Spotlight: professor Garcia


Photo provided by Olivia Garcia.

Professor and chairwoman of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors featured here speaking at an event for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Aubrianna Martinez, Senior Digital Editor

After being featured in local news for her work in the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Bakersfield College professor of history Olivia Garcia was approached to speak at a bit more length about her work not only there, but in the classroom.

Garcia explained her work in the local chapter’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce where she serves as a chairwoman for its board of directors. She also noted the logistical problems that she and her colleagues faced earlier during the pandemic, “we did our best during this time to advocate and support our business membership. We got heavily involved in the Latino COVID-19 Task Force.”

Garcia continued to emphasize how they are continuing to move forward as things appear to be returning more to what was known as normal, “this year, we are finally moving toward launching our events back up again—of course following […] social distancing rules, but we are excited about it. Two of our big events are the Dia de Los Muertos cultural event and the Latino Food Festival and Menudo Cook-Off event,” she said.

The COVID-19 pandemic was an ordeal for everyone, and students and staff alike at BC generally know the struggles that their peers and colleagues faced. Yet even at its height and now, Garcia maintained insistence on committing to her work in the classroom, even when everyone was forced to attend classes from home.

“I was determined to find ways to connect with my students even in a virtual environment.” Garcia explained, “thankfully, BC offers many online educational training classes for faculty that proved helpful and I’m already such a techie nerd that I just looked for new ways to improve in a virtual environment”

Garcia continued emphasizing the impact BC has had on her life. “I truly love my job and am fortunate that I get to talk about history with students every day. It’s almost like a full circle for me because I started my journey at BC as a freshman many moons ago and met some amazing teachers and counselors, some who I have kept in touch with today,” she said.

Garcia also expanded upon her earlier work, stating that she formerly worked as a journalist. She stated that despite deeply enjoying her work in journalism, that “being a history professor is a greater gift because it allows me to educate and inspire young minds who are creating their amazing journeys,” she said.

When asked about what she hopes students—specifically those who were enrolled in her class during the pandemic—take from her classroom, Garcia answered, “I hope my students take away a few things from my classes—for one, an appreciation or love of history; two, critical thinking and writing skills that they learn in my class; and three, that I truly care about them and how they succeed in my class and beyond. I have had a few inspiring teachers in my life, and my goal has always been to be like them.”