Indian American Sikh Raji Brar appointed to California Univ Board of Trustees



Indian American Sikh community leader and Kern County businesswoman, Raji Brar, has been appointed to the California State University Board (CSUB) of Trustees. Brar, a California State University (CSU), Bakersfield double alumna, will be welcomed on board at its meeting in Long Beach in May.

Governor Gavin Newsom announced the appointment of Raji Brar of Bakersfield to the California State University Board of Trustees. Brar has been the Owner and Chief Operations Officer of Countryside Corporation since 2003. She served on the Arvin City Council from 2006 to 2008. Brar was Executive Assistant at Clinica Sierra Vista from 2002 to 2003. She was a Chemist at BC Laboratories from 2000 to 2002. Brar is the Co-Founder of the Bakersfield Sikh Women’s Association.

She is President of the CSU Bakersfield Foundation Board and is a member of the Kern County Hospital Authority Board, Kern High School District Education Foundation Board, KERO Channel 23 Community Advisory Board, and the Advisory Board of Kern Venture Group. Brar earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a Master of Science degree in Health Care from California State University, Bakersfield.

“The CSU is so special because your professors get to know you,” Brar said. “They help open doors for you and mentor you at a level that you can’t get at a UC. Many folks that do end up going to a CSU need a mentor, and I was blessed to get that at CSUB. I felt so confident after having a degree and a master’s, and there are a gazillion stories like mine, of students who have obstacles to overcome.” Brar is the third person affiliated with CSUB to serve on the Board of Trustees, following terms by student Krystal Raynes and alumnus John Nilon.

A first-generation American, Brar is the oldest child of her parents from Punjab who came to the US in the mid-1970s and first raised their children in Central Valley farm labor camps. Her mother only got as far as the fifth grade and can’t read or write, according to Brar.

“They said, ‘What’s the point? You’re a girl’,” she said. “My mom felt so limited in her opportunities. She worked in the fields and at Burger King, which is the only fast-food place she could work because you would say the orders into the mic, and not have to read the screen. She would tell me in Punjabi all the time, ‘You have to get an education. It’s your life partner, it will never leave you and no one can take it from you’.”

Brar attended CSUB because it was close to home, affordable, and accessible, a top priority for the new trustee. “There is a light inside Raji that she shares with our entire community through her many acts of kindness and tireless commitment to public service,” CSUB President Lynnette Zelezny said. “She will bring a unique perspective to the Board of Trustees, and this Valley that we love will be well-represented through her voice. This is a proud moment for the Roadrunner family and our region.”




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