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256 Stories And Counting.

Gloria Viloria

#46 Gloria Viloria, Staff
(Transfer/Career Center Specialist)

In 2007 I relocated to Palm Springs from Scotts Valley, CA. A native Californian, I always found peace and pleasure vacationing in the desert. Now it became my home. The first order of business was to find a wonderful place to work and make new friends.

After weeks and weeks of waiting patiently, I was thrilled when the phone rang and Barbara Creson announced that the Academic Senate at College of the Desert chose me to be their new Secretary. JOY! I was honored to become acquainted with almost all of the Faculty at COD while serving the Senate for four years.

Now I am doubly blessed, because I work in the Transfer/Career Center where I support our exceptional Counselors and help dozens of students every single day. How lucky can one woman be?

Not only did I achieve my goal and find a wonderful place to work, I have made life-long friends. I am very proud to StepUpForCOD!

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Nancy  Martinez

#45 Nancy Martinez, Class of 2009, Transfer to University of California, Santa Barbara
(I received my A.A. degree in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in Social Sciences and Behavior.)

As a first generation, Mexican- American student, the odds of attending college were against me. Although I was accepted to multiple state colleges after graduation from high school, the financial burden and uncertainties forced me to reject each offer and register at College of the Desert.

Upon completion of my first semester I realized that enrolling at COD was the best decision I could have made! The teachers, staff, and administration genuinely cared about each student and were readily available to meet with them to answer any questions. This is something I greatly appreciated after transferring from COD to a four year university. Nevertheless, the cherished relationships I developed with my counselors, teachers, and administration made a lasting impact in my academic success as well as my life. My teachers provided me with the tools necessary to succeed in the classroom, my counselors gave me the motivation to continue my education, and the administration’s friendliness and accessibility made COD a comfortable and enjoyable environment.

In June of 2011, two years after graduating from COD, I received my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UC Santa Barbara. It is without doubt that this accomplishment wouldn’t have been possible without the supportive and tight-knit community of COD. It’s been four years since my first semester at COD, but I still feel connected to the campus and staff. I am currently a graduate student at Boston College pursuing my master’s degree in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology. Thank you College of the Desert for making such a lasting impact in my life!

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Edwin Deas

#44 Edwin Deas, Staff
(Former Vice President for Business Affairs)

My wife and I left a dynamic college turned university in British Columbia, Canada, to enhance our careers in Southern California. While she joined the University of California Riverside, a natural progression, I chose COD for one main reason. I wanted to get back into the educational field that is inextricably linked with its community on a local and global basis.

Little did I know at the beginning how the bond program not only had the ability to fund the upgrade and expansion of the Palm Desert campus; but, also the development of four new campuses, two in the east Valley and two in the west. This gave me the greatest opportunity to reach out to and engage the community that I could never have dreamt of.

A good deal of my day was spent trying to balance the COD operating budget in the time of a huge state fiscal crisis that represented an enormous challenge to our very mission. The rest of the day was spent looking to the longer term and developing the facilities and infrastructure that would serve the Coachella Valley for decades to come. At times my tasks seemed at odds with one another; but, I took the view that both were crucial to the development and well-being of COD and that neither outranked the other. Successful accomplishment of both would significantly contribute to student success and community engagement. And that is why I came to COD in the first place.

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Farley Herzek

#43 Farley Herzek, Staff
(Former Vice President Academic Affairs)

In my first month at COD I attended several local Chamber of Commerce meetings to get a sense of COD’s role in the community. At all meetings I proudly wore my COD name badge.

At one particular meeting a local businessman shared a very heartfelt, personal story with me. He told me that his son was never a very good student in school, had dropped out of high school, had no sense of direction, no jobs skills and was unemployed. He went on to tell me that his son somehow got directed to the COD adult education/high school diploma program and in that program he encountered the most nurturing, caring, supportive educators and support staff. He told me with a smile that would light up a room, that his son just graduated from COD with his high school diploma a week earlier and that he would be continuing on with his college education at COD.

It was from this personal story that I knew COD was a very special place. College of the Desert not only educates, it changes people’s lives. I was very proud to be a Roadrunner!

Farley Herzek

Former Vice President Academic Affairs

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#42 Adrian Gonzales, Staff
(Interim Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Student Support Programs & Services)

I joined COD in 1998 as a faculty coordinator assigned to lead the TRIO programs -- a series of programs geared toward assisting low-income students to become the first in their families to earn a college degree. Over the last decade COD has provided me with many opportunities to grow personally and professionally and I now have the privilege of serving as both the Interim VP of Student Affairs and Dean of Student Support Programs and Services.

Throughout my time at COD I have had the great pleasure of working in partnership with many faculty, staff, and administrators who work tirelessly to provide our students with an opportunity to achieve their goals. This spirit of putting students first makes COD a great institution to be a part of.

My wife and I are proud donors to the COD Foundation. In keeping with how I started my career at COD, our modest gift goes toward providing low-income students with scholarships. It is our hope that these scholarships will allow at least one more student to become the first in their family to earn a college degree.

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