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255 Stories And Counting.

#148 Justyn Mawby, Transfer to California State University Los Angeles
(Prerequisites for nursing program)

In the summer following high school graduation I entered the Public Safety Academy at COD to prepare for a future carreer with the fire service. At the time COD offered an accelerated EMT course over the summer. I enrolled in the program and became immersed in the world of emergency medicine and got the first taste of how demanding a career in this field would be. After completing the EMT training at COD I passed the National Registry exam and became a registered EMT with Riverside County.

It was now time to look for a position with one of the valley's medical transportation companies. In the interim I was also involved with fire science courses also offered at the Public Safety Academy.

Before the interview process with America Medical Response had begun I had the blessing to meet a local oral and maxillofacial surgeon in the valley, Dr. Peter Scheer. After briefly speaking with Dr. Scheer regarding my EMT training and aspirations of becoming a paramedic I was invited to his office to observe a cosmetic procedure. The following day I was in scrubs assisting and integrating my way into his practice. I am now the surgical supervisor for Dr. Scheers practice and have been working with him for over three years.

I feel my experience with the Public Safety Academy has aided my progress with some intangible skills. From my first encounter with members of the fire service as a fire explorer to my class time experience with Chief Ignacio Otero and Carol Giannini I absorbed the concept of "Professionalism" that is a necessary character trait for any member of the EMS system. More so than medical knowledge, my charisma and confidence that was bolstered by my time at COD has enabled me to advance quickly and pursue my aspirations to the greatest degree.

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Christa Blaquiere

#147 Christa Blaquiere, Transfer to Augsburg College

I transferred to COD from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada to pursue collegiate level softball. The friendly atmosphere and small class sizes made my year at COD a positive and memorable one. Attending College of the Desert has helped me on and off the softball field. I am now transferring to Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN on a 70% academic scholarship to play softball at the four year level. Playing softball for College of the Desert has helped me excel at the sport in Canada. This summer I led my team to a Saskatchewan provincial title as well as the U21 Western Canadian title.

Jeff Place

#146 Jeff Place, Class of 1973, Staff
(AS degree in Horticulture)

My family came to the Coachella Valley in 1925 and was involved in agriculture and ag support services. I was raised in Indio and came to COD in the fall of 1968 and enrolled in general education courses. After one year, I volunteered for the draft and served in the Army Infantry for almost two years. When I returned to COD in the fall of 1971, on my first day of school, in my first class, there was one open seat left in the class and it was next to me. My future wife sat down in that chair and that was the beginning of my fondness for her and for the college. We’ve been married 37 years.

I graduated from COD in the spring of 1973 with an AS degree in Horticulture and transferred to Cal Poly Pomona where I graduated in 1975 with a BS in Parks Administration. I returned to the Coachella Valley and began teaching Horticulture as an adjunct here. I also worked as a Horticulture Technician at the college until I went into business as a Landscape Contractor in 1978. I remained fond of COD and returned as an adjunct instructor in 1994 and became full-time in Turfgrass and Horticulture in 1997. In many ways, it seems the college and I evolved together.

I find great satisfaction in continuing to “grow” the program and having a direct impact on our students who keep the valley green and beautiful.

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Rebecca Hertsgaard

#145 Rebecca Hertsgaard, Staff
(Adjunct Professor, Social Sciences Department, teaching Philosophy, Religion, Ethics, and Perspectives on Death and Dying.)

After raising five children and enjoying a long career as a nurse, I returned to school as an adult re-entry student, earning undergraduate degrees in Philosophy and Religion, and a Master's Degree in Religion. Those "re-entry" years were incredibly fun and fulfilling, and clarified for me what I wanted to do, as a professor, for my philosophy, ethics, and religion students. My goal was to introduce my students to fresh ways of thinking about life, and to ask big, bold questions. COD has given me that opportunity--I adore my job! My "life experience," as a nurse, a wife, a mom, and as a re-entry student, has enabled me to relate to my students and their own life experiences in ways I never thought possible. I look forward to coming to "work" (or is that "play"?) every day--my students are energizing and fun, and the staff at COD is the most supportive I've ever been around. COD "stepped up" for me, and I can do nothing less than gratefully "step up" for COD!!!

Deanna Thomas Clark

#144 Deanna Thomas Clark, Class of 1964
(A.A. Broadcasting)

I was in the first class that attended for two years and obtained a degree there. I was active in extracurricular activities and received the Outstanding Leadership award my freshman year. Following graduation, I attended Coe College where I majored in history and received my B.A. in 1966.

That was also the year that I married my husband, Glen, who graduated from the University of Iowa. I worked as a social service worker in Iowa, California, and Utah while my husband served for two years in the Army and attended law school for three years. Glen practiced corporate law and prominently served as a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for 26 years.

I enjoyed a large variety of philanthropic leadership positions in our community of Salt Lake City, state of Utah, Western region and nationally and internationally. In 2009 we retired to the barrier island of Saint Simons Island, Georgia and enjoy participating in community activities. We have two children: Andrew and Carissa and one grandchild Vashti.

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