BC four-year program

Carl E. Littleberry Jr., Reporter

Bakersfield College’s Science Department held an informational meeting Feb. 27 to introduce its new pilot program to BC students. Sean Caras, BC engineering professor, was on hand with Cynthia Quintanilla to discuss how students can apply for a four-year Baccalaureate Degree in Industrial Automation.

The four-year bachelor’s degree in Industrial Automation at BC was approved early last year, and at the time, BC expected to start classes in Fall 2015. Students in attendance at the February meeting learned about requirements for enrollment and details about the program.

This new degree focuses on the application of electronics and computer technology to industrial automation systems. According to Caras, this program breaks up into two-levels consisting of upper and lower divisions of classes. This will better prepare students for careers as a technologist, combining the jobs of both a technician and an engineer into one.

With a focus on careers in Industrial Automation, this particular degree offers BC students a wide assortment of job opportunities in the surrounding areas. Ranging from petroleum, manufacturing, logistics and agriculture, each class would prepare students for more of a detailed approach to automation, eventually culminating in a senior project for the second-year students. That project will involve working hands-on with local businesses in a working environment solving or creating whatever the business states.

Caras does, however, go on to mention that the requirements for enrollment and the time constraints for classes can be hard on some. Considering the fact that all classes are offered at night is troublesome for those with other commitments.

“I understand that night classes are hard for some. However, we have plenty of funding now,” said Caras. The science department received $250,000 in funding, which they have already used to supply the labs with more workstations to accommodate for more students.

“I love spending taxpayer money, when it’s warranted at least,” said Caras.

The classes themselves require that you apply during two tier periods. Tier one is for first time enrollees in the program and require you to have already accumulated 60 units of college credits with a “C” average. And tier two requires that you have completed all of the prior requirements stated in tier one. Information on the tiers can be found on the BC website.

However, Quintanilla, a BC counselor, doesn’t want that to deter prospective students.

“I’m here to help you succeed. Any one person can do this, I promise you,” said Quintanilla. She went on to specify all of the requirements and courses offered to the students present.

With six total lower-division and 23 upper-division courses, Caras believes students will have a wide range of classes to choose from.

He said that will help each student to find his or her niche in the automation industry but he knows it will take time for students to adjust to the change from two-year to four-year degrees.

“With the SB850 bill being passed, junior colleges have now become university level,” said Caras.

“We’re doing everything we can to give you the same challenges and rigors of a real university.”