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260 Stories And Counting.

#113 Elizabeth Goold, Transfer to Cal-State University, Long Beach, Staff
(Assistant Director of Clinical Services)

I am currently the Assistant Director of Clinical Services at College of the Desert. Community college is why I am here today. It led to my Bachelor's and then my Master's degrees.

I was born the daughter of a diplomat, which led to traveling around the world and changing countries every few years. When I was 11, I asked to go to boarding school, in England, and my parents agreed that this would be best for me and my siblings in order to afford us more stability. Between the ages of 12 and 22, I had decided to make England my home. However, I was caught working illegally and forced to move to the U.S. I never considered the U.S. as my home as I had only lived here once before as an elementary school child. It was the first time I had experienced culture shock.

Four years later, I found myself the single parent of two children and a high school drop out without any job skills. Realizing my desperate situation, I enrolled at Pasadena City College and earned my RN degree. I could have never imagined that I would end up one day in such a wonderful job at COD. Believe me when I say, "If I can do it, you definitely can!"

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Dr. Sherry Ellison

#112 Dr. Sherry Ellison
(general education and psychology)

COD was the first step on the path to my successful career as a clinical psychologist. I was 39 years old and had always worked in the hospitality business. One day a server asked me to read a term paper she had written for a class at COD. I was so surprised she was attending college. She told me it was really fun and I could do it too. Astonished, I told her I had no formal education except a high school diploma. "Go speak to a counselor, they will help you" she advised. So I did.

Giving a lot of thought to what I would like to do I decided to pursue psychology. When registering for the first class I had made the goal of becoming a clinical psychologist.

This seemed over zealous to family and friends since I hadn't even taken one class yet and it would require a Ph.D. Well, eleven years later I received a Doctorate of Philosophy degree in psychology.

My career has been not only exciting but very fulfilling. I have worked at the Betty Ford Center. I currently work at Desert Regional Medical Center in the emergency department doing crisis intervention, and have a private practice as well.

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#111 Misti Santana, Class of 2004, Transfer to University of California, Santa Barbara
(A.A., Business Administration Payroll Specialist)

Not having much of an interest in school, I took a long break after I graduated high school in 1988. Thirteen years and three kids later, I found myself wanting a better life for my kids and myself, so I became a FT student at COD in the Fall of 2001.

Taking those first steps was terrifying. But the great staff and wonderful student resources here made the transition easy. The sense of pride that came with successfully working towards my goal changed the experience from a scary one to an exciting one.

We are truly a COD family, as I'm proud to say that not only me, but all three of my kids have also "attended" COD. The two youngest haven't earned a degree yet, but they did graduate from the amazing Child Development Center. We've all got a way to go towards reaching our ultimate goals, but we take it one step at a time, and couldn't have done it without COD.

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#110 Kerri Phillips, Staff
(Secretary, Counseling)

When I moved to Palm Desert the summer of 1999, my first thought for furthering my career in an educational setting was College of the Desert. I was lucky enough to find a position at the college. In the office where I first worked, we assisted faculty.

Later I found a position as an administrative assistant in the Counseling office, and I worked into a career where I now assist students, which, even after 12 years at COD, is a heart-felt pleasure.

There are quite a few areas one can "Step Up” for COD. One in which I’m involved is giving a small donation of my monthly income towards the Margo Capuano Scholarship. Margo was a friend who worked at the college for 12 years. Soon after retiring, she passed away. I’m happy to be able to give in her honor.

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Kathy Moreno

#109 Kathy Moreno, Class of 2007

I am a Coachella Valley native and I love our desert community. When I graduated from Palm Springs High School, I decided to attend College of the Desert, but wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life. I eventually determined that nursing was my path, but I also had another calling; the U.S. Army.

Once I was accepted into COD's nursing program, I found out I was being deployed to Germany. I informed COD that I was going to give up my slot in the program, but that I wanted to resume my studies when I returned, if possible.

I spent nine amazing years in the Army, first deployed to Germany in 2003. I served subsequent tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, where I worked as a surgical tech for the military doctors there. Of course, my time in the service delayed my pursuit of a degree, and when I returned as Sgt. Moreno, I decided to use my GI Bill and attend nursing school as I had originally planned.

Thanks to the support I received from COD's Veterans Affairs Program, I was able to transition back, and I received my degree in 2007. I am now working in the intensive-care unit at JFK Memorial Hospital. I love what I do.

There is no question that nursing is a challenge, but I look at it this way: I am working for those of us who didn't get to come home and realize their dreams. Thanks to COD, mine came true.

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