COD Foundation’s Great Alumni Hunt Awards $15,000 in Scholarships

When the COD Foundation announced The Great Alumni Hunt last fall, 20 students competed to win valuable scholarships. Neither these students nor the Foundation expected the passionate sponsors, who believe in COD’s contributions to the community, to step up and award a scholarship to every contestant!

During a Coachella Valley Firebirds game on Wednesday, October 25, all 20 participating College of the Desert students were thrilled to be awarded a grand total of $15,000 in scholarships.

What started as an “Amazing Race-style” competition culminated in an emotionally powerful check presentation on center ice at Acrisure Arena. Over 1,200 alumni who won tickets to the game filled the stadium to cheer on the winning students.

During the 28-day hunt, students raced to reach out to and register the greatest number of COD alumni. Several local Quick-Fire and Check-in Challenge events offered chances to earn additional points as community members and COD faculty and staff mentored participants along the way.

Nearly 2,000 logged entries of COD Alumni included several city officials, Valley gamechangers and graduates living in Europe and Japan. Alumni shared their favorite memories and life-changing COD experiences, building camaraderie with the students.

Teaming up together, Alyson Booth and Mireya Holguin claimed the first-place spot, securing a $3,000 scholarship. Reflecting on their victory, Mireya expressed, “The Great Alumni Hunt pushed me beyond my comfort zone, allowing me to hone my marketing and public speaking skills.” Alyson added, “I loved meeting COD alumni and learning how much better their life was after attending COD.” Both Alyson and Mireya shared their disbelief at their triumph after all of their hard work, making the moment even sweeter.

Third-place winner Savana Zamorez shared, “The Hunt was transformative in so many ways. I used to be nervous about making connections, but it forced me to engage in person and on social media. I even met alumnus Jose Ramirez, City of Indio’s Management Analyst, who was a great inspiration.”

Catherine Abbott, Executive Director for COD Foundation shared, “Students received a tremendous networking opportunity for their career development in working with their mentors. The Great Alumni Hunt showcased the widespread imprint made by our talented COD Alumni while supporting students who are putting themselves through school to achieve their educational dreams.”

Abbott added, “The COD Foundation initially aimed to award $6,000 in scholarships, but the enthusiasm of our sponsors was so contagious that they generously provided scholarships for the remaining 14 students! We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all who were part of this remarkable journey.”

In the past 60 years, College of the Desert has successfully produced more than 125,000 alumni, generating more than nearly $400 million back into the Coachella Valley economy. These alumni are making an impact locally, nationally, and internationally.

The COD Foundation thanks Presenting Sponsors: Jordan Schnitzer and the Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation and Eisenhower Health, who proudly employs COD Alumni equaling 40% of their nursing staff. Thanks also to Amazon, Renova Energy, COD Alumni Association, Toyota of the Desert, Visit Greater Palm Springs, First Bank, Valley Sanitary District, and exclusive media sponsors: News Channel 3, The Desert Sun, and LocaliQ.

Alumni or community members ready to support students’ scholarship dreams, call 760.773.2561 or email

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!