GoGirl! Grant Recipients
Vivian Arriaga“When Life Give You Lemons… Become a Nurse!” Vivian Arriaga grew up in a first generation Mexican-American household. That brought many challenges, but Vivian was determined to succeed. She worked in the banking industry from the age of 16 and when the banking crisis happened in 2010, she decided to reinvent herself. She became an LVN and found a profound love for nursing. She has goals and wants to show her two small children the value of an education. Her desire is to complete the BSN program at CSUSB, pass the NCLEX and gain experience as an RN while studying for her doctorate. NICU, pediatric oncology, sexual assault nurse examiner and fertility are the areas of interest for her. Life has not been easy for her, but it has shaped the person she is, the Mother she decided to be and the Nurse she dreams of becoming.
Daisy AyalaA first generation Mexican-American, Daisy Ayala is the first person in her family to attend college. Having dealt with the health issues of both her father and grandfather, Daisy knew from an early age that she wanted to become a nurse. She is currently enrolled in the LVN program at California Nurses Educational Institute and works full-time as a certified nurse’s assistant at Manor Care Health Services. After graduation, Daisy wishes to continue her education as a registered nurse in gerontological nursing. Having also adopted healthier eating and exercise habits, Daisy wants to demonstrate to her younger siblings that goals can be achieved through hard work and dedication.
Annabel BarrosoAnnabel Barroso’s dream from the age of eight was to become a nurse. She’s worked hard and faced many obstacles to get to where she is today and is happy to say her path in life to be a nurse is clearer than ever. She attended classes at COD and then transferred to Copper Mountain’s school of nursing. Her goal is to continue her education by obtaining her Bachelor’s degree and to eventually obtain her Nurse practitioner degree. Her dream would be to be a charge nurse of a trauma center saving lives. She has learned through it all to never give up!
Laura was born and raised in the Coachella Valley. She graduated high school from Desert Chapel Christian in Palm Springs and also played basketball. At that point she didn’t have a true career path. It was her mom that sparked her interest in the medical field. Her mom was an amazing nurse and with that inspiration she decided to attend Kaplan College as a medical assistant in hopes of getting a steady job. That was five years ago. Having a young daughter has further inspired her to obtain her Associate of Nursing degree and her Registered Nursing license. Two years ago she completed her prerequisites for the Registered Nursing Program. Now Laura is enrolled in the College of the Desert’s Nursing program. Her goal is to secure an adequate income for her daughter’s future by striving for higher education. As Laura says; “Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it”.
Crystal CordovaAfter working and excelling in the emergency department at a local hospital as an insurance admitting representative, Crystal Cordova came to realize that providing bedside care with patients was her true calling. As a single mother of four children, Crystal is determined to meticulously plan her short-term and long-term goals. Her short-term goal is to complete her Associate Degree in Nursing, and to pass the State of California’s NCLEX exam and obtain her RN license. Her long-term goal is to enroll in a BSN program and lastly to enroll in a Master of Science-Family Nurse Practitioner program. Through many obstacles, she is determined to climb her way to the top and prove to her children that nothing is impossible.
Paola CresslerWe were first introduced to Paola Cressler in 2012 when she was attending College of the Desert as a GoGirl! recipient. Married and with a young daughter, Paola worked full time while going to school. Now fast forward to 2018. After graduating from Cal State San Bernardino and substitute teaching in her own classroom for three years, it’s time to complete her teaching credentials and Masters program so she can continue to teach here in the Coachella Valley. Her students are the high school children she had dreamed of working with. Many are the children of migrant workers who haven’t been encouraged to pursue a college education and perhaps might find themselves following in the steps of their parents as field workers. As a field worker once herself, she remembers her teachers pushing her to continue her college education. Today, she sits in front of her classroom and encourages her students to do the same. She continues to look forward to taking the time to sit down with students and help them realize education doesn’t end at high school. It is only the beginning of an amazing journey
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.
Alma Felix SilvaAlma came to the United States from Mexico when she was six years old. At the age of 22, she applied to become a Citizen of the United States. Working as a veterinarian assistant, she was saving money to go back to school, but upon giving birth to her son, she has found the role of mother, caregiver and provider to be more taxing than she ever imagined. Alma received her LVN from California Nurses Educational Institute in 2018 and is currently attending Cooper Mountain in nursing. Her long term goal is to become a registered nurse to work with children with cancer.
At the age of 23, Martha Gutierrez arrived here from Cuba. While there she had developed an interest in writing, the performing arts and languages. It wasn’t until she came to America that she began to embraced our capitalist system and refocused her goals. She is now enrolled at COD and would like to get a degree in Business Administration. Her goal is to help others analyze their economic problems to benefit themselves and their community. She has, however, never forgotten her love of music and often performs Opera for various charity events.
Crystal LopezPursuing her education is not just a goal Crystal Lopez is trying to reach; it is a journey that provides her with a sense of contentment. Her career focus has always been in healthcare and she is working diligently to follow her plan and achieve her goals while caring for her two young children as a single mother. Her family background includes generations of teen pregnancies and domestic and substance abuse, but Crystal has always been determined to make something of herself. She is the first in her family to attend college and to receive her Associate Degree. Her current goal is to complete the nursing program at CSUSB and work toward her ultimate goal of becoming a nurse. Once she receives her nursing license she would like to apply to a nurse residency program that enables her to keep learning, as well as explore and pursue her career in healthcare.She is part of the Coyote Nurses organization and volunteers to various activities, including the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the California Careforce free medial services event.
Ashley MooreAshley’s dream since graduating high school has always been to become a Registered Nurse. As a single mother, she worked as a caregiver throughout school to provide for her two young children. She completed the Licensed Vocational Nurse program at College of the Desert to increase her odds of getting accepted to the RN program. She got her first job at Eisenhower Health as an LVN and has worked with a primary care doctor since then. On weekends she works at Urgent Care in order to gain more experience. Staying true to her goals, and after applying three times for the very competitive RN program at COD, she was accepted! Due to her fulltime career and being able to slowly increase her credit score, she was also able to purchase her first home. Ashley believes great accomplishments come with sacrifice. This is the last step in her strenuous marathon to complete her lifelong goal of becoming a Registered Nurse.
Irene MoralesIrene is a first generation college student. Her parents were migrant seasonal farm workers. When she looks for motivation, she envisions her father. He has always been driven and hungry for success and she wants to be just as motivated as he is. Irene is determined to obtain her AA in Psychology and is on track to begin her courses at CSUSB in Palm Desert. Her goal is to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
With seven years of experience working with students at College of the Desert, she truly enjoys being a person of resource to the community. She has collaborated with directors and staff to help develop informational events for the community. She can envision herself continuing to help others. That would be her dream come true.