Faculty Diversification Fellowship

Faculty Diversification Fellowship Program


The Faculty Diversification Fellowship Program provides post-baccalaureate STEM students interested in teaching at a 2-year college with an opportunity to participate in a mentorship collaboration with a Bakersfield College faculty. In addition, candidates will gain exposure to the community college culture, including best practices for teaching and supporting the diverse group of students enrolled at a rural California Community College.

Alumni Highlights

Erica outside on a sunny day

Erica Mullins

Erica Mullins served as a Faculty Fellow in the first cohort of the Aspire Alliance Central California Regional Collaborative. Erica is originally from the Los Angeles area, she moved to Kern County in early 2002. She is a first-generation college graduate on both sides of her family and is the great-granddaughter of Mexican American immigrants on her father’s side.

After moving to Bakersfield, she enrolled at Bakersfield College to fulfill transfer requirements then completed her Bachelor of Science in Business before moving on to a Master of Science in Biology from California State University, Bakersfield in 2016. Erica received her second master’s degree, this time in Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz, in December 2020.

During the 20-21 academic year, she was also a member of the 3CSN STEM Instructors Learning Community, where she was enrolled in the year-long course: “Apprenticing Students into STEM Thinking.” Since then, Erica has been invited to participate in the facilitators' training for that program, which she began this summer. She also completed the Humanizing STEM Academy with Michelle Pacansky-Brock over the summer break.

In preparation for the 2021-22 academic year, Erica applied for several Tenure-Track Faculty positions in colleges in the Central Valley region. Erica received a couple of offers and has accepted a position at her alma mater, California State University, Bakersfield. Please join us in congratulating Erica on her academic and professional accomplishments.

Selena standing in front of trees

Selena Suarez

Selena Suarez was born and raised in Delano, California, a small agricultural city known for its farm-working community made up of mostly Hispanic and Filipino immigrants. She is a first-generation college graduate. She graduated from California State University Bakersfield in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. Selena taught 6th grade at Wonderful College Prep Academy during the 2018-2019 school year, and 7th grade math at Rio Bravo-Greeley from 2019-2020.

Selena then chose to pursue higher education, and went on to receive her Master of Science in Mathematics from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in 2022. As a graduate student, Selena did research on matrices and how they can be used to track the spread of COVID-19. She published her work in the spring of 2022. While in graduate school, Selena applied to the Faculty Diversification Fellowship Program, and was accepted in the fall of 2021.

During the fellowship program, Selena worked closely with math professors at Bakersfield College. This provided an opportunity to observe professors and work one one-on-one with students in a college classroom. Towards the end of the fellowship program, Selena applied as an adjunct mathematics professor and was granted the opportunity in the spring of 2022. She is currently an adjunct mathematics professor actively pursuing a full-time faculty position at Bakersfield College.

Cassandra wearing a blue blouse smiling

Cassandra Greene

Cassandra Greene was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. She graduated from California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 2018, becoming a first-generation graduate. After graduating, Cassandra worked as a substitute teacher for grades K-12 while also taking a course to eventually earn her Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Certification.

In Fall 2019, she enrolled in the master’s program at CSUB and received her Master of Science degree in Biology in 2021. For most of her schooling, Cassandra was pre-med, aspiring to attend Medical School. During the second semester of her master’s program, she became a teaching assistant for CSUB and remained one for the remainder of her program.  She soon learned that she loved teaching, and that was her true calling.

In the Fall semester of 2021, she applied and was accepted into the Faculty Diversification Fellowship Program. Within the program, fellows were assigned a faculty mentor within their teaching subject. As she surveyed the Anatomy and Physiology II course her mentor instructed, she learned the proper way to address students, different methods of relaying material, and the best practices for becoming a distinguished faculty member of Bakersfield College. The program also required the course “Teaching in a California Community College,” which involved analyzing current literature, theory, and practices for teaching at a California Community College. The course strengthened her understanding of how to support diversity and encourage inclusivity within the classroom.

At the end of the program, Cassandra applied for an adjunct position in the Biology Department at Bakersfield College and was hired for the Spring 2022 semester. At the end of her first semester as an adjunct, she applied for a full-time tenure track position in the Biology Department at Bakersfield College and was awarded the position. She began her first semester as an Assistant Professor for Anatomy and Physiology II in Fall 2022. She continues to strive to be a professor that offers an inclusive and welcoming classroom. She is currently a part of the STEM Kickstarter Program that aims to offer a practice on STEM teaching and learning to improve outcomes for Latinx students. She is appreciative of all the help that she has received to obtain her current position and will continue to look for programs and opportunities to help further improve her teaching.

Jerome in a field of blossoming fruit trees

Jerome Lagaya

Jerome Lagaya is a Deaf Filipino born in Batac, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. He attended the Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) in Pasay City, Philippines. Later, he moved to Bakersfield, CA, where he began his junior year at Highland High School. After finishing high school, he enrolled at Bakersfield College and graduated in April 2014 with an Associate of Arts degree.

Jerome transferred to California State University, Northridge (CSUN) in 2015, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts in Deaf Studies in 2017. While at CSUN, he volunteered to work with ASL instructors and also helped teach ASL courses at Bakersfield College. In 2018, he became an adjunct ASL instructor at Bakersfield College.

Jerome studied Sign Language Education at Gallaudet University and earned his Master of Arts degree in 2020. After completing a temporary full-time faculty contract at Bakersfield College, Jerome was accepted into the Faculty Diversification Fellowship Program. He continued to work closely with the ASL faculty and the ASL Club at Bakersfield College, and in the fall of 2023, he will begin a full-time faculty position at the college in the ASL Program.

Kim wearing a business coat

Kim Arellano Carmona

Kim Arellano Carmona is a first-generation community college graduate from the Los Angeles area. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and a Master of Public Health from California State University, Northridge. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of California, Merced, specializing in public health. Her published research focuses on Latino health and health disparities.

While Kim is committed to excelling in her research, her passion lies in teaching. She is eager to continue to share her passion for public health with her students and inspire them to pursue their academic and professional goals.

As a Faculty Diversification Fellowship Program alumna, Kim is well-prepared for continued academic success. Kim received several tenure-track faculty job offers and has ultimately accepted a position at Bakersfield College. In Fall 2023, Kim will join the Department of Behavioral Sciences as an Associate Professor of Public Health Science, coinciding with the completion of her Ph.D.

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