Tag Archives: Rosalina Rivera

Closing the chapter of 2019

January 2016 2:35-minute video by Manny de Los Santos

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, December 28, 2019…My last blog entry for 2019. A great day to be a Renegade.

Take a look at the highlights from 2019. Each header is a link to a featured blog post from that month. So don’t forget to click on the header.

Sonya Christian
The Luckiest and Happiest College President

Happy New Year

Happy New Decade

January: Welcome to Spring ‘19

BC hit the ground running in the first month of 2019 with the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Campus Center and the first announcement about Early College. Food Services moved their operation over to the Gym Huddle area, and BC students opened a time capsule from 1955. We also launched an ITV pilot program for our Music B2 class at North High school, and our three Vice Presidents spoke with students at the first BCSGA Power Lunch of the year.

Some photos from January.

February: The Dawn of a New Era in Education

In February BC showed our love for students in rural Kern County with the historic launch of the Early College program in McFarland.

Congressman TJ Cox visited BC as part of his first trip home from Capitol Hill, and Paula Parks participated in a Black History Month panel hosted by the Chevron Black Employees Association. Legendary agricultural scientist and autism advocate Temple Grandin was our Distinguished Speaker for the month, and the Adult Education team brought a new learning center to Wasco.

Photos from February

March: Women Who Create Ripples In Our Community

We celebrated International Women’s Day with Senator Jean Fuller moderating a panel of women leaders throughout Kern County, which included Shannon Grove, Blanca Carvazos, Rosalina Rivera, and Cynthia Giumarra.

Women in Leadership with Trustees
Women in Leadership with Trustees

The Wonderful Ag Prep Renegades were the first Early College graduates in BC history, and KCCD Trustee Jack Connell toured our robotics and nursing facilities. The students in our LUPE and Project Conexiones groups reached out to students at BHS, and the CTE Team represented our campus at the Kern County Career Expo.

Tom Gelder, Christina Sistrunk of Aera Energy, and Sonya Christian
Tom Gelder, Christina Sistrunk of Aera Energy, and Sonya Christian

April: Spring is Heating Up at BC

BC’s award winning Drumline Crew

In April, I introduced Shannon Doherty at the Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference, which was chaired by BC’s Director of Community Relations, Norma Rojas-Mora. For the first time, dual enrollment students were included in our annual SGA Student Leadership Dinner, and the MEChA club hosted the second annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conference in honor of the late Chicano Studies pioneer. We also hosted the Business Pathway Career Expo in front of the library and celebrated our drumline winning a gold medal in the WGI World Championships.

Some photos from April

May: BC’s 105th Commencement

Everything we do at the home of the Renegades is for our students, and we celebrated a record-breaking graduation at Rabobank Arena. Before the main ceremony, we also had pre-Commencement celebrations for Delano Campus graduates, veterans, Early College, African-American students, LGBTQ, and the second graduating class of the Baccalaureate in Industrial Automation program.

More photos from my May blog posts

June: Summer Has Arrived!

Summer is supposed to be a time when the campus slows down, but that wasn’t the case for 2019, as our Dual Enrollment team led by Steve Watkin celebrated its Beautiful Bakersfield Award in Education. Pedro Ramirez presented on AB 40 at the Board of Governors meeting, Steve Flores recruited me for the Media Music Jam, and two of our students were selected as Student Wellness Ambassadors for the California Community College system’s Health and Wellness/Each Mind Matters program.

July: Recognition and Gratitude

Assemblyman Rudy Salas presented BC with a $1 million check for the second year in a row, making for $2 million brought in for BC students. BC was honored to receive the Student Success Award for our Guided Pathways at the John W. Rice Diversity and Equity Award ceremony hosted by the Board of Governors. Our team joined community leaders at the State of the City Luncheon, and the Golden Empire Drum and Bugle Corps rehearsed all over campus.

Photos from July

August: BC Building Bridges

BC’s first group of Inmate Scholars graduates

We kicked off the 2019-20 academic year with an inspiring set of Opening Day and New Student Convocation events that featured a performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by the BC Chamber Singers.

Tom Rush and Michael Larson worked diligently to bring Industrial Automation classes to the Delano Campus, and BC hosted the Project Next Step Conference for new and continuing high school students. Later in the month, BC hosted a graduation ceremony for the first group of Inmate Scholars graduates.

More photos from my August blog posts

September: BC: Creating Partnerships to Better Kern

In September, we unveiled the BC Launch Pad located at the Weill Institute to support local entrepreneurs, small business owners, and inspired students. The center is a free hub of resources and support for all kinds of practical small businesses needed in Kern County.

Also in September, BC’s AB 540 Team attended the Catalyst Fund Convening in Long Beach, and the Rural Initiatives team updated the Board of Supervisors on the Game Changer grant which establish Early College pathways for Arvin High students.

Some photos from my September posts.

October: Live simply…so others can simply live

BC was honored to bring Arun Gandhi to Delano to speak to Early College students and the community. A video below was created by one of BC’s video students, Mario Esquer. Our second Distinguished Speaker for October was Erin Gruwell, an inspirational educator who founded the Freedom Writers’ Diary to help inner-city students see themselves reflected in the classroom. BC also hosted an important conversation about Valley Fever during a symposium by TJ Cox in the Indoor Theater, and the Early College program got special recognition at the Renegade football game against Golden West College.

Some photos from October.

November: BC: Advancing Education in our Community and State

Educational leaders from across the state convened at the downtown Bakersfield Marriott for the Intersegmental Pathways Symposium, engaging in important conversations about closing the gaps between K-12 education, community colleges and universities to bring 1.1 million new bachelor’s degree graduates to California. The sold out event featured 18 panelists, additional speakers, and our keynote guests Assemblymember Rudy Salas, California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Oakley, Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Newsome, Lande Ajose, and Chief Deputy to State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, Lupita Alcala.

Group of Intersegmental Pathways Symposium attendees
Sonya Christian, Lande Ajose, Eloy Oakley, Lupita Alcala, Rudy Salas, Mary Barlow

This blog entry also covers BC’s Veteran Services held a care package drop zone for the troops, and BC men’s soccer won its first ever conference championship.

December: Thank You For Voting Yes on J!

This month we cut the ribbon for the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center, the first project funded by Measure J. I recapped this in full in the blog post so please check it out if you missed it earlier this month!

And BC’s Chamber Singers performed with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra as part of the Home for the Holidays Concert… one of my favorite parts of the season.

Blog Bonus: Some All-Time Favs

When looking back at only one post a month from 2019, it sparked my interest to see what other gems I could discover as I flipped through the older pages of my blog. Let’s take a look at some of these all time favorites…

Working on my blog at the Marketplace in 2013

January 3, 2013: First Blog Post

When my blog first started, I didn’t have the slightest clue how it would turn out. Now, here we are about to be in January 2020 with a blog that features the activity and energy on the BC campus weekly. Thank you for following along on the Renegade journey.

January 9, 2013: Second Blog Post

Media Frenzy
Dr. Sonya Christian at her announcement press conference

My second ever blog post was titled “So… What’s it like being BC’s President?” Well, back then I said…

Being president of Bakersfield College is like being strapped to a rocket at the speed of light.

Sonya Christian, Jan. 9, 2013

I don’t think I can say that part has changed, but being the president of Bakersfield College is a joy and a gift as well. The commitment of BC’s faculty, the passion of our staff, and the overwhelming dedication by BC’s students make me the happiest and luckiest college president ever.

January 1, 2014: BC’s Centennial Gala

Celebrating BC’s 100th anniversary will live among my highlights at Bakersfield College. So many details went into making the evening one to remember. I fondly remember the many friends of BC who came out to support that evening, even Jean Fuller.

February 11, 2013: My first Sterling Silver

My first Sterling Silver was a fabulous evening showcasing the talent of BC’s culinary arts and agriculture students. Tom Moran took some great photos that night and I still love this one of Jerry Ludeke, Jack Hernandez, and me.

Sterling Silver
Jack Hernandez, Me, and Jerry Ludeke at Sterling Silver

November 12, 2016: Thank you Kern County

2016 was a yeah full of anticipation, “dreaming big” as mayor Harvey Hall asked us to do, and celebration. Kern County with a vote of 96,589 to 58,155, supported Measure J with 62.42%! Thank you for supporting KCCD and Bakersfield College with the necessary funding to renovate and update our facilities to serve students for the next 50 years.

It would not have been possible without countless volunteers who worked tirelessly on the campaign. Too many names to list individually but each and everyone of you knows who you are. Thank you thank you thank you.

A look back at Measure J

May 13, 2017 – Neo’s First Blog Appearance

Neo was a handful as a puppy… and who am I kidding? He still is! On May 13, 2017, Neo made his first appearance in my blog and I asked readers to guess his name. To my surprise, Theresa McAllister guessed it the very next day on May 14th in the comments.

Christmas Tree Recyling

With the holidays now in our rear view mirror, I wanted to remind everyone that they can come to BC to get their Christmas trees recycled.

Image courtesy of KBAK 29/58

Your Christmas pines are made of organic material that can be easily recycled …. so do your part for the planet and drop your Christmas tree off at the corner of University and Haley before January 17. For a list of all Christmas Tree recycling locations in Kern County, read Stacey Shepard’s article in the Bakersfield Californian.

Fun Photos from Social Media: BC’s TPAC Team

Kalina Hill posted this fun photo of the testing and placement team at BC wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Holiday Family Photos

Brandon Urry and his family

Engineer Systems & Industrial Technology Holiday Luncheon

Mary Webb made sure to share a photo from the department holiday luncheon.

Back row: Aubrey Priest, Klimt Rigby, Martin Perez
Front: Kathy Melson, Mary Webb, Jason Dixon, Lora Larkin.

Renegade Road

BC’s William Velasquez is a talented photographer who shared additional photos of the “Renegade Road” here at BC. He wrote:

Perhaps [these photos] will give you the sense of pride I experienced when I was there and to be part of the Renegade Family. GO Gades!!!

Swim Team Testimonial

While we’re all away for break, the student athletes for our spring sports are busy getting ready for their upcoming seasons. Ramon Carreido is a student worker in the Marketing and Public Relations Department who also competes on the Renegade swim team. Here is his testimonial about their intensive training regimen heading into the upcoming swim season.

Coach and Ramon Carriedo

Winter training has struck the Bakersfield College swim team. At the beginning of each day, we hit the weight room for about an hour before hopping into the pool for two hours of swimming in 45-degree weather. Don’t worry, the pool is heated. 🙂

Coach Moon is pushing us to be ready for the Western State Conference and California Community College Athletic Association championships. As a second-year swimmer, I’ve learned to “trust the process”, as Coach Moon often says. He is doing everything it takes to make us the best swimmers this school has ever seen, and he challenges us every day to push through set after set. These trainings are important to help develop the most important muscle of the body – the brain. A swimmer’s mental game is just as important, if not more important, than their physical talents.

On New Year’s Eve, we will push through the longest set of the year – the 100×100. After 100 laps of 100 meters, any competitive event will feel like a walk in the park. Preseason training is hard, but it is definitely worth it. When you see your results at the end of the season and compare them against your results at the beginning of the season, you can see how much the training pays off.

The swim team’s first meet is the WSC Preview on February 7 at Ventura College, and we hope to see Renegade fans in force at the Renegade pool for the annual meet at BC on April 4, 2020.

Next Level Renegade

Huge congratulations to Renegade Football’s Justin Harrington for signing to continue his academic and football career at the University of Oklahoma this last week. We couldn’t be more excited for Justin as he will be playing for the Sooners who have an excellent football program currently still in the hunt for the national championship this year. We will miss his contagiously positive attitude and big hits on the football field. Congrats again, Justin!

All-Tournament Player – Dasia Wandick

Our Renegade Women’s Basketball team played up at the Monterey Peninsula College Tournament just before Christmas and Sophomore forward Dasia Wandick was selected to the All-Tournament team. Dasia continues to be a leader in her sophomore year for Coach Dahl and we can’t wait to see how the rest of their season unfolds. Be sure to catch the Renegades in action this season – head to GoGades.com to keep up with their schedule.

Renegade Athletics updates from this past week

Women Who Create Ripples in Our Community

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

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

Saint Mother Teresa demonstrated a life worth living; one of finding deep purpose by serving those in need, acting as a light in dark places, and inspiring others around the world to act in kindness. Saint Mother Teresa is an inspiration of generosity, persistence, resilience, compassion, and love – love with no boundaries.

Throughout my life, incredible women have taught me, mentored me, guided me, loved me, and inspired me and the best way I know how to thank them is to pay it forward. When women support each other, unbelievable things can happen.

A favorite song of our family growing up. Recognizing moms….. Let’s listen to Mother of Mine.

Women in Leadership Panel

Speaking of inspirational women, last Friday, March 1st, I hosted a panel in the Levan Center with some of Kern County’s most inspirational women leaders in politics, business and education to talk about their pathways to success. This panel was moderated by the inspiring Jean Fuller. It was great to see BC’s Levan Center filled with students, staff, and women from our community. Additionally, KCCD Trustees Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Romeo Agbalog came out to support the event.

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

Jean Fuller – the first Republican woman ever elected to state office in California and a decades-long champion for BC – was the perfect moderator for our panel on Women in Leadership. Food Services provided a lovely selection of hors d’oeuvres and ornate plating and tea cups to create an elegant ambiance for the event, as well.

Attendees at Womens Panel

The panel consisted of some of the most successful women in Kern County. California Senator Shannon Grove represents the 16th State Senate district, taking Fuller’s place at the end of her second term. Shannon Grove — Senator, Entrepreneur, Veteran, Leader.

Blanca Cavazos has broken barriers throughout her career in education, becoming the first Latina principal of Arvin High School before being appointed as the first Latina Superintendent of the Taft Union High School District. Her family immigrated to the United States from Mexico when she was three years old. Blanca Cavazos — Superintendent, change maker, trailblazer, leader.

Cynthia Giumarra practiced law for more than 20 years, overcoming many barriers that women lawyers faced in the 1970s and ’80s, when it was still uncommon to see women on the other side of the courtroom bench. Since 2000, she has turned her life over to her faith, counseling women and leading Bible studies as a licensed minister for the Canyon Hills Assembly of God Church while raising awareness and fundraising for anti-human trafficking causes. Cynthia Giumarra — Minister, advocate, attorney, leader.

During Rosalina Rivera’s tenure as the Superintendent of the Delano Joint Union High School District, several schools in the district have been recognized with prestigious awards, including the California Distinguished Schools Award, the U.S. News and World Report Nation’s Best High School Awards, and the National Title I Distinguished School Award. In 2013, Rudy Salas recognized Rivera for her leadership and dedication, stating that she “is unwavering in her commitment to the children and the community of Delano.” Rosalina Rivera — Superintendent, innovator, collaborator, leader.

Even with all of their success, the panelists at the Women in Leadership event recognized the importance of balancing their personal lives and being committed to their families. While they have all had to remain strong to overcome barriers and accomplish their goals, finding time to quietly be with their families has helped them stay humble and keep things in perspective when dealing with coworkers and employees.

Standing ovation from the audience

Thank you to all of our panelists for taking time out of their busy schedules to speak to our students, and thank you to Prof. Olivia Garcia for organizing the programming for this event.

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

Early College Parent & Student Workshop in Arvin

On March 6th, Members of the Early College Team which included Jesse Oropeza, Couselor and Maggie Rodriguez, Support Specialist, welcomed Arvin High Early College students and parents Wednesday night with smiles and tasty food! The
onsite support team facilitated a workshop, engaging students and parents together in learning about the education process.

Jesse Oropeza speaks to the parents in the room

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

Early College Flier

Celebrating our first Early College Graduates

Last May, thirty-eight Wonderful Ag Prep Renegades walked the stage at Memorial Stadium in recognition of earning a college degree from BC
through the Early College program a few weeks prior to receiving their high school diploma. Then later that August, the amazing team at Wonderful Education hosted a special celebration for their graduates and families and I was fortunate to share some remarks at this life-changing event. I first shared this in my blog on August 18th, 2018 and you can see the original post here.

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

Lynda and Stewart Resnick, you had a vision for the Central Valley. You had a vision for this graduating class of 2018. You not only had the dream, you also created the infrastructure and the programming to make this dream come true. You invested significant resources because you believed in these communities, you believed in these young minds. With your work, you are transforming the Central Valley into a place of big dreams.

Sonya Christian, August 11, 2018

Take a moment to listen to these successful and inspirational young people who have completed the program and how it has impacted their futures.

Thank you Lynda and Stewart Resnick for your passionate investment in education, qualify of life and family, and the future of Kern County. We will be recognizing the Resnick’s at Sterling Silver on March 23rd.

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

KCCD Trustee Jack Connell Visits BC

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

This week, BC faculty, staff, students, and administration welcomed one of our newest Trustees, Mr. Jack Connell to campus for a visit and tour. Trustee Connell represents the Area II service area and joined the KCCD Board in November 2018 with Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg.

When Trustee Connell first arrived, he was welcomed by the VP Team, Liz Rozell, Zav Dadabhoy, and Mike Giacomini. Benny Balderrama, Program Manager for Campus Center Events and Services, and Samantha Pulido, SGA Vice President, provided an overview of Student Life, while Heather Penella welcomed Trustee Connell on behalf of the Bakersfield College Foundation. Deans of Instruction, Corny Rodriguez and Manny Mourtzanos, dropped by to highlight some of our outstanding institutional initiatives and instructional work.

Afterwards, Trustee Connell enjoyed a tour of the Nursing Skills Lab hosted by Ronnie Knabe, Automotive Engine Lab hosted by Justin Flint, and the Baccalaureate Robotics Lab hosted by Tom Rush. He met our BC humanoid robot, Pepper, and was instructed on how to maneuver robotic arms by INDA students, Yasmeen Reyes and Jose Manriquez. Student Carlos Medina discussed student employment using Jobspeaker.

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

Industrial Automation hosts local HS students

Students learn about the Industrial Automation program

On March 1st 2019, Bakersfield College Industrial Automation hosted over 60 students from West High School, Regional Occupational Center, and Robert F. Kennedy High School to explore the Industrial Automation program.

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

Students were provided an overview of the Baccalaureate Degree, Career Education certificates and degrees, Campus Life, Student Government Association, Financial-Aid and a campus tour. At lunch, all guests were surprised by a special guest from a galaxy far far away.

Industrial Automation staff with R2D2
Industrial Automation staff with R2D2

Art on the Fly

BC’s Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio has been working with one of BC’s art students on the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and making a large-scale painting on the fly. He said in an email, “We are representing and concluding Black History Month on the Hip Hop & Poetry side. I teach Art and Hip Hop…

Professor Monterrubio says that his students talk about art, but also about music and other areas of the humanities, and how important it is to learn from these different realms. His student Keiolani inquired about African American female singers who showed empowerment with their music and life. Monterrubio shared that Lauryn Hill started in a group called The Refugees that was shortened to the Fugees in the 90s. He said, “I explained to my student that her music has transcended decades and is still as empowering today as it was in the nineties. So during that short conversation in regard to Black History Month and inquiry of my student, we decided to get some acrylic paint and use what we’ve learned in class regarding contrast/scale and create a huge portrait of Lauryn Hill.  As an educator of color, it’s important to teach identity and diversity when my students ask for it or need to hear it. We are educators. I am here for them. Together we make art.”

Passionate Professor: Bill Kelly

Thank you to Tabatha Mills at KGET for spotlighting a true Renegade and Ag champion and BC legend, Bill Kelly.

Uncommon Women

Graphic by Tish Gamez

UNCOMMON WOMEN AND OTHERS is a comedy/drama set in an East Coast women’s college during the 1970s and the second wave of feminism. Five former classmates compare notes on their activities since graduating and then, in a series of flashbacks, are seen back in their college days and we learn of the events, some funny, some touching, some awkward, some outrageous, that helped to shape them.

The play was presented in the Simonsen Performing Arts Center indoor theater and had its final showing last weekend. It was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein, and directed by theatre faculty member Bob Kempf.

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

Project Conexiones Estudantiles de BC

As a result of their leadership development, LUPE students are highly involved in Project Conexiones Estudantiles de BC, a new venture on campus to unite recognized student organizations on campus and community agencies who are advocates and raise the awareness of the  issues affecting undocumented students on campus.

BC LUPE Group Photo

In addition, engagement in the community and early outreach to our local high school students has been a major point of emphasis for the spring semester. LUPE has been intentional in advocating for post-secondary education for all Kern County residents, regardless of their immigration status.

BHS Parents Presentations
BHS Parents Presentations

Six LUPE student leaders visited the Parent Center at BHS and addressed over thirty Spanish speaking parents and their students ranging from 9th – 12th grade.  The information disseminated ranged from: Student Success Strategies, College Expectations, the Freshmen Experience, Resiliency/Perseverance Testimonies, EOPS Program, Dream Act/FAFSA, Scholarship Opportunities and how parents can better support and motivate the next generation.

Beyond #BringBackOurGirls: Women and Conflict in North East Nigeria

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

Journalist, research analyst and Yale Ph.D. candidate Hilary Matfess came to campus on Wednesday to present her research on women’s roles in the Boko Haram insurgency group in North East Nigeria. Titled “Beyond #BringBackOurGirls: Women and Conflict in North East Nigeria”, Matfess’ visit was organized by the Women’s History and More Committee, who are focusing this year’s Women’s History Month programming on discussions of women in war.

Matfess originally came to Nigeria to interview men who had defected from Boko Haram, a jihadist insurgency that initially started as a religious volunteer group before evolving into one of the world’s most violent terrorist organizations. When she discovered that getting access to Boko Haram soldiers was pretty difficult, she decided to focus her research on women who were either abducted or volunteered to join Boko Haram.

“It became clear to me that these women’s experiences were not being highlighted,” Matfess said. “Understanding women’s experiences in their totality is crucial to understanding conflict.”

Over one million Nigerians have been displaced from their homes as a result of the Boko Haram conflict, and rampant corruption and human rights abuses in displacement camps by the Nigerian military gave women few safe options to turn to. International attention of Boko Haram peaked in 2014, when the group abducted 276 young girls from a school in the town of Chibok. A group of Nigerian activists started the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, which became rapidly shared across social media and led to several of the girls being released. However, Matfess said that the campaign oversimplified the complexities of the Boko Haram conflict and ignored the thousands of other people who had been abducted by the group, and negotiating for the release of several Chibok girls resulted in the group abducting even more women in the region due to their perceived increase in value.

Thank you to BC’s WHAM committee, BCSGA, and Hilary Matfess for the enriching and informative event.

Spotlight on Student Employment

The Student Employment department hosted their second hiring recruitment for local moving company Meathead Movers on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. During the recruitment, 28 students completed onsite applications and several others picked-up an application to return at a later time. We also had several students inquire about current on-campus employment and upcoming events at our jobspeaker tent.

Meathead Movers and Student Employment
Meathead Movers and Student Employment

Erin Norton, Operations Manager for Meathead Movers, will provide an update on number of hires within the next couple of weeks. He has also requested another hiring recruitment in April as he is impressed the caliber of students Bakersfield College produces. Thank you Domenica Trinidad, Job Developer for coordinating this event and a special thanks to Darrell Ballard, Athletics Program Manager, for his continual efforts in helping our students.

Kern County Career Expo

Speaking of gainful employment, the 2nd Annual Kern County Career Expo was held, Thursday February 28, 2019. In partnership with the Kern High School District, Bakersfield College Career Education supported this large scale event that drew in approximately 5,700 middle school, high school and early college students to explore career options within Kern County.

The 2019 Kern County Career Expo

There were over 140 companies in addition to, Regional Occupation Center, Bakersfield College, Taft College and Cal State Bakersfield to support students on the path to their future careers. Check out all the photos on BC’s Smugmug!

Connecting the Dots: Data-Informed Integrated Planning

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

A power team from BC attended the Connecting the Dots: Data-informed Integrated Planning conference in Fresno on March 1st. Nick Strobel, Dan Hall, Amber Hroch, Tony Cordova, Craig Hayward, Erica Menchaca, Billie Jo Rice, and Todd Coston spent the day looking through the student success dashboard, looking at data, identifying what we are doing now and then looking for opportunities to do things better.  All of this work then funneled down to how we can use this information to fill the gaps of our strategic plan so we can meet the goals set by the state for the Vision For Student Success.

Counseling Department Award

Renegade Student

Exciting news emerged from the BC Foundation this week that a self-funded Counseling Department award has been established. Fifteen members from the Counseling (Panorama & Delano), EOPS, DSPS, and BSIA departments came together and signed up for automatic, monthly payroll deduction. The contribution will total $285 per month generating $3,420 per year to support deserving BC students! The first $500 award will be given out this spring. What an amazing demonstration of care, teamwork and leadership!

CASE District VII Conference

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

Susan Hubbell, Financial Information Manager and Heather Pennella, Alumni & Donor Relations Manager attended the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District VII Conference in Anaheim, representing Bakersfield College and the BC Foundation. CASE District VII represents institutions in the western region of the U.S., including Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah. The four-day conference was stacked with sessions focused on alumni relations, advancement services, philanthropy, leadership and communications. Susan and Heather took part in many educational sessions during the conference to bring back information and apply it to the Foundation’s growing efforts towards improved alumni outreach, donor stewardship and a robust scholarship program.

Go Red Luncheon

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

On March 1, 2019 the American Heart Association held its annual Go Red Luncheon. What a fantastic event with incredible turnout! Bakersfield College was well represented by the BC cheerleaders.

Adventist Health’s Beatris Espericueta-Sanders and Kiyoshi Tomono were gracious hosts as Norma Rojas-Mora and I joined Mayor Karen Goh, CSUB’s President Zelezny and Lourdes Nilon, from Bakersfield High, Tamara Clark, and from Adventist Health Dr. Anabiet Udofia, Heather Van Housen.   There was a sea of red as the community came out to understand the importance of heart health and to build awareness around knowing the symptoms of a heart attack. The American Heart Association cites that one in three women is living with some form of cardiovascular disease and it kills one woman every 80 seconds.  To prevent the disease, the organization recommends understanding family health history, knowing your numbers and making lifestyle changes like eating smart, managing blood pressure and being more active.

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

Seen on Facebook: BC at Shafter City Council

Last Tuesday, Dean of Academic Technology Bill Moseley joined Shafter Educational Liaison David Franz at the Shafter City Council meeting, to speak in support of the proposed Shafter Library and Learning Center expansion.  The Shafter Learning Center has partnered with BC to offer study space and support for BC students who live in Shafter, and may offer classroom space in the future for BC classes.

Bill Moseley FB post

Career Ladders Project Partnership

These Affinity Team rock stars, Pedro Ramirez and Armando Trujillo along with their stage manager Lisa Robles went on tour sharing the good news surrounding Guided Pathways from a Completion Coaching Community perspective. The group started their tour at the Building Diversity Conference  in L.A., moving on to their second gig in Long Beach at the Achieving the Dream Conference and ended their tour in NYC at the League for Innovation conference where former BC AAI champion and current Director at Career Ladders Project Julian West received the 2018 Innovation Award.

The partnership and collaboration between Bakersfield College and Career Ladders Project is an important one as we continue the work in making Guided Pathways a success.

Photos of Campus at Dawn

Earl Parsons of BC’s Marketing team shared these photos with me and they were too beautiful not to include! Enjoy!

Collage by Earl Parsons
Photos by Earl Parsons

Ordiz-Melby Architects

Jeannie Bertolaccini and Danny Ordiz

We have been so fortunate to work alongside local firm Ordiz-Melby Architects for our new Campus Center.  They have been wonderful partners and have been working diligently to make sure that our new Campus Center will benefit the campus, students, and our community!  The new campus center will have many exciting features, including a new food services area, student life offices, and a 500-person conference room! Thank you to Jeannie Bertolaccini, Danny Ordiz and Bob Varner for your partnership to build A Better BC!

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

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11am, check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights included segments with BC Head Cheer Coach Heather Foss and BC Cheerleaders Jasmine Garcia and Karlee Nelson.

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (2/24-3/2) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week.

Bailey Pike, Women’s Swimming – In the first Western State Conference meet she took first in the 1650m Freestyle (19:37.41), lowering her season best time by 23 seconds and finishing over a minute ahead of the second place swimmer, helping the women take first overall at the meet.

Zach Williams, Baseball –  He was 8 for 10 (.800) in three games last week. He had a total of 8 RBI, 2 stolen bases and 2 home runs (one grand slam and one three-run homerun).

Zach Williams named SoCal Player of the Week An big congrats to Zach on not only being Renegade of the Week, but also being named SoCal Player of the week by the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association (CCCBCA) for his big week last week!

Seven Renegades Named to the 2018 SCFA Scholar Athlete Team

We are proud to have student athletes who not only take care of business on the field, but in the classroom as well. This year we have seven Renegade football student athletes named to the Southern California Football Association 2018 Scholar Athlete Team. The seven include: Jeremiah Johnson (DB, Soph, Garces HS), Nathan De Jager (PK, Soph, Bakersfield Christian HS), James Thomas (DE, Soph, Independence HS), Monolete Robinson (DB, Soph, Centennial HS), Andrew Magana (DL, Fresh, Bakersfield HS), Carson Olivas (P, Soph, Bakersfield HS) and Blake Brown (OL, Soph, Garces HS). Congrats and keep up the great work academically!

Fun Photo of Coach Dahl and Trustee Agbalog

Coach Paula Dahl and Trustee Agbalog at the McFarland Basketball game

Renegade Athletics Roundup

Let’s celebrate women

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

Women in Leadership

Five women sitting and talking

To celebrate the kickoff of Women’s History Month at Bakersfield College, yesterday I hosted a panel discussion on Women in Leadership.  California Senator Emeritus and Early College champion, Jean Fuller served as the guest moderator while four esteemed panelists shared their stories, accomplishments, challenges, and more. Thank you to guests Shannon Grove, Republican State Senator, 16th Senate District;  Blanca Cavazos, Taft Union High School District Superintendent; Cynthia Giumarra, Local Attorney and minister;  and Rosalina Rivera, Delano Union Elementary School District Superintendent for participating on the panel.

The fabulous Manny De Los Santos recorded the event and I hope to have many photos and videos for you in next week’s blog. Stay tuned!

One on One with Robert Price

On Wednesday afternoon, I enjoyed being a guest on One on One with Robert Price, @stubblebuzz . The Bakersfield Californian is a great resource for this community with engaged reporters, like Joseph Luiz who visits BC often and always ensures he has the right info to create the best report possible for the people in our community.

Thank you, Robert, for having me on the show to share with our community the latest on Measure J, BC Southwest, Early College, and education transforming the Central Valley.

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

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

Behind the Scenes

One on One Behind the Scenes Video

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

2019 Diversity Champion Award

Bakersfield College received the 2019 Diversity Champion Award from the California LAW Pathway for its excellence in building the Community College Pathway Program.  The awardees were chosen at the California LAW Board of Directors meeting in November and winners were announced to the to the California State Bar and the CPA Advisory Council. Deans Corny Rodriguez and Manny Mourtzanos, and Pre-Law Advisory Council Member Yinka Glover accepted the award on behalf of BC at the Omni Hotel on February 22, 2019.

Bakersfield College is honored to receive the award.  I would like to thank the California LAW Pathway for the recognition, as the Pathway to Law Program at BC was designed with innovation and creativity in mind in order to keep Bakersfield College Pathway Students engaged and inspired to achieve success in the law.  Congrats to our Pathway to Law program and to our amazing prelaw team including Corny Rodriguez, Christian Zoller, Edward Borgens, Charles Kim, Marilynn Sanchez Avila, and Pearl Urena! I would like to recognize Foothill College President Thuy Nguyen for her statewide leadership in establishing this program.

Finally thank you to the Pathways to Law advisory committee chaired by David Torres. Thank you David for your unwavering commitment to Bakersfield College and our students. Here is the list of the committee members — Adeyinka Glover, Steven Katz, Jeannie Kraybill, Courtney Lewis, Cynthia Loo, James Maddox, Rebecca Murillo, Bathany Peak, Brett Price, H.A.Sala, Robert Tafoya, David Torres (Chair), Alekxia Torres-Stallings.

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

Celebrating Black History Month

In conjunction with the community organization Harlem and Beyond, Bakersfield College was honored to have Dr. James Chaffers, Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of Michigan. Dr. chaffers was the Senior Design Juror for the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial statue in Washington, D.C. See the Bakersfield Californian Article: Bakersfield College celebrates Black History Month.

BC students and staff with Dr. James Chaffers

Gades Grub Grand Opening

Food Services celebrated the launch of the Gades Grub food trailer with a grand opening event in the Gym Huddle on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. The event featured a live DJ, free samples of some of the delicious food that Gades Grub has to offer, and other giveaway prizes. Students were eager to try some of the delectable options that will now be available to them from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Thursday.

BC at Startup Grind Global Conference

BC was represented by Professors Rudy Menjivar and Valerie Robinson at the Startup Grind’s Global Conference in Silicon Valley. This is for startups everywhere, especially the who’s who of the Silicon Valley startup scene. With more than 8,000 individuals, mostly entrepreneurs, venture capital investors, and professional service providers attending the two-day event, the conference provided an environment unlike anything else – a community coming together for invaluable education, connection, and inspiration.  The event had a roster of world-class speakers and thousands of entrepreneurs looking to build relationships, and it was great to see that BC was well represented.

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

Culture of Power

On Valentine’s Day, Daniel Rios, a Ph.D. student in Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego and a BC graduate, shared his passion for researching communities of color in East Bakersfield with BC students and staff. Rios presented research at A Culture of Power: Race, Youth, Labor and Sound in East Bakersfield, 1966-1974, in the Levan Center. The event was organized by commercial music professor Joshua Ottum as part of the Energizing Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley grant.

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

Rios’ presentation began with an overview of race and labor relations in Bakersfield in the early-to-mid 20th Century. Communities of color in Bakersfield were locked into low socioeconomic status via discriminatory housing practices that persisted until the 1970s and forced into low-level employment as farm, sanitation and domestic workers. In 1966 and 1972, black, Chicano and Latino sanitation workers in Bakersfield went on strike to fight for unionization and protest unhealthy working conditions and the dehumanizing way they were treated by white property owners. Protesters were met with heavy resistance by police and organizations such as the White Citizens Council.

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

At this same time, an often-overlooked music scene was booming around dance halls frequented by communities of color across East Bakersfield. While many music historians have documented the local country music scene known as the Bakersfield Sound, the contributions of doo-wop, soul and R&B groups are rarely discussed in academic circles. Groups from Kern County such as the Paradons, the Montereys, and Little Ray Jimenez were recording Billboard Top 40 hits while performing in local venues such as Salon Juarez and Fraternity Hall.

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

The majority of the groups, such as The Original Souls, were multicultural, composed of a mixture of Filipinos, Latinos and blacks. In 1969, the Original Souls beat out country and psychedelic rock bands to win a Battle of the Bands competition at Lake Ming attended by approximately 4,000 people.

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

After Rios’ presentation, Johnny Gomez of the Paradons and Original Souls bassist Billy Haynes, who went on to perform with Tina Turner and Lou Rawls, performed a few songs in the Levan Center and talked about their history in what is commonly referred to as the East Bakersfield Sound. “There was a lot of oppression in our town back then,” Haynes said. “We made people feel proud of our community.”

Thank you Daniel Rios for sharing his important research on the intersection of labor relations and music in Kern County, as well as Joshua Ottum and the Energizing Humanities cohort for organizing this event and Reggie Williams for the use of the Levan Center.

The Girl who Smiled Beads: Clementine Wamariya

Clementine Wamariya
Clementine Wamariya

On Thursday, Distinguished Speaker Clementine Wamariya gave several speeches in the Levan Center, sharing the powerful story of traveling through 9 different countries as a refugee to escape the Rwandan genocide.

Wamariya read from her memoir The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After, which was written during a major crossroads in her life. She was several years removed from the traumatic experience of fleeing the genocide with her sister at the age of 6, living in refugee camps and illegally crossing borders to seek freedom in the United States before being reunited with her parents on an episode of “Oprah”. In 2014, she had returned to Rwanda to attend an event in a soccer stadium where the history of Rwanda and the genocide was being re-enacted and memorialized, and she was so triggered by the memories that the re-enactment brought out that she had to immediately leave and fly back to the United States. She listened to Nina Simone’s cover of “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles on repeat and cried the whole way home, and the message of that song inspired her to write her memoir.

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

“I had lived opposite lives,” Wamariya said. “I had everything and nothing. I could stay anywhere in the world, but I didn’t have a home.” She continued, “I felt like that song was burning me, but I realized that if I could bear the sun, and my people could bear working in the sun, that it could be a source of strength.”

Wamariya spent five years researching her life and past with an investigative journalist to write “The Girl Who Smiled Beads,” which became a New York Times bestseller upon its release in 2018. The book talks about the lessons that she learned as a young child from her mother, a devout Catholic who imparted the value of sharing everything, never taking more than what you need, and having reverence for fruits, plants and the Earth. To this day, Wamariya likes to ask the question, “What fruit are you?” The answer reveals a lot about where someone comes from and how they view themselves, and driving through the farms of the Central Valley helped her relate to this area as a place of sharing, where fruits and vegetables are spread across the world.

When the genocide happened, Wamariya went to live with her grandparents and eventually ended up in a refugee camp, where people had to wait in line to eat corn and walk six hours for water. When she eventually decided to flee and cross the first of 8 borders to escape the horrors of war, she thought that she would have to jump over a chasm in the ground to get from one country to the other. Instead, time and distance passed and she didn’t even realize that she was in another country. Borders aren’t even real,” Wamariya said with tears in her eyes. “The Earth is the only thing that’s real, and everything else is made up.”

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

Wamariya pleaded for attendees of her presentations to be motivated by joy and not by fear, for when someone is motivated by joy, they realize that they don’t have to take someone else’s joy to experience it for themselves, and they’ll never believe that they have to take someone’s life to maintain their joy.

Since her appearance on “Oprah” in 2006, Wamariya has gone on to receive a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Comparative Literature from Yale University and serves on the boards of Women for Women International and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Thank you Olivia Garcia, History Professor, for coordinating Clementine Wamariya’s visit as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series, and to the Office of Student Life, the BC African-American Initiative Committee and the BC Women’s History and Awareness Month (WHAM) Committee. See more events for Women’s History Month.

Faculty Diversification Meeting

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges held the Spring 2019 Hiring Regionals at Bakersfield College on Thursday, February 21, 2019. Faculty diversity is a critical component in the support of student success, and each California community college has a responsibility to develop a workforce that reflects the diversity of its community and is best prepared to serve the college’s specific student populations.  The event presented important considerations for faculty hiring, including ways to diversify and expand hiring pools and reshape search processes to focus on candidates who understand and are committed to our students.

Thank you Dr. Janet Fulks and Prof. Steven Holmes for bringing this statewide event to BC. Thank you Tarina Perry for coordinating the event with the graceful touch that is so you!

BC's Faculty Diversification Meeting
BC’s Faculty Diversification Meeting