I have been attending COD since 2007. At first I wasn't sure what classes to take, even though I knew what field of education I wanted to get into. I started taking my general education classes and joining clubs such as the Latina Leadership Network club and Folklorico club. The club advisers answered my questions about classes or anything else.
As the years went by I got interested in more clubs such as World Beat Club and of course my favorite,the ECE Club. I'm still in that club as of right now. Our adviser,Mrs. Greene, has helped me out a lot with any questions that I have. Last semester I got my certificate for finishing the ECE fastrack and then I got into the Honor Roll. I was and am very happy about my achievements. I also got my assistant permit, but that's still on its way. What I'm going for right now is my AA and I hope to be done soon. The staff at COD have helped me so much, and for that I give thanks.
I have come a long way in the past five years. I am a recovering drug addict who is looking to help and make a change in the addicted community. I feel I have a lot to offer this community with my life experiences and soon to be professional experience. I plan to graduate within two to three years and join the profession of Drug and Alcohol Counseling. I will be a first generation college graduate and my family and few friends are proud that I am achieving my goal.
Mine is a modest story that will have some meaning to people who may be thinking about following life dreams at age 60. I visited the Coachella Valley on a post-college adventure 40 years ago, and stayed. I’ve always led a rather creative life, but it blossomed into a full-blown art career, thanks to College of the Desert.
I ran a pottery studio, painted needlepoint canvases, managed outdoor arts festivals and even got a Master’s degree in clinical psychology when my youngest left for college. For a decade, I had a private practice as a licensed marriage therapist. All the while, I looked at art through the lens of others.
The tables turned in 2007 when my appendix burst. I saw how life can end in a flash, and while recuperating, decided to go back to my passion. In the '70's, I'd taken every visual arts class that COD offered. This time, College of the Desert classes by artists David Einstein and Judith Cook inspired me. I've always been creative, but COD gave me the technical skills I needed to produce paintings and prepare for an art show.
Now, I’m selling my art through my personal website. My work has appeared in group gallery shows across the desert and it has been selected for several juried Palm Springs Art Museum exhibits. In 2011, I won The Art Colony Award at the Artists Council Exhibition, an annual show at the Palm Springs Art Museum.
What has COD done for me? It brought me back to where my heart is.
#123 Mark Rizzo, Class of 2003, Staff
(A.A. Computer Information Systems
Instructional Support Asst.)
Following an unsuccessful attempt at college and needing some direction in life, I enlisted in the Air Force. After leaving the military, I came to the Coachella Valley in 1992 and COD was here for me with open doors. Life continued to happen and there were many stops and starts in my educational path before I completed my A.A. degree in Computer Information Systems at COD in 2003. Along my educational journey I discovered that I have an aptitude for computers. Once again the college opened its doors for me and in 2000 I began working at COD as an Instructional Support Assistant in the student computer labs.
Since that time until now, I have worked for a great family of people and have had the benefit of doing what I love to do every day with computers and students. The one thing I hope to do with the remainder of my time as an employee of COD is to give back to the students, faculty and staff what has been given to me.
To find a job that you love to do is one of the greatest gifts in life. I truly love what I do and that is why it is with great ease and profound appreciation that I "Step Up For COD".
College was a slam-dunk, but my life didn’t start out that way. I’m from a single-parent household. My father was not part of my life. I’d been kicked out of school and in a lot of trouble academic-wise. I had family members who weren’t the best role models, who went in the wrong direction. I could have, too. Instead, I went to church, nailed things down with my studies, got on the basketball team as a power forward and was put on a path that led me to COD.
A lot of people helped along the way; but COD prepared me for life. Today, I’m an investment associate with Martinez & Associates, a company that sells mobile homes and self-storage property across Southern California. Our Ontario firm is small, but thriving: We do $15 million to $20 million in sales a year. Life’s great.
I found COD the summer I graduated from Upland High. A friend at church had gone to Whittier College with Coach Steve McGihon and thought I’d have a shot at getting on the Roadrunners basketball team. At try-outs, coach said he liked my attitude. He told me he’d save a spot on the bench, if I came to school. I lined up financial aid, got set up with a work study job and wore the team jersey with pride.
It’s such a tight-knit school, I never felt lost in the shuffle.
I had really good teachers who gave me a lot of 1:1 time. I relied on COD’s resources, from the computer lab to the math-science tutor center; and graduated with a 3.7 GPA. I even got plugged into a summer internship at Granite Construction. From there, I went to Whittier. I’d been well-prepared, and I excelled. My B.A. in business came with high honors. I was Whittier’s top scholar athlete, won awards in business leadership and was Whittier’s Poet Examplar.
I feel really fortunate that I found COD. I think it gives you a good foundation to go out and be successful in any college you go to.