I have been an educator in the Coachella Valley since 1996 and have seen the impact that College of the Desert has had on the growth and the daily lives of all stakeholders.
When I began working as a part-time counselor for the ACES (Academic Counseling and Education Services) program in 2008, I knew that I wanted to be a part of this team! I currently serve as the Project Director for the East Valley Federal TRIO program and look forward to every day as we assist students in graduating and transferring to four-year institutions. I am proud of the outstanding education our students receive and how successful they are when they transfer.
My first day at College of the Desert in 2011 was a beautiful experience. The students and staff made my first day on the job a delight. I have the luxury to work with amazing students, and to watch them grow and become the new leaders of tomorrow. My career at COD has been both rewarding and challenging. I am happy to call COD my home. Join me and Step Up for COD!
My 25 plus years of culinary experience along with the education I have received through working with various chefs and peers has developed my style of cooking to be my own. My education at College of the Desert was a huge bonus in the mid 90’s when I received culinary training from Chef Beno. He is awesome.
Chef Beno expanded my vision and opened doors to my creativity as a chef. He taught me that recipes are only guidelines. This opened a plethora of possibilities that drives my creativity in design and preparation today. Presentation is a high priority too. I focus on color, placement, eye appeal, as well as taste.
I started as a dishwasher and prep cook in 1987. From the moment I stepped into the kitchen, I knew that this would become my life and career. The passion I have for cooking is displayed in the food I cook.
Since 1973 my father has been working as a chef in Mexico, San Francisco, Los Angeles and now in our desert. My nephew is following in our footsteps so our cooking expertise seems to run in the family. I am currently the Executive Chef at Sun City Palm Desert providing food for banquets, weddings, restaurants and private parties. It is a very busy lifestyle and one that I love. Thanks to my livelihood, my wife and three adoring children, my life is good!
I believe in the mission of the community college so much that I work at COD, and I give a portion of my salary to support the college. COD is THE place in the Coachella Valley to start or re-start your path in higher education. The faculty and staff care about student success, and they change lives every day. I am proud to work with them and support them daily.
#115 Robert Dennis Enriquez, Student
(Psycology as a transfer student from University of Southern California.)
Passionate, hardworking, loving, dedicated and forgiving are a few things that I have been described to be. I am passionate in what I set out to do. That is why I am back in college at the ripe old age of fifty five. I have always believed in a hard day’s work and sometimes nights. My position as Director of Disabled Student Services at the World Education is my passion and venue to help others faced with a disability. My dedication is to myself in being the best husband, father, grandfather and community leader as humanely possible. It was not always this way.
It has been twenty years since I was involved in a life threatening boating accident which left me completely blind. During a race to Catalina Island I crossed a wake of a 400,000 ton oil tanker. The impact of the wake flipped my boat while traveling at 85 miles per hour. I was fished out of the sea and helicoptered to Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California where I spent the next ten days in a coma clinging to life. When I woke up I was surrounded by names without faces. I did not remember what had happened and I was unable to see. The accident left me blind.
After ten months of recovery I knew I was faced with many new challenges in life. I sought help in dealing with my limitations. The recommended treatment allowed me to become better aware of what my limitations were and I was able to set new personal goals. I enrolled in classes for the blind at the Braille Institute of Los Angeles, California where I learned to manage my life as a newly blind person. I then became an instructor of sensory awareness and mobility training. I enjoyed the opportunity to help others who were faced with similar challenges as me. I was then honored with an invitation from U.S. Congressman Marty Martinez to work in Washington D.C. as a congressional lobbyist for the rights of citizens with disabilities. My experience in the Capitol was very fulfilling as I sincerely believe I made a difference in thousands of lives of those living with disabilities.
In year 2000 I was chosen as a candidate for experimental optic nerve reconnection surgeries. After twenty four successful surgeries I am now partially sighted with 20/500 sight in each eye. Today, with the assistance of technology I am able to appreciate the success of a new career and the furthering of my formal education. It is my goal to continue to be of service to those who are challenged with a disability. I am confident I would have not had this opportunity if not for the professional help I was able to receive and for those who believed in me.
Now, it is my turn to give back to a community who was there for me when I was in need. As a doctor of psychology I will continue to work with those who are newly faced with a disability. This specialty is needed in our aging community and I have my sight on filling that need. In addition, the difference I can make through education using my personal experiences, developed skills of motivation and a formal education I will be able to better reach out to thousands of citizens faced with blindness to encourage them in pursuing their academic goals. This is my promised legacy and it can be realized with your investment in me. Together we will make a difference.