BC’s first graduating class for Industrial Automation


Issy Barrientos

The first seven industrial pose in front of equipment.

Issy Barrientos, Reporter

The first seven students who have earned an industrial bachelor’s degree at Bakersfield College will graduate at the next commencement ceremony on May 11.

Manuel Fernandez is one of the professors who had a hand in starting the bachelor degree of science at BC. Fernandez said that having a four-year degree in Industrial Automation means that someone is ready to enter the work force as an automation specialist, operations manager, and a variety of roles between the two. He continued to say that they have more skills than an hourly technician and or maintenance person as well as the skills for leadership or management.

“And you are dealing with cutting edge systems,” Fernandez added.

He described an industrial operator as someone who oversees the people that keep systems working by mechanics. They make schedules and approval overtime as well as run projects.
“Basically they are supervisors,” he said.

The classes are very hands on as one of the freshmen or sophomore classes involves students building circuits, and using sensors and scopes. They have industry specific hardware, not just simulations and legos.

While a student is working towards their associate’s degree they can take the general education courses and the lower division courses. One needs to put in another application to take the junior and senior courses for the B.S. degree.

“You can definitely come in and start your path towards the bachelor’s degree without meeting any other requirements just like you could if you were pursuing any other associates’ of science,” Fernandez said.

Kori Masilon, a BC student since 2011, is one of the seven graduates. When she enrolled at BC she did not know what she wanted to do. It was when she took the Introduction to Engineering class that she heard about the upcoming bachelor’s in science program.

According to Masilon they are there to bridge the gap between theoretical engineers and the maintenance crew. “We don’t have as much theory knowledge as engineers and not quite as much hands on as technicians.” She said they geared the students to more management positions.

“If you’re transferring then you don’t really have a degree yet so it would have taken even longer to actually achieve getting a bachelor’s degree and more expensive,” Masilon said.

Her plans after graduating are to gain experience working in the industry. She hopes she gets invited to work on a team for Tasteful Selections, a company she did her senior project with, or Wonderful Almonds.

Another one of the seven is Armando Gutierrez. He also has an internship at Tasteful Selections, a potato company. He has attended BC for a for a while and first heard about the bachelor’s program when he was just finishing his associate’s degree in electronics technology. Gutierrez said he “decided to stay in school a bit longer in order to achieve it.” When he started to attend BC he did not know what he wanted to be involved in, but when he started to learn more about electronics and technology he knew he wanted to be involved in it.

“If you love learning about technology, you will love the Industrial Automation field,” Gutierrez said.