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What makes COD special is its students, who’ve excelled over the college’s 60-year history
03/15/2018

What makes COD special is its students, who’ve excelled over the college’s 60-year history

Given the diverse array of certificate and degree programs available at College of the Desert (COD), it should come as no surprise that the college has produced some amazing talents over its 60-year history. From a Hollywood actress to a fixture of the local music scene, take a look at these six COD alumni who have found success in the arts, music and beyond.

Carson Daly

Host of NBC’s The Voice and NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly, as well as one of the original MTV VJs for Total Request Live, Carson Daly is a household name and face. Less familiar is how the entertainer got his start: at COD. While at the school, Daly got an internship at KCMJ FM under the name Kid Carson, and the rest is radio, TV and entertainment history.

Musician John Stanley King

He’s been called “one of the coolest dudes in the desert” by Coachella Valley Weekly for his long run in the area music scene, and John Stanley King credits COD for “opening the door to my dream of a professional career as a musician.”

King was raised in a home full of musicians in Indio – he’s one of seven siblings – and he studied theater, band and choir at COD. While at the school, he got a COD scholarship to attend a music camp in Pennsylvania led by famous bandleader Fred Waring. The experience changed his life when Waring offered him a spot with his touring choir, the Pennsylvanians.

After a couple of years with the group, King returned to the Coachella Valley and has been making music in the desert ever since.

DJ Rafael Lopez

If you don’t recognize the name Rafael Lopez, you might recognize his DJ name, Alf Alpha. The DJ and music producer out of Palm Springs rose to prominence in 2011 when he performed at the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. He’s played his mix of hip-hop and electronic dance music at the ACE Hotel Palm Springs and Hard Rock Palm Springs and internationally in Mexico, Jamaica and beyond.

The story of his rise dovetails with his acceptance to COD. Attending a school close to home allowed him to sell his car and spend the money on turntables – a move that jump-started his career, according to an interview on the college’s radio station, KCOD Coachella FM in Palm Desert. Lopez also hosts a weekly show, Super Sonído, on the station, Sundays from 12p.m. to 2p.m.

Mike Mozingo

Another COD student who’s made waves on the radio is Mike Mozingo, who won first place for Most Innovative Show in the Intercollegiate Broadcasting Systems Trophy Awards contest in 2013. Mozingo was also in the top five for the Best On-Air Personality and Best Specialty Music Show categories, taking home three trophies.

Mozingo won for The Alternative Stew Halloween Show, which he said he created with the idea of doing something “entertaining and different.” When he won, he said, “If it weren’t for KCOD, I would not have had the opportunity to pursue my dream of working in radio. Textbooks and lectures are great, but being able to sit in front of the microphone on KCOD and then winning this award was a priceless experience that I will never forget.”

Sarah Scheideman

It would be hard to find an artist working in the Coachella Valley who hasn’t rubbed shoulders with Sarah Scheideman. The Desert Hot Springs native has had her hand in the region’s burgeoning art scene since 2008 when she started a blog that promoted local art and helped to connect and grow a new wave of Coachella artists.

Now head of the Coachella Valley Art Scene, a nonprofit that seeks to help young, emerging local artists, Scheideman runs a gallery that doubles as a creative incubator and cultural facility.

Scheideman’s interest in the arts started with her enrollment in COD after she graduated from Desert Hot Springs High School. The art classes she took at the college helped focus her and started her on a career path of artist, writer and entrepreneur.

Actress Alison Lohman

The Palm Springs native starred in the Hollywood feature film White Oleander and had a leading role in Flicka and Drag Me to Hell. Yet even with an acting career that’s taken her around the world, Alison Lohman says that it’s her time spent at COD that sticks with her.

Lohman got her start acting in COD’s musical theater productions where she studied under theater arts faculty members Michelle Gaines, Darlene Romano and Lynda Shaeps, all of whom “changed my life,” Lohman said.

“So much of the professional success I’ve experienced I owe to the great start, strong foundation, real-world experience and support I found at the college,” Lohman said. “There is no substitute for having people believe in you.”

If you want to learn more about the student successes and standout alumni of College of the Desert, you can learn more about them – and the 60th anniversary celebrations of the school – at their website or at www.stepupforcod.com