|Office of the Chancellor / Public Affairs||
Tuesday, November 2, 2004
Desert Sun 11-2-04
Student steps up to COD board
PALM DESERT -- Like many College of the Desert students, Mickiela Sterling juggles classes, a job and parenting.
But even though that all keeps her busy enough, she has taken on another responsibility -- serving as the student representative on the board of trustees for the Desert Community College District and its one college.
Elected by her fellow students, Sterling, 24, has no voting power on the board. Instead, she serves as the liaison between the board and students and is the voice that keeps the five community-elected trustees advised of students’ issues, needs and concerns.
"I like politics and I like being part of the movers and shakers," Sterling said.
She also takes pride in COD, which she has attended for two-and-a-half years, and has a "sense of the community and what we need."
A single mom, she has a 3 1/2-year-old daughter, takes a full load of classes and works part-time in COD’s counseling office.
She’s also involved in Associated Students College of the Desert (ASCOD), earning accolades from student leaders for helping with homecoming and other activities.
"She’s my right-hand man," said Nicole Moniz, 19, ASCOD executive secretary.
Although just recently sworn in as student trustee, Sterling also has won praise for her work so far in that capacity.
"She’s doing a good job," said Shaun Preston, 26, an ASCOD officer who competed with her for the student trustee seat.
Sterling takes information from students to the board and provides board information to students, he said.
Sterling said her immediate priority is getting students to know who she is.
"I’m making my face known to them so they’ll come to me with questions or concerns," she said.
And she’s talking to students to learn their needs, problems and opinions on such topics as the new food service on campus.
Sterling doesn’t mind not having a vote on the board because she’s satisfied with her role as an adviser to the board and feels the trustees pay attention to what she says.
Voting rights would mean having to take positions on matters not always directly related to students, Sterling said.
Cheryl Fong, spokesperson for the state Community College Chancellor’s Office, said that under the California Education Code, student trustees are non-voting member of local community college boards.
But 54 of 72 community college districts allow them to have an informal advisory vote, Fong said.
Sterling eventually wants to transfer to a university and possibly pursue a career in sports broadcasting.
In the meantime, "I’m just really excited about this school year and everything that’s going on," she said.
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