#222 Christine Nickoli, Staff
(Senior Office Assistant, McCarthy Family Child Development & Training Center)
I have been a lifelong learner. After high school I attended college in Ashland, Oregon, studying business administration. I moved to California seeking sun and the beach! I worked in the real estate field and continued my studies at Saddleback College which is near the beach. Wherever I have lived, I have attended educational institutions; here in the U.S and abroad.
I am proud to say that I currently work as a senior office assistant at the McCarthy Family Child Development & Training Center. I work at the front line where customer service is essential. I try to make a difference with the students and others in some small way to shape them for their future.
I am thankful for Stan Dupree, Executive Director of Human Resources, who passed away recently. He literally transferred me to the Child Development Center. I would like to quote Stan, “Greatness is best served if we take care of each other.”
I have the privilege of working with genuine, caring, and dedicated faculty and staff. My purpose in life is to help others. I try to do three good deeds per day. Nothing is more fulfilling and gratifying than helping others. Small instances of thoughtfulness to large opportunities for large assistance. Collaborating with associates here on campus keeps me connected to the COD community. This keeps me motivated to continuously help families and more.
My “Step Up” for COD is giving a donation toward the “Stan Dupree Success Fund” which helps students in need of books. Stan is close to my heart. I am happy to be able to give in his honor. I am happy to call COD my home.
Growing up with parents that struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, being taken away from them, getting placed in foster care, and my mother dying; I had no clue where my future was going. I had gone down the same path and struggled with my own drug addiction for 10 years. I ended up getting pregnant, and that saved my life. I am a single mom. Being a single mother, I thought there was no hope for me. I thought my life was over and that I could never go to college or provide a better future for me or my son. I decided to apply to College of the Desert and my life changed. I had no idea about all the help and resources that were available for people like me or that were in my situation. I am grateful for all the major help provided at the McCarthy Center where my son attends. I had no clue about raising a child, and what to do at certain ages, and the Child Center has been there for me, helping me, and guiding me towards the positive ways of raising him since his first birthday.
The CARE/CALWORKS program also encouraged me to stay in school and even come back after a few setbacks. They kept telling me to never give up. Without COD's help there is no telling where I'd be. I'm able to attend college now and work on providing a stable and better future for my family.
Paulina Larson was determined to go to college and succeed. After graduating from Indio High School, she was accepted by every college to which she applied; but lacked the necessary financial resources to attend. Thinking her dreams of higher education might be impossible, Paulina enrolled at College of the Desert where she learned about the College Career Center. Counselors there helped her research her options and chart an academic path at COD which would prepare her for transfer while staying at home.
One of the required courses identified was journalism; so she decided to give it a try. The very first day of class, the professor asked if any of the students would be interested in the on-campus work program with the student newspaper. “By raising my hand, I found my life,” Paulina shared. “That day opened the door to my future and changed my life completely.”
Through work study, Paulina discovered the myriad of jobs available in journalism and media. Two years later, she had completed the required courses for transfer to California State University San Bernardino, Palm Desert campus. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in 2011.
Paulina’s dream back then was to work for a high profile, luxury publication. When she saw an advertisement for an opening at a local publishing company she knew this was her chance. “I was able to translate all of my coursework at COD into relevant work experience on the application,” Paulina declared. “I got a call back as a result.”
She started work shortly thereafter and three years later, this College of the Desert alumna is still floating on air, putting her skills to good use and full of enthusiasm for the future.
“I’m having the time of my life in the career of my dreams,” she said. “Thanks, COD.”
I am currently a College of the Desert student. I've been attending COD for the last three years. I am currently working at the McCarthy Child Development and Training Center. I enjoy what I do at the Center.
When I started attending College of the Desert back in 2010 and was not sure what I would be doing, I decided to study Liberal Arts with an emphasis in Social Science and Behavior. It is now four years later and my journey has been anything but easy. I had a baby, got married, and moved out to be on our own. All this made school a bit challenging, but it was possible to continue with all of the help that COD provided.
For example, the best thing that happened to me and my wife, who works and also attends COD, is the McCarthy Family Child Development & Training Center on campus. If the Center were not around to help we would have had a difficult time attending COD and furthering our education while having a child and working at the same time. The Center helps provide child care for my daughter while we are in class, doing homework, or even working. Now, because all of that was possible I most likely will be graduating in the spring of 2015. I plan to transfer to Cal State San Bernardino to get my Bachelor’s Degree in History with a teaching credential so that I can teach high school students and give back to the community through education.