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255 Stories And Counting.

Aaron Bonner

#35 Aaron Bonner, Transfer to U.C. Davis
(Political Science)

My experience at C.O.D. was extremely rewarding and exciting. I was able to meet and interact with wonderful staff, administrators and professors, and I developed meaningful relationships with my fellow classmates and colleagues.

Prior to earning my associate degree in political science, C.O.D. provided me with great learning opportunities. For example, I learned how the legislative process worked in theory as well as in practice, and I even had the chance to learn from former legislative leaders. C.O.D. also provided me and many of my colleagues with the opportunity to attend leadership training conferences, skill building seminars, and to learn in a comfortable, friendly environment.

As former president and founder of the C.O.D. Political Awareness Club and student trustee, C.O.D. equipped me with the tools needed to be an effective leader. As a result, our club was a huge success and we hosted several events for the students as well as the local community. Moreover, as a student trustee, I made sure students’ voices were heard and the college continued to support student success.

C.O.D. also prepared me with the skills to move forward and transfer to U.C. Davis, where I majored and received my bachelor’s degree in political science and became a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Sigma Alpha Honors Societies.

I am honored that C.O.D. believed in me and equipped me with the skills that are necessary to become a successful student. Moving forward, I intend to continue to utilize everything I learned from C.O.D. and share my great experiences with the rest of the world. It is my desire to return to C.O.D. to work as a professor, so that I can give back to the community that gave me more than I could have ever imagined.

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Robert Chell

#34 Robert Chell
(College of the Desert Foundation Board President)

I am a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at The College of Florham of Fairleigh Dickinson University. After forty years in higher education, the last thing that I thought I would do in retirement was to return to a college. However, that is just what I did!

I am the Board President of The College of the Desert Foundation. Why? The answer is that given the state of our economy, the role of the Community College has gained even greater importance. People need jobs! However, many lack the necessary skills for them. In addition to preparing students to further their education, College of the Desert prepares students for present and future job opportunities. Indeed, they develop a portfolio of marketable skills. It is my belief that if we are to successfully weather our current economic crisis we need an educated work force that possesses the necessary skill sets for our present and future economy.

I am happy to be in a position to help support this mission. I believe it is the responsibility of all community members to support COD. It is an essential component of our community.

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#33 Antoine (Tony) Clerc, Staff
(Adjunct Faculty Political Science & History Faculty Advisor - COD Student Veterans Organization)

College of the Desert has been a big part of my academic and professional success. I first enrolled at COD immediately after leaving the United States Army. With no clear direction about my future, COD gave me the opportunity to enjoy different experiences and explore different interests. Three years later, I graduated and moved to Northern California to attend the University of California, Davis.

COD was instrumental in developing my abilities in order for me to attend such a great university. UC Davis was a stepping stone for a master’s degree from Boston University where I studied Political Science, specializing in International Relations. Since 2008 I have been teaching political science and history classes at College of the Desert and I can credit my basic educational foundation to my years at this great institution. I cannot imagine a better way to give back to this community than by teaching in the same classrooms I sat in as a COD student many years ago.

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Sarah Lara-Toney

#32 Sarah Lara-Toney, Class of 2004, Staff
(I received my AA in Liberal Arts in 2004. Currently I work at the Foundation as the Title V Resource Development Coordinator)

My family moved to the Coachella Valley from overseas in 1999 and I came to COD because I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do after high school. I thought I wanted to be a Creative Writer, but ultimately majored in European and American History.

College of the Desert runs in my family! My sister was taking classes here when I graduated high school and suggested I fill out the application and take the assessment test. While I was obtaining my MA from San Diego State University my dad came to teach Psychology for the College as well.

It's amazing to see how much the campus has grown and changed over the years. It's been fantastic to rejoin the community where I took my first steps as a student.

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Richard Cardinale

#31 Richard Cardinale, Student
(Liberal Arts/Nursing)

I moved from New Jersey to the Coachella Valley in 2008 and six months later I was taking classes at College of the Desert. In my first career life I was working with computers when computers were first being developed. When my Dad’s health started failing I came out here to help my Mom with nursing responsibilities. I took a break one day, and went to the driving range at College of the Desert and before long I found myself speaking with the Golf Pro about taking classes at the college. So I started taking a golf class and basic mathematics.

Now I’m a full-time student getting ready to declare my major in Nursing. I have enough credits to graduate with an A.A. in Liberal Studies but nursing is what I really want to do. The college has helped me achieve my goal of a college education and degree and because of that I am a proud and successful student.

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