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259 Stories And Counting.

Casey Strachan

#19 Casey Strachan
(Valley newcomer.)

As a relative newcomer to the Valley, I had never heard of College of the Desert and never imagined that such an extensive resource would be available. In my short time, however, I've had the chance to tour the campus and see not only the many programs and facilities, but the exciting plans and vision the college has for the region. I've met with faculty, students and even alumni and one thing is unanimous - their high praise of College of the Desert and the opportunities the college helped them achieve. Soon I hope to be taking advantage of some of those opportunities for myself. Thanks COD for helping us with lifelong learning...

Kay Hazen

#18 Kay Hazen
(President's Circle Member - Business Owner)

I am proud to make an annual gift to College of the Desert as part of the President's Circle.

As a local business owner and community volunteer, I see first hand the power of College of the Desert to fuel our local economy and make it work.

These stories are sure to inspire others to step up for student success and COD.

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Jean Vezzalini

#17 Jean Vezzalini
(Alum, transfer student)

Jean Vezzalini, Italian. As an international student I attended COD and CSUSB.

After I retired in Italy, I started to work on a dream - a dream to write and illustrate a collection of short stories in English. English is not my first or second language; I speak a few more languages. To attain that dream of writing a book in English, I chose College of the Desert to begin my studies. I successfully completed 12 units each semester and was on the Dean’s List for seven consecutive semesters.

Along the way I worked on the campus newspaper and obtained an A.A. Degree in Digital Design and Production. I completed the collection of short stories and also became a watercolor, acrylic and oil painter. I had two solo exhibitions of my work in the Garrow Gallery at COD. My work was also exhibited in the Marks Center of the Arts in Palm Desert. I donated my work to raise funds to improve existing art programs on the COD campus.

At COD, I also completed an A.A. degree in Liberal Arts and English Composition. I continued with my studies, and in 2006 I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature from CSUSB-PDC. Upon earning my Bachelor's Degree, I worked as an admissions recruiter for the PDC campus at the College of the Desert with international students. I also created and produced the first campus literary publication “Tesserae”. Next, I continued my education at CSUSB as a master’s student in Communication Studies. While working on my degree, I served as a graduate TA and taught a stand-alone section of Oral Communication. The experience roused my interest in teaching and my thesis was pedagogically based. In 2010 I earned my Master’s Degree in Communication.

During the past year, I volunteered at the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus informing students of the International Studies/Travel Abroad Program. I also volunteered at COD with the Art department.

Heartfelt appreciation is directed to my husband who has stood by me unwearyingly. Sincere thankfulness is devolved to professors, staff and friends at COD who supported me through this intellectual journey.

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Leif Jordan, Faculty

#16 Leif Jordan, Faculty

“From G.E.D. to Ph.D." - Thanks C.O.D.!

I dropped out of high school in 1986. By the end of the 80’s my opportunities were very limited. For me and for many others in my generation, it seemed that we were destined for failure. A life of meaningless labor and/or servitude was all that I could hope for. That changed in 1990 when I stepped onto the campus here at College of the Desert. I was immediately welcomed as if I had been away from home for a long time and the doors of education were opened for me.

College was a struggle for me, having not been in school for many years, but with the help of the faculty and staff who were very supportive, I was able to overcome many obstacles on my path to higher education. I earned my G.E.D. here at C.O.D., and then completed the IGETC transfer curriculum and was accepted to U.C. Berkeley. I went on to earn a K-12 teaching credential and taught high school for 3 years. Eventually I earned two master’s degrees (M.A. and M.S.) and a doctorate (Ph.D.) in mathematics.

My greatest achievement by far was being chosen as a full-time professor here at College of the Desert. Having my education, I could have worked anywhere in the country, but I just wanted to come home again. Now I have the best job, at the best school, teaching the best students in the world. I couldn’t be happier and I owe it all to a lot of hard work, determination and the people here at C.O.D. who made it all possible.

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#15 Pam Hunter , Transfer to CSUSB, Staff

I moved to the desert in 1977 to join my family. My parents encouraged me to meet with their friend who taught at College of the Desert - and that's how Dr. Roy Wilson became my faculty advisor. He was also my public speaking professor and took great pride in "giving me a grade" when he would see me make presentations as I built my career in the Valley.

After COD, I transferred to CSUSB for my BA in Psychology and then to Chapman College for my MS in Human Resource Management & Organizational Behavior.

I came back to COD in 1999 as an employee and am currently the Executive Director of Institutional Advancement. In 2005 I joined the Foundation's President Circle and continue to be a member. One of my projects is the "Step Up for COD" campaign designed to encourage alumni to tell us their story. Talk about coming full circle! I am proud to be both a COD Alumni and a college employee.

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