Monthly Archives: September 2019

September 2019 Hellos and Goodbyes


Debra L. Carruth, professor, English, West Campus
Brigitta H. Divin, student services advisor, East Campus
Stefan M. Bidigaray, professor, engineering, West Campus
Chandradat K. Dinalal, security field supervisor, West Campus
Matthew M. Olson, instructor, construction programs, School of Public Safety
Clifford Graham, groundskeeper, West Campus
Monica V. Ijeoma, coordinator, program advisor, East Campus
Carmine L. La Pietra, director, campus technology services, West Campus
Richard Martinez Lopez, groundskeeper, East Campus
Niyeliza K. Rosario, academic advisor, Osceola Campus
Laura A. Carlin, coordinator, program advisor, Winter Park Campus
Sierra F. Brydebell, administrative assistant, West Campus
Diocesis D. Fermn, custodian, East Campus
Marielena Segovia, international admissions specialist, East Campus

Monthly Archives: September 2019

Students Engage in Global Peace Week at Lake Nona Campus

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, President, Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses

From Monday, September 23 – Thursday, September 26, 2019, students at the Lake Nona Campus participated in activities for Global Peace Week.

On Monday, Congressman Darren Soto, whose district includes Lake Nona, spoke to a packed room about many topics, including the best and worst parts of his job, his path to leadership, leading in a time of a divided Congress and bills he is working on related to federal funding for food for college students and the student loan crisis.

Tuesday’s workshops included a discussion of personality and peace by Lelu Pacheco and a compelling talk by the Lake Nona Science team about the Imposter Syndrome. The wellness ambassadors took over on Wellness Wednesday, with Mandala coloring and workshops on fact-checking wellness claims, facilitated by Librarian Emilie Buckley and seeking mental health counseling, facilitated by Part-time Faculty Amy Novak.

The week concluded Thursday with a screening of the powerful film Resilience, hosted by Jen Danilowski, part-time faculty,  psychology; Natali Shulterbrondt, counselor; and Jennifer Keefe, project director, Title V.

More than 160 students participated in Lake Nona Campus’ Global Peace Week this year. If you are interested in getting involved with the Peace and Justice Institute (PJI), contact Lake Nona Campus PJI Events Coordinator Jennifer Keefe at or 407-299-5000, extension 4823.

Monthly Archives: September 2019

Ad Astra Presentation Features Osceola Campus Staff

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, President, Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses

Osceola Campus Operations Manager Max Arb and Title V Osceola Project Director Jennifer Keefe presented on the College’s use of Ad Astra Scheduler at the Ad Astra Southeast Regional Summit on Friday, September 20, 2019. The two-day summit, which was hosted at Valencia College’s West Campus, drew participants from around Florida and as far away as Georgia and Arkansas.

Max and Jennifer presented on some unique use-case scenarios encountered by the teams implementing and utilizing Ad Astra Scheduler, which was purchased by the Title V Osceola Grant in 2017. The presentation included a discussion of the use of tools in the system to increase campus efficiency and decrease energy costs by shutting down floors of buildings and turning off the air conditioning during off-peak hours. The team also talked about how they have set up the system to accommodate the University of Central Florida classrooms in Osceola Campus’ Building 4 and the Continuing Education classes.

Ad Astra has been implemented at the Osceola, Lake Nona, Poinciana, and Winter Park Campuses for events and class scheduling. Implementation is underway at the West Campus, with events scheduling starting this month and class scheduling expected to start in summer 2020.

Monthly Archives: September 2019

Join Lake Nona Campus for a Retirement Celebration

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, President, Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses

Date: Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Time: 2 – 4 p.m. 
Location: Lake Nona Campus, Room 148

Please join us to celebrate the career and achievements of Professor of Psychology Debra Hollister as she retires from Valencia after 30+ years of service. A drop-in celebration will be held at the Lake Nona Campus on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, from 2 – 4 p.m. in Room 148.

Please click here to RSVP if you plan to attend.

Monthly Archives: September 2019

High Impact Practice Plan Results — Joey Templeton

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, President, Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses

Our next High Impact Practice (HIP) Plan comes from Professor of English Joey Templeton at the Osceola Campus. She developed a project titled “Engaged Reading: An Interactive Approach to Literacy.” To read a summary, click here.

If you would like more information about this HIP project, please click here or contact Joey at or 407-299-5000, extension 4907.

Monthly Archives: September 2019

Advising Center Hosts Open House

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, President, Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses

On Thursday, September 26, 2019, the Osceola Campus Advising Center held its first Open House event. The festive theme was LIFE (like the board game), and students received a game piece and visited advisors’ offices, which were color-coordinated based on meta-major. Seventy-five students connected with our advisors.

This was truly a collaborative event: the financial ambassadors created the decorations, and Atlas Lab volunteers, Career Center staff, counselors and career/program advisors worked with the front-desk staff to guide our students through the game.

Monthly Archives: September 2019

Nominate a Student for ‘President for a Day’

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, President, Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses

One of my favorite days of the year is when one of our students gets a chance to be president for a day. For the last two years, our Career Center has hosted a competition for students to be selected to shadow me for the day. While we’ve received feedback that the students enjoy the experience, I treasure the opportunity to spend the day with a student and learn firsthand about the challenges and opportunities that face our students.

For a chance to participate, students apply online and submit their resumes. Then, qualified applicants are invited to group interviews. All participants will receive personalized feedback on their resumes and interview skills. The process becomes progressively more selective with virtual interviews and group interviews until only one candidate will be selected to serve as president for a day on Monday, November 4, 2019. The day will include a celebratory luncheon, meetings and time to meet one-on-one.

The winner will also receive the following:

  • $500 Valencia Foundation Scholarship;
  • Letter of recommendation from the Career Center;
  • Leather-style padfolio; and
  • Interview survival kit.

Nominate a student today by clicking here. If you have any questions, please contact Margaux Pratt, coordinator, career development services, at or 407-299-5000, extension 4234.

Monthly Archives: September 2019

Lake Nona Campus Celebrates Its Seventh Birthday!

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, President, Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses

Hundreds of students, faculty and staff came together on Thursday, September 19, 2019, to celebrate the 7th annual Lake Nona Campus Dedication Day (the actual anniversary is September 20). This year, our Student Government Association (SGA) President Danna Chacon provided the toast. SGA also served sparkling cider and cake. The Lake Nona Campus is proud of its success over the last seven years and looks forward to many more years of helping students achieve their goals.

Monthly Archives: September 2019

Edward Frame Uses Sabbatical Leave to Study New Zealand’s Māori People — Faculty Highlight

By Wendy Jo Moyer

The purpose of Sabbatical Leave is to provide eligible faculty with a significant opportunity for new, or renewed, achievement and growth through activities such as study, research, writing, creative work and travel, so that the individual’s teaching and/or professional effectiveness may be enhanced.

With a desire to immerse himself in another culture, so he could share his experience with his students in World Mythology and Introduction to Music courses, Edward Frame, professor, humanities, used his sabbatical to study the mythology and music of the Māori people of New Zealand. According to, Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, who came to the country more than 1,000 years ago from their mythical Polynesian homeland of Hawaiki. Today Māori people make up 14% of New Zealand’s population and their history, language and traditions are central to New Zealand’s identity.

The Auckland University of Technology National Māori Language Institute sponsored Edward for his sabbatical, and, prior to his visit, provided him a student’s doctoral dissertation on Māori subjects, so he could familiarize himself with the culture and determine what he’d like to study in advance of his travels.

During his six weeks in New Zealand, Edward gathered research materials that he could later share with his students and traveled by rental car, enjoying New Zealand’s nature and visiting Māori cultural centers and villages. Edward was able to record video and capture more than 2,000 photos to use in his lectures.

One of his favorite sights was the Te Matatini Festival, a four-day, biennial Māori performing arts festival in which members of each village donate their time and train for two years to prepare their storytelling “posture” dances that were developed out of tribal warfare and feature vigorous rhythms and movements. There were two types of performances. The women often perform the Waiata, which is a form of storytelling with music added, and the Haka is the posturing dance. Although the Haka is performed by both males and females, this dance is more often performed by males and features facial contortions, sticking out the tongue, body slapping and foot stomping.

“The way of performing during the dancing is to make the eyes big, so the whites show, and also for the males to stick out the tongue,” Edward chuckled. “Most of these dances are related to tribal differences where there might be a war. The Māori people believe that if you could make an ugly face, you could actually scare your opponent and you wouldn’t actually have to fight.”

In addition to his love for the performing arts festival, Edward was awestruck by New Zealand’s beauty. “It’s wide open. The population is low, and therefore the beaches are gorgeous with no people,” he shared. “New Zealand is unspoiled. It’s a gentle country with gentle people.”

Following his time in New Zealand, Edward also traveled to Australia and visited the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef, Sydney and an Aboriginal village to research the Aboriginal people of Australia, who descended from groups that existed in Australia and surrounding islands prior to British colonization.

Upon Edward’s return to West Campus, he used his research, videos and photos to record a video lecture on the Māori people. Watch his lecture below:

“This was one of the greatest learning experiences of my life, and I was grateful for the time I had to spend in my chosen research area,” Edward shared. “I am grateful to Valencia for the time provided and would recommend that other faculty members take advantage of the opportunity provided by the sabbatical program.”

“With travel you can get in it and be involved,” he added, while also recommending that faculty members research their destination and make contacts prior to arrival to have the best experience. “Immersing yourself in another culture is the best learning experience that we can have.”

If you’re interested in a sabbatical, applications are now being accepted for the 2021-2022 academic year. For details and to apply, click here. The deadline to apply is Friday, October 4, 2019.

Do you know a faculty member doing great work? Or, perhaps you’d like to share the work you’re doing? Send the colleague’s (or your) name to us at and include Faculty Highlight Nomination in the subject line of your email. We might just feature your colleague (or you) as an upcoming Faculty Highlight.

Monthly Archives: September 2019

Refer a Student to be a 2020-2021 UnionWest Resident Assistant

Do you know of a student who has plans to attend the Downtown Campus during the 2020-2021 calendar year and who may make an excellent resident assistant? Now through Tuesday, October 1, 2019, applications are being accepted to join the Downtown Campus as a resident assistant at UnionWest at Creative Village.

Resident assistants (RA) are student staff members who live in a residence hall to support their fellow students and serve as student leaders and role models on the campus. RAs are provided with a free room during their employment and receive a stipend throughout the year. For a complete job description, click here.

To apply to become an RA at UnionWest, students must pass a background check, be currently enrolled as a full-time student, have completed 24 credit hours by their employment start date and have a minimum 2.5 overall cumulative GPA for the duration of their employment. For a complete list of employment qualifications, click here.

To apply for this position, students must submit an online application by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, and attend one information session, which will provide key information about the RA position and the selection process.

The remaining information sessions will be held:

Date: Sunday, September 29, 2019
Time: 3 – 5 p.m.
Location: University of Central Florida Neptune Multipurpose Room (3700 Libra Dr., Orlando, Florida 32816)

Date: Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Time: 6 – 8 p.m. 
Location: University of Central Florida Neptune Multipurpose Room (3700 Libra Dr., Orlando, Florida 32816)

For more information, click here. Students may also stop by the Downtown Campus First Stop (known as the Answer Center on other campuses) or call 407-299-5000, extension 1507, for more information about the RA application process.