After high school, my family could not afford to send me to college. Two community colleges gave me a pathway to success. As a new desert resident in 1987, I took advantage of Cal State San Bernardino's program, then located on the COD campus, to complete my Masters in Public Administration. For many people like me, community colleges can play a vital role in the rea lization of their dreams.
#157 Matt Monica, Class of 1968
General Education for Transfer
Alumni, and Faculty Member)
In 1965 I was discharged from the Marine Corps. I wanted to pursue a career and heard about College of the Desert. Little did I know that COD would change my life. I reluctantly went to COD, because I didn’t think I was college material. I was blessed by being helped by Counselor Ron Green. He inspired me and before I knew it I was enrolled in classes. I graduated with my AA in 1968 and went on to earn a BA and MA. Thanks to COD, my life literally changed.
I was privileged to be hired as Director of Veterans Affairs at COD in 1973. I had a tremendous career at COD for 33 years and have served on the Desert Sands School Board for 26 years. Without COD, I know I would not have accomplished what I have. My wife Mary Ann and I are proud Lifetime Members of the COD President's Circle.
I have been teaching Introduction to Interpersonal Communication at COD for over six years. Every semester, I see how it changes students' lives. Most people don't realize just how much is involved in interpersonal communication, but this course examines the process and gives practical techniques for improving relationships. It's very rewarding to hear students share their stories at the end of the semester and demonstrate how much they have learned and how much their relationships have improved as a result of this course. I think everyone should take it.
I believe every person deserves the opportunity to pursue higher education. My parents were not in a position financially to contribute to my schooling. I'm grateful that I was able to obtain a combination of scholarships, grants and loans to complete my four-year degree. At the time, I honestly didn't realize who was providing that financial support. It's time for me to give back, and working at College of the Desert Foundation is my avenue to make that happen.
It was out of my passion and interest in photography that I decided to pursue my AA in graphic design; it was a natural extension. I have been shooting photos for more than six years, mostly animals, landscapes and a wide variety of fashion events. I love looking for and capturing those unique moments with my camera. In essence, my employable skills have evolved from the professors I've had at COD.
Having been diagnosed with Autism and being a COD student, I never let my disability get in the way of my talents for learning. One of the things I most like about COD is its diversity in students and teachers. So many of the professors and faculty at COD play a huge role in my learning. Dr. Jordan and David Aquistapace are two prime examples. COD’s Disabled Students Programs and Services Center has been a great resource for me and many other students with disabilities who need extra help testing, lab access and tutors. I can tell you, disabled students really appreciate the extra resources.
COD has been a great place for me to start out my higher education. It’s allowed me to continue learning and improving as a student. For example, my writing skills were only at an acceptable level in high school. Today my writing skills are at UC levels or higher, in just two years.
I’m proud of that and I’m not done.