Tag Archives: Romeo Agbalog

KCCD – Daring Mighty Things

Last Sunday, I read Nick Strobel’s article in the Bakersfield Californian about the Ingenuity helicopter – which has now had several successful test flights on Mars.

Check out this video from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) showing the first flight, on Monday, April 19th:

Innovation at its very best – and, yes, ingenuity – of all of the scientists and engineers who came together and were able to successfully fly a helicopter on the Red Planet. It was no easy task. As Nick mentions in his article, the surface air pressure on Mars makes it equivalent to 100,000 feet altitude on Earth, and the highest helicopter flight on Earth has only made it to about 41,000 feet.

It was against the backdrop of this inspirational scientific achievement that I was honored to be named the 6th Chancellor of the Kern Community College District, succeeding current Chancellor Tom Burke when he retires this summer.

April 19th felt auspicious to me for the public announcement — the same day that Ingenuity took its first flight on another world. The words “Dare Mighty Things” – JPL’s motto, first attributed to Theodore Roosevelt – written in binary code inside the parachute of the Perseverance Mars lander.

Loved the news coverage. The KGET youtube video made it to my hometown in Quilon, Kerala. Check it out

Then woke up to Steven Mayer‘s featured article in The Bakersfield Californian, front page, above the fold. Beautiful pictures by Alex Horvath.

Christian asked employees in the district — and by extension, the entire community — to join together, to “lock arms and do mighty things.”

At the Kern Community College District, we predict the future by creating it

Read more at: https://tinyurl.com/as6ca4fc

I want to thank Trustees Kay Meek and Romeo Agbalog for their kind words during the announcement.

Kay Meek:

Romeo Agbalog:

And a few photos from the event:

I am deeply honored and humbled to have been selected to lead the Kern Community College District. Together we will dare mighty things for all the students we serve.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 24, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

President’s Virtual Seminar Series – Campus Reopening

This week, we had two more President’s Virtual Seminar Series forums to discuss our return to campus.

On Tuesday, the Student Work Group provided student perspectives. Chef Anna Melby and student Amanda Atksinson discussed what it’s been like on campus for culinary arts students. We also heard from Professor Thomas Rush and Industrial Automation student Benjamin Neville. Bradley Cramer and Monica Huyck also gave an update from academic support services.

On Thursday, we had more updates from the Instructional Work Group, led by Dean Richard McCrow. Panelists on Thursday included three psychology professors – Isaias Hernandez, Christina Howell, and David Riess.

Thank you to Nicky Damania, who introduced both sessions this week, as well as to Earl Parsons and Todd Coston for their continued support in this series.

You can find all the President’s Virtual Seminar Series videos on the Bakersfield college website.

As you can see from our forums, we are hard at work preparing for the return to campus – check out this photo of Bill Moseley, Dean of Academic Technologies, and Eileen Pierce, Program Manager for Academic Support Programs, as they were on campus getting ready this week:

2021 Bakersfield College Art Student Show

The directors of the Wylie and May Louise Jones Gallery are pleased to present the 2021 Bakersfield College Art Student Exhibition. The exhibit includes student made artwork, created in Bakersfield College art courses in media ranging from charcoal drawings, acrylic paintings, photography, graphic design, ceramics, video, and many others. The work was juried by Seattle based artist Teddy “Stat” Phillips.    

In past years, this exhibition has been located physically in the Wylie and May Louise Jones Gallery on the Bakersfield College campus. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, this will be our second year displaying the work as a digital exhibition. This exhibit represents the commitment and strength of our students in the face of uncertain times and displays the resiliency Bakersfield College art students have in their continued efforts working in a virtual environment.  

The work is available now at https://www.flickr.com/photos/192804348@N08/

You can also find and share the work at our social media sites below. Please support our BC art students by liking and sharing with your networks:

For more information please contact the Jones Gallery directors: jonesgallery@gmail.com.

NEH Conference with Mark Arax Keynote

This past Thursday saw the final events related to the National Endowment for the Humanities-funded project Energizing Humanities in California’s Southern San Joaquin Valley.

The day’s panels were dedicated to the memory of Gerald Haslam, who served as our grant project’s first speaker in 2017 and was an Oildale native, BC alumnus, prolific and celebrated author, and longtime educator. Gerry passed away last week and will be missed.

Mark Arax

The one-day conference culminated with a speaking engagement featuring Mark Arax.

Mark Arax is an author and journalist whose writings on California and the West have received numerous awards for literary nonfiction. He is a former staffer at the Los Angeles Times and The California Sunday Magazine, and his books include a memoir of his father’s murder, a collection of essays about the West, and the best-selling The King of California. Much of Arax’s work focuses on the Central Valley, and his most recent book, The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California, uses family memoir, history, and extensive reportage on the land to tell the epic story of California’s invention and reinventions through the bending of water.

Other topics included:

Place Based Pedagogy and Our Experiences in the “Energizing Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley” Grant Project, which saw project directors Oliver Rosales, Josh Ottum, and Andrew Bond join current and previous faculty fellows to talk about their experiences during the run of the grant and how it has influenced their work.

Narrating the Southern San Joaquin Valley: Journalism and the Past and Future of Storytelling in the Region featured panelists Mark Arax, Olivia Garcia, Jose Gaspar, Lois Henry, Joe Moore, and Reyna Olaguez. Moderators were Erin Auerbach, BC journalism professor; and Haley Duval, Editor-in-Chief of The Renegade Rip.

Chris Cruz-Boone

First Annual Pursuing the Dream Conference

The AB 540/Undocumented Students Program and Rural Initiatives at Bakersfield College will be hosting our first annual Pursuing the Dream Conference: Resources-Advocacy-Empowerment for our Undocumented Student Community on Friday, April 30th from 1:30 PM -5:30 PM. This one-day conference is designed for students, educators, family, and community members to receive information on pursuing higher education, including the resources and support available to the undocumented student community.

Throughout the conference you will hear from one of the first undocumented students to receive a degree from Harvard, UFW Foundation lawyers, licensed therapists, BC and CSUB staff, students, and more! Please encourage your undocumented students and campus allies to attend.

Student Leadership & Involvement Awards Virtual Ceremony

Please join us for The Student Leadership and Involvement Awards Ceremony, coordinated by the Office of Student Life, which recognizes the accomplishments of our registered student organizations and various leaders at Bakersfield College. This event is to acknowledge their achievements to better the College community. It is an opportunity to showcase the wide variety of activities that occurred this year and to demonstrate ingenuity and creative talent. Let’s get together virtually and applaud the recipients!

The event will be on Thursday, April 29, from 6-7 pm. Registration is required by Wednesday, April 28. You can RSVP at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/osl/awards.

BC Faculty speak to Liberty High students

Over the 2020 winter break, Professor Jeff Newby of the History Department was asked to join in on a dual enrollment history class at Liberty High School. Ms. Alyson Moss, one of Liberty’s first dual enrollment instructors, has worked closely with BC to provide her students with an experience as close as possible to actually being in a college classroom. Professor Newby spent the day meeting with three of her classes to go over how to construct historical-argumentative essays.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience helping bridge the gap between high school and college.

On April 13, 2021, Ms. Alyson Moss invited Professors Jeff Newby and Olivia Garcia back to Liberty High School, this time to speak to Liberty’s National Social Studies Honors Society (NSSHS). The purpose of the NSSHS is promote scholarship and academic excellence in social studies, as well as encourage an active interest in social studies in students’ communities and school environments.

Ms. Moss introduced both professors who spoke at length about their own personal journeys towards becoming college professors, advice they had picked up along the way, and the importance of earning a degree in the humanities. They then fielded questions from over 40 students ranging from Professor Garcia’s time as a journalist to Professor Newby’s time teaching abroad.

Umoja Community celebrates creative expression

Umoja Community program offered two recent Indabas to showcase the arts and foster creativity through expression. The Indabas (important meeting with important people) are offered each Monday to engage and connect students.

Poet/vocalist/activist Gina Loring

Poet/vocalist/activist Gina Loring spoke and sang a couple of her poems and offered writing prompts to empower students. She told students, “your voice is your liberation.”

Blake Burton said the prompts around identity and commitment “really made me think.”

Performer/writer/musician Dahlak Brathwaite

The other artist was spoken word/performer/musician Dahlak Brathwaite. Umoja partnered with BC’s Jazz Studies program to bring Dahlak to BC.

Dahlak shared clips from his solo play and film Spirit Trials. Those works traced the history of African Americans through music with the theme of adaptation.

In the film, the Sacramento native said sometimes you have to be someone else, but “the key is to never to lose yourself because to adapt is to be human so that you don’t disappear. What good is adapting if it means part of you isn’t still here.”

After that line, the chat was popping with, “that was so dope” and “whew.”

With the Jazz ensemble students, Dahlak talked about adapting from the creative and musical side. He explained how he merged forms (drama, spoken word, music, and poetry) to find the best platform for his message. He added that through freestyling he has learned not to be afraid to mess up.

Zariyah, an Umoja student and theatre major, said she admired how open and free he was – both creatively and in his worldview.

These two examples of creativity and expression sparked something inside students.

Umoja Community is a program designed for motivated African-American students to increase success and retention. It includes coursework with a cultural component, academic and cultural trips, and counseling support to keep students on track to graduate.

Thanks to Dr. Paula L. Parks, Umoja Coordinator, and Professor Kris Tiner, Jazz Studies lead, for partnering to expose students to the arts.

Welcome Marcos Rodriguez!

From email from Mike Giacomini:

Good afternoon,

I am very pleased to announce that Marcos Rodriguez will be joining the Bakersfield College team as the Executive Director of Facilities and Operations and will effectively lead this ever-growing department and teams as we continue to maneuver through the pandemic while simultaneously expanding our Measure J program on our campuses.  Marcos will be joining our Maintenance and Operations team on Monday, 4/26/21 to continue serving our community at each of our BC locations across Kern County.

Mr. Rodriguez is a local Kern County citizen who attended our own Bakersfield College and went on to getting a bachelor degree in Environmental Resource Management, and masters degrees in Industrial and Technical Studies and in Business Administration.

With this specialized education, Marcos has served schools with close to twenty years of management experience in local college campuses as well as elementary, middle and high school districts – all in Kern County.   

Please join me in welcoming Marcos Rodriguez to the Renegade family.

Commencement Committee – Hard at Work

The Commencement Committee has been hard at work. Kevin Ganger, Jeff Huston, Renegade student Julian, John Gerhold, and Josh Ottum joined Monika Scott to record the National Anthem this week. Be sure to tune in on May 16th to see this performance as we honor and celebrate the Renegade Class of 2021.

The special televised event will air on May 16th at 6 p.m. on KGET Channel 17 or on Telemundo Valle Central Channel 13 (with antennae, 17.3). This event will also be streamed on KGET’s website and KGET-TV17 Bakersfield Facebook. You do not need to have a Facebook account to view the stream on Facebook.

Poetry Corner

Please enjoy this poem sent to me by Jack Hernandez:

Pages

Have I had enough?
the seasons keep coming
ignoring the cries
of those scrambling below
to find a branch
above the flood.
a hill from which
to watch the sun’s
upward glow.

Mornings continue
to unfold
familiar pages
and I’ll reread them,
I have not yet
had enough,
the words   the words
always new.

Updates from EOPS

EOPS Regalia Distribution

The EOPS/CARE/CalWORKs/NextUp team hosted their annual Cap & Gown event to provide prospective BC graduates with their commencement regalia. Over 223 students visited the drive through event to pick up their free cap & gown as well as a certificate for their participation with the programs. EOPS/CARE/CalWORKs/NextUp wants to congratulate this year’s graduating class!

CSUB Transfer Information Session

Bakersfield College’s EOPS Department partnered with CSUB’s EOP and Office of Admissions to better prepare and inform students on the process of transferring in Fall 2021 and future semesters. CSUB’s EOP department was able to provide information to students to help them understand their EOP admissions process, services and resources offered upon transfer. CSUB’s Office of Admissions provided updates, reminders, and helpful tips for students transferring in the Fall. CSUB informed BC students on the transfer admissions requirements for their upcoming Spring 2022 application.

Career Education Workshops for EOPS students

Bakersfield College’s EOPS department partnered with Career Education to provide three informative workshops for the EOPS student groups. Through these workshops, Career Education provided training on Professional Resume Building, Jobspeaker, and Interview Skills which will support students with securing employment at BC and/or in the community.

In the News

Community Voices; College lets you broaden your worldview

This week, journalism professor and Renegade Rip adviser Erin Auerbach wrote a piece in the Bakersfield Californian about the importance of college for students to find the best path for their own futures.

“Taking a class in welding does not force you to become a welder. But it will teach you a skill that might prove useful for future options. Opportunity abounds, so take a chance on yourself. Attend an informational meeting. Sign up for that class that looks interesting.”

Kern County leaders say Chauvin trial is just the beginning

On Tuesday, former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd, whose death launched widespread protest across the country last summer.

Bakersfield College’s Tommy Tunson spoke with 23ABC about the need the change our training and education programs for police officers.

“The training and education that we currently have, I think, is not enough to address racial equity and social justice in the curriculum in police academies,” he said.

Spotted on Social Media

Jonathan Schultz shared a pic of some Umoja gear:

Jen Garrett shared a behind the scenes look at filming for the upcoming BC Chamber Singers video project.

BC Rural Initiatives shared information about an upcoming mobile vaccine clinic in Arvin on Tuesday, April 27, from 8 am to 1 pm. For more information, visit the Arvin High School website.

And Maria Wright shared this pic of her husband Jamal Wright and their son, who had a close encounter with a dino:

Athletics

Track and Field and Swimming Get Underway

Both Track and Field and Swimming got their abbreviated Spring II sports season underway this last weekend.

Track and Field traveled to compete at Antelope Valley where they faced not only AVC but also Santa Monica. Both the men and women placed first overall. To view individual T/F results click this link.

The Renegade Swim squad went to Santa Monica where they topped the Corsairs with an overall score of 167-77. The men won 102-19 and the women 65-58. To view individual Swim results click this link. Way to go Renegade T/F and Swim!!

That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC — Beat Covid

BC stands for Beat Covid — David Torres

David Torres, Centric Health Foundation Chairman, put it best “BC may stand for Bakersfield College, but to all of us here in this community, for us, BC stands for Beats Covid.”

I loved his energy and excitement at the clinic:

We also celebrated Community Relations Director Norma Rojas-Mora’s birthday with a drive-through singalong:

On Friday, March 26, Bakersfield College hosted our second big drive-through vaccination event – vaccinating 1,025 people!

I am grateful to everyone whose hard work and dedication helped make BC’s second drive-through Covid vaccination clinic an absolute success.

Check out more pictures from the March 26 clinic on BC’s SmugMug site.

I’m continuing to share pictures of our vaccinated Renegades. If you’d like to share your vaccination photo, please email it to president@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

BC supporter Nicole Parra got her vaccination at our first drive-thru clinic:

Nicole Parra getting vaccinated

Program Manager for Counseling & Student Success Isabel Castaneda tweeted about her Johnson&Johnson vaccination:

Food Services Manager Fidel Cabuena got his second Pfizer shot:

Department Assistant Cheryl Caswell-Fairbanks got the shot with her husband and Shawn Newsom from the History Department:

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 3, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

This Easter weekend, I wanted to share a few photos of spring flowers:

And the rose season is getting started:

First Lady comes to Central Valley

This week, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visited the Central Valley to meet with farmworkers at The Forty Acres. She was joined by Gov. Gavin Newsom in touring The Forty Acres, which was created by Cesar Chavez and became the headquarters for the United Farmworkers of America, and in thanking farmworkers for their hard work during the pandemic. Connie Perez-Andreeson from the BC Foundation Board introduced Dr. Jill Biden…. so cool!

And here is an Instagram post by FLOTUS; the picture is of Connie introducing her.

Sonya Christian, Dolores Huerta, Norma Rojas-Mora

Young Mothers for Peace

Mothers for Peace, the first in a series of seminars through the Bakersfield College Peace Initiative, kicked off on Tuesday this week with a Zoom webinar where panelists reflected on their experiences and concerns as they raise their children, as well as their visions for a peaceful future. Norma Rojas-Mora, served as emcee. Our panelists were Sandy Woo-Cater, Anti-Trafficking Expert; Lauren Skidmore, District Director for Assembly Member Vince Fong; Pawan Gill, Director of HR and Community Development for the City of Arvin; and Antrenette Carr, Human Resources Manager at Amazon.

Here are my opening remarks:

Then, our panelists each gave a short introduction of themselves and their families:

Norma then asked our panelists to reflect on a series of questions.

As a mother, what do you see as the threat?

Let’s fast forward to 2035, your child is now an adult. As you envision that world what do you want it look like? 

What do you want to do to reach that vision for a peaceful society  in 2035?  What is your call to action?

Norma wrapped up the seminar with a few closing comments:

Please stay tuned to the BC Peace Initiative website for information about upcoming seminars, events, and other projects.

Early College Info Night at Valley Oaks Charter

Last Thursday the Early College team hosted a virtual student & parent information night for Valley Oaks Charter School. The session was focused on incoming 9th graders and their parents, but was open for all Valley Oaks students. The student testimonials were the highlight of the event. Two graduating seniors shared their experiences with taking Early College classes through Valley Oaks. They also participated in a question and answer session for the parents and students.

Here are some quotes from our Early College students:


“It’s a really good experience… If you do start, I would start with 1-2 classes.” – Jaxon Young


“I was nervous too. It’s ok to be nervous. It puts a little bit of pressure on you but don’t be afraid to ask your professors for help.” – Elise Mayer

Inmate Scholars Update

Jennifer Craig, an assistant professor of English and the Inmate Scholars Program, sent out the latest edition of the Inmate Scholars Newsletter on March 26.

You can check it out below:

She also shared two links – Success Stories (Roberto Luca’s story), and Professor Sara Wallace’s Reflections from Outside blog.

Spotted on Social Media

BC Cheer shared a throwback photo from the 1994-1995 squad:

The Kern Exceptional Family Center shared some pictures from their vaccination clinic in partnership with the Kern Regional Center and Bakersfield College:

History Professor Olivia Garcia spotted some Easter cheer on a trail:

One of our Culinary Arts students was preparing pastry boxes for Nixtamal Cafe:

Job Development Specialist Carlos Medina’s family took a bike ride through the bluffs:

The Story of Kitty

Before I wrap up with the Athletics Corner that Brandon sends my way, I wanted you to enjoy this story written by one of my regular contributors to the blog, Dr. Jack Hernandez, aka “Grandpa Jack” who wrote a delightful short story for his seven year old granddaughter who is a terrific gymnast…she was cartwheeling and flipping when he was visiting in Williamstown.

        Kitty was a small, grey fluffy cat. Her older sister, Kiki, loved to musically meow and dance, waving her paws in the air like flags. Her big brother, Cosmic, was a superstar mouse chaser.

        But one morning as Kitty watched them from her high breakfast perch she wondered what she could do to be happy like them. She remembered all the things she had tried to do, but hadn’t worked.

        First she had tried swimming, but didn’t like her fur all wet, soggy, and heavy. So that didn’t work.

        Next she had played catball, but didn’t like waiting for her turn, plus she missed too many. So that didn’t work.

        Then she had gone outside on the grass to race snails, but that was too easy. Like even an ant can beat a snail. So that didn’t work.

        Finally she had tried tooting a horn, but didn’t like her lips all tired and worn. So that didn’t work.

        O me, o my, she thought, what can I do? And as she sat and wondered, she suddenly fell from her perch and without thinking landed upright on her paws! Wow, she said, I can do this, can do tricks in the air!

        So when her mama cat, Lipsi, brought her a pancake, she asked her how she could learn to leap and turn, leap and circle in the air.

        He mom answered, “I know a place, Kitty, that teaches kiddy cats to do catnastics, and after breakfast I’ll take you there.”

        “Thank you, mom,” Kitty purred as she put some syrup on her pancake.

        So that very afternoon Kitty began her catnastics lessons. And she practiced and practiced.

        Then one day, not too long after, she was cartwheeling her way! Here and there! Everywhere!

        O how she could flip and dip! Backward and forward! Up and down! Cat flips to the ceiling, to the floor. Tricks, tricks, and tricks galore!

        She was no longer just watching other cats in their jazzy fur. She was now cool, cool Kitty. Jumping. Pumping. Swinging and zinging. Every day.  Every way.

        And that is how she became Kitty–The Cartwheeling Cat.

Athletics

Volleyball End Spring I Season With Perfect Record

Even though they were not playing competitively for over a year, the Renegade Women’s Volleyball squad is playing like they haven’t skipped a beat. They recently wrapped up play in the abbreviated California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) Spring I sports season with a perfect 9-0 record. In the process they swept seven of the nine opponents and only gave up two sets in those nine games. While there will be no conference or state championship for them to play at the end of this season, we are proud of the what they accomplished and how they represented BC!

Coach Littlejohn on KGET Coaches Corner

Be sure to catch our very own Renegade Head Football Coach R. Todd Littlejohn as he joins KGET sports reporter Taylor Schaub to dissect the local high school football games each week. Watch last week’s segment of the first week of Kern High District games by clicking below:

https://www.kget.com/sports/ffx/ffx-week-one-coaches-corner/?fbclid=IwAR3svyQOQZXFYFbV76l5gO-6j12HgZw0fv4YtareC3PPx1ijyg3uiIdRueA

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That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Bakersfield College – Bakersfield’s Disneyland

I woke up on Monday, March 22, to this headline in The Bakersfield Californian, written by its executive editor, Christine L. Peterson:

Christine L. Peterson

‘Today is a victory’: BC hosts first mass drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Kern

“They’re not celebrating at Disneyland quite yet, but you might have thought those at Bakersfield College on Sunday had already arrived at the happiest place on earth.

Cars and trucks lined up to make their way into the parking lot abutting University Avenue for a poke in the arm in the form of one of 1,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses.


The event was dubbed the first mass drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Kern County, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who wasn’t smiling.”

Beautiful writing….. beautiful words…..

We kicked off the clinic with a press conference with some wonderful speakers:

Norma Rojas-Mora, BC Director of Communication and Community Relations:

Assemblyman Rudy Salas:

KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog:

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez:

David Torres, Centric Health Foundation Chairman:

Imelda Ceja-Butkiewicz, President of the Kern Inyo Mono Central Labor Council:

Jay Tamsi, Co-founder of Kern County Latino COVID-19 Task Force:

Joseph Lopez, on behalf of State Senator Melissa Hurtado:

The entire day had an air of celebration and collaboration as so many different people and groups worked together to get 1,000 vaccine shots-in-arms for the clinic. It is amazing what we can accomplish when we all work together toward a common goal.

Check out more photos from our first mass drive through clinic on BC’s SmugMug website.

And be sure to check the BC Covid-19 Vaccine Clinic web page for information about future clinics!

I also wanted to share a few of the vaccination photos I’ve received this week.

Our KCCD Chancellor, Tom Burke:

Chancellor Tom Burke

Trustee Kyle Carter, who was vaccinated by Miss Yen from the BC Nursing Program:

Astronomy Professor Nick Strobel:

History Professor Olivia Garcia:

Instructional Technology Instructor Alex Rockey & Biology Professor William Rockey:

If you have a photo of your COVID-19 vaccination, please send it to president@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

And be sure to check out our gallery of vaccinations.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, March 27, 2021, my dad’s b’day … a great day to be a Renegade.

Paul Christian, Sonya Christian

Photos & Poetry

This week, a friend sent me this amazing photo…the heavens have opened:

Arvin, CA

I thought of this photo – these gray skies broken up by a few rays of radiant sunshine – when I read this poem that Jack Hernandez sent to me:

Exit Road

The little yellow flowers
along the freeway exit road
smile as I wait for the light
to give me permission to go.

Some sunless days though,
eager winds sowing dust,
they stay tightly closed,
I drive on unsure and cold.

Another friend of mine, who lost her partner, shared this poem from Khalil Gibran:

Fear

It is said that before entering the sea
a river trembles with fear.

She looks back at the path she has traveled,
from the peaks of the mountains,
the long winding road crossing forests and villages.

And in front of her,
she sees an ocean so vast,
that to enter
there seems nothing more than to disappear forever.

But there is no other way.
The river can not go back.

Nobody can go back.
To go back is impossible in existence.

The river needs to take the risk
of entering the ocean
because only then will fear disappear,
because that’s where the river will know
it’s not about disappearing into the ocean,
but of becoming the ocean.

Magnificent sunset photos at BC taken by Janet Tarjan on March 25th

Morning walk celebration of dad’s birthday.

Jess Nieto Conference

The 3rd Annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conference was held this past week. Professor Jess Nieto established the Chicano Studies program and Chicano Cultural Center at Bakersfield College. He was an entrepreneur, civil rights activist, educational leader and mentor to countless students. 

The conference this year included a wonderful mix of education, entertainment and celebration. Contributions from student organizations, professors, community leaders and partners make this a truly special event. Panels include “Unraveling Latina Stereotypes: Latinas Unidas in Conversation”, “Celebrating the Legacy of Cesar Chavez, the Farmworker Movement, and the Ongoing Work of the UFW and Cesar Chavez Foundation” and many more.

Check out this video from Abel Guzman, Executive Director of Rural Initiatives, which was part of the opening day programming:

You can see all the Opening Day programming in a YouTube playlist.

A Conversation with Dolores Huerta

On Thursday, the Jones Art Gallery exhibit Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en los Campos officially kicked off with a Conversation with Dolores Huerta.

Dolores Huerta spoke via Zoom with Dr. Taína Caragol, Curator of Latino Art & History at the Smithsonian Institution. The event was co-sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, the Wylie and May Louise Jones Art Gallery at Bakersfield College, and the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities at Bakersfield College.

Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en los Campos is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. See the virtual tour and get more information at the Jones Art Gallery.

Measure J – Thank You Nicole!

I love this photo of Nicole Parra and her dog, Bailey, sitting in front of our first Measure J Project – the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center.

Thank you, Nicole, for managing our Measure J campaign. We could not have done it without you, and I’m so glad you were able to enjoy the fruits of your labor 5 years later!

Dual Enroll

Gone are the days of receiving thousands of paper application submissions! We are excited to announce the launch of our new online program, dualenroll.com, that has replaced the paper form submissions for Dual Enrollment and Concurrent Enrollment. Students from all high schools can now use Dual Enroll to register for Summer 2021 and Fall 2021. This transition will streamline services for students and will make these opportunities more accessible in distance and online learning environments.

Dual Enroll is a win-win! Check it out at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/earlycollege/how-to-enroll.

In the News

Community Voices: Building a peaceful future

Kara McDonald, program manager for Student Success & Equity, wrote this piece about the importance of embracing peace instead of conflict – and highlighting the new Peace Initiative that Bakersfield College will be embarking on over the next 18 months.

“This initiative includes the Peace Garden that will soon begin construction on BC’s campus, as well as a series of projects done in partnership with other community groups working toward peace. Finally, the Peace Initiative includes a seminar series designed to engage small groups of women, veterans, educators and police in conversations about what peace looks like here in Kern County and how we build it.”

On Tuesday, we will kick off the Peace Initiative with the first installment of the Peace Initiative Seminar Series, “Mothers for Peace.” For more information, or to register for the Zoom event, visit the Bakersfield College website.

Community Voices: Our lives, our stories

Jack Hernandez, retired director of the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities, wrote a piece about how our lives live on in the stories, minds and memories of those who know us.

“But we all have an afterlife on this earth. An afterlife of our stories remembered by those who have known us for many years. Many live on in my mind: the stories of dad working two jobs to send me to college, of mom sending me off every morning to school, filled with breakfast and secure in her love. My Bakersfield College students, friends and colleagues during my many years here after I drove to Bakersfield from Detroit, not knowing what to expect when I came down Edison Highway in my own “Grapes of Wrath.””

Bakersfield College Ranks 3rd in State

Check out this video & article on KGET – BC ranks 3rd in degrees awarded among California Hispanic serving institutions!

“Bakersfield College said in recent years they have worked on improving student outcomes, reducing achievement gaps and increasing access for students using a Guided Pathways approach. Since BC first started its Guided Pathways program in 2014, the college has seen growth and improvement across multiple student success metrics.”

Spotted on Social Media

Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh shared this post about our vaccination clinic:

Bill Moseley shared his delicious weekend plans:

Jessica Wojtysiak also had a delicious night, courtesy of BC’s culinary arts students:

And Kristin Rabe shared the daisies outside her porch:

Athletics

Alyson Dees Named CCCWVCA State Player of the Week

Women’s Volleyball are undefeated thus far in the abbreviated Spring I season and to top it off, sophomore Alyson Dees was named the California Community College Women’s Volleyball Coaches Association (CCCWVCA) State Player of the Week for her performance against Cerro Coso the week prior. Alyson embodies the spirit of the team and as her coach Carl Ferreira said “one of the most amazing things about Aly is how much selfless energy she gives to her teammates. If that’s not enough, she’s an even better person.” Congrats Alyson!

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That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Renegades creating history every step of the way

This week, Michael O’Doherty, one of our Foundation Board members, sent me this picture:

Renegades control rebound, 1963”
Courtesy Los Angeles Public Library
Michael O’Doherty

“Live in Black and White on the wall of Vons in the Marketplace is this action shot of Renegade Basketball.”

One of the things I love best about Bakersfield College is how connected it is throughout the community. I love the interaction between the campus and Bakersfield – BC truly is a community college. That sense of community pride strengthens our students, faculty, staff and administration as we all work toward our common goal of helping our students achieve their educational goals.

And I love the notes and emails that people share with me when they see BC being represented throughout the community. Keep those notes coming.

Btw, Have you seen this picture at Vons?

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, February 20, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

KHSD Expanding Early College Partnership with BC

The Career Technical Education Center on Old River Road, home to several of our Early College courses at KHSD.

The Kern High School District is offering a select number of students the opportunity to earn an Associate’s degree. With BC’s Early College program expanding into the Kern High School District, students can get a 2-year head start on their baccalaureate degree, and all books and transportation will be provided to them free of charge.

Check out the news story from 23ABC:

Applications for KHSD parents to enroll their students in Early College end on March 26. For more information, visit the Early College website.

Thank you Dr. Jean Fuller and Trustee Romeo Agbalog for your leadership in the #EarlyCollege movement.

Learning Together with the Library

The BC Library continued its series of conversations around cultural competency during the All-Campus Virtual Seminar on Thursday. English professor Pam Boyles and history professor Erin Miller discussed their thoughts about the video titled “Fighting Racism Without Shaming”, featuring Moral Courage Project founder Dr. Irshad Manji.

Thank you to Mindy Wilmot for moderating the discussion, Todd Coston for serving as our emcee, and Earl Parsons for providing the programming support for the Virtual Seminar Series.

Check out the video below:

You can find videos from previous Learning Together seminars, as well as other virtual forums, on the President’s Events page. (Check the Virtual Forums tab!)

Recognizing Robert Tafoya

This week I saw a wonderful article from Jose Gaspar in the Bakersfield Californian honoring Judge Robert Tafoya, who retired February 5 after being appointed to the bench by Governor Gray Davis in 2002.

I’m not sure if you are all aware, but Judge Tafoya was the person behind creating Bakersfield College’s inmate education program. I remember when Chancellor Emeritus Sandra Serrano called me about working with Kern Valley State Prison to create an educational opportunity for inmates, with a goal of providing opportunities for these individuals while reducing recidivism rates.

After this phone call, I pinged Rich McCrow, then director of the Delano campus. Rich put his head and heart into building this program — and Bryan Hirayama was the first faculty member to teach at KVSP.

The program began at Kern Valley State Prison in Spring 2015. The pilot course, COMM B1 – Public Speaking, had 27 students enrolled.

Our first Inmate Scholars cohort of 17 students graduated in August 2019.

I am grateful for Judge Tafoya and Chancellor Serrano for seeding this work that has made such a profound change in these inmates’ lives.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

On Friday, Kern County Public Health announced that more sectors will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines beginning next week. It’s been reassuring seeing members of our Bakersfield College community being able to get their vaccines as well.

Di Hoffman, one of our nursing faculty, shared that she got her vaccine this week:

If you have photos of yourself or loved ones getting vaccinated for COVID-19, please email them to earl.parsons@bakersfieldcollege.edu or president@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

I’d also like to share another video from our February 2 Virtual Forum with Dr. Michael Saag. In this clip, he talks more about the vaccine rollout process and our ability to scale up our supply and distribution:

Mars Rover Perseverance Watch Party

On Thursday, NASA successfully landed a new rover, Perseverance, on Mars. Astronomy professor Nick Strobel hosted a Zoom watch party for our Renegade community. Before the landing, he shared lots of great information about Perseverance’s mission and about Mars.

The Perseverance mission is looking for signs of possible past life on Mars, as well as collecting rock and soil samples and testing oxygen production in the atmosphere to prepare for potential future human travel to the Red Planet.

Nick also wrote about the Mars Perseverance mission in his February 21 Bakersfield Night Sky column.

Opening Day Spring 2021

This week, I’m sharing two videos from Day 2 of our Spring Opening Day celebration.

We opened the day’s production with this photo roll from Fall semester:

And please enjoy this performance of “Stomp on the Fire” from the Bakersfield College Chamber Singers:

Check out all the videos from our 3-day Opening Day production on the Spring Opening Day website.

Spotted on Social Media

BCSGA shared this picture of Maya Angelou’s visit to Bakersfield College in the 1970s:

Librarian Mindy Wilmot shared this throwback photo:

Professor Buggs’ Level 2 RN students celebrated completing their first round of clinical:

Shannon Musser tuned into BC’s Perseverance watch party with her kids:

The Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce had this positive message to share:

Athletics

Head Coach Spotlight – Casey Goodman, Renegade Softball

Our Renegade Coaches are the glue that keep their teams together. All of our coaches spend countless hours behind the scenes preparing their teams for competition and life. This week we’re shining the spotlight on Casey Goodman, who leads our softball team.

Coach Goodman has been at BC since 2017 and has already won two Western State Conference (WSC) Championships and been named the 2019 WSC Coach of the Year. Coach Goodman played college softball at the University of Louisiana at Monroe where as a player she earned multiple post-season awards and has since been inducted into the ULM Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018.

We are proud to call Coach Goodman a Renegade and know she’s still yet to accomplish many great things in her coaching career!

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That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

“Just call me up..because you know I will be there” — BC

It has been an incredibly busy week as we prepare for the beginning of the Spring 2021 semester.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, we held our Opening Day ceremonies. As we’ve been doing since the pandemic began, we again held a virtual celebration with multiple days of video productions featuring presentations, speakers, and performances.

The video team is working on getting the pieces prepared on a website, and I will start sharing those with you next week. Today, though, I’m able to share a sneak peek – an especially poignant one while we as a nation grapple with the events of the past weeks and months, and where we will go from here.

Please enjoy our Bakersfield College Renegade Chorus’ rendition of True Colors:

“Just call me up
Because you know I’ll be there”

Friends – in this time of ongoing uncertainty and social distancing, that is such a wonderful message:

Call me up, and I will be there.

I know that even in the hardest days of social distancing, we can reach out to one another and offer support or a friendly voice. It is ever more important that we remain connected.

Thank you to Performing Arts Chair & Choral Director Jennifer Garrett for sharing this message with all of us. And thank you to our wonderful and talented Renegade Chorus!

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, January 16, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

Thank you, Dr. King!

On Monday, the nation will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his vision for a better America. While many parades and celebrations for Martin Luther King day have been cancelled nationwide due to the pandemic, we still have the time to reflect on what Dr. King’s ideals and sacrifice mean to each of us, as well as how we can embed the clarity and power of Dr. King’s ideals into our daily work as we start to build a new future for our students.

The Bakersfield MLK committee has put together its usual MLK Breakfast event, except this year it is virtual. Get your scrambled eggs and bacon and tune in at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, January 18, 2021 ….

Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning

Susan Pinza, Director of the Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning, joined 17 News at Sunrise to share more about classes available for community members. These classes aim to help keep our community members active – both mentally and physically.

Classes are available in a variety of subjects, including art, photography, yoga, pilates – and there’s even a class about Zoom!

Check out the interview on KGET’s website, and visit the Levan Institute website to see the full list of Spring 2021 courses.

Veteran Student Success Grant

Jenny Frank

Bakersfield College was one of 16 colleges to receive $450,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to establish a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success.

The grant will allow BC’s Veterans Services to hire a second dedicated student veteran advisor, as well as provide additional support and services.

“When a veteran transitions out of the military, there’s a sudden feeling like, ‘Where’s my place in the world, where do I belong? What we aim to do is assist them in the educational journey,” said Veterans Services Director Jenny Frank.

For more information, check out the article on the Bakersfield Californian website.

New Protocols for Coming to Campus

As we prepare for the Spring 2021 semester, I wanted to remind everyone that the overwhelming majority of our instruction and all of our student services remain in an online format, and all of our physical campus locations remain closed to the general public.

However, if you have been granted access for our very small selection of courses featuring socially-distanced instruction, or you have been approved to be on campus for essential work, then you must download the Kern Community College District app to do your daily pre-screening and receive your Campus Pass. The Kern Community College District app is available in the iOS App Store and Google Play for Android devices.

Once you download the Kern Community College District app, you can the Health Pre-Screening Questionnaire that will be required every day to get the Campus Pass for in-person attendance. Once you receive your Campus Pass, you’ll use the app to scan QR codes around the campus when entering and leaving all buildings, classrooms, offices, and physical spaces.

This app is an important contact tracing tool that will help us avoid outbreaks on the campus. For more information, visit the Campus Pass App website.

First Meeting of 2021 As ACCJC Committee Chair

In the midst of getting us prepared for the start of Opening Week, I also had a chance to chair the first ACCJC (Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges) meeting of the new year on Wednesday, January 13.

Talking about ACCJC, I am proud of the Learning Seminar Series we hosted in early december 2020 — The Future of Learning, which was highlighted in this year’s Opening Week videos.

I’ll be sharing these with you over the coming weeks, so please check back!

Opening Week Roundup

Faculty and staff got ready for the start of the Spring 2021 semester with three days of videos chock full of performances from the Renegade Choir, highlights from the ACCJC Future of Learning Seminar Series, and important updates about campus initiatives. The emcees for all three days were Manny Mourtzanos, Todd Coston, Norma Rojas-Mora, and Reggie Bolton, and we had Konrad Dahl and Zack Peters leading our stretch breaks.

On Day 1, we heard from BCSGA President Gian Gayatao and the Assessment Committee, as well as a retrospective on the life of Ruth-Bader Ginsburg from Olivia Garcia.

Day 2 featured remarks from Chancellor Tom Burke, the Manny Mourtzanos of the Management Association, the Curriculum Committee, and a heartfelt tribute to Becki Whitson.

Day 3 closed out the festivities with Liz Rozell and James McGarrah speaking about the Energy TT&WD initiative; an accessibility report from Matt Andrasian-Jones, Andrea Thorson, and John Means; remarks from Ann Tatum of CCA and Steven Holmes of the Academic Senate; and announcements from Erin Miller for the Levan Faculty Colloquium and Reggie Williams for the Levan Center for the Humanities.

It took a lot of work and intentional thought to put together this year’s presentation. I can’t wait to share the videos with you all. A special thank you to the programming team — Valerie Urso, Shannon Musser, Tarina Perry and Jennifer Serratt.

Community Voices

KCCD Board President Romeo Agbalog wrote this piece in the Bakersfield Californian: Reflections on Early College.

Romeo Agbalog

He wrote about how the program has grown since its early beginnings, and how it has been particularly successful in closing equity gaps.

However, the success of the program extends beyond just the sheer number of students served, but also in closing equity gaps. Early College has had a 93 percent student success rate across all high school campuses in the last academic year, consistently exceeding BC’s own institution-set standard for student success by 15 to 20 percent. Most importantly, more than 85 percent of students from rural areas who were in an associate degree completion pathway went to college after high school.

Trustee Agbalog has always been an ardent supporter of our Early College program. Talking about Early College, I must mention Senator Jean Fuller who helped up take this idea to scale; under the senator’s leadership we accomplished in one year the goals we had set for three years. Here is a fun video from March 2019 of the senator talking about Early College.

Spotted on Social Media

Alisha Loken, Nursing Department Chair, got her COVID-19 vaccine this week!

Bakersfield Heart Hospital shared this thank you to our BC Nursing Students, who helped with vaccine distribution:

And BC Nursing shared a photo of upcoming Level 4 students about to get vaccinated:

Mindy Wilmot watched Opening Day with her dog:

Olivia Garcia got a treadmill workout in while she watched:

Matt Andrasian-Jones continued his Discern and Draw series with a pasta spoon:

And the City of Bakersfield celebrated the city’s 123rd birthday on January 11:

Athletics

Throwback to 1961 Renegade Basketball

While most of our campus has laid dormant due to the pandemic, it’s interesting to look back at old photos of our Renegade athletes of many years past.

This throwback picture from the Renegade Raconteur goes all the way back to the 1961 basketball season. While the identity of the players is unknown (maybe one of you reading this know who they are??) – this image gives fantastic imagery into the environment of a BC Men’s Basketball game in the 60’s. I mean, look at that crowd filled all the way into the top bleachers! More throwbacks to come.

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That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever