2018 Cool Down Keynote Speaker

“Bakersfield College has been such a big part of my life,” – Dr. Sonya Christian, President, Bakersfield College.

Bakersfield College President, Sonya Christian
An advocate for continued education across social and economic boundaries, Dr. Sonya Christian has worked tirelessly to uphold and further that mission during her tenure as Bakersfield College President.

Christian began her three-decade career in education at BC in 1991, first as a math faculty member and later as division chair, then Dean of Science, Engineering, Allied Health and Mathematics. In 2003, Christian joined Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon as associate vice president for instruction, then vice president of academic and student affairs and chief academic officer. Christian returned home in 2013 after being selected as the 10th President in Bakersfield College’s prestigious history.

Under her leadership, Christian has maintained the institution’s 100-plus year history of quality instruction while shepherding BC through an exciting phase of expanded opportunities for current and future students. Accomplishments during her time in office include BC being awarded permission by the state to begin offering a Baccalaureate degree in Applied Science in Industrial Automation, one of only 15 California community colleges selected to feature a four-year degree program; and earning a 2015 Exemplary Program Award from the Board of Governors for California Community College’s for BC’s ground-breaking “Making It Happen” mentoring program.

In 2015, Bakersfield College was recognized by the non-profit Brookings Institute as the best community college in California and among the top 10 in the U.S. for value-added mid-career earnings for its alumni.

Christian earned her bachelor of science degree from University of Kerala in Kerala, India; a master of science in applied mathematics from University of Southern California; and her doctorate from University of California, Los Angeles.