Tag Archives: Sandi Taylor

July 4, 2020 — Celebrating Independence Day from our homes

Good Morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, July 4th … a great day to be an American … a great day to be a Renegade.

I enjoyed this photo essay in The New York Times of past Independence Days. I think you will as well.

Even though we must alter many of our usual traditions and festivities to maintain social distancing and stay safe this year, I know that we will all find ways to celebrate our great nation this weekend.

Take a moment to ready my blog post from last year: https://sonyachristianblog.com/2019/07/07/fireworks-family-and-fun-happy-4th-of-july/

Class of 2020

Special Televised Commencement to Cap Week of “Painting the Town Red” to Celebrate BC Grads

We are excited to announce the 2020 Special Televised Commencement event this year on KGET and Telemundo, Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 7 p.m. 

We are kicking off a week of celebrations prior to the televised Virtual Commencement Event. To honor our 2020 BC graduates we are “Painting the Town Renegade Red” with yard signs and spirit flags. 

Dr. Nicky Damania showing off a We Are BC Spirit Flag – Order yours today!

Do pick up a 2020 Graduation Yard Sign to proudly display at your home. Yard Signs are free on a first-come-first-served basis to the first 2,000 people. We also have BC Spirit Flags (pictured below), which you can purchase to display on your car or home windows to show off your BC Spirit!

Order BC Spirit Flags or to request your free 2020 Graduation Yard Sign with the Office of Student Life Commencement Swag Order Form. You can pick up your items in-person or home delivery is available for a small charge. All proceeds go to fund the BCSGA Scholarship fund. 

As a reminder, be sure to tell your family, friends, and neighbors to tune in on Saturday, July 11 at 7 p.m. to KGET Channel 17 or Telemundo Valle Central Channel 13 (or with antennae, 17.3). This event will also be live-streamed on the Bakersfield College Facebook page.

Honoring BC legends

On Tuesday, we honored two of our Bakersfield College legends as they start their retirements: Dean Cornelio Rodriguez and Athletic Director Sandi Taylor.

The hour-long celebration featured many videos from colleagues and friends. I will showcase them in weekly blog posts over the next few weeks.

Corny and Sandi also got the chance to share some of their memories from their time at Bakersfield College. Thank you to Manny De Los Santos and Brandon Urry for their work in producing these videos:

Corny Rodriguez:

Sandi Taylor:

Outgoing BCSGA President Samantha Pulido also announced a new scholarship:

Videos from the event are posted on the President’s Events page on the BC website (click on “Staff & Faculty Events”).

You can also view the full YouTube playlist.

Virtual Express Enrollment: Become a Renegade in One Day!

Bakersfield College is holding an extended One-Day Virtual Express Enrollment Event for new and returning students on July 8, 2020 from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Counselors and support staff will be available to assist students with their registration process, answer questions and give one-on-one guidance. 

Students are asked to register for the event ahead of time at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/registrationrocks.  For more information, contact Outreach at outreach@bakersfieldcollege.edu or (661) 750-2684.

#LightACandle — A Juneteenth conversation

As many of you know, in light of the recent political demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, Bakersfield College engaged in a series of diverse and important discussions about race and law enforcement around Juneteenth, a day celebrated as the end of slavery in the United States.

I am continuing to share videos from our Juneteenth celebration.

This week, I am focusing on reactions – from Reggie Bolton and Julian West on the Danny Morrison #RealTalk on Race; and from Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Terry and Assistant Chief Joe Mullins. I’m also sharing a look forward – an introduction to the Transformational Policing Model from Tommy Tunson.

#RealTalk on Race with Danny, Julian, and Reggie

BPD Chief Greg Terry & Assistant Chief Joe Mullins

Tommy Tunson on Transformational Policing

Free Immigration Clinics Add Two More Sessions

BC has partnered with the UFW Foundation to provide free Immigration Clinics to BC students, faculty and staff. They are prioritizing DACA renewals at this time, with assistance available for general immigration questions, visa questions and more. 

Starting in July, they’re adding two more clinics to the monthly schedule. The next two sessions are on Tuesday, July 14th, and Friday, July 17th, from 9 AM to 6 PM, via Zoom. Connect with ab540@bakersfieldcollege.edu to sign up.

Levan Institute – “Be Red Cross Ready”

Next week starting Tuesday, July 7 through Thursday, July 9, the Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning is partnering with the American Red Cross on a series of free virtual lectures about health and safety.

Visit the Levan Institute page to register and find out more information about the “Be Red Cross Ready” presentations focused on survival tips for fires, earthquakes, COVID-19 and more.

Community Voices

Norma Rojas, director of marketing and communications, wrote a piece in the Bakersfield Californian about how we must all do our part and have the difficult conversations about race and inequity in order to facilitate real and lasting change.

“While we used to have these conversations in private or within the comfort of our closest circles, we have now been given permission to share the experiences with a wider audience. It is acceptable to discuss the care we must take as professionals, as parents, as community leaders when we walk out the door wanting to embrace our culture, yet understanding that it will make others uncomfortable to do so.”

Fun social media

Kalina Hill, Program Manager, Testing and Placement Center, is staying safe while getting active:

Reference librarian Mindy Wilmot is celebrating her boys:

Our Academic Technology department kept busy with workshops to keep our faculty and staff up to speed:

Closing Week Videos

Continuing the videos from Closing Week in May.

On Thursday of Closing Week, we looked back at the opening of the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center:

Athletics

Isayas Aris Headed to Nyack College

Isayas Aris from Renegade Men’s Basketball announced this week that he is headed to play basketball at Nyack College this coming year. Isayas played the last season for Coach Rich Hughes and made a tremendous impact on the team in just one year. At the end of the season he was named to the WSC South Honorable Mention Team. Congrats Isayas!

Reggie Bolton Named Interim Dean of Kinesiology/Athletics Director

On Wednesday we announced Reggie Bolton as our new interim Dean of Kinesiology/Athletic Director. Reggie is no stranger to Renegade Athletics having been an assistant football coach for 12 years and kinesiology department chair the last seven years. We are excited to welcome Reggie into this new role and know he will do great things. To read the release on GoGades.com click here: http://gogades.com/general/2019-20/releases/202007010n6w9c

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

#LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation

What a difficult, active week at the virtual Home of the Renegades as we continue to Shelter in Place and engage with a world coping with COVID-19, the recession, and the horrific public death of George Floyd.

The picture above is from a friend’s garden. These are the Mexican bird of paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima). They bloom when the temperature gets above 90.

Renegade Baseball Pitcher Sends Caring Note To Bakersfield PD

Through social media and television we have seen many protests around the country, and our community has been no different. After one of this week’s protests in downtown Bakersfield, the Bakersfield Police Department shared a photo of a card that a ‘black teen’ had given one of the BPD officers earlier that evening.

We soon found out that ‘black teen’ was none other than one of our Renegade Baseball student athletes, PJ Roberts. PJ is a pitcher and has been on the team the last two years. While PJ did not share this card with the officer to be recognized publicly, we are beyond proud of his actions to bridge the gap at this critical point in time. Way to be the change you wish to see in the world, PJ! #StudentTeacher

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, June 6, 2020 – a great day to be a Renegade.

I’d like to start off this week with a video I saw from Trevor Noah, who hosts The Daily Show. In it, he talks about how different events are connected and knock into each other like dominoes, causing a great wave.

#LightACandle: A Juneteenth Celebration

On the heels of the recent death of George Floyd and mass unrest across the country, Bakersfield College will host a two week conversation and virtual celebration leading up to June 19 or “Juneteenth,” a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

Six days after Floyd’s murder, I penned a letter to the campus and community.  In part, I wrote: 

I believe that in the 50 years since King asked this question – What is it that America has failed to hear? We have made enormous progress that we can and should be proud of. But we need to hear what George Floyd’s Memorial Day death – and our national reactions to it – are saying. It is a long and painful history, which makes it harder to hear. It is a dark and confusing time, which makes it harder to see how to move forward. But as Bakersfield College Renegades, we owe it to our community, to our veterans, and we each owe it to George Floyd, to join together, listen with humility, and to bring light that can illuminate the way ahead.

In this spirit, I invite you to join Bakersfield College for a two-week series of Juneteenth conversations across multiple platforms to #LightACandle and #ShineALight on the gut wrenching and horrific experiences of our Black brothers and sisters as they go about their business contributing to the economic wellbeing of our community, volunteering to help the neediest in our society, enjoying a family stroll in the neighborhood park with their children. We invite you to listen, learn, engage, and make an action-oriented commitment to speak up, lean in and create an environment that values every human.  

Thank you to the leadership of the #LightACandle Juneteenth Planning Team: Steven Watkin, Paula Parks, Tommy Tunson, and Jennifer Achan.

BC Joins Prayer Walk

At Steven Watkin’s invitation, dozens of BC faculty and staff joined a peaceful community walk and prayer on Wednesday. 

Led by Pastor Oscar Anthony of St. Peter Restoration Community Christian Ministries, and Pastor Ignacio Valdez of New Hope Family Worship Center, with the support of networks such as Kern County Ministers Conference, Kern Leadership Alliance and CityServe, hundreds assembled to acknowledge the pain our community is in, while promoting promote reconciliation healing.

I was grateful to walk alongside Steve Watkin and our BC team in solidarity for #BlackLivesMatter.

#RealTalk on Race with Danny, Reggie, and Julian

On Thursday, June 4, BC launched the first of a series of #RealTalk on Race discussions, hosted by Danny Morrison Media.  Over 7000 views in just 3 days!

Danny, always a friend to BC and an ardent supporter of our African American Initiatives and Inmate Scholars program, kicked off the discussion with a reflection on the recent high-profile deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmed Arbery. I was struck by the weight of the dialogue as he recalled a long history of murders of Black men at the hands of those in power… the stories of Philando Castile, Eric Garner, and Emmett Till.

Reggie Bolton, BC professor of kinesiology, and Julian West, director of the Career Ladders Project, described their personal experiences coming to terms with race and racism as Black men. As I listened to Reggie, Julian, and Danny, I felt the enormity of the moment we are in as a nation and the responsibility we have as educators to shine light on these stories.  The words of these men – brilliant, courageous, kind hearted, and committed to our students – should strengthen our resolve to work for racial equity at BC and beyond.

The livestream also featured a video from Steve Watkin.

BC in the News: The Bakersfield Californian

The Bakersfield Californian published a great article on BC’s plans to shine light on the ways education can advance justice.  Thank you, Ema Sasic, for capturing not only our plans for the weeks ahead, but also the ways BC has been advancing educational equity for Black students through the remarkable work of our African American Initiatives team.  I enjoyed reading the highlights of our progress on increasing access and success for our students over the past five years:

  • Increased overall enrollment of Black students by 45% to more than 1,000 students
  • Increased first-time Black student enrollment by 72%
  • Increased Black student enrollment in Early College opportunities by 1,017%
  • Increased Black student completion of associate degrees by 223%

Umoja students share feelings on recent killings by police

Umoja Community students and faculty gathered virtually to discuss recent killings of African Americans by police. Over the past few weeks, the murders of Ahmad Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd have dominated the news. Repeated exposure to lynching is traumatizing.

Floyd’s murder, captured on video and widely circulated, has ignited pain and anger in the Black community and resulted in protests nationwide. The Umoja Community – a program designed for African-American students that includes coursework, mentoring, academic and cultural trips, and counseling support to keep students on track to graduate – routinely provides space for students to share and process their lived experiences.

Students said this latest incident feels different from other police murders captured on camera because of what the video shows: Floyd was handcuffed when he was pushed onto the pavement. You observe the officer rather nonchalantly with his hands in his pocket and with his knee on Floyd’s neck. Over 8 minutes and 46 seconds, you see Floyd plead for his life and call out “Mama,” then slowly lose consciousness and die. Three officers watch and the crowd shouts out that “he ain’t moving.” It seemed to students the most extreme example of police abuse and of an undeserved, agonizing death.

In addition, Floyd evokes Eric Garner’s words, “I can’t breathe” sixteen times. This painful revisit of the 2014 New York case is a reminder as one student put it that “the deaths keep increasing.” The police aren’t charged or convicted even with video evidence, which emboldens police, students explained, to continue to abuse their power. Black people are re-traumatized with each death, understanding that they are similarly at risk. One student said she felt “numb.” Another reported that she was at “the breaking point.”

Being in the middle of a pandemic and somewhat isolated, they noted, adds to their anxiety because they have fewer outlets while being constantly bombarded with videos of Floyd’s death and mass protests. Students are suffering from a double injury: fears for their basic physical safety from police as well as threats to their physical and mental health from COVID.

Said one student, “racism is our (constant) virus.”

Community Voices

I was happy to see in The Bakersfield Californian this week two pieces from BC faculty and staff lending perspective on how we move forward.

Lesley Bonds, BC’s Director of Student Success & Equity reflected on the significance of Juneteenth in the midst of mass unrest. She calls upon white people to learn to practice anti-racism. Read her suggestions for how people can practice anti-racism HERE.

An excerpt:

“Anti-racism is more than simply not acting racist. Anti-racism requires constant vigilance — an unlearning of our conditioned behaviors, beliefs and biases, and constant, intentional, new learning of the ways we can recognize and dismantle racism in ourselves, our community, our institutions, and the systems we navigate daily.”

Nick Strobel, Astronomy professor and Director of BC’s planetarium called upon us to reconcile the “story of American society” with the stories we are reading today in order to give meaning to the popular hashtag #WeAreAllInThisTogether. Read Nick’s piece HERE.

An excerpt:

“If American society is to survive, we all need to recognize that an alternate story, that has been told in word and deed for many, many decades at least, has grown more powerful than the shared story of opportunity and equal application of the law… Do we want that? Do we really believe that the shared story on which this nation was founded is not real and can never be real?”

BC launches free immigration clinics

Bakersfield College is partnering with the UFW Foundation to offer Immigration Clinics for BC students, faculty and staff. The next two Clinics are on Tuesday, June 9th, and Thursday, June 25th, from 9 AM to 6 PM. DACA renewals are being prioritized and Fee Assistance is available at this time.

You may email ab540@bakersfieldcollege.edu for instructions on setting appointments. The Immigration Clinics are held virtually on Zoom.

BC receives Job Corps Scholars Program funding

Bakersfield College has been named as one of twenty recipients to receive part of the $24 million Job Corps Scholars Program funding, provided by the U.S. Department of Labor.

This national program serves Job Corps eligible youth by providing free tuition for their first year in the Job Corps Scholars program, career technical training, and intensive personal and career counseling services towards program completion.

Back to College

I wanted to share with you all a story from one of our student Renegades, Martha Lopez. She was left jobless when the Coronavirus pandemic hit, and decided to try out our Back to College program.

“I had just started a new job working at a Distribution Center when the Coronavirus hit. The entire center was shut down and everybody was left without a job, and we didn’t know for how long it was going to last. I started looking for a new job, but then I heard about the Back to College program on TV. I had been going to BC on and off for over several years and always struggled and felt like it was not for me, but I decided to give it one more try. From the start, the counselors helped me with Financial Aid and helped me find classes that were required for my major, and that were also interesting to me. The professors were all very clear from the beginning by telling us exactly what was required, and they were always there when we had questions. I had taken online classes before, but this time was a huge difference. Not only did I get As and Bs in all my classes, but I actually enjoyed them, especially Art which I was not expecting, and I’m excited to keep going in the summer and fall. At first I was only planning on getting my degree in Sociology at BC, but after talking to my counselors and professors, I’ve decided I want to actually transfer to CSUB and go on to become a Substance Abuse Counselor.”

Our Back to College program is still going strong with courses for this summer. Please check it out!

Fun Social Media

Our Admission & Records director, Jackie Lau, earned her Masters degree this year. The Admission & Records department shared a wonderful tribute on Facebook to celebrate her achievement.

The BC Library is sharing resources on racism. Check it out at https://bakersfieldcollege.libguides.com/blacklivesmatter.

Closing Week Videos

Before each day’s celebration, we shared a few videos from throughout the year – including this performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” performed by our BC choir, faculty, staff, and administration:

Student Affairs earned a President’s Leadership Award:

And incoming BCSGA Vice-President Emma McNellis shared her remarks:

Athletics

Coach Littlejohn Leading The Way Staying Fit During The Pandemic

Our newest Renegade Coach, Coach R. Todd Littlejohn of BC Football is leading the way in showing our campus how to stay fit during the pandemic. Here’s a picture of him doing hang cleans during his CrossFit workout this last week. Details for how the 2020 fall sports season is going to look are still being determined by the CCCAA, but one things for sure – Coach LJ will not be out of breath running up and down those sidelines coaching his team this fall!

Q&A With Sandi Taylor

The Renegade Rip ran an article where Editor-in-Chief Haley Duval interviewed retiring athletic director and softball coach Sandi Taylor.
Sandi talked about her greatest memories, proudest accomplishments, what she’ll miss, and what changes she saw during her time at BC. Thank you for the well-written article, Haley, and thank you for your years of service Sandi!

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Memorial Day 2020

What a week…. a week of highs and lows. SpaceX launches astronauts from American soil into space for the first time in a decade, we crossed the milestone worldwide of 6 million reported COVID-19 cases, we passed a milestone exceeding 100,00 COVID-19 deaths here in the US, we celebrated Memorial Day even though we were sheltering in place, and George Floyd stopped moving at 8:24 p.m. on Memorial Day on the streets of Minneapolis.

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, May 30, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade

Six days ago….

George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man died on Monday, Memorial Day, while he was pinned to the ground, face down, in an unlawful knee-to-throat chokehold by a police officer. (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/26/us/minneapolis-police-man-died.html?referringSource=articleShare, NY Times published May 26, 2020)

          Lift ev’ry voice and sing
          ‘Til earth and heaven ring
          Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
          Let our rejoicing rise
          High as the list’ning skies
          Let it resound loud as the rolling sea
          Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us
          Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us
          Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
          Let us march on ’til victory is won

The SpaceX launch was certainly a historic moment…check out the video if you did not get a chance to watch the launch live on Saturday, May 30th.

Memorial Day Message from Jenny Frank

Zav Dadabhoy, Armando Trujillo, Paul Beckworth, Sonya Christian and Jenny Frank at the VRC dedication

Jenny Frank, manager of Veteran Services and Programs, sent out a Memorial Day message to our Renegade Community, and I wanted to share it with all of you:

Dear friends, colleagues and fellow Renegades,

Although technical difficulties prevented this message from reaching each of you yesterday, the sentiment remains.

As the sun sets on another beautiful day in America, we are all acutely aware that this Memorial Day is vastly different than most others. While navigating our lives during these uncertain times, it may be easy to focus on the freedoms that have been disrupted. We must not lose sight of all that we do have and of those who have sacrificed to ensure our way of life.

The brave Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and women and Coast Guardsmen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country and its values came from all different walks of life. Yet, they stood side-by-side, united in their cause. I can think of no better way to honor them than to live our lives in the same manner they stood; united.

So, my friends, colleagues, fellow Renegades, as you lay your heads down tonight, remember these brave men and women, today and always. Tomorrow, as we rise, let us all strive to live our lives in a way that would honor their them. It is together that we will overcome any difficulties that face us. Together we will soon enjoy all the freedoms that have been gifted to us.

Please also enjoy Taps played by the Minnesota Orchestra Trumpet Section:

Aging

Here is a great poem from Jack Hernandez:

The body ages
steps hesitant
hair ghostly white
the memory cabinet
filling up,
But love knows
nothing of slowing
only of growing
wider in delight.

Virtual Immigration Clinics

Bakersfield College is partnering with the California Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the Foundation for California Community Colleges, the California Department of Social Services and the UFW Foundation to provide Immigration Clinics for Bakersfield College students, staff and faculty. The services will include general immigration consultations as well as assistance on DACA renewals, citizenship, family petitions, FBI and background checks, adjustment of status, and visas.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, all immigration clinics will be held virtually via Zoom or telephone until further notice. These virtual Immigration Clinics will be held every 2nd Tuesday and 4th Thursday of the month from 9 AM to 6 PM.

Read the full story at Bakersfield College launches free Immigration Clinic.

Letting the Times Guide our Creativity

Last March, Kris Tiner from our Jazz department presented during my Virtual Seminar Series about how he changed his teaching methods when classes moved online. He said we must “let the times guide our creativity.”

This week, Jennifer Garrett, our director of choral and vocal studies and Performing Arts Department Chair, continued that sentiment. She wrote a piece in the Bakersfield Californian about how our performance groups have adapted to social distancing.

BC’s performing arts programs have shared these positive attributes with the Bakersfield community for generations and focusing on them can guide us all through these challenging times. The BC performing arts faculty will continue to let the times guide their creativity, offering BC students the best experiences possible.

BC Foundation announces new Executive Director

This past Thursday marked the last BC Foundation Board of Directors meeting of the 2019-20 academic year. In spite of the challenges presented by the impact of COVID-19, the BC Foundation finished strong.

Almost 550 scholarships worth over $500,000 were awarded to our students, an Emergency Student Fund was established to financially help students during unexpected hardships, and over $60,000 was used to support innovative programmatic activities proposed by faculty. In the midst of reflecting on all the good work done during unusual circumstances, we took opportunity to express appreciation for the contributions made by the staff, board leadership, and college administration.

However, the highlight of the meeting was welcoming the new Foundation Executive Director, Cheryl Scott, who will fully come on board July 6th. There was great excitement among the directors, for most have known Cheryl for many years and are acquainted with her community service and economic development work in Kern County. 

You can find out more about the BC Foundation on their website at https://www.supportbc.org/.

Kern Promise Celebrates Transfer Graduates

Kern Promise is celebrating BC class of 2020 transferring to 4-year colleges and universities. You can see a display of these high achievers on the Transfer Celebration page of the BC website.

If you know of a graduate that would like to celebrate transferring, have them submit a Transfer Celebration Form.

Here are just a few of our transfer graduates:

Rotary Club of Kern River Valley Scholarship

Kern Valley Sun announced the Rotary Club of the Kern River Valley’s scholarship recipients including incoming Renegade, Joey Moyer. The article states Joey will pursue a teaching credential and plans to transfer to a four-year university.  Welcome to BC Joey!

Videos from Closing Week

I’m continuing to highlight a few videos from our Closing Week celebration. All our videos are available on our Closing Week 2020 website.

Incoming BCSGA President Gian Gatayao:

Presidential Leadership Awards: Academic Technology:

Manny Mourtzanos, Management Association:

Uplifting student videos from Summer Bridge

BC’s Summer Bridge program is one of our secret student success strategies. Dr. Kimberly Bligh has moved this program to an online format for Summer 2020. Check out these two uplifting videos from our incoming Bridgers

Thank you Kimberly!

Construction on Campus

While we are not able to be on campus, construction is continuing. Check out this photo from Manny De Los Santos:

Athletics

Sandi Taylor Officially Announces Retirement After 30 Years As A Renegade

This week our fearless Athletic Director Sandi Taylor officially announced her retirement to the community bringing to a close a 30 years career as a Renegade – 23 years as head softball coach and seven as athletic director. As a leader Sandi has consistently kept the Renegade athletics ship on a steady course in the right direction. While she’s ever a kind and gentle soul, she’s also fiercely competitive and was just what Renegade Athletics needed in a leader for the past seven years.

As news of her retirement hit the community, she was immediately was recognized with multiple TV interviews and a front page above the fold article on the sports section of the Bakersfield Californian on Wednesday. The social media posts on her retirement have been swarmed with overwhelming congratulations and well-wishes from former student athletes, coaches, friends and community members. We are glad to have had Sandi for so long and will miss her!

Click below for the stories from our local media on Sandi’s retirement:

Also, as you drive around town, keep your eyes peeled for the billboards honoring Coach Taylor!

And here again is the video of Sandi’s Lifetime Achievement Award

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Closing week — Spring 2020 pandemic semester

Bakersfield College closed out what will go down in the history books as an unusual semester… Spring 2020-the semester of the pandemic. There was much to celebrate this last week… the resilience of our students, the caring nature of our faculty and staff, and much much more. It seemed as it the skies were celebrating the Renegades when the jets flew over the Memorial Stadium this week. Check out the photos capture by 23ABC

Thank you 23ABC photographers Grant Simpson and Javier Posadas. Aircrafts from the 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno flew over the city of Bakersfield in a show of support for nurses and other professionals working to help fight the coronavirus.

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, May 16, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade

Check out the opening photo roll for Closing Week, Day 1, put together by Dylan Wang

Every spring, we hold a Closing Day celebration on campus to reflect on the academic year and honor the accomplishments of our BC faculty and staff.

This year, we took our celebration online and shifted to a shorter format over 4 days. You can visit the Closing Week 2020 website to see videos from each day’s celebration. As part of the BC tradition, I recognize individuals, departments, and teams for leadership from the previous years.

This year, I honored the Academic Technology Department, College and District Information Technology Department, the Public Safety Program Pathway, the Nursing Department, Carlos Barbaran, Student Affairs, the Budget Committee, COVID-19 Response Team, Jennifer Johnson, Todd Coston, and Paul Beckworth (announced in Fall 2019) as recipients of the President’s Leadership Awards.

I also honored retiring Athletic Director Sandi Taylor and retiring Dean Corny Rodriguez with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Bakersfield College will truly miss both of you, and I am grateful for the years of service you both have given to the college.

Sandi Taylor — Lifetime Achievement Award

Corny Rodriguez — Lifetime Achievement Award

Paula Parks and Faith Bradham were announced as the Norm Levan Faculty Colloquium speakers for 2020-2021.


Gayle Richardson and Phil Feldman received the Margaret Levinson Faculty Leadership Award.

Arnie Andrasian was named the Shirley Trembley Distinguished Teacher Award winner.

And of course, the week would not have been possible without the Closing Week planning team. Thank you to Todd Coston, Nicky Damania, Jennifer Serratt, Tarina Perry, Manny De Los Santos, Shannon Musser, Dylan Wang, and Earl Parsons for the hard work you put into our weeklong celebration.

Additionally this week, Chris Doyen (English), Gina Herera (Art), Javier Llamas (History), Josh Ottum (Music) and Kris Tiner (Music) were announced as winners for the Norman Levan Summer Grants.

Check out last year’s closing day at https://sonyachristianblog.com/2018/05/12/a-commencement-of-firsts/

Early College Virtual Support Events

Early College graduating class of 2019

Early College is holding multiple virtual support events to help onboard students. There are recommended courses lists and information on how to apply/update student applications.

High school students can enroll in tuition-free courses that can be transferred to a 2- or 4-year degree. You can learn more about the Virtual Support Events, or register for the sessions on May 20, May 27, June 3, or June 10, on our website.

You can also visit the Early College website for more information about the program.

Check out last year’s commencement at https://sonyachristianblog.com/2019/05/19/bcs-105th-commencement/

BC Nurse inducted into Nurses Honor Society

Debra Strong, RN, our college nurse at the Student Health and Wellness Center, was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurses Honor Society on May 2. ‘You can check out the induction video below:

Nu Upsilon Virtual Induction from Nu Upsilon on Vimeo.

M&O taking care of campus

This week, I received an email from Caroline Walth commending members of our M&O staff, Martha Gonzalez and Ofelia Hernandez, who have been taking great care of our administration building plants while campus is closed.

Thank you Martha Gonzalez and Ofelia Hernandez!

And here is a photo of Caroline Walth from my wordpress photo album. Thank you Caroline for sharing your excitement about your department and staff.

Catherine Rangel, Caroline Walth and Jo Ellen Barnes

Celebrating our students

This semester, our students have risen to the challenges they faced, and they adapted quickly to unexpected changes. I could not be more proud of our student Renegades and all they have accomplished this year. And while we were not able to have our traditional commencement last night, we are finding ways to celebrate our students’ achievements – and we will continue to find more ways. I wanted to share a few of the things we have done so far:

You can visit our BC website to see a page that celebrates our graduates who will be transferring to other institutions.

We have also created a virtual flipbook to celebrate our Honors Students.

Through donor support, 436 students were named for the 545 award opportunities available, and over $500,000 will be awarded for the 2020/2021 academic year.

The Bakersfield College Scholarship program could not be possible without the generous donors that contribute to the Bakersfield College Foundation.

Community Voices

Chris Cruz-Boone from our Communication Department wrote a wonderful piece in the Bakersfield Californian about the shift to online teaching at Bakersfield College, and how how we at BC are continuing to move forward and find innovative ways to serve our students during this pandemic.

“It is a strange moment in history, and I will proudly remember that I was working at Bakersfield College where we are training people for the workforce, to learn a new skill or get credits until they can move on to a university.”

BC Chamber Singers

Performing Arts Department Chair Jennifer Garrett shared this video she put together about the BC Chamber Singers‘ experiences before the pandemic and shelter in place orders.

Amazon presents to Industrial Automation

On May 6th, Career Education welcomed Amazon Representatives to present on their current positions available within their Robotics, Maintenance and Engineering Department. Industrial Automation Students learned about the position qualifications, application process, examination and training opportunities.

Fun Photos

I love this throwback trivia from our Athletics Twitter:

Educational Advisor Isabel Castaneda shared a glimpse into how she spent her last day of the semester:

The library shared their well wishes for our graduates:

And librarian Mindy Wilmot posted this image encouraging us all to keep going:

Nice Facebook post by Matt Garrett about emailing his students.

Athletics

Our talented media intern in the athletics department, Jacob Amado, put together highlight videos for both our men’s and women’s basketball season this last year. Click below to see his excellent work. Great work, Jacob!

2019-20 Renegade Men’s and Women’s Basketball Highlights

2019-20 Men’s Basketball Highlights: 

2019-20 Women’s Basketball Highlights: 

Dasia Wandick is Headed to Webber International University

Fresh off winning the Renegade Athletics Career Achievement Award this year, Dasia Wandick of Renegade Women’s Basketball has signed and committed to continue her academic and basketball career at Webber International University in Florida. Dasia has been an extremely hard worker and leader for Coach Paula Dahl the last two years and we are excited for the next step in her journey!

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC Hits the Ground Running in 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Renegade Mens Basketball

2020 Women’s Empowerment Summit at BC

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

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

BC Welding Students Tour PCL Industrial Services

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

Welcoming BC Students With One Day Express Enrollment

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

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

BC Welcomes 26 New BPD Officers

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

Photo courtesy of The Bakersfield Californian

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

State of the BC Agriculture, Nutrition and Culinary Arts Pathway

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

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

Student Employment Scoop: Careers in Overdrive

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

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

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

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

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

Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee Community Awards Breakfast

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

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

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

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

Fun Photos: Bill Potter Working Hard

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

Bill putting his Measure J construction knowledge to work.

Fun Photos: BC Supporting Astromech Droids

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

Governor Newsom’s Focus on Education

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

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

Gov. Gavin Newsom (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

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

Jeff Chudy Steps Down as Renegade Football Coach

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

Coach Jeff Chudy

Renegades of the Week

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

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

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

Renegade Athletics Updates From This Past Week

Men’s Basketball Hosted 2020 Western State Classic

Game 1 win over Santa Barbara, 106-52

Game 2 win over Oxnard, 101-54

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

Athletic events ‘On the Hill’ This Coming Week

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

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

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