Last Sunday, I read Nick Strobel’s article in the Bakersfield Californian about the Ingenuity helicopter – which has now had several successful test flights on Mars.
Check out this video from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) showing the first flight, on Monday, April 19th:
Innovation at its very best – and, yes, ingenuity – of all of the scientists and engineers who came together and were able to successfully fly a helicopter on the Red Planet. It was no easy task. As Nick mentions in his article, the surface air pressure on Mars makes it equivalent to 100,000 feet altitude on Earth, and the highest helicopter flight on Earth has only made it to about 41,000 feet.
It was against the backdrop of this inspirational scientific achievement that I was honored to be named the 6th Chancellor of the Kern Community College District, succeeding current Chancellor Tom Burke when he retires this summer.
April 19th felt auspicious to me for the public announcement — the same day that Ingenuity took its first flight on another world. The words “Dare Mighty Things” – JPL’s motto, first attributed to Theodore Roosevelt – written in binary code inside the parachute of the Perseverance Mars lander.
Loved the news coverage. The KGET youtube video made it to my hometown in Quilon, Kerala. Check it out
Then woke up to Steven Mayer‘s featured article in The Bakersfield Californian, front page, above the fold. Beautiful pictures by Alex Horvath.
Christian asked employees in the district — and by extension, the entire community — to join together, to “lock arms and do mighty things.”
At the Kern Community College District, we predict the future by creating it
Read more at: https://tinyurl.com/as6ca4fc
I want to thank Trustees Kay Meek and Romeo Agbalog for their kind words during the announcement.
And a few photos from the event:
I am deeply honored and humbled to have been selected to lead the Kern Community College District. Together we will dare mighty things for all the students we serve.
Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 24, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.
President’s Virtual Seminar Series – Campus Reopening
This week, we had two more President’s Virtual Seminar Series forums to discuss our return to campus.
On Tuesday, the Student Work Group provided student perspectives. Chef Anna Melby and student Amanda Atksinson discussed what it’s been like on campus for culinary arts students. We also heard from Professor Thomas Rush and Industrial Automation student Benjamin Neville. Bradley Cramer and Monica Huyck also gave an update from academic support services.
On Thursday, we had more updates from the Instructional Work Group, led by Dean Richard McCrow. Panelists on Thursday included three psychology professors – Isaias Hernandez, Christina Howell, and David Riess.
Thank you to Nicky Damania, who introduced both sessions this week, as well as to Earl Parsons and Todd Coston for their continued support in this series.
You can find all the President’s Virtual Seminar Series videos on the Bakersfield college website.
As you can see from our forums, we are hard at work preparing for the return to campus – check out this photo of Bill Moseley, Dean of Academic Technologies, and Eileen Pierce, Program Manager for Academic Support Programs, as they were on campus getting ready this week:
2021 Bakersfield College Art Student Show
The directors of the Wylie and May Louise Jones Gallery are pleased to present the 2021 Bakersfield College Art Student Exhibition. The exhibit includes student made artwork, created in Bakersfield College art courses in media ranging from charcoal drawings, acrylic paintings, photography, graphic design, ceramics, video, and many others. The work was juried by Seattle based artist Teddy “Stat” Phillips.
In past years, this exhibition has been located physically in the Wylie and May Louise Jones Gallery on the Bakersfield College campus. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, this will be our second year displaying the work as a digital exhibition. This exhibit represents the commitment and strength of our students in the face of uncertain times and displays the resiliency Bakersfield College art students have in their continued efforts working in a virtual environment.
The work is available now at https://www.flickr.com/photos/192804348@N08/
You can also find and share the work at our social media sites below. Please support our BC art students by liking and sharing with your networks:
For more information please contact the Jones Gallery directors: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEH Conference with Mark Arax Keynote
This past Thursday saw the final events related to the National Endowment for the Humanities-funded project Energizing Humanities in California’s Southern San Joaquin Valley.
The day’s panels were dedicated to the memory of Gerald Haslam, who served as our grant project’s first speaker in 2017 and was an Oildale native, BC alumnus, prolific and celebrated author, and longtime educator. Gerry passed away last week and will be missed.
The one-day conference culminated with a speaking engagement featuring Mark Arax.
Mark Arax is an author and journalist whose writings on California and the West have received numerous awards for literary nonfiction. He is a former staffer at the Los Angeles Times and The California Sunday Magazine, and his books include a memoir of his father’s murder, a collection of essays about the West, and the best-selling The King of California. Much of Arax’s work focuses on the Central Valley, and his most recent book, The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California, uses family memoir, history, and extensive reportage on the land to tell the epic story of California’s invention and reinventions through the bending of water.
Other topics included:
Place Based Pedagogy and Our Experiences in the “Energizing Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley” Grant Project, which saw project directors Oliver Rosales, Josh Ottum, and Andrew Bond join current and previous faculty fellows to talk about their experiences during the run of the grant and how it has influenced their work.
Narrating the Southern San Joaquin Valley: Journalism and the Past and Future of Storytelling in the Region featured panelists Mark Arax, Olivia Garcia, Jose Gaspar, Lois Henry, Joe Moore, and Reyna Olaguez. Moderators were Erin Auerbach, BC journalism professor; and Haley Duval, Editor-in-Chief of The Renegade Rip.
First Annual Pursuing the Dream Conference
The AB 540/Undocumented Students Program and Rural Initiatives at Bakersfield College will be hosting our first annual Pursuing the Dream Conference: Resources-Advocacy-Empowerment for our Undocumented Student Community on Friday, April 30th from 1:30 PM -5:30 PM. This one-day conference is designed for students, educators, family, and community members to receive information on pursuing higher education, including the resources and support available to the undocumented student community.
Throughout the conference you will hear from one of the first undocumented students to receive a degree from Harvard, UFW Foundation lawyers, licensed therapists, BC and CSUB staff, students, and more! Please encourage your undocumented students and campus allies to attend.
Student Leadership & Involvement Awards Virtual Ceremony
Please join us for The Student Leadership and Involvement Awards Ceremony, coordinated by the Office of Student Life, which recognizes the accomplishments of our registered student organizations and various leaders at Bakersfield College. This event is to acknowledge their achievements to better the College community. It is an opportunity to showcase the wide variety of activities that occurred this year and to demonstrate ingenuity and creative talent. Let’s get together virtually and applaud the recipients!
The event will be on Thursday, April 29, from 6-7 pm. Registration is required by Wednesday, April 28. You can RSVP at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/osl/awards.
BC Faculty speak to Liberty High students
Over the 2020 winter break, Professor Jeff Newby of the History Department was asked to join in on a dual enrollment history class at Liberty High School. Ms. Alyson Moss, one of Liberty’s first dual enrollment instructors, has worked closely with BC to provide her students with an experience as close as possible to actually being in a college classroom. Professor Newby spent the day meeting with three of her classes to go over how to construct historical-argumentative essays.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience helping bridge the gap between high school and college.
On April 13, 2021, Ms. Alyson Moss invited Professors Jeff Newby and Olivia Garcia back to Liberty High School, this time to speak to Liberty’s National Social Studies Honors Society (NSSHS). The purpose of the NSSHS is promote scholarship and academic excellence in social studies, as well as encourage an active interest in social studies in students’ communities and school environments.
Ms. Moss introduced both professors who spoke at length about their own personal journeys towards becoming college professors, advice they had picked up along the way, and the importance of earning a degree in the humanities. They then fielded questions from over 40 students ranging from Professor Garcia’s time as a journalist to Professor Newby’s time teaching abroad.
Umoja Community celebrates creative expression
Umoja Community program offered two recent Indabas to showcase the arts and foster creativity through expression. The Indabas (important meeting with important people) are offered each Monday to engage and connect students.
Poet/vocalist/activist Gina Loring spoke and sang a couple of her poems and offered writing prompts to empower students. She told students, “your voice is your liberation.”
Blake Burton said the prompts around identity and commitment “really made me think.”
The other artist was spoken word/performer/musician Dahlak Brathwaite. Umoja partnered with BC’s Jazz Studies program to bring Dahlak to BC.
Dahlak shared clips from his solo play and film Spirit Trials. Those works traced the history of African Americans through music with the theme of adaptation.
In the film, the Sacramento native said sometimes you have to be someone else, but “the key is to never to lose yourself because to adapt is to be human so that you don’t disappear. What good is adapting if it means part of you isn’t still here.”
After that line, the chat was popping with, “that was so dope” and “whew.”
With the Jazz ensemble students, Dahlak talked about adapting from the creative and musical side. He explained how he merged forms (drama, spoken word, music, and poetry) to find the best platform for his message. He added that through freestyling he has learned not to be afraid to mess up.
Zariyah, an Umoja student and theatre major, said she admired how open and free he was – both creatively and in his worldview.
These two examples of creativity and expression sparked something inside students.
Umoja Community is a program designed for motivated African-American students to increase success and retention. It includes coursework with a cultural component, academic and cultural trips, and counseling support to keep students on track to graduate.
Thanks to Dr. Paula L. Parks, Umoja Coordinator, and Professor Kris Tiner, Jazz Studies lead, for partnering to expose students to the arts.
Welcome Marcos Rodriguez!
From email from Mike Giacomini:
I am very pleased to announce that Marcos Rodriguez will be joining the Bakersfield College team as the Executive Director of Facilities and Operations and will effectively lead this ever-growing department and teams as we continue to maneuver through the pandemic while simultaneously expanding our Measure J program on our campuses. Marcos will be joining our Maintenance and Operations team on Monday, 4/26/21 to continue serving our community at each of our BC locations across Kern County.
Mr. Rodriguez is a local Kern County citizen who attended our own Bakersfield College and went on to getting a bachelor degree in Environmental Resource Management, and masters degrees in Industrial and Technical Studies and in Business Administration.
With this specialized education, Marcos has served schools with close to twenty years of management experience in local college campuses as well as elementary, middle and high school districts – all in Kern County.
Please join me in welcoming Marcos Rodriguez to the Renegade family.
Commencement Committee – Hard at Work
The Commencement Committee has been hard at work. Kevin Ganger, Jeff Huston, Renegade student Julian, John Gerhold, and Josh Ottum joined Monika Scott to record the National Anthem this week. Be sure to tune in on May 16th to see this performance as we honor and celebrate the Renegade Class of 2021.
The special televised event will air on May 16th at 6 p.m. on KGET Channel 17 or on Telemundo Valle Central Channel 13 (with antennae, 17.3). This event will also be streamed on KGET’s website and KGET-TV17 Bakersfield Facebook. You do not need to have a Facebook account to view the stream on Facebook.
Please enjoy this poem sent to me by Jack Hernandez:
Have I had enough?
the seasons keep coming
ignoring the cries
of those scrambling below
to find a branch
above the flood.
a hill from which
to watch the sun’s
and I’ll reread them,
I have not yet
the words the words
Updates from EOPS
EOPS Regalia Distribution
The EOPS/CARE/CalWORKs/NextUp team hosted their annual Cap & Gown event to provide prospective BC graduates with their commencement regalia. Over 223 students visited the drive through event to pick up their free cap & gown as well as a certificate for their participation with the programs. EOPS/CARE/CalWORKs/NextUp wants to congratulate this year’s graduating class!
CSUB Transfer Information Session
Bakersfield College’s EOPS Department partnered with CSUB’s EOP and Office of Admissions to better prepare and inform students on the process of transferring in Fall 2021 and future semesters. CSUB’s EOP department was able to provide information to students to help them understand their EOP admissions process, services and resources offered upon transfer. CSUB’s Office of Admissions provided updates, reminders, and helpful tips for students transferring in the Fall. CSUB informed BC students on the transfer admissions requirements for their upcoming Spring 2022 application.
Career Education Workshops for EOPS students
Bakersfield College’s EOPS department partnered with Career Education to provide three informative workshops for the EOPS student groups. Through these workshops, Career Education provided training on Professional Resume Building, Jobspeaker, and Interview Skills which will support students with securing employment at BC and/or in the community.
In the News
Community Voices; College lets you broaden your worldview
This week, journalism professor and Renegade Rip adviser Erin Auerbach wrote a piece in the Bakersfield Californian about the importance of college for students to find the best path for their own futures.
“Taking a class in welding does not force you to become a welder. But it will teach you a skill that might prove useful for future options. Opportunity abounds, so take a chance on yourself. Attend an informational meeting. Sign up for that class that looks interesting.”
Kern County leaders say Chauvin trial is just the beginning
On Tuesday, former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd, whose death launched widespread protest across the country last summer.
Bakersfield College’s Tommy Tunson spoke with 23ABC about the need the change our training and education programs for police officers.
“The training and education that we currently have, I think, is not enough to address racial equity and social justice in the curriculum in police academies,” he said.
Spotted on Social Media
Jonathan Schultz shared a pic of some Umoja gear:
Jen Garrett shared a behind the scenes look at filming for the upcoming BC Chamber Singers video project.
BC Rural Initiatives shared information about an upcoming mobile vaccine clinic in Arvin on Tuesday, April 27, from 8 am to 1 pm. For more information, visit the Arvin High School website.
And Maria Wright shared this pic of her husband Jamal Wright and their son, who had a close encounter with a dino:
Track and Field and Swimming Get Underway
Both Track and Field and Swimming got their abbreviated Spring II sports season underway this last weekend.
Track and Field traveled to compete at Antelope Valley where they faced not only AVC but also Santa Monica. Both the men and women placed first overall. To view individual T/F results click this link.
The Renegade Swim squad went to Santa Monica where they topped the Corsairs with an overall score of 167-77. The men won 102-19 and the women 65-58. To view individual Swim results click this link. Way to go Renegade T/F and Swim!!
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
the luckiest and happiest college president ever