Bakersfield College

Library shelf full of books

Cerro Visiting Authors

The Cerro Author program began at Bakersfield College with its first visiting writer, Luis Rodriguez, in 2007.

Made possible by a generous bequest by Delores Cerro, a local citizen who believed in the power of libraries to shape students’ lives, the Cerro Author program brings a prominent writer to the Bakersfield College campus each year.

Students, faculty, staff, and community members have an opportunity to hear the author speak about the creation of and themes within the writer’s works. Audience members are able to hear firsthand about both the challenges and rewards of the writing process from the vantage point of a professional author.

Current Author: Temple Grandin, Ph. D.

Temple Grandin, Ph.D., has been a pioneer in improving the handling and welfare of farm animals. Grandin’s achievements are remarkable because she was an autistic child. At age two, she had no speech and all the signs of severe autism. Many hours of speech therapy, and intensive teaching enabled her to learn speech. As a teenager, her life was hard with constant teasing. Mentored by her high school science teacher and her aunt on her ranch in Arizona, they motivated her to study and pursue a career as a scientist and livestock equipment designer. She has done extensive work on the design of handling facilities. Half the cattle in the U.S. and Canada are handled in equipment Grandin has designed for meat plants. Other professional activities include developing animal welfare guidelines for the meat industry and consulting with companies on animal welfare.

Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 | 10 a.m. & 2 p.m. | Levan Center
2 p.m. | Livecast to Delano

In Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism, Grandin delivers a report from the country of autism. Writing from the dual perspectives of a scientist and an autistic person, she tells us how that country is experienced by its inhabitants and how she managed to breach its boundaries to function in the outside world. What emerges in Thinking in Pictures is the document of an extraordinary human being, one who, in gracefully and lucidly bridging the gulf between her condition and our own, sheds light on the riddle of our common identity."

Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition book cover

Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 | 4 p.m. | Renegade Park

Among its provocative ideas, the book, Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior, argues that language is not a requirement for consciousness and that animals do have consciousness applies the autism theory of "hyper-specificity" to animals. Grandin shows that animals and autistic people are so sensitive to detail that they "can't see the forest for the trees,” a reality animals and autistic people see, sometimes all too clearly. She explains how animals have "superhuman" skills.

Animals in Translation

Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 | 7 p.m. | Indoor Theatre

It is usually easy to pinpoint the cause of physical pain in animals, but to know what is causing them emotional distress is much harder. Drawing on the latest research and her own work, Grandin identifies the core emotional needs of animals. Then she explains how to fulfill them for dogs and cats, horses, farm animals, and zoo animals. Whether it is how to make the healthiest environment for the dog you must leave alone most of the day, how to keep pigs from being bored, or how to know if the lion pacing in the zoo is miserable or just exercising. Grandin teaches us to challenge our assumptions about animal contentment and honor our bond with our fellow creatures. Animals Make Us Human is the culmination of almost thirty years of research, experimentation, and experience.

Animals Make Us Human book cover

Speaker Biography

Grandin is the prominent author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior. Today she is a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She also has a successful career consulting on both livestock handling equipment design and animal welfare. She is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America. She lectures to parents and teachers throughout the U.S. on her experiences with autism. She has also appeared on National TV shows such as Larry King Live, 20/20, Sixty Minutes, Fox and Friends, and she has a 2010 TED talk. Articles about Dr. Grandin have appeared in Time Magazine, New York Times, Discover Magazine, Forbes and USA Today. HBO made an Emmy Award winning movie about her life and she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.

Temple Grandin author portrait

Dr. Grandin appears at Bakersfield College as a Cerro Visiting Author and in collaboration with Bakersfield College Agriculture Department.

Schedule of Events

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

  • Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism
    10 a.m. & 2 p.m. | Levan Center
    2 p.m. | Livecast to Delano
  • Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior
    4 p.m. | Renegade Park
  • Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals
    7 p.m. | Indoor Theatre