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Thomas Jones

#11 Thomas Jones, Staff

I began my educational experience with COD in 1994. One could say I was on the “20

2-year Program.” I took classes at the EVC, which we also called, “Indio High School.” I was taking math classes for fun, no real goal.

Like many older students, I focused on work for a while until 2004, when I medically retired from business. With TONS of free time on my hands, I came back to COD. I took a history class taught by Dr. Gudelunas. He was so dynamic and energizing. After my first class with him, I knew I wanted to be a history teacher.

COD became my vehicle for earning a Master’s degree so I could touch students the way Dr. Gudelunas and other teacher at COD touched me. Seven years later, I am graduating with my Master’s degree in History/Humanities from Cal-State Dominquez Hills. It all started with COD and the excellent teachers I had here.

It is my long term goal to one day work at COD as a History teacher. I hope that I will inspire those as I was inspired. COD is truly the "Door to your Dreams"! It was for me. Set short term and long term goals; work towards them; and never discouraged.

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#10 Robert Pellenbarg, Staff

Arriving in the Valley about five years ago, I entered a very different environment. I had worked as a research scientist on the East Coast, and left, ready for a change. Well, COD 'opened-a-door' for me, and I have never looked back. I now teach a variety of Science classes, and find great enjoyment and satisfaction interacting with the students at COD. This opportunity to guide a new generation has proven invaluable to me, and I most thoroughly enjoy it when a former student stops by to talk of their educational progress.

Lupe Ramos Watson

#9 Lupe Ramos Watson, Class of 1997
(Graduate Associates of Arts)

College of the Desert fostered an environment where I had the opportunity to explore my interest and passion in politics and community service. I am a first generation American born to migrant farm workers who followed her dream for a career in public service. COD's access to education facilitated my growth through flexible schedules and supportive faculty. I was able to work, raise a family, obtain my degree and build a career all within the Coachella Valley.

#8 Jayel Aheram, Student

I am a student journalist, Iraq War and Marine veteran,antiwar activist, internationally-published photographer, etc. I am studying journalism at College of the Desert because I believe that it is through journalism that I will change the world. Thanks to COD, I am armed with the tools to do so.

#7 Amado Balbuena, Student
(Law Enforcement)

For me, COD has an affect on me because I want to go to a four year university and graduate there with a degree in Law Enforcement to work in the Coachella Valley or somewhere in the U.S.