Tag Archives: Sonya Christian

Summer in Quilon

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, July 13, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

US takes World Cup

So excited that the US Soccer team won the FIFA Women’s World Cup. They are such athletes and the games are so fun to watch. Rapinoe was the star power of course (on and off the field), but there was so much more. I particularly enjoyed the score in the final by Lavelle.

Sights and sounds of Quilon

I spent a few days last week in Quilon, Kerala due to family circumstances. I was back in my childhood surroundings …. So, I thought I would bring you a glimpse of the place where I grew up.

Ashtamudi Kayal

Monsoons in Kerala

Places in Quilon (Kollam)


I was out of town during the Independence Day weekend earthquakes, but the minute the first major one happened, the BC emergency response team was connected virtually and started managing the situation.

For those of you outside of California who follow my blog here is a snippet….. On Independence Day, a 6.4 earthquake hit the high desert east of Kern County, causing the most damage in Ridgecrest and the nearby town of Trona. The next day, a 7.1 earthquake in the same area was felt from Bakersfield all the way to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, causing the foul poles to sway in the bottom of the fourth inning. Friday’s quake was five points larger than the 6.7 earthquake in Northridge in 1994, and two points larger than the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in San Francisco. It’s also the largest quake to hit the Central Valley since 1952, when a 7.3 quake along the White Wolf Fault destroyed buildings in downtown Bakersfield and parts of Kern County. Thursday’s quake was the largest in California since the Hector Mine quake in the Mojave Desert in 1999. For more information, Wikipedia provides a list of California earthquakes dating back to 1812.

Cerro Coso College, our sister school in the Kern Community College District, had to close on Monday due to damage caused by the earthquakes. Check out the article by Natalie Dorrell in the Ridgecrest Daily Independent. Computers, books, and file cabinets were knocked over throughout the campus, and several buildings experienced ceiling and drywall damage. Luckily, the campus was closed on Thursday and Friday for the Fourth of July weekend, and no injuries have been reported. The campus will remain closed until structural safety of the buildings has been confirmed, according to the article. Cerro Coso’s emergency team led by President Jill Board and Vice President of Administrative Services, Lisa Couch, did a remarkable job handling this situation.

A trip down memory lane — Guided Pathways at BC

BC is everywhere!  A few weeks ago, Lesley Bonds visited with third year students in CSUB’s educational leadership doctoral program to discuss guided pathways.  Dr. Manny Mourzanos teaches the class on Saturdays and two BC faculty are students – Jamal Wright (History) and Savanna Andrasian (English).  In preparing for the discussion, Lesley went back in time to revisit our early steps in implementing the guided pathways framework and traced the work to present day.  Here is a fun photo history of some of the work since fall 2015:

Lesley Bonds witht CSUB doctoral students July 2019
AACC Institute #1 Feb 2015. Kimberly Bligh, Sonya Christian, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Lesley Bonds, Zav Dadabhoy
Student Panel Fall 2015 on Redesigning America’s Community Colleges
Sonya Christian, Connie Conway
Guided Pathways Opening Day. Jennifer JOhnson, Michelle Pena, Reggie Bolton
Guided Pathways Opening Day. David Moton, Mark Staller, Nicky Damania, Paula Parks
Student Leaders
Sonya Christian, Kay McClenney, Davis Jenkins

New Student Orientation

The BC Outreach department welcomed incoming Renegades at the New Student Orientation last Tuesday.

Presenters Jo Ann Acosta (left), Daron Mackey (middle), and Josie Guillen (right), Outreach Educational Advisors from the Outreach and School Relations department

This important orientation provides prospective incoming students with important information about student resources and services such as financial aid, educational advising, student employment and career services, and Disabled Student Programs & Services to assist them in their journey at Bakersfield College. Presenters also provide information about our educational opportunities, Career & Learning Pathways, certificates and degrees.

Guest speaker, Alysha Douglas, Outreach Advocate and Homeless Court Coordinator from the Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Inc, GBLA

Our guest speaker, Alysha Douglas, Outreach Advocate and Homeless Court Coordinator from the Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Inc, GBLA, provided information regarding community resources available to the homeless. 

Daron Mackey, Outreach Educational Advisors from the Outreach and School Relations department

Thank you Ashlea Ward, Josie Guillen, Daron Mackey, Jo Ann Acosta, Alysha Douglas and to all the faculty and staff for their dedication and commitment in providing future students with the information and resources at Bakersfield College and in the Bakersfield community.

Jo Ann Acosta, Outreach Educational Advisor from the Outreach and School Relations department

Rudy Salas Press Event Next Week

In a report released by 24/7 Wall St., LLC, a financial news and opinion company that writes about economic trends, the Bakersfield metro area was named #5—the fifth worst region hit by extreme poverty among the nation’s 100 largest metro areas by population. Researchers reviewed neighborhoods with poverty rates of at least 40%. In 2011 to 2017, the Bakersfield metro area’s concentrated poverty rate worsened, climbing from 26.4% to 27.1%. Those percentages reflect that more than 191,000 Bakersfield metro residents with income below the poverty line. Educational access plays a key role in changing the future of these residents, according to researchers.

“In most of these cities, residents of concentrated poverty neighborhoods are less than half as likely to be homeowners or have a college education and more than twice as likely to be unemployed as residents of neighborhoods with poverty rates below 40%.”

27/7 Wall St., LLC Report

Last week, I wrote about the $1 million in funds made available last year to Bakersfield College by Assemblymember Rudy Salas, funding that enabled BC to launch a variety of programs that directly improved the lives of rural residents in North Kern, providing them with education and support they need to improve their earning power. I also shared with you an article in the Bakersfield Californian regarding a new $1 million allocation that Assemblymember Rudy Salas secured from the 2019-2020 state budget for BC Workforce Development programs. 

This coming Monday, July 15 at 10:00 a.m., we will be thanking Assembly member Salas publicly for his support. I hope that you will be able to join me for this press event at Library on the Panorama Campus.

Horses At BC

Student hold horse that faces camera.

Every day I drive to work, I enter our beautiful Panorama Campus entrance that leads past the Agriculture Lab. Do you ever wonder what goes on there? You may know about the big sale at the beginning of the year of oranges grown at the Ag Lab, but there is much more. The Ag Lab also houses animals for our animal science courses. This summer I was pleased to see two honorary Renegades of the equine persuasion out in the pasture. 

Sass, a 15 year-old Quarter Horse, and Gus, a 5 year-old Paint, belong to Andrea Prise, BC adjunct faculty and alumna, and are staying at the Ag Lab for the summer as part of her Horse Production course. Horse Production (ANSC B10), a 3-unit course, requires 54 hours of lab work in addition to the 108 hours of lecture. Students learn about the equine industry, breed selection and development, nutrition, disease, preventative health, reproductive management, stabling alternatives and horsemanship. In the Ag Lab, they learn to handle, groom and care for the horses.

Horse looks at camera.

Most of the approximately 25 students enrolled in this class are working to accomplish their AS-T in Animal Science. They are on the pathway to work in the livestock care and maintenance industries. Industries such as the beef industry which generates $1.35 billion in revenue to California and the dairy industry which generates $21 billion in revenue. Horses are a valuable resource for many of these industries, as well as for racing and recreational uses. There are approximately 700,000 horses in California, generating tens of billions of dollars. BC provides a qualified, trained workforce for this essential part of the Ag industry. Locally, our Animal Science students have been hired by Mebane Ranches, Famoso Livestock, and Rancho Rio Stables, just to name a few.

Students walk 2 horses.

Did you know that Kern County is the NUMBER ONE agriculture county in the United States? Our students are the future of California agriculture. The hands-on instructional experience we provide helps students understand the complexity and requirements of livestock production. Almost all of the animals in the Ag Lab for the animal science courses are personal property of our devoted faculty, like Dr. Jim Selgrath who has provided horses and cattle from his working cattle ranch, and Professor Billy Barnes who provides the swine. We have also borrowed livestock from local ranches, such as Mebane Ranch. Some instruction is off-campus, such as Dr. James Mcenroe teaching Dairy Production and Sheep Production classes, where animals used for instruction are provided in collaboration with various community members.

Student pets horse.

While here, the horses are cared for by Andrea. During the fall and spring semesters when the pigs and cattle are here for the Swine Production and Beef Production courses, the animals are primarily cared for by the students. Tracy Lovelace is also a great help to the Ag department in feeding the animals. When the summer is over, Sass will return to his work as a roping horse at the feedlot and Gus will return to training.

Students put halters on horses.

I look forward to seeing the baby pigs in the fall that will be brought in for Swine Production. I would like to thank Andrea Prise, Dr. Jim Selgrath, Professor Bill Barnes, Dr. James Mcenroe, and all of the faculty that dedicate their time, knowledge and animals for BC students in their journey to successful careers that are such a large part of the Kern County economy.

6 students and Andrea stand with the two horses.

Ag Dual Enrollment Forum

Corny Rodriguez also sent these fun photos from the Ag Dual Enrollment Forum. The faculty who filled the room are passionate, talented, and  highly invested in helping Kern County’s students reach their goals. It was great to see Ag Chair Chris McCraw and Dual Enrollment Program Manager, Kylie Swanson in action presenting to these great faculty.

Parents looking at the Starting Dual Enrollment slide.
Chris and Kylie.
Parents in the audience.
More parents in the audience.

Star Party with Nick Strobel

Join Nick Strobel at The Park at River Walk tonight at sunset for the Kern Astronomical Society’s free public star party. Get directions and maps on the KAS website. In Nick’s invition in the Bakersfield Californian he explained they will be viewing the moon, Jupiter and Saturn “with globular clusters, planetary nebulae and other bright deep-sky objects included to round out the night”. Nick also wrote about the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Read the entire article here: 

Nick Strobel: Join us for a free star party before the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Nick Strobel and Sonya Christian on train
Nick Strobel and Sonya Christian on Amtrak

BC SouthWest Construction Update

Gregg Byrd, Project Superintendent of SC Anderson Inc. sends us updates on construction for the new location for our BC Southwest center. This week they installed a water line to tie into an existing water line bringing both domestic and fire water to the site.

Large machine in the side of a hole next to the road.
Boring under Camino Media
Large crane lowering pipe into a very large hole.
Hoisting the Waterline
Waterline going into the casing
Pouring the curb and gutter

Gregg said, “The last picture is what happens when PG&E mismarks where their main power line is and we hit it. It took out power from Ming Av. To Stockdale Highway. Good thing is no one got hurt.”

Square hole with broken electric line.

Fun Photos: Mech Ag Renegade

Dean of Instruction, Corny Rodriguez shared this photo and some amazing news with me. Ignacio P was immediately hired when his internship finished. Renegades are making Kern County stronger with each degree, each certificate, each internship, and each skilled job.

Student and faculty working on machine part.

Athletics Update

Congrats to Tyson Hays and Gabby Lugo

A huge congrats to Renegade student athletes, Tyson Hays from men’s golf and Gabby Lugo from cross country/track & field for signing to continue their academic and athletic careers at the four-year level. Tyson will be headed to Hope International University and Gabby to Fresno State. Good luck to both of these Renegades and continued success!

Gabby Lugo Fresno State.
Tyson Hays Hope International University.

Memorial Stadium Turf Goes In

This week at Memorial Stadium the brand new field turf began to be laid. Our posts on social media about the event went viral with everyone excited to see the finished product! Make plans to join us this fall for football games. The first home game is Saturday, September 7th at 6pm vs. Mt. SAC. Season ticket information will be released soon so stay tuned. 

Stadium with clear stripes.

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Fireworks, Family, and Fun — Happy 4th of July

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, July 6, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Celebrating Fourth of July

One of my favorite songs as we celebrate an American day. Let’s listen to the Peter, Paul and Mary version.

As summer settles in, Americans of every belief and background get together with their friends and family on the Fourth of July to celebrate freedom, to celebrate having been blessed to participate in the grand social contract of American democracy.

A time for swimming, barbecues, and of course, fireworks.

American flag with sparkler

In a letter to his wife Abigail dated July 3, 1776, John Adams declared that the signing of the Declaration of Independence taking place the next day “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary festival.”

Adams continued: “It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with…bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more”.

Early celebrations included the firing of guns and cannons that evolved into our backyard celebrations and increasingly, large fireworks displays, like the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular which takes place each year over the Charles River. This year’s Boston Pops event featured an F-15 Eagle flyover by the 104th Fighter Wing from Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Massachusetts, and a performance by Queen Latifah.

A beautiful display was held in Bakersfield in the Spectrum Amphitheater at the Park at River Walk, coinciding with the Independence Day 5K Run and featuring live entertainment before the fireworks at 9 p.m. Other notable fireworks on July 4th included at the Petroleum Club in Bakersfield, and celebrations in Taft and Tehachapi. Firework displays at Wasco and Shafter were held on July 3rd, and at Lake Isabella on Saturday the 6th.

Bakersfield Californian features writer Kelly Ardis, a former Renegade Rip reporter, wrote about all of the planned July 4 activities in an article from June 26.

However you observed Independence Day, I hope it was wonderful — and safe . I can’t stress enough how proud I am to be an immigrant and citizen of this great country.

Rudy Salas secures $1 million for workforce development

As you may have seen in the media, Bakersfield College is once again the proud recipient of a $1 million allocation from the 2019-20 state budget to continue to grow our Rural Initiatives Program! We will be holding an official press event on Monday, July 15, but I couldn’t wait to share the news! I’d like to thank Assemblymember Rudy Salas for helping secure funding for BC’s workforce development programs where we prepare our students for steady, well-paying jobs upon graduation.

Assemblymember Rudy Salas was instrumental in BC receiving a $1 million allocation from the 2019-20 state budget for workforce development.

Read all about it in The Bakersfield Californian’s article.

One Year of Rural Initiative Funding

You may also recall that a year ago I wrote about a press event announcing an allocation of $1 million for Bakersfield College’s Rural Initiatives program thanks to the support of Assemblymember Rudy Salas.

That $1 million funding enabled BC to launch a variety of programs that directly improved the lives of rural residents, helped meet area workforce needs, and helped rural students build marketable skills. North Kern Career Technical Education (CTE) classes associated with the funding realized nearly 1,400 enrollments in a range of disciplines including: Agriculture, Electronics, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning), Industrial Automation/Industrial Drawing, and Welding.

Rudy Salas, Sonya Christian

The new HVAC program, located on BC’s Delano Campus, realized 117 enrollments last year and saw students complete HVAC certificates, and one student earned an Associate in Science degree in just the first two semesters. In less than one year, program completers have the skills needed for a lucrative job market with entry-level earnings of 35,000 to $60,000 per year.

Rudy Salas

This is just the start. With the new funding secured due to support from Assemblyman Salas, Bakersfield College and its rural communities will continue to provide positive economic impact and opportunity for those seeking to improve their lives through education.

Here are a few pictures from the 2018 press event.

Assemblymember Rudy Salas presents check to BC students and faculty.
2018 Press Event
Assemblymember Salas with the CTE Team
Assemblymember Salas speaking at the 2018 Press Event
Sonya hugs Rudy Salas
Rudy Salas, Sonya Christian, Trustee Agbalog and a HVAC faculty breaking ground with red shovels.
Faculty, staff, Pres. Christians and honored guests dig with red shovels.
HVAC lab ground-breaking in Delano

Read about the 2018 press event in last year’s post and read about the HVAC Tech Program unveiling in Delano .

Summer Bridge

Jo Ellen Barnes sent me some pictures of her first time helping at Summer Bridge.  There were close to 60 incoming students who participated in the event.

Summer bridge students working in groups
Summer bridge students working in groups

Jo Ellen’s team made a poster that depicted going from high school to BC graduation, the possible roadblocks, and how BC can help resolve those roadblocks.  Their poster won first place, which included some cool BC swag.

Summer bridge poster

They also took part in a great team-building project after lunch. The Summer Bridge participants were grouped by major, then tasked with working together to build the highest tower. Here are some of the fun results!

Summer bridge students building tower with marshmallows and spaghetti
Summer bridge students building tower with marshmallows and spaghetti
Summer bridge students building tower with marshmallows and spaghetti
Summer bridge students building tower with marshmallows and spaghetti
Summer bridge students building tower with marshmallows and spaghetti

CTE Goes Online

While many think of a college being quiet, or even dormant during the summer, work at BC is in full swing, including faculty, staff and administrators laying the groundwork for another set of innovative projects that will launch this fall.  One of those projects is our CTE Goes Online grant program.

This $500,000 grant, which we received from the state in June, will fund the development of several fully-online Career and Technical Education programs, including the Health Navigator Certificate, and our Commercial Music Program.  When complete, these programs will use Open Educational Resources to provide low or no-cost books to students, and will leverage micro-credentials to help students connect with great jobs in the workforce.

Thank you Bill Moseley and Tony Cordova for working to make this project a reality!

Speaking with hands.
Bill Moseley
Speaking with microphone.
Anthony Cordova

BC Pathways Program Mapper

Have you experienced the  Pathways Program Mapper? I’ve mentioned this innovative web-based application in previous posts. Craig Hayward, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, is working diligently with California Community Colleges, CSUs and Concentric Sky on this revolutionary way for students to map their education goals. Read all about it in my post Educational Systems and Intersegmental (ESIP) Task Force from March.  If you haven’t tried out the mapper, I’d like to showcase one of the programs mentioned above, Commercial Music.

The mapper begins with a description of the program and a short video.

Next, it give the student some learning outcomes.

The “Careers” section gives information on salary and growth opportunities in specific careers.

The program map is a flow chart of the courses at Bakersfield College. This interactive map has options, depending on the program, students can choose to tailor the map more toward their needs.

Students can also view the course map as a list and print it to take with them to discuss with a counselor.

Explore the pathways Program Mapper, it is a truly wonderful tool.

2019-2020 Bakersfield College E-catalog

BC’s commitment to assisting students reach their education goals is never ending. This year, our Catalog Team worked very hard to create a new electronic catalog or e-catalog. While we have provided electronic version of the catalog in PDF format for nearly 2 decades, we now have a true e-catalog in web format. 

Thank you Academic Tech Team for your work on the e-catalog

The e-catalog can be searched; it is interactive, and it has links throughout. This means students can immediately find their programs and courses and can go directly to further information by clicking links. One of the truly wonderful things is that each program has a link to its map in the Pathways Program Mapper. This gives our students the means to find all of the information that they need.

Aricia Leighton, Terri Goldstein, Nicky Damania, Sonya Christian

Best of all, this e-catalog pulls the program and course information directly from e-Lumen, our curriculum management system. E-Lumen manages our curriculum from draft through the approval process at the college, district and state levels to the approved version. Pretty high tech! Pretty cool!

This project was hard work and took a team of dedicated people to produce.  I would like to thank the Catalog Team: Billie Jo Rice, Vice President of Instruction, Jennifer Johnson, Nursing Department Chair, Edie Nelson, Academic Services Assistant, Linda Allday, Academic Services Assistant, Aricia Leighton, Web Content Editor, Erica Menchaca, Education Professor, Craig Hayward, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, David Greenfield, Educational Media Design Specialist, Pamela Rivers, Academic Technology  and last, and definitely not least, Bill Moseley, Dean of Academic Technology, who worked tirelessly with e-Lumen and Concentric Sky on the programming to enable this to work. I encourage all of you to check out the 2019-2020 Bakersfield College e-catalog.

Craig Hayward Mark Osea Billie Jo Rice Jennifer Johnson
Craig Hayward, Mark Osea, Billie Jo Rice, Jennifer Johnson

In the News: Job Spot

The Members of the Job Spot Team including Endee Grijalva and Terrence Banks, BAS-Job Spot Site Coordinator, joined Aaron Pearlman from 29 Eyewitness News on their sunrise segment this past Wednesday morning. They had the opportunity to promote the multi-level services provided at the co-location of Bakersfield College, Bakersfield Adult School and America’s Job Center. In addition, the new Arvin transit route provides residents transportation directly to the location, eliminating barriers and creating educational accessibly! #AdultEd #ResourceHub #ExpandingOpportunity #ArvinTransit

on set.
Endee and Terrence
Fox58 Lunge studio.
Arvin transit schedule showing inclusion of the Bakersfield College and Job Spot.

Bakersfield Californian Staff

I’m still coping with the transitions at The Bakersfield Californian. I know I’m a champion of change… but I can be a creature of tradition when it comes to some things. The local Californian is one such thing. I was pleased to see these photos posted by John Harte on Facebook and I wanted to showcase them. Here’s to the Californian… which will always have a piece of my heart.

Bakersfield Californian staff
Bakersfield Californian staff in 2006.
Bakersfield Californian staff
Bakersfield Californian staff in 2009.
Bakersfield Californian staff
Bakersfield Californian staff

In the News: Incoming McFarland freshman…

Last week, I wrote about welcoming our first Cougar-Renegade Class of 2023. This week, Bakersfield Californian’s Gene Garaygordobil wrote a story on the amazing day for the incoming McFarland High School dual-enrolled students for The Delano Record. Read the full article Incoming McFarland freshman get a glimpse at Early College program.

Planet Panorama

Web Content Editor Earl Parsons shared some close-up photos he took of various locations around campus.  He edited them with the goal of making them look other-worldly.  Great photography, Earl! You’re a shooting star!

close up of hedge
close up of magenta flower
close up of concrete
close up of light fixture
close up of grass
close up of desert plants
close up of yellow flower
close up of tree bark
close up of plant with spider web
close up of mushroom
Sonya waving in front of fireworks.

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC & Bakersfield: Community Strong

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, June 29, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

2019 Media Music Jam

If you have not heard the name Steve Flores, well…. let me introduce you to him. He is the energy, vision and spirit of the Media Music Jam, and he did the impossible….. he got me to say “yes” to being a participant in this year’s Media Music Jam.

Thank you Manny De Los Santos for putting together this 1-minute video.

This year’s SOLD OUT event raised $71,320 and still counting for the Kern County Cancer Fund. Over the past six years, they’ve raised $442,447 to help families pay medical expenses related to their cancer treatment. 

Thanks to Heather Foss and Manny De Los Santos, who supported me as I partnered with Robert Price on his rendition of “Let’s Work Together,” and line danced with Lyle Martin and Robert Rodriguez to Rachelle Murcia performing “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” while the talented Cindy Zimmer did a fabulous job on the violin

Lyle Martin, Sonya Christian, Robert Rodriguez
Robert Price in action singing Let’s Work Together
Manny De Los Santos, SonyaChristian and Heather Foss

KGET and The Bakersfield Californian covered the event and provided additional information on the history of this tremendous event. 

Welcoming Our first Cougar-Renegade Class of 2023!

This last Wednesday, Bakersfield College hosted thirty of our incoming McFarland Early College students. These students are a small group of the 280 freshmen that will begin their college pathway at McFarland High School this Fall.

The group started their day with a welcome breakfast hosted by Outreach and Dual Enrollment Director Steve Watkin. Our Early College Program Manager Kylie Swanson then introduced them to becoming a Renegade, dual enrollment, and what their next four years would look like as they pursued an associate degree for transfer while they were in high school.

Students were given a choice of four different summer courses to visit—and these 14-year-old students fit right in! While they were a little shy at first, the Early College students loved the opportunity to see what a college class is like and to participate in the course discussions. After their course visits, the team gathered again for a tour of our beautiful campus.

Welding instructor Jeremy Staat gives our newest Renegades an up close look at our Welding program McFarland High School will have a strong Welding Early College program that will prepare students to complete Welding degrees and/or enter the workforce here in Kern County.

Following their tour, I had the pleasure of hosting this amazing group of students for lunch. I invited some very special guests to join me in welcoming our newest Renegades to the family — Senator Jean Fuller, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Superintendent Aaron Resendez, and Principal Justin Derrick all gave the students advice and encouragement as they embark as trailblazers for secondary and higher education in the United States.

A lovely lunch with my newest Renegades!
Students being encouraged and welcomed by our amazing retired state Senator Dr. Jean Fuller.
Trustee Romeo Agbalog shares his passions and what he had to overcome as he connected with our students to inspire them to never give up.
President Sonya Christian, Principal Justin Derrick

Each student was then interviewed by one of our distinguished guests. When asked what three words describe how he felt when he thought about starting college this Fall as a high school freshman, young Isaiah said he felt “nervous, but excited and READY!” Fellow student Melina stated, “I am excited to be a Renegade. I am starting college at 14-years-old, and I am going to keep going until I get a master’s degree.” Our video team captured these interviews, and I can’t wait to share the final project with you! It will be amazing to track these students along their journey to Associate Degree completion four years from now.

The students then had another opportunity to sit in on college courses, including a special tour of our photography studios where Kris Stallworth gave the students a hands-on lesson in creating photo-grams.

Early College Student – Class of 2023
Early College Student – Class of 2023

As we closed out the day there was a growing sense of excitement for their future at BC, and I can’t wait to welcome these students back to BC each year leading up to Spring 2023 when I will proudly be able to hand them their degrees on our commencement stage. 

They are McFarland Cougars. They are Bakersfield College Renegades. They are our Cougar Renegades, Class of 2023.

Lesley Bonds recognized as a 20 Under 40 person to watch in Bakersfield

The Bakersfield Life’s magazine’s Mark Nessia hosted the event recognizing the 20 young individuals under 40 recognized for their leadership and service to our community. Our amazing Lesley Bonds was selected to be in this group.

Eduardo Torres Vargas, Manpreet Kaur, Lesley Bonds, Nancy Solis-Vargas
North High Connections. Jessica Mathews, Jennifer Williams-Cordova, Jack Bertrand

BC Hosts Kern EDC Board Meeting

BC hosted Kern Economic Development Corporation’s last board meeting of the year here at the BC campus.  BC strongly supports Kern EDC’s mission to stimulate and diversify Kern County’s economy. When Measure J was on the ballot in 2016, Kern EDC endorsed the measure for its economic development benefits, which was unusual for an organization that doesn’t usually adopt a position on ballot measures.

Dr. Jean Fuller and Mike Giacomini
Jennifer Serratt and Trustee Romeo Agbalog
Dave Howlett and Cheryl Scott
Supervisor Maggard and Steve Renock
Richard Chapman and David Womack
Dr. Jean Fuller, Wayne Kress, Arvin Mayor Jose Gurrola, and Chancellor Tom Burke

Mike Giacomini gave attendees a quick update on the Measure J projects, and Dr. Jean Fuller presented on the new Early College program.  It was great to provide our prominent community members with updates and information on all of the great things happening at BC.  I can’t wait to host them again in the future! 

Mike Giacomini presenting to the board
Dr. Jean Fuller presenting to the board
Dr. Jean Fuller highlighting the Early College program.

Jack Scott Fundraising Institute

A team from Bakersfield College had the opportunity to attend the Jack Scott Fundraising Institute this week, held at the beautiful Claremont Graduate University. The two-and-a-half day conference kicked off with remarks from the California Community College District Chancellor, Dr. Eloy Oakley, on Wednesday evening. Dr. Oakley discussed the future of community college funding in California, large employer partnerships with community colleges, and the need to help students with cost-of-living expenses, including housing and medical costs. Wednesday evening concluded with a reception for the 40 attendees at the home of Claremont President, Dr. Len Jessup.

Heather Penella, Chancellor Eloy Oakley, Norma Rojas Mora
Tom gelder, DeLacy Ganley, Heather Penella, Jack Scott, Norma Rojas-Mora, Pendleton Armistead

Thursday had a full day of interactive presentations covering topics ranging from visionary leadership, fundraising trends and strengthening business and corporate partnerships. Friday concluded with sessions highlighting the importance of strategic planning and skills on bringing plans to reality. Tom Gelder, Norma Rojas-Mora and Heather Pennella had the opportunity to make impactful connections with conference faculty and attendees alike.

Community Voices: BC’s Core Values Help Us Be better 

BC’s Nick Strobel had a published piece in the Community Voices section of The Bakersfield Californian on Saturday, discussing BC’s core values and strategic directions and how they can transform lives for the better. Be sure to check it out! 

Summer Bridge

Summer Bridge continues to orient incoming freshmen with its awesome Summer Bridge program, a first-year student success course.  Chancellor Burke even dropped by to see the program, and meet the newest Renegades.  If you know of a student who would benefit from this program, please visit the website to sign up for a session!    

BC staff at Summer Bridge
BC staff at Summer Bridge
Isabel Castaneda, Chancellor Tom Burke and Kimberly Bligh
Students at the Summer Bridge session
Chancellor Burke at a Summer Bridge session

BC Scholarship in Memory of Stephanie Marie Gonzalez

Rich McCrow reached out to me this week about a scholarship opportunity in memory of the amazing Stephanie Marie Gonzalez.  The Criminology/Criminal Justice team created a scholarship through the BC Foundation in her memory to assist Bakersfield College Criminal Justice & Corrections students with their education.  

In memory of Stephanie Marie Gonzalez

Stephanie was a BC alumni and a Kern County juvenile correctional officer at Juvenile Hall for 15 years until she passed away from a brain aneurysm at the age of 35.  Stephanie passed away in 2017, but her spirit lives on here at BC. She was an exceptional student and beloved by all Criminology faculty.

If you would like to contribute to this scholarship in Stephanie’s memory, please go to SupportBC.org or call the Bakersfield College Foundation at 661-395-4800.

Olivia Garcia recognized

Mark Nessia recognized Olivia Garcia in his article in the Bakersfield Life Magazine.

Fun Photos:

2019 Bakersfield Young Professionals (BYP) Summit: Chesi Womack sent over a photos from last week’s 2019 BYP Summit, a great event for young professionals in our community.  The speakers focused on emotional intelligence, decision making, stress management and leadership. Chelsi said, “It was a very informative and inspiring event to be a part of!” I love seeing our Renegades in the community! 

Chelsi Womack, Tiffany Simpson and Yolanda Aguilera
Photo from Facebook. Pam Boyles, the runner on the beach 2011
Manny Mourtzanos: The Artist

Manny Mourtzanos sent over to me his latest artistic creations featuring Billie Jo Rice, Bill Moseley and myself at the new BC SouthWest construction site at CSU Bakersfield, along with the infamous Kit Foxes.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? 🙂

Athletics on the Radio

Brandon Urry, our athletics communications manager, was on the radio this week with Danny Morrison of 103.9 The Beat and Fernando Ambriz of 92.5 La Campesina to talk about our athletics departments recent #19 CCCAA NATYCAA ranking (up from #31 the year before!), Memorial Stadium construction and the many summer sports camps/clinics happening at BC over the summer. We are excited for another big year of Renegade Athletics!

Brandon Urry and Danny Morrison
Brandon Urry and Fernando Abriz

President’s Cabinet Retreat

On Tuesday, President’s Cabinet met to discuss goals and work plans for the 2019-2020 academic year. This group is composed of direct reports to the President of Bakersfield College, as well as other members who serve at the discretion of the president. President’s Cabinet provides a forum for vetting decisions prior to implementation.

Attendees at the President’s Cabinet Retreat
Bill Potter and Mike Giacomini
President’s Cabinet members at the retreat
Corny Rodriguez, Bill Moseley, and Manny Mourtzanos
Manny Mourtzanos presenting
Corny Rodriguez presenting

Exec Office Retreat

The Executive Office held its retreat earlier this week, with myself, the three Vice Presidents and our Exec Office staff.  It’s always a fun time with this group! 

President Christian trying her hand at the wheel
Zav Dadabhoy speaking at the retreat
Chris Glaser, Billie Jo Rice, Mike Giacomini, and Jennifer Serratt
Jordaun Bennett spinning the wheel
Catherine Rangel spinning the wheel
Tarina Perry at the wheel
Chris Glaser’s turn!
Chris Glaser, Jordaun Bennett, and Catherine Rangel

Early College Retreat

We held our very first Early College retreat this week and I’m excited to see what the future holds for this amazing team! 

President Christian, Abel Guzman, Steve Watkin and Michelle Pena
Kylie Swanson and Ashlea Ward
Abel Guzman, President Christian, Michelle Pena and Steve Watkin

Exec Office Birthday Celebration

The Exec Office celebrated birthdays this week, namely Chris Glaser, Somaly Boles, Jennifer Serratt, Brenda Gamlowski and Mike Giacomini. Happy birthday everyone!!!

Chris Glaser, Somaly Boles, Jennifer Serratt, Brenda Gamlowski, Mike Giacomini
Lunch celebration in the Exec office

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Summer Leadership

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, June 22, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.


Throughout the months of June and July, Bakersfield College faculty are getting high school and middle school students interested in STEM with the Summer STEM Camps sponsored by Chevron and Project Lead the Way. There are 7 camps over the summer centered around interesting STEM projects. Each participating student applied to the free camps with an application and essay back in May.

Manny Fernandez with Drone Programming STEM Camp students.
STEM Camp students working on mobile app development.
Student assembling mobile app component.
Student working on mobile app component.

Students in the first three camps learn about digital fabrication (3D Printing), mobile app development, and programming drones. Last week, the students created guitars from cigar boxes in camp. Upcoming projects in the STEM camps include learning to design and build a tiny house, and exploring and designing alternative sources of energy. This is a fun and engaging method to entice students to consider STEM fields of study.

Klint Rigby taking a break.
Darren Willis instructing campers.
Student works with a computer application to design a heart to print in 3D.
Digital fabrication STEM Camp
Martin Perez holds a guitar made from a cigar box in front of students at the computer lab.
Klint Rigby showing his cigar box guitar

All of the camps are held on our Panorama Campus, except the last, Alternative Energy/Solar, which will be held at the Weill Institute location. I’d like to thank Martin Perez, Program Manager, Klint Rigby, Department Chair, and everyone with the Industrial Technology Department, as well as Chevron and Project Lead the Way for providing this amazing opportunity for potential future students.

Student filing her cigar box.
Student constructing his guitar.
Martin Perez showing a student how to construct the guitar.
Student wearing safety goggles working on constructing guitar.
Assistant observes student sawing his cigar box.
Professors shake hands with a student.
Roy Allard and Manny Fernandez congratulate campers.

2019 Energy and Ag Academy

The 2019 Energy and Ag Academy kicked off their first session at Bakersfield College on Saturday, June 15th.  This five-session academy is hosted at Bakersfield College and introduces students to local professionals, careers, and other features from these industries in the Energy and Ag fields. This year over 60 students have been accepted into the program.

Full audience in the Forum.
Students in the Energy and Ag Academy
BC Dean of Instruction, Corny Rodriguez, welcoming the students to BC

The academy brings awareness to Kern County’s largest industries and teaches how they provide resources for both the community and the world. The academy includes speakers in the Energy and Ag industries, financial scholarships, field trips to local energy and ag facilities, leadership opportunities, student ambassadors for Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, volunteer opportunities in the community and meeting with elected officials. The academy – presented by the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the KCHCC Business Education Foundation – is sponsored by Area Energy, Bakersfield College, California Resources Corporation, Chevron, and Kern Energy Foundation.

John Ocana from California Resources Corp., discussing produced water for beneficial reuse.
Dave Susko discussing the myths and truths of fracking

Wonderful Academy Ag Camp 2019

You may have seen a large group of very young students around campus over the last two weeks and wondered who they were. These incoming 8th grade students have been participating in one of two weeklong summer camps at Bakersfield College in partnership with the Wonderful Company. These students came from middle schools in our rural communities, including Wasco, Shafter, Delano and other surrounding areas. They were exposed to all the exciting things Bakersfield College’s Agriculture department has to offer.

Ag camp students in matching t-shirts around the BC shaped hedge.

With days full of activities, students created stationary holders in our welding facilities and a water filtration system in our Horticulture Lab, learning about the different materials that can be used to filter water. Students also created a product marketing plan for a unique product.The students were given the option to use a variety of ingredients such as tajin, cocoa powder, cinnamon powder, lime juice, and cayenne pepper to create their unique product – then they had to create a branding strategy. Students created t-shirts, hats, and other marketing materials using their own logo designs and a printing press. In addition to creating different products, students connected with industry professionals discovering the many related opportunities that exist in our community.

Students in a computer lab creating t-shirts.

I would like to thank our dedicated staff involved in making this happen: Raquel Lopez, Program Manager overseeing the program with the support of Manuel Muralles; Heather Baltis and Jim Selgrath, lead Agriculture faculty: Jesse Oropeza, lead mentor who was with the group 24/7 and his leadership team of peer mentors. I would also like to thank Abel Guzman, Delano Campus Executive Director,  Carolina Madrigal, Delano Site Office Coordinator, and all the support staff without whom none of this would have been possible.

Mentor and leadership team.

New Renegades get Oriented

The Outreach and School Relations Department welcomed a group of 64 new students into the Renegade family at an orientation event in the Levan Center on Tuesday.

Full audience in the Levan Center.

The incoming students learned all about BC’s curriculum, counseling opportunities, and academic support services to help them properly navigate their college journey. Representatives from Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance were also on hand to talk about resources they have to support homeless and low-income students.

Speaking to the orientation audience.
Josie Guillen

I’d like to thank the Outreach team, Steve Watkin, Nicolette Castruita, Cecilia Gabaldon, Asshlea Ward, Angela Williams, Jo Ann Acosta, Debi Anderson, Savannah Andrews, Josie Guillen, and Manuel Muralles for putting together this informative orientation event to welcome new Renegades and for their efforts in reaching out to schools and the larger community.

HBCU Tour Continued

Last week I shared pictures from the first two days of Umoja’s HBCU Tour by Umoja Coordinator Dr. Paula Parks and four outstanding students interested in transferring to a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in Georgia and Alabama. The grant-funded tour included visiting cultural and historic sites, with Heritage Empowered as the tour operator. Dr. Parks has sent more pictures and descriptions of the exciting and rewarding tour that I would like to share with you:

“Day three, we went to Talladega College, which is an hour outside of Birmingham, Alabama”.

Tuskegee University Founded 1881 sign.

“A very special part of our visit was reconnecting with BC transfer student and Umoja participant, Tonysha Miles, who will graduate in December. Of Talladega, she said, ‘I love it here. All the resources I need are here.’”

5 students with Dr. Parks.
Dr. Parks standing next to Tonysha on the far right.

Mr. Lon Weind, who conducted the tour, touted the family feel and caring professors.  He also shared some history with the students in showing them a door on campus that led to a stop of the Underground Railroad, a network of tunnels and pathways that the enslaved used to escape North to freedom.

Tour guide pointing out attractions to students.

On the campus of Tuskegee University is the Tuskegee Airmen Museum, which highlights the accomplishments of the segregated fighter pilot unit during World War II. They became the most victorious and decorated squad.

Tour group at the museum.

Tuskegee is 45 minutes outside of Birmingham.

Tuskegee University Knowledge, leadership, service 1881 banner.

Tuskegee University was founded by Booker T. Washington – former slave, educator, and civil rights leader. This statue honors his accomplishments.

Statue of Washington assisting a slave.

Kerry Jones, who conducted the tour of the beautiful campus discussed the eight undergraduate colleges and graduate programs they offer, the availability of scholarships, and the caring professors.

Tour guide speaking to students.

Kierra Littles was impressed: “My favorite school was Tuskegee because of the community feel and their English program. I also liked it because they always have different activities on campus.”

4 students with Dr. Parks with the campus as a backdrop.

Alabama State University, which is in Montgomery, Alabama, was front and center during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955-56. The sculpture means no matter what African Americans went through, they made it, and today’s students are encouraged to persevere and make it as well.

Tour group in front of a large metal statue.

The tour guide touted their campus life, including the football team as well as internship and research opportunities.

Students in a room with large windows.

View of the campus including the sculpture.

Grass area with walkways, trees and large buildings.

In Montgomery, students saw the site of a slave market, a sad reminder of a time in our American history.

Alabama Montgomery's Slave Markets historical marker.

The last stop before flying out was the  National Center for Civil and Human Rights. It put America’s civil rights movement in the context of people around the world struggling for human rights.

Tour group with a mural of a hand with snippets: stop apartheid, I am a man, justice, one vote.

Dujour Sams summed up the experience: “I recognize how great of an opportunity it is to be part of a trip like this. . I felt empowered by visiting the schools as well as the historical sites we visited.”

3 students in front of Human RIghts Learn More sign.

What a wonderful experience! Thank you Dr. Parks for taking Umoja students on this HBCU tour and for sharing photos with me. A tour like this makes such an impression on our students, giving them cultural experiences and inspiring them to achieve their dreams. Faculty like you that dedicate so much time and effort toward enriching students’ education experience at BC  is why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever!

Leadership Bakersfield Graduation Gala

“What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” Steven Covey

Heidi Forsythe, Tamara Baker, Brandon Urry, & Endee Grijalva

For the past 10 months 32 strangers came together and made our community a little bit better.  Among those 32 strangers were Brandon Ury, Endee Grijalva and Heidi Forsythe.  They have now joined the ranks of Bakersfield’s Top Community Leaders as the class of 2019’s Leadership Bakersfield.  Leadership Bakersfield (LB) has been running for the past 32 years bringing individuals from across the city and challenging them to step out of their comfort zone to be a part of a greater good in the community. Potential participants are interviewed and selected to be a part of a ten-month commitment to a team of strangers who will work together to strengthen and improve the community while developing their leadership qualities.  Each month LB participants dedicated one entire day where they learned about their own individual leadership style, studied local issues, personally interacted with top leaders who make things happen in our community and discovered new reasons why Bakersfield is a great place to live.

Heidi Forsythe and Helen Acosta

Brandon Ury served on Team 1 where they empowered Project 180 to realign their mission and scope as a grassroot organization.  They also focused on bringing awareness and solidarity to victims of senseless acts of violence by unveiling a park bench at Laurel Park.  Their park bench dedication also led them to raise funds for a local children’s school choir. Their project was an act of kindness and unity in a predominantly high-crime rate community.

Endee’s Team 2 focused on a newer nonprofit organization located on Union, south of California Ave known as Dream Center Bakersfield – not to be confused with The Dream Center of Kern County that serves foster youth. Dream Center Bakersfield serves all individuals who may be dealing with homelessness, drug abuse, violence, sex trafficking – the list is endless.  Team two however, focused on the services provided to the children. The team met regularly for several months to revitalize the children’s center by painting a beautiful mural with the hope of brightening the lives of children dealing with issues out of their control. They did an amazing job of turning the children’s center into a brighter beacon of hope for the little lives that often go unnoticed.

Endee Grijalva and Heidi Forsythe

Heidi’s Team 3 took on a similar goal but focused on revitalizing the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault’s Resource Center located in downtown Bakersfield. Team 3’s goal was to beautify the center as a means of brightening up the lives of not only the participants but the staff as well. The team put two coats of paint on over 5400 sq. feet of wall space, improved their curb appeal as well as the conference room and children’s library by changing décor and adding donated furniture and children’s books.

Every act of kindness has an impact we may never fully know.  A conversation on a bench park can lead to a peace treaty among rivals, a painted mural in a children’s center can ease the stress and pain of a child and even brighter walls can improve the quality of work for those who ease other’s pain.  Leadership Bakersfield is a great opportunity to grow leadership skills but more importantly to become a greater community. Applications for the class of 2020 are currently being accepted. Will you step up to the challenge? #BuildingCathedrals

Jaime Lopez, Mayor Karen Goh, Endee Grijalva, Tamara Baker, Heidi Forsythe, & Helen Acosta

2019 BYP Summit

BC was out in full force at the 2019 BYP (Bakersfield Young Professionals) Summit on Thursday.  We were happy to sponsor such a great event, one that encourages and fosters young professionals in our community.  Our very own Heather Pennella spoke about engaging BC Alumni and getting to know their connection with the college.  If you have a BC story that you’d like to share, please visit BC Foundation’s Your Story and help us with our Alumni Outreach program! 

BC is proud to sponsor the 2019 BYP Summit!
Robin Paggi of WorkLogic speaking on Emotional Intelligence
Panel of local executives Amy Travis of CASA, Brad Bryan of Houchin Community Blood Bank, Ariana Joven of Kern County Farm Bureau, Nick Ortiz of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, and David Milazzo speaking about the importance of leadership
Heather Pennella presenting on BC’s Alumni Outreach Program
Heather with microphone speaking on stage.
Heather with colorful background.
Nancy Solis-Vargas of CSUB, Nick Ortiz of the GBCC, and our own Heather Pennella
Margarita Rodriguez, Thalia Solorio, Endee Grijalva, Kim Collins, Samantha Guillory, Lupe Aguirre
L to R: Lupe Aguirre, Earl Parsons, Ashlea Ward, Endee Grijalva, Tamara Baker, Heather Pennella, Benny Balderrama, Leah Prendez, Yoli Aguilera, Courtney Carter, & Tiffany Simpson
Large group of men and women in front of byp sign.
BC staff at the 2019 BYP Summit

Bitwise Industries Coming to Bakersfield

There was great energy and excitement in the room at The Padre Hotel on Wednesday, June 19 as co-founders of Bitwise Industries, Irma Olguin and Jake Soberal, hosted a joint virtual announcement in Fresno and Bakersfield.  Community leaders including Mayor Karen Goh, JP and Ingrid Lake, Morgan Clayton, Teresa Hitchcock, KEDC representatives Cheryl Scott and Richard Chapman, and the Greater Bakersfield Chamber’s President/CEO Nick Ortiz were among those present for the event.  Bitwise Industries announced its expansion to Bakersfield as a result of a $27 million investment from Kapor Capitol and the New Voices Fund.  This aligns with Bitwise Industry’s vision of taking opportunities to places who may not have it.

Welcome Bitwise Industries Banner on wooden wall.

Bitwise Industries was founded in 2013 by Irma L. Olguin, Jr., and Jake A. Soberal with the goal of activating human potential for the technology industry in Fresno, CA.  It operates three lines of business that sustain and support this objective. Geekwise Academy trains people to code, with a focus on marginalized groups, to give them the skills for today’s job market. Bitwise’s commercial real estate provides a physical home for aspiring technologists, fast growing technology companies, and many mission-aligned companies that hire out of Geekwise Academy; all of which contribute to the ongoing downtown revitalization efforts of the cities where Bitwise is based.Their Shift3 Technologies is a custom software development shop that pairs senior talent with entry-level programmers from Geekwise Academy to build and deliver top quality software solutions to clients around the world.

Woman broadcasting on monitor next to man speaking at podium in the hotel.
Virtual Announcement led by BitWise CoFounders Irma Holguin and Jake Soberal

Bitwise has produced more than 1,000 new software developers, attracted over 200 technology companies to its facilities, contributed to the creation of thousands of jobs in the region, and turned 250,000 sq. ft. of previously blighted downtown buildings in Fresno into desirable commercial real estate.

Several people mingling at the Padre Hotel.
BitWise Post Announcement Reception

Bitwise will be acquiring a facility in downtown Bakersfield for the expansion and has expressed a commitment to ensuring our local community thrives.  Bakersfield College is proud to be a partner in education and looks forward to expanding tech opportunities to our students and the community as a whole.

Emails to Share: BC Faculty Prepare Research Student

I received this wonderful email in regards to one of our students, Sarai Jaime. This reflects the quality education our faculty provide and I am proud to showcase the success of Sarai Jaime . We are BC!

One of our students is doing REU research at Ole Miss and will be going to Davis in the fall. I did not have her in my class but I became a mentor to her when she did volunteer work at the middle school with me. Now that she is with peers from other colleges I asked her if she feels we prepared her.

This was her response:

Yes, most definitely! Recently, we had a lecture where a professor presented his research (synthesizing dyes for solar cells) and he asked who had taken organic chemistry. About 10 of my peers raised their hands, including myself, and then he asked how many would synthesize the molecule he was showing (DPP17). It was an enormous organic molecule and I was the only one who’s hand was raised. I was able to raise my hand because Dr. Vaughan challenged his organic class in the second semester in a similar way. Dr. Vaughan would give us a staring material and a couple of steps and we would have to fill in the rest. This prepared me to not be afraid of synthesizing giant molecules and instead ask “what’s the starting material?” Of course, I wouldn’t have made to organic without my gen. Chem. professor, Dr. Da Silva and Dr. Copper, who taught me how to think like a scientist and approach problems differently than most people. The same can be said about all of my math professors; particularly my calculus professors Professor Starr and Professor Head. They, similar to my Chem. professors, taught me to apply what I know because the easiest path to a problem is often the correct one. I’ve had various professors in both the sciences and mathematics and they have all contributed to me being able to not be afraid of tackling problems that seem difficult and sometimes even impossible to solve at first glance. The lessons I have learn from my BC professors will transcend my summer internship and be present in my upper division courses at UC Davis and eventually at grad school when I pursue my PhD.†

Community Voices: Let’s not judge…

I just shared with you an email from Deborah Rosenthal about a student she mentored. When I asked for permission to publish her email and for pictures, she humbly refused any praise for herself as she was “just a mentor” not one of the professors that Sarai was praising. Now I can commend Professor Rosenthal for an excellent article published in the Bakersfield Californian Community Voices. She makes an excellent point about bias and judgements that continue in our community. Her article reminds us all not to judge people by their looks and the role of teachers as mentors. Professor Rosenthal’s influence and dedication as a mentor is evident in her continued contact with a student during the summer break. Be inspired and mentored by Deborah by reading her article “Let’s not judge a person by their looks.”

Emails to Share:

I was so pleased to receive this email from Heidi Forsythe:

Subject: Good News! 

I teach off campus (Inmate Scholar’s Program) and only find myself on the main campus when I need to pick up copies.  Today, I was on campus for a lengthy period of time which happen to be my lunch. As I decided how to efficiently use my time (while I waited for my copies) and plug in some exercise I chose to walk (climb my way) to the huddle where I met Christina Rodriguez.  This is where the good news comes in. Christina Rodriguez was the very cheerful food server who gladly took my order. As I thanked her for her excellent customer service she replied with great pleasure that she loves her job and the institution. She also mentioned that she is a graduate of BC.  While she is currently looking for full-time work within her field as an Administrative Assistant she expressed how happy she was working for the institution. She was very genuine in her remarks and expressed much gratitude for the opportunity to work for Bakersfield College. I was truly impressed with Ms. Rodriguez that I told her I would share the news with you and she was ecstatic.

It was so exciting to hear her brag about our amazing school.  She is a true example of the phrase, We are BC.

Kind Regards,

Heidi Forsythe

And when I shared this with Christina, she replied with a delightful email:

Dear BC President Sonya Christian,

I’m honored to receive an email from you.  I am very proud to be working at Bakersfield College Food Services Department as a permanent employee.  I enjoy coming to work and making a difference there when servicing our customers with a smile no matter how their day is going.  Bakersfield College is my second home just as it was for my mom, Theresa Rodriguez who worked there 26 years in the Food Service Department.

I graduated with an AA degree in Administrative Office Assistant and planned to make a career here.  Bakersfield College is an amazing place to work at and I enjoy every second of it. I want to express to you how much I appreciate my job, the people I work with and serving our BC students, faculty and the community.  I hope as they leave I made their day. Thank you for taking the time to read this and hope to see you soon.


Christina Rodriguez

In BC Food Services cap and t-shirt.
Christina Rodriguez

Thank you Heidi for recognizing a valuable member of our team and thank you Christina for you dedication and bringing a smile to everyone on campus. We are BC!

Fun Photos: Inmate Education Team

9 people in front of a white board with lots of writing.
Inmate Education Team

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Summer at BC

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, June 29, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Happy Retirement Liz!

At the end of our second day of the annual Admin Council Retreat, we surprised our fabulous Vice President of Instruction Liz Rozell with a gathering to recognize and celebrate her time at BC as she enters into retirement.  Liz has bold vision, contagious energy, unrivaled work ethic, and …that gorgeous smile! Liz stepped up to be VP at a very crucial point at BC when we were in the middle of implementing Guided Pathways, AB 705, curriculum review, accreditation, development of new instructional programs, BC-Southwest, the growth of dual enrollment, inmate scholars and more.

Liz Rozell being honored for her retirement at 2019 Closing Day

Check out the entire gallery of Liz’s retirement ceremony!

BCSD Hall of Fame Honoring Senator Jean Fuller

On Friday evening, I enjoyed cheering for Senator Jean Fuller and Grimm Family Educational Foundation CEO Barbara Grimm Marshall as they were inducted into the Bakersfield City School District Hall of Fame. At the BC table we had Kern Community College District Trustees Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Romeo Agbalog, his wife, Lilly Perez Agbalog, and Bakersfield College employees Steve Watkin, Kylie Swanson, Norma Rojas-Mora and Michele Bresso — celebrating the service of Jean and Barbara, partners in BC’s Early College Program that enables high school students to earn simultaneous college degrees.  Jean Fuller, a BC alumna, challenged Hall of Fame audience members on the spot to contact local high schools and ensure they are participating in Early College. We are BC!

L to R: Lily Perez-Agbalog, Trustee Agbalog, Norma Rojas-Mora, Michele Bresso, Jean Fuller, Sharlet Briggs, Kylie Swanson, Trustee Gomez-Heitzeberg, and Steve Watkin
Plaque for Jean Fuller and BCSD Hall of Fame
Jean Fuller speaking at BCSD Hall of Fame
Kylie Swanson and Jean Fuller
Trustee Nan Gomez Heitzeberg, Lily Perez-Agbalog and Trustee Romeo Agbalog
Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Jean Fuller, Trustee Nan Gomez Heitzeberg
Sonya Christian, Jean Fuller, and Sharlet Briggs

Special thanks as well to the Bakersfield Californian for their coverage last April when inductees were first announced.

Admin Council Retreat – Day Two

2019 Bakersfield College Administrative Council

On Tuesday the college administrative council gathered for the second part of our summer retreat.

Todd Coston organized different sessions on: Dealing with Difficult People and Having Hard Conversations by Stephanie Baltazar and Brett Redd, How to Facilitate Team Building and Effective Meeting Facilitation by Manny Mourtzanos and Steve Watkins, and Best Practices for Running a Screening Committee & Conducting Classified Staff Evaluations by Todd Coston and Monika Scott. Thanks to all who participated in these retreats.

Billie Jo Rice and Liz Rozell presenting on our administrative reorganization. Thank you Fernando Lara for this picture that captures the transition from one VP to the next.
Tamara Baker turns to share with the group how her team completed the group activity.
Eileen Pierce, Abel Guzman, Tommy Tunson, and Angelica Perez work on a team building activity.
Dean of Instruction, Manny Mourtzanos speaks to the room full of BC’s managers
The talented and fearless Manny De Los Santos taking the admin council group picture

Check out attendees’ photos in our SmugMug gallery!

Below are some fun photos from the first day’s retreat when everyone formed teams and went on a scavenger hunt across campus.

Ramon Puga’s Team ‘Sitting on a Swing’ (one of the scavenger hunt items)
Another team ‘striking the pose of a picture’
Another team ‘wearing a toilet seat cover over their head’

You can check out more scavenger hunt photos from day one of the retreat at our SmugMug gallery.

Umoja’s HBCU Tour

Umoja Community students went on a tour of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in Georgia and Alabama. Umoja Coordinator Dr. Paula Parks selected four outstanding students who are interested in transferring to an HBCU. The grant-funded tour included visiting cultural and historic sites, with Heritage Empowered as the tour operator.

On the same block was the Center, Dr. King’s childhood home, and the visitors’ center.
The steps include Dr. King’s words: “We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream”
The exhibits included influences on Dr. Martin Luther King, such as Mahatma Gandhi, who led a successful nonviolent movement in India.
The students and Dr. Parks. At the very back is where Dr. and Mrs. King are buried.
Freedom walk
At the historic Ebenezer Baptist church where Dr. King preached alongside his father.

Earl Parsons poem published to local literary journal

Earl Parsons from MPR recently had a poem published that he wrote about local candy company, Dewar’s, mascot. Congrats Earl! Here’s the poem:

The Dewar’s Mascot

You can see the published poem on the Rabid Oak website.

Measure J Update

Currently we have 15 (!) Measure J projects underway here at BC.  Check out the photos below to see the construction happening at the Campus Center, Veterans Resource Center, and Memorial Stadium.  I’m so proud of the work that we are doing here to upgrade our campus for our students and community.

Memorial Stadium
Memorial Stadium
VRC Construction
VRC Construction
VRC Construction
Campus Center Construction

New Scoreboard at the Pool

The new BC Pool scoreboard

We have a new scoreboard at the BC pool!  Thank you to M&O for coordinating this and helping to continually beautify and update our campus!

Kern EDC 31st Annual Dinner

BC’s Tom Gelder, Heather Pennella, Norma Rojas-Mora and Tamara Baker attended this year’s Kern EDC Annual Dinner held at JEH Ranch.  It was a great chance to catch up with fellow community leaders and show support for economic development in our region.  Not to mention, the river looked exceptionally beautiful this year with all of the rainfall that we’ve had! 

Kern EDC Dinner Program
Kern River and JEH Ranch
Tom Gelder and Rick Kreiser
Heather Pennella, Lori Kreiser and Karen King
Tom Gelder, Rick Kreiser, Lori Kreise and Heather Pennella
Tamara Baker and Jenifer Pitcher
Arvin Chief of Police Scot Kimble, his wife, Norma Rojas Mora and Pawan Gill
Patty Canessa and Norma Rojas-Mora

Student Deployment Spotlight

In a past blog post, I talked about BC student Elaine Moreno’s deployment to Baghdad.  We have created a page on the BC website dedicated to Elaine’s story while she is overseas, where we will post updates as we receive them from Elaine.  Make sure to keep up on the web link below to see Elaine in action!

Flex week is coming up and the only thing missing is you!

Fall Flex week is just around the corner and we want to make sure that you are prepared. We are gearing up for Flex week workshops August 19th-21st and we have a wide variety of sessions to meet your professional development needs. Sessions run from 8:00 am to 4:30 all three days and range from Active Listening to creating your own escape room in Canvas. Whether you are a faculty member looking to improve your technology skills or a staff member who wants to understand data, we have something for everyone.

Brandon Urry presenting at Spring 2019’s Flex Week

Below are just some of the workshops being offered, along with a brief description. For a full list of workshops, check out Upcoming Workshops.

How to Create an Effective Syllabus

Come to this presentation to learn how to make your syllabus work for both you and your students.

Creating Accessible PDF Documents

Come to this workshop to learn how to create accessible PDF documents. (note: this workshop will not cover fillable forms)

Build an Escape Room in Canvas With Mastery Plans

Canvas possesses a little known utility for individualizing instruction called Mastery Paths.  In this workshop, you’ll learn how to use mastery paths and use it to build an escape room.

The art of active listening

How often do we stop to actively listen within our daily communication exchanges? In today’s society, it is easy to be inundated with words, noise, and impersonal communication distracting us from the real meaning of messages and stories. It is always the right time to actively participate in listening. This workshop will focus on best practices to actively listen to your students, your colleagues and yourself throughout the semester.

Creating Badges within your Canvas Course

Are you wanting to create Badges to incentivize your students in your class? Are you wanting to track your students’ progress through your course modules…or maybe just create friendly competition? If yes, come to this session where Matt Jones will show you how to set up a badging account, link it to your Canvas Course, and Create Badges.

How does this Grant Thing Work

The goal of this workshop is to introduce grants to the novice and to (hopefully) inspire the veteran grant writer. Grants can be a mystery, where do you find these elusive things called grants? How do you know if you should even apply? What do all these terms mean? What is my timeline? In this interactive workshop Michelle hopes to dispel a few of the mysteries and ease your mind on applying. Michelle Miller-Galaz, is the Director for Grants and Resources at KCCD.

Personal Professional Websites

Workshop for developing a personal website to include planning, selecting a host, tools for creating, image and video preparation, etc.


Join us for a presentation on Jobspeaker the online and mobile platform to connect BC students to employment on and off campus. Learn about the benefits to students and how you can help promote in your area.

Fun Photo: Professor Scratchy

Our own Krista Moreland and her cat, Professor Scratchy both could not wait for the summer term to begin at BC. Krista said, “Professor Scratchy is ready to help out!”

Renegade Athletics Up Eleven Spots in Latest CCCAA/NATYCAA Standings

Renegade Athletics has finished the 2018-2019 academic year with a #19 finish in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) and National Association of Two Year College Athletic Administrators (NATYCAA) Cup Standings. Out of all SoCal schools, the Renegades finished 12th. The ranking moves them up 11 spots from the 2017-18 spot of being tied for #30, and the year before that (2016-17) of being tied for #50. Congrats to our athletics department coaches and staff!!

Renegade Volleyball to Host Five Camps This Summer

Renegade Volleyball is excited to announce the dates for their 2019 summer volleyball camps.

There will be a total of four camps intended for 8th-12th graders with a minimum level of experience. There will also be a coaches clinic.

Camp #1 will focus on setting and run July 22-23 from 2pm-4pm each day.

Camps #2 will focus on attacking and run July 2223 from 5pm-7pm each day.

Camp #3 will focus on serving, SR passing and defense and run July 25-26 from 2pm-4pm each day.

Camps #4 will focus on attacking and run from July 24-25 from 5pm-7pm each day.

The Coaches Clinic will take place on Saturday, July 27th from 9am-2pm and focus on building a championship caliber team through vision, goals, athlete behaviors, team chemistry, technical skills and on-court demonstrations.

For further questions, contact Coach Carl Ferreira at 661-903-1911 or carferre@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

More Renegade Student Athletes Moving On To The Next Level

With the five Renegades who signed this week, we now have a total of 36 student athletes who will be continuing their careers at the four-year level. The four this week include:

Kylee Fahy from Renegade Softball is headed to Texas A&M Texarkana
Jacob Whitby and Derek Crawford are headed to Cal State Bakersfield for Track & Field this coming year
Zach Williams and Ryan Dickerson will be playing baseball at Campbell University and William Jewell College, respectively

Congrats to all our hard-working Renegade student athletes and wishing you much success in your futures! Go Gades!

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever