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Paulina Larson

#220 Paulina Larson, Transfer to CSUSB Palm Desert
(Journalism and Marketing)

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.”

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Alejandra Baragan

#219 Alejandra Baragan, Student
(Student, Majoring in Early Childhood Education)

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.

Joaquin Perez

#218 Joaquin Perez, Student
(Liberal Arts: Social Science and Behavior)

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.

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Luke Horning

#217 Luke Horning
(Attended COD Summer Session to Get Ahead)

Luke Horning always wanted to be his own boss. After graduating from Palm Desert High School in 2005, he enrolled in San Diego State University and went to work painting houses on the side to help pay for classes. Luke’s goal was to complete college in four years so he sought out additional transfer courses that would advance his academic plans. College of the Desert (COD) offered the classes he needed in business and management so he enrolled in summer session to get ahead. “The professors were great and the classes were affordable,” Luke said. “I was able to work while attending which made it possible for me to advance my coursework.”

Thanks to hard work and the availability of transfer courses, such as those at COD, Luke earned his bachelor’s degree in business management in 2009 and opened Luke Horning Paint Company in Palm Desert shortly thereafter.

College of the Desert helped Luke advance his goals for higher education,a career and a good life. He recently came back to COD to share his real life business experience with business students. “I wanted to let students know that it is important to have both education and career goals,” Luke emphasized. “If they focus on completion they can succeed in business and in life.”

Luke is pictured with wife Heather Enos Horning, also a COD alum.

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Alisha Terrell

#216 Alisha Terrell, Student
(Seeking AA and transfer to a Cal State or UC school, to get my bachelors in Public Health to become a nutritionist. )

When I was born my mother was struggling with a drug addiction and a drinking problem.I was born drug addicted and needed extra care. My Uncle and Aunt took me and my sister in and raised us as if we were their own.Growing up we learned how important education was and staying active and not following the crowd but being a leader. We were always active with sports and never had a gaming console.I was not close to my mother through out the years, but as I got older we have gotten closer an closer, and I learned not to blame her for the decisions she chose to make. My plan in life is to help others make the right decisions in there life from the inside out.