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Heather Enos

#170 Heather Enos, Class of 2009
(Associate of Arts in Business and Technology Transfer to Pepperdine)

Following graduation from Palm Desert High School, a four year college wasn’t a financial option for me, so I turned to College of the Desert to discover my future. The flexibility of schedules at the college allowed me to work full time while taking a broad range of classes. This provided time for me to work out a future academic and career path.

A class in business law at the college got me thinking about making business a career. A calculus professor pushed even harder, challenging me to really apply myself in order to excel and be prepared for the real world expectations I would be facing after college.

My academic preparation and faculty support, in combination with the scholarships I received from COD Foundation, made all the difference. When someone else believes in you, it helps you believe in yourself.

While I never imagined I could get into a school like Pepperdine, hard work and dedication at College of the Desert opened the door. I earned an Associate Degree in Business Administration at the college in 2009. Thanks to classes that transferred easily I was able to hit the ground running and graduate with a BS in Business Administration from Pepperdine two years later.

I joined FirstBank in 2012 as a Banking Officer at the Washington and 42nd branch in Palm Desert. Banking suits me. I feel fortunate to have landed a great job that I love, in large part because of the great start I got at our community college.

Thanks, COD.

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Katie Pettersen

#169 Katie Pettersen, Transfer to CSULB
(Psychology student)

As a high school senior, I had already made up my mind about what career I would work toward, and what courses and degrees I would need to get there. However, the death of my father during my sophomore year in High School left my mother struggling to make ends meet, which placed me at College of the Desert for the first two years of my journey. Luckily, some amazing people made a decision that would help support me throughout my college life. While COD was a convenient and affordable way to help me reach my goals, my biggest debt of gratitude goes to the Rotary Club of Palm Springs. Without the support of this local organization, I don’t know where I would be.

I am immensely grateful that they were able to be there for me in my time of need. With their kindness, care, and support, I have been able to graduate with Honors with my BA in Psychology and minor in Applied Psychology, and continue on to graduate school to reach my end goal of becoming a School Psychologist. I am currently completing my third and final year in my graduate program at CSULB, having maintained a 4.0 GPA while working two jobs and serving as the President of the School Psychology Student Association, among many other extracurricular activities.

I strive to be the best that I can be, and know that the Palm Springs Rotary Club has helped me to achieve my goal. Thank you!

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Faustino  Gutierrez

#168 Faustino Gutierrez, Class of 2012
(Automotive Program Graduate)

Besides learning a skill, I found a career at College of the Desert. The faculty and student support I received helped prepare me for the real world as well as giving me the skills needed to pursue a career as an automotive service technician with Land Rover Rancho Mirage. Thanks to COD I was able to job shadow with a master tech and then work through the certification levels to become a certified Land Rover Automotive Service Engineer and am now going for Master Tech certification. With the great start I got at COD and the support of a great employer I know I’ll be a Master in no time.

I am the first in my family to go to college. Growing up we all worked with our parents during vacation time from school in the agricultural fields in Mecca to help support the family. My parents encouraged me to pursue my education after I graduated from Desert Mirage High School in 2010. I was able to attend College of the Desert with scholarship help from FAFSA and the Coachella Valley Pathways to Success.

At first, I was thinking about pursuing medical assistant training but my friends kept telling me I should go for something I was really passionate about. That turned out to be great advice. I entered the automotive program at COD and loved it from the start. My parents helped me so I didn’t have to work and could attend full time.

If you want a good job and career College of the Desert is a great place to start. I have COD to thank for opening the door to my future career and a better life for me and my family.

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Dennis Lam

#167 Dennis Lam, Class of 2011
(A.A. Math and Science)

COD taught me Success! I graduated from Cathedral City High School with a 2.3 GPA, went on to College of the Desert to achieve a Math and Science degree and then graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a B.A in Psychology. Thanks to COD I have accomplished things that I thought were impossible.

I thought I couldn't do math, then I succeeded in Calculus. I thought I couldn't speak well, then I became a finalist in a public speaking contest. I thought I couldn't be a leader, then I joined ASCOD student government. I thought I wouldn't be happy again, then I took the steps to defeat depression.

My next goal is a Master's of Accountancy and work in the non-profit sector. I want to make a difference in other peoples lives, providing resources that can fund education, nutrition, and jobs to the most needed. And I want to appreciate life and its givings.

What I thought was different from the reality of what I could do. Don't let what you think you can't do prevent you from anything you can do.

COD taught me success! Education gave me knowledge! God and people shared with me love!

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Octavio Garcia

#166 Octavio Garcia, Transfer to Cal-State University, Long Beach
(Business Administration)

Going back to school can be really intimidating especially if you haven’t been in a classroom for a while. I still remember crashing all those classes and finally getting the classes I needed. COD has made me feel welcome and part of their family. That’s why I love COD; I can always find someone willing to help me with any questions or concerns I would have. I was also fortunate enough to be part of Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society which is a great organization what really pushes students to strive to be the best and rewards them when they do. I still can’t believe I will graduate from COD in May 2013 in Business Administration. I am transferring to CSUSB to obtain my Bachelor’s in Business Management. I know this is just the beginning to reach my ultimate goal, which is to be an entrepreneur. I want my children to realize that hard work does pay off and know that all of the sacrifices are well worth it. I see myself coming back and giving back to my community and my COD family. It was here, at COD, where the foundation for my education was created. As we all know, a structure is only as strong as its foundation. I am very thankful and confident that my educational structure has a solid and strong foundation, and it was here at COD where it all took place. For that reason COD will always be in my heart.