Tag Archives: Sonya Christian

BC’s 105th Commencement

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, May 18, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

A Record Breaking Celebration

Congratulations to the Bakersfield College Class of 2019! On May 10th, we had a record breaking historical evening. Our college has grown so much over the century. In 1913 we began with thirteen students and this year we have almost thirty-three thousand students.

This year we celebrated the highest number of eligible graduates to obtain a degree in our college’s history, with more than 2,746 students eligible.

President Sonya Christian with a 2019 BC graduate for the honorary handshake and photo.

We gathered to honor the second graduating class of BC’s Industrial Automation Baccalaureate degree, over 90 high school students from the Wonderful Agriculture Career Prep Early College partnership, the first graduate of Delano’s HVAC program, and most importantly, the diligence and commitment of every graduating Renegade.

Here is a little more about the class of 2019:

  • 2,161 graduates are transferring to a four-year college or university to continue their education
  • 614 earned an Associate of Arts degree
  • 697 earned an Associate of Science Degree
  • Over 2,011 guaranteed their ability to transfer to a four-year university by obtaining an Associate of Art or Science for Transfer
  • Over 878 have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above and 10 have a grade point average (GPA) of 4.0 or above.
Graduate smiles from the floor level of Rabobank Arena

Prior to our class entering the Arena, the processional is led by the Mace Carriers who serve as marshals for our processional. This year, Mr. William “Bill” Kelly and Mr. Fred Smith led the charge.

Fred Smith and Bill Kelly

Following the Faculty, this year’s Platform Party was compiled of leadership at the college, district, and within the BC community. Among the members this year were Trustees Romeo Agbalog, Kyle Carter and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, KCCD’s Gary Moser and Tonya Davis, Vice Presidents Liz Rozell, Mike Giacomini, and Zav Dadabhoy, Senator Emeritus Jean Fuller, SGA President Ashley Harp, Early College representative, Emily Perez and Senior Vice President of Wonderful Education, Noemi Donoso. Additionally from Bakersfield College, Academic Senate President, Steven Holmes, Alumni Association President, Becki Whitson, Deans Emmanuel Mourtzanos, Grace Commisso, and Cornelio Rodriguez, and Steve Watkin, Cynthia Quintanilla, Norma Rojas-Mora, and Paul Beckworth. It also included the 2019 Samuel McCall award winner, Professor Jordan Rude who, during his honorary remarks congratulated students by saying,

Acknowledge and appreciate the level of sacrifices you have made, and celebrate with the same level of enthusiasm! Find those people who shared sacrifices with you, and celebrate with them! You owe it to your former and future selves, and to those that sacrificed for you to celebrate tonight.

Jordan Rude, May 10, 2019
Professor Rude sitting on stage during the processional
Graduates filled the arena

Special thank you to Boy Scout Troop 712 for presenting the colors and to John Gerhold for leading us in the national anthem.

John Gerhold leads us in singing the National Anthem

This year, the Early College partnership with Wonderful Agriculture Career Prep more than doubled in size since last year. We had 47 graduates from Wasco High School and 43 from Wonderful College Prep Academy who received their associates degree. What an incredible accomplishment and thank you to Dr. Noemi Donoso of Wonderful and Senator Jean Fuller for being on stage to congratulate these and all of our graduates.

The Early College graduates from both Wasco High School and Wonderful College Prep Academy with leadership including Trustee Romeo Agbalog, President Sonya Christian, and Wonderful’s Noemi Donoso.

I’d like to share some additional photos from Commencement:

The full ceremony is available on YouTube:

The full ceremony is available on BC’s YouTube
2018-19 SGA President, Ashley Harp

Commencement is a big deal at BC and it could not happen without the work of the Commencement Committee. Thank you to Karimeh Amin, Tamara Baker, Christopher Blakemore, Paul Beckworth, Lesley Bonds, Ed Borgens, Eric Carrillo, Nicky Damania, Victor Diaz, Christopher Glaser, Christy Haycock, Beth Hilbe, Jackie Lau, Aricia Leighton, Jaime Lopez, Gabriele Martin, Robby Martinez, John Menzies, Norma Rojas-Mora, Rachell Morehouse, Julian Navarette, Michelle Pena, Jack Pierce, Cynthia Quintanilla, Bernadette Quintero, Kristin Rabe, Corny Rodriguez, Monika Scott, Jennifer Serratt, Pearl Urena, Imelda Vasquez, Dylan Wang and Steve Watkin for your hard work to make it happen. Also, thank you to the Rabobank staff for your contributions and assistance to make everything happen.

BC Crew helping out on Friday night at Rabobank

Delano’s Pre-Commencement

Delano Campus students got the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments at their own pre-commencement ceremony early on Friday morning. The Delano celebration began in 2015 to give our rural students an opportunity to be recognized in the same intimate setting where they completed most of their coursework. About 30 students participated in this year’s festivities.

Keynote speaker Bryan Osorio is the youngest member of the Delano City Council at just 23 years old. A graduate of Cesar E. Chavez High School in Delano before earning a Bachelor’s Degree at UC Berkeley, Osorio spoke about the importance of education in his life and how providing opportunities for people in rural areas to pursue an education can transform communities.

Trustee Agbalog addressed the graduates in Delano

Many of our students in rural communities face transportation barriers to completing their educational objectives in a timely manner, which is why BC is continuing to expand course offerings and student services at the Delano Campus, while also expanding to Arvin, Shafter, Wasco, and other outlying areas of Kern County. Combined with our expansion of Early College, Dual Enrollment, and Concurrent Enrollment opportunities, BC is doubling down on our commitment to increase educational attainment for all of Kern County.

Rural Initiatives Executive Director Abel Guzman urged students to continue their education as far as they go, while not leaving behind the communities from which they came.

Dedicated faculty and staff at the Delano Campus

Thank you to the Rural Initiatives team and staff at the Delano campus for organizing the 4th Annual Delano Pre-Commencement Ceremony. I’d also like to thank our amazing faculty who go above and beyond to support our students at the Delano Campus and other rural communities.

Trustee Agbalog with Martha Avina (center), a mother, grandmother, and new BC Delano campus grad with degrees in communications, human services, administration of justice, and sociology, with her daughter and fellow graduate Rocio Avina (right) who is CSUB bound this Fall.
Trustee Agbalog with Raquel Lopez and Rich McCrow

Industrial Automation Baccalaureate Class

BC also honored its second graduating baccalaureate class during the Industrial Automation Pre-Commencement Ceremony in the Potato Room of the Rabobank Arena Convention Center.

The graduating class of 13 Renegades, faculty, Trustees Romeo Agbalog and Nan Gomez Heitzeberg, Vice President Liz Rozell and Sonya Christian

This year’s graduating baccalaureate class included 13 students, and each of them is poised to begin an amazing career in one of the most highly-demanded job fields around the world today. This year’s keynote speaker was retiring Vice President of Instruction Liz Rozell and it was great to see Renegade alum, Richard Van Horne.

Michele Bresso, Richard Van Horne, Kimberly Bligh, Cynthia Quintanilla

I was honored to lead the ceremonial hooding ceremony for these incredible 13 graduates. Congratulations to:

Trustees Nan Gomez Heitzeberg and Romeo Agbalog congratulate the graduates alongside President Christian
  • Sabrina Cardenas
  • Adrian Chavez
  • Lawrence Coulthurst
  • Eric De La Rosa
  • David Guito
  • Seth Hancock
  • Chad Hildalgo
  • Wendyam Kere
  • Isaiah Lopez
  • Edwin Marroquin
  • Shaun Powelson
  • Aaron Thomas
  • and Daniel Vargas
Graduate, Shaun Powelson
Graduate, Seth Hancock
Graduate, Sabrina Cardeenas
Graduate, Lawrence Coulthurst
Graduate, Adrian Chavez
Graduate, Kere Wendyam
Graduate, Isiah Lopez
Graduate, Eric De La Rosa
Graduate, Edwin Marroquin
Graduate, David Guinto
Graduate, Daniel Vargas
Graduate, Chad Hildalgo
Graduate, Aaron Thomas

I would like to thank Aubrey Priest, Michelle Bresso, Manny Fernandez, Jason Dixon, Roy Allard, Tom Rush, Liz Rozell and everyone who participated in our second Industrial Automation Pre-Commencement.


Veteran’s Pre-Commencement

Graduate with Paul Beckworth

Our graduating veterans also celebrated their achievements with their own pre-commencement ceremony in the Breckenridge Room of Rabobank Arena and Convention Center.

Twenty students participated in this year’s Veterans Pre-Commencement Celebration. Our veteran students put their lives on the line to serve this country, and they were honored to have all of their accomplishments recognized now that they’ve managed to find success in civilian life.

Armando Trujillo congratulates the graduates

BC’s own Armando Trujillo was the keynote speaker, and he inspired students to continue making and achieving milestones in their lives. Our veteran student population tends to be older than the majority of our students and feel the need to play catch-up with their peers, but it’s important for them to look back on all they’ve already accomplished in order to find the motivation to push themselves forward.

BC is dedicated to supporting our veteran students, and we demonstrate our commitment with Vetfest and a multitude of other events we host on campus throughout the year.  And, of course, we cannot forget the Vernon Valenzuela Veteran Resource Center being built as we speak.I’d like to thank Paul Beckworth, Bernadette Martinez, Adeana Williams and everyone who helped organize this year’s Veterans Pre-Commencement Ceremony, and congratulations to all our graduating vets for the 2018-19 academic year.


African American Pre-Commencement

The African-American Initiatives team continued their tradition of celebrating the graduates in their cohort at the 5th annual African-American Pre-Commencement in the Truxtun Room of Rabobank Arena and Convention Center.

Group Photo from the African American Pre-Commencement

This year’s ceremony featured approximately 30 graduates celebrating their accomplishments with their families, as well as the faculty and staff who supported them during their time at BC. Keynote speaker Valerie Robinson spoke about the importance of learning and family throughout their life’s journey.

Pastor Dwayne Cantrell gave the invocation

Mikeisha Lowder was the student speaker, and she shared her BC journey with those gathered. She said she struggled academically and was referred to a DSPS counselor, who connected her to services and referred her to English professor Dr. Paula Parks. Lowder joined the Umoja Community African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence program its first year.

LoShe thanked Dr. Parks and her Umoja family as well as her fiance for supporting her.

The Umoja Community program provides coursework with a cultural focus, mentoring, counseling support, academic and cultural trips, and academic advising. Umoja also has a Club component.

Executive Director Steven Watkin advised graduates to never stop learning and to lean on the support of family and friends when they need it.

I’d like to thank African-American Initiatives, Admissions and Records, Financial Aid, Student Affairs, the Office of Student Life, and the Umoja Community for their support in organizing this year’s African-American Pre-Commencement.


Lavender Pre-Commencement

BC honored its graduating LGBTQ+ students during our 2nd annual Lavender Pre-Commencement Celebration, held in the Caliente Room at the Rabobank Arena and Convention Center.

The Lavender Celebration Group Photo

Approximately 30 students participated in the ceremony, which was organized by the Office of Student Life, Helen Acosta, and BC’s SAGA club. The Lavender Pre-Commencement tradition started at BC in 2018, but it was founded at the University of Michigan in 1995 by Dr. Ronni Sanlo to acknowledge the accomplishments of 3 LGBTQ graduates. Lavender ceremonies have since expanded to hundreds of colleges and universities across the country.

The keynote speaker for the evening was Jim Merrick, a local high school teacher who faced discrimination from 15 of his students’ parents for speaking out against homophobic remarks made by a member of the Kern County Human Relations Commission in 1998.  

Lavender graduates got the opportunity to thank those who have helped them succeed at BC. Students from this year’s graduating Lavender class have changed our campus forever, whether it was Chad Hidalgo starting the Extra Life at BC event which has raised $3,700 for the Lauren Small Children’s Center, or 2018 BC President’s Leader of the Year winner Emmanuel Limaco, who obtained a Fellowship with the Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance.

Helen Acosta and Nicky Damania pose with a graduate

Acosta advised graduating students to savor their remaining years in college or first few years in the job market.

“The first years while you struggle to find your footing are frustrating, but later, you will be glad you stuck with it and you’ll find a beautiful life with people who care about you,” Acosta said.

Thank you to everyone who organized the Lavender Pre-Commencement, and congratulations to all of the Lavender graduates.


BC’s First HVAC Graduate

BC’s brand-new HVAC program, located on our Delano campus celebrated a milestone on Friday with our first graduate, Felix Dominguez. Special thank you to Assemblymember Rudy Salas for securing funds to make this program possible.

Felix Dominguez, BC’s first HVAC graduate!

Thank You to our Community Partners

Commencement Sponsors on billboard
2019 Commencement Sponsors on Rabobank Billboard

Each year, our graduation ceremony is traditionally held on campus at the beautiful Memorial Stadium. This year, because our community voted YES on Measure J in 2016, campus construction is taking place and renovations on the stadium have begun. Our celebration at Rabobank would not have been possible without generous contributions and support from our community partners.

Platinum Sponsor: Dignity Health
Gold Sponsors: Aera Energy, California Resources Corporation, Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, and S.C. Anderson.
Bronze Sponsors: Adventist Health and Rodriguez and Associates


Fun Photos: Behind the Scenes

On Thursday evening, the M&O Crew got together to stuff the programs with an insert that featured our evenings sponsors.

M&O Crew prepares programs for the 2019 Commencement Ceremony
M&O Crew prepares programs for the 2019 Commencement Ceremony

Industrial Automation Corporate Tours

Industrial Automation students, faculty and BC staff had the pleasure of touring four distribution centers and processing facilities recently. We toured the Target Distribution Center, Ross Distribution Center, Bolthouse Farms, and the Wonderful Company. The scale and innovation these companies incorporated into each facility to serve their global customer base was amazing! BC is so fortunate that these companies took the time to make our experience quite memorable. 

Industrial Automation at Wonderful
Industrial Automation at Ross
Industrial Automation at Target

Fun Photos: No Heel Monday

Jennifer Serratt caught me red handed working in the office on Monday with the comfiest of shoes. Of course, they are my Renegade Red Moccasins.


Renegade Swimming Pulls In All-American Awards and National Rankings

Renegade Athlete Swimmer

After wrapping up the 2019 season, the Renegade Men’s and Women’s Swimming programs have hauled in a number of All-American awards and national rankings; listed below:

Men’s All Americans and National Rankings:

  • 100 Breaststroke (Ranked 6th in CCCAA) – Tanner Lopes
  • 200 Free Relay – Andre Gallegos, Bronson Pearce, Esteban Robles, Kenneth Hardin (Ranked #9 in the CCCAA and #14 Nationally)
  • 400 Free Relay – Andre Gallegos, Bronson Pearce, Esteban Robles, Kenneth Hardin (Ranked #13 in the CCCAA
  • 200 Medley Relay – Kenneth Rodriguez, Tanner Lopes, Jason Frando, Esteban Robles (Ranked #15 Nationally)
  • 400 Medley Relay – Kenneth Rodriguez, Tanner Lopes, Esteban Robles, Bronson Pearce (Ranked #15 Nationally)

Women’s All Americans and National Rankings:

  • Daran Towns – 100 Free (Ranked #3 in the CCCAA and #7 Nationally), 200 Free: (Ranked #5 in the CCCAA and #11 Nationally), 500 Free (Ranked #6 in the CCCAA and #10 Nationally)
  • Bailey Pike – 1650 Free (Ranked 13th in the CCCAA)
  • 200 Free Relay – Daran Towns, Alexis Gallardo, Blaire Williams, Bailey Pike (Ranked #15 in the CCCAA)
  • 400 Free Relay – Bailey Pike, Alexis Gallardo, Blaire Williams, Daran Towns (Ranked #14 in the CCCAA)
  • 800 Free Relay – Alexis Gallardo, Bailey Pike, Daran Towns, Blaire Williams ((Ranked #11 in the CCCAA and #15 Nationally)
  • 200 Medley Relay – Alexis Gallardo, Blaire Williams, Ingrid Villanueva, Daran Towns (Ranked #9 in the CCCAA)

Track and Field Qualifies Five To CCCAA State Championships

The Renegade Men’s and Women’s Track and Field teams competed at the SoCal finals this last weekend at Riverside City College with five (three women and two men) qualifying for the CCCAA Championships this coming weekend.

Renegade Track Runner

Top individual finishers for the Renegades included:

Women’s Triple Jump Finals:
4. Zaila Clark (qualified for CCCAA Championships)

Women’s Long Jump Finals:
2. Daizhiana Ebert (qualified for CCCAA Championships)

Women’s 1500m:
2. Gabby Lugo (qualified for CCCAA Championships)

Men’s Discus Finals:
3. Jacob Whitby (qualified for CCCAA Championships)

Men’s Hammer:
4. Jacob Whitby (qualified for CCCAA Championships)

Men’s 800m:
3. Justin Frando (qualified for CCCAA Championships)

Baseball’s Voda Commits to Missouri Baptist

Renegade Baseball sophomore outfielder, Sage Voda has signed to continue his academic and baseball career at Missouri Baptist University. He joins fellow outfielder Ashanti Ross as the second Renegade to commit to the Spartans from the current team. Voda, from Tehachipi CA, appeared in 35 games for the Renegades this season. In 2019, he collected 20 RBI’s, scored 20 runs, stole 6 bases and had one home run. Missouri Baptist University is an NAIA level school that competes in the American Midwest Conference. Congrats Sage and good luck!



That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Celebrating 2018-2019

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, May 11, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Closing Day 2019

The last day of the 2018-19 academic year began with Closing Day, where all of BC’s faculty and staff take the opportunity to recognize each other’s accomplishments.

BCSGA President Ashley Harp
BCSGA President Ashley Harp delivers the opening address for Closing Day.
Sonya Christian
Announcing the President’s Leadership Awards.

BCSGA President Ashley Harp started with an overview of everything that student government has done to support our students this semester, including bringing four Distinguished Speakers to campus and putting the transportation fee proposition on this year’s BCSGA ballot. She also encouraged faculty to continue nominating students for BCSGA.

bc Assessment Team
The Assessment Team wins a 2019 President’s Leadership Award.

After Ashley’s speech, I was honored to present this year’s President’s Leadership Awards, honoring 9 groups of people on campus for their outstanding accomplishments.

bc Completion Coaching Team for the Business Pathway
The Completion Coaching Team for the Business Pathway receives a 2019 President’s Leadership Award.
Eric Carrillo and Dylan Wang and sonya christian
Graphic designers Eric Carrillo and Dylan Wang receive a 2019 President’s Leadership Award.

I started with recognizing the BC Assessment Team for all of their work with reconfiguring what placement at BC looks like in the wake of AB 705. Our Completion Coaching Team for the Business Pathway won a leadership award for all they do to support business students, which includes organizing the Business Pathway and Career Expo this spring. I also recognized graphic designers Eric Carrillo and Dylan Wang from our Marketing and Public Relations Department for maintaining the integrity of the Renegade brand while making beautiful graphs and charts for all of our public presentations.

bc Accessibility Team
The Accessibility Team is presented with a 2019 President’s Leadership Award.
bc Dual Enrollment Team
The Dual Enrollment Team receives a 2019 President’s Leadership Award.

Our accessibility team deserved a special shout out this year for all they’ve done to ensure that our disabled students are able to receive the highest possible quality of education, and the Dual Enrollment Team underwent a tremendous amount of work to launch Early College programs in Wasco, McFarland and Arvin. The exponential growth of enrollment over the last six years has put a tremendous strain on our Admissions and Records Team, and I also recognized them for everything they do to onboard our students.

bc Admissions and Records team
The Admissions and Records team receives a 2019 President’s Leadership Award.
Paul Beckworth and Armando Trujillo and sonya christian
Paul Beckworth and Armando Trujillo receive a 2019 President’s Leadership Award.

Paul Beckworth and Armando Trujillo were recognized for making the transition to civilian life easier for our veteran students, and retiring Vice President of Instruction Liz Rozell earned a President’s Leadership Award for her decades of service to BC.

Liz Rozell is presented an award from the Management Association
Liz Rozell is presented an award from the Management Association
liz rozell and management association
Liz Rozell with the Management Association.
sonya and liz
sonya and liz

Finally, Helen Acosta won a Leadership Award for her work as the Department Chair of Communications, as well as her support of our LGBTQ+ students.

Along with the Leadership Awards, representatives from across the campus spoke to put a ribbon on the 2018-19 academic year. Vice President of CSEA Bernadette Martinez took the stage to give an overview of classified staff negotiations for this year and to encourage participation in CSEA negotiations starting next fall. Departing CCA President Tom Greenwood reminded faculty that increased participations in union negotiations with the district gives strength in numbers toward advocacy for faculty issues.

Bernadette Martinez
Bernadette Martinez gives an updates an CSEA negotiations.
Tom Greenwood
Tom Greenwood encourages faculty members to participate in CCA.
Stephen Holmes
Stephen Holmes gives an update on Academic Senate and announces the retiring faculty for 2019.
Manny Mourtzanos
Manny Mourtzanos gives an update on the Management Association, with Stephen Holmes.
wrought iron bench
Stephen Holmes presents Bill Kelly with a wrought-iron bench as a retirement present.
Stephen Holmes presents Liz Rozell with a stop sign.

Stephen Holmes provided a brief update about the Academic Senate and announced the faculty members who are retiring this summer. Holmes gave retiring Agriculture professor Bill Kelly a wrought-iron bench as a parting gift, and Liz Rozell received a red stop sign to help her park. Liz also announced the BC faculty who received tenure in 2018-19.

Reggie Williams
Reggie Williams announces the Levan Summer Grant recipients.
bill kelly
Retiring Agriculture professor Bill Kelly.

Levan Center Director Reggie Williams announced the recipients of the Levan Summer Grants, which include Chris Doyen from the English Department, Sarah Baron from Public Health Sciences, mythology professor Rae Ann Kumelos, and adjunct instructor of Communication Brenda Valadez. He also thanked myself, Norman Levan, Jack Hernandez, Miriam Valenzuela and Teresa Tovar for making the Levan Center a welcoming place to host 35 to 50 events attended by thousands of people throughout the 2018-19 academic year.

Regina Hukill and Helen Acosta receive the Shirley Trembley Teaching Award.
Regina Hukill and Helen Acosta receive the Shirley Trembley Teaching Award.
John Gerhold
John Gerhold announces the Margaret Levinson Faculty Leadership Award.

Becky Head announced that Helen Acosta and Regina Hukill were the winners of this year’s Shirley Trembley Teaching Award, and John Gerhold announced Kimberly Nickell as the winner of the Margaret Levinson Faculty Leadership Award.

I found this picture from last year. Kim Nickell, Kimberley Bligh, Pam Boyles
Susan Pinza
Susan Pinza announces the winner of the Levan Faculty Colloquium.

Susan Pinza closed out the event by recognizing Bernadette Towns as the recipient of the Levan Faculty Colloquium. Faculty and staff are invited to watch Towns give a presentation about child development in the Levan Center on October 19. Pinza is stepping down as the chair of the Levan Faculty Colloquium group, and Erin Miller will be taking over for next year.

I’d like to thank everyone for attending and participating in this year’s Closing Day, as well as our Closing Day team for organizing the event.

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Chicano/Latino Pre-Commencement Celebration

This past Friday on May 3, Bakersfield College celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Chicano/Latino Pre-Commencement Celebration on campus. Since the inception of the event in 1994, this pre-commencement event has celebrated the academic accomplishments of hundreds of students for the past two decades and has welcomed their families, friends, and their community to the campus.

Chicano Latino pre commencement celebration
man speaking to large audience
three people getting food from trays
male and female at the buffet line holding spoons

Jael Rivera, as seen in the picture below, is leader of the danza, drummer, flute player, and current BC student.

Chicano Latino dancers
Chicano Latino dancers

Graduates and faculty shared a meal together and lined up to make a grand entrance into the Outdoor Theatre.

one long line of people
two lines of people

Vibrant colors and decorative props surrounding the Outdoor Theatre provided a Latino friendly atmosphere, while DJ Escandalosa played upbeat music to get the audience engaged.

Chicano Latino audience
Chicano Latino audience
Chicano Latino dancers on stage
Chicano Latino dancers on stage

Each graduate received a colorful serape stole, commemorative medallion, and a Chicano/Latino Pre-Commencement Celebration one-of-a-kind shirt.

colorful stole
si se puede

Student leaders from LUPE/Conexiones graciously provided a warm welcome to the audience and assisted in reading the graduates names as they were called up to center stage to receive their serape and deliver their acknowledgements.

Chicano Latino anniversary group

At the end of the 25th Anniversary, the planning committee honored the man that started it all in 1994, Dean Cornelio “Corny” Rodriguez. Dean Rodriguez was recognized as an individual who has always advocated for equal access and equality for ALL BC students and was presented with a plaque of appreciation for his contributions to the BC campus and the Chicano/Latino community at large.

Chicano Latino brothers

Check out some more CLCC fun photos on SmugMug!

Thank you to all the BC departments who contributed to this amazing event. Special thanks to: Bakersfield College Foundation, Office of VP Student Affairs, Student Life/SGA, Maintenance & Operations, Communications and Community Relations, Department of Public Safety, Food Services, Graphics Center, Scheduling & Events, Loma Linda Restaurant, Rubio’s Coastal Grill, Jasmin’s Bakery, Banderas Burgers, and Kern Schools.

Thank you to BC staff from the various departments: EOPS/CARE, CalSOAP, Adult Ed/Job Spot, Delano Campus/Rural Initiatives, Counseling Department, Academic Support Services, Foster Youth Kindship, Foreign Languages, and CTE.

Last but not least, MUCHAS GRACIAS to the student leaders of LUPE/Conexiones who spent countless hours decorating the Outdoor Theatre and volunteered throughout the entire event.

Retiree Reception

On Tuesday, the BC Archives and Foundation got together to honor the retiring members of the Renegade family at its annual reception in the Levan Center.

Two men talking and smiling
group of people chatting and smiling

We have 19 members of our faculty and staff retiring at the end of the 2018-19 academic year, and they’ve served our students for a combined 474 years. Their tireless efforts are what makes this institution a beautiful place for people in our community to begin their journey in higher education, and we will miss them dearly.

man and woman smiling
elderly man signing paper on table

Among our administration, Liz Rozell over 29 years has been a professor, dean, and interim Vice President of Instruction, and was an instrumental part of establishing our Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Automation. Sue Vaughn has been at BC for 22 years, and her work with the Child Development Center makes education a possibility for thousands of Central Valley parents. Shoreh Rahman served our International Students as a counselor for 33 years, and Fred Smith has been working with our Renegade student athletes for 34 years.

eldery man using walker entering room
two men in black shirts talking

Our Agriculture Department is losing two of its most distinguished staff members this year in William Kelly and Sally Sterns. Kelly’s abundant patience and kindness has developed the next generation of agriculture professionals in Kern County for more than 37 years, and Sterns started the first Gardenfest at BC, which has become the premier spring gardening event. She retires as a horticulture lab technician after 13 years of service.

two people in pink shirts talking
three women smiling

Other notable retires include biology professor Janet Fulks, whose research has been crucial for the success of Guided Pathways at BC, and Richard Darke, a physics professor of 29 years who won this year’s Trembley Teaching Award.

group of retirees eating at table
female student smiling

A full list of retirees is below:

  • Steven Barrett – Grounds Equipment Mechanic, Maintenance and Operations – 8 years, 9 months, 22 days
  • Richard Darke – Professor, Physics/Engineering – 29 years, 8 months
  • Michael Einhaus – Professor, Philosophy – 20 years, 10 months
  • Janet Fulks – Professor, Biology – 24 years, 8 months
  • Patrick Fulks – Professor, Biology – 27 years, 7 months
  • George Gentry – Associate Teacher, CDC – 7 years, 6 months and 10 days
  • Patrick Harrison – Athletic Complex Manager, Maintenance and Operations – 20 years, 10 months, 29 days
  • Regina Hukill – Professor, Mathematics – 17 years, 11 months
  • William Kelly – Professor, Agriculture – 37 years, 3 months
  • Penny Loos – Food Service Assistant III – 26 years, 9 months, 14 days
  • Rebecca Mooney – Professor, English – 29 years, 8 months
  • Sung Soo Park – Professor, Engineering – 28 years, 4 months
  • Shoreh Rahman – Counselor, International Student Affairs – 33 years, 6 months
  • Theresa Rodriguez – Department Assistant III, Food Service – 26 years, 3 months, 20 days
  • Liz Rozell – Interim Vice President, Instruction – 29 years, 4 months
  • Bernard Scanlon – Professor, Mathematics – 24 years, 8 months
  • Dean Serabian – System Support Specialist II, Information Technology – 21 years, 21 days
  • Fred Smith – Athletic Trainer/Program Director – 34 years, 5 months, 12 days
  • Sally Sterns – Horticulture Lab Tech, Agriculture – 13 years, 8 months and 12 days
  • Sue Vaughn – Interim Program Director, CDC and FKCE – 22 years, 4 months

Dream Revolution Concert

On Thursday, May 2, hundreds of students and community members gathered at the Bakersfield College outdoor theater to celebrate the “Dream Revolution” at Bakersfield College.  Sponsored by the Catalyst Fund Immigrant Rising grant at Bakersfield College and South Kern Sol, this event brought Las Cafeteras to campus. Described by National Public Radio as “blending Mexican and American” cultural elements in their music, Las Cafeteras joined local band Velorio in providing a wonderful end-of-semester cultural and musical celebration on our campus.

three women in floral prints smiling
women standing and smiling at cesar chavez booth

The event featured art booths before the concert, showcasing the work of our very own faculty Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio and his students. Registered guests were able to enjoy a wonderful meal plate from our campus food services, including Mexican street tacos, rice, and beans.  Among attendees were a number of students from Arvin High School’s dual enrollment program. Thank you Abel Guzman and Endee Grijalva for coordinating this opportunity for our South Kern students.

two females at womens march 2019 booth
three people posing and smiling

Special thanks to South Kern Sol executive director Reyna Olaguez for helping coordinate this event, as well as the student speakers.

man blowing on trumpet with authority
four latina women singing on stage

Norma Gaspar from our local Telemundo station also served as emcee for the evening, introducing the speakers, bands, and reminding the community of the importance of the event in both English and Spanish.  Gaspar was also one of the first to hit the dance floor as the music of Velorio and Las Cafeteras gave everyone a chance to dance and celebrate together as a community. Everyone was especially pleased that Dolores Huerta made an impromptu appearance on the dance floor.  At 89 years old, she is a community blessing and so impressive in her strength and determination to keep fighting for social justice.

KCCD 2019 Leadership Academy

Last month on April 5, I attended the graduation ceremony for the 2019 KCCD Leadership Academy, where I had the pleasure of hearing the four group presentations for projects that had been worked on all year.  The KCCD Leadership Academy is a year-long program that began in September and concluded in early April. This year, there were 21 participants from each college and the district office, which included faculty, classified professionals, managers, and administrators.  Presentations were made by four groups to a panel consisting of Chancellor Tom Burke, Cerro Coso Community College President Jill Board, Porterville College President Bill Henry, Chief Financial Officer Debbie Martin, and Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Tonya Davis.

The graduation awards at the graduation ceremony were presented by Chancellor Tom Burke, President Jill Board, President Bill Henry, Vice Chancellor John Means, and myself.

kccd leadership academy group shot

If interested, applications for the 2019-20 KCCD Leadership Academy are now being accepted.  Applicants can contact John Means at jmeans@kccd.edu.

kccd leadership academy group shot

Here is the full list of the 2018-19 KCCD Leadership Academy Participants:

Bakersfield College (4)

Debra M. Anderson – Outreach & School Relations, Main Campus

Jacqueline Lau – Admissions and Records Technician 2

Araceli Navarro-Gomez – Foster and Kinship Care Education Program-Program Manager

Paula L. Parks, Ph.D. – English professor/Umoja Community lead

Cerro Coso Community College (7)

Kathryn A. Bachman – Director, Outreach Services

Chad Houck – Dean of Instruction – Cerro Coso Community College

Jessica R. Kawelmacher – Admissions & Records Technician II

Jessica Krall – Program Manager, Child Development centers

John McHenry – Athletic Director

Caroline Sanderson – Campus Manager, Eastern Sierra College Center

Julianne (Juli) Maikai – Alternative Media Specialist-High Tech Center

Porterville College (3)

Dustin Acres – Mathematics Professor

Levern Butler – System Support Specialist I

Anne VanDerHorst – College HR Manager, Porterville College Human Resources

District Office (6)

Mary Barnes – Administrative Assistant, Human Resources

Rafaela Cisneros – Accounting Coordinator, Facilities

Jennifer R. Dunn – Enterprise Resource Planning Analyst I, Information Technology

Genevieve Horton – Administrative Assistant, Economic and Workforce Development

Enrique Heredia – Accounting Coordinator, Business Services

Nicholas Hernandez – Construction Project Manager, Facilities

Jazz Combos and Commercial Music Concert

The Jazz Combos and Commercial Music Ensemble presented a combined concert on Monday night in the Indoor Theater, closing out a busy inaugural year for the new Jazz Studies program led by Professor Kris Tiner. Jazz Combo B opened the show with music by students Abigail Wilson and Kal Nolan, as well as a funky take on Freddie Hubbard’s “Mr. Clean” (check out the Facebook video below).

ensemble performance
Commercial Music Ensemble
jazz combo A
Jazz Combo A

The Commercial Music Ensemble directed by Professor Kyle Burnham performed next, with original songs by students Muhammad Ashter, Quentin Singleton, Gabriel Delgado, and Marcos Hernandez Delgado, alongside covers by Bill Withers, Stone Temple Pilots, and Arctic Monkeys. Jazz Combo A closed the show with an all-original set featuring music by students Izzy Foster and Zach Taylor. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the third annual Panorama Creative Music Summit coming up on September 16-19.

jazz combo B
Jazz Combo B

Check out Jazz Combo B’s performance on Facebook!

Concurrent Enrollment Registration Event

Last Thursday, our Welcome Center hosted a Concurrent Enrollment Registration event for our local high school and home school students. Students from grades 9 through 11 came in to get assistance with their registration steps. Each student was able to register for Summer 2019 and/or Fall 2019 courses, which they will take at one of our BC campuses or online.

kylie swanson helping family with registration
concurrent enrollment registration event

A large portion of the attendees were from Inspire Charter Schools, an organization that serves many home school students in Kern County. To aid with course selection and form approval, counselors from Inspire Charter Schools attended the event and met with their students prior to them registering for classes. As our high school and home school students continue to seek opportunities to get an early start on their college education, we are excited to plan more events such as this one to serve the needs of this growing population.

ROC Partner Appreciation

In recognition of the commitment Bakersfield College has made to Kern High School District’s Regional Occupational Center (ROC), faculty members Justin Flint, Manny Fernandez, LeAnn Riley, Matt Riley, Suzanne Tangeman and Career Education Director Tony Cordova attended the ROC Partner Appreciation Dinner.  We learned about the new programs that are getting built at the ROC and Career Technical Educational Center (CTEC), as well as some great student success stories about students completing their programs at ROC and continuing their education at BC.

roc partners appreciation group shot

I’d like to give a big thank you to ROC Principal Brian Miller for his hard work and collaboration with Bakersfield College.

BC SouthWest Video

BC SouthWest had an amazing year!  More than 150 sections were offered and hundreds of students were served.  Here are some images captured throughout the year by Program Manager Fernando Lara.  They highlight BC getting “keys” to the River Run building and the work done by faculty and staff from both BC and the District Office.

After three years of co-locating with Fresno Pacific University, BC SouthWest took over the lease on April 1, 2019.  The key in the video marked “BCM 1” is the first official key made for the site.

Additional images show Chelsi Womack, Department Assistant III.  Chelsi was hired in late April.  Her hiring signifies the growth we are experiencing at BC SouthWest.  Also captured are Officer Mark Sifuentes, Professor Janet Tarjan, Professor Silvet Holcomb, and student-employee Jasmen Taylor.

Another highlight of this past year is when BC SouthWest students Elizabeth Jacobs, Aliyah Gonzalez, and Noah Hinson addressed the KCCD Board of Trustees at the December 2018 meeting.  They each spoke about the benefit of having a BC center near them. There is an image in the video of the future site of the BC SouthWest Center (located at 9400 Camino Media).  The future is looking bright for all BC students!

Industrial Automation Corporate Tours

Industrial Automation students, faculty and BC staff had the pleasure of touring four distribution centers and processing facilities recently. We toured the Target Distribution Center, Ross Distribution Center, Bolthouse Farms, and the Wonderful Company. The scale and innovation these companies incorporated into each facility to serve their global customer base was amazing! We were very pleased that these companies took the time to make our experience quite memorable.

group of industrial automation students
group of industrial automation students
group of industrial automation students
tour group sitting at conference table

ASL-English Interpreter Training Program

The first cohort of students in the Bakersfield College ASL-English Interpreter Training Program have completed their course of study. Each student took a turn to share his or her experiences and received a certificate. As each student spoke, one of the classmates interpreted. Several of the students interpreted remarks by Tom Moran, Jaclyn Krause, and our VP of instruction, Liz Rozell. Our wonderful Stephanie and Jessica in Career and Technical Education put together a wonderful celebration, complete with hors d’oeuvres, a beautiful banner, table runners, and cool pens.

A full house for the ITP Celebration
A full house for the ITP Celebration
Tom Moran and Jaclyn Krause stand behind the ITP info table
Tom Moran and Jaclyn Krause at the ITP info table
Liz Rozell signs to the audience
Liz Rozell signs to the audience
Tom Moran signs to the audience
Tom Moran signs to the audience

Early College Rural Initiatives

Forty bright-eyed and eager Early College Arvin students attended the Dream for Social Justice event Thursday, May 2 and had the opportunity to see the Panorama Campus, many for the first time. The desire of the Rural Initiatives/Early College Team is to add cultural enrichment opportunities to the Early College program, which is taking the work to the next level.

early college students on bc hedges
Arvin Early College Students

Honors Donor Appreciation Dinner

The Bakersfield College Foundation hosted the Honors Donor Appreciation Dinner on Friday, May 3 at Hodel’s with a crowd of nearly 200 in attendance. The annual dinner provides a chance for the Foundation to honor Scholarship Donors, while providing an opportunity for donors to have the chance to meet our wonderful students and hear firsthand how their support impacts the students’ success. There were more than 40 unique scholarship funds represented at the dinner by either donors or recipients. The group was treated to entertainment provided by the Bakersfield College Jazz Ensemble, led by Professor Kris Tiner.

group of bc foundation donors
group of bc foundation donors
group of bc foundation donors

The Foundation, in collaboration with Financial Aid, will award nearly half a million dollars in scholarships and awards for the 2019-20 academic year and it would not be possible without the continued support from our generous donors. If you are interested in establishing a scholarship fund, please contact Heather Pennella, Alumni and Donor Relations Manager, at heather.pennella@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

Fun Photos

My weekend routine…….In the backyard with my laptop working.  And look who is by my side…

sonya on computer with dog lying next to her

BC received the Impact Award: In the midst of all the commencement chaos, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that BC was selected as a finalist for the 2019 Ellucian Impact Award, which recognizes the many ways educational institutions use technology to enhance the student experience.

impact award

Ellucian works with 2,500 colleges and universities on developing Banner and other software to meet their students’ needs.

“This year’s Ellucian Impact Award recipients are transforming both the student experience and institution-wide operations by leveraging modern cloud solutions,” Ellucian President and CEO Laura Ipsen said. “We are honored and humbled to partner with such powerful innovators who are using technology to transform the higher education experience around the world.”

It is these kinds of accolades that make me proud to be a Renegade.  We are BC!

Emails Worth Sharing: Chelsea Esquibias

I received this wonderful email from Chelsea about her being awarded the “Faith, Inspiration, and Resilience: A Pathway to Higher Education” award. Congratulations, Chelsea! So proud of your work! And thank you for all your contributions to BC’s Inmate Ed Program

chelsea esquibias

 I’m forwarding the attachments to you as Bakersfield College was at the center of my speech.     

I received the “Faith, Inspiration, and Resilience: A Pathway to Higher Education” award.  I was awarded with Ms. Pamela Hayes, VP of Board of Governors and Dr. Yvette Gullatt, Vice Provost of University of California, Berkeley.  I spent much of my presentation time discussing the Inmate Scholars Program and the innovative work being done at Bakersfield College.   

It was the Silver Anniversary Gospel Celebration and the students of Los Medanos College shared their beautiful musical talent.  Dr. Henderson nominated me and he has held state academic positions.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve students on campus and working with the Guided Pathways team has been fantastic.

Baseball Post-Season Awards Announced

The Renegade Baseball team wrapped up the 2019 regular season with a 26-14 overall record and 15-5 in conference and as back-to-back Western State Conference North Champions. As the regular season has concluded, the team has racked up a number of post-season conference awards:

  • 2019 Western State Conference South Coach of the Year – Tim Painton
    • Coach Painton finishes his 24th regular season with back-to-back conference titles and a 26-14 overall record.
  • 2019 Western State Conference South Pitcher of the Year – Alejandro Murillo (Fr, Stockdale HS)
    • Murillo pitched a total of 80 innings in 14 games for the Renegades this season with a record on the mound of 10-1. He finished the regular season with 68 strikeout and an ERA of 2.46.
  • 2019 1st Team All-Western State Conference South
    • Hector Ruvalcaba, Inf. (So., Western HS), Ashanti Ross, OF (So., Western HS), Kamron Willman, Inf. (So., Ridgeview HS), Nate Ortiz, Starting Pitcher (So., Centennial HS) and Alejandro Murillo, Starting Pitcher (Fr., Stockdale HS)
  • 2019 2nd Team All-Western State Conference South
    • Gabe Ulloa, Reilelf Pitcher (Fr., Delano HS), Hunter Adams, Inf. (Fr., Independence HS), Lane Cowan, Starting Pitcher (So., Centennial HS), Sage Voda, OF (So., Tehachipi Christian Academy) and Trey Harmon, DH (So., Foothill HS)
  • 2019 Western State Conference South Honorable Mention
    • Matt Patton, Utility (Fr., Liberty HS), Ryan Dickerson, C (So., Bakersfield Christian HS) and Zach Williams, 1B (So., Liberty HS)

Softball Post-Season Awards Announced

The Renegade Softball Team wrapped up the 2019 regular season with a 24-16 overall record and 16-0 in conference and as back-to-back Western State Conference North Champions.

As the regular season has concluded, the team has racked up a number of post-season conference and state awards:

  • 2019 Western State Conference North Coach of the Year – Casey Goodman
    • Coach Goodman completes her second season leading the Renegade softball program as a two-time conference coach of the year award winner. In her two years the team has won back-to-back conference championships and made post-season appearances in the CCCAA playoffs.
  • 2019 Western State Conference North Pitcher of the Year and CCCAA All-State Selection – Kylee Fahy (Liberty HS)
    • This is the second year in a row Fahy has received the conference pitcher of the year award. At the conclusion of the 2019 season, Kylee pitched 225 innings resulting in a state leading (for the second year in a row) 275 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.49. She also collected two no-hitters this season  (2/21 vs. SBCC & 3/26 vs. SBCC).
  • 2019 Western State Conference North Player of the Year and CCCAA All-State Selection – Natilee Parrish (Arroyo Grande HS)
    • Natilee appeared in all 40 games for Coach Goodman this season collecting 12 home runs (5th in the state), 35 RBI’s and 36 runs scored.
  • 2019 1st Team Western State Conference North
    • Alex Venegas (Liberty HS), Alexis Lopez (East Bakersfield HS), Alantis Rede (Centennial HS) and Savannah Gonzalez (Delano HS)
  • 2019 Western State Conference North Honorable Mention
    • Ashley Hernandez (Centennial HS), Aviana Campos (Highland HS) and Lysette Castro (Mira Monte HS)

Men’s and Women’s Swimming Post-Season Awards

The Renegade Men’s and Women’s Swimming team wrapped up the 2019 regular season with both teams placing 3rd at the WSC Conference Championships.  At the CCCAA State Championship, the women placed 13th and the men 17th. As the regular season has concluded, both teams have racked up a number of post-season conference awards, listed below.

Men’s Swimming

  • 2019 Western State Conference 1st-Team:
    • Tanner Lopes – 100 Breaststroke
  • 2019 Western State Conference 2nd-Team:
    • Benjamin Hunter: 100 Backstroke/200 Backstroke
    • Tanner Lopes: 200 Breaststroke
    • Andrew Martinez: 400 IM/200 Fly
    • Bronson Pearce: 100 Free/200 Free
    • Esteban Robles: 50 Free/100 Free/100 Fly
    • Kenneth Rodriguez: 100 Backstroke/200 Backstroke
    • JR Santamaria: 100 Breaststroke

Women’s Swimming

  • 2019 Western State Conference 1st-Team:
    • Daran Towns: 100m/200m/500m Free
    • Bailey Pike: 500m/1650m Free
    • 800 Free Relay: Bailey Pike/Daran Towns/Blaire Williams/ Alexis Gallardo
  • 2019 Western State Conference 2nd-Team:
    • 200 Medley Relay: Alexis Gallardo/Blaire Williams/Ingrid Villanueva/Daran Towns
    • Alexis Gallardo: 100 Backstroke/200 Backstroke
    • Bailey Pike: 200 Breaststroke
    • Ingrid Villanueva: 100 Fly/200 Fly
    • Blaire Williams: 100 Breaststroke/200 Breaststroke
    • Nina Wilson: 1650 Free

Roundup of Athletics Events this week

We had many Renegade athletic teams wrap up their seasons this last week. Highlights from the week include (click for the story on GoGades.com):

Stay Connected to Renegade Athletics

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media.

  • Facebook, find us under ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’
  • Twitter – @GoGadesGo
  • Instagram – @gogadesgo
sonya christian


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Sprinting to the finish line –Commencement 2019

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, May 4, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

I wake up every morning to NPR’s Morning Edition….for many years now. A change is coming — after 40 years, the tune BJ Leiderman composed in 1979 is being replaced by a new jingle on Monday, May 6, 2019. Click on the youtube link below and cherish the soon-to-be-replaced 60-second theme song for NPR’s morning edition. It’s been with us for so long; this is all I knew since I started listening to morning edition in 1988 as a foreign student at USC.

Last day for this version of the morning edition theme song. Cinco de Mayo 2019

It is good to be back home after two weeks of travel which started with the Non-Credit Conference in San Diego. We had a BC team present and engaged by doing our planning to create more opportunities for adults with low academic skills to onboard and complete a certificate which will give them the necessary skills for an entry-level job.

I had a lot of fun keynoting at the CACCRAO conference in San Diego. This is the statewide organization for Admissions and Records professionals, and our Director, Michelle Pena is the current Vice President. She is super smart and has a keen mind for system fixes. Michelle was there with Jackie Lau and Erineo Garcia.

2019 ACCJC Partners in Excellence Conference: What the Future Holds

ACCJC’s bi-annual conference was held in San Francisco this year. I was there primarily in my role as a commissioner and the current Vice Chair of the commission. However, we had a large team from BC doing two presentations at this conference and it gives me great joy and pride when I watch “my peeps” presenting.

Kim Nickell, Kristin Rabe, Jessica Wojtysiak, Janet Fulks, Sonya Christian, Lesley Bonds, Amber Hrioch, Steve Waller

At the opening session of the ACCJC conference, I had the pleasure of introducing the former Under Secretary of Education, Dr. Martha Kanter. Dr. Kanter now leads the College Promise Campaign nationally which focuses on higher education affordability and accessibility.

Dr. Kanter speaking at the ACJCC Conference

Dr. Kanter has made many contributions to higher education, most notably her work on equity, innovation, and accountability. Her work is grounded in the conviction that education is not only an economic imperative but more fundamentally a civic imperative; and that education is necessary to individual freedom and essential to a healthy society and a vibrant democracy.

Kristin Rabe, Kim Nickell, Amber Hroch, and Steve Waller presented on how BC is engaged with Program Review and Program Planning that drives institutional resource allocation. A data informed process, the Program Review process has not only brought transparency to our work, but has helped us determine priorities more effectively.

Amber Hroch, Kim Nickell
Kristin Rabe, Steve Waller

Jessica Wojtysiak and Lesley Bonds presented on BC’s work on Guided Pathways with a focus on “It takes Leadership” from all constituent groups to make this happen.

Here are some other pictures that I snapped. Enjoy!

Jessica Wojtysiak, Amber Hroch, Sonya Christian, Kristin Rabe, Kim Nickell
Sonya Christian, Daisy Gonzales, Sabrina Sencil, Terrence Willett

BC partners with CSUB

On Tuesday, April 30, 2019, over 40 administrators, faculty, and staff from both CSUB and Bakersfield College met to discuss and plan for programmatic collaborations at the new BCSW Center co-located on the CSUB campus. The synergistic teamwork evident at this meeting is indicative of this exciting partnership between BC and CSUB, and of our shared commitment to our students and community. It’s a great time to be in Bakersfield!

BC represented at African-American Town Hall with State Chancellor Oakley

Last week BC’s Steve Watkin, Outreach Director; Dr. Paula Parks, Umoja faculty lead; Jonathan Ward, Umoja Counselor; and Daron Mackey, AAI Ed Advisor attended the Fresno Town Hall & College Fair.  There, state Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley urged community members to support Central Valley leaders who are advocating for changes that result in higher success rates for African-American students. “We need you to push,” Oakley said “because what we’ve been doing hasn’t been working.”

Fresno Town Hall & College Fair Agenda

“Friction has to happen around college completion,”Oakley advocated, adding that “we have to get to the point where we put the needs of the students above the needs of employees and staff.”

Chancellor Oakley
Tweet from California Community Colleges on the Fresno Town Hall

He cited the passage of AB 705 as a positive step in increasing equity for students of color. The law, which goes into effect this fall, will allow most community college students to start at college-level English and math.

Steve Watkin, Dr. Paula Parks, Chancellor Oakley, Jonathan Ward, & Daron Mackey

The Fresno event was sponsored by the California Community College Black and African-American Advisory Panel and featured information on financial aid (Icanaffordcollege.com), attending a Central Valley community college, and transferring to a CSU or Historically Black College or University (adegreewithaguarantee.com).  The Advisory Panel was created in 2017 to increase the graduation and transfer rates of African-American students in support of Oakley’s Vision for Success. They are planning other events around the state to share information and gather feedback. Oakley joked at the end that the Community Colleges will not have an admissions scandal because “we take the top 100% of all applicants.”

Daron Mackey, Jonathan Ward, Dr. Paula Parks, & Steve Watkin
Steve Watkin

Celebrating Judge Tafoya at Kern Literacy

Judge Robert S. Tafoya was honored as a Read for Life Award Recipient at the 2019 Kern Literacy Council Celebration. Former KCCD Chancellor Sandra Serrano, Judge Tafoya’s spouse, was in attendance to celebrate her husband’s passion for reading and his service as a Kern Literacy Council tutor for the past four years. In addition, a group from Bakersfield College joined the festivities. Pictured in the photo below are Traco Mathews and Krista Herrera (KCSOS), Abel Guzman and Pearl Urena (BC), Sheri Horn-Bunk (Taft), Elaine McNearney (Dress for Success), Romeo Agbalog (KCCD Trustee) and Liz Rozell (BC). Liz Rozell was also able to connect with longtime friends, Fred and Cynthia Brakeman (KHSD Trustee).

BC and Community Leaders at Kern Literacy Event

Presidential Investiture at CSUB

CSUB President Lynnette Zelezny

A festive CSUB Presidential Investiture took place Friday morning, May 3rd, in recognition of Dr. Lynnette Zelezny, fifth President of California State University, Bakersfield and the first female president. She was recognized and honored by many, including Mayor Karen Goh, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, and CSU Chancellor Timothy White. The processional included student leadership, delegates from educational partners, and CSUB faculty and staff.

Mary Barlow (Kern County Superintendent of Schools), Doc Ervin (Superintendent of Bakersfield City School District), Kevin Silberberg (Superintendent of Panama-Buena Vista Union School District), Liz Rozell (VP of Instruction, BC), and John Means (Vice Chancellor, Educational Services, KCCD)
Mariachi band from the BCSD Migrant Program

63rd Annual Honors Celebration Rocks this Year’s Scholars!

On April 26th, the Outdoor Theater pulsed with the energetic beats of our BC Drumline as they drummed for our 2019 class of scholarship and award recipients at the 63rd Annual Honors Celebration.

BC Drumline performing

This year, nearly 400 outstanding Renegades were named for over $494,000 in scholarships and awards, capping off a demanding academic year with some exciting financial awards.

Attendees at the Honors Celebration

Tom Gelder, the Executive Director of the BC Foundation and SGA President Ashley Harp, welcomed students and their guests to the festivities, expressing his gratitude for the many donors, faculty, and staff that made the evening possible.

Prior to the reading of names, BC Alumna and Foundation Board Member, Connie Perez-Andresen inspired students with an emotional keynote that demonstrated the power of self-belief and finding a career path that speaks to your heart.

The BC Foundation team

The memorable evening ended with a sweet goodbye as hundreds of freshly baked cookies arrived, provided by our very own BC Food Services.  Be sure to check out all of the photos of the event!

All current and future Bakersfield College students are encouraged to apply for scholarships again, later this year, on October 1st, coinciding with the opening of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Visit the website for details.

2019 Student Employees of the Year

On Thursday, April 25th, the Office of Student Life held its annual Student Leadership and Involvement Awards Ceremony.  The awards included “Student Employee of the Year” that recognizes exceptional contributions to their office or department during the academic year. The award was jointly given to Jasmen Taylor and Rico Carrillo from the BC Tutoring Center.  Congrats to Jasmen and Rico!

Jasmen with the medallion to be worn at commencement in 2020!  

Thank you to Student Life for recognizing the importance and dedication of our student employees!  Additionally, thank you Student Employment for facilitating the hiring of student employees!

McFarland Early College 8th Grade Application Workshop

This past week, our Early College team went out to McFarland Junior High School to prepare students for the Early College journey that they will embark on at McFarland high School next Fall. All 8th graders completed a BC application and now have their BC ID numbers, which will streamline the process for getting them enrolled in their first dual enrollment course STDV B3 Career and Life Planning. It’s official, we have 280 new Cougar-Renegades!

Students at the Early College workshop
Students at the Early College workshop

To learn more about the Early College program at McFarland High School, please visit The Early College website.  

Students at the Early College workshop
Students at the Early College workshop
Students at the Early College workshop

BC Jazz Spring Concert

The BC jazz program held its spring concert in the Indoor Theater on Monday, focusing on standards from the 1930s while giving the audience a masterful performance of more modern music.

Students performing at the Jazz Spring concert

Jazz professor Kris Tiner said that this year’s program was the culmination of extensive study on the history of jazz. The Jazz Studies program is growing fast since its expansion in 2016, and the amazing performances made for an exciting night.

I’d like to thank Professor Tiner and the Jazz Studies program for putting together a beautiful evening of music.

Students performing at the Jazz Spring concert

2019 Kern High School District Physics Olympics at Bakersfield College Campus

The annual Kern High School District Physics Olympics was held last Friday at BC main campus. Sponsored by the Kern High School District and hosted by Bakersfield College the competition features the work of student teams from over a dozen high schools in Kern County in activities requiring skills and knowledge in theoretical and experimental physics and engineering. Eighteen different activities were held from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm at various venues around the Bakersfield College campus, with over 1,000 high school students participating!

The efficiency bridge, where students design carts to successfully carry heavy loads across a bridge.
The magnetic field competition, where students make measurements and do calculations to determine the earth’s magnetic field at their location.
The spring constant competition, where students use measurements of the elongation of springs due to suspended masses to determine the spring stiffness coefficients.

Dual Enrollment Symposium Connects High School Partners and Bakersfield College

On Friday, April 26, the Dual Enrollment team hosted a symposium for over 85 local high school teachers, counselors and administrators.  The half-day event focused on helping high school partners understand responsibilities within a dual enrollment program, learn about resources available to support students, as well as opportunities to develop college and career pathways.

Breakout session participants

The Dual Enrollment Symposium opened with a welcome from Steve Watkin, Abel Guzman and Liz Rozell who emphasized the importance of partnerships in offering a successful dual enrollment program.  Breakout sessions provided for discussions, including one for STDV B3 Instructors and Counselors provided by Mark Osea, Victor Diaz, Hilda Rodriguez and Alma Feathers, that addressed the unique opportunity this course affords students to clarify their path.  High school administrators asked questions about infrastructure during a session hosted by Steve Watkin. Dr. Anna Laven, Raquel Lopez, Savannah Andrews and Kylie Swanson led subject-area instructor sessions with discussions facilitated by Chris McCraw, David Neville, Jennifer Johnson, Kris Stallworth, Jennifer Jett, Stephen Waller, Christian Zoller, Darren Willis, Robert Stewart, Creighton Magers, Michael Ivey, Jason Dixon, Jeremy Staat and Jason Stratton.  

Steve Watkin and Dr. Anna Laven present during a breakout session for Administrators

After working in small groups, attendees came together for presentations about student resources, academic resources, guided pathways, and a dual enrollment overview. Many thanks to Terri Goldstein, Bill Moseley, Kirk Russell, Lesley Bonds, Yvonne Armendariz, and Anna Laven for providing helpful information and resources.  Attendees were impressed to learn that they are part of the largest dual enrollment program in the state! Following lunch, Kylie Swanson provided student highlights and several teachers shared stories about their hardworking students.

Dr. Terri Goldstein and Dr. Anna Laven present on resources for Students with Disabilities
Dr. Anna Laven

Attendees from across the Bakersfield College service area indicated they found the symposium to be helpful and beneficial.  They came away with a better understanding of the value of dual enrollment and were excited to be a part of the program.

Kirk Russell
Kylie Swanson
Lesley Bonds
Vice President Liz Rozell
Steve Watkin
Yvonne Armendariz

Food Historian Ken Albala Visits BC

Food historian Ken Albala visited BC on Monday to provide context to the rising popularity of the artisanal food movement over the last few years. Albala is a professor of history at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, and he’s authored 25 books about the culinary arts, including “Cooking in Europe: 1250-1650”, “Food and Faith”, and “Three World Cuisines”, winner of a 2012 Gourmand World Cookbook Award.

Food historian Ken Albala

BC English professor Neal Stanifer first learned about Albala from “Food: A Cultural Culinary History Podcast,” which is a 36-episode series examining how food evolved throughout human history, from the Stone Age to the Digital Age. Stanifer listened to the whole series over the course of a weekend and was inspired to work with Levan Center Director Reggie Williams to bring Albala to campus. Several students from BC’s culinary arts and nutritional science programs showed up to hear Albala speak.

Food historian Ken Albala speaking

Albala opened his talk by asking the audience what they imagine what they see when they think of “bad” pizza, then to imagine what they see when they think of “artisanal” pizza. He then gave a history of the terms “artisanal” and “craft”, which used to mean different things but are now utilized the same way in contemporary marketing jargon – to convey food or beverages that are prepared by hand with fresh ingredients and a bare minimum of industrial processing.

Food historian Ken Albala speaking

After the Great Depression and World War II, the rise of canned goods, processed food and fast food was perceived positively as making life easier and preserving meat and produce longer. Increasingly, Americans have felt disconnected with their relationship to food, contributing to the increased popularity of farmers’ markets, organic produce, farm-to-table restaurants and independent breweries in the 21st Century. Major corporations have begun catching on to this trend, leading to the rise of “fast casual” restaurants such as Chipotle and Blaze Pizza which purport to be fresh or “artisanal” while maintaining the large-scale, industrialized philosophy of fast food. Beer companies such as Coors and Anheuser-Busch have also started buying out small breweries to distribute their products nationwide while marketing mass-produced brands such as Blue Moon and Shock Top as “craft” beer.

Audience members at the presentation

I’d like to thank Neal Stanifer and the Levan Center for organizing this informative event examining the culinary arts through the lens of the humanities. I’d also like to thank Ken Albala for driving down from Stockton to speak on our campus.

Food historian Ken Albala speaking

Transfer Celebration

On Thursday, BC celebrated students that continue to pursue further education and transfer to a four-year university during the Transfer Celebration in the courtyard between Financial Aid and the Indoor Theater.

CSUB staff member speaking to a student about transfer.

CSUB staff were also on hand to assist students transferring to CSUB, and BC Food Services provided catering and light refreshments for all who attended.

Food for attendees at the Transfer Celebration

BC offers a great program to help student receive two degrees in four years called Finish In 4, which encourages completion of both an Associate’s and Bachelor’s Degree. Students in this program are guaranteed admission to CSUB after they finish 2 years at BC. Representatives from Finish In 4 were on hand to interact with students and provide more information about the program.

I would like to thank everyone who helped put on this event and congratulate all of the students who are continuing their academic career.

The Office of Student Life assisting at the celebration.

ENGL B24 Field Trip

This year’s ENGL B24 class had the opportunity to speak with Carol Jacques, a commissioner for the City of Los Angeles. She shared her story as a child of one of the many families displaced from her neighborhood by the city of LA for the construction of Dodger’s Stadium and her subsequent activism and organizing pre- and post-Civil Rights.

The ENGL B25 field trip attendees

The field trip was supported by funding from a Campus Collaborative Action Grant which allowed students to visit the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument in the Olvera Street district of L.A., a point of cultural and historical significance in the development of Latino literary identity. That same day they went to the Ramona Pageant, California’s oldest running outdoor play, in Hemet, CA. Staging every spring since 1923, the play is based on the novel Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson and offers a theatrical interpretation of the novel’s literary glimpse into the Spanish days of California, its changing demography amidst westward expansion, and the mixing of indigenous and old-world cultures.

Emails Worth Sharing

Earlier this week Abel Guzman received an email from a student sharing her experience with one of Delano’s tutors in the reading and writing skills lab tutor Kim Collins.

When I began college it was suggested I attend school in Delano because I did not know how to write paragraphs and follow grammatical rules. I was at a 4th grade level.

However, I went on to become a journalist for our college newspaper. I also would become an editor for the paper. I would end up completing my AA in journalism last semester. This semester I completed my AA in communication. I was also awarded the Sigma Chi Eta distinction for being a honor roll student in communication.

The reason I shared this is to simply say how [Kim’s] faith in me when I was a returning student made a huge difference, along with a few other people who believed in me.

My tutor had said during a tutoring session that my desire to write a New York Best Seller was a ‘lofty goal.’  Well, my book is halfway finished. Although it may not reach that status, I won’t stop climbing. It’s desire, dreams and good tutors/educators that sure do keep them afloat!

Sincerely,

Melissa Puryear

Kim Collins

I received an email from Manny Mourtzanos that at first had me panicking… and then laughing!

“Subject: Center for Disease Control Advisory! Measles hit Bakersfield

Good morning, Deans. Please be advised: The CDC stated that the measles outbreak in California has recently impacted Bakersfield and is so severe that it is even affecting vehicles! Just ask Liz!

Be ye all forewarned!!”

VP Rozell's truck covered in stickers

Fun Photos:

Shauna Turner graduates! Shauna is graduating with her bachelors degree this weekend. Her cap reads: Mom of 3 with a degree.

Shauna Turner in her cap and gown.

She has been diligently working on her BA since she started at BC 4 years ago. She uses her lunch breaks and late evenings after she puts her boys to bed to prepare for class, write her papers, and study for tests. Congratulations Shauna; you deserve it!!

Nestle Field Trip: Last week, students from the Delano HVAC program took a field trip to Nestle’s plant here in Bakersfield.  There the students were able to observe the operation and system components of “The Largest, Most Complex Ammonia Refrigeration System In the World”!!

BC Students at the Nestle plant
BC Students at the Nestle plant
BC Students at the Nestle plant
BC student at the Nestle plant
BC students at the Nestle plant

Chamber’s Leadership Bakersfield Program: BC’s Endee Grijalva is a member of this year’s Leadership Bakersfield class and unveiled her team project yesterday.  Her team renovated the Dream Center Bakersfield Infant and Toddler room to a safer and warmer space for these children.  Very cool!

Endee Grijalva & Tamara Baker
Endee Grijalva and teammate Sarah Hickock Levan
GBCC President Nick Ortiz introducing Team 2 and their project.
Norma Rojas-Mora, Endee Grijalva, Tamara Baker, Lupe Aguirre, Samantha Guillory, Evelyn Hernandez, and Abel Guzman at the project ribbon cutting.

CSEA Gold Tournament: Last Saturday a KCCD team supported CSEA at their annual golf tournament.  It looks like a rough day at work, but someone’s gotta do it!

Vice Chancellor Tonya Davis and her husband along with Fernando Lara and Tony Cordova

Ceramics Sale: Here are some fun photos of the amazing ceramics created by our very own BC students this year. They held a sale earlier this week where people could purchase the items created in the Spring 2019 semester.

Ceramics Sale board
Student ceramics for sale
Student ceramics for sale

It was great to see Bakersfield College featured in the Engine Professional magazine. Make sure to check out the Aera Tech Skills Conference hosted by BC on May 19th.

BC's ad in Engine Professional magazine

Memorial Stadium: I love this shot that Brandon Urry took this week of the Memorial Stadium construction!! WE ARE BC!

Memorial Stadium construction

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11:00 am, check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include segments from BC Men’s Golf program and Athletic Trainer Mike Medeiros.

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (4/21-4/27) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

Renegades of the Week photo

Penelope Zepeda/Morgan Townson, Beach Volleyball – The pairs team finished 4th in the WSC “Pairs” conference championships and qualified for the CCCAA SoCal Regional “Pairs” Championships this Friday May 3rd at Irvine Valley. They will be attempting to qualify for the CCCAA State “Pairs” Championships May 10th and 11th in Chula Vista at the Olympic Training Center.

Justin Frando, Men’s Track and Field – Justin ran a personal record time of 1:55.59 in the 800m at the WSC Finals at Santa Barbara City College which placed him in 2nd place and qualified him for the SoCal Finals. He currently ranks 5th in the state in the 800m.

Renegade Athletics End of the Year Awards

Each year we are very proud of how hard our Renegade student athletes work — both in the classroom and within their respective sports. At the end of each academic season, we like to award those student athletes who have been key parts to their teams and lifted those around them. Below are the winners of each category of award for the 2018-2019 season:

Athletes of the Year

Female – Gabby Lugo, Cross Country/Track & Field

Male – Carson Olivas, Football

Career Achievement

Female – Kylee Fahy, Softball

Male – Jacob Whitby, Track & Field

Newcomer of the Year

Female – Daran Towns, Swimming

Male – Justin Harrington, Football

Individual Performance

Female – Kayleen Sanchez, Women’s Tennis

Male – Zach Williams, Baseball

Grit Award

Female – Brooke McDonald, Women’s Soccer

Male – Justin Solario, Men’s Swimming

Weight Room Warrior

Female – Jessica Merante, Women’s Volleyball

Male – Zach Hartsfield, Football

Roundup of Athletics Events This Week

As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click for the story on GoGades.com):

Stay Connected to Renegade Athletics

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media. On Facebook find us under ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’, on Twitter – @GoGadesGo and on Instagram – @gogadesgo.


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Spring is heating up at BC

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 27, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Thinking of Sri Lanka

While the rest of the world was celebrating Easter Sunday with their families, the people of Sri Lanka were fighting a senseless tragedy.

As of Tuesday, more than 300 Sri Lankans were reported dead and 500 more were injured in a series of eight coordinated attacks on churches and hotels, according to an article by Vox. Six of the eight attacks happened in the capital city of Colombo, and attacks also occurred during Easter Sunday church services in Negombo and Batticaloa. The Guardian published a timeline and visual guide to the bombings, which are being blamed on terrorist groups seeking retaliation for the attack on Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand in March.

Sri Lanka is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, located southeast of the Tamil Nadu province on the Indian subcontinent and close to Kerala, the area where I grew up. I last visited Sri Lanka in 2011, and my heart goes out to all the people who have lost loved ones in the attacks.

Moments like this remind me of Mahatma Gandhi, whose 150th anniversary is being celebrated around the world in 2019. He elevated human consciousness by recognizing our infinite capacity for kindness and dignity to counter our species’ infinite potential for violence and devastation.

At BC, wellness and community are part of our core values, and our faculty and staff inspire thousands of students every day to be beacons of light out in their families and communities, spreading love, knowledge and kindness.

In the wake of senseless tragedies such as these, it’s important to consider ways that we can come together to build bridges even in our differences. The battle against hostility and divisiveness starts in our hearts, with our family and friends, in the classroom, outside the classroom — and education is the tool that can help us understand our differences and yet unify us as a people.

My mom and I spent Christmas 2011 in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and split our time between Batticaloa and Columbo, Here is the 200-word piece featured in the 2018 Christmas Edition of The Bakersfield Californian.

Christmas 2011 with my mom Pam Christian in Sri Lanka (Ceylon)

Notre Dame Cathedral Catches Fire

Last week, the world mourned the partial destruction of a historical landmark, as Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral went up in flames.

Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral, most beautiful Cathedral in Paris.
The Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral is a French Gothic style church built to honor the Virgin Mary. Construction on the cathedral started in 1160 AD, and it’s considered one of the greatest architectural achievements in world history.

The roof of Notre Dame caught fire on the evening of April 15 and continued for 15 hours, causing significant damage. However, a lot of the core structure of the building was saved, and there were no deaths or injuries in the fire.

Thanks to approximately $1 billion in donations, the cathedral will be restored to most of its previous glory, but this historic building that has existed for more than eight centuries will never be the same.

Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference

Bakersfield College was extremely proud to be a part of this year’s annual Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference, which was chaired by our very own Director of Communications Norma Rojas-Mora!  Norma put her heart and soul into this event, and it was easy to see her touch in so many different areas.

The Women’s Business Conference was celebrating its 30th anniversay and Norma asked me to introduce the video. Here it is.

The year was 1989. 

Imagine a group of women, twenty-something and thirty-something, coming together at the Home of the Renegades, talking about what it was like to be a women working in our community….. talking about work environments that may or may not have been supportive of women and mothers, talking about gaps in opportunities for women, about behaviors that were considered unacceptable only because you were a woman….talking about general societal issues of the time.

Imagine these women…exceptional professionals,  wanting to transform our community by  empowering all women, but particularly those who were young and just getting started in their professional career…..unleashing the power that is a woman –  helping women Believe in the Power of You.

Phyllis Hullett of Bakersfield College came up with the idea of a conference for women.   She was known to move with conviction, and once she started on a path no obstacle, however large, however daunting could deter her from reaching her destination. But Phyllis was certainly not alone.  She recruited co-conspirators, Lynn Hall, Kay Meek, Cindy Pollard, Sheryl Barbich, Cynthia Icardo, Judy Salamacha, and Mary Jo Pasek. These women became the co-leaders, the Mothers of the first Women’s Business Conference here in Bakersfield. 
The title – “Options Unlimited.”

To honor this 30-year anniversary and the founding mothers, we have a short video. Let’s quiet our minds, breathe in and out, and immerse ourselves in our history as told by some of the 7 visionary women leaders from our community, who first made it happen. 

Thank you Manny de Los Santos and Monika Scott for putting together this video.

I was also asked to introduce this year’s Keynote speaker, Shannen Doherty.  Here are excerpts…

I am here to introduce to you a woman who has grown up in the public eye….. no easy task.  A woman who has engaged with life fully, exuberantly, fearlessly, passionately, ….. and yet with a quintessential sense of openness and vulnerability.  

In 1991 young America fell in love with Brenda Walsh, the young woman who moved with her family from Minnesota to Beverly Hills where she tries to fit into the lifestyle of the rich and famous. 

In 1998 America was Charmed by Prudence “Prue” Halliwell, a powerful and responsible witch who protected the innocent and defeated the forces of evil.

In the past week, as the Shannen Doherty story unveiled itself to me through third party narratives, I discovered the sheer power and boldness in this “petite” 5 ft 4” person who appeared to mesmerize the world around her ….whatever world that might be at that time.

In the most recent chapter of her life, Shannen Doherty teaches us about overcoming severe adversity.   

Falling down is an inevitable part of life.  But getting up and engaging with life with a ferociousness when it appears that you don’t have a drop of life remaining in you….. now that is the story of our keynote speaker.

From becoming a child actress and financially supporting her family to building a booming television career, to receiving a devastating cancer diagnosis, and later slaying the disease and entering remission, Shannen Doherty is living proof that she is not defined by her lowest moments but by the absolute drive to lift up, take off and soar high.

I am also struck by her spirit of hope and gratitude…. Her propensity for creativity, her fearlessness in trying new things, and her bravery in sharing her journey. America fell in love with Brenda and Prue decades ago, but I find myself in awe of the woman Shannen Doherty is today: Survivor, animal rights activist….. inspirational and fearless.

And one day she discovered that she was fierce, and strong, and full of fire – and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears. [Post theshando, March 8, 2019..quote attributed to Mark Anthony]

Bakersfield, I give you the indomitable Shannen Doherty!

shannen doherty

In her honor, the conference focused on encouraging women to be proactive about their health and get mammogram screenings.  It is so easy for us to focus on others, our jobs, our families and forget about our own self-care.  I was extremely honored to be a part of an event with this message, and also very proud of all of the hard work Norma put in!  It was a wonderful event!

women's conference

Andrea Thorson was a rock star with her presentation. I had a young woman who rushed up to me and said that I had a great dean at BC and that she was just coming from Andrea’s presentation. We are BC!

Andrea Thorson

Early College Initiative Award Presented at SGA Student Leadership Dinner

For the first time, dual enrollment students were included in our annual SGA Student Leadership Awards Dinner. The Early College Initiative Award was created in a collaboration between our Dual Enrollment and Student Life departments to recognize high school students who have shown early initiative in taking college courses and starting on their college pathway. Out of many nominations that came in from across all high school districts, five finalists were selected to attend the awards dinner with their families, nominating instructor, and principal.

Osvaldo Casillas and Kathy Rowland
Kathy Rowland and Osvaldo Casillas

The first recipient of the award was Osvaldo Casillas from Mira Monte High School. He was nominated by dual enrollment instructor and BC English Adjunct instructor Kathy Rowland who wrote, “Osvaldo continuously demonstrates a keen dedication to attendance, thorough completion of assignments, and thoughtful contribution to class discussion/analysis.  For almost 4 years, he has strategized a plan for post-secondary education knowing that he will make strides in engineering to broaden opportunities both for himself, family, and his mother who has been detained in Mexico for an extensive timeframe. Nonetheless, he has found a method, a coping mechanism that harnesses all his personal struggles and heartaches into the surety of an academic pathway to success. He is one of the finest young men I have ever met in my 20 years of teaching.”

Mariano Balbueno with Mario Nunez and Susana Salazar (Counselor)
Left to right: Mariano Balbueno, Mario Nunez, and Susana Salazar (Counselor)

The second recipient was Mariano Balbueno from Delano High School. Mariano was nominated by his dual enrollment instructor Mario Nunez who wrote, “Mariano has completed a total of 10 dual/concurrent enrollment courses, and is currently working on four more during this second semester of his Senior year. He has earned a total of 32 general education credits towards an associate degree, all while he has been in high school.  At the end of his senior year, Mariano will have earned a total of 44 college units.”

Finalists with Early College Team
Early College Initiative Award finalists and the Early College team.

Both students received BCSGA student leadership medals that they will be able to wear with pride at their high school graduations this spring. As we continue to embrace our early college students into our campus culture, events such as this are such an amazing way to welcome our high school students into our Renegade family, and to show everyone on our campus just how much our students and our communities benefit from early college opportunities.

Second Annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conference

The 2nd Annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conference took over the Panorama campus this week to honor the history of Chicano Studies programs and the 50th anniversary of the founding of MEChA.

This year’s conference was expanded to three days, packed with panels, speakers, art, music, and film celebrating Chicano culture. Octavio Barajas brilliantly organized all of the programming that happened between Tuesday and Thursday.

Jess Nieto was an activist, philanthropist, and instructor who founded the Chicano Studies program at BC in the 1970s. He also founded Heritage for America, a non-profit organization that helps immigrants with achieving citizenship.

When Nieto passed away just before his 70th birthday in 2017, a team of educators who were inspired by his contributions to BC and the Chicano community founded this conference in his name. The theme for this year’s conference was based on the MEChA motto of “Self-Determination for the Liberation of Our People.”

Corny Rodriguez speaking
Corny Rodriguez speaks passionately about MEChA.
Four students sitting at table with hands folded
Project Conexiones students Edith Mata, Jovana Espinoza, Jennifer Lule, and Erick Plata give a presentation in the Levan Center.

Students from the newly-created BC organization Project Conexiones talked about the founding of their group, which seeks to create a bridge between MEChA, LUPE, and other campus organizations that support Chicano and undocumented students through their education.

Three people sitting at table
Left to right: Dr. Mark Martinez, Steve Barber and Emily Gonzales host a panel on the life of Ray Gonzales, the first Chicano elected to state office in Kern County.

CSUB political science professor Mark Martinez spoke of Gonzales’ gregarious personality and told stories from his time as a CSUB social studies teacher toward the end of his life. Steve Barber, Gonzales’ campaign manager from 1972, talked about Gonzales’ important work in petitioning to redrawing the district lines in Kern County to maximize Latino representation, as well as conducting demographic research that would lead to the creation of Cal State Monterey Bay. Gonzales’ daughter Emily ended the panel with a tearful discussion of his passion and discipline for learning.

Two men standing by painting
Artist Jorge Guillen and Oliver Rosales pose with Guillen’s painting of Ray Gonzales.

After the Ray Gonzales panel, local artists Jorge Guillen and Juan X shared their poetry about the Chicano struggle. Guillen made a portrait of Ray Gonzales in honor of the conference and shared some of his murals in Rexland Acres Park. He also talked the influence that BC professors such as Jack Brigham had on his development as an artist.

BC Jazz ensemble
The BC Jazz Ensemble performs in the Administration Courtyard.
Man blowing trumpet
Kris Tiner performs with BC jazz students.
Man playing bongos
Louie Cruz Beltran performs with the BC Jazz ensemble.
Male and female smiling
Louie Cruz Beltran and Dolores Huerta

The first day of the conference moved to the Administration Courtyard, where attendees ate a delicious spread of enchiladas and tacos provided by Food Services. During dinner, the BC Jazz Ensemble performed in the courtyard with Louie Cruz Beltran, a percussionist, singer and BC alum who has played alongside Tito Puente, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Macy Gray, and some of the most famous entertainers in the world. Paintings of historic Chicano figures by Guillen, BC students and professor Diego Monterrubio were also displayed in the courtyard.

Girl painting portrait of woman
Male painting aztec head
Hispanic Latin painting artwork
BC professor Diego Monterrubio’s painting is displayed in the Administration Courtyard on April 23.

Day one of the conference concluded with a keynote presentation by Sean Arce, a teacher who revolutionized Chicano Studies instruction at the elementary and high school levels. He also represented Tucson high school students in challenging Arizona’s ban on ethnic studies instruction, which was overturned by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Arce v. Douglas.

Man blowing conch
Sean Arce calls in the four directions in a Mesoamerican ceremony that uses a conch shell.
Man pointing at painting
Sean Arce talks about the importance of Chicano Studies.

Arce shared some demographic information about educational attainment rates broken down by race, and explained how Ethnic Studies programs can help to increase educational attainment rates by allowing students of color to see their experiences reflected in the curriculum.

On Wednesday night in the BC Forum, the Jess Nieto Memorial Conference screened the PBS documentary “The Rise of the Brown Buffalo,” about Chicano lawyer and activist Oscar Zeta Acosta.

“The Rise of the Brown Buffalo” was directed by veteran PBS filmmaker Philip Rodriguez, using actors to portray Acosta and the major figures in his life. The film juxtaposes talking head testimonials from the actors with actual photos and footage of Acosta. In the film, Acosta is portrayed by Bakersfield native Jesse Celedon.

Two men with fingers on chins
A screenshot from the PBS documentary “The Life of the Brown Buffalo” screened in the BC Forum.

Acosta was an influential part of the Chicano movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s as a bold and boisterous lawyer representing activists and Chicano militants in Los Angeles during a time of rioting and intense racial strife. He was known for his wild and unorthodox methods of practicing law, and he cross-examined 100 judges, an unprecedented act that demonstrated how the jury selection process for his cases was biased against Chicanos. He also ran for Sheriff of Los Angeles County in 1970.

Acosta’s books didn’t do well commercially despite critical acclaim, and in 1974, he hand-wrote a last will and testament and disappeared in the deserts of Mexico. He was never seen again and is presumed dead.

Two men standing at Jess Nieto Conference
Director Philip Rodriguez and local actor Jesse Celedon speak in the Forum.

The last day of the conference focused on student presentations. Current members of BC’s MEChA gave a current update on everything they’ve done this year and testimonials about how the club helped them connect with their Chicano heritage. Graduate students Randy Villegas from UC Santa Cruz and Francisco Beltran from UC Santa Barbara gave presentations of their research. BC students Jose Bello and Tania Bernal moderated a panel on immigration, and Levan Student Award recipients gave presentations as well. The conference ended with a special baile by Project Conexiones students.

I’d like to thank Octavio Barajas for organizing all of the programming, as well as all of the students, staff and panelists who came out to support such an amazing, legendary man.

Third Annual Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast

On Wednesday, April 24, BC attended the 3rd Annual Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast at Hodel’s Country Dining.  The Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast is one place where community champions who quietly work behind the scenes are illuminated for their phenomenal dedication.

nora dominguez, kimberly white-smith, sonya, lynette, dolores huerta, nan, norma

This year’s honoree and recipient of the Cesar Chavez Legacy Award was Dolores Huerta, who was born on April 10, 1930 in Dawson, New Mexico, but spent most of her childhood and early adult life in Stockton, California.  Dolores found her calling while serving in the leadership of the Stockton Community Service Organization (CSO), when she founded the Agricultural Workers Association (AWA).  In 1955, she met CSO Executive Director Cesar E. Chavez.  The two shared a common vision of organizing farm workers, which was an idea that did not necessarily follow the CSO’s mission.

abel-guzman-brenda-valdez
corny-rodriguez-olivia-garcia
Josefina Flores

In 1962, Cesar and Dolores launched the National Farm Workers Association, where Dolores’s skills were vital to the growth of this organization.  In addition, she was instrumental in the enactment of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, as well as working as a lobbyist to improve workers’ legislative representation.  Later, she fought to elect more Latinos and women to political office.

Dolores has received many honors and accolades over the years, including the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award in 1998 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.  As of 2015, she was a board member of the Feminist Majority Foundation, Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus of the United Farm Workers of America, and President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation.

danny-morrison
Danny Morrison did an amazing job as host.

The breakfast was hosted by Danny Morrison, who is a social and community activist, motivational speaker, and multimedia personality and host of The Danny Morrison Radio Show with the NEW 103.9 The Beat in Bakersfield and the NEW Forge 92.5 in Fresno.  Born and raised in Bakersfield, Danny spends his time mentoring children, performing motivational speeches, and giving back to the community.

nan and sonya
victor-diaz-lisa-robles
bc group

It was wonderful to see several members of our BC leadership come out to celebrate Huerta’s accomplishments, including Abel Guzman, Brenda Valdez, Corny Rodriguez, Olivia Garcia, Victor Diaz, and Lisa Robles.  We are BC!  Si, se puede!

Project Conexiones Students Participate in Leadership Conference

Participants attended various workshop topics ranging from career development, political consciousness, social and community activism, supporting undocumented students, systems of higher education, cultural resiliency, unity among students, and learned from many powerful keynote speakers, authors, and influential community organizers.

Students began their morning at MacArthur Park with an appreciation of their indigenous cultural roots as they were greeted by a traditional Aztec danza.

After the final day of the conference, Conexiones students enjoyed a relaxing and fun day at Malibu Beach.

Special thanks to the EOPS and CalSOAP staff who contributed greatly to the planning process. Big shout out to Octavio Barajas (History), Francisco Llamas (History), and Marcela Gamino (EOPS) for serving as advocates and mentors to the Conexiones students.

Business Pathway Career Expo

On Wednesday, Bakersfield College held its Business Pathway Career Expo in front of the library for students to interact with professionals regarding the careers they would like to pursue.

business pathway booth
business pathway booth
business pathway booths overview
business pathway booth

Students talked to people in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship, Computer Science, and Law Enforcement.  These days, employers are looking for more than an education. They are looking for skilled workers with job experience, so the Business Pathway Career Expo gave students a chance to learn about job prospects and internships before they finish college so they can get a head start on their career. The expo also allowed students to interact with several local business owners and industry partners.

business pathway booth
business pathway booth

Cool t-shirt. Thank you.

Pre-Law Student Celebration

The Bakersfield College Pre-Law Program is pleased to report that we have 11 students who completed the Pre-Law program this year. We have students transferring to CSU Bakersfield, CSU East Bay, UC Davis, and Washington State. Best of luck to our Pre-Law graduates!

Pre law students
Graduates present at the celebration (left to right): Leodegario Aguilar, Stephiny Winslow, Linda Eaves, Karla Alvarez, Kiley Thompson, David Arredondo, Robert Bankowski, and Denise Ruiz.
Pre law students
David Arredondo (with guest) and Advisory Council Member Yinka Glover.
Pre law students
David Arredondo, Leslie Cunningham (Director of Cal Law Inc.), Linda Eaves, Karla Alvarez, Robert Bankowski, Pearl Urena, and Leodegario Aguilar.

EOP&S Student Celebration

Last Tuesday, April 23, the EOP&S Student Celebration took place at Hodel’s Country Dining. Check out these great photos!

EOP&S graduates
EOP&S graduates
EOP&S graduates
EOP&S medals

Community Voices: Tom Burke

Check out this piece by Chancellor Tom Burke in The Bakersfield Californian about celebrating community colleges.  Like the chancellor, I’m very proud of the work we have done to serve our community college students.

community voices by tom burke

Read Tom’s entire article on www.bakersfield.com.

Community Voices: Jack Hernandez

Last month, Jack Hernandez wrote a touching piece in The Bakersfield Californian on the topic of suicide.  His words touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes as he wrote about his personal experience dealing with suicide.  As he states in the first paragraph, suicide is a “terrifying, endlessly sad word.”

community voices by jack hernandez

Read Jack’s entire article on www.bakersfield.com.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

William Harland Boyd Gets Plaque

This weekend, a plaque will be dedicated on campus in memory of Dr. William Harland Boyd, who was a history professor and department chair at Bakersfield College.

william harland boyd plaque
william harland boyd plaque

In addition to his BC duties, Dr. Boyd was a co-founder and editor of the local historical society in Kern County, being affiliated with this group for more than fifty years.  This wonderful plaque will be displayed inside our Humanities area, so be sure to stop by and take a look! We are BC proud!

Geology Club Rocks the Sequoias

Francis Benavente, who recently joined the Bakersfield College Geology Club, sent over these great photos of a wonderful field trip they took to see rocks in Sequoia National Park.  Under the direction of geology professor Chris Benker, they hiked up the river to Brush Creek, and got a lot of really awesome pictures.  I’d like to give a special thanks to Chris for providing these amazing opportunities for our students!

BC geology club
BC geology club

View more photos of the Geology Club’s visit to Sequoia National Park.

BC Drumline Beats the Competition at WGI World Championship

Last week, I wrote about our amazing BC Drumline winning the gold medal at the WGI World Championship Competition in Dayton, Ohio.  Director of Marching Arts Ensembles Tim Heasley and Drumline Media Manager Jimmie Taliaferro sent over these videos of the students warming up for the competition.  The actual performance couldn’t be recorded because of copyright reasons, but as Tim puts it, “You had to be there!”  Congrats, again!

Math and Science Retirement Luau

Retirees from the Math and Science Departments were celebrated with a retirement luau on Wednesday, April 24, and I was happy to participate in the festivities.  Patrick Fulks from the Biology Department is also retiring this semester, but was unavailable for the picture.

Group of people at makeshift luau
Left to right: Regina Hukill, Math Department; myself; Richard Darke, Physical Science Department; and Janet Fulks, Biology Department
Group of people at makeshift luau
Left to right: Richard Darke, Physical Science Department; Regina Hukill, Math Department; Janet Fulks, Biology Department; and Bernard Scanlon, Math Department

Thank you to Stephen Waller and Janet Thomas and the Office of Instruction Staff, as well as fellow faculty members of the math, biology, and physical science departments, for putting on the luau party.  Aloha!

Celebrating Earth Day with ‘Eating Animals’

Last Monday night in the Levan Center, Professor Beth Rodacker and Professor Emily Wilson hosted a viewing and discussion of the film Eating Animals to celebrate Earth Day 2019.

eating animals movie poster

The film, which was released in 2017, has received fine reviews and takes a close-up look at factory farming.  Based on the bestselling book by Jonathan Safran Foer, narrated by co-producer Natalie Portman, and directed by Christopher Quinn, Eating Animals takes an eye-opening look at the environmental, economic, and public health consequences of factory farming.

Spotlighting farmers who adopt more humane practices, Eating Animals offers attainable, commonsense solutions to a growing crisis.

Thanks to Beth and Emily for giving our students a chance to view this great film.

View the ‘Eating Animals’ trailer here!K

Spotlight: Office of Institutional Effectiveness

At Bakersfield College, we take pride in our high-touch, high-tech approach to working with our students, and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness has been instrumental in the development and evolution of that approach since its inception in 2016.

office of institutional effectiveness staff
karen, david, dan hall

Institutional Effectiveness conducts research, collects data, and provides reports on everything from accreditation, program review, and enrollment strategies to data coaching, grant funding, and student learning outcomes. This data is used by executive leadership and program managers to inform decisions, track outcomes and effectiveness of initiatives, and direct the daily activities of staff.

This year, the office has launched the Institutional Review Board and developed a process for faculty and staff to request research projects. The Institutional Review Board helps college personnel attain higher education credentials, facilitates applications for federal grants, and maintains ethical standards of research projects at BC. So far, the office has received 385 research requests through the Institutional Review Board during the 2018-19 academic year, Hayward said.

karen and david
Karen Snow and David Buitron

After compiling the information for this year’s Scorecard, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness has noticed an increasing proportion of younger students in the BC student body over the past five years due to the growth of the Dual Enrollment and Early College programs. The shift in curriculum via metamajors and the establishment of Completion Coaching communities has resulted in a significant increase of Hispanic/Latinx students receiving Associate Degrees for Transfer, as well as increases in the number of students attempting 15 or more units in their first term and completing transfer-level math and English in their first year. These are important momentum points in both the guided pathways model and new state funding formula for community colleges.

Institutional researchers have shared BC’s high-tech, high-touch strategies across the nation, including the state Chancellor’s Office, EMSI, the Center for Urban Education, and the RP Group conference this month. In May, researcher Amber Hroch will be presenting at ACCJC’s Partners in Excellence conference about program review.

office of institutional effectiveness staff

This year, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness developed Cognos reports that will help the EOP&S and Veterans’ Services departments streamline the work they do to support students.  They’ve also launched the first phase of a project that will create a centralized data warehouse for all of the information collected across Banner, Starfish, eLumen, and other programs utilized by BC faculty and staff.

I’d like to thank all of the brilliant minds in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness for providing concrete data analysis that continues to drive innovation at BC.

Fun Photos: BC Entrepreneurship Team

Manny Mourtzanos shared a fun photo of the team after the Entrepreneurship Workshop that was offered to BC students following the Business Pathway Career Expo on Wednesday. They enjoyed two very successful events–it’s a good time to be a Renegade!

Manny Mourtzanos, Heather Wight (Executive Assistant, Small Business Development Center), Goli Ameri (President and CEO, StartItUp), Prof. Rudy Menjivar (BC Entrepreneurship & Business Law Faculty), and JP Lake (Managing Partner, Kern Venture Group)
Left to right: Manny Mourtzanos, Heather Wight (Executive Assistant, Small Business Development Center), Goli Ameri (President and CEO, StartItUp), Professor Rudy Menjivar (BC Entrepreneurship & Business Law Faculty), and JP Lake (Managing Partner, Kern Venture Group)

Fun Photos: Power Luncheon

Check out these great photos from Wednesday’s Power Luncheon with Jean Fuller.

crowd listening at the Power luncheon with jean fuller
Power luncheon with jean fuller
people sitting at desks
Power luncheon with jean fuller
Power luncheon with jean fuller
Power luncheon with jean fuller

Fun Photos: College Budget Meeting

Our College Budget Meetings are always an exciting time, as you can see in these wonderful photos.

college budget meeting
college budget meeting
college budget meeting
college budget meeting
college budget meeting
Members of the budget committee being asked to stand and be recognized.

Renegade Athletics

The annual Army All-Star football game at Rabobank is a huge community event that we had the opportunity to sponsor this year. Athletics Program Manager Darrell Ballard and student worker Daniel Kraskey manned a table representing the college before the game and Associate AD Keith Ford presented the Offensive Player of the Game Award at the conclusion of the game. Over twenty of this year’s players are coming to BC this fall to play football for Coach Chudy. We look forward to seeing them on campus!

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11:00 a.m., check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include segments from BC Baseball and Softball, who are both Western State Conference Champions!

Segment with BC Baseball Coach Tim Painton

Segment with BC Baseball’s Kamron Willman and Alejandro Murillo

Segment with BC Assistant Softball Coach Aryka Chavez

Segment with BC Softball’s Natilee Parrish and Ashley Hernandez

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (4/14-4/20) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

Daran Towns, Women’s Swimming

Was named WSC Co-Female Swimmer of the Year, winning all three of her individual races and breaking school records in all three. (500 Free, 200 Free, 100 Free) She was also on the winning 800 Free Relay along with 3 other top 4 relays.

Jacob Whitby, Men’s Track and Field

Placed first in the discus with a throw of 46.63m at the WSC Championships for back-to-back conference championships in that event.

Renegade Volleyball is Tearing it up on the Sand

lady gades beach volleyball
lady gades beach volleyball

The Renegade Women’s Beach Volleyball team hosted both Santa Barbara City College and Glendale College at the CSUB Beach Volleyball courts on Friday and came away with two dominant victories, 5-0 over SBCCC and 5-0 over GC. KCCD General Counsel Chris Hine was at the match to witness the dominating play by our student athletes. View a full album of the matches.

Women’s Soccer Student Athletes Moving On

Renegade Women’s Soccer student athletes Reagan King and Drew Hallum will be continuing their academic and athletic careers at the Division I level this coming season. King has signed with the University of Louisiana Monroe and Hallum, who originally committed to Emerson College, has signed with Appalachian State University. Congrats and good luck!

Jacob Whitby Grabs Back-to-Back WSC Discus Championships

Congrats to Renegade Student Athlete Jacob Whitby who won the Western State Conference Discuss Title that last weekend with a throw of 46.63m. This is now Jacob’s second title in as many years. Congrats, Jacob and good luck the rest of the season!

Roundup of Athletics Events This Week

As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include:

Stay Connected to Renegade Athletics

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media.

  • Facebook – ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’
  • Twitter – @GoGadesGo
  • Instagram – @gogadesgo
Sonya Christian


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Spring: The Rebirth of Life

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, May 4, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Happy Easter!

This weekend, millions of people are celebrating Easter, which symbolizes the end of the fallow winter and the rebirth of life that comes with spring.

The traditional christian celebration of Easter observes the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as described in the New Testament, but people have been celebrating the spring equinox for thousands of years. Most of the non-christian iconography of Easter, including the use of eggs and rabbits, goes back to an equinox celebration named after the Germanic goddess of spring.

Easter in Germany

In the US, Easter celebrations include an Easter egg roll on the White House lawn, a tradition that has been going on for 141 years.

Children in Finland and Sweden celebrate Easter by dressing up as witches and asking for chocolate door-to-door, which is very similar to Halloween. Devout Catholics in the Pampanga region of the Philippines volunteer to be nailed to wooden crosses on Good Friday, and Germans light giant bonfires at sunset on Holy Saturday. You can read more about Easter traditions around the world in an article published by the UK Evening Standard.

When I was growing up, Easter, like Christmas, was full of family fun, church activities, and food. This year, Easter will be with with my daughter, cooking family dishes and our traditional catholic Easter mass. I am sure we will squeeze in time to take Bessie to the dog park and generally take long walks along the beach.

However you choose to celebrate Easter, my wish for you is that it’s a beautiful, happy day for you and your family.

BC Drumline Wins Gold at WGI Competition

For the first time in the BC Drumline’s history, they are world champions!!  Our amazing Renegades competed in the WGI World Championship Competition in Dayton, Ohio last weekend, where they beat out 15 other times to win the Gold medal.  There are not enough words to convey how proud we are of our Drumline students and their director Tim Heasley.

Check out this piece that KGET did on our World Champions. Also the piece by Ema Sasic in The Bakersfield Californian. Congratulations! We are BC!

BC Drumline: World Champions!!
Another great shot of our World Champs.
Go Renegades, Go!
BC student holding award trophy
WGI Award Trophy
BC Drumline performing.
Performing at the WGI Competition
BC drumline performing
WE ARE BC!

American Association of Community Colleges 2019 National Convention

Last week I presented at the American Association of Community Colleges 2019 National Convention on Bakersfield College’s guided pathways implementation.  BC originally began working with AACC in 2015 as one of 30 colleges nationally participating in the AACC Pathways Project.  The discussion focused on lessons about leadership for transformational change, the commitment to achieve equity in student outcomes, and overcoming challenges in scaling guided pathways work.

Panelists at the American Association of Community Colleges 2019 National Convention
Rob Johnstone. Alex Johnson, Sonya Christian, Davis Jenkins

My co-presenters included:

  • David Jenkins, Senior Research Scholar at the Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University (and co-author of Redesigning America’s Community Colleges which BC read in book panels in fall 2015)
  • Rob Johnstone, Founding President & CEO of the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement
  • Kay McClenney, Senior Advisor to the President & CEO, AACC
  • Alex Johnson, President of Cuyahoga Community College

I thank the American Association of Community Colleges for supporting guided pathways and scaling it across the nation.

Sonya Christian, Kay McClenney, & Davis Jenkins

KCCD Trustee Agbalog on Terry Maxwell’s KNZR 1560AM Radio Show

On Tuesday, KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog was a guest on Terry Maxwells radio show on AM 1560. Check out the interview where Trustee Agbalog speaks about education in Kern County and BC’s Early College partnerships.

KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog

SimRig Ribbon Cutting at KCCD

Last week, the Public Safety Training department unveiled its new SimRig! The SimRig is built to precisely mimic a real ambulance. It gives the students a firsthand look and experience of being in a unit while working on patients. The back door and bumper are built to the actual specifications of road-ready ambulances to allow students to efficiently practice loading and unloading stretchers, and perform life-saving procedures in a limited space.

Sim Rig unveiling

We are very thankful to those who made this EMT and Paramedic simulation training possible: Dean Carla Gard, Director Tony Cordova, PSTP Dean Rich McCrow, PSTP Director Tommy Tunson, Chancellor Tom Burke, Associate Chancellor Cindy Collier, PSTP Dept. Assistant Karen Mattox and Weill Facilities and Maintenance Manager Don Birdwell.

SimRig Ribbon Cutting at KCCD

Kaiser Permanente Awards $30K Grant to BC

Kaiser Permanente awarded $30,000 to Bakersfield College as a part of its mission to provide high quality affordable healthcare and improve the lives of our members and our communities.  Kaiser Permanente provides grants local organizations to partner with them in helping meet the health needs of the most vulnerable citizens in Kern County. This year Kaiser Permanente is providing $260,000 in grants to ten local organizations.

BC’s Dr. Sarah Baron, Dr. Marvin Campos, Area Medical Director for Kaiser Permanente, Sherry Mounts, Chief Administrative Officer for Kaiser Permanente, David Womack, Senior Vice President & Area Manager for Kaiser Permanente presenting the $30k grant.
Presentation of $30k grant check

Speaking of Bakersfield College and health partnerships in the community, BC and the Delano Reproductive Health Task Force will pilot and bring to scale a peer health education (PHE) program on reproductive and sexual health education. We’d like to thank the Kern County Superintendent of Schools who conducted the initial 12 hour training!  

Gadfly Cafe

The final Gadfly Café of the semester on Secularism, Nihilism, and the Need to Believe took place on Wednesday, April 10. Thank you to Reggie Williams for offering these opportunities for our students to learn, be inspired, engage in conversation, and walk away with a newfound outlook on life.

Nick Strobel’s COMMUNITY VOICES: A way to transform our relationships and world

Check out this must read by our very own Nick Strobel in The Bakersfield Californian. Make sure to it out “A way to transform our relationships and world.”

Nick Strobel

MESA Conference

On April 6, the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program and Bakersfield College hosted an annual conference on the Panorama Campus that was geared to educate the community about Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM), and Pre-Med education.  The conference was designed to allow participants to network with professionals in STEM and Pre-Med and explore careers.

STEM and Pre-Med Conference flyer
Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference

Participants engaged in workshops, a resource fair, and heard from keynote speakers, college advisors, financial aid counselors, industry leaders, and student organizations.

Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference
Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference

The goals of the conference included a special focus in STEM and Pre-Med, improve community and industry partnerships, and further developing local talent of minorities and within underrepresented communities.

Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference
Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference

Special thanks to our conference sponsors for helping to make this event happen, including California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, Infrastructure Engineering Corporation, Grimmway Farms, UCLA Undergraduate Admission, University of California, Berkeley, UC Davis, and the US Department of Agriculture.

Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference

New World of Work Training

Bakersfield College Career Education Department recently hosted the New World of Work (NWoW) 21st Century Skills Training where we had 40 different educators from our Central Region participate in a two-day instructor training. At the end of the training, participants earned non-credit certificates of completion for instruction in 21st Century skills that they can implement into their classrooms.

Bakersfield College Career Education Department at New World of Work (NWoW) 21st Century Skills Training

GAF Glass Mat Plant Ribbon Cutting in Shafter

GAF Glass Mat Plant in Shafter reopened its operations with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday April 17th. The GAF plant has gone through a multi-million dollar facility upgrade to better serve growing demand. Those in attendance at the ceremony were Shafter’s Mayor Gilbert Alvarado and Representatives from the office of TJ Cox and Rudy Salas. This restart of operations at the plant means more jobs for our community and more future opportunities for our students from various programs. GAF has been a great partner to our INDA program by offering facility tours, contributing to the INDA senior project and hiring interns from our Baccalaureate students.

GAF Glass Mat Plant ribbon cutting ceremony and tour.

Spotlight: Outreach/Welcome Department

With the expansion of Dual Enrollment and Early College opportunities at BC, the work of our Outreach and School Relations team has become more important than ever.  They’ve risen to the occasion in the 2018-19 academic year, spreading the word about our innovative curriculum and academic support while clarifying the path for thousands of students.

Steve Watkin & Kylie Swanson at the McFarland Early College Launch.

The Outreach and School Relations Department at BC works closely with the local high schools to help aspiring students with enrollment and familiarizing themselves with our campuses. They’ve successfully assisted 3,368 high school seniors with the matriculation process this academic year, up 31 percent from last year. The team coordinated Registration Rocks events at 28 high schools on the second day of priority registration, and with the help of 100 BC employees and student workers, 2,386 students were registered for classes, a 250% increase from the Registration Rocks events held in the Fall 2017 semester.

Savannah Andrews and Ashlea Ward in the Welcome Center

Outreach hosts a High School Counselor Conference every year to inform the high schools about new initiatives and onboarding processes at BC.

Members of the BC Outreach team with Sonya Christian.
BC’s Outreach Team

Thank you to everyone in Outreach for working so hard to make the dream of college a reality for thousands of people in Kern County.  

Ashlea Ward & Steve Watkin leading some training.

National Student Employee Appreciation Week

This year’s Spring Break happened to fall on National Student Employee Appreciation Week, so the Student Employment Office recognized our student workers last week before the break.

Bakersfield College currently employs 495 students on campus. Students gain valuable work experience to put on their resume, build key relationships with their supervisors who can provide a reference or letter of recommendation. At the heart of the program is strengthening students’ work ethic and interpersonal skills that employers need.

National Student Appreciation Week!
Stephanie Baltazar

Thank you to Stephanie Baltazar and her team at Student Employment for all of their hard work in helping to prepare our students for their careers.

Measure J Updates

We currently have 14 (yes, 14!!) Measure J projects underway.  The Bakersfield College Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center is under construction, and will be completed in early December 2019.  

Construction at the Veterans Resource Center
More construction at the Veterans Resource Center

Demolition has concluded for the Campus Center, with construction scheduled to begin in May.

Campus Center construction
More Campus Center construction shots.

Also this week, some of the cement work along the pool was replaced to be ADA compliant.

Cement work near pool
Additional shot of cement work

The Memorial Stadium construction has begun as well, with the first phase beginning in early April.   Also, check out this piece that 23ABC did on the Memorial Stadium renovations!

Aerial footage of the Memorial Stadium construction

We cannot wait to share these completed projects with our students and community! You can get updates at Measure J project schedule.

Thank you Bakersfield community for voting Yes on J!

Entree to Employment

The Career Education Department collaborated with the BC Education Department for an Entrée to Employment grand dinner event. The event brought together education experts with BC students who are interested in pursuing a career in teaching  elementary, secondary, or college education in the fields of Math, Science, Special Education, Automation, Agriculture, Welding, and Engineering.

BC Culinary Arts student hard at work
BC Culinary Arts student baking

BC future teachers networked with education experts over a delicious meal served by the BC  Culinary Arts students in the Renegade Room. Twenty-three BC students participated along with representatives from BC, Kern K-12 districts, and local institutions including BCSD, KHSD, KCSOS, and the University of La Verne.

BC Culinary Arts student baking
Fruit and vegetable plate
Chocolate cake
Caprese skewers
Soup prepared by BC Culinary Arts students

A special thanks to the event team: Stephanie Baltazar, Jessica McGrath, Carlos Medina, Domenica Trinidad, Suzanne Tangeman , Christian Flores (and student Culinary Arts team), Rosa Perez, Kimberly Bligh, Isabel Castaneda, our table facilitators, and our field experts!

BC’s Career and Technical Education Department
Guests at the dinner table for the Entree to Employment event
Guests at the dinner table for the Entree to Employment event

Kimberly Bligh, Faculty Chair over the emerging Education Department received this email from Vicky Spanos, director of the Kern High Teacher Residency Program after the event:

Vicki Spanos in the middle

Hi Kimberly –

Thank you so much for inviting me to the wonderful event you put on for future teachers. I loved being a part of it and enjoyed every minute. The meal was delicious, and the conversation at our table was interesting and uplifting. Debbie Anderson did an excellent job facilitating our discussions.

The young man who spoke at the end, who had returned to teach the culinary students (Christian) was a student of mine. I did not recognize him right away because of the beard, but he recognized me and spoke on the way out. Thrilling to bump into a former student who is doing well, isn’t it? It was just icing on an already pretty terrific cake!!

Vickie

Make sure to check out the Facebook album to see all of the great photos!

Fun Photos: Spring Pop Up Art Show

We had 104 art pieces for the Spring Pop Up Art Show outside of Fine Arts building last week!  Art faculty member Diego Gutierrez sent over some photos, where he said his students exhibited their Figure Drawing work from this semester.  Great job everyone!

Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show
Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show
Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show
Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show
Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show

Fun Photos: Ellucian Impact Award

BC’s Director of Admissions & Records Michelle Pena sent some photos from the Ellucian Live 2019 conference in New Orleans last week.  Bakersfield College was named a finalist for the 2019 Ellucian Impact Award, where we received a $5,000 institution grant! Thanks for representing us, Michelle!

Board showing BC as a finalist for the Ellucian Impact Award
Michelle Pena, Director of Enrollment Services and Becky Weaver, Weaver and Fox Consulting presenting Plan, Nudge, and Schedule- The Integrated Approach to Student Success
Michelle and Becky’s presentation

Fun Photos: Jackie Robinson’s 100th Birthday Celebration

Manny Mourtzanos and his son celebrated the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson, a baseball legend and agent of social change, at Dodgers Stadium for what would’ve been his 100th birthday. All players wore number (#42) in Robinson’s honor. While there, Manny ran into our very own Robby Martinez!  Looks like it was a great time!

Manny Mourtzanos, his son Andrew, and Robby Martinez at the Dodger game.

Fun Photos: What do professors do on Spring break?

What do professors do on Spring break? They do yard work and meet at Greenway to dump limbs!  Deb said that Helen was wearing a BC shirt or she might not have noticed her!

Deb Rosenthal and Helen Acosta at Greenway

Fun Photos: Executive Office Birthday Celebrations

The BC Executive Office held a potluck this past Wednesday to celebrate March and April birthdays. We celebrated the birthdays of Tarina Perry and Catherine Rangel with some delicious food!

Happy Birthday Renegades!

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (4/7-4/13) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week

Kayleen Sanchez, Women’s Tennis – Kayleen played her toughest conference match of the year, going 3 sets against teammate Paige Darstein to win the WSC singles championship 3-6, 6-2, 6-1. That same day, she partnered with Darstein to win the WSC doubles championship with a commanding 6-0, 6-1 victory. Kayleen also collected All-Conference First Team honors in singles, All-Conference Second Team honors in doubles, and was named the WSC Player Of The Year.

Tyson Hays, Men’s Golf – Tyson shot even par (72) at the CCCAA Men’s Golf SoCal Preview at Los Serrano’s Country Club to lead the Renegade’s to their lowest team score of the season.

Softball Clinches Back-to-Back WSC North Championships

Coach Casey Goodman and her 2019 softball squad are now back-to back Western State Conference (WSC) North Division Champions after this week’s 15-1 victory over LA Pierce! They are undefeated at 14-0 and pitcher Kylee Fahy is on track to finish leading the state in strikeouts for a second year in a row. Congrats to Coach Goodman and good luck in the upcoming state playoffs. We would love to see them advance to the state finals as Bakersfield College is the host site for the California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) state softball finals.

BC Softball 2019 Western State Conference Champions

Women’s Tennis Dominates the WSC Championships

BC Women’s Tennis student athletes Kayleen Sanchez and Paige Darstein faced off against each other in the 2019 WSC Women’s Tennis singles championship. Sanchez came away victorious after defeating Darstein in three sets, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 to take the women’s singles title.

They both then teamed up as doubles partners to smooth through their semi final match against Chacon/Ghazaryan from Glendale College, 6-3, 6-2. In the finals they cruised to a dominating victory over Stanisavljevic/Sakato from College of the Canyons, 6-2, 6-0.

Kayleen Sanchez and Paige Darstein promo photo

The team also cleaned up in WSC Conference awards as follows:

  • All-Conference First Team
    • #1 Singles – Kayleen Sanchez
    • #2 Singles – Paige Darstein
  • All-Conference Second Team
    • #4 Singles – Katelyn Wernhart
    • #5 Singles – Zoe Butter
    • #6 Singles – Ashlyne Aguilar
    • #1 Doubles – Sanchez/Darstein
    • #2 Doubles – Strange/Zavala

Conference Player of the Year: Kayleen Sanchez

The team will next compete at the CCCAA State Championships at The Ojai Tournament that will take place April 25-28. Good luck ladies!

Kayleen Sanchez promo photo

Roundup of Athletics Events This Week

As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click for the story on GoGades.com):

Stay Connected to Renegade Athletics

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media. On Facebook find us under ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’, on Twitter – @GoGadesGo and on Instagram – @gogadesgo.

Athletics social media handles



That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever