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!
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!!!
The decision I made to return to College of the Desert has actually been one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.
I was pregnant with my fourth child. Unemployed, single and scared. I had no idea what to do. I did know that I needed a college degree in order to support my boys.
I have had some of the most amazing instructors. One was Mrs. Leslie Young, she was so inspiring. I had no books and no money for books. She offered hers while I was in class. She also offered me self-esteem. This is something that I had not experienced in a long time. NOT only are the instructors incredible so are so many of the counselors and staff. One after another showing me the way for different groups and clubs that would help me get through school.
Another very important part my of success is Mrs. Eve Marie Andrews. Her scholarship classes have made it possible for me to be where I am. As a single mother of four boys on financial aid it is one way I am able to be in my third semester of nursing school. Another very very important part of this is the Child Development Center on campus. The day I found out my son (Maximus) could attend, I cried. Without this amazing place I would not be able to be where I am at today. The facility is so beautiful. The staff is the best. I am able to study and know my son is in the best care possible. I actually have made the Dean’s list and Honor Roll many times because I am able to study without any worries about my "baby".
I plan on graduating in December 2012 with my Associate’s Degree in Nursing. This journey has not been easy. In fact, I have had a very rough road. But along this road I have learned that I have so much. I want to share my story and all I have learned with anyone wanting to listen.
After dropping out of college for a few years to experience life on my own as a young adult, taking classes at the local community college gave me the confidence to complete my higher education pursuits at UCLA, where I graduated with honors with a Bachelors in Environmental Policy, a Masters in Architecture and Urban Planning and a Law degree.
My community college instructors were not only skillful and knowledgeable, but they were also very motivating and caring. Without that community college experience, I probably would not have become the person I am today both personally and professionally. I never would have dreamed back then that I would become so dedicated to a professional career and the public I serve, but for my personal experience with re-entering higher education via my local community college.
I now am a partner in a boutique law firm of ten attorneys that exclusively serves public agencies throughout the Coachella Valley and beyond. This is an achievement that I use throughout the Coachella Valley in various venues to motivate many young people from very challenging and disadvantaged backgrounds to seek a higher education at College of the Desert.
This is my story.
Steven B. Quintanilla
Proudly serving the City of Rancho Mirage, City of Cathedral City, the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District, the Palm Springs Cemetery District, the Southern Coachella Valley Community Services District and the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention and Visitors Authority.
#84 Donni Prince, Class of 1977, Staff
(AA Degree/Liberal Studies
Currently, COD's Veterans Specialist)
College of the Desert has been a big part of my life for most of my life!
I graduated from COD in 1977. Even before I came as a student, I was hanging out at COD with my best friend, who was a cheerleader. Since I was tagging along with the cheerleaders, there were many times that I was put to work wearing the Roadrunner mascot costume, climbing ladders to hang signs, and traveling to games.
This lead to 20 years of doing stats for the COD Men’s Basketball team, and a few years doing football stats as well. There have been many road trips, tournaments and late nights, but lots of great friends and fun memories as well.
I have had the honor to be working with COD Veteran students since 1978 as the Veterans Specialist. It’s hard to believe that when I started my students were Vietnam era and I’m now into a few second generation COD Veterans (their parents attended here as Veterans in the 70’s & 80’s). Our Veteran student population has grown quite a bit in the last few years as we expand our ability to offer more services and support.
I’ve worked with many students throughout the years, and whether they like it or not, and no matter what their age, I call them “my kids”. I have been blessed to have them as a part of my life. My many years at COD have been filled with wonderful times. I’m
looking forward to many more great times ahead.