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Jennifer Singer

#91 Jennifer Singer, Class of 2002

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.

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#90 Nikki Roeder, Class of 2000, Student
(AA Liberal Arts)

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

English Tutor

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James Miller

#89 James Miller, Class of 1977
(A.A. in Business Admin A.A. in Law Enforcement)

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!

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#88 Jose Castillo, Class of 1983, Transfer to CSU- Los Angeles, Staff
(Alumni, Soccer Coach)

My roots in the United States started at College of the Desert as a 17 year old English as a Second Language student. COD embraced me when I was lonely and frightened in such an immense country. I went on to earn my AA degree from COD in 1983, my BS degree from Cal-State, Los Angeles and my CPA license. I became a teacher in COD's Adult Basic Education program in 1989 and Soccer Coach in 2010.

COD gave me the opportunity to be free and to express myself. I became a member of the desert community with the same opportunities granted to everyone. I learned the real meaning of "liberty and justice for all".

At COD I made friendships that have lasted a lifetime. I found teachers that mentored me and I found supervisors that taught me how to be a professional. I met my wife at COD and we now have two awesome children. About 20 members of my family have attended COD and I will make sure that my children also become part of the COD family.

I think of myself as the ultimate Roadrunner, and Wily Coyote has stopped chasing me because he knows he will never catch me. GO RUNNERS!

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Kirby Maus

#87 Kirby Maus
(Executive Director, Dig Down Deep)

Back in the summer of 1997, I took "General Psychology" at COD. Then, in the summer of 2000, I returned to COD to take career assessments. Whenever I review my term paper titled, "How To Become Successful," or reflect on how the Career Center helped guide me, it reminds me how taking one course at COD, or just utilizing COD's resources, has impacted and even changed my life. Go Roadrunners!!!