Tag Archives: Zav Dadabhoy

Sunsetting May 2021 as BC Builds Bridges

This week I read an article about the Brooklyn Bridge. May 24th was the 138th anniversary of the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, which connected New York and Brooklyn for the first time in history. It seems almost impossible now to imagine a time when those two cities were not connected. And the sheer amount of planning, thought, work and engineering that went into what became the “eighth wonder of the world.”

I’m so pleased to see resources set aside in the upcoming nationwide infrastructure plan that will help restore our great nation’s precious bridges — a thing of remarkable beauty and great engineering feat.

And it’s not only physical bridges that are key to maintaining our relationships. Our metaphorical bridges also must be maintained so that we can continue to connect with people and ideas that otherwise may have been unreachable.

That’s why I’m so proud of the Bridge to BC program. This high-touch, high-tech program helps our first-year students get all the support and guidance they need to be successful. This year’s program will be fully online, designed as a one-week course with online sections that run Monday through Saturday. The sessions will run from June through August, and are available to all our incoming freshmen, including those who earned college credits in high school.

Chancellor Tom Burke visiting Bridge to BC before COVID. With Isabel Casteneda and Kimberly Bligh

The thousands of students who completed Bridge to BC over the last 6 years were twice as likely to attempt and complete more units, including transfer level Math and English, and to persist Fall-to-Fall than non-Bridge students. 

Stephanie Ruiz

Stephanie Ruiz, a studio arts major who plans to transfer to CSUB, wrote a piece in the Bakersfield Californian about how the Bridge to BC program helped her:

“When Bridge to BC returns to being an on-campus or hybrid experience, I know students just like me will continue to benefit, learning to navigate college both online and on campus. This experience was a great introduction and it made my first year enjoyable even though all my classes were online. This next year, I feel even more prepared to tackle my classes with confidence thanks to all the support from Bridge to BC.”

Kimberly Bligh and our entire Bridge to BC team are truly remarkable.

Where would we all be without bridges?

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, May 29, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

Thousand Flags at The Park at River Walk

If you’re looking for a way to honor our heroes over Memorial Day weekend, head out to The Park at River Walk where Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary Club will present “Thousand Flags.” 

Bakersfield College and Rotary have been partners in many ways over the years, and the college has close ties to the Breakfast Rotary club in that Cheryl Scott, Mary Jo Pasek, and Mindy Wilmot are all members of the club, and of course Chancellor Tom Burke is a member as well!

Umoja Community honors all African-American grads

Umoja Community African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence (ASTEP) celebrated student accomplishments and honored all African-American graduates.

Despite the challenging times, there was much to celebrate: Umoja grew in the number of courses and in programing. Jazz Appreciation, taught by Kris Tiner, and Statistics for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, taught by David Reiss, were both offered in Umoja with an African-American cultural component.

In addition, Umoja in conjunction with the Nursing department created the Employment Preparation Academy – exposing four pre-nursing students to options in the nursing field and giving them tips on applying to BC’s program.

But the real highlight of the program was honoring the eighteen participating African-American graduates. Two students shared their struggles and triumphs on the way to completing their associates degrees.

Zariyah Hall

Explained Zariyah Hall, who struggled in high school: “It wasn’t until I joined Umoja that I saw the value of my journey. I learned that I have an ancestral obligation to be successful and that revolutionary patience is a virtue. These are lessons I will take with me.”

She added that she will attend an Historically Black College in the fall and earn a degree in communication with the goal of creating content that tells the stories of Black people.

Shorell Darrett

Shorell Darrett said she almost didn’t make it: “I found myself in one of those dark moments and lost my focus when my younger brother died from COVID and my sister from cancer within the same week during my finals. I couldn’t see myself finishing, but here I am graduating with three degrees (early childhood education, communication, and liberal arts) and cum laude. I am forever thankful to my village: family, friends, BC counselors, and professors who held up the light that guided me.”

Thank you to Umoja Coordinator Dr. Paula L. Parks, Executive Director of Outreach and Early College Steve Watkin, and Educational Advisor Daron Mackey for making this event happen.

Umoja is accepting applications for fall and offering enrollment sessions throughout the summer. See https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/student/aai/umoja for more information.

Virtual Express Enrollment Event on June 2

Last week, Bakersfield College’s Outreach Team served over 230 students during their Express Enrollment Event on May 19th. We hope to see similar turnout throughout the summer! The next Express Enrollment Event is Wednesday June 2 from 12pm to 8pm.

Register here: https://forms.gle/og858uCosjSU6Cao9 or visit the website at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/registrationrocks

There will also be three more Express Enrollment events planned for this summer, on June 16th from 12pm to 5pm, July 7th from 12pm to 8pm, and August 11th from 12pm to 8pm.

Thank you to the Child Development Center

I wanted to share this touching email from a student, thanking our Child Development Center Rosita Barron:

Hello,

My name is Sapphire Hernandez. I am the mother to Daniel Bredemann, a current student and Elizabeth Bredemann, a former student. When I originally had my children I became discouraged that I would no longer be able to pursue a higher education. After a few years I left the state I was living in, left my job and moved back with my mother determined to make a better life for my children. This semester I ended all my prerequisites for my nursing degree, graduating with a 3.8 GPA. I am eligible to apply to both BC and CSUB nursing program. I just really wanted to express my gratitude towards the Child Development Program. Knowing that my children are in a safe place with people who are honestly invested in their well being feels like a blessing. I know that my achievements would not have been possible without this program. I really appreciate the support and feel determined to achieve my goal of becoming a nurse.  

Thank you. 

I’m so proud of the Child Development Center and all they do to help our student parents. In fact, at this year’s Closing Day celebration, the CDC team received my President’s Leadership Award:

Closing Day 2021

Our first day of Closing Day 2021 programming also featured a musical performance from the Bakersfield College Choir, Chamber Singers, and Renegade Chorus. Please enjoy “In Meeting We Are Blessed”:

Vice President of Instruction Billie Jo Rice also recognized our faculty receiving tenure:

All the videos from our Closing Day programming are available at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/president/closing-day-spring-2021.

BC Hosts Fire Department Training Session

This week, Bakersfield College welcomed friends from the Bakersfield City Fire Departments Technical Search and Rescue Team to the Panorama campus. The BFD team used blocked off areas of the campus to perform non-invasive training exercises and drills utilizing GPS, search cameras, and activities focused on search and reconnaissance. I am so happy that our campus continues to be a place of learning, growth, and skills attainment for our community.

Commencement 2021 Tribute

Our 2021 Commencement again went virtual with a special tribute program that aired on KGET and Telemundo.

Today, I’d like to share a few videos from that production.

Outgoing BCSGA President Gian Gayatao’s remarks:

And our Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation graduates.

You can see all the videos from the program at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/admissions/2021-commencement-tribute.

Poetry Corner

Another Jack Hernandez poem, inspired by the horrific violence facing parts of the world:

A Distant Country

My car is being routinely
serviced    oil changed
brakes and tires checked,
I at a table by a window
drinking special coffee
watching people order
their favorites to go.

In a distant country
dusty and war weary
young school girls
leaving their classroom day
are shredded by a bomb,
their clothing now
bloody pieces,
their parents weeping.

My car is ready for the road.
The girls are lowered into the ground.

In the News

Community Voices: The Crowning Glory of Vaccines

Dr. Brij Bhambi

Dr. Brij Bhambi wrote about the importance of vaccination and continued mitigation measures as we fight to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic:

“As I have reiterated ad nauseam, vaccine hesitancy is the last mile we need to triumph through doctors offices. It’s the steepest part of the hill, the part where you retool to summit the top.”

You can read more of Dr. Bhambi’s thoughts on the blog he and I have created together, https://bhambiandchristian.com/.

Community Voices: Out of the cave, into the sun

Jack Hernandez’ piece in the Bakersfield Californian looked at what good might come after over a year of pandemic:

“So as we leave the shadows of the pandemic, let us also leave the false shadows of so-called normal life. Let us leave all the shadows of the cave. Let us emerge into the clear sunlight of the truth about what is really important in life: that we care for others, our families, our friends, our neighbors, the strangers who are homeless.

Community Voices: Education is peacebuilding

Kara McDonald wrote about the place education has in building peace in our society:

“So, what if in school, we were taught to recognize indicators of conflict? Or how to have non-violent conflict? Or how to listen with empathy and curiosity instead of judgment? Our lives would also be exponentially easier if we understood peace as much as we understand conflict. We would navigate conflict more easily, there would likely be less violence, and we would develop societies where peace, justice, and equity are able to thrive.”

I’d like to share a few more videos from the Educators for Peace seminar on May 18.

The first question in that seminar was “what is peace, and what does a peaceful future look like to you?”

Here is Jessica Wojtysiak responding to that:

And Richard McCrow:

You can see all the videos from the Educators for Peace seminar, as well as the Mothers for Peace seminar, at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/president/bc-peace-initiative.

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

I loved this message from Bakersfield City Councilmember Andrae Gonzales, about the Cash for the Arts utility box project. These are near Williams Elementary in East Bakersfield:

Olivia Garcia got some exercise with her mother:

Check out this view from Faith Bradham, who shared a picture from Canyonlands National Park:

Abel Guzman shared this note from the McFarland graduation – Early College team members Alma Feathers and Raquel Lopez were on hand to celebrate our Early College graduates from McFarland. Congratulations class for 2021!

This week, Cerro Coso Community College President Sean Hancock hosted Zav Dadabhoy (who will be BC’s interim president), Porterville College President Claudia Habib, and myself.

President Claudia Habib, Incoming President Zav Dadabhoy, President Sean Hancock, Incoming Chancellor Sonya Christian

I also had to share this throwback photo of Neo, four years ago, taken June 3, 2017.

Athletics

Congratulations to former Renegade Hector Ruvalcaba, who was named to the 2021 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association’s 2021 All-Central Region Team. Hector now plays for Oklahoma Baptist University.

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That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Keeping our community healthy. We are BC!

Today, we pass a milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic. While the first US death was announced on February 29, 2020, later studies found that the first US death from COVID-19 was on February 6, 2020. Since then, over 450,000 people in the United States have died due to COVID-19.

It has been a harrowing year, but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as more and more people receive the vaccine.

This week, Bakersfield College was given official approval as a site to administer to COVID-19 vaccinations. The college is engaged in discussions with Kern County Public Health to develop plans to support the vaccination effort in Kern County. To prepare for our first shipment of the vaccine, BC staff members who will be on-site to assist members of the community at the clinic got their first doses of the vaccine. I received these photos of Zav Dadabhoy, Nicky Damania, and Steve Watkin getting vaccinated.

I also wanted to share this note from Zav:

“Nurse graduated from Bakersfield College. Said it was the best thing since sliced bread. Lots of praise for the program overall, specially for Lisa Harding. I learned something new today, don’t put hand sanitizer on a glove. It destroys the protection of the glove. Thanks BC nursing!”

Dr. Zav Dadabhoy, VP Student Affairs
Steve Watkin, Exec Dir of Outreach and School Relations

I am so excited that once again, BC can step up and offer support to a community that has always supported us. Here is a photo of Bill Kelly getting his vaccination. Thank you Prof. Deb Rosenthal for facilitating BC employees over 65 getting their vaccinations. I am collecting and sharing vaccination photos and videos so plz send me your photos/videos by emailing president@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

Bill Kelly, Faculty Emeritus

Our fantastic nursing faculty and students, BC’s pandemic heroes, have already been hard at work giving vaccines at various sites throughout Kern County.

Art professor David Koeth also sent in a photo from his sister-in-law Sharon Nold, who received her vaccine from a BC nursing student at the Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley Hospital drive-through last weekend:

And Nursing Department Chair Alisha Loken shared this post on her Facebook page about her nursing students giving out vaccines:

I’m so proud of our nursing students and faculty, who are continuing to work on the frontlines of this pandemic to keep our community healthy and safe!

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, February 6, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

Dr. Michael Saag Breaks Down the COVID-19 Vaccine

For our first President’s Virtual Seminar of 2021, we invited special guest Dr. Michael Saag, a dean of global health at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and a prominent researcher of infectious diseases, to educate the campus about vaccines. Dr. Saag answered questions from BC students Ian Spark (Pre-med) and Kassandra Sweeney (Public Health Sciences) about the human body’s immunization process, projections of how the COVID-19 vaccine rollout will expand over the next few months, and his personal experience with contracting COVID-19 in the early weeks of the virus. Dr. Charles Daramola gave a brief introduction of Dr. Saag’s accomplishments and answered questions from students and staff in online chat about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Today, I’d like to share one of Dr. Saag’s answers from the seminar. He talks about how long he thinks the vaccine rollout might take

You can find the rest of his videos, as well as other videos from our Virtual Seminar Series, on the COVID-19 Resources page.

An Appointment

I wanted a share another poem from Jack Hernandez:

An Appointment

When death left me
 in the waiting room
I ordered my usual coffee
read the morning news
as voices blathered
on the big screen
covering the wall
adjoining the locked
door I had entered
moments before.
I was unsure
when my appointment
was scheduled,
when death would diagnose
my exit,
I had heard
he could be blunt
or sadly soft.
Either way I thought
I’d look him in the eye,
smile, then say,
“I have lived well
and like the wind
I will always swirl
in memories
beyond your door.”

Zav Dadabhoy Presents at Immigration Legal Services Webinar

In addition to receiving the vaccine, Zav Dadabhoy spoke at a Chancellor’s office webinar about services for undocumented and immigrant students. Zav focused his comments around the importance of a creative supportive environment for undocumented students, integrating support for students across disciplines and service areas across the campus, and keeping the community informed about their immigration rights and opportunities to support their success.

Watch the full presentation from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office for more details about the Immigration Legal Services Project. Zav’s comments start around 47 minutes into the Zoom video.

Early College Administrators Convene to Celebrate Success and Discuss Future Opportunities

As you may have seen on Twitter, I welcomed 150 administrators and counselors from our Early College partners at a virtual convening hosted by our Outreach & Early College team last Friday. I was so happy to see some of our longtime partners there like Wonderful College Prep Academy, Wasco High School, Kern High School District, Delano Joint Union High School District, and McFarland High School Early College, as well as some of our newer partners like Garces Memorial High School, Taft Union High School, and Monache High School from Porterville. It amazes me how many high schools now offer entrances to our guided pathways through Dual Enrollment on their campuses, and how we continue to push forward on an exponential trajectory to keep expanding opportunities and access for all high school students all across Kern County.

The data shared during this meeting showed that our enrollment numbers for Dual and Concurrent Enrollment continued to increase through Spring 2020, Summer 2020, and Fall 2020. As the group planned for next school year, several representatives from BC shared about pathways opportunities through CTE, Title V- Health Sciences, Kinesiology, Public Safety Training, and more. It is amazing to see the high school and BC staff working together to continue bridging the gap between high school and higher education for all students, and I am excited to see our plans for Early College implementation continue to progress within each of our partnering districts.

The meeting closed with a preview of a new online platform, DualEnroll.com, that will replace our current Dual/Concurrent Enrollment form. With the constant growth in enrollments through Dual Enrollment and Concurrent Enrollment, this new platform will help to streamline the enrollment process for our high school students, their parents, and the high school sites.

Umoja Community starts Employment Prep Academy for Students Interested in Nursing

Umoja students and Dr. Parks talking with Dr. Michael Williams, COO of St. Joseph’s Hospital (A Dignity Hospital)

Umoja Community is partnering with Nursing and Job Placement to offer students an opportunity to be part of the newly established Umoja Employment Preparation Academy. We are so grateful to Morgan Clayton, president of Tel-Tec Security, for funding this program for a pilot group of five students.

Over the spring semester, the Umoja students will work with Venessa Reyes, education advisor, on planning their schedule and preparing to apply to the nursing program; with Dr. Ken Robinson, leadership consultant, on identifying their strengths and growing as a leader; with Vikki Coffee, Job Placement, on preparing a resume and identifying their career interests; with Dr. Paula L. Parks, Umoja English professor, on discussing Black Man in a White Coat; and with practitioners in the medical field. Many of the speakers are associated with Dignity Hospital, where Clayton is Chairman of the Board.

Dr. Michael Williams, the first African-American COO of St. Joseph’s Hospital, spoke with students this past week. He started his career in nursing, continued his education to earn a masters and doctorate, and over a period of 14 years moved up from bedside nurse to charge nurse, chief nurse, director, then COO.

“If you really put your mind to it, you can move up. You have to take your destiny in your own hands, get out of your comfort zone, and get the necessary experiences,” explained Williams, who combines his clinical knowledge and education with experience in project management, facilities, and budgets.

“What stuck with me,” said Alexis, “was that I need to get out of my comfort zone, ask for help, and seek challenges.”

Dr. Williams acknowledged the barriers he faced in becoming the hospital’s first Black administrator and encouraged students to advocate for themselves, ask others for advice, and earn the practical experience, degrees, and overall skill set for the position they want.

Upon completing the Employment Prep Academy, students will receive a scholarship and continue the following two semesters on-site at Dignity Health. Huge thanks to Morgan Clayton, Tel-Tec; Carla Gard, Nursing; Vikki Coffee, Job Placement; Dr. Ken Robinson, Umoja Advisory Board Member; and Dr. Paula L. Parks, Umoja Coordinator for making this opportunity possible for outstanding Umoja students.

CCRC Hosts Seminar on Costs of Guided Pathways

On Wednesday, February 3, I was a featured panelist at a nationwide panel on the costs of guided pathways. The panel, which was hosted by the Community College Research Center (CCRC), featured “Redesigning America’s Community Colleges” author Davis Jenkins, as well as Anthony Culpepper, a Vice President of Administrative Services at Glendale College who was instrumental in BC’s early implementation of the guided pathways model during his time as our Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services. The moderator was CCRC Senior Research Associate Hana Lahr, and Vice Chancellor of Finance and Facilities Planning Lizette Navarette talked about the statewide trends in pathways funding.

The forum centered around a technical report from the CCRC that examined the average increased costs for implementation of guided pathways at community colleges. The report concludes that a majority of the costs around guided pathways comes from hiring more advisors to be embedded within each of the learning and career pathways. All of the colleges in the study, which includes BC, are moving forward with guided pathways during the COVID-19 pandemic due to increased retention and graduation rates and making the colleges more efficient as a business.

You can check out the video below:

Opening Day Spring 2021

Today I’d like to share two more videos from our Opening Day Spring 2021 Programming, which took place January 12-14.

BCSGA President Gian Gayatao provided the traditional BCSGA President’s welcome:

And we took a look back at previous opening days:

You can find all the videos from our Spring 2021 Opening Day programming on the BC website.

In The News

Bakersfield Californian Tours Measure J Projects

Mike Giacomini gives Emma Gallegos and Alex Horvath of the Bakersfield Californian a tour of the Measure J construction projects.

The Bakersfield Californian visited the Panorama Campus on Monday to report on the latest developments with Measure J. Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Mike Giacomini led reporter Emma Gallegos and photographer Alex Horvath on a tour of the renovations in the Campus Center, the new Science and Engineering building and Memorial Stadium while answering questions about construction timelines, infrastructure, swing space and more.

Check out the photo gallery on the Bakersfield Californian website.

For more information about Measure J, visit the A Better BC website

Art Professor gets recognition

Joseph Tipay, Studio Art professor, was honored in Bakersfield Life Magazine. Readers were asked to nominate area educators who have gone above and beyond for their students during the pandemic.

Community Voices: Dr. Brijesh Bhambi

Dr. Brijesh Bhambi

Dr. Brijesh Bhambi penned this piece in the Bakersfield Californian, The Solution is Inside the Box.

Dr. Bhambi discusses the need to accelerate vaccination to make sure we are safe from COVID-19. He says that the easiest and fastest way to ensure the most people are vaccinated is to allow doctors and pharmacies to give the vaccine.

“Release the vaccine to doctors and pharmacies. Relationships there are underpinned by trust and familiarity. Patient records already exist. Compliance to guidelines should be encouraged, but thrust of vaccination has to be vaccination. We should resist the temptation to overthink. Sometimes the solution is inside the box.”

Dr. Bhambi and I have been having an online conversation about COVID-19, vaccinations, and other topics at our shared blog, https://bhambiandchristian.com/.

Spotted on Social Media

EMT Program Director Brett Burton was a guest on KNZR Talk Radio, on The Law with Tony Lee:

Check out the video:

BCSGA shared this inspiring quote:

The BC Library Instagram account shared this photo of Faith Bradham and Laura Luiz (thank you to Mindy Wilmot!):

Mary Jo Pasek shared this photo in support of Go Red Day for heart disease awareness:

Isabel Castenada shared this picture of a Bridge to BC planning session with Kimberly Bligh and Ashlea Ward:

Athletics

Celebrating National Girls and Women in Sports Day

This last Wednesday, February 3rd was National Girls and Women in Sports Day. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the day which is meant to “Inspire girls and women to play and be active, to realize their full potential” – as stated on the Women’s Sports Foundation website. The day was meant to highlight the stories and paths of student athletes, coaches, administrators and lawmakers to provide equitable access to sports for all girls and women. These pictures are just a small sample of the many Renegade women we celebrate who have come through our campus to be an example and pave the way for future women’s opportunities in sports. We are proud of these women and celebrate their achievements both on the field and in life.

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That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Let’s keep our community healthy! Wear masks. Do physical distancing. Regularly wash our hands.

BC Family – Let’s be role models for our students and community.
Wear masks. Do physical distancing. Regularly wash our hands.
These are tough times that call for tough measures.

Path to Zero Dashboard: In early July, I started using the Path to Zero dashboard from the Harvard Global Health Institute that tracks the county-by-county risk level by number of daily new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 in the last seven days. When I checked the numbers today, I was disheartened to see that Kern County is the highest in this index at 83.3 cases per 100,000.  This is more than three times higher than the state’s average of 23.8 cases per 100,000.

The Harvard Global Health Institute uses a color-coded system to indicate risk level. Green is 0.0 cases per 100,000; yellow is between 0.1 and 10 per 100,000; orange is 10.1 to 25 per 100,000; and red is anything higher than 25 cases per 100,000.

Kern County is over three times the limit for a RED designation!

The graphic below gives a color-coded picture of California’s COVID-19 threat level on a county-by-county basis.

The following table demonstrates the rates of daily new cases per 100,000 for each county in the “red” category. Kern County tops the list and has 15 more daily new cases per 100,000 than the next highest county on the list.

CountyDaily New Cases Per 100K
Kern83.3
Colusa68.3
Kings48.9
Imperial48.0
Madera43.1
Tulare42.8
Stanislaus42.1
Merced41.7
San Joaquin40.2
Mono38.6
Fresno37.6
San Bernardino30.9
Glenn29.7
Los Angeles27.6
Riverside26.8
Santa Barbara25.9

The Exec Team at BC is asking that we all take this seriously….spread the word on safe and healthy practices during this pandemic. Plz share this video with colleagues, friends, and family members.

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, June 25, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade

Yesterday, I received these photos of the progress on the construction at our BC Southwest site. As you can see, the campus is coming along nicely!

BC expands Early College program with KHSD

Kern High School District and Bakersfield College have partnered to expand BC’s Early College program by offering four new pathways for KHSD students.

KHSD students can now work toward earning a college degree in Industrial Automation, Public Health, Administration of Justice, or Psychology, as they simultaneously complete their high school coursework.

You can read Ema Sasic’s article about this partnership here.

Since we are talking Early College let me drop a few of the video that from the Early College celebration in June.

Remarks from KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog:

Remarks from Abel Guzman, Executive Director of our Delano Campus and Rural Initiatives:

And the second of four videos recognizing our graduates. This one is from Wonderful Company Prep Academy:

Bakersfield College Launches Contact Tracing Course to Train “Coronavirus Detectives”

Bakersfield College announced the launch of a week-long infectious disease Contact Tracing Course running from July 27, 2020 to July 31, 2020.  As the need for more contact tracers ramps up, This one-week course will allow individuals to gain the skills needed to provide contract tracing for employers and the community.  

You can find out more on the Bakersfield College website.

Fire Department conducts training at BC

This week, Bakersfield Fire Captain Chris Campbell  and several fire fighters from Station #8, conducted Rescue Systems training at the Bakersfield College P7 parking lot.

According to Captain Campbell, the training is designed to teach firefighters the proper techniques for rescuing victims from areas of steep terrain, such as the Panorama bluffs. Participants in the training included a number of probationary “rookie” fighters.

Executive Director of College Safety Shelly Castaneda and Chris Glaser were on hand to greet Captain Campbell and his crew, and observe some of the training. This is just one of the examples of the cooperative working relationships that Bakersfield College maintains with our community partners.

Shelly Castaneda takes photos of the training session

Commencement 2020

Here are a few more videos from our 2020 Commencement broadcast event from July 11.

Remarks from KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke:

Remarks from BCSGA President Samantha Pulido:

Graduate Recognition, Part II:

You can find more videos and photos on our 2020 Commencement website.

3 Community Voices pieces in The Bakersfield Californian

I wanted to share a piece from Jack Hernandez published this week in the Bakersfield Californian.

“Most of all, let us treasure our families and friends. Talk more with them, and as the pandemic eases, spend more time laughing and listening to their deepest voices. Sharing our stories, fears and hopes, weeping and laughing. Sharing our souls.”

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And then today, here is a piece by Nick Strobel about how we consume information via social media which could be one of the causes for the polarization that is deepening in our society. Strobel brings in Harari’s framewok of large scale cooperation among Homo sapiens as a standout feature that contributes to the power of the species.

Instead of creating a more connected world, social media has enabled us to gerrymander our social interactions so effectively that unfamiliar experiences and ideas that would challenge our beliefs or intuitions are excluded from our lives. The different sides of an issue rightly claim that people on the other side are living in an echo chamber, acting like “sheep,” but they don’t acknowledge that they themselves behave in the same way. With all the choices we have now, we can construct whatever reality that suits our tastes and technology has enabled us to build electronic communities of individuals from anywhere on the planet and exclude all others.

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Also this week, Vladimir Romilus, one of our international students, wrote a piece for the Bakersfield Californian about the importance of international students to our campus community.

Vladimir, who is from Haiti, is studying architecture and architectural drafting.

“International students are important because the knowledge and perspective we bring will shape the future of America. This country is a place where people from around the world come together to build new things, and international students bring a motivated, entrepreneurial spirit that strengthens the American economy.”

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CSSO statement on international students

Less than 24 hours before ICE rescinded the F1 Visa decision, the Chief Student Services Officers Association of the California Community Colleges (CSSO) released a statement in support of international students and the F1 visa program.

Dr. Zav Dadabhoy

“[International students] contribute to America’s scientific and technical research and bring international perspectives into US classrooms. We must be more resolved than ever to open our doors wider and embrace the global knowledge our international student community has to offer.”

CSSO represents all student services professionals in California’s 113 community colleges, and their current President is BC’s own Dr. Zav Dadabhoy.

Comet Neowise makes closest pass to Earth

You may have been lucky enough to spot the Comet Neowise in the Bakersfield sky recently. It made its closest pass to earth on July 23.

“Comet NEOWISE is now moving to high above the orbit planes of the planets, getting closest to Earth on July 23 at a distance of about 64 million miles. When the comet was coming into the inner solar system, the elliptical orbit was shaped to have a period of about 4,500 years (so this is a once-in-a-civilization visit).”

You can read more on the Bakersfield Californian’s website, and you can read an archive of all Nick’s Bakersfield Night Sky articles on the Bakersfield College website.

Corny & Sandi Retirement Celebration

Last week, I shared two videos of testimonials from colleagues of Corny Rodriguez and Sandi Taylor, as part of heir retirement celebration.

This week, I am sharing Part 2 of their testimonials.

Corny Rodriguez:

Sandi Taylor:

Portraits in Their Own Words: National Endowment for the Arts Grants BC $10,000

The National Endowment for the Arts has granted Bakersfield College an award of $10,000 for its project entitled Portraits in Their Own Words. This is in addition to the $5,000 grant previously awarded for the project from California Humanities. 

The grant is part of the Arts Engagement in American Communities program which supports arts projects in all artistic disciplines, extending the National Endowment for the Arts’ reach to communities across the United States. These grants engage the public in diverse and excellent art, in geographic areas underrepresented in national arts funding.

Portraits in Their Own Words will entail the creation of an art exhibit and digital archive featuring autobiographical narratives and portraits of Bakersfield College students who have been previously incarcerated. The goal is to lift their voices and experiences through the written word and visual art in order to encourage conversations about imprisonment and the stigmas associated with it. 

Professors Andrew Bond (English), Kristopher Stallworth (Art), and Shawn Taro Newsom (History) are directing Portraits in Their Own Words and  plan to use the additional funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to expand the project’s reach and offer more opportunities for students and faculty to participate. More information is available on the Bakersfield College Social Justice Institute website.

To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit: www.arts.gov

#LightACandle: A Juneteenth conversation

Today, I am wrapping up our videos from our June 15 program. I will continue to share videos from programming on other days, so please check back next week.

Remarks from BC Student April Whitfield:

Remarks from community member Bernita Jenkins:

A message from Pastor Robin:

A message from Traco Matthews, Adjunct Professor and social pastor

Please visit the Bakersfield College Juneteenth website for more videos, testimonials, and other resources. And please, continue the conversation and remember to #LightACandle.

Crazy Hair Day with the Child Development Center

Dean of Instruction Jessica Wojtysiak shared this photo from the Child Development Center‘s Sand Dollars virtual classroom.

The Sand Dollars classroom occurs entirely through zoom. Here, some of the students are engaging with their teachers for “Crazy Hair Day.”

It’s great to see our CDC teachers continuing to find ways to connect with their students, even at a distance.

Spotted on Social Media:
Wear A Mask Edition

I was thrilled to see our BC sharing their safe mask wearing practices on social media this week.

Kalina Hill, program manager for our testing and placement center, stays safe with her family:

Endee Grijalva, Adult Education Program Manager, wore her mask while checking out a new homeless shelter as part of her work with Project HireUp.

Matt Jones from our Academic Technology

Bill Moseley — Dean Academic technology

I also enjoyed this post from Prof. Gloria Dumler in our English Department reminding us all what not to do:

Love this Facebook video on our BC Choirr.

BC Choir

Closing Week

On Monday, we took a stretch break and enjoyed photos from the year:

On Tuesday, we enjoyed a tribute to our Nursing Students:

On Wednesday, Todd Coston treated us to another humorous welcome:

On Thursday, I shared a message for our faculty to thank them for their hard work during an unprecedented semester:

You can view all of our videos from Closing Week on the Closing Week website.

Athletics

Jim Ryun Awarded Medal Of Freedom

Jim Ryun, who set a world record in the mile (as a high schooler) at 3:51.1 in our very own Memorial Stadium on June on 23, 1967 (53 years ago!), was awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor on Friday when he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House by President Trump.

Originally from Kansas, Ryun made world news with his record in the mile that day in 1967 and then went on to represent the U.S.A. in three Olympic Games. He would then go on to a career in the U.S. House of Representative in Washington, D.C.

In 2017 we had a special ceremony at Memorial Stadium to honor the 50th anniversary of Jim’s phenomenal world record. We are thrilled to see Jim awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and remain proud of what he accomplished on that summer evening in 1967 on our beautiful campus.

To read the official White House release, click here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-award-medal-freedom-072120/

You can also read the Bakersfield.com story here, or the story from The Hill here.

You can also watch the story from our 50th anniversary celebration of Jim’s world record: 

I was honored to meet Jim when he visited Bakersfield College back in 2018 for the State Track meet. I wrote about that visit in two blog posts: here and here.

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Relax, Refresh & Renew on Spring Break

Happy Easter!

Sonya Christian cropped Nov 8 2017

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, March 31st and a great day to be a Renegade!

Woke up to Bakersfield College featured multiple times in the Bakersfield Life Magazine.

Let me start with page 71 and Kristen Mercer‘s awesome piece about Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg.  Sit back and enjoy a little bit of Nan.

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg March 31 2018 Bakerfeild Life Magazine

And this is Nan enjoying Bruno Mars as she walked to her car late one evening and I discretely caught her on camera.

Then on page 21 we have Olivia Garcia featured as one of the dining divas.  How cool!

Olivia Garcia a dining diva Bakersfield Life Magazine March 31 2018

 

And then on page 90, there are photos snapped by Rod Thornburg during BC’s Future Teachers Event organized by Kimberly Bligh and other faculty and staff.

Bakersfield Life Magazine March 31 2018 Future Teachers Event Photos by Rod Thornburg

Do you see why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

Spring Break on Campus

Parking Lot RepairsSpring Break gives us just enough time to prepare for the sprint towards commencement and the rush of end of the year celebrations. This year, campus was still bustling with activity as crews work to repair and renovate the largest student parking lot on campus, the one surrounding Memorial Stadium.

I love weeks like this because it gives me time to reflect on the various departments that truly make BC a special place to live, learn, and work.

Our Outreach team also prepared a big mailing reaching out to the next incoming class of Renegades. Zav Dadabhoy texted me some fantastic pictures and said, “Guiding students into the pathway begins with a huge mailing to ensure students register on their priority date, for 15 units and in their pathway.”

 

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March for our Lives

Last weekend, students who survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – some of them only 14 years old – organized a march that brought together more than a million people on the Washington Mall of our nation’s capital.

Cities around the country participated in Saturday’s March for Our Lives, including in Kern County. Golden Valley High School students organized Bakersfield’s March for Our Lives event, walking from Yokuts Park to Empire Drive, according to Joseph Luiz’s article in the Bakersfield Californian. There was also a March for Our Lives event in Tehachapi, according to KERO.

Kate Pluta, Isabel Stierle, Rob Parsons

KERO also reported on the two local teachers who flew out to the main March for Our Lives protest in Washington, DC. Mary Miller from Foothill High and Olivia Shears of McKee Middle School held a sign that said “I March For My Students’ Lives #standwiththekids”

Many of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students spoke on the main stage of the Washington, DC, March for Our Lives, telling their stories of how they were able to survive the shooting. David Hogg, one of the most outspoken survivors of the Parkland shooting, gave a powerful speech saying “change is here. …..The sun shines on a new day, and the day is ours.”

In the New York Times article summarizing last Saturday’s march in Washington, DC, a 360-degree video at the top of the page offers a dizzying look at the packed crowd in front of the White House.

Chief Counts 2

At BC, our Public Safety Department led by Chief Chris Counts is active in teaching our students and community how to respond in cases of emergency.  Chief Counts is also educating our campus to be aware of our surroundings all the time and as he says – if you see something, say something, and let’s do something about it.

BC’s Umoja ASTEP Students Touring HBCUs

It’s an exciting time in the lives of BC’s Umoja ASTEP Students! On Monday, March 26th, I was fortunate to be able to help send off ten of BC’s Umoja African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence (ASTEP) students for a tour of 5 Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCU) in the Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia areas.

Group picture HBCU send off March 23 2018

 

Dr. Paula Parks, Umoja ASTEP Community Coordinator and English Professor, began working with Cerro Coso’s Umoja Community coordinator on joining this tour in November 2017. Paula began fundraising in December for our students’ tour costs. Students had to apply for the tour by January and selection was based on GPA, being on a transfer pathway, and interest in attending one of the HBCUs.

HBCU Tour

HBCU Tour

The 10 students attending are part of BC’s Umoja Community African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence program. The program includes coursework (English and student development); mentoring, supported study time, a counselor who keeps students on the path to graduate, and academic and cultural trips. This is the third year of the program. The success rate is 2-4 times the success rate of Black students not in the program.

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Representatives from Howard University, Norfolk State University, and Morgan State University were on BC’s campus on February 12th, 2018 for the 3rd Annual HBCU Caravan Tour put on by National College Resources. See my blog about the HBCU Visits BC from February 24th.

i-zwpFWG6-X4Dr. Parks and Jonathan Ward, Umoja ASTEP Community Counselor, are escorting the students to five HBCU’s from March 26th to March 30th. They will visit the campuses of Norfolk State University, Virginia State University, Howard University, Morgan State University, and Bowie State University. The students will be able to experience the excitement and atmosphere of being at these historical campuses. We look forward to their successful transfer to one of these colleges.

Did you know that in order to be an HBCU the historically black college must be established prior to 1964? The oldest of the colleges the BC Umoja ASTEP students will tour is Bowie State University, located in Maryland, founded in 1865. The next two, in order of age, were both founded in 1867: Howard University is a private research university in Washington DC, and Morgan State University is a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution in Maryland. The next is Virginia State University, located 20 minutes south of Richmond and founded in 1882. The youngest the HBCU they will visit is Norfolk State University, located in Norfolk Virginia, founded in 1935.

i-qTNpjQ5-X4What a wonderful opportunity for our students. Thank you Dr. Paula Parks for spearheading this educational and motivational trip for the students. I also want to thank Jonathan Ward and the Office of Student Success & Equity for their work in bringing this trip to fruition.  Thank you Steve Watkin for leading the African American Initiative at Bakersfield College.

This trip has allowed me to dream much bigger than before. I have explored options that I did not know existed. I now have a great opportunity to go further in life because of this awesome HBCU tour experience — Kim Evans (Umoja student)

AlthoughBakersfield College has provided the foundation for my creator mindset, this experience just reinforced the need for my success.  — Korrie Edwards

 

HUGE Congratulations to BC Drumline!!!

Our Drumline won First Place at last weekend’s Winter Guard’s West Regional Championships for the third year in a row. There were 81 total scholastic and independent groups at the competition. There were 10 groups in our division, Percussion Independent Open, which is the second highest in the activity.

Want a glimpse of what you missed? You have to check out this video here!

The Drumline got a score of 90.85 out of 100 to win the Percussion Independent Open event for the third consecutive year. The group is currently getting ready to compete in the Percussion World Championships in Dayton, Ohio on April 19-21.

They’ll also be performing at Centennial High School on April 14 for the Pep and Pageantry Arts Association of Central California’s Percussion Finals competition. A ticket will support our local circuit and the young people it serves. This is an opportunity to see our team do what they do best in front of a packed gym of local students, parents, and other fans of the marching arts. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 students/seniors, and kids under 5 are free. Congratulations to BC’s Drumline and Tim Heasley! Support BC’s Drumline by following every beat on Instagram @BCdrumline and Facebook.

Drumline_Instagram

BC everywhere in the state:

Honestly, I can’t keep track of our faculty and staff who are presenting all over the state.  This week Michelle Pena did two presentations at the CCCApply (a tool for students to apply for admissions to CA Community Colleges) Conference.

Michelle did a workshop on understanding residency algorithms with Michael Quiaoit, Dean of Student Services.  She did a second presentation with Craig Hayward and Patty Donahue the Product Manager for CCCApply on the new filtering tool for MetaMajors we got passed through the Steering Committee last year.

And then ……

Grace and MariaGrace Commiso and Maria Wright presented at the Get Focused Stay Focused conference in Santa Barbara. Get Focused…Stay Focused! is a program that focuses on helping students acquire the wisdom and skills to flip the college decision-making paradigm without waiting a quarter of a century of hard won experience to figure it out. It achieves this by helping students to understand who they are, what they want and how they’re going to get it.

Upon completion of the GFSF program, students identify and graduate with:

  • A carefully-considered career path
  • An informed major or program of study
  • A post-secondary institution or training program that not only matches their career and life goals but is affordable
  • A unique Skills-based Education Plan that facilitates successful entry into a highly competitive workforce upon completion of their education.

 

BC Softball on the map

Loved this piece by Jon Mettus of The Bakersfield Californian about our new softball coach Casey Goodman.

Casey Goodman Photo by Rod Thornburg March 2018

Photo by Rod Thornburg of Casey Goodman

Here are a few excerpts of what Mettus had to say:

Togetherness is seemingly one of the themes Goodman is building the program around. The team constantly goes out to eat together, and after Tuesday’s win at Santa Barbara City College, the Renegades went to the beach.

One of the concepts central to Goodman’s coaching style is honesty. She doesn’t yell a lot like she did earlier in her career and values conversations with her players. The staff has an open-door policy, pitching coach Megan Rowe said, so the players can address any issues.

For the whole article: https://tinyurl.com/y8coxway

Thank you Trustee Romeo Agbalog for attending the game on Thursday.  It is always a treat to have our trustees on campus.

Successful Training Day

CalSOAP Staff

Cal-SOAP Staff

Kudos to our Cal-SOAP staff for organizing a successful training day, “Next Steps for High School Seniors.” Cal-SOAP Spring Staff Development took place with high school Counselors and Career Technicians. Thank you, Steven Watkin, Mark Osea, Ashlea Ward, Manuel Muralles, and Pedro Ramirez for coming out to prepare our high school partners and staff for Registration Rocks Day on April 5th.

I also want to thank Dr. Terri Goldstein for introducing DSPS student eligibility and support services, Crystal Montoya for covering Next Steps for CSUs, and Maria Madrigal for the UCs.

EOPS

Imelda Valdez June 13 2017College Council is a college wide governance committee that is responsible for policy, planning and evaluation of the college as a whole.  I chair this committee that includes leaders from the various constituency groups as well as functional areas on campus.  At our last meeting on Friday March 16, 2018, we had the pleasure of a presentation on BC Guided Pathways: EOPS Momentum Points and Outcomes by Imelda Simos-Valdez.

Extended Opportunity Programs & Services (EOP&S) was established in 1969 by Senate Bill 164 to encourage and retain students affected by language, social and economic hardships. BC’s EOP&S department also includes Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) program, established 1982 by AB 3103, to collaborate with Kern County Department of Human Services for EOP&S students who are single heads of households; and California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), established 1997 in response to 1996 federal welfare reform legislation, which collaborates with Kern County Department of Human Services to provide supportive services and resources to students (parents) in transition to achieve long-term self-sufficiency and transform lives.

Statistics show EOP&S students attempting 15+ units by the end of the first semester increased by 4.08% in fall 2017 to 15.6% and increased by 2.97% in the spring 2018 to 17.01%. Enrollment in college-level English in the first year increased from approximately 8.0% in fall 2016 to 15.7% in fall 2017 and increased from 10.3% in spring 2017 to 27.5% in spring 2018. Enrollment in college-level math in the first year increased from 6.3% fall 2016 to 8.6% in fall 2017 and from 7.8% to 21% in spring 2018.

Thank you Imelda Simos-Valdez and all of the counselors, staff and faculty that have helped in supporting our students. Their success can be attributed to the completion coaching EOP&S has put into place resulting in a focused approach to students completing their degree or certificate.

eops

The presentation also included a little bit of Program Review for 2016-17. With the goal to increase number of students served (high school seniors/classroom presentations), EOP&S saw 2,900 applications for AY 2017-2018. 1,800 students were admitted in fall 2017, compared to 800-1,000 in previous years. In the summer, EOP&S will be adding a parent component to the second annual Freshman Day.

Did you know that EOP&S has resources for students such as book vouchers, grants and school supplies? These are just a few of the support and services that they provide in addition to reviewing/updating CSEPs, registration assistance for priority enrollment, intrusive follow-up counseling, academic progress reports, academic probation follow-up, educational/life skills workshop, career counseling, transfer assistance, university campus visits, and follow up communication: email and personal phone calls. EOP&S is an important resource for our qualifying students.

Can you see why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

Sharing on Social Media

This week, I found on twitter the push to encourage students enroll in 15 units per term. Make sure to follow BC on Twitter @Bakcollege! And of course follow me @sonyachristian.

twitter

Kern County STEMposium Coming Soon!

Christina Sistrunk Stemposium

Christina Sistrunk at the 2017 STEMposium held at BC

On Thursday, Harold Pierce of the Bakersfield Californian wrote an article previewing the Kern County STEMposium, an event which aims to inspire the STEM professionals of the future. This year’s STEMposium, which is being held at the Kern County Fairgrounds on April 13, and is a hybrid between a science fair and a job fair, businesses and the community together to raise awareness of all the awesome STEM careers available in Kern County. The Kern Economic Development Foundation hosted last year’s STEMposium here at BC and you can read about it in my blog last year.

Special thank you to Harold Pierce for drawing attention to this important event and for being one of the featured speakers for the Health and Social Justice Hackathon at BC, giving a presentation about using journalism to inspire community engagement.

CTE and Student Employment at BC!

CTE at BC helps create a pathway for our students while also helping them gain the hands on experience and technical training they need to be successful in the pathway they choose, while also encouraging them to be a part of the strong workforce of the future.

Career Technical Education (CTE) Vision Board

Career Technical Education (CTE) Vision Board

Our commitment is to help prepare our students for a wide range of high-wage, high skill, high-demand careers. CTE is at the forefront of preparing students to succeed in fast-growing, high-growth industries around the country. According to the California Community Colleges Task Force on Workforce Job Creation and a Strong Economy, the labor market is increasingly demanding a more skilled workforce and by 2020, 65% of all job openings in the U.S. will require some postsecondary education or training – though not necessarily a four-year degree.

It is CTE’s mission to provide educational leadership in developing a competitive workforce. For more information on the different Career and Technical Education programs that Bakersfield College has to offer visit the Career Pathways webpage.

Student Employment OfficeStudent Employment is a subdivision of CTE that supports career readiness and pathway work through on-campus employment, work experience, internships and other work based learning activities. Employing over 500 students each year, on-campus employment is a special component that moved to a 100% online application system through Jobspeaker to provide students a more realistic approach to applying for jobs. Students can access employment on and off campus through the online system in addition to the free mobile app available. Career related services such as resume review, job search strategies and mock interviews are available through appointments with Job Development Specialists, in addition to utilizing computers in the Student Employment Lab located in FACE 9.

Unsung Superstars of BC!

Have you ever wondered where all the BC forms, brochures, and posters come from?  Our Marketing Department Graphics Designers and Print Shop! These four people do great work keeping up with the design and printing needs a campus of our size. Get to know these unsung heroes below! #WeAreBC!

Josephine Garcia_Matt Foster_Eric Carrillo And Dylan Wang

Josephine Garcia, Matt Foster, Eric Carrillo, and Dylan Wang

Eric Carrillo, Graphic Designer
Eric is a proud alumni of Bakersfield College who began his employment while still enrolled in 2006. Shortly afterwards, he was promoted from a Publications Assistant to Graphics Designer. He credits two awesome mentors Debby Moberg, Publications Coordinator and Bill Parker, Lead Printer who passed on their knowledge and taught him much more than graphics and printing.

Dylan Wang, Graphic Designer
Dylan is a graduate from Houston Community College where he completed his associate’s degree in Digital Communications and has been working at Bakersfield College since July, 2015. Dylan is often my go-to guy when I need some beautiful artwork or design in a pinch!

Josephine Garcia, Lead Printer
Josephine considers herself a printing concierge with a vast knowledge of the industry. Her goal is to continuously provide superior results and expeditious service, all while pursuing new growth opportunities and maintaining lasting relationships with faculty and staff.

Matt Foster, Print Shop Clerk
Matt started working at the BC Print Shop as a Student Worker in 2014 and was hired full time in 2016. His job is crucial to the workings of the Print Shop and to ensure BC staff and faculty receive their ordered jobs quickly and accurately.

KCET’s Jason Galvin

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Jason Galvin, photo from Twitter

This week, it was announced that KGET Sports Reporter Jason Galvin is leaving the network to focus on sportscasting in the community. See the clip and his note on Facebook here.

Galvin started as the weekend sports anchor for KGET, eventually transitioning to become one of the faces of the morning team. Good news is, Galvin will stay in Bakersfield as one of the play-by-play announcers for CSUB Roadrunner Baseball on ESPN Radio.

This week,  a highlight reel about Jason’s career even had a few connections to BC and I smiled when I saw Memorial Stadium. The first was the Condors’ Winterfest game from last year, and the other was doing play-by-play commentary with Chad Manning for the Renegade football team’s game-winning run in the final five minutes against El Camino College. Jason referred to Chad as “a sports icon”.  Chad is a huge supporter of Bakersfield College and Renegade Football. #GoGades

Bakersfield is truly a great community. Thank you to KGET for all the partnerships you’ve inspired.

It’s what Spring Break is about!

I love staying connected with faculty and staff, and I always love a great photo! I received some wonderful messages throughout Spring Break from faculty and staff resting, working, and gearing up for the sprint to commencement!

Janet Fulks

Picture from Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg in Wisconsin

Wisconsin March 31 2018

Extra Fun Photos

Sandi Taylor emailed me this fun photo with Cynthia Williams.  Cynthia recently shared with me that the last of her nine grandchildren (twins) Mason and McKenzie will be graduating from Bakersfield College this year. McKenzie will be going into the nursing program specializing in the Neo-natal field, and Mason will be going into the Ag program at either Cal State Bakersfield, or Fresno State. All of her grandchildren are college graduates and she says “they make us very, very proud. Education is the most important legacy in anyone’s life.”  Thank you Cynthia!

Sandi and cynthia williams

Tracy Hall-Powell and Jennifer Marden-Serratt sent this fun photo of smiles. You may remember, Tracy embarked on a new adventure in Washington last September and we miss her smile!

Tracy and Jennifer

And here is a photos of Bryan Hirayama and his boys from Facebook

Bryan Hirayama Spring Break 2018.jpg

What a gorgeous Easter weekend. 

March 31 2018 Sonya Christian and Neo

Sonya Christian and Neo out for a walk on Easter Saturday.  62 degree temp. Yes!

Happy Easter all!

Sonya Christian Bitmoji Happy Easter

 

 

MArch 31 2018 Sonya Christian and Neo 2

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Celebrating MLK & Spring Kickoff

Good morning Bakersfield…it is Saturday, January 20, 2018 and a great day to be a Renegade.

Steve Watkin leading the MLK event Jan 15 2018The week started on Martin Luther King day with the campus closed and Bakersfield coming together at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center on South Owens for a morning of honoring Reverend King.  The emcee for the event was our very own Steve Watkin or Pastor Steve Watkin as he was introduced.  Steve did a great job keeping the program moving along.  Watching Steve in this leadership role in our community made all of us at BC very proud.  And there were many of us there that Monday morning….two tables full of faculty, staff and students.  #WeAreBC

Martin Luther King Jr.

Nationwide, we remembered the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, which is why the Spring 2018 semester started on a Tuesday. Dr. King’s civil rights activism laid the groundwork for realizing the voting rights of millions of people, opened the way to the promise of American democracy. In this work he saw education as the key to helping people understand shared struggles, and developing empathy for struggles that are not shared.

BC Gang MLK event Jan 15 2018

In his essay “The Purpose of Education,” Dr. King wrote,

The function of education… is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals.

As we look back on Dr. King this week, we should reflect on the responsibility we have as educators to ensure that we’re not leaving any of our students behind in providing a quality education for all, regardless of ethnic background, socioeconomic status or political affiliation. We can’t grow complacent and say that the work we’ve done so far is good enough—we must push forward and continue to find where we’re falling short of advancing BC’s educational mission of BC to everyone with the drive to be successful and achieve their dreams.

Mayor Karen Goh with Sonya Christian and BC gang MLK event

Debra Strong, Paula Parks, Mayor Karen Goh, Gilbert Ayuk, Sonya Christian, Julian West, June Charles, Kim Evanson

I was honored to attend the annual MLK Community Awards Breakfast which recognizes prominent African American leaders for their achievements. I was so glad to see this picture by Felix Amado of The Bakersfield Californian on the front of Tuesdays paper.

TBC with Steve Watkin

It was so much fun catching us with friends and colleagues in the community.  Here I am with Assembly Member Rudy Salas and the two vice presidents, Zav Dadabhoy and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg.

I was sitting next to June Charles and the event and we had a great time enjoying the emceeing of Steven Watkin and the many honorees.  I was delighted to run into my daughter’s high school friend Roopa Raman.

Here are the Umoja students Kim Evanson and Jordan Taylor with their faculty Paula Parks and Jonathan Ward.  When Jordan told me he was transferring to CSUB, I walked him over to meet President Horace Mitchell.

At this year’s breakfast, those being honored included Horace Mitchell, retiring president of Cal State Bakersfield; Essie Davis, retired high school vice principal; Odella Johnson,  retired Bakersfield College administrator; Lisa Green, the departing Kern County District Attorney; Ramon Hendrix, superintendent of the Greenfield Union School District; Harry “Doc” Ervin, the superintendent of the Bakersfield City School District; Darryl Johnson, director of human resources at Panama-Buena Vista Union School District; Karyn Bostick, dance director at The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center; and Bakari Sanyu, who has spent 20 years as a volunteer tutor at the MLK Community Center.

Sonya Christian, Odella Johnson, Valerie Robinson

In his remarks, Dr. Horace Mitchell quoted Dr. King… “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Keynote speaker, Chief Lyle Martin shared that we need to be “constructively kind” and that tough love with high expectations is the way to success. This made me think of our completion coaching communities and their coaches at Bakersfield College who work tirelessly to inspire and keep our students on the path to graduation and beyond.

BC was well represented at the event and I loved seeing our UMOJA students there with Dr. Paula Parks.

Umoja Students

Back row- Professor Jonathan Ward,  Mr. Julian West, and Professor Gilbert Ayuk Front row – Dr. Paula Parks, Dr. Sonya Christian, and Umoja students Kim Evans and Jordan Thomas

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Welcome to Spring Semester 2018!

The BC campus came back to life this week, as students returned to school on Tuesday to start classes for the Spring 2018 semester.

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Debi Anderson from Outreach hosting a Welcome Tent

The Welcome Center and Counseling area were busy with students trying to register into classes at the last minute, and students were lined up in the bookstore to get their materials for the semester.

The Office of Student Life gave away hot cocoa and cookies in front of the Campus Center, and staff held court outside of the Administration building, helping new students find their classes in the fog. The start of the semester is always a busy time, but we all look forward to helping our students leap forward into their educational future.

Mentalist Richard Aimes gave a presentation to students on Wednesday in the cafeteria, and the Office of Student Life aired a movie on Thursday in the Fireside Room. Next week, the festivities only get bigger with our Spring Involvement festival, jousting in the center of campus, our Tunes and Tie Dye event and a comedy show by Steve Hofstettler, so come on out and help us in our goal of “Conquering the Road Ahead”, the motto for our Spring 2018 Welcome Week. Photos from this week are available at BC’s Smugmug.

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Students at the Welcome Center

Dolores O’Riordan

Irish singer Dolores O’Riordan of ’90s group The Cranberries passed away in London on Monday at the age of 46.

The Cranberries–known primarily for the song “Zombie”, which was about a Irish Republican Army terrorist bombing during The Troubles conflict in 1993–reached the Billboard Top 20 with four of their albums before disbanding in 2003, according to an article by The New York Times Christine Hauser. O’Riordan’s publicist did not specify the cause of death, but it’s not currently being treated as suspicious.

Writing about O’Riordan, Hauser said that “her unmistakable Irish accent and the Celtic inflection of her melodies gave her singing a plaintive individuality and a flinty core.”

I love the song Zombie …. here they are performing on the David Letterman show.

Sweet Treat Delivery

The President’s Office had a surprise visit on Wednesday from Chef Alex Gomez and his Advanced Food Practicum B55E students, Joshua Crews, Tammy Brannon, Alma Herrera, Lora Penaloza, and Ana Mendez. Josh prepared chocolate brownies with peanut butter frosting topped with popcorn and pretzel. They were delicious. The class that Chef Gomez was teaching is Advanced Food Practicum B55E

Chef Alex Gomez and Students

Joshua Crews, Tammy Brannon, Alma Herrera, Lora Penaloza, and Ana Mendez with Chef Alex Gomez

I brought a piece back from my mom who loved it and wanted more.  When i told her that this was part of the culinary program and not a regular item in our cafeteria, mom responded..well aren’t you president…. 🙂

GET Bus Report to the Community

Golden Empire Transit (GET), Bakersfield’s bus system, highlighted BC student Ian Kennedy in its 2017 Report to the Community newsletter. Ian, who is legally blind, rides the GET bus to BC every day to pursue a degree in music. His service dog Dominic helps him navigate his bus routes and get around the campus. Ian has aspirations of being a vocal coach after earning his associate’s degree. “Being able to travel independently is important and GET makes that possible”, Kennedy said. “GET brings me closer to my goals.”

S18_GETIanKennedy01

Thank you to our friends at the GET Bus for highlighting Ian and providing transportation for all of our 31,000 students. Without GET, many of our students would be unable to make it to class every day

eLumen Training

On top of all the activity going on during Welcome Week, Bill Moseley and the Academic Technology Department held several workshops training faculty on eLumen, the new Curricular and Assessment software we’re rolling out for Spring 2018.

We also invited over 100 adjunct faculty — from first-semester adjuncts to a 24-year veteran instructor — to eat together and learn about all of the exciting new developments on the campus.

Renegade Basketball

Girls_Basketball

Renegade Basketball

On Wednesday night, the Renegades women’s basketball team opened conference play by beating Los Angeles Pierce College by 40 points at home. The Renegades forced 35 turnovers using a 1-3-1 half-court trap defense, and Octavia Croney scored 21 points in 23 minutes on the field to lead the Renegades to a much needed win after starting 7-11 for the season, according to an article by the Bakersfield Californian’s Jon Mettus.

The Renegades open their competition in the Western State-South Conference of the CCCAA tied with West LA College, and they enter into tonight’s game against College of the Canyons with a two-game winning streak. A full season schedule for the women’s basketball team is available at GoGades.com.

Familiar Faces in Bakersfield

This week, I had the chance to meet with Dr. Jeet Singh and the fabulous Michael Bowers.  Dr. Singh is a remarkable man and co-owner of the Bakersfield Heart Hospital. This Bakersfield Californian article from 2016 shares that at the time Dr. Singh had performed the TAVR, an alternative to open heart surgery at Cedars-Sinai, but will now also be offering it in Bakersfield. “It’s a good moment for Kern County” he said, as quoted in the article.

Dr.Singh and Michael Bowers

And Michael Bowers is a fantastic friend and supporter of Bakersfield College. He is a field representative for Andy Vidak and was instrumental with his endless support in helping with the Measure J campaign at BC.

Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Board Installation and Awards Luncheon

carla musser

Carla Musser at the Luncheon Photo by April & Co.

Celebrating the past accomplishments and looking forward to new opportunities was the theme of the Chamber’s 2018 Board Installation & Awards Luncheon on Jan. 11, 2018. More than 300 people attended. The event served as the installation of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, including Carla Musser, of Chevron, as the 2018 Chairwoman of the Board. Carla is actively involved in the community and serves on several boards in Bakersfield. She is the Manager of Policy, Government, and Public Affairs for Chevron and is responsible for communications and community engagement function for major global upstream business unit covering exploration and production activities California. Carla and Chevron are great supporters of Bakersfield College and I’m so proud she is the Chamber’s new Chairwoman of the Board for 2018.

Karen Goh, Nick Ortiz, Carla Musser Jan 2018.jpg

April & Co. has provided photos from the event.  They are available here.  One of my favorites features BC’s own Mary Jo Pasek with Michael Chertok and Nancy Pollard.

Michael Chertok, Mary Jo Pasek, and Nancy Pollard

Michael Chertok, Mary Jo Pasek, and Nancy Pollard. Photo by April & Co

I was photographed with Carla during our Sterling Silver in 2016 – check the photo on my blog post here.

College Council

On Friday, Abel Guzman, Faculty Chris Cruz-Boone, and counselor Jesse Oropeza presented to College Council on Rural Initiatives. College Council is a collegial, consultative, oversight body designed to serve the good of the College. The group facilitates timely, factual, and clear communication between constituents and the President. It provides recommendations to the President on college-wide matters.

Choir and Chamber Singers Rehearsing at BC

I love to see the activities at BC that just never stop, and our talented performing arts students are so inspiring. Here is a post from Dr. Jen Garrett — she says “There’s some seriously good Choral music happening in Bakersfield”  It’s true.  If you haven’t been to a concert recently, keep your eyes on BakersfieldCollege.edu for details on the upcoming shows.

Chamber Singers

Talking about the choir, this week we had our second meeting with Trustee Kyle Carter who is spearheading the fundraising for the dollars that are needed to send our students to Australia to perform at the Sydney Opera House.  Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg was there and snapped this picture.

Concert fo Choir Trip to Australia March 10 2018

Mark your calendars for March 10, 2018.  Two celebrities in our area have stepped up to help the choir –Lydia Ranger and Monty Byrum.

Here is Lydia Ranger singing the national anthem at a Lakers game

Here is Monty Byrom singing with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra

We are trying to sell two shows of 251 tickets each.

And here is a great video put together by Mason Edwards and other students wishing Jennifer Garrett happy birthday.  It is awesome!

On Friday I presented on Guided Pathways to the North Orange Community College District.  Here I am with the Chancellor and two presidents or North Orange.  And Amita Suhrid who organized the event.

Greg Schultz, Joanna Schilling, Sonya Christian, Cheryl Marshall, Amita Suhrid

President Greg Schultz, President Joanna Schilling, President Sonya Christian, Chancellor Cheryl Marshall, Amita Suhrid

I remembered my friend Dr. Ken Meehan, a great researcher from Fullerton College, who passed away several years ago.  Here is a photo with Ken on May 7, 2005.

meehan

 

And Neo turned 10 months old on Jan 17, 2018.  He is 78 pounds

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Sonya Christian Jan 12 2018 San Jose cropped

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever