Volume 4| October, 2021

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Thank you for tuning in for Volume 4 of the Faculty Diversification Fellowship Program Newsletter. As in the previous volume, in this edition, we are going to introduce you to more of our Fall 2021 Faculty Fellows.

Faculty Fellows: Part III

Juan Nunes


Juan Nunes was raised in Earlimart CA, a small agricultural town near Delano. His parents immigrated from Mexico and secured work as farm workers. Starting as early as high school, Juan worked in the fields with his parents picking grapes with his parents to help support his family and to purchase can clothes and school materials. Juan dropped out of high school during his senior year because he struggled with school. He later finished the credits required and the requirements necessary to finish his high school diploma.

Juan expressed that going to college was a challenge for him because he was not college and financial aid literate. He was unsure that he would be able to afford college and needed help assessing which courses he needed to meet his academic requirements. Fortunately, he stayed the course and graduated with an AS in Biology from Bakersfield College in 2015.

He continued his studies at California State University, Bakersfield in biology. He was accepted into Math and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI). This program was designed to increase STEM teachers in the central valley. Through this program, Juan had the opportunity to participate in STEM-based summer camps for school children in Lamont for 3 consecutive summers. Perseverance and aspirations helped

Juan graduate from California State University, Bakersfield with a BS in Biology in 2018. Soon after, he enrolled in the Teaching Credential Program, and that same year I started teaching 6th-grade science in his own community. This marks Juan's 4th year serving in this role and supporting the large Hispanic community in his school district. He is able to encourage his students to pursue a college degree.

He is passionate about increasing the number of Latinx and other People of Color in STEM fields to increase representation in these fields. Juan believes that education is one of the main pathways out of poverty and to a higher socioeconomic status; as well as a gateway to generational wealth. It is his goal to be an inspiration and a facilitator for the people of his community to seek higher education opportunities.

Elizabeth McNamara


Elizabeth McNamara earned her BA degree in Geological Sciences with a Minor in Biological Science at California State University Bakersfield (CSUB). As a current graduate student at California State University Bakersfield, she is working on composing her thesis titled “Impact of polarized light produced by a utility-scale solar facility on insect diversity and abundance.” Fundamentally, her thesis work addresses the current issue of potential ecological disturbances caused by human encroachment on majorly undisturbed habitats and contributes valuable insight and tools to assist biologists concerned with preservation and conservation. Here is an excerpt from her unpublished abstract:

Polarized light is a well-documented environmental cue used by some insects (e.g., aquatic) to guide them to optimal habitat and oviposition sites. In some cases, the intensity of polarized light pollution surpasses that of natural polarized light in intensity. In such instances, it is possible that some organisms may be more attracted to polarized light pollution relative to naturally polarized light, creating an ecological trap and having a negative impact on survival and reproduction.


Ms. McNamara discovered her passion for teaching college students while working as a teaching assistant in 2017. It was then she recognized how important it was to have instructors that could relate to their students and offer guidance and motivation as well as instruction. Since 2017, Ms. McNamara has worked as a teaching assistant for several classes at CSUB including Perspectives in Biology, General Ecology, Research and Design Analysis, Introductory Biology – Cells, and Integrated Life Science. When she is not teaching or working on her research, Ms. McNamara works as a biological consultant throughout the San Joaquin Valley and enjoys spending her downtime with her three kids, discovering new foods, and volunteering in the community. 

Rawan Arim

Rawan Araim was born in Baghdad Iraq in 1987. After she graduated from high school in 2005, Rawan began her college career studying Architecture at Baghdad University. 

She moved to California in 2007, after marrying her husband Omar who is a vascular surgeon in Visalia. While raising three beautiful daughters, Rawan earned her B.A. in Mathematics in 2012 and M.S. in Mathematics in 2021 at California State University Fresno.

Her Master’s project focused on Mathematical Modeling of COVID_19 using Ordinary Differential Equations.  Her professional goal is to teach mathematics at the community college level in Central California.

She is currently enrolled in the Faculty Fellowship program at Bakersfield College and is working with Professors Starr and Lewis in their Algebra and Calculus 2 classes at Bakersfield College. 


In the News

AB 928 and AB 1111

AB 928 and AB 1111 were signed into law last month. The Campaign for College Opportunity describes the impact of these policies as:

Taken together, AB 928 and AB 1111 are historic pieces of legislation that get to the very heart of why fewer than 3% of community college students transfer after two years. AB 928 creates a general education transfer pathway for students to become eligible to the UC and CSU; establishes a committee representing K-12 schools, community colleges, and public and private universities dedicated to simplifying transfer; and places community college students onto the Associate Degree for Transfer pathway to increase their likelihood of transferring successfully. AB 1111 requires the 116 community colleges to adopt a common course numbering system that would be accessible and easy to understand for students.

For more information, visit the Campaign for College Opportunity's new release.

The future of Community Colleges

The Achieving the Dream (ADT) group held a webinar recently where they discussed some of the pressing challenges facing community colleges as well as the future of these institutions. For more information on the webinar and the discussion visit the Achieving the Dream website.

IEPI: Equity Webinar

The Institutional Effectiveness and Partnership Initiative (IEPI) is hosting a webinar entitled: Walking the Talk of Equity: What does it have to do with me? For more information visits the IEPI event registration site.

Webinar: 2021 State of Higher Education for Latinx Californians

The Campaign for College Opportunity will host a webinar on November 9th at 10 am. The Campaign for College Opportunity Registration Website provides the following description:

Join the Campaign for College Opportunity for the release of our 2021 State of Higher Education for Latinx Californians report. We will present comprehensive data on the current state of college access and completion for Latinx students in the state. We will also be joined by policymakers, college and student leaders to discuss critical actions that must be urgently taken to ensure Latinx students are supported to make their college dreams a reality.

Institutional Partners

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Visit our Central California Regional Collaborative Page
Visit our Institutonal Website

Program Coordinators


Dr. Bill Mosely| Bakersfield College


Dr. Stephen Waller| Bakersfield College

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Dr. Maria Wright (PI)| Bakersfield College

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Jesus Cisneros (Co-PI)| UC Merced

For more information on the program, please email Dr. Maria Wright at maria.wright2@bakersfieldcollege.edu