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Roger Miller at ReleaseReady at Release Party

This year’s issue of A Sharp Piece of Awesome, our student-edited, annual literary publication, is now available for sale at the Cougar Corner Bookstore and on We have applied for sales through Barnes& Noble, and Russo’s new online store has agreed to carry the issue. Camille Gavin of The Bakersfield Californian plans to discuss the issue and upcoming release party in “Eye Street” in the Thursday, May 15th edition of The Bakersfield Californian. We’re hoping for a great turnout this year!

The event will feature readings by some of the authors in this year’s issue, including Bill Devine, Taft College students and alumni, and other published poets & writers. Roger Miller will read his sister Katherine Miller’s “Asphalto,” a prose piece that gives a physical and historical overview of Taft and the surrounding area. The reading is on Saturday, May 17th, at 3pm at Dagny’s Coffee in Bakersfield (where Eye St. and 20th St. meet). The event is free.

If you haven’t yet purchased an issue, I encourage you to do so. Proceeds go toward the publication of our 2015 issue. The student editors (David Bailey, Kelsie Burrows, Courtney Cloud, ​and Jacob Gonzales) have worked tirelessly this year and done an outstanding job of promoting the magazine increasing its distribution.

Faculty Member Retiring

by Juan Ochoa

At the end of this month, Jeff Ross will be retiring from his work here at Taft College.

Jeff Ross has a master’s degree in Special Education from CSUB.

Ross started as an adjunct professor in 1976; he worked with individuals with developmental disabilities. Since 1978, he worked full-time as the Director of Disabled Student Services, Learning Disabilities Specialist, and Developmental Disabilities Specialist.

In 1995 he started the well known Transition to Independent Living Program at Taft College. He has been working with the program for near twenty years and is now retiring.

Ross’s future plans are to help out the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center in Phoenix, Arizona. He plans to help build a residential facility similar to the TIL Program. When all that’s done, he has some land in Auburn, Ca.

He has received the John Ryce Diversity Award from California Community Colleges and the Lanterman Award from CaPED to name a few.

Considering the time he started as an adjunct professor, Jeff Ross has given thirty-eight years of service to the college. His work will always be remembered when we read about the TIL Program or look at the TIL building.

What Staff Members Do On Their Day Off

By Kendyl Chavez


If you’ve ever been on campus and have had the opportunity to meet Mrs. Rowden, you would never guess that this sweet lady is one tough cookie! Mrs. Rowden is a member of a newly formed roller derby team called the Westside Wreck Hers.


When talking about being the new member on the Westside Wreck Hers team, Rowden has nothing but excitement and love for her new roller derby family. Being a mom of two kids and working full time, it’s not easy for Rowden to find a lot of time to squeeze roller derby into her busy life, but she makes it work! The Westside Wreck Hers have been able to participate in a few scrimmages that will help them prepare for their first game in June. When asked about her feelings for the game against the Dirty City Roller Rats, Rowden replied, “It will be our debut to our hometown so win or lose, we will be giving it 100%.”


On Saturday, June 7th, the Westside Wreck Hers are playing the Dirty City Roller Rats. The game starts at 5:00 p.m. but the gates open at 4:00 p.m. If you’re interested in supporting the Westside Wreck Hers, their game will be right here in Taft at 801 4th Street and the tickets are only $5! Come and join the team and fans for food, music, and some intense roller derby and support the Westside Wreck Hers this summer!




By Gloria Saldivar

“Then and Now, Here and There.” This is what the faculty here in Taft College are striving to get across as the message to art lovers visiting their current exhibit. The faculty exhibit demonstrates different progressions of traditional art coming in contact with new medias.

Four professors took part in the exhibit: Professors Graupman, Rubio, Rosenhauser, and Swenson. Professor Graupman’s work focuses on the progression of photography over a 35 year span on nature’s phenomenal landscapes and scenery. Professor Rubio’s artworks demonstrate the differences between traditional oil and new acrylic paint. The textures and patterns of his artwork prove to be similar to each other yet they still have their differences. Professor Rodenhausers’s art work travels down a different path as she explores the technique of mixed media along with today’s modern technology and how it personally affects the viewer. Last but surely not least, Prosessor Swenson’s art work explores her personal fascination with the Orient and traditional Asian artists.

The last art exhibit of the school year before summer comes into session is a sight to see. Faculty’s artwork is absolutely extraordinary, and their message “Then and Now, Here and There” is like the cherry on top.

By Lisa Ybarra

There will be a book release party and reading event for A Sharp Piece of Awesome at Dagny’s Coffee Company in Bakersfield. The address is 1600 20th St.

The event is this Saturday, May 17th at 3PM. There will be readings by those who wrote and contributed to this year’s issue including Bill Devine and other published writers and poets.

The event is free, but you can contribute to next year’s publication by purchasing this year’s issue of A Sharp Piece of Awesome at or the Cougar Corner bookstore.




By Michael Clites

After being such an astounding hit last year, the Bakersfield Craft Beer Festival will be returning for a second time around. On Saturday, May 24, Cal State University of Bakersfield will be hosting the festival at its amphitheater. With more than 30 breweries offering their craft beer on tap, the festival can guarantee an endless variation of delicious style and substance in the quest for new and unusual craft beers.

The goal of the Bakersfield Craft Beer Festival is to continue to bring quality beer choices to all and introduce Bakersfield to the many breweries in attendance.  The festival does a good job incorporating the culture and style of Bakersfield into the event, which gives the breweries a warm welcome. Breweries like Firestone Walker, Lengthwise, and Kern River Brewing Company will all be in attendance as they were last year.

The event is all put on by the Benefit Bakersfield Foundation, which distributes funds raised to local Kern County nonprofit organizations with an emphasis on child and family services, shelter, and food. Local restaurants such as Moo Creamery, Jake’s Tex-Mex, Eureka! Restaurant and Imbibe Wine & Spirits Merchant are the sponsors who help make this event happen for the second time.

The festival should be a blast and could potentially help educate one about craft beers and inform about the many evolving microbreweries across the nation.

Planz Skate Park

By Alejandro De Alba



The City of Bakersfield is opening a brand new skate park located at Planz Park at the corner of Planz Rd and South H. The new park is going to be open on Memorial Day weekend which is just around the corner.

The skate park is going to be a brand new cement park that is going to feature a mellow intermediate bowl and street inspired obstacles like ledges, stairs, and rails.

On the opening weekend the park is going to be extremely crowded, so if you want to beat the crowed, I suggest getting there early.

If skateboarding isn’t your thing the park is still offering the softball field, basketball courts, and playground, so there is something for everyone.



Annual Jazz Festival Comes to CSUB Once More
By Nick Fequiere

For the 28th consecutive year, the Bakersfield Jazz Festival set up shop on California State University of Bakersfield’s campus. Various faculty members, students, and jazz enthusiasts have helped to foster and cultivate the jazz program at CSUB and within the larger community over the years.

This year’s event was sponsored by headliners BMW of Bakersfield, OXY, and Heineken, as well as various other organizations such as Kern Schools Federal Credit Union and KGET. The festival is an annual two-day celebration of jazz music and its rich history which has become known as a “rite of Spring” in Bakersfield.

This year boasted a talented lineup of accomplished performers including, but not limited to, Jeff Coffin and Delfeayo Marsalis. Coffin is well-known for his work as the saxophonist for the Dave Matthews Band. Marsalis has enjoyed his fair share of success and is credited with facilitating the resurgence of acoustic recording in jazz music.  On Saturday night, Marsalis performed a beautiful tribute in honor of the late and great Nelson Mandela, who was a huge jazz fan during his lifetime.

In the 28 years since the festival’s inception, over 200 artists have come to Kern County to perform in lineups which have included incredibly talented artists such as Dizzy Gillespie and Maceo Parker, the latter of which began his illustrious jazz career performing with James Brown’s band.

​This year looked poised to offer no shortage of thrills and sparks certainly flew. A fireworks show took place on Saturday night, just before Gerard Albright’s performance. Albright is an especially accomplished jazz musician who has sold over one million albums in the United States, performed at President Clinton’s inauguration, and made various television appearances, just to name a few of his achievements. Once again, the Bakersfield Jazz Festival has come and gone leaving one more indelible mark on the community in which it has found a home.

By Gloria Saldivar

Students and Faculty from all over campus got together to enjoy International Food Day here at Taft College. The five dollar fee to eat the delicious food was a way to raise money for different clubs, departments, and sports here on campus.

There was a designated area that was set up so people could comfortably eat their food in a cool shady area that protected them from the good ol’ Taft heat; which nobody seemed to mind. People seemed to be having a good time while they ate their food and chatted with their friends and co-workers.

People who arrived early got to eat right away before the long line was formed. Everyone wanted to get a taste of the food from all over the globe. Students and faculty were able to keep an open mind when they tried the new exotic foods they were not used to eating. There was plenty of food to eat, so of course people were able to get seconds. There were a lot of positive nods coming from the food tasters so I think it is safe to say that International Food Day was a success.

By Gloria Saldivar

Last Week on April 29, 2014, the Stem program hosted an event to inform people from all over campus about our mobile stem lab. It turns out that we have the only one across the nation! We have had our awesome mobile lab stored away in storage for a quite a while because no one had any ideas for it.

The mobile lab was designed to help students understand science, math, engineering, and technology. Our lab has a connection with NASA to help collect data from outer space explorations through radio telescopes. Students working in this area of study also have direct links to talk with scientists. This gives a real hands on experience for students to be engaged in. Now the stem program is opening up to other departments on campus such as Art, English, Social Science, and Dental Hygiene. The lab has the ability to transmit live data to other states so students can have a visual to understand their area of study better.

The lab is designed with four computers on the inside that project to the four big screens located on the outside of the lab. The lab also has its very own Rover that collects data wherever it is released. The lab also has the ability to set up its very own Wi-Fi hotspot wherever it goes which is very convenient for learning sessions.

The Stem program is preparing to use the mobile lab a lot more often. Getting students engaged in their studies is the priority, and the Stem lab is a perfect way to do exactly just that.

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