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Tricia Gehrlein

#191 Tricia Gehrlein, Transfer to University of Redlands
(Attended part-time 1987-1994)

College of the Desert opened the door to higher education and changed my life. As part of a single parent household with limited income, I was no stranger to overcoming obstacles. My father died when I was just sixteen and, picking up the pieces, I moved in with my oldest sister to finish high school and then began searching for a job. I applied for and landed an entry level spot as a scheduler at Desert Hospital. Shortly thereafter, with no career plan in mind, I enrolled at College of the Desert (COD) hoping to find my future.

I was the first in my family to attend college. Like many of my fellow students, I had to work full-time while attending classes part-time. It was a struggle financially but I thrived in the supportive learning environment provided by the College. It took me more than six years to acquire the necessary credits for transfer to University of Redlands where I ultimately earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Management. In 2008, I was hired as Grants Manager at Desert Healthcare District.

Four years later the Clinton Foundation selected me to lead the implementation of the Health Matters Initiative as Regional Director in the Coachella Valley. I work with the community to facilitate the implementation of the Coachella Valley Blueprint for Action, identifying options and leveraging resources to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities across the region.

The lessons I learned during my years at COD helped me understand the value of exploring options and leveraging resources as I bring that experience to work each day with the Clinton Foundation.

I remember often that I walked the same path as many others who are struggling. Thanks to College of the Desert and others, I am fortunate to be able to now put my education and experience to work helping others meet and overcome obstacles to achieve a healthier and better life.