Tag Archives: Tara Lynn Gray

Exciting times at Kern CCD

It was an exciting week at the Kern Community College District as we welcomed some very special visitors. Tara Lynn Gray, Director of the California Office of Small Business Advocate, and the California Energy Commissioners Siva Gunda and Patty Monahan. I will add photos of the CEC visit in my next week’s blog.

Really enjoyed my visit with Director Gray who was warm and committed to entrepreneurship as being the equity solution to economic development for rural communities. And what a treat to see Linda Quinones-Vaughn after so many years. Nicole Parra and I had a delightful visit with these two wonderful women.

Nicole Parra, Sonya Christian, Tara Lynn Gray, Linda Quinones Vaughn

And here is Tim Rainey, executive director of the California Workforce Development Board, who dropped in from Sacramento for a few hours to present on a panel with the CEC folks. Norma Rojas was fabulous on a panel discussing equitable economic and workforce development.

Norma Rojas-Mora, Tim Rainey, Sonya Christian

And check out this blast from the past that was shared by my cousin Daphne on Facebook this week:

Good morning, friends.
It is July 23, 2022.
The sun shines bright over Kern CCD.


Porterville College

PC educator chosen for prestigious fellowship program

Jacinto Gardea

Porterville College professor emeritus Jacinto Gardea has been selected to participate in the prestigious English Language Fellow Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

As part of the program, he’ll get the chance to do two things he’s passionate about–teach English and travel abroad.  The program will take him to southern Laos where he will participate in fellowship project training for 10 months at Savannakhet University. He has previously participated in the English Language Fellow Program in Peru.

“It’s just a very tremendous thing for a teacher,” said Gardea. He is one of only 200 U.S. Citizens chosen for the 2022-2023 English Language Fellow Program. The program is an opportunity for experienced teachers of English to enact meaningful and sustainable changes in the way English is taught abroad to speakers of other languages.

The English Language Fellow Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs with funding provided by the U.S. government.

Through projects developed by U.S. Embassies in more than 80 countries, Fellows work directly with local teachers, students, and educational professionals to improve the quality of English language instruction offered at prestigious universities and other academic institutions.

Gardea said he has 2 to 2 ½ months to prepare. “I’m looking forward to being in Laos,” he said. “I’m getting ready for it.” Gardea moved to this country when he was 11 and went on to develop a love for English. “Teaching English has been a passion of mine for a long time,” he said.

While in Laos, he will be training teachers and teaching English. He said about one of his priorities, “I’m just concerned about the pronunciations.  [I want to] make them better English teachers. We do the best we can.” Gardea also said he’ll be involved in other projects while in Laos such as serving in a hospital and dealing with issues like climate change.

The teachers selected for the English Language Fellow Program represent the best of the U.S., according to the state department. In return, the program provides professional development opportunities to help participants experience different cultures and build skills that can greatly enhance their careers back home.

For more information about the English Language Fellow Program, visit the State Department website at https://exchanges.state.gov/us/program/english-language-fellow-program.

More GREAT work from PC Faculty in Online Course Development

Rebecca Baird, Jeff Jacobs, Elisa Queenan, (Laura Sweeney photo not available)

Some more great work has been done this summer by the PC Distance Education Committee and our PC Peer Online Course Review (POCR) Team. 

These dedicated instructors have devoted an enormous amount of time, energy, and creativity throughout the Spring semester and into the Summer to build and refine outstanding courses for our online students. We are so lucky to have each of them at Porterville College.

Please join us in congratulating Elisa Queenan, Jeff Jacobs, Rebecca Baird, and Laura Sweeny for their incredible work!

Locally Certified Courses as Aligned with CVC-OEI Rubric
*Locally certified as aligned with the CVC-OEI Rubric after passing our local POCR review
**Made possible with Title V funding and Porterville College support

  • ADMJ P107 – Jeff Jacobs – Locally Certified 06/14/2022
  • HIST P117 – Rebecca Baird – Locally Certified 06/24/2022
  • HIST P118 – Rebecca Baird – Locally Certified 06/24/2022
  • HIST P118 – Laura Sweeney – Locally Certified 06/24/2022
  • ECON P101 – Elisa Queenan – Locally Certified 07/09/2022
  • ECON P102 – Elisa Queenan – Locally Certified 07/09/2022

Most Recent CVC-OEI Quality Badged PC Courses
*Fully state-certified as aligned with the CVC-OEI Rubric after passing our local POCR review
**Made possible with Title V funding and Porterville College support

  • MATH P110 – Dustin Acres – Quality Badged 06/08/2022
  • ENGL P101A – Joy Lawrence – Quality Badged 06/08/2022
  • SOCI P101 – Karen Bishop – Quality Badged 06/09/2022
  • Spring 2022 CVC-OEI Quality Badged PC Courses

PC Staffers are “Buddies” through tough times

Just some of the PC Faculty and Staff involved in our Buddy Check 22 Initiative

PC Faculty and Staff recently wore black in support of Buddy Check 22, a national campaign to help bring awareness to the issue of suicide facing military personnel.

According to recent studies by the Department of Veterans Affairs, 22 veterans die by suicide each day. The Buddy Check 22 program takes place on the 22nd of each month to raise awareness of this issue.

On the PC campus, faculty and staff wear their Buddy Check shirts to show their support of this effort and to let students know that we are there for them through tough times. 

Porterville College Veteran’s Services will be using photos taken of staff and faculty in their shirts for an ongoing campaign featuring posters and digital messaging designed to support students and student veterans alike. With our support of Buddy Check 22 and other mental health initiatives, we want to show students that we are here for their support – whether it is help in the form of mental health and therapy services or just someone to listen when needed.

Thank you to all the Pirates who regularly lend their support to this ongoing effort on our campus.


Cerro Coso Community College

CC represented at WAVES Conference

Photo (Left to Right): Jess Kawelmacher, Nichole Cook (BC), Hilda Rodriguez (BC), Jenny Frank (BC), and Addy Windsor.

Cerro Coso employees Jessica Kawelmacher (Interim Director of Admissions and Financial Aid) and Addy Windsor from Admissions and Records attended the Western Association of Veterans Education Specialists (WAVES) Conference in Portland, OR this week. 

This conference focuses on providing training that enhances our ability to provide the highest quality service to our military-connected and veteran students.

They were joined by Bakersfield College staff and had a great time learning and collaborating with our sister college and other colleges in the western region of the U.S.

Ward and Vitale attend NALA Paralegal Conference and Expo

Faculty members Dawn Ward and Laura Vitale attended the NALA Paralegal Association conference and expo at the JW Marriot Resort in Phoenix, Arizona July 14-17.

One of the most anticipated paralegal events of the year, the three-day conference was full of lots of updates on the law and practice tips to share with students and other faculty.

There were many great speakers on a variety of topics from motion drafting to space law. Yes, space law!

The legal field is constantly changing with new laws and procedures, and as a paralegal it is important to stay up-to-date on this information.  Education, networking, and professional development are top priorities of the NALA Paralegal Association.  The paralegal-focused conference was packed with more than 30 education sessions, all led by speakers who are experts in their field. 

Their investment will pay off in more efficient practices, new insights, and ideas that will benefit them and the college.

Bloomberg Joins Counseling Department

Meet the new Program Coordinator in the Counseling Department at the IWV Ridgecrest Campus, Alyssa Bloomberg.

Alyssa is a Ridgecrest native who went off to school in Reno at the University of Nevada.

For the last four years, Alyssa was a special education teacher in the K-12 system. Prior to teaching special education, she spent several years working in Student Services at the University of Nevada.

Alyssa is thrilled to be working in higher education at Cerro Coso Community College.

She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and hiking for those EPIC views!

In addition, Alyssa values leaving a good tip, and always returning the shopping cart to the stall.

Cerro Coso welcomes Alyssa to the college family and wishes her all the best in her new career at the IWV campus!

Cerro Coso to Launch Cloud Computing and Linux Administration Certificates this Fall! 

Cerro Coso Community College will be offering two new certificates to meet the ever-growing and changing Information Technology field. Cloud Computing and Linux Administration Certificates of Achievement will not only benefit those new to the field but also those experienced in the IT/Cyber workforce.  

This certificate can be completed in just one year entirely online. Employers have repeatedly emphasized the skills for cloud computing and knowledge of Linux Administration is crucial to the industry. So, whether you are experienced or not, sign up for classes today to enter the field or advance to a higher position! 

The Cloud Computing Certificate of Achievement is comprised of five courses. If a student has previously completed the IT Plus Certificate of Achievement (IT C101 – Introduction to Computers, C142 – Information & Communication Essentials (A+), C143 – Computer Network Fundamentals (Net+ ) and C146  — Introduction to Information Security Systems) taking an additional three classes will yield the new certificate. Students will need to take IT C251(Python), IT C248 (Server+), and IT C280 (Introduction to Cloud Computing) in the fall term and then IT C282 (Cloud Architecture) in the Spring 2023 term.   

The Linux Administration Certificate of Achievement is comprised of four courses. If a student has previously completed the IT Plus Certificate of Achievement (IT C101 – Introduction to Computers, C142 – Information & Communication Essentials (A+), C143 – Computer Network Fundamentals (Net+) and C146 — Introduction to Information Security Systems) taking an additional two classes will yield the new certificate. Students can take IT C290 (Linux Administration) in the fall term and then IT C292 (Linux Administration II) in the Spring 2022 term. The Linux Administration courses are aligned with the Red Hat version and will also align with the industry certification exams.  

f you have questions, please contact the Counseling Department at Cerro Coso Community College to get more information at 760-384-6100. 


Bakersfield College

INDA Explores NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center Facilities at Edwards AFB

Department Chair; Professor, Engineering, Jason Dixon, Faculty, Electronics, Bonnie Hammond. (Photographer: INDA Program Manager, Carlos Medina)

Industrial Automation had the opportunity to tour some exclusive NASA facilities at Edwards Air Force Base to give the INDA program a better perspective of how to support students with aerospace industry career opportunities. 

Engineering chair Jason Dixon, electronics faculty Bonnie Hammond, and INDA program manager Carlos Medina were given an in-depth tour of different NASA’s Dryden Aeronautical Test Range(DATR) operating control centers to learn more about how these facilities support aerospace flight research missions for NASA, US Air Force and other industry partners. Some of the facilities included the tour were Aeronautical Tracking Facility, Communications Facility, Video Control Center and the Mission Control Center. 

One unique facility serves as a direct communication line to the International Space Station for both the US and Russia side. INDA hopes to build more relationships with the aerospace industry to provide future opportunities for our students as the industry continues to grow.

Early College and Outreach Retreat

The Early College and Outreach team hosted their annual retreat at the BCSW campus on July 13, 2022. As every retreat should, the team played a fun game of jeopardy to get to know more about each other and share in some laughs. Associate Vice Chancellor Steve Watkins gave an encouraging opening message to the group and set the stage for a great day.

Our Directors, Kylie Campbell and Ashlea Ward, reviewed advisor and counselor school assignments and their expectations for the upcoming year. Kylie announced an exciting and impressive update: Bakersfield College is leading the Dual Enrollment efforts across the state with 9,023 enrollments for Spring 2022. Leadership at its finest!

The Program Managers had the opportunity to discuss updates for their prospective areas. Kara McDonald shared very detailed, and data driven information from our 2022 success and progress in the Senior Matriculation efforts, innovative ways to communicate with partners and students, projections leading up to Fall 2022, and the goals for the next academic year.

Alma Feathers and Berenice Arellano provided an overview of the 2021-2022 Early College success data and the schools that met the enrollment goals. In addition, they highlighted our 116 high school students that graduated with associate degrees. Summer academies and events are off to a great start. Berenice led the efforts for student field trips in Administration of Justice, Industrial Automation, Psychology and Public Health, and has received positive feedback from the students that participated.

Planning for the 2022-2023 academic year is underway with enrollment goals and strategies for success on the forefront.

The retreat wrapped up with a working hour, giving the staff time to set personal and professional goals as well as using the time to connect with their partners.

Special thanks to Vice Chancellor Manny Mourtzanos, who was able to join me in visiting the BC Early College team.

We look forward to the impact the team will make this upcoming year!


In the News

How to improve job prospects locally? CERF wants to help

The Daily Independent of Ridgecrest published an article about this week’s CERF (Community Economic Resilience Fund) update meeting at Cerro Coso Community College. For more about CERF, visit the Kern Community College District website. A recording of Monday’s meeting, as well as recordings from other meetings, are available at https://www.kccd.edu/cerf/meetings-updates.

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

Porterville College President Claudia Habib shared this post:

I feel inspired and energized surrounded by these amazing leaders! Thank you to the amazing team at @UCDWheelhouse for the careful and intentional program #Leadership #CEOs @CalCommColleges

Cerro Coso hosted a community meeting about the CERF (Community Economic Resilience Fund) proposal:

 Dr. Sean Hancock, Stu Witt, facilitator Pawan Gill, Jessica Weston, and Dave Janiec discuss how to improve and retain job prospects in the local region. 

Here’s Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Maria Ramirez at the Latina Leaders event:

And finally, I’d like to share the video message I created last year for Becki Whitson’s birthday memorial celebration – her birthday is July 26:

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That’s a wrap for now.
See you next Saturday!

The future is bright at KernCCD.

-sonya
a joyful and grateful Chancellor

#KCCDDaringMightyThings