Tag Archives: Yinka Glover

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

One Week Left in Spring 2017!!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, May 6, 2017….a great day to be a Renegade

View from Room May 6 2017 Tahoe.JPG

That’s the view from my room as I start my blog in Tahoe attending the CCLC Annual Trustees Conference in Lake Tahoe.  Just beautiful! And the coffee is perfect.

Here is photo of Lake Tahoe.  Beautiful…serene.  Crater Lake in Oregon (a must see as well) is the deepest lake in the United States and Lake Tahoe the second.

Lake Tahoe May 7 2017.JPG

I drove to Tahoe via I-5 and I-80 but returned via Nevada Hwy 50 and Route 395.  The drive back went back and forth between rain and sunshine and I captured this brilliant rainbow ….of course, my iphone photo does not do it justice.

Rainbow off Route 395 May 7 2017.JPG

It was fun presenting with the statewide Vice Chancellor Theresa Tena on Guided Pathways.  Here is a tweet from Miles Nevin from Long Beach right after the presentation.  Was real happy to see Tom Burke, Chancellor of KCCD, in the audience.

Miles Nevin Tweet on Theresa Tena and Sonya Christian May 6 2017

I was also happy to see Doug Otto, Chair of the CCLC Board attend our session.

Sonya Christian Doug Otto Theresa Tena May 7 2017

Sonya Christian, Doug Otto, Theresa Tena

Pre-Law Day at BC

Pre-Law Mayor GohThis year Bakersfield College held its second annual Law Day Conference on Friday, April 28, 2017 which was open to both high school and college students.  Included in the program were several distinguished attorneys and judges from the Bakersfield legal community in addition to BC Professors: Christian Zoller, Charles Kim, Oliver Rosales, and Ed Borgens. Adjunct Professor Marilyn Sanchez and Pre Law Advisor, Pearl Urena, were also instrumental in the preparation and success of the event.

Sonya Christian and Karen Goh Law Conf April 30 2017Mayor Karen Goh opened the conference after making very poignant remarks by reading a proclamation.

 

I am so happy Lesley Bonds snapped this picture of me receiving the proclamation from the mayor.

 

The panel topics dealt with the 150th anniversary of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the challenges of the Law School path.  At the conclusion of the morning presentation,  discussion sessions took place and the audience received lunch in the Performance Arts Center courtyard. They then had the opportunity to participate in the Internship Fair held by various law schools at BC. As the BC Pre-Law Program continues to grow, future Law Day Conferences will also grow in order to accommodate the increased interest in the legal field. I can’t wait for next year’s conference!

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Congratulations Pre-Law Students!

Bakersfield College is one of 24 community colleges in the state of California participating in the Pre-Law pathway. This program is designed to help students matriculate more easily from Bakersfield College to a four-year university and on to a participating law school. We are happy to report that this year our first graduating class of 11 students has completed the recommended courses for our Pre-Law Program. We have students transferring to CSUB, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to San Diego. Best of luck to our Pre-Law graduates!

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Graduates present at the graduation (left to right): Diana Alvarez, Elaina Barker, Princess Herrera, Raquel Fuentes, ShaQuia Jones, Lucelle Irven, and Raul Munoz.

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Advisory Council and Leadership Team present at the celebration (front to back, left to right): Cynthia Loo, Christian Zoller, Yinka Glover, Pearl Urena, Steve Katz, David Torres, Courtney Lewis, Rebecca Murillo, Bethany Peak, Robert Tafoya, Charles Kim, and Ed Borgens.

 

 

 

Sonya Christian and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg May 3 2017“A Little Knight Music”

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs, and I found the perfect way to wind down after a busy Wednesday.

“A Little Knight Music” took place at the Outdoor Theater and featured all of BC’s performing ensembles and programs, including jazz ensemble, choir and chamber singers, orchestra, concert band, and commercial music ensemble (performing Bohemian Rhapsody!).  The evening also showcased some of our soon-to-be AA-T in Music graduates performing solos.

Linda Snoddy opened the evening.

Linda Snoddy May 3 2017

The Jazz Band directed by Kris Tiner was spectacular.  Loved Little Rootie Tootie.  Wish I captured a video clip for you to enjoy.

The Commercial Music Ensemble directed by Josh Ottum was a lot of fun.  I totally enjoyed Radioactive (Imagine Dragons) and The Scientist (Coldplay) and Nan was in ecstasy with Locked Out of Heaven (Bruno Mars)

Here I captured Nan in action dancing to Bruno Mars as we walked to the car at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night.  She said: “Bruno Mars Carpool Karaoke. Bruno Mars Uptown Funk Mark Ronson, (featuring Bruno Mars). Now that is my favorite song.” Don’t you love it!

Well, back to the program…

The BC Combined Choirs directed by Jen Garrett performed Baba Yetu a powerful Swahili adaptation of The Lord’s Prayer.

The Combined Band and Orchestra directed by Dr. Kathryn Kuby did a great job with all their  pieces and in particular, the Pirates of the Caribbean.

The grand finale was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s You’ll Never Walk Alone/Climb Every Mountain by the BC Combined Band and Orchestra and Combined Choirs.

What a night!

Now listen to the Bohemian Rhapsody by our students:

 

 

2017 Leadership Academy

Congratulations to all the graduates from this year’s KCCD Leadership Academy!  From Bakersfield College: Victor Diaz, Chris Dison, Gustavo Enriquez, Raquel Lopez, Tracy Lovelace, Christine Morales, Tarina Perry, Zenaida Tutop, and Reese Weltman. From Cerro Coso Community College, there are two graduates: Rebecca Rock and Matthew Wanta. From Porterville College, there are also two graduates: Elmer Aguilar and Patricia Serrato. And our District Office has one graduate: Cathi Jacob

Congratulations to you all from everyone at Bakersfield College!

LA 2017 Group

Thank you Genevieve Graber for the photos.  Here are the individual graduates.

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Give Big Kern

GiveBigKern (2)The 2nd annual Give Big Kern took place on May 2nd. The day of county-wide giving was coordinated by the Kern Community Foundation and had 101 different non-profits from Kern County participating in this year’s event!  Money raised will go directly toward students realizing their goals of higher education. Bakersfield is such a generous community and thanks to all that supported Bakersfield College. #WeAreBC

Public Health

Bakersfield College is always striving to improve the lives and future careers of our community by staying agile concerning the growing needs and demands. On April 24, many eager students in the Levan Center listened to the exciting information regarding the new programs that Bakersfield College will be implementing in the near future.

Sarah Baron Public Health Hackathon March 2017

Sarah Baron

With staggering statistics that show Kern County having the highest rates of STI’s in ages 18-24 year olds, highest teen pregnancy rates, as well as prediabetes affecting one in every 3 people, the need for those who obtain their degree in Public Health Science is on the rise. Part of the new program that is being put in place will allow students to obtain their Associate in Science in Public Health Science for Transfer and will also allow them to be a part of a Certificate of Achievement program that will require four specific classes. Students will have the opportunity to intern so that they will obtain experience to back up their degree.

Special thanks to Sarah Baron for making this information session possible.

Automotive Open House

Automotive Open House (2).jpgCTE in partnership with the Automotive Department Faculty hosted an open house on April 27th. It was a great event that welcomed both current BC students and current Kern County High School Juniors and Seniors. The evening included an informative presentation of the new program pathways, a student panel, and a tour of the automotive labs.

Thank you to the Automotive Faculty, Justin Flint, Andrew Haney & Dan Johnson; Dominica Rivera-Dominguez, CTE Educational Advisor & Stephanie Baltazar, CTE Job Development Specialist; and the Auto Student Panel, Morgan Langston, Javier Chavez, Mark Gildez, Derek Karns & Noe Cantu. Special thanks to Leticia Garza, Director K-14 Pathways, for allocating CTE Transition funding to support the event.

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Ceramic Sale

Professor Darrin Ekern, who has been practicing ceramics and pottery for 20 years, showcased and sold the pieces that students in Ceramics I, II, and III crafted this semester. The ceramics classes at Bakersfield College teach students how to make pottery, sculpture out of ceramics, and about the materials and process. “Ceramics is a highly process oriented medium. They learn about the clay and how to fire it and cook it in the kilns. As well as the actual crafting on the wheel for pottery and hand building which are more sculptural conceptual pieces.”

Like all things beautiful, Ceramics requires a lot of patience. Once you get the technique down this can become a soothing yet exciting and fun way of creating art.

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Separation of Church and State

IMG_8180Eddie Tabash delivered a presentation on the First Amendment and the separation of church and state on Thursday evening. Mr.  Tabash is chair of the legal committee of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He is also a Los Angeles area constitutional lawyer and chairs the board of directors for the Center for Inquiry Transnational/Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.

The talk provided history of the religion clauses of the First Amendment that demonstrate that the Framers really intended for believers and nonbelievers to be equal before the law. This means that no branch of government can favor belief over nonbelief and that everyone, regardless of their views on religious topics, is to have equal rights in American society. Professor Olivia Garcia, described the evening as “powerful.”  Thank you to all who attended and thank you to Jack Hernandez for coordinating such fantastic programs for our students and the community.

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Retirement Reception

Old friends got a chance to catch up and share stories about working for BC at the Archives Association’s annual Retirement Reception on Thursday morning in the Fireside Room. Former Renegades such as Dr. Greg Chamberlain relished the opportunity to chat with faculty and staff over a beautiful selection of cheeses, fried cauliflower and other hors d’oeuvres provided by the Food Services department. Thank you Chef Eric Sabella. Some current faculty and staff members took time out of their busy end-of-the-year schedules to reminisce with some of their former coworkers. Thank you Archives staff – Jerry, Rosalee, Daniel, and Helen – for putting together this reception and all of the tireless work you do to keep the retired members of our Renegade family close.

Our 2016-2017 Honored Retirees:

Anna Agenjo, Edwin Barton, Richard Brantley, Carroll Brown, Elizabeth Cancio, Deborah Carmona, Nancy Coyle, Daniel Edwards, Marsha Eggman, Elizabeth Elms, Jana Fidler-Wiggers, Kathryn Goehring, Kathleen Howarth, Daniel Johnson, Odella Johnson, Joyce Kirst, Michael Komin, Janet Lewis, Connie Maranda, Tom Moehnke, Bill Parker, Katherine Pluta, Kathleen Rosellini, Rachel Vickrey, Scott Wayland, Melanie Wheeler-Hayes, Rita White, and Becki Whitson.

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Renegades Out and About

Luis HernandezI ran into Luis Hernandez at Vons a few weeks ago.

He’s a Renegade Alum who is now studying Engineering at CSUB. He was in the Energy Academy and loved his time at BC.

I love any and every opportunity to quickly chat with our community and reminisce about their time at BC. I loved that Luis specifically mentioned how the classes at BC prepared him well for his upper division courses at CSUB.

Emails Worth Sharing

Eileen Pierce tagged me in an email this week where the title was “You all are amazing!” and it was a personal note from her to her SI Instructors. The Supplemental Instruction program at BC is essentially group tutoring led by a fellow student, known as an SI Leader or SI Instructor. The SI Leaders attend classes with you so they know what the pace of the class is and what is being expected of the students. More details can be found on the Supplemental Instruction Page on BC’s website.

Back to the email, I was struck by how impactful these programs are and how valuable our students are when they serve one another. Eileen said, “Just now, I shut my office door so that I could read through all 45 of the SI Leader evaluations that you all have returned to me so far via Survey Monkey.  And I am wiping away tears.  Thank you so much for giving of yourselves to mentor and encourage these SI Leaders.  As you all know already, they don’t come to us perfectly formed and are still in need of a great deal of nurturing.  On the other hand, they are positively bursting with potential, and with each day that goes by, we catch more and more of a glimpse of the gems they are becoming.

Every mark and every comment you indicated on these evals is so valuable to your SI Leader (and, of course, I will only share those that you want to have shared).   You are the ones closest to your Leaders in the network of SI relationships, so you have the unique ability to impact them for a lifetime.I couldn’t feel more honored and blessed to work with each and every one of you.  You have gone above and beyond the mere call of duty as faculty.  From my heart, I thank you for choosing to be involved with SI.”

Here are some photos of our SI Leaders in action.

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Superheroes Behind the Scenes

Have I mentioned yet that I’m the luckiest college president in the world? I get to work with the most incredible team of administrators, staff, faculty, and students. I’d like to highlight a couple of them!

Keri Kennedy

Speaking of amazing students on campus – we have amazing staff as well.

KeriI’m still smiling and thinking about last Friday, our commitment day to The Kern Promise. If you haven’t seen last Saturday’s blog, check it out here! It’s an incredible program which will greatly improve the future success of our students and the community.

There is so much detailed work that goes on behind the scenes to make exciting events and programs a reality at BC. Keri Kennedy is a dedicated completion coach who makes herself available to every single promise student. She reviews each and every application and transcript, she individually follows up with each of them, she oversees the multiple measures placement to insure students are placed appropriately, and she does everything she can to help every student reach their maximum potential. Thank you Keri for everything you do!

Mary Jo Pasek

Mary Jo is everywhere on the BC campus! As our Community Relations and Event and Scheduling Manager, almost everyone who attends an event on campus will see MJ out and about. She sent an email recently highlighting all the busy happenings in her department over the course of two weeks and WOW! From the Health Fair with a record number of vendors to Gardenfest, retirement celebrations, community events, student events like career day, Presidents Breakfast, The Kern Promise –  oh and booking the U.S. Air Force Band for an outdoor concert this summer! So many exciting happenings on campus are touched by the work of Mary Jo Pasek and her crew!

 

Here is a great photo of Mary Jo Pasek and Susan Hopkins, Event Specialist.  Thank you for all that you do.  #WeAreBC

Nick Strobel

Did you see Nick Strobel’s newest stargazing article?

Check it out at

http://www.bakersfield.com/entertainment/nick-strobel-cassini-delivers-on-images-from-saturn-pass/article_248bd401-c9ab-514a-ade6-a3c5b30a5678.html

The Kern Promise

As I just mentioned, I’m still smiling thinking about last Friday and this week Kern Promise Program Manager, Shanell Tyus, met with Bakersfield City School District Superintendent, Doc Ervin, to get his signature on The Kern Promise commitment. What a great photo!

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Superintendent Doc Ervin, Shanell Tyus

 

Did you know?

https://twitter.com/CalCommColleges/status/860212618350346241

It’s always a great day to learn something new. Thursday was “May the Fourth be with You” and  I saw on Twitter this week that George Lucas attended a California Community College! Did you know that?! Know any other cool CA Community College facts? I’d love to read them in the comments.

Renegade Athletics Roundup from Francis Mayer

While the 2016-2017 athletic season is winding to a close, there are still a few teams out of our 20 that are still competing!

The BC Swim team is competing in the CCCAA State Championships at East Los Angeles College. Brian Bender and Jennifer Quan are still competing as individuals, while the men’s relay team of Bender, Kenneth Rodriguez, Cameron Reeves, and Steve Santana are hoping to make a mark for the Renegades after a grueling season in the pool. The competition will be the last of Santana’s intercollegiate career before he transfers to UC Santa Barbara and concentrates his efforts on getting a Chemistry degree. Good luck, Steven!

Renegade Track & Field is competing at the Southern Californian Prelims this weekend at Cerritos College, and then they’ll compete at the SoCal Finals next weekend (also at Cerritos) before wrapping up their season with the CCCAA State Championships at American River College. We’ve followed Jacob Bookout’s incredible High Jump season as he seems poised to break a record or jump right out of the stadium every time he approaches the bar! But his teammate Cesar Patino has put together a pretty amazing season in the 1500. He just clinched the conference championship by two seconds, and Coach Pam Kelley says that isn’t very close when it comes to a race like the 1500.

“It was a very strategic race; it started slow, and that played right into his trap,” Coach Kelley told Sports Information Director Francis Mayer, “The other runners were saving themselves for the 5000, or maybe they didn’t think they needed to exert themselves to win, so Cesar went for it and he won.”

Coach Kelley feels like Cesar could win a state title for BC in the 1500, as long as he keeps doing what he’s done all season…as Cesar hasn’t lost a single 1500 meter race ALL SEASON! Fingers crossed, Cesar!

Our athletes aren’t the only ones winning competitions! Wrestling Coach Brett Clark competed in the Master’s Nationals and won both the Greco and Freestyle National Championships! Coach Clark competed in the Class B (for athletes with birthdays from 1974 to 1982) 130kg bracket for “Team Fluffy”, and the wins were the third consecutive time he’s “doubled up” and swept his division.

“The team is something (BC Assistant Coach and former state champion) Ryan Meloche put together with comedian Gabriel Iglesias a few years ago,” Coach Clark explained, “We do this to remind us older guys to stay in shape, and that fitness doesn’t need to end when our collegiate careers are over. We have families that need us, and friends that we need to be there for, so we have to stay in shape.”

Way to go, Coach Clark!

Coach Brett Clark

There is so much more to blog about… The end of year event in my backyard for the leadership of BC and KCCD, the Board meeting at Cerro Coso Community College.  But alas due to my travels and needing to turn my attention to another important event I must stop for now. But will pick up where I left off on May 13th. Until then……

Sonya Christian Creekside Inn Bishop May 7 2017

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

 

Every Day is Something to Celebrate

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, February 11, 2017 and a good day to be a Renegade.

heidi-scottIt seemed as it all of Bakersfield packed St. Francis on Thursday, 2/9, at 12:00 noon to honor Trice Harvey.

It was a very nice service with beautiful music.  And Heidi Scott…..Have you heard her sing?  What emotion…what a voice!  She moved me to tears.

I so wanted to capture her version of Here I am Lord and Precious Lord Take my Hand on my iphone, but felt it was not appropriate.

So you get youtube instead

Precious Lord Take My Hand

 

 

There were many wonderful Trice Harvey stories. The first speaker told one about beating Bakersfield College when he was the Quarterback at Taft College. (I thought “What! ….. I’m sorry that I never got the opportunity to speak with Trice about that to set the record straight.”)

KCCD was well represented.  I spotted Trustee Kay Meek, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Trustee Bill Thomas, and Chancellor Tom Burke.

Check out the piece by James Burger in The Bakersfield Californian
http://tinyurl.com/hatv6h9

Here is a photo by Henry Barrios of The Bakersfield Californian.

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Summer Bridge

BC is already gearing up for our Summer Bridge 2017 which kicks off with Saturday sessions starting April 29th.  Here is the cover photo with faculty, staff, and peer mentors along with  BC SUMMER Bridge students 2016.  Information for 2017 is available now
https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/sse/bridge-to-BC.  Make sure you “like” the Summer Bridge page on Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/summerbridgeBC/?hc_ref=SEARCH

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BC Athletics

womenbeatlapierceBC Athletics home games will always energize you before a busy week.  Last weekend’s Basketball game did not disappoint! BC had come out to support our students, Coach Hughes and Coach Dahl. It’s a great time to be at BC and it’s a great time to support our Renegades! Miss coming to the game? Check out the recap written by Francis Mayer at
http://gogades.com/sports/wbkb/2016-17/releases/20170207l29t01.

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Napa Valley IEPI PRT Visit

By Monday, I was in Napa chairing a Tuesday event on strengthening program and institutional planning processes. It was raining hard, but boy… Napa is beautiful and the work we accomplished was great. IEPI (Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative) is a statewide collaborative effort to help advance the practices of the California Community Colleges. This is a great team: Kristina Whalen (City College of San Francisco), Randy Beach (Southwestern College), Mandy Lang (City College of San Francisco), Stephen Eaton (Barstow College)

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Sonya Christian, Kristina Whalen, Randy Beach, Mandy Liang, Stephen Eaton

Campaign for College Opportunity Visits BC

sonya-pillars-2partsOn February 8th, Audrey Dow, Senior Vice President for the Campaign for College Opportunity, brought a group to campus to learn about Bakersfield College’s guided pathways efforts. The group met with faculty, administrators, staff, and students in the Fireside Room.  The Campaign for College Opportunity is an organization that works tirelessly on issues of equity.  They were a powerful voice behind SB 1440 the legislation that provided the 60-credit Associate Degree Transfer (ADT) pathways to the CSU system.  This single legislation has tremendously improved the transfer rates of students from BC to CSUB.  The Campaign for College Opportunity CEO, Michele Siqueiros, is wonderful and committed to making things happen.  For more http://collegecampaign.org/

 

We offered a short presentation: Janet Fulks, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, provided background information, preliminary data describing the college’s initial results after the implementation of multiple measures, and a discussion of the learning and career pathways. Dr. Paula Parks discussed the success of the ASTEP-Umoja program, and Kimberly Bligh introduced the group to our Summer Bridge Program.  Kimberly invited one of our students Kenneth Mireles to talk about the student experience.  Maria Wright, our new Director of Academic Support Services, discussed peer support, and Jessica Wojtysiak, who organized the event, closed our presentation with a discussion of Extend the Classroom and Completion Coaching Communities.

The presentations provided a great opportunity to consider some of the excellent progress being made at BC, and we all enjoyed a wonderful lunch prepared by Chef Eric.  I Must say that BC has the very best Culinary Program and our Food Services rocks!

Thank you to all who participated and attended, including Congressman and Trustee Bill Thomas! Here are some photos!

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I was so proud to hear about the work the college has been doing to advance student success and student learning.  What a talented group of faculty and staff at BC….Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

Guided Pathways:

eloy-oakley-uciThe Guided Pathways conversation continues in high gear across the state.  Here is a recent email from our statewide Chancellor for the 114 community colleges, Eloy Oakley

CA Guided Pathways Project: I am pleased to report that on December 6, the College Futures Foundation approved funding for the CA Guided Pathways Project. The CA Guided Pathways Project will create a framework for colleges to integrate their planning and resources in order to focus on improving student outcomes and reimagining the student experience. This is an important initiative for the system, as it will create a foundation for comprehensive professional learning and tools for colleges to better use data to improve student outcomes. The model helps colleges clarify paths to student end goals, helps students select a program and stay on path, and ensure quality learning. By creating structured educational experiences that support each student from point of entry to attainment of high-quality postsecondary credentials and employment in a chosen field, the project is intended to increase the number of students earning community college credentials, while closing equity gaps. In early 2017, 15 to 20 community colleges will be selected to implement the California Guided Pathways Model from a competitive application and interview process. Colleges will participate in six two-day institutes, which will focus on key elements required to implement a fully-scaled pathway model which serves all students at a community college, plus receive support on the change process from expert coaches. Each college will commit to have implemented guided pathways for all incoming students by 2019. You can find the press release on the website of the Foundation for California Community Colleges.

Celebrating at the Kern Co. Bar Association Dinner

img_8760Bakersfield College has the incredible honor of being involved with partnerships and initiatives which bring our young people closer to their dreams and enhance opportunities for our community to grow. The Kern County Superintendent of Schools do amazing work with local high school students in conjunction with the Kern County Bar Association. Among this work, events such as the Mock Trial, We the People programs, and Constitution Day are making an impact on our young people.

Steve Sanders from KCSOS was at the February 9th event which was organized by Judge Robert Tafoya to

1) recognize and celebrate past collaborations between the legal community, the educational community and the community at large and

2) To present two new student oriented legal programs.  The Bakersfield College Pathway to Law Initiative  (Two years in a community college, two years in a four-year institution to earn a BA or BS and three years in law school).  The other program is the Young Writers of Kern Essay Contest, a collaborative effort  of the Writers of Kern, many school districts, the Kern County Bar Association and the Bakersfield College Pre-Law Program and BC’s ASTEP Program founded by Professor Paula Parks.  This year’s essay contest is on social media and whether it is a relevant news source. Our advisory council members are mentoring pre-law students and internships are in place with David Wolf and Steven Katz.

president-thuy-thi-nguyenMoving forward, I can’t wait for our next Law Day event on Friday, April 28th.

I was disappointed that Thuy Thi Nguyen, President of Foothill College was not there to receive her award.  Cynthia Loo described Thuy’s work in starting the pre-law program.  Let’s toast President Thuy Thi Nguyen for her leadership and dedication to student success!

Judge Robert Tafoya was incredibly inspirational and I asked him to send me his remarks for my weekly blog.  Here they are – please sit back and enjoy Judge Tafoya.

David Brooks in his book “The Social Animal” reminds us that

We humans are social animals. When trying to figure who we are or the essence of any person we start from the supposition that we are born in to relationships-with parents and ancestors-and that those relationships possess certain qualities, good and bad. We surmise that a person grows through interaction within his or her relationships. Our habits, beliefs, attitudes, values, goals, assumptions, personalities emerge from relationships. First with mothers, fathers, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins and as one matures with folks outside the immediate family like neighbors, teachers, classmates, roommates, co-workers, employers and spouses and friends we make throughout a lifetime.  Through the interaction of these relationships we learn about our world and how to navigate its trials and tribulations.

I prop0se that these truisms about humans and relationships  also  apply to the development of  communities and nations in that a community is established, develops and evolves within the context of individual and institutional relationships.  A community through a networking process among individuals and groups creates systems of governance that allows for cohesion and stability. For example, one can assess the essence or the lifeblood of the health of a community by examining the quality of its educational systems, its healthcare systems, its police-citizen relationships, its legal and judicial systems, its economic systems and the the governing institutions that respond to the needs of  its poor, its children, it’s disabled.

robert-tafoya-feb-9-2017The purpose of today’s reception is to honor the  significance of relationships, or partnerships or collaborations that have been established and maintained over the years by and between Kern county students, parents, educators, lawyers, judges and business folk. Specifically the kcba and the kcsc want to acknowledge all of those persons and institutions responsible for the establishment and development of the mock trial program, the we the people program, the constitution day program and now the creation of three new education/legal collaborations: namely, the bakersfield college’s pathway to law initiative, the bc and csub’s prelaw programs and the young writers of kern essay competition.

Why is this important one may ask. Consider the common themes promoted through these student, teacher, lawyer, judicial and business collaborations. 1) pursuing a legal career is a worthwhile goal, 2) learning understanding the particulars of a liberal democracy like the bill of rights is essential to its survival  3) that the work of responsible citizenship requires commitment and the development of critical thinking  and learning skills and 4) that the overriding goal of our government is to promote the rights and welfare  of  the individual as defined in our constitution . A free and open democratic election does not guarantee the enjoyment of our basic liberties like freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of association.  Our constitutional rights are secured  by creating a culture that includes norms, practices, and traditions that honor and promote the rule of law, respect for an independent judiciary, reverence  for the separation of church and state and deference to the dynamic relationship between the three branches of our government that forms the basis of our system of checks and balances that in turn prevents the abuse of our constitutional rights.

By continuing to support the collaboration of the programs i mention here today, for example by acting as a mentor, a mock trial judge, an advisor,  a student coach, a  role model or financial donor we recognize the elementary notion that our basic liberties as Americans are not birthrights are not entitlements but are  fragile  freedoms gifted to us by prior generations going back to september 17, 1787 with the expectation that we,  as stewards of these liberties, remain vigilant to their sustainability by defending them when challenged and by teaching them to younger generations. To remain true to the oaths we took as lawyers, judges and elected officials to  support and defend the constitution  we must assume responsibility for teaching, guiding, inspiring, and encouraging that irrepressible life force we call  our children to truly appreciate the necessity of being good citizens. Participating in mock trial or we the people or constitution day, or being mentors to college students or promoting the development of critical thinking, writing and research skills  we are engaged in the hard work of democracy.  We are collaborating in the difficult task of promoting responsible citizenship.   Today we are here to honor this collaborative  process and by acknowledging its importance and the relationships that buttress this process we keep our country strong.

It was great to also see H.A. Sala at the event – a great supporter of BC and our students! What an inspiration to our young people.  And thank you David Torres for your support with Measure J.

It was wonderful running into Mary Copeland who encouraged me to restart BC’s debate program.

Thank you to our Advisory Commmittee, Judge Tafoya, Bethany Peak, David Torres, Yinka Glover, Steven Katz, James Maddox, Alexia Torres Stallings, and Cynthia Loo.

And thank you Dr. Manny Mourtzanos and Pearl Urena for your commitment to the program.  BC has so many amazing faculty and staff so committed to our students.  Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

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Garden Pathways Garden Party

Thursday night was packed with events…after the KC bar Association event, I rushed over to the the 8th annual Garden Pathways Garden Party on Thursday evening. Garden Pathways motto is “Building community from the inside out” and what a wonderful message that is!  Karen Goh, our new mayor and CEO of Garden Pathways, has done a nice job in raising the profile of this important community organization.

Garden Pathways is a community based nonprofit mentoring children, youth, and adults to build productive lives. The official website says, “Diverse mentoring and education programs lead families to educational advancement, employment, family stability, self-sufficiency, healthy living, and improved quality of life. The programs of Garden Pathways provide a wide range of life-building services to the Kern County community.”

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Sonya Christian with Board Member Darlene Mohlke and Executive Director Louis Gill from the Bakersfield Homeless Center

I saw Louis Gill, the CEO of the homeless center and snapped a photo. Seeing him reminds me that we may not always know the struggles or life stumbles people may have been through [or are going through] to get to where they are, but there are such tremendous resources in our community for people to take advantage of.

The work in particular that the Kern Homeless Center is doing for individuals and families in crisis is truly inspiring.  We should all remember organizations like this when we think about how we may give of our time.  Thank you Louis Gill for the amazing job you’ve done for women and families in Kern County.

Check out the Homeless Center’s volunteer information and their current needs at http://bakhc.org/volunteer/

The evening was full of familiar faces, laughter, wonderful food, and support for our community. The evening’s co-hosts were Brad and Brooke Antonioni, Joan Dezember, Robert and Beckie Diltz, Rick and Shannon Grove, Darcy Marshall and Barbara Grimm-Marshall, Maureen Napier, Kevin and Tuesdy Small, and Ray and Marlene Watson.

If you missed attending this year’s event, don’t miss the chance to learn more about Garden Pathways. Check out their website at http://www.gardenpathways.org/

I really enjoyed hanging out with the BC folks who were there.  Nicky Damania and Jennifer Achan are two relatively new administrators at BC, extremely smart, dedicated, work long hours and real fun to be with.  And of course, Mary Jo Pasek who tirelessly works to get the information about BC out there in the community.  Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

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Jennifer Achan, Nicky Damania, Sonya Christian, Mary Jo Pasek

 

Throughout the Week in the World of Athletics

It was an eventful Thursday with women’s Tennis, softball and baseball playing at BC.

Coach Nick Loudermilk and the tennis team have really done a great job this season. On a recent road trip to San Diego, the team had some time on their hands to take advantage of the ‘Escape Room’ an attraction that forces groups to use teamwork to solve smaller challenges on the way to unfolding a larger mystery that will allow them to escape the locked room they are in. They were successful and their team’s creative drive and focus also showed on Thursday when the Renegades had a big win over Glendale College to move to 7-0 on the season.  Paige Darstein and Chloe Moreno clinched the victory with a win at #1 doubles.

Softball, 2-3 on the season had a successful home opener with a 7-0 win over Taft College.  Coach Hill “we hit the ball well, and we played solid in the field. It was nice to have it come together.”

Alexis Solis and Naizemare Ubay led the Renegades with two hits apiece. Starting pitcher McKenna Valencia picked up the win.

Coach Painton’s baseball team had a great outing by starting pitcher Taylor Burns against El Camino, unfortunately the offense got blocked by their opposing pitcher and the team moved to 4-4 on the season. The good news is this was the first of a three game series so they have two more chances at El Camino Friday at 6pm (weather permitting) or Saturday at  noon.

Coach Paula Dahl posted on Facebook, “Great time with the team after beating Santa Monica. Only two more chances to watch this amazing team play. Saturday at 5:00 and Wednesday the 15th at 7:00 pm. Come and join the fun!”

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Doug Grimsley and BC’s Inmate Education Program

SonyaChristian_DouglasGrimsleyOne of our adjunct professors, Doug Grimsley, is teaching Political Science in the North Kern State Prison as part of an ongoing Inmate Education program.  Doug has received high praise for his passion and “captivating” teaching style.

Here are a couple of hand-written responses from students in the program.

I am compelled to share with the administration that Mr. Grimsley is an asset to your staff.  He came to North Kern State Prison and completely captured our attention as he subjected us to a lecture only course.  Not only was it very informative and inspiring, but he engaged the class throughout the Fall 2016 semester.  I personally think he deserves recognition for his determined success in educating men unacquainted with the political arena.  We have definitely obtained higher educational status.

“Best part of the program: The acquisition of knowledge has always been a big draw for me.  It is the people, however, that I believe can be accurately be described as “The best part of the program.”  Hands down, Mr. Grimsley, Chelsea, Alma and the other BC volunteers will forever be seared in my memory bank as incredible human beings.  They are, once more, “The best part of the program.”

As Chelsea Esquibias has told me, every time she brings Doug’s courses into the prisons, the students “rave about his teaching style and commitment to their learning.”

I couldn’t be more proud to know such dedicated teachers who are truly passionate about learning and the importance of character-building through education.  Great work Doug Grimsley! And great work Chelsea Esquibias.  Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

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Celebrating Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month, Patrick Jackson, Bakersfield NAACP President, presented at the February 10th African American Mentoring Program. He spoke on racism and encouraged AAMP students to understand how to overcome racism and be successful in their lives. Over twenty BC students were in attendance. Thank you to Julian West, Reggie Bolton, and Mandelyn Hobbs.patrick-jackson

The Simple Joys

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By Friday morning, I needed a tiny pick-me-up and stopped by Starbucks for my morning coffee. Kasey, my barista, knew my name and my order. A tall soy latte. How cool is that?

It felt like Cheers where everyone knows your name! Thank you Kasey!

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And I have a message worth sharing that came in via our Bakersfield College Facebook.

John Cohrs said, “My wife, son and I enjoy walking on campus on the BC weekends. Our son, Jack, who will soon be 12 and has autism, decided today that he wanted to help keep the campus clean. So he took a trash bag along and was happy to pick up as much as he could. We love BC; my wife is a student there and I have been an adjunct faculty in the past (along with being a student a LONG time ago).”

Thank you sharing, John. I absolutely love the photo of your wife, Kelley and son, Jack.

Happy Birthday June!

June Charles, Administrative Assistant for the Vice President of Student Services started as a temp and has been at BC now for 18 years! Happy Birthday June!  We love you!

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Sonya cropped June 24 2016

 

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever