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258 Stories And Counting.

Sheila  Trexler

#182 Sheila Trexler, Class of 1973
(Nursing Degree)

When Sheila Trexler graduated from the nursing program at College of the Desert (COD) in 1973, she could have never imagined the twists and turns her career would take. As one of the first nurses employed at Eisenhower Medical Center, which opened that same year, Sheila still remembers the excitement of the hospital’s dedication ceremony. “Mamie Eisenhower was there, as were Bob and Dolores Hope,” she recalls. “It was magical.”

After working five years in the intensive care and emergency department at Eisenhower, Sheila was recruited to run a hospital emergency department in Las Vegas. In that role, she was in charge of administering care in many challenging situations, including the MGM Grand fire of 1980, considered the third worst hotel fire in modern U. S. history. She also continued her education, first at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, eventually earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, and later at the California Western School of Law, specializing in medical malpractice defense.

After earning her law degree, Sheila joined San Diego-based Neil Dymott Attorneys. But it wasn’t long before she was itching to get back to the desert so she talked her partners into opening an office in Indian Wells.

“If ever there were a desert rat, it’s me!” Sheila exclaims. “This office is my baby. A majority of my clients are physicians or other allied health care professionals, some of whom I worked with at Eisenhower all those years ago.”

When Sheila hears someone question the value of community college, she always tells them about the great education she received at COD.

“College of the Desert opened the door to my career in healthcare and changed my life,” Sheila says. “The faculty cared about students as people, as individuals. That makes all the difference.”

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Scott Beaty

#181 Scott Beaty, Class of 2004, Transfer to Longy Music Conservatory, Cambridge, MA
(AA degree in music)

A dream of mine for many years as a professional pianist was to return to Boston and earn my Master's degree in Music from Longy Music Conservatory. My professional enrichment began with returning to school at COD as a mature student in the outstanding music department under the direction of Dr. Darlene Romano. Due to Dr. Romano and career counselor, Ms. Eve-Marie Andrews, I was able to prepare and win seven scholarships and enter graduate school and then graduate with honors in 2008. If I had not begun my journey at COD, I would never have been prepared to re-enter higher education full-time in Boston.

I was already a United States Presidential Pianist having played for the late President and Mrs. Ford, and pianist for the McCallum Theatre. When I left for Boston, the McCallum Theatre held my position until I returned in 2008.

My gratitude for returning to the Desert with new enthusiasm in music has led me to a new passion volunteering and helping other students realize their dreams and to help mentor them with scholarships. My first opportunity will be my up-coming solo concert at the McCallum Theatre on April 6, 2014, where I will give two scholarships to young people entering the performing arts. Thank you COD for your role in getting it all started!

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Scott Sohn

#180 Scott Sohn
(COD Alumnus Plant and Landscape Design Classes)

I always wanted to be an architect. Little did I know when I enrolled in a plant design course at College of the Desert (COD) that my life and career path would be changed forever. I’m not sure what it was about the plant design course that caught my eye - but things just clicked. I knew I wanted to design with plants,not with two-by-fours. Following completion of the class, I switched my major from architecture to landscape design - and the rest is history.

COD Professor Michael Watling had the biggest influence during my time at the College. Soon after, I decided to put my education and training to work, started my own landscape business and earned my contractor’s license in 1984.

It turned out to be a good choice. I love being outdoors, and I know if I had taken the other route, I would have been stuck in the office all day. I still hand set every boulder and hand select every tree.

There is spectacular evidence of the success of Sohnco Landscape, Inc., throughout the

desert and beyond. The professional accolades the company has received also demonstrate why my career switch was a wise move. We've earned three “Best in Show”awards for landscape designs from the California Landscape Contractors Association. In addition, I was recognized for excellence in landscaping with the Stuart J. Sperber Memorial Sweepstakes Award during the 2012 California Landscape Contractors Association convention.

Recognition and awards are nice ‘atta boys,’ but I share all of this success with my crews " some of whom have also attended College of the Desert. It’s just a confirmation of our training and ability to do quality work.

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Koji Ohmura

#179 Koji Ohmura, Class of 2006
(Art)

College of the Desert (COD) opened my door to the world and industry of Hollywood. I took theatre makeup class, human anatomy class and sculpture classes at the College. My COD professors believed in me and introduced me to Hollywood artists. Now, I am working as a special effects makeup artist on CSI: Las Vegas and have finished work on Lee Daniels' The Butler. A small step was the beginning of the huge journey.

Thanks, COD for believing in me.

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Mayra  Orozco

#178 Mayra Orozco, Class of 2009
(Associate of Arts in Business Administration Accounting)

COD opened the door to higher education and a successful future for me. English was a foreign language to me when I first started kindergarten, but my teacher helped me with what I needed to know. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Jones, opened my mind to love school. I always thought I was going to be just like my parents and not attend college. I was unaware what I wanted to do with my life. But the older I became the more I wanted more for my life. My high school years opened my eyes to the possibility of college and a profession that I would love. After graduating high school, I attended College of the Desert (COD). The College provided a dose of reality and evidence that I was becoming an independent person. It helped me realize I wanted to become an accountant because I enjoyed numbers. While I attended COD, like most college students, I was working to pay for my school. In my second year at COD, I was granted the opportunity to work at Bighorn Golf Club as a Ladies’ Locker Room Attendant. At Bighorn, I learned about the Bighorn Scholarship they offered to employees.

I was grateful for the aid Bighorn offered because college education is costly. I applied and to my surprise was granted the scholarship. In 2009, I graduated from COD with my Associate of Arts in Business Administration. One of my goals was to obtain a Bachelor degree; therefore I transferred to California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB). When I transferred to CSUSB I was promoted at Bighorn to work as a server. I graduated CSUSB in the summer of 2013 with my Bachelor of Science Administration Accounting Concentration. In the preparation of my graduation from CSUSB, I was promoted to Human Resources as a Payroll Associate at Bighorn Golf Club. I was granted the opportunity to practice my accounting skills in a position I am enjoying.

I have been grateful for all the support Bighorn has provided in my journey to success. I could not have done it with the help of Bighorn Golf Club Charities Scholarship as well as support of my family, the members at Bighorn, and staff at Bighorn. Always dream big and never give up because anything is possible.

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