We All Screamed for Ice Cream (and for Dr. Plinske, Too)

Friday, September 23, 2022

To celebrate the new academic year and the conclusion of her first year as college president, Kathleen Plinske visited 10 campuses and locations for some Jeremiah’s Ice with our students and employees. That’s a whole lot of Italian ice and ice cream, Dr. Plinske!

Attendees chatted and even danced with Kathleen, while enjoying Italian Ice and The Gelati, a yummy, layer treat of both Italian ice and vanilla soft ice cream.

Check out this slide show from some of her stops.

Hospitality Students Awarded $20,000 from the AHLA Foundation’s Hospitality Scholarship Program

Friday, September 23, 2022

This year, 10 Valencia College students were selected to receive $2,000 each from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) Foundation. Valencia College is one of only 10 schools in the nation selected to participate in the 2022-2023 Community College Scholarship program,— a hospitality program created to provide meaningful support to underserved hospitality students, ensuring that they are able to get the support they need to grow within the industry and advance their careers.

The hospitality scholarship initiative targets community college partners to increase access by providing financial support to deserving students. This is the second year Valencia hospitality students have received awards, and the number of recipients doubled to 10, up from five in 2021-2022.

Valencia College Recipients were nominated by faculty and staff because they stood out inside and outside the classroom as future industry leaders, based on their hard work, determination and professionalism.

This year, scholarships were awarded to Julia Lerner Botana, Shakyra Ford, Arbel Gozlane, Keren Hernandez Cespedes, Tyler Heron, Jordan Maloney, Rebeca Martinez, Rasheen Munroe, Valeria Olarte and Nicole Ziobro.

The scholarship is a considerable honor and achievement for this diverse group of students and will play an important role in their educational and professional journeys.

“This scholarship means that my hard work is paying off,” said Jordan Maloney. “As a first award in my field, it makes me feel proud that I am being recognized. It gives me confidence that I chose the right [career and educational] path for me. With the money awarded, I can continue my education at Valencia College and eventually University of Central Florida.”

Rebeca Martinez shared that the AHLA Foundation scholarship will provide the financial assistance and resources needed to achieve their goals.

“It will provide me with the resources needed to keep learning from successful leaders in hospitality, to take classes to improve my baking skills, and to earn future internship and job opportunities where I can implement the knowledge I have gained and share it with others so they can spread those abilities to further improve the industry,” said Rebeca.

Valencia faculty and staff are proud of these students’ amazing accomplishments and look forward to supporting them throughout their journey at Valencia College’s School of Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management.

For more information about AHLA’s Foundation Awards, click here.

Short-term Study Abroad Programs Have Returned

Friday, September 23, 2022

A Message from Lindi Kourtellis, Assistant Director, Study Abroad and Global Experiences

After a nearly two-year pause, I’m pleased to announce that our Study Abroad and Global Experiences (SAGE) short-term study abroad programs have resumed. These international travel experiences are integrated into Valencia College academic courses and allow faculty members and students to travel together as a group for one to two weeks.

Students may apply to any of the following programs.

  • International and Regional Foods in the Czech Republic, to learn about cooking techniques and hospitality at the Stredni Skola Gastronomicka and Hotel University in Prague.
  • Renaissance and Baroque Humanities in Italy, an opportunity to tour the famous cityscapes of Rome, Florence and Venice, experience Italian food and culture, and take a dive deep into the arts and humanities.
  • Honors Interdisciplinary Studies in the Netherlands, to experience culture alongside Dutch classmates at Koning Willem I College.
  • International Politics in France to view government in Europe firsthand at the European Parliament, Strasbourg’s European Union, and the Council of Europe with its European Court of Human Rights.
  • Introduction to Environmental Science in Peru, to study environmental science, including exploring Iquitos and Explorama Lodges, and visit with local school children and shamans to learn about the traditional ways of life.
  • Service Learning in Spain, to learn about ocean conservation efforts in the Mediterranean, which includes ocean conservation efforts at a Florida East Coast facility, followed by environmental education in Spain’s Valencia and Barcelona.

The SAGE Office receives scholarship funding from the Valencia College Foundation and Student Development to help offset some of the costs.

Students may visit the SAGE webpage for program information, including eligibility requirements, course details, program fees, scholarship information and dates of travel. For questions, contact the SAGE Office at studyabroad@valenciacollege.edu.

Valencia College Foundation and Parramore Community Engagement Council Receive Donations from Addition Financial Foundation

Friday, September 23, 2022

On Monday, September 19, 2022, the Addition Financial Foundation — the new philanthropic arm of Addition Financial Credit Union, Valencia College’s preferred credit union — hosted its inaugural “Community Impact” breakfast at the Addition Financial Arena at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The Addition Financial Foundation was launched in January 2022, and it’s mission is to foster empowerment in our community through financial education and charitable giving.

During this breakfast, Addition Financial Foundation donated $175,000 to 14 organizations that benefit youth, education, underserved communities in Central Florida, economic development and more.

The Valencia College Foundation received $10,000 to support the College’s three Phi Theta Kappa honor society chapters. The donation will help cover the cost of Phi Theta Kappa membership fees when it presents a financial barrier for students.

Valencia College was represented at the breakfast by Jay Galbraith, vice president, public affairs and advancement; Angela Mendolaro, chief philanthropy officer, Valencia College Foundation; Jeffrey Filko, director, auxiliary services; Tullio Bushrui, counselor and regional coordinator and advisor for Phi Theta Kappa; Melissa Pedone, dean on assignment and advisor for Phi Theta Kappa; Lili Carneglia, professor, economics and advisor for Phi Theta Kappa; Aleyna Mahadeo To, Valencia College student and Alpha Phi Zeta vice president of service; Julia Keske, Valencia College student and Alpha Phi Zeta vice president of scholarship; Eduardo Vergara Munoz, Valencia College student and Alpha Phi Zeta public relations officer; Josue Fernandez Pineiro, curriculum assistant and Chi Epsilon vice president of leadership; and Dammale Barrett, Valencia College student and Chi Epsilon vice president of fellowship.

Additionally, the Parramore Community Engagement Council (PCEC) — the  Council formed by Valencia College, UCF and the City of Orlando — was granted $10,000 to further its mission, which seeks to increase choices and opportunities for the residents and stakeholders of Parramore. The check was accepted by Robert M. Spooney, PCEC Chairman, Eugene Jones, executive dean, Downtown Campus, and Elizabeth Grace, director, downtown community engagement.

Other award recipients included A Gift For Teaching, Black Orlando Tech, Camp Boggy Creek, FusionFest, Habitat For Humanity Seminole-Apopka, Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fund, LGBT+ Center of Orlando, National Entrepreneur Center, Salvation Army, Seminole State College, Stetson University and UCF Knights Helping Knights Pantry.

Valencia College AST Programs Are Providing Opportunities to Pine Hills Residents

Friday, September 23, 2022

Valencia College’s Accelerated Skills Training (AST) programs, in partnership with Orange County and the Pine Hills Neighborhood Improvement District, are allowing Pine Hills residents to earn industry-recognized credentials, train in essential workplace skills and receive job placement support.

The proximity of our Center for Accelerated Training (CAT) –  Northwest Orlando to Pine Hills provides residents with the chance to train in fields such as construction, manufacturing, logistics, information technology and healthcare and prepare for higher-wage careers in just weeks.

To learn more about how this partnership benefits Valencia College students and residents of Pine Hills like Keyron Senior and Eric Dunston, read this article from Orange County Government or watch the video below.

“Most of us are working paycheck to paycheck, and it seems like we’re on this wheel not going anywhere, but you can get off that wheel,” Keyron said. “There’s a whole ocean of opportunities at CAT, and its instructors and coordinators will lead you to where you want to go.”

You’re Invited to SuperCon!


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

A Message from Deanne Abrams, Director, Employee Development

Supervisors, you don’t want to miss this ultimate event designed to help you succeed in your important role at the College. We know supervising can be challenging, so join us for this all-day, information-packed conference and expand your knowledge on hiring, developing and continuously supporting your team members. It’s been a while, so let’s come together and network in person!

We promise that it will be worth the time in your busy day. And there will be food. Yes, food!

Date: Thursday, November 10, 2022
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: West Campus, Building 8, Special Events Center

Why you should attend:

  • Gain a better understanding of your role as a supervisor at Valencia;
  • Form new relationships and strengthen existing ones with other supervisors from across the College;
  • Expand your knowledge on hiring, developing and continuously supporting your team members; and
  • Intentionally get out of the day-to-day to sharpen your skills as supervisor.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend sessions on:

  • Inclusive hiring;
  • Performance management;
  • Coaching and developing employees; and
  • Identifying and addressing employee concerns.

By the end of the conference, you will be able to:

  • Identify your role and responsibility as a Valencia College supervisor to foster employee performance that supports individual and organizational needs;
  • Discuss the job description’s importance in creating equitable practices for selection and recruitment;
  • Communicate clearly defined performance expectations to employees;
  • Conduct coaching discussions to review and update performance and development goals; and
  • Identify responsibility to recognize and respond to employee needs.

Please RSVP to the conference by clicking the button below.

Our Organizational Development and Human Resources team can’t wait to see you for this SUPER fun day.

Support After Hurricane Fiona

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

 A Special Message from Kathleen Plinske, College President  

As we hear about the devastation caused by Hurricane Fiona in the Caribbean, I know that many of you are from or have family in the region and may be worrying about loved ones affected by this disaster. My heart goes out to those who are suffering from the impact of the storm.

Please remember that our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for counseling and support surrounding the impact of the storm. You can access EAP for counseling by visiting www.liveandworkwell.com (access code: Valencia) or calling 866-248-4094.

We have sent a similar message to students who are enrolled with us this fall. If you know of students who are affected, please encourage them to make an appointment with a Valencia College counselor or to contact BayCare Student Assistance Services for free, confidential, 24-hour phone counseling at 1-800-878-5470 or www.baycare.org/sap. Further, I encourage you to work with our students on an individual basis regarding assignments and deadlines, extending flexibility to those who may need additional time as they support family and friends who have been impacted by this storm.

Finally, as hurricane season continues, please make sure you and your family are ready in the event of a storm hitting closer to home. In an emergency, employees will be notified via Valencia Alerts to their cell phone, home phone, email or via the Valencia Safety App with important emergency notifications and updates. Follow these steps to confirm your contact information and preferences:

  • Log into your Atlas account
  • Click on the red ‘Sign Up for Valencia Alerts’ box on the lower right side of the main screen. If you experience any issues updating your Valencia alerts, contact OIT.

To download the Valencia College Safety App, which features emergency contacts, crisis alerts, emergency procedures and more, please click here.

Now Hiring: Assistant Vice President, Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Valencia College is hiring for the role of assistant vice president, financial aid and veteran affairs to lead a progressive, dynamic, multi-campus Financial Aid department to support and expand institutional efforts to increase student success and access.

The person in this role will plan, organize and manage the operations and activities of federal, state and institutional financial aid, monitor and ensure compliance with federal, state and institutional regulations, access operations leading to continuous improvement, and supervise and evaluate a large diverse financial aid staff. If you know of colleagues and people in your network who would be a fit for this role, please encourage them to apply!

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. In lieu of a master’s degree, a combination of education and experience may be substitutable.
  • Five years of progressively responsible experience administering Title IV funds and financial aid resources and services, including supervision, in a regulatory environment.
  • This is a position of special trust and requires the individual hired to successfully undergo additional background screening.

For more information about this position, and to apply, click hereApply by Monday, October 24, 2022, at 11:59 p.m.

If you have questions about applying, contact Maryam Khan, interim director, talent acquisition, at mkhan22@valenciacollege.edu or 407-582-2816.

To sign up for job alerts and receive notifications when jobs become available in your field, follow these directions:

  1. Navigate to https://valenciacollege.peopleadmin.com/interest_cards
  2. Fill out the Email, First and Last Name fields
  3. Review and select the job categories of interest

Valencia Students Applied, Interviewed and Received Offers at Disney Day


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

On Tuesday, September 13, 2022, the Downtown Campus hosted the first annual Disney Day — a special day where students and the community learned about opportunities available at the Walt Disney World company, such as the Disney College Program, the Disney Aspire Program and the Disney Cruise line.

The event was attended by Valencia College and University of Central Florida students and was well received by attendees. Students applied and interviewed on site and took advantage of resume reviews and mock interviews with recruiters. Before leaving, each attendee snagged some Disney swag.

Recruiters engaged with 221 students throughout the event and made offers to 11 candidates on-the-spot. Many students were able to apply but did not complete the interview process, so more job offers will potentially come through this week and next.

Students also attended presentations throughout the day and were engaged, asking great questions and impressing the recruiters with their thoughtfulness and interest.

The Disney Community Relations department was also on hand, providing canvases for attendees to “paint by numbers.” Completed canvases will be touched up and donated to children’s hospitality around the United States as part of the Disney Community Relations department engagement initiatives.

From the Disney Recruiting team: “Thank you for your hospitality while at the Valencia College Downtown Campus yesterday. We thoroughly enjoyed engaging with students whether conducting interviews or presenting in the classroom.”

A big thank you to Coordinator, Career Program Advisor Rita Maldonado for partnering and planning this event with the Disney team. Also a special thanks to Coordinator, Career Program Advisors Jennifer BhagirathHeidi Shugg and Stephanie Walsh for supporting the event and making the day run smoothly.

This initiative will continue as an annual event at the Downtown Campus.

If you have students interested in opportunities at the Walt Disney World company, please have them apply by visiting the Walt Disney World Trade School/Colleges website.

Employment Corner


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

If you’re searching for a new role, check out these unique opportunities open for internal candidates to apply:

Position: Coordinator, LSAMP
Location: Osceola Campus
Closing Date:
Thursday, September 22, 2022

Position: Functional IS Support Specialist
Location: West Campus
Closing Date:
Monday, September 26, 2022

We also have positions open to internal and external candidates, such as:

Position: Manager, Academic and Student Success
Location: Lake Nona Campus 
Closing Date:
Sunday, September 25, 2022

Position: Human Resources Specialist
Location: District Office
Closing Date:
Thursday, September 29, 2022

To view all job postings and obtain the full job description, location and salary for the positions above, as well as apply, log into our employment portal.

To access internal job postings:

  • Navigate to our Employment Portal.
  • Click on the Login tab.
  • Click on the Search Internal Jobs tab. A new window will open.
  • Use the filters provided to search for positions, view postings, and apply for a job.

To view jobs posted for external applications, click here.

If you have questions during the application process, contact HR4U@valenciacollege.edu or 407-582-HR4U (4748).

In addition to viewing The Grove for current job postings, we also encourage you to follow Valencia’s recruitment-oriented social media accounts. These accounts feature information about Valencia as an employer and promote current job openings. Below are links to Valencia’s three recruitment-oriented social media pages:

LinkedIn (@ValenciaCollege)
Facebook (@ValenciaCollegeJobs)
Twitter (@ValenciaJobs)

As current employees, we also encourage you to use these social media sites to share your stories about employment at Valencia. And remember, use the hashtag, #OurValencia, when sharing your stories.