I began my career at COD in 1978 as Coordinator of Developmental Education and went on to become Dean of Community Education and Resource Development while also serving as the Executive Director of the COD Foundation. I have also served on the Board of the Alumni Association and was elected to the Governing Board and served as Board President for two years. I had the great fortune to serve as the COD point person in the development of the McCallum Theatre, the Multi Agency Library, the Energy Technology Training Center and many other collaborative projects.
During my tenure at COD I was able to witness how the college changed thousands of lives, and how the college became more fully engaged and integrated with the cultural life of the community as well as play a central role in the economic development strategies of the valley. I will forever be a "Roadrunner" and, to this day, I continue to work with the college to increase college attendance in the valley.
I attended COD from 1991-1999. My first musical production with COD was "Annie." I was 11 and so excited to be a part of such a professional experience. It was the first of many at COD. The two mentors that had the biggest impact on me and helped take my performance to the next level were Dr. Darlene Romano and the late Michele Gaines. These two great women championed me from the very start and gave me the tools to pursue my dream professionally. They also gave me confidence in my performance which allowed me the freedom every actor needs to trust their instincts. Without their encouragement and leadership I would not have experienced the success I have achieved in my career.
My colleagues and I felt so fortunate growing up in the Coachella Valley and having such a tremendous theatre in which to perform in such a beautiful environment.
It has been great coming back to perform at "One Enchanted Evening" for such a great cause, to continue supporting the early Childhood Education Program over the last five years. Thank you, COD for everything you have given me which allowed me to pursue my dreams.
In 2002, I graduated from COD with an Associate Arts degree and transferred to UC Irvine, where I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre. Today I am happy to say that I make my living as a professional singer and dancer. I have performed professionally on cruise ships, for corporate events, conferences, regional theatre, and in other venues.
I met many amazing people at COD who inspired and influenced me including my drama coach and mentor, the late Michelle Gaines. Michelle motivated me to be and do my very best, both onstage and off. Her discipline, advice, and encouragement helped me to stay focused during the toughest of auditions, and molded my beliefs and thoughts about the entertainment business. It also helped me to hone my own skills and talents. If it hadn’t been for Michelle and other key supporters at COD, doors would not have opened for me to be doing what I love today.
In March 2012 I was thrilled to be one of the performers in One Enchanted Evening V, a Broadway-style performance to benefit College of the Desert’s Early Childhood Education Program. I was honored to sing the show’s finale.
Had it not been for the extensive training I received at College of the Desert, I don’t believe I would have built the foundation necessary to move onward and upward in my life and career. Thanks, COD.
I am a proud COD alum. I have returned to my second home to pass the sacred torch of education on to the next generation of young scholars. I now work as a tutor in the Academic Skills Center in the English/Writing department. But what most people don't know is that I am also abled differently. I was never afraid to ask for help when I needed it especially during my academic career. I have never been a person to let challenges stand in the way of my success, most notably my cerebral palsy. I may have cerebral palsy but it will never define my character or my sense of integrity which is something I have always held dear. COD taught me to value the institution of education as a gift, not as a responsibility.
And that passion has allowed me to excel in all aspects of my humble existence, both personally and professionally. This passion was instilled in me because of COD and its professors, like my esteemed colleague and dear friend, Mary A. Boyd.
Now I look into the faces of the students I tutor every semester and I see the hope and determination in their core to succeed in life. To be a part of this is truly a gratifying and humbling experience.
Thank you COD from the depths of my heart.
Nikki A. Roeder
After my tour in Vietnam with the USN I attended COD. I was able to attend under the G.I. Bill while I worked part time. I received a degree first in Business Management and then, since I was interested in police work, I switched my Major and obtained a degree in Law enforcement.
While studying for my second degree I was hired by the USPS. I made a career out of it and was the Postmaster of many valley cities before retiring as the Manager of Postal Operations for all the valley offices as well as those on the 215 corridor.
Not long after being hired by the USPS I became the first Reserve Deputy-Sheriff to be appointed in many years. I was active in that position until I retired from it in 2002.
I have been active in the community serving with the United Way of the Desert and as President of the Chamber of Commerce in Coachella. Currently, I am the Exalted Ruler of the Indio Elk's Lodge.
I credit COD with preparing me for my career. I even learned to play golf through a class offered at COD, so now I have a hobby for retirement. Thanks COD!