price for this great article.

Summer Bridge 2017

I can’t wait for our third year of Summer Bridge to roll out.  This program has become a key student success strategy for Bakersfield College – to have an on-boarding process for our incoming students through a one-day orientation.  Summer Bridge in most colleges and universities is conducted by Student Affairs with some level of engagement from instructional faculty in various disciplines.  What makes BC’s summer bridge different from others is that faculty in various disciplines are core to the architecture of the program.

Kimberly Bligh has started the orientations with the faculty for Summer 2017 as they gear up to welcome our new students.  Here are some cool photos.


Got this message from Kimberly Bligh:

“Gathering faculty leads…  training , team building, organizing, getting them to own their role as mentors of mentors… love my job!”



william-velasquez-and-sonya-christian-march-4-2017As I was rushing from College Council to get in the car and drive to Delano, William Velasquez, one of our new IT people stopped me just to introduce himself and say how much he loved working at BC.  wow…. i loved it.  So, I had to do a selfie with him


Talented, smart, focused, dedicated, and fun faculty and staff at Bakersfield College.  Thank you for having me as your president!



That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

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

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, Sep 24, 2016, my mom’s birthday and a fabulous day to be a Renegade.  

September is also the month of the Kern County Fair.  For more information check out http://www.kerncountyfair.com/.  Thank you David Torris for helping us secure a table for Measure J at the fair.

Here are some photos from Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 at the fair.

Day 1: Thank you Paul Beckworth for taking the lead to staff Day 1, September 21, 2016 with volunteers. I was so excited to see Mallory Moran at the fair with her dad Tom Moran and her brother Donovan Moran.  This family is beloved to Bakersfield College.  Friends, many of you along with me have been following Mallory’s precious life story.  Tom and Israel have set up with a Mallory Miracles page.  Check it out http://tinyurl.com/hb6dsgg


Thank you Paul Beckworth, Sandi Beckworth, Matt Garrett, and Zav Dadabhoy for being the first team to get this started.

Day 2, Sep 22, 2016: Zav Dadabhoy was the lead.


Here are the volunteers who staffed measure J on Day 2 — Steve Watkin and Kim Watkin, Michele Pena and her son, Jackie Lau and her son, Peggy Gonzales, Grace Commiso, Terri Goldstein, and of course Zav Dadabhoy.  Thank you all!

Day 3, Friday, Sep 23, 2016

Jerry Ludeke took the lead on the morning shift from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Jennifer Marden took the lead for the afternoon shift from 3:00 to 11:00.  Thank you Bob Allison, Liz Keranen, Heidi Allison.  Thank you Faith Counts (Chief Count’s daughter), Becky Dargatz, Cynthia Munoz, Steve Waller, and Jennifer Marden.


Steve Waller, Sonya Christian, Vickie Edden, Sandi Taylor, Tom Gelder

Here are the volunteers who staffed Measure J on Day 3 — Zav Dadabhoy, Jerry Ludeke, June Charles, Prince Charles, Steve Watkin, Kim Watkin, Tracy Hall, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Jim Heitzeberg, Jennifer Marden, Cynthis Munoz, Becky Dargatz, Chris Counts, Faith Counts, Reese Weltman and his wife, Steve Waller, Manny Mourtzanos, Sandi Taylor, Vickie Edden, and Tom Gelder.  Thank you all!  Thank you Jay Rosenlieb, who was staffing the Boy Scouts booth for coming over and helping the Measure J table.

One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern


onebook-1This week, Bakersfield College and the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities presented an academic discussion panel entitled “Water Use, Challenges, and Solutions in Kern County” as part of the “One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern” program. The panel was composed of Dr. Joe Saldivar, Professor and Chair of the Biology Department at Bakersfield College, Laraine Rosema, BC’s Writing Center Department Liaison, and Jeffrey Eagan, a former BC student who is the current Writing Center & Tutor Coordinator at CSU-Bakersfield. The night was organized and moderated by Jessica Wojtysiak, Associate Professor of Academic Development at BC.

The seats inside the Levan Center were packed as Dr. Joe Saldivar presented first. He invited six year old daughter of BC Student Alma Cortez to join him in a colorful experiment. By blowing through a straw, they were able to send carbon dioxide into the beaker, changing the liquid from pink to clear. Dr. Saldivar then discussed the importance of innovation in solving our water crisis.


Laraine Rosema, the next speaker, discussed water regulation and use restrictions. She concluded her presentation by telling the audience members how they could learn about restrictions and how to apply them to their own homes. Next up, Jeffrey Eagan explored how literature serves to illuminate the challenging relationship between humanity and water. Following these fabulous speakers, guests participated in a lively Q&A session with the panel. And finally, three BC students won a free copy of The Big Thirst: Enrique, and Alma Cortez.

The One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern project encourages the entire community to share experiences related to a single book through discussions, educational programming, and entertainment. The read is meant to pull a community together, cross cultural divides, and enhance understanding of our diversity, all while supporting literacy. First organized as a grass roots effort by Jillian Stump-Fritch, an elementary school teacher, she was inspired to support a community reading program after reading about similar projects with large cities like Chicago and Seattle.

onebook-2This year’s One Book selection is The Big Thirst by Charles Fishman. Published in 2011, the book seeks to challenge our too often casual relationship with water.  For the past 100 years, the developed world has enjoyed a cheap, safe, and abundant water supply, but The Big Thirst warns that everything about water is going to change – how we use it, how we share it, and how we value it.

This is certainly a timely selection for Bakersfield – In 2014, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported “An average of nearly 90% of Bakersfield, California, has been in a state of exceptional drought over the first seven months of 2014, more than any other large city.” In 2016, Governor Brown relaxed water use restrictions, but water availability continues to be a significant concern, particularly for those working in agriculture. For those interested, the One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern program will end this year with a visit by Charles Fishman to CSU-Bakersfield on October 27th, 2016 for a visit and book signing.

Kern Ag Foundation


Chris McCraw, Sonya Christian, JP Lake, Greg Cluff, Bill Barnes

I cherish any opportunity to be involved with organizations that prioritize education and advancement within our region. This week, I presented about Measure J with JP Lake at the Kern Agriculture Foundation. The Kern Ag Foundation was founded in 1986 as a non-profit organization by leaders in agriculture centered business and education to serve as an industry advisory committee. The Foundation assists with agriculture curriculum development, as well as soliciting and distributing funds and specialized assets to promote agricultural education, training, student activities, and scholarships. For a list of scholarships, visit kernagfoundation.com/scholarships.htm.

Special thank you to the Board of Directors: Doug Starr, President; Peter Belluomini, VP; Jared Britschgi, Secretary; Joel Bock, Treasurer; Bianca Ramirez; Roger Riley; Dr. Aaron Hegde; Ralph Mendes; and Lindsey Ono.  We received the unanimous endorsement of the Kern Ag Foundation for Measure J.  THANK YOU!

BC’s Ag faculty are the best! Bill Kelly, Lindsey Ono, Billy Barnes, Greg Cluff, Chris McCraw.  Thank you.

And a very special thank you to my co-presenter, JP Lake. It is always a joy working with him – his undeniable enthusiasm for education, the community of Bakersfield, and BC continues to inspire and amaze me. JP is also one of the many who have given their support and endorsement of Measure J. To learn more about what JP is doing in the community or about his business, Rain for Rent, check out http://jplake.com/ and http://www.rainforrent.com/.

Chamber Singers and their fabulous Director

The BC Chamber Singers men performed for 800 high school and junior high boys at Real Men Sing this morning at Harvey Auditorium.

I found this on Jen Garrett’s Facebook page.  Just loved it.  Enjoy:

The district brings together the men and they work with a guest conductor each year. This year their guest conductor is Travis Rogers. We had the opportunity to start off their day. Some of our men also spoke about what singing in choir means to them and about people that have mentored them. I appreciated that our men donated their time to such a good cause.



Gloria Urner

sonya-christian-gloria-urner-sep-22-2016I was at the Double Tree hotel heading in to do a presentation to the Hispanic Chamber and a woman stopped by to share with me that we, at BC are solving the world’s problems. We stuck up a lovely, but short conversation and it turns out that she is Gloria Urner, a retired PIO of KCCD who worked alongside Ed Simonsen when he was the Chancellor.

Thank you Gloria for the kind words, and THANK YOU Jay Tamsi and the Hispanic Chamber for your endorsement of Measure J! And thank you Jay Rosenlieb for co-presenting with me.  What an incredible afternoon!

Earlier in June, I made my first presentation to the Hispanic Chamber and this is included in my June 19th blog.  Check it out


Bakersfield Malayalee Association Onam Celebration


The Bakersfield Malayalee Association (BAMA) is a local Kerala based cultural association and a wonderful warm and friendly group that provides opportunities for our local Malayalees within the Bakersfield area to gather, communicate, interact, and celebrate with one another. It has grown incredibly over the past 20 years, as our city has flourished.

Onam was celebrated on September 13th and this special Harvest Festival is celebrated by the people of Kerala. The day, based on the Solar Calendar, is an ancient festival that still survives in modern times. It is one of the rarest festivals that is celebrated by a complete state, irrespective of religion, class, or creed. Wikipedia notes that

Kerala’s rice harvest festival and the Festival of Rain Flowers, which fall in the month of Chingam, celebrates the Asura King Mahabali’s annual visit from Patala (the underworld). Onam is unique since Mahabali (locally known as Maveli) has been revered by the people of Kerala. The King is so much attached to his kingdom that it is believed that he comes annually from the nether world to see his people living happily. It is in honour of King Mahabali that Onam is celebrated.

At our local celebration hosted by Bakersfield’s Malayalee Association, we shared traditional foods, dancing, and entertainment.  Bill Thomas was there to promote Measure J with this community.   Thank you to Congressman Bill Thomas, Zav Dadabhoy, and Kushnur Dadabhoy for attending this unique, special, and festive evening.  And thank you Shirley, President of BAMA for the invitation.

Prison University Project received the National Humanities Medal

On Thursday morning, President Obama awarded the 2015 National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal to distinguished recipients in the East Room of the White House. Jody Lewen, who is a strong advocate for the BC inmate education program, was on hand in person to accept the award presented to the Prison University Project by President Barack Obama. Jody previously sent an email recognizing this award includes everyone involved with this and similar efforts.

She said, “This award honors the extraordinary work of PUP faculty, students, friends, donors, staff, and everyone else who has worked tirelessly to make our work possible.  It also recognizes the entire community of people working throughout the country, to advance the cause of higher education in prison.  We are grateful for all of you.”

Check out these pictures, and for a video of President Obama’s comments, check out https://www.whitehouse.gov/live/president-obama-awards-2015-national-medals-arts-and-humanities

Congratulations to The Prison University Project! BC is proud to have such wonderful partners in education. We are grateful for you.

And thank you Rich McCrow, Brian Hirayama and others for your work on this!

Local Treasure: Coconut Joes


Sonya Christian, Jermale Turner at Coconut Joes

So, on friday, I had lunch at Coconut Joes for the very first time.  Just a wonderful place.  Beach setting and great music.  I found myself humming to the various tunes.  I also enjoyed talked to the owner Joseph (Joe) Coughlin the owner of the restaurant who was having a great time doing what it takes to make his customers happy.  Greeting them on one hand and then wiping down tables on the other.  He is a community volunteer who works with Dr. Paula Parks on the ASTEP program at BC.  He spoke passionately about how they were trying to get bus passes for students who could not afford them.

I was so delighted when he took me to the office at the back and introduced me to a BC student Jermale Turner who works at Coconut Joes.  Here is a selfie with Jermale.

I love seeing the entrepreneurial spirit alive and well in Bakersfield.  And I love seeing how much our community cares about Bakersfield College.  Of course, Joe Coughlin promptly endorsed Measure J and the list of endorsees is above 400 and growing everyday.  #WeAreBC and #WeAreBakersfield.

For more on Coconut Joes check out: http://www.coconutjoes.com/home

BC Athletics this week:

Women’s soccer led by Coach Scott Dameron moves to 4-2-2 with a 3-1 road win over Glendale College.  Odalys Espinoza scored her 5th goal over the last three matches. Next match at home Tuesday Sept. 27th v. West LA.

Led by Alyssa Morales, BC women finished first at the BC invitational held at Kern County Soccer Park. You can catch more action on Friday September 30th when Coach Kelley and her teams compete in the Western State Conference prelims also held at the soccer park.

sep-2016Wrestling led by Coach Clark & Coach Austin had a good showing at the Mt. SAC Duals beating Santa Ana and Sierra College before dropping their last of match of the day to Palomar College.  Sophomore wrestler Andrew Binger from North High was the male athlete of the week on the Renegade Report this week for his strong performances this past week.

Coach Carl Ferreira with the road warrior Women’s Volleyball 7-7 are steadily making progress while competing with the best teams in Southern California. Let’s welcome them home on Friday September 30th when they take on Moorpark College.

September 30th will be a busy day in BC Athletics hosting Cross Country Prelims, Women’s Volleyball and Womens’ Soccer.  Come join us in supporting these tremendous student athletes.  Be sure to check out www.gogades.com for updates.

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

I came across a posting on Facebook by  BC Astronomy professor Nick Strobel, who said, “Sign in men’s restroom at a Thai food restaurant in Grants Pass, Oregon: ‘Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future; Faith is the courage to dance to it today.’ The food was good too.”

The quote stood out to me and I was intrigued to check it out more and to find out its author. A few websites credited it to Peter Kuzmic, a Croatian pastor who tweeted the statement on his Twitter accountothers cited no author. Whoever the author may be has inspired me to be brave and seize the day. Today, let’s dance!



That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest College President ever.

(dressed for the Onam celebration with the Bakersfield Malayalee Association)

We are BC!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, May 7, 2016…..A good day to be a Renegade.

Woke up to a front-page article in The Bakersfield Californian about our veterans–Korean War veteran Art Gentry in a conversation with Kevin McCarthy at Bakersfield College.  Check out the story at http://tinyurl.com/zlykmbw.  Mary Jo Pasek, thank you for pulling this event together. Thank you Kristen Rabe and Manny De Los Santos. 

Well, we are now one week away from graduation.  a time of so many celebrations on campus–Honors Program, Latino Celebration, Black Graduates Celebration, Veterans Celebration….During this time our days at BC start at the crack of dawn and end rather late.  This last week during many of the activities though I found a deep quiet and stillness within me as I was immersed and present in all the fast movement.  It is a good time to be at BC!

Let me start this weekend blog with the Delano Prayer breakfast on Thursday, May 5th, at 6:30 a.m.  I was invited to speak at this event and the task turned out to be quite daunting; trying to figure out what I should speak on.  The days and nights leading up to the prayer breakfast had me exploring various framing ideas and finally settled on what gives life meaning.  Is life the pursuit of meaning (Frankl)? Or is life the pursuit of happiness?  There is a wonderful piece in The Atlantic Monthly, Jan 9, 2013 titled There is more to Life than being Happy (http://tinyurl.com/asf7lke) that keys off Frankl’s work in 1946 titled Man’s Search for Meaning.  So, I finally settled on the theme of my talk to be the “pursuit of meaning” rather than the “pursuit of happiness”.  Although I must say that having my peanut butter and jelly sandwich with coffee every morning is sheer happiness.  And I am amazed how much I enjoy my breakfast each morning as if I am having it for the first time.

Choir at Prayer Breakfast May 6 2016

Caesar Chavez HS Choir


Gustavo Romeo with WECOMM

Gustavo Enrique, Romeo Agbalog, WECOMM Students

Here are a few excerpts from my talk.  You can find the full version at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/president/delano-prayer-breakfast.


We, in this room, may be of different faiths, but we have a common belief that “whatsoever you do unto the least of my brethren you do unto me”.   Does the “least of my “brethren” have the same opportunity for success as the rest?

So you see, in the educational realm, there is much to be done.  Do we have the ability to “see” each and every student, In the movie Avatar we are introduced to the Na’vi concept of “To see” – I see you is to open the mind and heart to the present and embrace it as if encountering it for the first time with all of your senses.  Did you love the scene with Neytiri and Jake when he tells her “I see you?”   So, do we see each of our students and understand their circumstances and respond… respond quickly.   No waiting…. Waiting to respond is to be lulled by the status quo.  Martin Luther King in 1963 in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” wrote:

For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” …… This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”


The best way I can describe my dad is that he was always “true to the other.”

I suspect we all share the experience of having struggled with being honest with the other – a family member, a friend or a co-worker.  Do I share what I know, what I think or feel, do I risk causing hurt – or do I not? Do I decide on my own that an issue is not someone’s concern, so withhold information, keep others from having a vote?

My father was as wise as he was kind. He helped me understand that this sort of turmoil is a waste of energy; and it is at its core a kind of self-protective instinct. Not that self-protection is bad – it’s essential – but approaching life primarily from a defensive stance is limiting.  Rather, the question is how each of us cultivate a sense of being “true to the other” so that the focus is on “the other” rather than self…..An “I see you” approach.

As I’ve grown older, I have come to understand my father’s uncanny ability of being “true to the other”.  He was not a man who spoke much, not one for dissecting feelings or getting entangled in the dramas of the community or extended family.  Remember, I grew up in a catholic family in a small coastal community at the southern tip of India where everyone was in everyone else’s business.  My dad was very much part of this community very present, staying true to family, loved ones, colleagues and the community and yet with a mysterious ability to not be caught up with the dramas that ensue from a close community.  I have started to understand the essence of his attitude in three principles: Know yourself; Keep it simple; See the other.  He epitomized the sentiment expressed in a W.H. Auden couplet that a friend introduced me to:

If equal affection cannot be
Let the more loving one be me

Thank you Janet Rabanal, President of the Delano Chamber, for hosting such a wonderful event.  Also, I was touched when you took the time to quietly bring me a plate of eggs with delicious potatoes after my talk.  I was so happy to see Trustee Romeo Agbalog at the event.  He is such an advocate for education and an advocate for the Delano community.

I was so proud to see Rich McCrow, Gustavo Enriquez and our WECOMM students share diversity and acceptance as a central theme to service. As we prayed for people of different communities and career types, such as educators, social justice workers, public service men and woman, and even inmates, our WECOMM students shared statistical data and the idea that together, we are one humankind community.  

Kaitlyn Raybuck and Jacqueline Lomba

Jacqueline Lomba, Kaitlyn Raybuck

Talking about community, I was especially touched by witnessing kindness, love, and our ability to quickly respond when tragedy recently hit one of our BC students. Kaitlyn Raybuck is a bright and successful young woman who suddenly lost her mother at the tender age of 42. Kaitlyn’s mom, Jacqueline Lomba, was a veteran who served our country, and she was also a great example of selfless love and service to others, taking in two foster sisters when they were homeless high school students.  The picture here is of mother and daughter at Kaitlyn’s senior year of high school.

I was made aware of the situation by Joyce Kirst, one of our Academic Development faculty, who in partnering with Paul Beckworth, our lead faculty for Veterans Affairs, rallied around this wonderful young woman during a time of great need. Paul’s compassion and knowledge has made a positive difference for Kaitlyn’s family. This story, even though terribly tragic, gives me a great sense of hope and inspiration that our BC family is on the right path of ministry for our students. To Paul and Joyce, thank you for being the good in our community and for being true to our students. And Kaitlyn, you inspire me.  All through my drive back from Tehachapi, your words, your face and your voice, delivering the eulogy played in my mind over and over again.  Your mom is proud of you.

Here is Kaitlyn’s email to Joyce:

Date: April 30, 2016, 12:37:56 AM PDT
To: Joyce Kirst <jkirst@bakersfieldcollege.edu>
Subject: I am grateful


I am at a loss of words over the overwhelming love and support I have received from not only you, but the students and numerous staff on campus. The cards are beside my bed and they give me such great comfort right now. I have cried so much this past week, and it all seems so surreal. I am grateful to have wonderful people like you in my life.

My mother’s funeral will be this Tuesday at 10 am. I am delivering her eulogy and the Navy will honor her at the Bakersfield National Cemetary. I am so thankful you put me in touch with Professor Beckworth, and because of your help my mother will be honored and it will be of no expense to my family. The funeral costs will also be reimbursed, and I have made myself an appointment with Veteran’s Services to discuss benefits for my siblings so that they can have tuition free college and perhaps some sort of trust so that they can be taken care of until they are eighteen.

Again, words cannot express how thankful I am for all that you have done for me. I will see you Monday.




Wheels Downtown


On Saturday, April 30th a group from BC joined student leader Enrique Martinez for Wheels Downtown—a ‘walk’ through the downtown area of Bakersfield to point out some of the access issues faced by people with disabilities.  The event was sponsored by Martinez’ new Independence Foundation.

“We want to participate in activities downtown and frequent businesses, but the lack of curb cuts and pot holes can be prohibitive,” said Martinez.

Attending the gathering was Christopher Gerry from the City Manager’s Office. who spent time talking with participants and noting the access issues brought up.  Also attending the walk were a numberof Bakersfield mayoral candidates.  The walk ended at a new downtown establishment, Centro 18, for tacos and conversations.

Representatives from the BC DISC Club (Disabilities Inspire and Support Change), who just won the Renegade Spirit Award also turned out.

It was wonderful to see Karen Goh, CEO of Garden Pathways, supporting individuals with disabilities and the BC DISC Club.  Karen you are a great partner of education!

BC currently serves over 1,000 students with any kind of learning, mental health or physical disability.  In addition to providing classroom accommodations, we offer job preparation support and specialized classes for our students with disabilities at Bakersfield College. The main office is located in the Counseling Center to get more information or to sign up for services.

A wonderful evening of music

On Wednesday, May 4th, BC’Performing Arts program  showcased all of our music programs starting with our award winning Drumline in the gym followed by an evening of incredible music filling the outdoor theater.  The Chair of the Performing Arts program Dr. John Gerhold emceed the event and it was clear that he was so proud of the faculty conductors, the support staff and the students.

Jorge Santos Sonya Christian May 4 2016

Jorge Santos, Sonya Christian

Kris Tiner and the fabulous BC Jazz Ensemble kicked off the evening with an early Miles Davis piece, 1940’s vintage. Jorge Santos later played a solo that captured the essence of Miles Davis, but with his own style. Jorge is one of our Applied Music majors who will be transferring to CSUB in the fall.  Jorge later connected with me and I enjoyed hearing his story.  BC students rock!

First time ever, the BC Choir and the BC Jazz Ensemble cooperated on a rousing version of Sing, Sing, Sing. All of the women from both the Choir and Chamber singers joined for a moving version of Music Down in My Soul. Regina Shelton, our talented pianist and accompanist was featured.

The men from both the Choir and the Chamber singers brought a bit of humor to the concert with, Please Mr. Columbus. The song gave us a behind-the-scenes view of what Columbus’ crew members were thinking on their long voyage to the new world.  And Jen Garret was absolutely fabulous.

Performers May 4 2016

The combined vocal groups filled the stage. Their last piece featured percussion instruments in an African piece that Translates to All Creatures of Our God and King.

The Concert Band, under the direction of Tim Heasley, showed their versatility by playing two pieces a world apart, Bolero and Officer Krumpke from Westside Story. Both highly entertaining in their own way. The Orchestra followed, with Lisa Buringrud conducting, the piece from Porgy and Bess. Last performance of the evening was a folk piece, Cindy.

May 11th is California Community College Music Instructors Day. Take a moment next week to tell our fabulous music faculty how much you appreciate their talent and their dedication to our music students.

BC Athletics:

BC Athletics has had yet another stellar year with 15 of 19 programs advancing to post-season play.  Baseball, Track, Swimming and Beach Volleyball continue to represent in post-season play this week.

CCCAA Regional Round 1, #9 seeded BC Baseball took game one of a three games series from #8 seeded Long Beach City College 5-2 on Friday afternoon.  Hudson Hartley had a dominating performance in a complete game effort. First pitch of game two is 11:00am today.  If necessary game three will start at 3:00pm.

BC Track & Field sends 25 participants to the CCCAA Southern California Prelims at Antelope Valley College today, the top 12 out of 27 in each event qualifying for the Finals to be held next weekend.

BC Swimming has three athletes still competing in the CCCAA State Championships today. Erik Wood, Sara Klang and Brianna Smith each will swim one more event this morning with finals this afternoon.

Beach Volleyball #1 pairs team Sara Aurin and Alyssa Mathews advanced to the CCCAA State Championships at Grossmont College today.  BC’s Beach team completed their season at the Regional event this past week.

Latino graduates celebration:

I started my Thursday morning in Delano at the Prayer Breakfast and ended it with BC’s Latino graduates celebration.  This year the event was organized by Victor Diaz and team under the guidance of Corny Rodriguez.  Dolores Huerta was the keynote speaker and her energetic and passionate speech, I am sure, has created a lasting memory for our students. It was wonderful seeing our faculty and students just beaming at this event.  Thank you Trustee Kyle Carter for attending this event.

Corny Nan Sonya Kyle May 5 2016

Corny Rodriguez, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sonya Christian, Kyle Carter

Current Renegade graduate and a little future Renegade

Tameika May 5 2016

Tamika Payne, her daughter, Sonya Christian

Milt and Betty Younger honored:

The very same evening of the Latino celebration, Milt and Betty Younger were the 2016 Hillel Award recipients.  BC had a full table with Exec VP Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg at the event to support the Youngers who are good friends of the College.  Do check out my Sep 12, 2014 posting on Betty’s sculpture Circle of Friends that was installed on our campus.  This sculpture honors Jim Young, Chancellor Emeritus of KCCD and an advocate for education.   http://tinyurl.com/zbq8k28.

Milt and Betty younger.jpg

Physics Olympics

On April 29, we invited students from over a dozen high schools in Kern County to compete in the annual Physics Olympics. Teams competed in events that required both skills and knowledge in theoretical and experimental physics and engineering.

This wonderful event promotes interest in the fields of physics and engineering, with 18 different events held throughout our campus. Many thanks to the Kern High School District for sponsoring this great event for our local high school students!

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Nurse’s Week

This past week was Nurse’s Week. Our nursing faculty & staff set up a table outside the skills lab with treats and snacks for our students. Our faculty also put together some amazing door prizes. Thank you also to partners in the community that donated prizes: Dignity Hospital, San Joaquin Hospital, FullSizeRenderHealthSouth, Central Valley Office Supply, Pepsi and the Bakersfield Condors.

I received an email from Cindy Collier, our Dean of Nursing and Allied Health, thanking everyone for their donations. She said, “This is how you build a community!”

This is just another great example of the community we share – not just among our BC faculty and staff, but throughout Bakersfield.

And speaking of our fantastic Nursing department, Carla Gard, our Associate Dean/Director of Nursing Programs, let me know that our average annual pass rate for the NCSBN has increased to 91.27%. Our first time test takers had a 94.5% pass rate.

I am so proud of our students and their hard work – they truly will make Kern County a healthier place!

Wow…. it is already 3:40 p.m.  I have had commitments today that has made it impossible to make progress on my blog.  It is time now to get this blog published.  Until next time then…..

BC Delano’s Coffee with a Cop: Bringing Police and Community Together

Right before opening day Jan 15 2016

Jennifer Marden, Dylan Wang, Sonya Christian, Shannon Musser, Francis Mayer. Opening Day. Jan 15, 2016

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is January 16, 2016.

We have launched another great semester at BC!  Will blog about Opening Day next weekend after all the photos and videos come in.  So make sure you tune in.

I’m recalling Spring 2015 when our opening day was at the Delano campus.  It was just a wonderful event.  Thank you Delano for the big white tent, the warm heaters and the amazing food.  We also had two incredible leaders join us: Lynda Resnick and Guardie Banister.  Thank you Trustee Romeo Agbalog for attending.  Check out the photos gallery at


Speaking of Delano, let me showcase a recent event where our campus partnered with the Delano Police Department.

This is a difficult time to be a police officer.  Regardless of where you stand on many of the complex issues and events that have pushed policing into the forefront of American conversation in recent months, it’s impossible not to have sympathy for the overwhelming majority of the men and women who serve and protect.  They perform a vital service in an increasingly hostile and dangerous environment with a rapidly dwindling margin of error.

SAM_7441With law enforcement so under the microscope these days, the best way I can imagine to help soothe anger or distrust between police and their community is also the simplest — basic one-on-one communication.  If you can help remove the fear, anxiety, power divide and amplified emotions that can happen when a cop and a community member interact, you’re really just left with two people talking as equals, the best grounds possible for mutual understanding and respect.

SAM_7445So it should come as no surprise that I was thrilled with the “Coffee with a Cop” event held on BC’s Delano campus a few weeks ago.

Coordinated between Delano Police, BC’s Rural Initiatives Program Manager Gustavo Enriquez and Delano campus Director Rich McCrow, Coffee with a Cop was just what it sounds like — a chance for BC Delano students and staff to grab a cup of coffee and a donut and speak casually with a handful of engaged, open and community-minded Delano police officers.

There were no speeches or big presentations and nothing by way of a structured agenda.  For two hours, students and faculty simply streamed into the campus’ main lobby area, enjoyed a morning pick-me-up and got a chance to meet and really talk with four of Delano Police’s finest in a casual, informal setting.

SAM_7432Attendance was great and everyone involved said they were very appreciative for the chance to just get together, hang out and talk on a personal level to these fine young men.

We all know that coffee and conversation isn’t by itself a quick fix for concerns that people may have. But any single step, even a modest one like Coffee with a Cop, is progress toward building trust. Toward building community.

A huge thank you to Delano Police Chief Mark DeRosia and his fine cadre of officers as well as Gustavo and Rich for pulling this fantastic event together! Delano Rocks! The Fore is with…BC!


Does it take a village, or does it take a county? Thank you Kern County Board of Supervisors!

Arvin High Project Team

Rich McCrow, Gustavo Enrique, Jareth Regapala, Sonya Christian, Michael Turnipseed, David Teasdale, Alfonso Noyola

This morning I attended the County of Kern Board of Supervisors meeting to wait for a very special agenda item: the awarding of $400,000 to Arvin High School for a partnership with Bakersfield College that brings college courses to Arvin and helps students in the area achieve higher education completion sooner, and in fields of study relevant to immediate employability in key industries.

Bakersfield College has been focusing on improving educational attainment levels in rural Kern and the work in the Arvin/Lamont community has been critical.  With the funding from the County of Kern Board of Supervisors for the new 1+1+2=Game Changer program, Bakersfield College’s relationship with Arvin High School is expanding, and the opportunities for local students are increasing tremendously.

Much of what Bakersfield College does is guided by the Educational Master Plan, which directs the college to “explore new avenues” to educate the area’s socioeconomically disadvantaged population. Within the Educational Master Plan is the Rural Communities Initiative, which focuses on the rural communities inside Bakersfield College’s service area, and outlines specific strategies and tactics for reaching these communities with higher education information and access.

Richard McCrow, who came to Bakersfield College to oversee the operations at our campus in Delano, quickly became Bakersfield College’s lead administrator for all of our rural initiatives, designing programs and partnerships to take higher education into communities like Arvin, Lamont, Delano, Shafter, Wasco, and many more. The Rural Communities Initiative guides how Bakersfield College moves among communities where unemployment and poverty are often higher than statewide averages and educational attainment levels lower.

Rich has been expanding our offerings in the Arvin area. We already offer courses in the evenings at Arvin High School, and now the plan includes components focusing on dual enrollment and educational advising. Dual enrollment allows high school students to take courses that count simultaneously for high school and college credit, and these courses help students work toward their higher education goals.

I’m pleased that today, the County of Kern Board of Supervisors put their support behind the program by awarding Arvin High School $400,000 to make the partnership possible through more courses, a state-of-the-art interactive classroom, and technologically advanced equipment.

In brief, 1+1+2=Game Changer provides a program of study for incoming high school freshmen to take college courses at Arvin High School during the traditional school day. At the end of four years, these students will have completed their high school education and a full year of Bakersfield College classes, and will need just one more year at Bakersfield College to complete one of three educational pathways:

  • Transfer to California State University, Bakersfield for a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Supply Chain Logistics.
  • Completion of an Associate of Arts in Agriculture Business Management at Bakersfield College.
  • Application to the Bakersfield College Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation degree program.

Bryon Schaefer

So many people made this program possible. I thank our partners, Kern High School District Superintendent Dr. Bryon Schaefer and Arvin High School Principal Carlos Sardo for their willingness to make differentiated educational opportunities possible. I thank the team that put together the proposal for their hard work: Rich McCrow, Delano Campus Director; Gustavo Enriquez, Student Success Program Manager at the Delano Campus; Veronica Lucas, Counselor at the Delano Campus; and Jareth Regpala, Counselor at Arvin High School. The 1+1+2=Game Changer program was supported among county administrative staff, including Assistant County Administrative Officer Teresa Hitchcock and Ricardo Del Hoyo from the office of Supervisor Leticia Perez.

The original momentum to making this happen came from Michael Turnipseed, CEO of Kern Taxpayers Association and Supervisor Leticia Perez, both not only committed to workforce development for the region but also able to take action quickly and decisively. I enjoyed the remarks made by Alfonso Noyola, City Manager for Arvin, as well as David Teasdale from Kern Community College District.

Amber Chiang

Amber Chiang

Things can happen rather fast here at Bakersfield College, and I’m glad we have a team working together who are willing to step in and take care of whatever may come up. That was the case yesterday when I received a phone call asking if BC could draft a press release. I called Amber Chiang, Bakersfield College’s public information officer, and gave her little more than three hours to talk to five different people and read a 25-page proposal in order to create a draft press release that could be distributed to news media as soon as the Board of Supervisors approved the funding. Of course, as she always does, Amber took the task on with flair and gusto, and produced a release that went out at 10:32 this morning. The release is posted on Amber’s page on the Bakersfield College website if you’d like to read it.

I look forward to telling you more about 1+1+2=Game Changer in coming blog posts. With this program, we are truly changing the game of education for current, and future, students in the Arvin and Lamont area of Kern County. We are BC!