A group of 2013 PDC freshmen pose for a photograph in 2016. Photo courtesy of Avisinia Rodriguez.
California State University, San Bernardino

First Palm Desert campus freshmen to graduate this quarter

A group of 2013 PDC freshmen pose for a photograph in 2016. Photo courtesy of Avisinia Rodriguez.

The 2017 CSUSB Palm Desert Campus Commencement is scheduled to take place on June 15 at The Show at Aqua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage.

In preparation for this event, students have already begun registering to walk in the graduation ceremony, including 29 of the first freshmen ever admitted at the satellite campus.

Graduating senior Laura Ramirez will receive her B.A. in Psychology and, like her fellow four-year graduates, she is grateful for the higher education she was able to receive in her hometown.

“I grew as a person while also gaining new leadership skills. A lot of opportunities were made available to me, and since it’s a small campus, I had the chance to get to know the staff and professors more closely,” said Ramirez.

Fall of 2013 marked the first time that the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus admitted a class of freshmen, and now those students are preparing to earn their degrees after four years of enrollment.

The Palm Desert Campus had previously been exclusive to upper-division and graduate students, but has since opened their doors to lower-division students of the Coachella Valley.

These incoming freshmen were put under the guidance of Avisinia Rodriguez, who is the First and Second Year Advisor at the campus.

“This first graduating class validates the growth of the Palm Desert Campus in the Coachella Valley. Even though two-thirds of our students are transfer students, we work hard to engage our traditional-age students to give them exposure to [an authentic] college experience,” stated Rodriguez.

Once they have received their degrees, students will get the chance to venture out into the community and apply for jobs relevant to their major.

This transition from college student to active professional in the workforce can be nerve-wracking to some, especially the soon-to-be graduates who feel overwhelmed with the pressure to secure a career after earning their degrees.

It is estimated that over 95 percent of the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus students would prefer to work in the Coachella Valley. This includes communications major Kaylin Murphy, who is seeking out as many resources as she can to make finding a job after she graduates less of a struggle.

“It seems like a lot of companies are concerned with employees having actual experience instead of just a college degree. That’s why I’m constantly at the Career Center trying to get my resume together and looking at websites to find jobs that would apply to my field of study,” said Murphy.

There are several services and programs offered to students at the Palm Desert Campus Career Center to prepare them for their professional careers after graduation.

One benefit is learning how to research salaries and companies in specific industries, as well as exploring how to combine students’ interests with their education major.

Professional networking events hosted by the Career Center also provide a venue for students to meet with employers.

The industry representatives who attend these events help students practice professional courtesy, such as the proper way to shake hands, and allow the opportunity for them to answer important questions.

According to Career Service Specialist Diane Kovalsky, these career-oriented services are especially beneficial to first-generation college students because they look to staff and faculty for direction in furthering their careers and understanding their career options.

“Many of their parents did not complete high school and never attended college, so they are not familiar with university life or professional work settings. Services provided by the Career Center inform students of employer expectations in the workplace,” explained Kovalsky.

In addition, the Career Center also gives the interactive opportunity to participate in mock interviews. To date, 100 percent of CSUSB Palm Desert Campus students who have completed mock interviews have been successfully placed in their job or internship.

Internships are very valuable for students to gain hands-on experience in the field of their choice and to integrate themselves in a local organization.

A variety of Coachella Valley industries have allowed students to intern at their facilities, such as the Eisenhower Medical Center for nursing majors and KMIR 6 News for students majoring in communications.

Some notable internships that have been provided to Palm Desert Campus students include participating behind-the-scenes of the world-famous Palm Springs International Film Festival and the BNP Paribas Open Tennis Tournament. These kinds of internships are offered on a seasonal basis, and are usually posted on the Career Center bulletin board.

Finding a job in the Coachella Valley post-graduation might appear to be a daunting task for some Palm Desert Campus seniors, but as the first freshman class graduates, they have the full support and guidance of the Palm Desert Career Center to pursue vocations that coincide with their individual passions.

“Obtaining a bachelor’s degree is not in itself the end-goal, rather the pathway to facilitate fulfilling their dreams and contributing to the greater community,” said Kovalsky.