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Warren Horton

#254 Warren Horton, Class of 2016
(Journalism)

College of the Desert served as a guiding light that helped me as a student complete a long sought after life goal.

After 43 years, graduating on May 27, 2016, from College of the Desert was a highlight in my life.

I was born in Long Beach and have lived there as well as Lakewood, Needles, Garden Grove and Indio. During my high school senior year, I was the youngest on-air DJ in the Coachella Valley for a local rock radio station (KREO, 1400am), in Indio. I joined the USAF eight days after high school graduation in 1968, and was honorably discharged as a sergeant in 1972.

When I was discharged from the Air Force, money was scarce so I attended COD to get paid as a veteran and returned to work at KREO. I took a second job at Master Computer Company in Coachella operating the computer system. I was fired from there because I did not have sufficient knowledge of RPG programming. So, in the spring of 1973, I began my studies at COD majoring in electronic technology. Some of the classes I took at COD were EMT, and computer programming (Fortran and RPG). I stopped attending COD in 1975, to enter the work force.

Over the years I held various jobs such as: a certified paramedic for an ambulance company, part-time county firefighter/engineer, audio/sound technician, construction superintendent, computer programmer, copier technician, and a county deputy coroner. I was contracted by Libbot Pool Service of Palm Springs to develop software to manage their pool service company.

I also worked for Allied Communications Inc. (ACI), an audio company in Cathedral City. While I was a student at COD, in the ‘70’s, I actually worked for ACI for years. The owner had asked Dr. Sheneman for a student from the electronics class to intern and possibly go full time. This was a great experience. While there, I got to work with and know Glenn King who is currently the Director of Network Services & Telecommunications at COD. Meeting Bob Hope and Vice-President Gerald Ford was a plus.

I was hired as a deputy coroner and began that career in 1988, at the age of 38. Eventually, the department began to move in the direction of computerization. Once again, in 1997 there was no cost-effective software available to run the department. Utilizing the programming classes I had taken at COD, and my self-taught Basic Language and Alpha Software Xbasic, I was assigned to write a complete software package that would track coroner cases for the entire county, from Riverside to Indio to Blythe. The current Director of the COD Public Safety Academy, Neal Lingle, was my supervisor at the time the software was developed. If not for my COD programming classes, this would not have happened. I retired in 2010.

Before I retired, my sergeant was, and still is, the president of a non-profit western reenactment group called Gunfighters for Hire. When I was getting ready to retire, I was asked to join the group and subsequently requested to be the media officer, since I was computer literate, could take pictures, and could also develop websites.

Having obtained some 60+ units already at COD from 1973 to 1975, I thought it would benefit the organization if I went back to COD to actually learn something about being a media officer. I started back in the spring of 2013 and changed my major to journalism. Most of my classes were dedicated to that major.

I really enjoyed the TV/Film Production classes with Prof. Michael Gladych. His style of teaching replicates the real world of filmmaking. I can’t thank him enough. I was also involved with The Chaparral newspaper during my last two semesters as production manager, and will continue for the fall 2016 semester.

Although my journalism degree has been earned, my journey will probably still continue. As a “senior citizen”, I really enjoyed the learning process and seeing how it has changed over the last 40 years.

It is never too late to get an education. Persistence does pay off. Embrace it and enjoy it.

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Tim T. Nakamura

#253 Tim T. Nakamura
(Director of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness)

Tim T. Nakamura is currently the Director of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for College of the Desert. But Tim has been coming to COD since he was ten years old. In the late 80’s and early 90’s there was a Japanese language school offered on Saturdays here at COD. The class was held in LA 13 and his parents sent him there to learn how to speak Japanese. He continued to attend Japanese classes at COD on Saturdays until he was about 15 years old. A few years later after graduating from Palm Desert High School, Tim put those Japanese language skills to the test when he was hired to serve as a Japanese Interpreter for a Japanese Paramedic exchange program. Tim is an Alumnus from College of the Desert and holds two Associate degrees in Liberal Arts and Police Science. He is also a graduate of Victor Valley College and obtained an Associates in Respiratory Therapy as well as Loma Linda University’s Emergency Medical Care Bachelors of Science program. In addition to those undergraduate degrees, Tim also possesses a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology from Argosy University and a Master’s degree in Education from Pepperdine University. Tim is currently working on his dissertation for his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

Tim is a United States Army Veteran. He served as a medic and non-commissioned officer until he left active duty in 2008. Tim is also a graduate of the Ben Clark Training Center Peace Officer Academy. He has served as a Level I Reserve Deputy Sheriff for the Imperial County Sheriff's Office providing solo patrol for Imperial County for the past five years. In the time that he has been here at COD, Tim has also served as the Interim Director of the Public Safety Academy where he continues to teach for the Basic Peace Officer Training program and the Emergency Medical Responder course.

“My academic interests arose out of my matriculation through my experience at COD. It is such a rewarding and humbling experience to be able to give back to COD by returning as an adjunct faculty and director. COD has always been a part of my life. I am proud to say that my diverse education and career experiences began here and I look forward to many more years at COD. Little did I know that when I took the road less traveled, it not only made all the difference but that it would lead me back to COD.”

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Kim Dozier, Ph. D.

#252 Kim Dozier, Ph. D., Staff
(Professor of English Currently Serve as the Distance Education Coordinator - Served as English Department Chair - Elected and Served in the Senate and the Faculty Association positions including Faculty Development Chair, Educational Policies & Pract)

You might say by connecting to my past, I'm helping others connect with their future.

I come from a family of educators. From my great-grandmother, both my grandmothers, and my mom. That’s really unheard of today. So, naturally, I didn’t want to be a teacher. I wanted to be a physician " like my great-grandfather.

I got my B.A. in 1991 at University of California, Riverside. As fate might have it, I started substitute teaching to make some money. I actually liked it. But I wasn’t totally convinced it should be my career. So I went back to school and got my master’s in 1994 from California State University, Sacramento. Then I went on to get my Ph.D. in 1998 from Illinois State University.

By the time I had finished my Ph.D. I had been able to teach at a university level, and at a community college level. I really connected with community college students the most. Many are non-traditional students. They are often a little older. They are hard working. They want to be in college. They know that it is important. They want to make their lives better.

In my 11 years at COD I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to be involved in many areas of academia. My work in Distance Education, on-line learning, has changed the most.

For students, the on-line experience is really shifting to be a more complete experience. So they have access to equal resources that a face-to-face student would have. For faculty, teaching on-line now requires training and certification, as well as a formal course review process.

I am proud to step up for COD and the life-changing opportunities our students experience in getting a degree or certificate.

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Mike (Ahmad) Diab

#251 Mike (Ahmad) Diab

Lebanon was engulfed in a civil war in 1984. “My father was killed when a rocket bomb hit his car dealership. He was in his office at the time,” Diab said. The dealership was collateral damage, not a target. Diab was just a teenager. He admired his father, who started as a taxi driver and moved up to become the largest used car dealer in Lebanon.

As a youth in Lebanon, Diab was a national black belt karate champion and wanted to continue to study martial arts in America, so he fled the country in the late 1980’s and traveled to Plano, Texas, a karate center. As a 21-year-old immigrant, with almost no ability in English, he cleaned the parking lot at Wendy’s in exchange for a hamburger. He was not qualified to flip burgers at the restaurant. He did janitorial work at a gym in exchange for a cot to sleep on in the basement.

Diab lived in Texas for one year, where he did janitorial work and taught karate at the gym by day. At night, “I rode a bicycle for two hours one way to the library to take English classes.” Through a friend, he was offered a job in California to work at a gas station as a cashier.

While employed in Palm Springs at a gas station, he went to College of the Desert to study English and to a management training school offered by the Shell gas company. He also worked part time, starting at 5 a.m., delivering newspapers for The Desert Sun, and later in the day at the gas station as a cashier. His karate training came in handy during several attempted gas station robberies as he was able to “take them down” until the police arrived.

Today in Palm Springs as a successful entrepreneur owning gas stations, Diab has 25 employees on his payroll, and he plans future expansion of his business and possibly a used car dealership.

His education comes mainly from the school of hard knocks, where he learned to “Chase your dreams… don’t just follow them.” He believes in working hard, usually about 80 hours a week, and dogged persistence.

As living proof of the American dream, Diab said, “Don’t give up, and don’t wait for someone to make it happen for you.”

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#250 Mariah Beatty, Student
(Psychology Major)

Both of my parents are drug addicts and alcoholics. I lived mainly with my grandma my whole life; but, I was bounced back and forth between parents and various family members. In 2009 my grandma passed away from cancer so I was then put into foster care. After graduating, I thought college was impossible! I thought I would need to take out loans and I have bad credit. So I tried online school..that was a mistake! When I came to COD I learned that there are wonderful donors and scholarships out there, I just needed to apply. I am the first generation to go to college. I work full time, I go to school full time, I am married and I also have two children under the age of five. My husband is a stay at home dad. I battle depression, anxiety and stress every day, but those are hurdles I have to overcome to give my children a different life than I had. Thank you to the Pell Grant, the Chaffee Grant, the Charles Yates scholarship, and the amazing counselors and staff at COD. My dream is to one day help troubled kids, teens and young adults and to be successful so my children never have to worry about their future.