GoGirl! Grant Recipients
Tiana is a single mother of three. As a young mother, she attempted to continue her education after graduating from high school, but found it very difficult to focus on school when she knew she needed to work to provide for her family. Fast forward to 2016 and Tiana recognized the value of furthering her education. That fall she applied to College of the Desert as a full-time student. While enrolled as a full-time student and working full-time as a legal secretary, Tiana has discovered a passion to help people, especially in regard to labor laws. She graduates COD with an AA in Justice in Summer 2019 and plans to transfer to CSUSB to continue her studies. Her ultimate goal is to become a legal translator for the court and will continue to move forward until she reaches her goal.
Makeyli Marroquin was eight years old when her parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico to provide her family with a better future. It wasn’t until two years later that she and her two younger brothers were able to join their parents in the United States. She learned English and when she was able to, she started working after school at a gas station in Thermal to earn an income and continue her education and attend college. She enrolled at College of the Desert in 2012 and continued to work part-time to pay for her expenses. After a car accident prevented her from staying in school, she found herself working at a gas station once again and knew she wanted more. In 2016 she registered for the Administrative Office Professional course at the School of Career Education. As a result, she was hired by Spotlight 29 Casino as their Community Affairs Administrator. While working for the casino, the Tribe offered her the opportunity to work for their nonprofit organizations. She has also become the primary contact for the Board Members and the Tribal and Casinos Health Benefits Assistant and she loves it! She is currently enrolled at College of the Desert and plans on obtaining her General Business Degree in order to become a more valuable asset in her current position.
She has always been motivated by the phrase; “Get yourself educated”. Looking at all of the great opportunities she now has, she has realized that she needs to follow her passion of exploring and learning more each day.
Nicole Aslan was raised in Indio; one of four children. There was a point in Nicole’s life that her mom decided to go back to school to become a Registered Dental Assistant. Her mom commuted to Rosemead every day and graduated. Witnessing what her mom did while raising four kids and going to school inspired Nicole. Because of her mom’s accomplishments, Nicole always knew she could to anything if she worked hard. Nicole was recently accepted to California State University San Bernardino-Palm Desert. She is pursuing her degree in Liberal Studies. She has a passion for helping others and knows she will love being a teacher. She chose this career because she believes we live in a world where children need to be inspired and supported. As a teacher, she wants to make sure her students believe in themselves. After completing her education, Nicole wants to teach at one of the schools she attended as a child. She knows it’s important to give back to the community that helped her become the person she is today.
She’s excited to become a part of the Girlfriend Factor program and feels being supportive of each other is a powerful thing. She wants to teach her daughter that she can be whatever she wants to be and to be an inspiration to her daughter just like her mom was to her.
Michele Barfuss was born and raised in Palm Springs and loves the Coachella Valley. She is the first in her family to earn a college degree. She has studied at College of the Desert, California State University San Bernardino and has also obtained her real estate license. Working with new home buyers reach their goal of becoming ‘homeowners’ for the first time has given her a great feeling of accomplishment. It was through helping her clients navigate the unchartered waters of real estate transactions that she came to realize what her true calling is. She is now a second-year law student at California Desert Trial Academy. Her goal is to graduate in three years, take and pass the California General Bar Exam and remain in the Coachella valley and practice real estate law. CDTA has a limited means legal clinic, La Reina Legal Clinic, where she can do pro-bono work for indigent clients. She hopes to participate in this program and continue to give back to those that call the Coachella Valley ‘home’ and to make a difference in her community.
Keosha Campbell – After graduating with her Associates Degree in Nursing from College of the Desert in May of 2020, Keosha is continuing her studies at Grand Canyon University to receive her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. As a registered nurse, she feels her options are limitless. Her interests range from emergency nursing to the field of forensics where she can one day care for victims of assault, domestic violence, neglect and other heinous crimes.
In 2007 Keosha became a medical assistant and in 2009 began working at Loma Linda University. The hospital’s mission statement is ‘To make man whole’ which she has adopted as her own personal statement. At Loma Linda she works closely with veterans and feels it is a privilege to aid in improving their lives by providing exceptional healthcare.
Keosha is also involved in volunteer outreach programs in the Coachella Valley. She works with the Veteran’s Association and helps conduct food drives. Staying involved in the community and lending a helping hand where she can is important and meaningful to her.
Keosha truly envisions dedicating the remainder of her life to those in need and to healing individuals who are broken.
Ruby Carrillo was born in Indio and raised in Coachella; one of three children. Her mother raised her and her siblings as a single mother while working as an LVN. Ultimately, Ruby’s mother returned to school and graduated as an RN from COD in 2016. Her mother is a huge source of her inspiration. “Nurses are warriors battling along-side other medical professionals for the greater good.” Ruby’s deep compassion to care for others and her desire to positively impact her community has led her to pursue the art of nursing. She is currently the Vice President of the Student Nurses Association at COD. Ruby plans on continuing her education until she becomes a Nurse Practitioner; to excel in her industry, provide guidance to future nursing students and serve other through advocacy and education. “My mother raised me to never quit and to do what makes me happy. My happiness is in serving others.”
Bonnie FalkowskiDealing with the legal system to overcome personal issues has fueled Bonnie Falkowski’s passion for the law and inspired her to return to school to become a lawyer. She is a full time student at COD working toward an Associate Degree in Administration of Justice. Ultimately working towards her law degree. Once she completes her studies she hopes to work for a law firm and continue her studies to become a lawyer. Her ultimate goal is to be an advocate for children and to eventually change laws with regard to child abuse. Bonnie is a single mother of an adopted daughter. In their free time they volunteer at a rescue mission for the homeless.
As a single mother of two, Deborah Greenman knew it would be beneficial to attend college; not only did it provide her with an unconventional schedule, it allowed her to optimize the time she had with her children and allowed her to stay active in their education while providing them with the time for extracurricular activities. At this point, Deborah was 40 years of age. After struggling with school during her youth, she has realized she is a good student who has excelled in her classes. She’s discovered a joy for learning that she had not anticipated or experienced before. She attended San Bernardino Valley College and upon moving to the desert is continuing her education at College of the Desert. She is working towards a Business Associate degree with an
emphasis in management and finance as well as a Liberal Arts Associate’s degree with an emphasis in Arts, Humanities and Communications. In the future, Deborah’s goal is to work for a company that provides outreach and services to the Coachella Valley.
Briana aspired to a higher education from a very young age. After personal struggles and many roadblocks along the way, Briana was able to move forward and is excelling in her college journey, maintaining a 4.0 GPA at College of the Desert. She had the honor of being one of two student speakers for the 2020 College of the Desert Commencement Ceremony. Now, Briana is a full-time student at CSUSB PD and has completed her first semester in the nursing program.
In addition to her college success, she has also maintained weekly involvement in her local community. She is a leader in a ministry with Southwest Church and is able to walk alongside other women who are struggling and has the opportunity to share the hope and freedom she has found. As a single mother of a young daughter, life is beautiful, but not always easy. Briana is grateful that she has the opportunities in front of her to provide a better life for both of them. She knows that her life experiences will provide the opportunity to connect with her patients authentically as an RN.
Her goal is to work in a local hospital in the Coachella Valley in either the ER or disease prevention. With perseverance, grit, support and motivation, she will continue to pursue the college dream instilled in her so long ago.
Tikva Krindle began her career as a registered massage therapist in Vancouver, British Columbia. She was born and raised in Canada and only moved to California nine years ago to help care for her grandmother who was 94 years old at the time. While continuing her massage therapy career here in the Coachella Valley, it became clear it is a very different field than in Canada. She felt the disparity between her career at home and in California was immense and that she was falling short of her potential. At this point she became involved with the Palm Springs Mounted Police and Rescue unit as a volunteer. She had the opportunity to work alongside flight nurses and their passion spoke to her so deeply, she began to reconsider her career choice. Therefore, she began her journey to a degree in nursing in the hopes of becoming a critical care or emergency surgery nurse. She believes she would be able to serve the city which has welcomed her and come closer to reaching her potential in the medical field.
After completing the RN program at College of the Desert, she has begun the BSN program through Grand Canyon University. She still visits her now 102 year-old grandmother and is blessed with a beautiful daughter. Reaching her goals is a gift to herself and her family, as well as the community. She feels her intentions must be followed by actions, and she intends against any odds to find the tangible within her dreams and aspirations.
As a child, Anastasia Midkiff was ambitious in all her endeavors and it followed her into adulthood. She is a licensed Esthetician and worked diligently to move up in her field. She expanded her knowledge and added certifications under her license. Although a successful Esthetician, she knew she needed more financial stability and insurance for her family. At this point she went to trade school to obtain her Phlebotomy license. She was then hired at a local hospital in an entry level lab position. Once again, her ambitions kicked in. Finding her passion in this field, she came to the conclusion that if she wants a better life for her son, she needs to lead by example. Her path has taken her back to the College of the Desert where she is studying to become a Medical Lab Technician. An MLT is a technician that works alongside a Clinical Laboratory Scientist and runs tests on blood and body fluid specimens.
She is bound and determined and will not fail. She wants to prove to both she and her son that she can and will do better for them.
After graduating from high school, Erika’s goal was to continue her education and to pursue a degree in either psychology or nursing. But, living on her own and with her entire family in Mexico, she realized she would need to drop her classes to save money while rethinking her future. She has always had a passion for helping others in time of need and knew she wants to make a difference and provide the best possible care while being an advocate for people in their most vulnerable time. With that in mind, more determined than ever, she re-enrolled in college and began her path in the College of the Desert nursing program.
With the support of The Girlfriend Factor, Erika knows she will be able to focus her energy into receiving her ADN degree and she’ll be one step closer to her ultimate goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner.
Aimee Vasquez was born in the Coachella Valley to a young, loving, interracial couple. Two years later, her sister was born. Aimee was raised to love everyone and treat everyone with respect, but she was also exposed to strangers judging, whether kind hearted or not, why she and her sister didn’t resemble each other. It took her well into her teens to accept the fact that her family
was ‘different’ in the eyes of many of her peers. The preconception of the ‘ideal’ family is one factor that lead her to her passion of medicine. In medicine, you do not see color. She feels there are still racial and psychological inequalities that exist in medicine today and she wants to help change that stigma. Aimee’s mother was diagnosed with Bipolar II Disease and at an early age, her mother passed away. Aimee was angry about the stigma mental illness has in our society. Fueled with this urgency of change, she put all her efforts info finishing school. After weighing all her medical career options, she felt an immense passion for nursing. She is currently in the College of the Desert Nursing Program. Her long-term goal is to become a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.
“My past will forever shape my future. My story will never be over. Becoming a nurse and helping people is just the beginning.” ~ Aimee
Kristina grew up in Palm Desert and attended both primary and secondary school here. She then completed her undergraduate program at Chapman University, while continuing on to her Elementary Education Credential Program at Brandman University. Although Kristina’s desire was always to become a teacher, she also felt she was missing out on something. She felt the need to push herself beyond what had become normal and comfortable. At that point, she moved to Seattle and pursued a career in insurance. After six wonderful years in Seattle, she returned to the Desert and has restarted her credential program with Brandman University. Teaching has always been her heart’s true desire. She believes that we live in a world where children are burdened with far more than they should and having a degree in education and student counseling will help her both in and out of the classroom. She wants to foster the best classroom and learning experiences that will follow her students throughout their entire academic career.