Tag Archives: Sonya Christian

March in Like a Renegade!

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, March 16, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Kern Economic Summit

Bakersfield College attended the Economic Summit earlier this week, put on by Kern Economic Development Corporation, CSU Bakersfield, and the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce.  As always, the summit was wonderful, and the information extremely impactful.

Manny Mourtzanos and Nan Gomez Heitzeberg
Manny Mourtzanos and Nan Gomez Heitzeberg
Corny Rodriguez, Michael ODoherty, Tom Gelder
Sonya Christian and Trustee Romeo Agbalog
Sonya Christian and Trustee Romeo Agbalog

During the panel titled “Fostering a Strong Entrepreneurial Culture in Kern County,” Goli Ameri, CEO of StartItUp, stated that Bakersfield College and CSU Bakersfield’s Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC)’s support of entrepreneurs has been vital to the development of young entrepreneurs.  She also stated that out of all the cities and counties that she’s worked with in Southern California, Bakersfield and Kern County are by far the most enthusiastic and supportive of creating an entrepreneurial-friendly community.

JP Lake, Goli Ameri, Neeraj Rama, Irma Olguin

Bakersfield College is always ready to support and guide our young entrepreneurs! We are so proud of the work that has been done here.

Sally Meek, Amanda Frank, Tamara Baker
Tamara Baker, Jennifer Pitcher

Fun Photos: Economic Summit VIP Dinner

On the night before the Kern Economic Summit, the Economic Summit VIP Dinner was held in downtown Bakersfield. Thank you to April & Co. for the great photos!

Melissa Hurtado Swears In

Newly-elected Senator Melissa Hurtado of the 14th District held her swearing-in ceremony in Bakersfield at South High School on March 9.  Senator Hurtado spoke about her experiences as a first-generation American citizen, being the first person in her family to graduate high school, and being a first-generation college student.

Woman speaking at podium
Senator Melissa Hurtado speaks about her experiences as a first-generation American citizen.
Tamara Baker and Nan Gomez Heitzberg
Tamara Baker and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg
Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Denise Norris

Community Relations Manager Tamara Baker and Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg attended the event, where Assemblyman Rudy Salas introduced the new Senator and gave a bit of background on their work together.  We are extremely excited to get to know Senator Hurtado and show her what it means to be a Bakersfield College Renegade!

Celebrating Pi Day

March 14 is celebrated around the world as Pi Day, and BC honored the discovery of one of the most important mathematical concepts in human history with free pizza and pie in the Levan Center.

Women behind booth
Free pizza and pie makes everyone happy!

Several academic departments hosted booths in the courtyard of the Science and Engineering building in celebration of Pi Day, and a student dressed in a raptor costume handed out flyers with facts about pi.

Inflatable dinosaur eating woman's head
Dinosaurs get pretty hungry on Pi Day!

Pi, a mathematical constant of approximately 3.14 used to calculate the perimeter and radius of a circle, was discovered by several mathematicians in ancient China, Egypt and India, but around 250 BC, the Greek mathematician Archimedes developed a polygonal algorithm that could calculate an extremely accurate approximation of pi, which is why the number is often referred to as “Archimedes’ constant.”

Geometric methods for calculating pi remained the dominant technique used by mathematicians until the revolutionary invention of infinite series in the late 1500s and early 1600s, and Sir Isaac Newton was able to calculate pi up to 15 digits using infinite series techniques. Today, computers are able to calculate pi to the two-quadrillionth digit, which happens to be 0.

BC Screens ‘Served Like a Girl’

Last Monday, BC Women’s History and More (WHAM) Committee and the Levan Center presented a screening of Director Lysa Heslov’s powerful documentary ‘Served Like a Girl,’ which explores the lives of several American women who were wounded in action and are now transitioning from soldier to civilian after serving their country in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The film exposes heartbreak, triumph, and inspiration as the veterans struggle with PTSD, homelessness, broken families, and other tragedies.  It is an engaging and honest look at an often unseen veteran reality. Check out the trailer.

At the BC Main campus, Professor of English for Multilingual Students Elizabeth Rodacker, who served as moderator, introduced the documentary and facilitated discussion about the film.

In Delano, Professor Patricia Smith introduced the film and moderated a discussion with Lt. Col. Cheri Provancha, who served in the U.S. military for 31 years, deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

I’d like to give a special thanks to WHAM for putting on this event, and also to the Levan Center for the Humanities for providing funding and accommodations.

For more information, visit Women’s History Month.

BC Puts on ‘A Piece of my Heart’

Last week in the Black Box Theater, Professor of Theatre Kimberly Chin directed a student production of Shirley Lauro’s dramatic play ‘A Piece of My Heart,’ which is the true story of six women (five nurses and a country western singer) who went to Vietnam to entertain the troops.

This event was provided as a collaboration between the BC Performing Arts Department and the BC Women’s History and More Committee (WHAM), with funding provided by the BC Alumni Foundation.

I’d like to thank everyone involved for putting on this fantastic production. To learn more, visit Women’s History Month.

Fun Photos: Memorial Stadium

Brandon Urry, Sports Information Director snapped this great photo of Memorial Stadium against the backdrop of the mountains. Nice job, Brandon!

Memorial Stadium

Industrial Automation Video

I loved seeing this news story on Channel 23ABC about our Industrial Automation program offering a Bachelor’s degree.  It’s so exciting to see our campus moving forward into another aspect of higher education.

Read the story and watch the video on turnto23.com.  We are BC!

Dr. Anna Laven to Serve on Regional K-12 Strong Workforce Program Selection Committee

Dr. Anna Laven, Program Manager for Dual Enrollment, was selected to serve on the inaugural Central/Mother Lode Regional Consortium (CRC) K-12 Strong Workforce Programs Selection Committee.  Honored to represent Bakersfield College, Dr. Laven is one of 18 members serving a two-year term.

Dr. Anna Laven (right) will serve on the inaugural Central/Mother Lode Regional Consortium (CRC) K-12 Strong Workforce Programs Selection Committee.

With $150,000,000 in total grant funding available from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office – Division of Workforce and Economic Development, in partnership with the California Department of Education, the Strong Workforce Program (SWP) aims to provide more and better Career Technical Education to increase social mobility and fuel regional economies with skilled workers.  Focusing on innovation and risk-taking, SWP is meant to increase the number of students enrolled in programs leading to high-demand, high-wage jobs.

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Group of people

On Friday, March 1, the Bakersfield College Dual Enrollment Program, in partnership with CSU Bakersfield and funded by the College Futures grant, hosted a professional development opportunity for more than 40 local educators from Arvin to Wasco at the Bakersfield College Delano Campus. The half-day event focused on implementing place-based and culturally responsive pedagogies in the San Joaquin Valley classroom throughout the PK-16 pipeline.

Woman explaining something with her hands

After welcomes by Dr. Anna Laven and Abel Guzman, Dr. Adam Sawyer of CSU Bakersfield lead the participants in an interactive activity and provided opening remarks focused on understanding the importance of place-based education.  Sharing her research on “citizen science work across the curriculum,” Dr. Brittney Beck of CSU Bakersfield explained how culturally relevant curriculum can be included in diverse areas, including STEM fields, as action research projects that promote positive community change.  

Dr. Oliver Rosales facilitated a conversation with Roger Gadiano, Delano resident and activist, on the importance of oral history in creating archives within a community and the use of the Larry Itliong Curriculum Resource Guide. Robust conversations followed in concurrent sessions with the three presenters, with attendees yearning for more!

Three people smiling

In the wrap-up, participants agreed that they would enthusiastically attend a follow-up two-day seminar that offered an even deeper dive into culturally responsive teaching and curriculum. Always a good problem when participants want even more! The Dual Enrollment program thanks the Delano campus staff for the warm welcome and hosting the seminar.

Two men speaking

Dr. Sawyer and Dr. Rosales offered these comments on the seminar:

“Teachers across the region are yearning for ways to better connect with and improve the learning outcomes of our culturally and linguistically diverse student population. The Delano workshop provided useful theory, examples from practice, and standards-aligned curricula for these educators (and future educators) to use the local socio-historical context and the cultural and linguistic assets of local students as resources for rich and meaningful content area learning across subject areas and grade levels. This work is truly transformational and Friday in Delano was just the first step.”

— Dr. Adam Sawyer

“This was a wonderful opportunity to create a humanities learning and professional development experience for faculty and teachers across multiple grade levels and educational institutions.  The fact that we did it too in the rural communities is so significant. Recognizing the historical and cultural capital of our rural communities is a high priority for our rural teachers and college/university faculty.  Finding the intersections between humanities and STEM learning also guides our work. This conversation among educators who care about our rural communities was an important one to initiate and we have definitely built a framework for future collaboration, innovation, and interest across institutions, including the elementary, secondary community college, and university levels.”

Dr. Oliver Rosales

Active Shooter Response and Tourniquet Training

Public Safety held a series of training seminars in the Levan Center to teach BC students and staff the proper way to respond to an active shooter situation on campus.

School shootings are increasingly common in the United States, and there is no consistent profile of an active shooter, Chris Counts said. In the wake of dozens of mass shootings that have occurred since the Columbine massacre in 1999, campus security services at schools around the country have changed their emergency protocols to be more proactive during these incidents.

Two males practicing tourniquet application
Knowing how to apply a tourniquet can save someone’s life.

The most important thing to prevent active shooter incidents is to report any suspicious activity to campus security or BC’s Students of Concern team. In almost every mass shooter incident, someone else knew that it was being planned, and reporting suspicious notes or social media posts can save lives.

Man holding red shirt
EMT and Public Safety Training instructor Brent Burton taught everyone how to properly use a tourniquet.

In the event that you hear shots being fired from a distance on campus, the first thing you should do is be aware of building exits and leave campus as soon as possible. If that isn’t possible, lock and barricade the doors, turn off all lights, cell phones and any source of noise, and hide somewhere out of sight from windows. It is extremely rare that active shooters will try to breach any barricaded rooms.

If you’re unable to run or hide in time, then it’s time to fight for your life. Use anything available to you as a weapon, and overwhelm the shooter with numbers while giving emergency responders time to react. You won’t be punished for acting in self-defense, and your bravery could save your life and the lives of countless others.

After the presentation, EMT and Public Safety Training instructor Brent Burton demonstrated how to properly use a tourniquet to prevent serious loss of blood in the event someone is shot. If someone is arterially bleeding, it’s very likely that they’ll lose all their blood and die before emergency responders can arrive on the scene, so knowing how to apply a tourniquet can save someone’s life, Burton said.

Military-grade tourniquets will be added to all of the red bag first aid kits available to every department on campus soon, but if you don’t have access to a tourniquet, you can use a belt or a shirt instead. First, apply pressure to the wound until bleeding has ceased. Then, apply the tourniquet two inches above the wound, avoiding any joints, then mark the time that the tourniquet was applied somewhere on the person’s body and leave it on until emergency responders arrive.

Thank you to Chris, Brent and our Public Safety team for organizing these important training sessions.

Art, Architecture, and Archetypes

On Wednesday, current and former BC professors talked about the ways that art is inspired by storytelling during the second Art, Architecture and Archetypes event for the Spring 2019 semester.

Five people sitting at table and looking to their left
The Art, Architecture, and Archetypes panel discussed how art is inspired by storytelling.

Rae Anne Kumelos discussed the ways that advertising re-contextualizes utopian imagery from mythology to sell products. David Koeth and Miriam Valenzuela focused their discussion on operas and paintings that depict the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.  Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg talked about the revolutionary work of Mexican artist Enrique Chagoya and his use of Aztec codices as a storytelling tool, and Duane Anderson talked about how architecture techniques have evolved throughout history to match the stories that cultures tell about themselves.

Thank you to the Levan Center and the Art, Architecture and Archetypes panel for this enlightening discussion about the relationship between art and storytelling.

YES Conference Empowers and Supports Foster Youth Across Kern County

Woman with video camera and two male students
Reyna Harvey filming Matthew Stubblefield and Carlos Lopez for the news clip.

The Youth Empowering Success (YES) program was highlighted by Reyna Harvey on KBAK this week. She featured BC Professor Ian Anderson and Renegade Matthew Stubblefield as they shared how impactful this program has been. Check it out at bakersfieldnow.com.

The annual YES Conference returned to BC last Friday for their annual event to support local foster youth, encouraging them to finish school and follow their dreams. Photos can be found on BC’s Smugmug.

The YES program is also holding a Trivia Night fundraiser from 6-8 p.m. on April 1 at the Stockdale Affairs Event Center, located at 201 New Stine Road, Suite 350. To support this program, tickets may be purchased online.

Fun Photos: OB Nursing Teaching Fair

For their final projects, teams of students in BC’s Nursing department hosted informational booths and tables with games, activities, and prizes to teach fellow Renegades about safe sex, maternal health, and pregnancy.

Group of nursing students
Two female nursing students
Two female nursing students

Fun Photos: St. Patty’s Day

Two men loving each other
Mike Ivey and Pam Kelley showing some serious ST. PATRICK’S DAY spirit!

Bill Kelly: Agriculture Icon

Bill Kelly is one of BC’s most legendary instructors, and his history with the campus dates all the way back to 1966, when he earned his associate’s degree in agriculture as a student. He has taught agriculture at BC since 1982, after 20 years of teaching at Fresno State University and South High School. He was the 2015 recipient of the Teacher of Excellence Award from the California Agriculture Teachers’ Association.

Bill Kelly smelling flowers
Bill Kelly takes a moment to stop and smell the flowers.

Last week, Tabatha Mills of KGET highlighted Bill Kelly’s contribution to Kern County agriculture in a piece that aired on the local news, highlighting how Kelly has launched agriculture careers for thousands of BC students. Kelly’s students have worked for the US Forest Service, California Department of State Parks, and the Bureau of Land Management, and include several people in management positions at Paramount Farms and a VP at Bolthouse Farms.

Bill Kelly
Bill Kelly as a young(er) man.

Kelly serves on the Board of Directors for the Tree Foundation, a non-profit organization that plants trees throughout Kern County. He also supervises interns for BC and the Panorama Vista Preserve, and is a member of the Society of American Foresters. In the Wasco FFA’s recommendation for the Teacher of Excellence Award, Advisor Denise Morales wrote that Kelly “is a living, breathing example of someone that wants the best for all his students.”

I feel honored to work with such a caring and distinguished person as Bill Kelly, and I know that his kindness has helped Kern County continue its proud tradition of feeding the world.

‘Those Outspoken’ Speaks Out to Students

On Thursday, March 7 several inmates from Taft Correctional Institution spoke to students in the Levan Center about daily life in a federal prison and how to avoid making bad choices that could take away their freedom.

The inmates were part of a group called “Those Outspoken,” formerly known as “Those Outspoken Against Drugs,” which reaches out to young people in Kern County to help them avoid making the kinds of decisions that could lead them to a jail sentence. Those Outspoken, which was founded by inmates at Taft Correctional Institution, is not a “Scared Straight” style outreach program; rather, the inmates speak honestly at the audience’s level about their lives and the lessons they’ve learned during their time in jail.

They answered questions from the audience about what they’d learned from reading “Incarceration Nations”, Baz Dresinger’s book about mass incarceration around the world and the community read for last year’s One Book, One Bakersfield program. The book focuses on the success of rehabilitation programs at prison systems in other countries and how similar programs in the United States could reduce recidivism rates.

While many of the inmates in Those Outspoken suffered from the kind of structural inequality that lead people into a life of gangs, drugs and crime due to a lack of other opportunities, several inmates ended up in federal prison as a result of financial and business choices that ended up hurting themselves and their families. The inmate who called himself “Darrell,” for instance, grew up in a life of privilege, started a multimillion-dollar stationery company before turning 18, and was president of his local chamber of commerce. He’s now serving an 8-year sentence for mail fraud and money laundering as a result of making shady business decisions in the wake of the 2008 economic crash.

“Taking shortcuts led me to prison,” “Darrell” said. “[My family are] the true victims, and they’re paying the most for my actions.”

“Hector” is serving a second 10-year sentence for distributing drugs, and he only was out of jail for a little more than a year after his first sentence before he started associating with gang members again and was caught attempting to distribute fentanyl. He described the shame he felt in missing his daughter grow up during the first sentence, and how he’ll miss the opportunity to see his daughter get married and have grandchildren during the second sentence.

“No matter how tough someone thinks they are, it hurts,” “Hector” said.

Thank you to Mark Olsen and the Levan Center for bringing Those Outspoken to BC.

Kern County Science Fair

Joe Saldivar
Joe Saldivar speaks at the Kern County Science Fair.

Joe Saldivar, Biology Department Chair, was the guest speaker for the Kern County Science Fair on Tuesday, March 12. Hundreds of 4th–12th grade students assembled to display the results of their science projects and compete for awards. Dr. Saldivar presented on Curi-“loss”-ity: the challenge of keeping critical thinking alive as we grow older. Here is the abstract of his talk:

We are living in the most incredible time in human history. Advancements in technology, engineering and scientific research occur on a daily basis. With these advancements, comes the bombardment of information: Feng Shui will balance your life, alien abductions occur all the time, Earth is flat, the Holocaust never happened, cancer is prevented with an alkaline diet, pills are better than exercise, evolution is incorrect, magnets in your shoes will heal pain, a bronze bracelet will equalize your energy levels and you can speak to the deceased through a medium. Unfortunately, many people believe these claims are based on science. Joe Saldivar’s presentation describes how humans are all born as scientists and why humans eventually lose our ability to think critically.

Joe Saldivar speaking to large audience
Joe Saldivar explains to a captive audience why humans eventually lose our ability to think critically.

The presentation received numerous accolades from parents, students, and professional colleagues.

Check out one of Joe Saldivar’s Renegade Talks:

Family Math & Science Night

Some of BC’s EDUC B24 students were stars at a nearby elementary school’s Family Math & Science Night. Eighteen teams of 2-3 BC student volunteers from Dr. Bernadette Towns and Teresa McAllister’s “Introduction to Classroom Teaching” classes came up with creative, engaging, and interactive learning activities for the elementary students and their families.

Three BC students and two children making art projects
Group of students
Students and child making art projects

As it turns out, Nick Strobel also participated in this event.

Nick Strobel holding box
Nick Strobel

By all appearances both the BC and elementary students had a wonderful time!

Local Renegade Puts the ‘Baker’ in Bakersfield College

KGET highlighted BC culinary arts student Maria Lopez and her business Baking Encanto, which is helping support her family and pay her way through college.

Lopez runs Baking Encanto out of her kitchen while attending school full time and taking care of her newborn baby who inspired her to pursue her dream of becoming a baker. It’s often very stressful, but Lopez knows that all of her effort will lead to success.

“With hard work, dedication and determination, anything is possible,” Lopez said. “There are days and night that I don’t sleep because I have to bake, but truly it’s worth it.”

Lopez is set to graduate from BC at the end of this semester and hopes to move her bakery into a new location. You can follow her bakery on her Instagram account, @baking_encanto.

See the whole story on KGET.com.

ProSoft Technology Presents on Industrial Automation

On March 13, 2019, the Bakersfield College Career Education Department welcomed engineers from ProSoft Technology. They provided a presentation that enlightened students from the industrial automation and engineering programs about the current and future trends of industrial automation.

Presenters delivered personal advice about their educational backgrounds and careers. ProSoft Technology is dedicated to supporting our students as some of the staff that presented were alumni from BC and could not be more thrilled that we have made history with our Industrial Automation Bachelor of Science program.

Thank you to Carlos Medina, Job Development Specialist and the INDA and Engineering department for coordinating a great event for our students.

BC’s College Council

We had a another great College Council meeting. Laser focused on student learning and student achievement. Here are Manny Mourtzanos, Jonathan Ward, and Crieghton Magers presenting the Business Pathways Outcomes.

Manny Mourtzanos, Jonathan Ward, Creighton Magers

Here are Craig Hayward and Jessica Wojtysiak presenting the Vision for Student Success goals to College Council.

Two people presenting data in classroom

Gadfly Cafe Talks Love

On Wednesday, students participated in a friendly debate about love as part of the Gadfly Cafe series.  The official topic name was ‘Love: It’s Meaning, Purpose and Value.’

It’s always good to see our Renegade youth being able to discuss love in such an open and inviting manner.  Thanks to Levan Center Director Reggie Williams for putting on these monthly events!

Fun Photos: Trees at BC

Andrew Willcut was very helpful with our KHSD students earlier this week. He gave them a safety lesson using hedge trimmers and explained how the BC maintenance crew keeps all the hedges the same general length.

Students trimming hedges

Then, he demonstrated how they plant trees along the parking lot and let some of the students plant a few trees.

Three males planting a tree

Thank you to Andy and the BC team for coordinating this program and working with the KHSD students. Always great to branch out into the community!

Former Renegade Football Coach Inducted into CCCFCA Hall of Fame

Sonya Christian, Duane Damron, unidentified male
I was honored to be there to support Coach Damron on his special day!

Former long-time Renegade Football Assistant Coach Duane Damron was inducted into the California Community College Football Coaches Association (CCCFCA) Hall of Fame this last Saturday. Sandi Taylor, Frank Gornick (former BC administrator), Carl Bowser (former BC Football Coach), Dr. William Baker (BC Athletic Team Doctor), and I along with many others, including Duane’s family, were there to honor his career and his commitment to BC.

Duane Damron speaking
Duane Damron gave a rousing speech.

Duane was born and raised in McFarland and had several opportunities to move up and out in the coaching world, but always chose to stay in beautiful Bakersfield.

Congratulations Duane and thanks for your dedication to BC!

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (3/10-3/16) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week.

Renegades of the Week

Gabby Lugo, Women’s Track and Field

Lugo achieved the A standard for both the 800m (2:18.86) and the 1500m (4:51.02) at the Oxy Distance Carnival on Saturday (3/9).

Ryan Dickerson, Baseball

In his first game back from having his hamate (wrist) bone removed three weeks ago, Dickerson had a walk-off RBI double to claim the 7-6 victory over LA Valley on Saturday (3/9).

Mayor Goh at BC Baseball & Softball

Mayor Goh and BC Softball team
Mayor Goh with softball

Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh came out to support BC Baseball and Softball this past Saturday. She was able to spend time with each team before the start of their games and encourage them to keep representing the college with pride. We are fortunate to live in an area with such strong support for our college.

Mayor Goh and BC Baseball team
Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh sits in the dugout with a few members of the BC Baseball team.

Ten Renegades Named to 2019 CCCBCA Academic All-State Team

2019 CCCBCA Academic All State team

A big congratulations goes out to our ten Renegade baseball players who made this year’s California Community College Baseball Coaches Association (CCCBCA) Academic All-State Team. To be considered for the award student athlete needed to have participated as a member of a community college baseball program, completed a sophomore level of academic credits with a minimum of a 3.5 overall GPA. The ten include:

  • Desi Garcia (Shafter HS, Shafter, CA)
  • Hudson Hartley (Garces HS, Bakersfield, CA)
  • Kyle Willman (Ridgeview HS. Bakersfield, CA)
  • Kamrom Willman (Ridgeview HS. Bakersfield, CA)
  • Colby Freeman (Centennial HS, Bakersfield, CA)
  • Luke Lewis (Centennial HS, Bakersfield, CA)
  • Luis Omphoy (Kaiser HS, Honolulu HI)
  • Sage Voda (Desert Christian HS, Bakersfield, CA)
  • Konner Dodge (Frontier HS. Bakersfield, CA)
  • Trey Harmon (Foothill HS, Bakersfield CA)

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/tap for the story on GoGades.com):




That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Women Who Create Ripples in Our Community

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, March 9, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

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

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

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

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

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

Women in Leadership Panel

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

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

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

Attendees at Womens Panel

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

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

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

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

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

Standing ovation from the audience

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

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

Early College Parent & Student Workshop in Arvin

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

Jesse Oropeza speaks to the parents in the room

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

Early College Flier

Celebrating our first Early College Graduates

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

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

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

Sonya Christian, August 11, 2018

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

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

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

KCCD Trustee Jack Connell Visits BC

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

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

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

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

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

Industrial Automation hosts local HS students

Students learn about the Industrial Automation program

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

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

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

Industrial Automation staff with R2D2
Industrial Automation staff with R2D2

Art on the Fly

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

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

Passionate Professor: Bill Kelly

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

Uncommon Women

Graphic by Tish Gamez

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

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

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

Project Conexiones Estudantiles de BC

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

BC LUPE Group Photo

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

BHS Parents Presentations
BHS Parents Presentations

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

Beyond #BringBackOurGirls: Women and Conflict in North East Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spotlight on Student Employment

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

Meathead Movers and Student Employment
Meathead Movers and Student Employment

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

Kern County Career Expo

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

The 2019 Kern County Career Expo

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

Connecting the Dots: Data-Informed Integrated Planning

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

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

Counseling Department Award

Renegade Student

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

CASE District VII Conference

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

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

Go Red Luncheon

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

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

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

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

Seen on Facebook: BC at Shafter City Council

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

Bill Moseley FB post

Career Ladders Project Partnership

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

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

Photos of Campus at Dawn

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

Collage by Earl Parsons
Photos by Earl Parsons

Ordiz-Melby Architects

Jeannie Bertolaccini and Danny Ordiz

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

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

Renegade Report

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

Renegades of the Week

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

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

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

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

Seven Renegades Named to the 2018 SCFA Scholar Athlete Team

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

Fun Photo of Coach Dahl and Trustee Agbalog

Coach Paula Dahl and Trustee Agbalog at the McFarland Basketball game

Renegade Athletics Roundup




That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Let’s celebrate women

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

Women in Leadership

Five women sitting and talking

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

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

One on One with Robert Price

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

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

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

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

Behind the Scenes

One on One Behind the Scenes Video

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

2019 Diversity Champion Award

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

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

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

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

Celebrating Black History Month

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

BC students and staff with Dr. James Chaffers

Gades Grub Grand Opening

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

BC at Startup Grind Global Conference

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

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

Culture of Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Girl who Smiled Beads: Clementine Wamariya

Clementine Wamariya
Clementine Wamariya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Faculty Diversification Meeting

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

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

BC's Faculty Diversification Meeting
BC’s Faculty Diversification Meeting
Corny Rodriguez at the Faculty Diversification Meeting

See more photos in the ASCCC Faculty Diversity Regional @BC Gallery.

Question, Persuade, Refer

Eric Lord, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist and adjunct instructor at CSUB, taught a program known as “Question, Persuade, Refer,” or QPR, which demonstrates how to recognize when someone may be suicidal, persuade them to seek help, and refer them to the proper authority that can save their life. Lord was invited to give the QPR presentation by the mental health interns at the Office of Student Life, who work closely with the Student Health and Wellness Center to assist students dealing with serious mental health issues.

Lord speaking to the crowd from the lectern.
Lord speaking to the crowd from the lectern.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death on college campuses, and 31 percent of college students have considered committing suicide, Lord said. These are preventable deaths, and all it takes is the courage and empathy to ask the right questions when students are suffering, help them realize that there are people who love them and want them to succeed, and help them find the resources they need to get their lives back, whether it’s a mental health professional, or in more extreme cases of suicidal ideation, law enforcement.

Lord compared being suicidal to being locked in a house that is on fire, and suicide appears to be the only doorway to escape. “When somebody wants to die and not be around anymore, there’s a lot that leads them to that moment,” Lord said. “If we can use the power of our words and our relationship to folks, we can open up another door.” Suicidal ideation is related to a number of systemic issues, such as the loss of a job, the ending of a relationship or the death of a loved one, and some ways to recognize that someone may want to commit suicide include recently acquiring a gun, putting personal affairs in order, chronic drug and alcohol abuse, or saying things like “I just can’t go on” or “I won’t be around much longer”.

QPR Suicide Prevention Presented by Eric Lord, LCSW on a slide behind Lord.
QPR Suicide Prevention Presented by Eric Lord, LCSW on a slide behind Lord.

It’s important that when you recognize some of these symptoms, you talk to the person in a blunt and direct, yet caring way. Don’t be afraid to use words like “death”, “kill”, and “suicide.” In the moment that you ask the question, make eye contact with them and say, “Have you thought about killing yourself?” or “Are you going to commit suicide?” Never phrase the question as, “You’re not going to commit suicide, are you?” because it makes the other person feel like you don’t actually care and they shouldn’t be honest with you.

When you find out that the person in question may want to end their life, persuade them that it’s not the answer and show them that you and others care and want them to live. Get other people in the individual’s life involved, such as family, friends, doctors, or clergy members. Then, refer them to a group such as BC’s Students of Concern Team or a mental health professional and follow up with them via a personal visit or phone call to establish a connection and ensure that they won’t be punished for seeking help. If you think that they won’t receive help and they’re going to follow through, contact Public Safety or law enforcement. You can find more information about suicide prevention from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and share their number 1-800-273-8255.

Thank you to the Office of Student Life’s mental health team for inviting Eric Lord to campus for this important professional development opportunity. Thank you Dr. Nicky Damania.

BCSGA Power Lunch with Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg
Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

When Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg enrolled in college as a sociology major, she had no idea that she would embark upon a journey that would lead to being elected on the Board of Trustees for the Kern Community College District. But at every stop along the way of her 35-year career in education – whether it was as an art professor, a preschool teacher, or one of BC’s longest-serving administrators – Nan’s faith in her ability to prioritize and solve problems propelled her to success in every new endeavor to which she applied herself.

Nan spoke to BC students and staff in the Levan Center about her journey in education and her plans for the Board of Trustees during Monday’s Power Lunch organized by the Legislative Affairs Department of BCSGA. All three Vice Presidents and I were in attendance to hear from a woman that inspired all of us so immensely and continues to inspire us today.

While she has accomplished many things during her career, Nan says that her students have kept her humble and put things into perspective. The first accomplishment Nan has been able to celebrate during her short stint on the Board of Trustees was the approval of BC’s new Southwest Center to be constructed on the CSUB campus. “The part that made it so sweet was that I knew how much work that was done to make it happen,” Nan said.

Liz Rozell speaking with Nan at the front table.
Liz Rozell speaking with Nan at the front table.

While she has attended many Board of Trustee meetings as a BC administrator, it is surreal for her to be sitting at the other side of table and balancing the concerns of students, constituents and instructors, as well as her fellow board members, she said. However, she feels up to the task of continuing to be aware of everything happening in Kern County education in order to position the District to best serve Area 1 of the KCCD. “It’s not the paperwork that makes you get up every day,” Nan said. “It’s knowing that you’re going to do something that helps someone out.” She said, “That feels like a big deal to me most days.”

I’d like to thank Mustapha Barraj and BCSGA for organizing Monday’s Power Lunch. I know we’ll be hearing a lot more from Nan in the future.

Sonya and Nan.
Sonya and Nan.
Sonya videoing Nan with her phone.
Thank you Earl Parsons for this photo
Nan speaking
Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

Congratulations to Laura Luiz

The American Library Association (ALA) is recognizing BC reference librarian Laura Luiz for her outstanding contributions to student learning and community engagement with the BC Get Out The Vote program.

In a press release on Wednesday, ALA, in conjunction with the Association of College and Research Libraries, announced Luiz as the winner of the 2019 Community and Junior College Libraries Section EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Program Award, which includes a $750 award and a plaque that will be presented to Luiz at the ALA’s annual conference in Washington, DC.

Get Out the BC Vote was a campaign that helped BC students on the Panorama and Delano campus get registered to vote in the 2018 midterm elections. There were also workshops and online resources breaking down every candidate and initiative on the midterm ballot and helping students to properly discern fake news and disinformation.

ALA award chair Laura Mondt of Northern Essex Community College had effusive praise for Luiz and the Get Out the BC Vote campaign. “Laura Luiz’s efforts with Get Out The BC Vote allowed the library to connect with the Student Government Association to help students become informed voters and promote news literacy,” Mondt said.

Luiz and the library have plans to expand the Get Out the BC Vote program for the 2020 midterm and presidential elections.

Lincoln Dinner

I was fortunate to attend the Kern County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner on February 22, 2019, as the guest of Senator Jean Fuller. The featured keynote speaker was newly elected Congressman Dan Crenshaw who has an incredible story as a former Navy SEAL who lost his eye in an IED blast.

Last November, Dan also appeared on Saturday Night Live and bits of this skit were referenced last Friday evening. This is a “Must watch.”

It was great to see CSUB President, Lynnette Zelezny at the event, as well as KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog and his wife, Lilly. I unfortunately did not snap a picture of many of the community leaders who support education who were there — JP Lake, David Bynum, …..

STEM Truck

On Tuesday, February 19, 2019, representatives from the US Army visited the BC campus to show off various military robotics technologies to students in the Renegade Food Court area.

Both KGET and KERO featured the US Army STEM Truck in its afternoon broadcasts, and soldiers demonstrated all of the innovative technology the Army uses to save lives every day.

A simulation of the Search and Rescue Automation Hardware (SARAH) system is displayed inside the US Army STEM Truck.
A simulation of the Search and Rescue Automation Hardware (SARAH) system is displayed inside the US Army STEM Truck.
A cameraman from KERO gets ready to interview a US Army soldier on the air in front of the STEM truck parked in the Renegade Food Court area.
A cameraman from KERO gets ready to interview a US Army soldier on the air in front of the STEM truck parked in the Renegade Food Court area.

Inside the truck, students could participate in a simulation of the Army’s Search and Rescue Automation Hardware, also known as SARAH, which uses aerial and ground drones to locate missing persons. Students also had the opportunity to check a drone created by the iRobot company for remotely disarming explosives. Above the iRobot drone, there were videos demonstrating various robotic prototypes developed in conjunction with Boston Dynamics, including the infamous “Big Dog” robot and another robot that can jump up stairs and run 28.3 miles per hour, which is slightly faster than Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man.

An iRobot drone used to remotely disarm explosives is displayed inside the US Army STEM truck.
An iRobot drone used to remotely disarm explosives is displayed inside the US Army STEM truck.

Thank you to the Army for inspiring our students to pursue careers in STEM, as well as everyone who worked to make their visit possible.

Wendale Davis Foundation 11th Annual Leadership Conference

The Wendale Davis Foundation is an intervention, prevention, mentoring foundation with a mission to educate, motivate, and rehabilitate at-risk youth. On Friday, February 22, 2019, a series of workshops were held at BC with topics such as HIV/AIDS Awareness, Gang Intervention, Life/Coping Skills, and more. It’s a great day any time BC invites young people to campus to learn and embrace a healthy and successful future.

Steve Watkins claps to get the audience's attention
Steve Watkins claps to get the audience’s attention
A full auditorium listening to Wendale.
A full auditorium listening to Wendale.

Juvenile Justice Employers

The Criminal Justice, Public Health and the Career Education Department collaborated to host the first Juvenile Justice Employer Panel on February 27, 2019. The primary focus of this event was to inform students in the Public Safety Pathway, Public Health Science, Psychology and/or Sociology majors about the different career paths they can follow after completing their education. Each panelist discussed their role working on prevention and intervention with troubled youth and tools they use to reduce criminal behavior. With over 100 students and special guest, Ricardo De Hoyo a District Representative of Senator Melissa Hurtado, in attendance, employers answered questions related to educational background, past and current work experience and employer expectations.

A full audience for the panel with Juvenile Justice slide behind them.
From Left to Right: Pat Smith, Criminal Justice Professor, Dr. Dixie King from Transforming Local Communities, Liz Gonzalez from Bakersfield City School District, Sgt. Nicole Anderberg from BPD, Officer Joshua Deutinger from BPD, Deputy Bobby Sherrill from Kern County Probation Department, Leticia Limon from Kern County Superintendent of Schools and Nichol Ruiz from Kern County Behavioral Health & Recovery.

Dean and Adah Gay Reading Room Refurbishment

If you haven’t been in the Grace Van Dyke Bird Library recently, check out the refurbished Dean and Adah Gay Reading Room.  The Gay family created an endowment back in 2007 to help maintain the room but until recently the goals of this endowment were not fully realized. New chairs, lamps and plants have been added, plus additional electrical outlets to assist students in recharging their electronic devices.

BC staff with the Gay's in the Reading Room.
BC staff with the Gay’s in the Reading Room.

David and Catherine Gay, Andreas, Emily (Gay) and Eva Dauner joined Kirk and Stacey Russell (Library), and Heather Pennella, Tom Gelder and Dana Heins-Gelder (Foundation) to rededicate the space last Saturday evening, February 23, 2019.  The new furniture arrived last Friday just before noon and the students began enjoying it immediately.

Kirk and Stacy Russell in the Reading Room.

From Earth to the Universe Planetarium Show

Last week Dr. Nick Strobel held one of his amazing planetarium presentations called From Earth to the Universe.  Community Relations Manager Tamara Baker brought her parents to the event, excited to show off the beautiful William M Thomas Planetarium, which boasts the largest dome in all of the Central Valley!  Tamara said that Dr. Strobel delved into the evening stars, and showed attendees how to identify different constellations and how to find true north. Tamara said that she and her family cannot wait to go star gazing up at their cabin.  Thanks Dr. Strobel for always putting on such great and informational presentations for our local community!

Degree With a Guarantee

Near the end of last year, I participated in an interview with Gary Stern for an article focused on Degrees with a Guarantee at California Community Colleges. Check it out the Hispanic Outlook Article: Degree Guarantee.

Public Health Program in Case Study

Sarah Baron and BC’s Public Health Sciences program were featured in a case study published by the Community College Journal of Research and Practices. The report published on February 19, titled “Practical Lessons in Public Health Program Implementation: Perspectives from the Field,” was co-written by Baron and discusses the way BC’s program offers a health navigator certificate and a general transfer degree developed with support from the Society for Public Health Education. Our Public Health Sciences program is creating the next generation of advocates for healthy communities, and I’m confident that their work will make the San Joaquin Valley a happier, healthier places for thousands of people.

Lisa Caputo is talking to students about internships in public health ambassadors and STI Peer Health Educator.  Thanks to the support of The California Endowment and Kaiser Permanente for making the startup of these programs possible. 
21 interns and Sara Baron

What has everyone a-twitter?

Trustee Romeo Agbalog appeared on the radio show Money Wise.

Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government thanking everyone.
Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government thanking everyone.
Aaron Resendez thanking everyone.
Aaron Resendez thanking everyone.

Speech Intramural Competition in Delano

Last Saturday, the BC Delano Campus hosted a speech intramural competition featuring Panorama and Delano students, as well as Arvin High and homeschooled Early College students.

Sarah Baron, Cris Cruz-Boone, Abel Guzman, and Lesley Bonds

There were close to 80 people in attendance for the speech intramural, which featured BC communication faculty and student judges evaluating students in a number of different speech competitions, including informative speech, persuasion, special topics, and impromptu speaking. Christine Cruz-Boone, a communication professor at BC and one of the judges for the event, said that Arvin High freshmen swept all top three places in the informative speech category, and homeschool student Samantha Craig earned second overall in impromptu speaking. Delano Campus student Itzel Hernandez won first place in the persuasion competition, and Panorama students Gloria Sanchez, Mandy Canada, and Lindsey Brackett also placed in various categories. The diverse group of BC participants got the opportunity to test out communication skills that they learned from BC instructors in a practical environment.

Abel Guzman, who attended the final round and awards ceremony of the competition, was impressed by the students who participated and compiled a series of emails about the intramural for entry in this week’s blog. As our Early College program continues to grow, I’m excited to see the ways that our Early College kids interact with the more traditional student population.

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11a, check out the segments from this week’s show. This week’s highlights included segments with BC Men’s Tennis Head Coach, Noel Dalton and BC student athletes Conrad Dalton, Luis Aceves and Moses Jimenez. 

Renegades of the Week

This week’s (2/17-2/23) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

Kylee Fahy and Tanner Lopes.
Kylee Fahy and Tanner Lopes.

Kylee Fahy, Softball – Pitched 26 innings (1 no-hitter) with a .269 era, 41 strikeouts, six hits, one run, one earned run in helping softball go 4-0 for the week.

Tanner Lopes, Men’s Swimming – The only Renegade individual event winner at the Mt. SAC Invite last weekend, taking the 50 breaststroke and also getting two other top-ten finishes. He was part of two top six relays and was the highest scoring male swimmer from BC helping the men finish 6th overall.

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

BC Wester State Conference All Conference, sketch photo effect.
BC Wester State Conference All Conference, sketch photo effect.
BC Wester State Conference All Conference, sketch photo effect.

Huge congratulations to our men’s and women’s basketball student athletes who received recognition from the Western State Conference. Renegade Men’s Basketball student athletes Anieus Medrano and Shahadah Camp were been named to the 2018-2019 Western State Conference All-Conference team. Marcus Jones was also recognized as the Co-Defensive MOP for the conference. Renegade Women’s Basketball student athletes Jasmyn Rodriguez, Dasia Wandick and Brianna Mendez were named to the 2018-2019 Western State Conference (WSC) All-Conference team. Congrats! And way to represent BC!

BC Western State Conference All Conference of the 3 women in action poses, sketch photo effect.

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):


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

The Dawn of a New Era in Education

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, February 23, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

This is the second time in six years that I missed a blog post…. last Saturday’s (2/16).

I am dedicating this blog to all moms….the wind beneath our wings.

Pam Christian watching the sunset in San Diego

Early College Launches in McFarland

Bakersfield College and McFarland High School are making education history with the Early College program, and we decided to celebrate the first chapter of that history with a launch event in the McFarland High gym last week on Wednesday night

Early College line

I was unfortunately unable to attend the Early College launch event due to a family emergency, but the Early College teams at BC, and McFarland High ensured that it was a beautiful, informative launch for students and parents alike.

McFarland cougar

Corny Rodriguez introduced the Early College video that aired in English and Spanish, providing a preliminary explanation of how 280 incoming freshmen at McFarland High will be able to get a head start on accomplishing their dreams by being enrolled in college classes on a Guided Pathways to college degree or certificate completion.

Community Relations Director Norma Rojas-Mora served as Master of Ceremonies for the event, spreading the excitement that our team has felt putting together this program over to our students. She also introduced some of the dignitaries present on the dais on Wednesday night, which included 4th District Supervisor David Couch, trustees from the McFarland Unified School District and McFarland Recreation and Park District, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, as well as representatives from the offices of Kevin McCarthy, TJ Cox, Vince Fong, Shannon Grove and Rudy Salas, among others.

Let’s listen now to Aaron Resendez, the amazing superintendent of McFarland School District….a courageous innovator who will do what it takes to advance his students in McFarland.

Brian Bell, Principal of McFarland High, was not able to attend the event. I want to recognize his work in partnership with BC. Just wonderful.

Dr. Mary Barlow, Superintendent of Kern County schools, congratulated BC and McFarland High for launching the Early College initiative before introducing the McFarland Middle School Cadet Corps to present the colors and lead the packed auditorium in the National Anthem.

McFarland children holding flags

Retired State Senator Jean Fuller, who is leading the Early College initiative for BC, emphasized how unique this partnership between BC and McFarland High actually is. After searching across the nation, Fuller discovered that this program is the first of its kind in the history of United States education, and McFarland High will be the laboratory where the Early College model will be tested before hopefully being rolled out for all of our nation’s children.

“This program is one of the first of its kind in the nation, and it’s a miracle,” Fuller said. “This program will make the difference for your child if you reach out and take it.”

Early College crowd
Jean Fuller

Fuller shared the story of how an education at BC changed her life and propelled her to a career of public service, and how Early College will create opportunities for low-income and marginalized students to do the same.

“I wanted to be somebody, but I didn’t know what a somebody was,” Fuller said. “[Your children] can be whatever they want to be, and what we need them to be.”

Early College welcome table

McFarland Unified School District President Jim Beltran offered some perspective on how Early College will increase high school and graduation rates while closing education and employment gaps in California.

“This program will set the precedent for California and other states to change,” Beltran said.

McFarland Unified School District Clerk David Diaz said that the Early College program “embodies [McFarland’s] values as a community” and will make a higher education “more accessible than ever.”

Early College welcome table

Kern Community College District Trustee Romeo Agbalog gave an inspiring presentation about how Early College will prevent students from struggling with their higher education like he did as a young man, and affirmed his commitment to ensuring that every person in Kern County receives the support they need to receive a quality education. I received several text messages telling me that there was not a dry eye in the audience during Trustee Agbalog’s heartfelt comments.

“This program began with a conversation that started with three simple words–‘What If We?’” Agbalog said. “Now it’s not just an idea. It’s happening, and it’s happening here first.”

Early College entrance

Agbalog also connected McFarland High’s proud tradition of cross-country success, captured in the film “McFarland, U.S.A.,” with the community’s commitment to its students.

“This is a community that knows how to get things done,” Agbalog said. “Who better than the 9-time state champions to lead the race to early college in California?”

Liz Rozell spoke on my behalf to share how much hard work has been done with joy to make Early College a reality before leading the gym in chants of “We Are BC” and “We Are Cougar Renegades.”

KCCD Associate Chancellor John Means talked about how classes offered through the Early College program will be equal in rigor to courses at the BC main campus while offering students the support they need to receive acceleration completion to a two-year degree or certificate.

Mike Turnipseed, Romeo Agbalog, Patty Poire
Early College child
Steve Watkin and Kylie Swanson

At the conclusion of the presentations by the Early College leadership, Steve Watkin and Kylie Swanson raffled off 3 iPads and BC sweatshirts to people in the audience while dignitaries were taking group photos. Then, BC’s Director of Rural Initiatives Abel Guzman and McFarland High School Vice Principal Justin Derrick offered more concrete details about the Early College program.

Abel Guzman
Justin Derrick and Abel Guzman
Early College raffle winners
These lucky winners went home with iPads and BC sweatshirts, including one sweet little girl who just walked up and grabbed a bag!

Guzman and Derrick explained how every single incoming 9th grader to McFarland High will be enrolled as BC Renegades and McFarland High Cougars at the same time.

Early College child in helmet

There will be 9 pathways to choose from, offering credits toward degrees and certificates at BC. Incoming freshman will take a student development course in their first semester to learn more about all of the pathways and develop a 10-year plan to accomplish their career goals. Aside from the introductory 12-unit pathway programs, there will also be 30 credits of general education courses available, as well as another 30 credits that will go toward an Associate’s Degree. Students will have to take courses after school and during summer school to complete 60 units of college credit, but they’ll have a two-year head start on their dreams and be able to apply to four-year universities as juniors.

Early College welcome table

While Early College was designed with incoming 9th-graders in mind, we’re not leaving behind any students who are currently enrolled at McFarland High, and those students will have access to some of the Early College opportunities, as well, which included courses in welding, photography, AutoCAD, as well as retail and manufacturing via designing and selling McFarland High Cougar merchandise. After the presentation, there were breakout sessions throughout the McFarland High campus where parents and students could learn more about each of the programs offered.

Early College team

The Early College program has been an immense undertaking that has been over a year in the making, and I’d personally like to thank each and every person who made it a reality.

Thanks to 23ABC for covering this incredible opportunity which starts Cougar Renegades on an early path to a college degree! Check out their coverage!

Early College: Behind the Scenes

Thanks to Manny De Los Santos for producing this great video that shows some of what happened during the Early College launch event!

catherine rangel chris glaser
Catherine Rangel and Chris Glaser working hard before the Early College launch.
Early College team
Volunteers pose for a photo before an eventful evening!
Tarina Perry, McFarland Cougar, Chris Glaser, and Catherine Rangel

Member of Congress, TJ Cox visits BC

Professor Allen Bolar and Congressman TJ Cox

On our rainy Thursday afternoon, Congressman TJ Cox visited Bakersfield College during his first trip home to Kern County from Washington, DC in 2019. His special visit was to speak to students from Professor Bolar’s Political Science courses and share not only his background and experiences, but encourage and invite them to seek careers in public service.

The Forum East was filled with students to see Congressmember Cox
Congressman Cox

He shared tidbits of information with over 200 students, such as being able to tell the members of Congress by the pin they wear and he even shared that he, too, has to go through airport security – just like us!

Congressman Cox shared with students that many jobs and internships are available for them and they should dream big, explore their options, consider visiting Washington, DC to see it for themselves. Thank you to Professor Bolar for inviting Congressman TJ Cox to the Home of the Renegades and offering such an amazing learning experience for BC students.  We are BC!

Making their way to Forum East on BC’s campus
Congressman TJ Cox shakes hands with BC Dean of Instruction, Corny Rodriguez
Upon arrival, Congressman Cox was greeted by Prof. Allen Bolar, Vice President Liz Rozell and Dean of Instruction, Corny Rodriguez.

Chevron’s Black History Month Panel

Dr. Paula Parks at Chevron Black History Month Panel

Dr. Paula L. Parks, Umoja Coordinator and English professor, participated in a community Black History Month panel discussion. The Chevron Black Employees Association held a luncheon program that included a panel discussion on the value of Black Greek-lettered sororities and fraternities and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Dr. Parks shared the experience with four of her students in the Umoja Community African American Success Through Excellence and Persistence program.

Also on the panel were LaMeka Ross, Mark Parham, and Keith Wolaridge, who shared what they gained from their experiences in a supportive African-American environment. Parks, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc; Parham, a member of Kappa Alpha Phi Fraternity, Inc.; Wolaridge, a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Fraternity, Inc.; and Ross, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. talked about the advantages of Greek life in college and in graduate chapters. They said they learned leadership skills, civic responsibility to their communities, and sisterhood/brotherhood while being held to high academic standards.

Wolaridge added that he made valuable connections through his fraternity. He said that many of the Fresno State College leaders were in his fraternity. Both Parks and Parham shared that they continued a family legacy of membership in their sorority or fraternity. Keon Warren, an Umoja student, commented on what he gained:


“I learned that the African-American sororities and fraternities were founded to serve their surrounding community and the greater good.”

Keon Warren, BC Umoja student
Panelists at Chevron Black History Month event

All the Black sororities and fraternities have minimum grades point averages to pledge and to stay active; scholarship is a big focus in addition to community service. Black Greek life helped the panelists to remain connected to their Black community at Predominately White Institutions (PWI). Parks mentioned that she was the only Black English major at UC Irvine and that membership in her sorority reduced the feeling of isolation that she had on campus and in her classes.

Ross, the only one on the panel to attend an HBCU, talked about how much she thrived at Grambling University with the love and support of faculty, staff, and students who looked like her. Members of Black Greek-lettered fraternities and sororities, including the panelists, are known as the accomplished leaders in their professions and communities.

Warren, Umoja student, summed up his thoughts: “It was inspiring to meet really successful men and women who look like me.”

Dr. Paula Parks at Umoja Students

Distinguished Speaker and Cerro Author Temple Grandin, Ph.D. Visits BC

Temple Grandin speaking

We were honored to host author, speaker, engineer and professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, Dr. Temple Grandin, at Bakersfield College last week. Dr. Grandin spoke at four events on Tuesday, February 12, 2019. Two engagements were about living with autism, one on livestock animal behavior, and one on identifying the core emotional needs of animals

Her first lecture on “Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism” packed the Levan Center. Her second lecture, moved to the Indoor Theater to allow a larger audience, gave tips for students with autism and parents raising children on the spectrum to be successful in neurotypical society

Temple Grandin group

She recommends that individuals on the spectrum identify their preferred method of learning, whether it is visual, auditory or language-based, and build on their strengths while continuing to develop their areas of weakness. A person who is a visual learner, for instance, may be better suited to communicating their ideas via charts and diagrams, while an auditory learner is better at explaining themselves via public speaking. Grandin also recommends that children on the spectrum learn a trade or skill at a young age so that they’re better prepared for the workforce when they come into adulthood.

Temple Grandin at podium

Dr. Grandin’s story is an interesting one and is the basis of some of her books and the subject of an award-winning HBO movie. She was determined to be autistic as a child and did not speak until she was three. With early speech therapy and teachers teaching her to “wait and take turns when playing board games” she was able to join the normal kindergarten class at age five, according to her website. In high school she was teased and became the target for bullies. Thanks to her high school science teacher’s mentoring and her aunt on her Arizona ranch, Dr. Grandin was motivated to study hard and pursue a career as a scientist.

Temple Grandin crowd

BC’s Cerro Author biography explains that Dr. Grandin’s work in animal science includes developing animal welfare guidelines and designing livestock equipment. They proclaim, “half the cattle in the US and Canada are handled in equipment Grandin has designed for meat plants.” Our Distinguished Speaker Series biography shares that she is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America and that she lectures parents and teachers throughout the nation on autism. She has over 400 articles published, was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Thank you, Dr. Nicky Damania, Director of Student Life, Dr. James Selgrath, Professor of Agricultural Business, and Kirk Russell, Library Department Chair, for working together to bring such a prestigious speaker and author to campus. Thank you, Mary Jo Pasek and the events staff, for coordinating the event and being flexible in changing the venue to accommodate the large crowds that Dr. Grandin attracted. This is another example of why our college excels at bringing cultural awareness and furthering the learning of our students and community. We are BC!

BC Jazz Performs with Wayne Horvitz and Sara Schoenbeck

The Bakersfield College Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combos recently performed with visiting artists Wayne Horvitz and Sara Schoenbeck in the Indoor Theater. Horvitz is an acclaimed composer and pianist known for his work with John Zorn’s Naked City, Bill Frisell, and the New York Composers Orchestra. Schoenbeck is a pioneer of contemporary music for the bassoon, and has worked with Anthony Braxton, Phillip Glass, Nels Cline, and the Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra. Horvitz worked with our student jazz musicians to perform a set of his original compositions, followed by a duo set by Horvitz and Schoenbeck

Wayne Horvitz and Sara Schoenbeck
Wayne Horvitz and Sara Schoenbeck perform in the Indoor Theater.


Wayne Horvitz, Sara Schoenbeck, and Kris Tiner
Wayne Horvitz, Sara Schoenbeck, and Kris Tiner make some musical magic!

Sara now calls Brooklyn home and performs regularly with many creative and inspiring musicians in the New York scene and beyond. She has performed at major venues and festivals throughout North America and Europe. To learn more, visit Sara’s website.

BC Takes Part in ‘State of the Downtown’ Breakfast

Room of tables

Bakersfield College was honored to be part of the Downtown Business Association’s (DBA) State of the Downtown Breakfast.  It was a great way to kick off Valentine’s Day! Here at BC, we recognize the impact the DBA has made in championing our city.  It was a great to reminisce about the successes of the last year, hear about the plans for the coming year and to see so many friends coming together to continue to support the growth and revitalization of Downtown Bakersfield.

Group at table
Left to right: Keith Wolaridge, Endee Grijalva, Ashley Harp, Tom Gelder, Nicky Damania, Mustaffa Barraj, Norma Rojas-Mora, Christina Springstead

It was especially touching to hear the tribute to Dave Urner and his lifelong commitment to our community.  The impact he has made has not gone unnoticed. Melanie Farmer, the DBA/DBDC President/CEO, presented a video that highlights downtown Bakersfield’s past and its current resurgence. Bakersfield College was joined by community guests Keith Wolaridge and Christina Springstead, students Ashley Harp, BCSGA President, and Mustafa Barraj, BCSGA Director of Legislative Affairs as well as Dr. Nicky Damania, BC Foundation Executive Director Tom Gelder, Program Manager for Adult Education, Endee Grijalva, and Director of Community Relations, Norma Rojas-Mora.

Bakersfield College is always pleased to support our partners and looks forward to continuing to play a part in promoting our downtown!

Theater Students Pour Their Hearts into Valentine’s Day Show

Kimberly Chin’s theater classes delivered a special Valentines-themed performance in the Renegade Food Court the day before Valentines Day, filled with interpretative improvisation and monologues about love.

The event started with a free association exercise where students wandered around each other in a circle and said whatever words came to mind regarding certain words that were picked. The next exercise involved pulling strips of paper out of a box at random with the names of famous love songs on them. The students then created a “machine” via interpretive movement of how that song makes them feel.

The last exercise involved students sharing famous quotations about love. The students would wander in a circle again and suspend their movements whenever one of their classmates was selected to share their quote.

At the conclusion of the improv exercises, students shared their individual pieces, which ranged from spoken word interpretations of songs about love to performances of monologues by famous playwrights such as Neil Simon.

BC Staff Attend Garden Pathways Heart of the Country

Billie Jo Rice, Maria Wright, Kylie Swanson, and Lesley Bonds attended the Garden Pathways Heart of the Country event at the Buck Owens Crystal Palace. They enjoyed music from award-winning Nashville recording artist Jimmy Wayne, Stan Ellis and Stampede Band, and Amy Adams and the Rising Stars.  

Billie Jo Rice, Maria Wright, Kylie Swanson, and Lesley Bonds
Billie Jo Rice, Maria Wright, Kylie Swanson, and Lesley Bonds enjoying some lovely music.

They shared with me the stories they heard of three Garden Pathways mentees whose lives were transformed through mentorship. We see the power of mentorship each day at Bakersfield College, which is why I’m so proud of programs like the African American Mentoring Program, Umoja ASTEP, BC athletics, the Veterans Center, and of course our Completion Coaching Communities.

Musicians on stage

We are excited to partner with Garden Pathways and Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services to host the Hope Through Mentoring Conference: The Unexpected Mentor on April 6, 2019.  Behavioral health professionals, teachers, case managers, law enforcement, students, and others who work in mentoring should mark your calendars and plan to join us here on the BC campus. See you there!

BC Brings College Opportunities to Wasco

The Rural Initiatives team has been busy! Through the Adult Education Program, Bakersfield College has been able to bring college closer to home for Wasco residents and surrounding rural areas. This opportunity was made possible in collaboration with the Wasco Union High School District by setting up a one-stop center for continuing and higher education. The North Kern Adult Education team welcomed more than 70 guests including Wasco residents, partners and KCCD Staff to celebrate the opening of the center at the ribbon cutting ceremony on February 8.

Thanks to KCCD Vice Chancellor John Means and KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog for joining the BC family at the opening of the center. Special thanks to Jaime Lopez and Abel Guzman for making this possible and continuously looking for ways to make education more accessible throughout rural Kern County.

Professor Lindsay Ono Wins CLCA Award

The California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) presented the 2018 Associate Member of the Year Award at the 40th Landscape Industry Show to Professor Lindsay Ono from Bakersfield College.

The award is presented to an associate member in recognition of leadership and service to the CLCA. Associate members are persons or companies selling or producing a product or service used in the green and outdoor service industries, such as equipment manufacturers, material suppliers and business service providers.

Lindsay Ono

Lindsay Ono is Professor of Environmental Horticulture at Bakersfield College. During the summer of 2007, he was recognized as a E. Kika de la Garza Fellow in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Hispanic-Serving Institutions National Program (HSINP). He was one of 17 individuals across the nation who were chosen for this prestigious honor.  He is a member of the California Agricultural Teachers Association and serves on the Environmental Horticulture Curriculum committee. He also works with the California Statewide Career Pathways Project – Discipline Work Group and Champions Career Pathways Consortium.

Ono has been active at the Kern County CLCA Chapter serving in many positions, including President. He also serves at the state level as the Director of Education and serves on the current CLCA Board of Directors.

If you live in the Bakersfield area, you may know him from his Saturday morning radio program, The Country Garden, where he is known as the “Plant Professor.”  Ono is one of the organizers of Garden Fest, an event in its 14th year that highlights the Bakersfield College Agriculture program and brings the community together combining educational gardening seminars and fundraisers for community garden clubs.

In his continued quest to expand educational access and provide pathways to education, he was a leader in the recent statewide work to create a stackable certificate program which aligned green industry community college classes and content across the state’s community colleges to assist students in their journey to learn and grow.

Congratulations to Lindsay Ono from Bakersfield College and the Kern County Chapter as the CLCA’s 2018 Associate Member of the Year!

BC: A Family Tradition Unlike Any Other

Bakersfield College’s legacy in the Central Valley spans across generations, and that legacy of transforming lives through education is evident in the story of three men named John Radman.

John Radman
John Radman’s family has a long and storied history at BC.
John Radman Grandfather
John Radman, Sr. (John’s grandfather)

The story of the Radman family begins in Madera County. John Radman, Sr. was unable to attend classes at nearby Fresno City College, so he moved to Bakersfield to attend BC when it was still located inside the BHS campus. He decided to stay in the community to raise a family, and his son, John S. Radman, ended up attending classes at the Panorama Campus, eventually earning an associate’s degree in Industrial Arts around 1975. John S. Radman met his wife Mary Donovan during his time at BC, and two of their children would attend the Panorama Campus in the ’90s, including Renegade wrestler Aaron Radman and soccer player Brooke Radman.

Mary Donovan
Mary Donovan in 1971 (John’s mother)

Fast forward to last year, when Aaron and Brooke’s brother John Radman was hired as a Maintenance Technician for the Engineering and Systems Department. John had quit pursuing his education to support his wife’s dreams of becoming an elementary school teacher, and after spending several years as a small business owner, he was excited to give back to the Renegade community that had given his family so many opportunities.

After having a few conversations with Dean of Instruction Michele Bresso at the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year, John has decided to continue with his education, and he’s now pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Business while simultaneously working as a BC employee.

Stories like the Radman family’s are why we all work so hard to provide the highest quality of education for our students. When you hear how BC has touched the lives of thousands of people over decades, it really puts all of the work we do into perspective. I wish the best of luck to John as he pursues his business degree, and I can’t wait to hear about what future Radmans contribute to Renegade history.

Fun Photos: Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department

LA Sheriff Department
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) hosted an information table at the Huddle on Tuesday, February 12 to inform students about job opportunities with the LASD.  Web Content Editor Aricia Leighton captured this great photo of officers talking to students.

Fun Photos: Snow on the Grapevine

Grapevine
Found this on Facebook.  What a great photo by Ron Kean of the Grapevine covered in snow!

GPIT Committee Meeting

The week before last, Bakersfield College hosted colleagues from Citrus College and Mt. San Jacinto College to discuss our guided pathways implementation. A small team observed our Guided Pathways Implementation Team (GPIT) meeting and learned about the rollout of our work over the past four years.

Steven Holmes leading discussion
Steve Holmes leads a discussion around sustainability and fiscal stability through enrollment growth facilitated by our guided pathways approach.

We joined in community to dig into the detailed work of implementation with dozens of faculty and staff across campus through a series of round-table discussions.  The group wrestled with questions like:

  1. How did BC approach program and pathway mapping?
  2. How does BC ensure support for all students in English and math?
  3. What kinds of training and support does BC provide faculty and staff to advance student success?
  4. What data does BC collect to support students in staying on their educational pathways?
  5. How do industry partners work with BC faculty and staff to design curriculum?

To give a full picture of our work, our BC team from offices and departments across campuses shared their work around the following:

Amber Hroch speaking
People talking
  • Counseling and Advising Redesign: Grace Commiso, Dean of Counseling
  • Placement and Co-Requisite Supports: Dean Andrea Thorson, Dean Stephen Waller
  • Library & Academic Supports: Maria Wright, Director of Academic Support Services, Dean Bill Moseley, and Librarian Faith Bradham
  • Program Mapper & Finish-in-4: Dean of Institutional Effectiveness Craig Hayward, Dean Grace Commiso
  • Matriculation & Outreach: Steve Watkin, Director of Outreach & Dual Enrollment, Program Managers Ashlea Ward and Kylie Swanson
  • Completion Coaching: Dean Grace Commiso, Program Manager Lisa Kent, and Dean Stephen Waller
  • Professional Development & Academic Technology: Dean Bill Moseley, Lesley Bonds, Director of Student Success & Equity
  • Summer Bridge: Kimberly Bligh, Title V Director, Teresa McAllister, Faculty – Education
  • Data Coaching: Amber Hroch, Institutional Researcher
  • Instructional Leadership: Jessica Wojtysiak, Faculty – Education

Building Diversity Summit

Armando Trujillo, Pedro Ramirez, Julian West, Lisa Robles-Kent
Armando Trujillo, Pedro Ramirez, Julian West, and Lisa Robles-Kent

The Building Diversity Summit was focused on eliminating institutional barriers that impede employment access to historically underrepresented groups. The leads of the BC Completion Coaching Communities for Affinity Group (AAI, Undocu-students/ DREAMers and Veterans) along with our prestige partner, Julian West of Career Ladders Project but always a Renegade, shared their knowledge in a presentation entitled “Representation Matters: The Power of Representation on Student Success” of how Bakersfield College intentionally hires with the intent to create conditions for student success.

Photography Fun on Campus

BC’s Manny De Los Santos has a fantastic eye and great talent for capturing moments that happen on campus. Here is a photo of him getting just the right angle for his photo.

Manny De Los Santos gets the shot just right.

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11a, check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights included segments with BC Head Women’s Tennis Coach, Austin Lee and BC Women’s Tennis student athletes Paige Darstein and Kayleen Sanchez.

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week.

Kayleen Sanchez, Women’s Tennis – While battling injury, she beat her #1 singles AVC opponent 6-1, 6-2 and in doubles, routed the #1 AVC doubles team, 8-0 with partner Alexis Strange.

Anieus Medrano, Men’s Basketball – Went 8-16 (50%) from behind the arc totaling 29 points (26 in the second half) in final home game against West LA.

Renegade Athletics Roundup

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):

Be sure to follow Renegade Athletics on social media for all the latest news and updates!

Sonya Christian




That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Continuing Partnerships in the Community

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, February 9, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Early College Launch in McFarland

Next week is it!  BC will be holding the Early College Launch event at McFarland High on Wednesday, Feb 13th.  Retired Senator (and Renegade) Jean Fuller will be there to talk about the program, and the impact that it will have on our region. Check out Superintendent Resendez’s piece in The Delano Record about the launch as well!    

Dr. Jean Fuller showing off her new Academic Senate shirt.

Join us as we launch this program at McFarland High School on February 13th at 5:00 pm! It promises to be a remarkable event. For information you can visit www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/earlycollege.

Early College Community Launch Event Invite

2019 Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Gala

Last Saturday night Bakersfield College attended the annual KCHCC Gala at the Marriott hotel.  BC is a proud supporter of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (KCHCC), with five Renegades as boardmembers: Olivia Garcia, Lisa Kent, Tony Cordova, Norma Rojas-Mora, and Corny Rodriguez.  I’d like to thank Ricky Marsel for sharing some of his photos. Great work, KCHCC!

We were pleased to have at our table Congressman TJ Cox and his delightful wife Kathy Murphy. Also, Senator Melissa Hurtado was at our table and I was pleased to get to know her. Senator Shannon Grove and Assembly Member Rudy Salas were also at the event.

Chancellor Tom Burke, Dr. Kathy Murphy, Sonya Christian, Business Man of the Year Corny Rodriguez, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg
Assembly Member Rudy Salas, Senator Shannon Grove, Corny Rodriguez, Senator Melissa Hurtado

Spotlight: Corny Rodriguez

Sonya Christian and Corny Rodriguez

The Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce honored Cornelio (Corny) Rodriguez for this year’s Businessman of the Year at Saturday’s event.  Corny received this recognition for his work within the community and in support of a college going culture among the youth of Kern County.  Corny came to BC in 1991 as the Director of the Chicano Cultural Center at Bakersfield College.

Throughout the years, he has held a number of different positions on campus including President of Academic Senate, Director of the Delano Center, Director of Outreach, Director of ACCESS (Association of Cultural Centers for Student Success), and Professor of Political Science.  Corny has been a consistent champion for increasing graduation rates at BC, and has worked tirelessly to advance student success and develop leaders within the community. Congrats Corny!!! Your BC family is so proud!

Black History Month Conference at BC

Lives were changed at Bakersfield College on Friday, February 8, 2019, with the Black History Month Conference themed “Black Excellence.” Students from Bakersfield College and high schools all over Kern County engaged in a truly excellent and engaging conference with African Soul International and keynote speaker Reverend Dr. Charles L. Dorsey.

BC Umoja Vice President and President

After a light breakfast in front of the PAC Indoor Theatre, students from approximately 15 high schools from Kern County filed into the theatre singing to some of their favorite pop songs playing on the speakers. Bakersfield College Umoja Community Club President and Vice President professionally emceed the indoor theatre portion of the conference, engaging the students from the very beginning. They taught the students about Umoja ASTEP, which is a program that integrates academics, support services and African-American culture through educating the whole student, body, mind and spirit, through an ethic of love. There are over 60 Umoja programs state-wide. They also taught the students some African words, including the “umoja” which is Kiswahili for “unity.”

Chancellor Burke speaking

Chancellor Tom Burke welcomed the students and encouraged them to pursue college. He shared with them his own son’s struggles to find his place in the world and how BC helped him find his path to Engineering and ultimately graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Engineering Robotics. He called BC an “educational oasis” to prepare for transferring to a larger university and pointed out that transfer students outperform those entering universities directly as freshmen.

African Soul International captured the audience with a powerful introduction to African drums. Then, the founder and artistic director of the organization, Dr. Jewel “Adama” Jackson, came out on stage singing. She immediately enthralled the audience, and had them singing together “When the Saints Go Marching In.” She led the audience through an African ritual, signaling to heaven that the drums were a conduit of positive energy, and giving libations of water to plants. A very spiritual, moving and uplifting ritual.

Jewel further taught the students about Africa, that it is the largest free-standing continent with 54 countries and 2,500 nationalities with their own languages and cultures. Most Africans can speak 4-7 languages. She pointed out that Africa is a major exporter of diamonds and gold, and we all carry a little bit of Africa in our pockets as cobalt is used in our cell phones. There are rich parts, just as there are poor parts. She brought several students onto stage and taught them dances, one about celebrating moving to the next level in life and the other celebrating the harvest, because they are the harvest. The African Soul International was fun, engaging and educational. I recommend bringing them to all of the high schools in Kern County.

With such an excellent and energizing opening performance, it was hard to believe that the keynote speaker could keep that sense of energy and engagement going, but Reverend Dr. Charles Dorsey did just that. After driving 3 hours and conducting interviews with the media, he had the energy to run onto to the stage and immediately engage the audience. He began by handing out a copy of his book Fathers and Sons Speak: Telling My Father’s Story to an audience member who had the closest birthday to his own, giving the book to the young man, telling him it would change his life, and giving him his personal phone number and telling him to call him once he had read the book.

Dr. Dorsey’s presentation was nothing short of inspiring as he engaged the students in a “Signing Day.” He gave them four decisions that he wanted them to make:

  1. Decide not to miss another opportunity.
  2. No more excuses.
  3. Succeed… no matter what.
  4. Be a difference maker.

I would like to thank Dr. Paula Parks and the members of Umoja that put on this excellent event for Black History Month. Thank you, Chancellor Burke, for taking time out of your busy day to speak to the students. Thank you Mary Jo Pasek and all of the staff that assisted in putting on this event. Check my blog next week for details on the rest of this event as the students continued with several workshops. We are BC!

BC Ag Ambassadors Visit Cal Poly SLO

Bakersfield College’s Agriculture Ambassadors went to California Polytechnic State University, SLO for the Agriculture Ambassador Conference last weekend. At the conference BC’s Ag Ambassadors got the chance to highlight the activities they are doing to promote BC’s Agriculture Department. Of the 14 colleges in attendance, BC was the only community college to present. They held their own with the 4-year universities and we are BC PROUD of them!

Our Ag Ambassadors also had the chance to hear from many guest speakers about the different job opportunities in the agriculture industry. With the central valley being the breadbasket of the world and Kern County the #1 county for agriculture production in the nation our students have a lot of job opportunities in this industry.  

Spring semester is a busy time for our Ag Ambassadors. They will be doing outreach activities at the World Ag Expo and upcoming Career Fairs. They will also be visiting local high schools and promoting Bakersfield College’s Agriculture Department. Their goal is to help and encourage the next generation of agriculture students. Bakersfield College opens many pathways for students to succeed and the Ag Ambassadors are doing an excellent job at sharing these opportunities with future BC students. WE ARE BC!

Joe Saldivar Speaks at Kern County Science Fair

Our own Dr. Joe Saldivar, Biology department chair, has been asked to be the guest speaker at the Kern County Science Fair-2019 on March 12 at the Convention Center. The annual science fair hosts hundreds of 4th through 6th graders competing for a chance to move on to the California Science Fair. Dr. Joe as he likes to call himself, has participated in Renegade Talks and has been a valuable faculty member at BC. To check out one of Joe’s Renegade Talks click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WfznL9M16U

Faculty member Joe Saldivar

Bakersfield College collaborates with Ridgeview High for first Journalism Day

Educators and journalists gathered on Feb. 1 at Ridgeview High to discuss their careers in journalism and provide career development advice to Kern County high school students.  BC student Paige Atkison, who recently concluded a successful semester as editor-in-chief of the Renegade Rip, BC’s award-winning student newspaper, spoke about the importance of the profession.  “Journalists write the first draft of history,” she said.
   
Speakers also included BC journalism professors Erin Auerbach and Christina Lopez, as well as BC history professor Olivia Garcia (a longtime journalist) and CSUB journalism professor Jennifer Burger.  Local journalists Nick James (Sports Director, KGET), Kelly Broderick (Producer, KERO), Erin Briscoe (PIO Kern High School District and former KBAK anchor), Mark Nessia (Bakersfield Life and the Kern Business Journal) and freelance photojournalist Nick Ellis participated as well. They spoke about their careers, the direction the profession is moving in and the importance of education. Speakers gave students advice and emphasized the skills, both interpersonal and technical, that students will need to develop to succeed in the profession.   They also talked about the ways journalists can make a difference in their communities through accurate, ethical and thorough reporting.

From left: Ridgeview High Journalism Advisor Kristen Hunter-Flores, CSUB professor Jennifer Burger, BC professors Erin Auerbach, Olivia Garcia and Christina Lopez at Journalism Day

Students studying print, digital or broadcast from East, South, Ridgeview, Centennial and Bakersfield High School attended. The first event also included a contest in which Renegade Rip editors selected first place, second place and honorable mentions in four categories from participating high schools: front page/cover design, photo, news story and feature.
   
Ridgeview journalism advisor Kristen Hunter-Flores and BC Professor Auerbach coordinated event, which will be held at Bakersfield College in 2020.

Greenfield Union School District Mini Science Olympiad

BC Professor Deborah Rosenthal shared photos from the mini science olympiad event which offers the opportunity for middle school students in the GATE program at Greenfield Unified School District. They met for a half day for two Saturdays.  The STEM department does about 10-12 mini chemistry and physics competitions. There were over 30 BC volunteers, all of whom were either STEM or Education majors. Thank you to the volunteers for assisting in this great event!  WE ARE BC!

BSO Next Program

The Performing Arts Department took part in the BSO Next program, which hosts local high school students for a ‘taste of BC’ (dinner and a chance to see various elements of the College). Last Saturday, Professor Tiner and some of his BC Jazz students performed for a group of Music students from Cesar Chavez High School. After a wonderful evening of entertainment and dining, the students proceeded to the Rabobank Theatre for a Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra concert. Kudos to Professor Tiner and his students for organizing such a wonderful event! And thank you Manny Mourtzanos for always sending me photos and videos of our performing Arts faculty and students. You are the eternal champion for the department.

BC at the Getty Villa’s College Night

Last Monday, Dr. Nicky Damania took students to the Getty Villa. A total of 20 individuals made it to the college night at the Getty. This annual event comes with a free dinner and many craft stalls for students to engage with. The group toured behind the scene at the Getty, learning how the conservationists take ancient artifacts, restore them and display them around the world. Many college students from Southern California were in attendance and enjoy the Festival of Lights, music, and the experience of a lifetime. Some of the craft stalls were color magnets, spray painting murals, creating a Turkish eye, tattoos, making olive branch halos, and learning how to make clay pottery. It looks like everyone had a great time!  I’ll have to attend one down the road.

Financial Aid Fest

In honor of Financial Aid Awareness Month, BC’s Financial Aid Department hosted a resource fair in front of the CSS Building on Tuesday and Wednesday with games, food, raffle prizes, and representatives from other BC student services, including EOP&S, DSPS, and CTE.

The event was designed to encourage students to complete their financial aid applications before this year’s Cal Grant deadline, which is March 2. The Financial Aid Department is also hosting a series of application assistance workshops to help students throughout the month of February. To find a full list of Financial Aid Workshop dates, visit the Upcoming Finaid Workshops page.

Thank you Financial Aid for making education a reality for our more than 30,000 students. If students have any questions, they can email the Financial Aid office at bc_faid@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

Distinguished Speaker: Carol Swain Ph.D.

Dr. Carol Swain

On Thursday, Distinguished Speaker Dr. Carol Swain visited BC for a series of speeches in the Levan Center, telling the inspirational story of how she rose from extreme poverty to become one of America’s leading black conservative intellectuals.

Dr. Swain, a retired professor of political science who has taught at Princeton and Vanderbilt, grew up in rural Virginia with 11 brothers and sisters in a house with no electricity or running water. She had to sleep on the kitchen floor, and all of the children had to share the same bath water that was heated over a stove. She dropped out of high school and by the age of 20 was married with 3 children. After attempting suicide by overdosing on pills, a medical professional inspired her to pursue an education.

Dr. Swain earned her GED and enrolled at Virginia Western Community College. A librarian at the college helped her with a full-time job working nights and weekends at the school library, which helped pay her way through an associate’s degree in business from Virginia Western and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Roanoke College.

“I grew up believing in the American dream,” Dr. Swain said. “I believed that if I worked hard, I could overcome the circumstances of my birth.”

She went on to earn a Ph.D. in political science at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where her dissertation became the controversial book “Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African-Americans in Congress”. To gather research for the book, Dr. Swain travelled with white and black members of Congress for a qualitative study. The book’s conclusions about descriptive vs. substantive representation and political party as a more important signifier for black representation than race earned her nationwide recognition, and it was a recipient of the D.B. Hardeman Prize and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award upon its publication in 1993.

“Within academia, I did well because I had mentors,” Dr. Swain said. “I was a single-minded seeker of my degrees.”

Dr. Swain went on to become an advisor to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and serve on the National Council on the Humanities under President George W. Bush. After retiring from Vanderbilt in 2017, Dr. Swain is now a contributor to The Epoch Times and hosts her own podcast titled Be the People.

Dr. Swain’s journey is a symbol of the transformative power of education, and what people can accomplish with the right guidance and drive. I’d like to thank BC’s Office of Student Life and the Liberty Institute for inviting Dr. Swain to campus.

Finish in 4 Welcome Event

On Friday, BC held the Welcome to Finish in 4 event an opportunity for our students to meet the Finish in 4 counselors and staff, completion coaching team (including our CSU partners) and other students in the program. BC provided guidance with program eligibility, information on how to obtain book vouchers, as well as assistance with signing and completing the Finish in 4 agreement and educational planning.

In case you didn’t know, the Kern Promise’s Finish in 4 is our joint collaboration with CSUB that supports the increase in student completion with an Associate Degree for Transfer within 60 semester units at BC. Students are then guaranteed admission to CSUB in a related major, and will complete an additional 60 semester units to earn a bachelor’s degree! The Finish in 4 efforts aim to guarantee that students can complete their transfer degree in 2 years at Bakersfield College and baccalaureate degree in the following 2 years at CSUB. Together, the goal is to move students through to the next stage of their educational and career goals in a more efficient and impactful way.

LINKS Academy Career Day

On Saturday, January 26th Connie Gonzalez (MESA Director), Cynthia Quintanilla (Counselor), Laurel Mourtzanos (Counselor), and Dr. Steve Waller (Dean of Instruction) participated in the LINKS Academy Career Day at Emerson Middle School. Connie represented BC by providing the opening remarks for the event, and several of our BC MESA students assisted the attendees with science experiments and demonstrations.

I’d like to recognize the following BC MESA students for all of their help: Sean Mccullum

Brian Aguilar, Anthony Collin, Alejandra Zapata, Kayla Scott, Ian Spark, Peter Rodriguez, Eddie Meza, Andres Orea, GemmaTrujillo, Issac Garcia, Sabrina Lugo, Jonathan Martinez

Students even had the opportunity to make slime! This event was a wonderful opportunity to engage with middle school students and showcase BC’s STEM pathway!

Porterville College Foundation Hall of Fame Dinner

Last Friday Porterville College honored softball coach Vickie Dugan, Distinguished Alumni Steve Schultz (father of BC counselor Jonathan Schultz), and others at their Foundation Hall of Fame celebration. BC’s Culinary Arts Department provided the meals for the evening. You can read a preview for the Foundation Hall of Fame celebration in last week’s blog.  Take a look at the photo below as the BC team prepares for the dinner.  I’m extremely proud of our Culinary Arts program as they continue to shine bright in the Kern Community. Thank you Chef Pat Coyle for sending me this photos and bragging about the students.

BC Culinary Arts Program (Chef Pat is in the back!) and Porterville College Food Services (PC Chef is a Former BC Culinary Student) prepared the dinner for the PC Hall of Fame Dinner.

Dr. Nicky Damania Leads Workshop at KCCD

Dr. Nicky Damania, director of Student Life, hosted a joint districtwide workshop for all three campuses at the district office last week. The workshop was “Helping Key Faculty and Staff Understand Bystander Intervention Theories to Assist Students in Various Predicaments.”

Over the last several years, bystander intervention training has become one of the most recommended and effective strategies to address campus issues.  The Step Up! Bystander Intervention Program was developed leading practitioners, using evidence-based research and theories around bystander behavior. Hundreds of campuses are using it to address a wide variety of campus issues, concerns, populations and applications.  Whether its AOD use, violence, mental health or any other concern, proactive bystander intervention is something we all can use to help someone in need. This was a needed training that all three institutions felt they needed to have in order to better serve our students.

Attendees at the KCCD workshop

The Step Up! bystander intervention program is a comprehensive training program that was developed using leading experts, theories and concepts in bystander behavior.  The foundation of the program is a 5-Step decision-making process that helps students (or any participant) walk through a logical process, starting with noticing an event and eventually taking action to help.  Each step is backed by research, information and/or skill-building to help the step and the progression make sense. Thank you Nicky for making sure that everyone at KCCD stays informed!

Fun photos

Our very own graphic designer Eric Carillo managed to snap this GORGEOUS photo of a rainbow off the bluffs during the rain break on Tuesday.  He attributed it to perfect timing, but I’m thinking he might have a knack for it.

The Rural Initiatives team met with Delano Union Elementary School leadership on Tuesday. It is crucial that BC builds equitable and early access to higher education for children in our rural community. Through a partnership with our friends at DUESD, we are going to move closer to doing just that!

Left to right: Jesus Cardenas (BC), Jaime Lopez (BC), Anna Perigo (DUESD), Abel Guzman (BC), Carolina Madrigal (BC), Ken Dyar (DUESD), Raquel Lopez (BC), Rosalina Rivera (DUESD), Jason Kashwer (DUESD), April Gregerson (BC)

BC Athletics’ Manager of Communications and Community Relations Brandon Urry tweeted a photo of his son as the new BC Batboy!  We love seeing our Renegade families join in!

BC’s Maria Wright and Miguel Cuate from Academic Support Services were on “The Pulse” to explain why BC is a place for everyone and once you’re a student here, we have the support services to make sure you can be successful. Thank you Danny Morrison! If you missed the segment live, you can hear the recording online at www.thebeat1039.com!  

Maria Write and Miguel Cuate speak with Danny Morrison on air

BC’s new food trailer Gades Grub is officially here!  Students and visitors can enjoy warm food from our amazing Food Services team at the beautiful Gades Grub trailer!  Thank you to Stephanie Stuart and Jennifer Sanderson for all of your hard work on getting this trailer on campus, and thank you to Eric Carillo for doing such a great job on the design!   

Delicious BC Food Services treat

Renegades of the Weeks

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (1/27-2/2) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week.

Paige Darstein, Women’s Tennis – Coming off a torn ACL last season, Paige had a dominating 6-0, 6-0 win in her #2 singles matchup against Reedley. Trey Harmon, Baseball – Went 7 for 16 (.438) last week in four games in which the Renegades went 4-0. Trey also had 7 RBI with two doubles and a triple for the week.

Congrats to Jasmyn Rodriguez for Winning The Bakersfield Jockey Club Award.

Jasmyn Rodriguez of BC Women’s Basketball was awarded the Bakersfield Jockey Club Award this week at the Club’s monthly luncheon at Hodel’s. The Club is a local non-profit whose goal is to honor local high school and college athletes for the accomplishments. Congrats Jasmyn! Thank you for representing BC with class!

1
Jasmyn Rodriguez with her Bakersfield Jockey Club Award

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11a, check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include segments BC Athletics Associate AD Keith Ford and BC Women’s Beach Volleyball student athlete Penelope Zepeda.

Segment with Keith Ford

Segment with Penelope Zepeda

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):




That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever