Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County


By Denae Ayala

On Friday, April, 7, Taft College science students had the opportunity to visit the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Both students and professors were on the bus by 8 a.m., ready for the field trip.

The trip included students from Professor Mays’ earth science class, Professor Golling’s biology class, and others.

The Museum, located in Los Angeles just off of the Harbor Freeway and next to the University Southern California  campus, is the largest natural and historical museum in the western United States. It protects over 35 million specimens, dating back 4.5 billion years.

The Museum is a resource for Southern California teachers. The Museum operators are an authority on the “big picture” of the planet, the natural and the cultural world and the Museum also tracks the Earth’s biodiversity.

Arriving at around 10:30, the professors handed out worksheets with questions to answer about the exhibits. For the earth science students each worksheet had nine questions on them.

For the next four hours, the exhibits that were visited were the African Mammal Hall, North American Mammal Hall, Gen and Mineral Hall, Hixon Gem Vault, Age of Mammals Exhibit and Dinosaur Hall.

In the African Mammal Hall you are facing animals that were first discovered in the early 20th century. The mammals you come across that are most popular when visiting this hall are the Arabian Oryx, savanna elephant, spotted hyena, okapi, hippopotamus, and a Guereza.

Have you encountered a polar bear before? In the North American Mammal Hall you got to see mammals that were found over 75 years ago.  The five most popular mammals included in this hall were a bison, moose, jaguar, polar bear, and a pronghorn antelope.

The Gem and Mineral Hall displays more than 2,000 spectacular specimens within two large galleries that comprise what is considered to be one of the finest exhibits of gems, metals and minerals in the world. From gold to silver the hall allows you to not only feel these items but learn about them as well.

Inside of the Hixon Gem Vault is where you come across the diamonds, sapphires, and rubies. Did you know Benitoite is the beautiful blue state gemstone of California?

Age of Mammals exhibit tells an evolutionary story that spans 65 million years. The two-story gallery gives out information about mammals. From the physical traits of  a mammal, to the classification, and the humans encountering with mammals.

The final exhibit that was visited was the Dinosaur Hall. Here you will get up close and personal with a T-rex, triceratops, and a stegosaurus, plus many more. The 14,000-square-foot dinosaur hall  will rival the world’s leading dinosaur halls for the number of individual fossils displayed, the size and spectacular character of the major mounts.

You can visit the Museum anytime from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. General admission is $27 with a parking fee of $12.

Got Teeth?


By Denae Ayala and David Garcia

Do you hate making expensive trips to the dentist?

Well the next time you’re on campus and you see a group of people in blue scrubs, do not run! They are here for you and your teeth.

The Taft College Dental Hygiene Clinic offers FREE treatment available to students, faculty, and staff of TC.

If you are not a student or faculty member don’t worry, for just $20 you can receive treatment on your teeth. The treatments that are offered are oral cancer screenings, patient education, complete cleaning, fluoride treatment, X-rays, sealants, impressions, and a new toothbrush. A standard teeth cleaning and X-rays at your local dentist office start at an average of $100.

By coming into the TC Dental Hygiene Clinic you are not only saving money, but you are also helping out the students participating in the program.

Twenty students are accepted per class and only second year students are allowed to work on patients’ teeth. About 35-85 people apply to the program per year. To get into the program you have to be selected by the selection committee. 10 are selected by GPA and recommendations.

Depending on a patients needs, appointments can be up to 4 hours long.

Student Michelle Lawhe is working on her second semester in the program. She said the program is very awarding,

“It’s heavy on your body, but it’s worth it,” she said. This semester she is seeing two patients a week.

When asked what was the most stressful thing to deal with it was not teeth, “the most stressful thing is finding the right patient.”

It is the students responsibility to go out and find patients.

If you want  treatment you can call 661-763-7706 to make an appointment.

Wind Wolves Preserve (Back and Better)

Wind Wolves Preserve recently reopened to the public on March 4, 2017.

Due to the preserve’s roads and trails that had been damaged from flooding and erosion, it was closed for a couple of months.

Thanks to the many volunteers that helped repair the trails, Wind Wolves is now open daily from 8 a.m.  – 5 p.m.

Go out and enjoy a wonderful hike, bike ride, or picnic with friends and family for free!

With many trails to choose from and animals to see, Wind Wolves Preserve provides a great family fun adventure.

During your hike, you may encounter many animals such as Tule Elk, bobcats, kit foxes, and blunt-noses leopard lizards.

With 93,000 acres of land, Wind Wolves Preserve is California’s largest non-profit organization.

People are welcome to donate any time online or through the mail.

By donating today, you are helping to ensure that these lands not only stay open to the public free of charge but also to preserve these beautiful landscapes.

The Wildlands Conservancy mission is “To preserve the beauty and biodiversity of the earth and to provide programs so that children may know the wonder and joy of nature.”

They do just that by providing free educational programs for children of all ages. Since 1998, 170,000 children have participated.

Wind Wolves Preserve is about a 25 mile drive from Taft and a 34 mile drive from Bakersfield.

It is located at 10619 Maricopa Highway, Bakersfield, CA 93311.

For more information about the outdoor activities, education programs, donating, or trails you can visit


Free Money!

By Denae Ayala, Arely Mondragon and Nicole Ransick

There are thousands of scholarships out there, but to be eligible, you must apply. Many resources are available at Taft College to help with your student finances.

Barbara Amerio, the Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at Taft College, has been helping and encouraging students to apply for financial aid since 2011. Prior to writing this piece, we had no idea how many scholarships were available for students like us. The money is out there, knowing this, we went to talk with Amerio to get an insight on what kind of help us students could be receiving.

One type of federal aid available to students is the Pell Grant, however to be eligible, you must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA),which has no deadline. However, state aid is also available in the form of a Cal Grant. Depending on your financial standings and background, there is a chance you may receive free money, but you will never know if you do not apply!

Here at Taft College, getting a scholarship may be as easy as filling out a piece of paper with your information on it in the Student Service Administration Building. The Board of Governor’s fee waiver can be filled out in paper form at the Financial Aid office or online through FAFSA.  It is available solely to California community college students.

The deadline for the Taft College Community Scholarship Program is March 17 for the 2016- 2017 Academic Year. If you were unaware of this, you are not alone. We were not either, and at our confusion, Barbara Amerio was shocked and jokingly asked “are you living under a rock?” She reminded us that free money is out there in the form of grants and scholarships.

The Taft Community Scholarship Program simultaneously allows you to apply for 30- 35 scholarships just by filling out a single application. Hurry though, your time is running out, you do not want to miss out on the chance to receive a scholarship.

Financial Aid Home

Taft’s Got Talent

By David Garcia, Arely Mondragon, Denae Ayala

Taft’s first annual “Performance Circle” is hosted by Professor Brian Jean and performed by many Taft College professors, staff and students.

The performances are held on the last Monday of each month. Skills vary from singing and dancing to playing instruments or performing a play. If you have a talent, come show it off!


Emily playing the piano


The second Monday of performances was for students. Before each student performed, they gave the audience an insight of their talent background.

The first to perform was Joey Smith; he killed his performance with his own mash up of Spanish rhythm style on his guitar. Smith brought up that the guitar he played with was purchased at a yard sale for only $10 a couple years back.

He also mentioned how he was never really interested in playing the guitar until years after he purchased it. Smith became interested in playing so he started looking up YouTube videos to learn how to string and play his guitar.

Fast forward to today, he now has the ability to perform in front of an audience.

Joey Smith and Carlos Medina

Second to perform was Carlos Medina, an outstanding bongo player. Medina has been playing since he was in the fifth grade. He mentioned he first taught himself how to play drums then transitioned into playing the bongo.

Next to perform was Emily Salazar; she gave an amazing performance playing the piano. Salazar performed a beautiful melody which was the first song she learned how to play.

Following her performance was Liz Greynolds, a poet. Liz has been writing poems for three years.

Last to show her talent was Samantha. She performed  a remarkably choreographed dance. Samantha said she has been dancing for 10 years and hoped everyone enjoyed her performance.


Samantha shows her best moves

Liz Greynolds reads her poetry

Movie Review: “Split”

By Denae Ayala

Written and directed by Manoj “M. Night” Shyamalan “Split” is the breakout thriller movie for his career. According to “Los Angeles Times” Justin Chang, “’Split’ doesn’t just revive Shyamalan’s career; it resurrects his brand.”

“Split” is not your ordinary scary movie. There isn’t much blood or glory; instead, you find yourself scratching your head. It definitely gets you thinking about the supernatural world.
The movie mainly focuses on this mysterious man Kevin that is diagnosed with not one, not two, but 23 distinctive personalities.

Throughout the movie Kevin (James McAvoy) frequently visits with his psychiatrist Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley) for checkups on his status with controlling his disorder.
The disorder Kevin is dealing with is called Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

As Kevin jumps from different personalities, it is up to the three girls he kidnapped to figure out who they are dealing with. Will it be Dennis? The one who kidnapped them. Will it be Patricia? The lady who is constantly reminding Kevin what to do. Will it be Hedwig? The 9 year old boy who occasionally tells the girls too much information. Or will it be Barry? The calm, collective fashion designer.

Their escape from Hell starts to seem impossible as they later find out they are dealing with something much bigger than the 23 personalities.

Kevin describes this personality as the “Beast”. Who has unnatural superpowers.