Staff Spotlight: Johnny Nieto

male wearing a sport jacket

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

By Deanna Rea

Johnny Nieto is one of the newer additions to the Bakersfield College staff, beginning his journey in January of this year. He is the Program Manager of the Native American Student Support & Success Program (NASSSP), which is designed to support and assist self-identified Native American students on campus.

Johnny is from the Tule River Indian Reservation, the second-largest reservation in California, near Porterville, California. He earned his AA in business management at Moorpark College, and then his bachelor's at Oklahoma State University. He expresses that it is his desire to help other Native American Students that has led him to Bakersfield College. He explains, “(There is) a need for our Native American Students, and with my pathways, and with my career - I believe I have the education and experience for this program.” Throughout the conversation, it is clear that Johnny has passion for helping Native American students reach their goals academically and beyond.

Bakersfield College is constantly evolving by creating new programs capable of assisting students of different cultures and backgrounds, this new program is an example of this. It encourages success and provides Native American students with a safe community by supporting them through their academic, social, leadership, and cultural development. “But most importantly,” Johnny says, “it's creating an identity, a voice, and culture at Bakersfield College for all Native American students. My goal is to create a safe place for Native Americans because it's hard to find things like that.”

When asked what his favorite part of working at Bakersfield College is, he quickly replies, “The students. The Native American students. They finally have somebody who identifies with them and can support them for their needs—and as I see them, to become tribal leaders or mentors. That’s the way others helped me.”