Monthly Archives: May 2022

Orange County Public Schools Partnership Highlighted at District Board of Trustees Meeting

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) Superintendent Barbara Jenkins was recognized for her leadership in the school district’s ongoing partnership with Valencia College at the Thursday, May 26, 2022, District Board of Trustees meeting held on the Lake Nona Campus. College President Kathleen Plinske thanked Superintendent Jenkins — who is retiring at the end of this school year — and noted that, during her tenure, more than 18,000 students participated in the Dual Enrollment program, and more than 900 students earned a Valencia degree at the same time they graduated from high school.

Watch this video for highlights of the partnership.

Additionally, the Valencia College Foundation made a $1,000 donation to the Superintendent’s OCPS Teaching Scholarship that has been established in Barbara Jenkin’s honor and gives scholarship preference to first-generation students who are interested in studying education.

Osceola Prosper
The board authorized the College to execute an agreement with Osceola County to implement the Osceola Prosper program on behalf of students. Osceola Prosper, made possible by the Osceola County Commission, will cover tuition and fees (after any grants or scholarships a student receives) at Valencia College or oTECH. All 2022 graduates from all Osceola County public, charter, and private high schools, as well as home-schooled graduates, are eligible to participate, regardless of financial need or immigration status.

Since the Osceola Prosper announcement, there have been more than 30,000 visits to the Osceola Prosper website and more than 920 Osceola County high school seniors have applied.

Information and Technology/Student Affairs Technical Support for Financial Aid
Vice President of Technology, Research and Analytics Brandon McKelvey provided a Student Affairs business process overview. The core recommendations from the business process review were to provide financial aid awards to students earlier, develop a new registration calendar that supports our strategic access goal and fully use the functionality of existing software. These efforts will result in the following outcomes for fiscal year 2023 and beyond:

  • Provide financial aid awards to students eight to 12 weeks earlier than in prior years;
  • Restructure enrollment calendars to provide registration six to eight weeks earlier than in prior years;
  • Reengineer our core systems to achieve operational efficiencies in financial aid and enrollment; and
  • Extend new software capacities to students, faculty and staff.

The board authorized Valencia to enter into a contract with CampusWorks, Inc. to  support financial aid-related technical needs associated with the project.

Policy Approvals and Repeals

Trustees approved adopting the following amended policies:

The board also repealed the following policy:

View more information on the trustees meeting.

The next District Board of Trustees meeting will be held on Thursday, June 23, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. at the Winter Park Campus and via Zoom.

Monthly Archives: May 2022

Passport Services Now Available on Lake Nona Campus

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Traveling internationally? Renewing or applying for your passport is more convenient than ever. Our Lake Nona Campus Store has been designated a Passport Acceptance Facility.

Make an appointment by calling 407-582-PASS (7277) or emailing

Monthly Archives: May 2022

Nurse Jessica Presents ‘Get Up and Go’

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Only do cardio. Walking isn’t a good workout. Diet doesn’t matter if you’re exercising. Have you heard these exercise myths?

Valencia College’s UnitedHealthcare Nurse Liaison Jessica Johnson addresses these common myths and others in her latest presentation “Get Up and Go.” She also discusses the benefits of different types of exercise, ways to exercise when time is a limiting factor, the importance of staying hydrated and getting medical clearance for exercise. Watch the presentation below.

If you have any questions, contact Nurse Jessica at or 407-866-8134.

Monthly Archives: May 2022

Despite Heartbreak and Hardships, Valencia Grad Continues to Pursue Goals

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Many Valencians have experienced hardships and battles while on their journey to accomplishing their dream of attending college — but few have seen as much heartbreak and loss as Valencia College graduate and Distinguished Graduate finalist, Zachary Onagoruwa.

Yet those obstacles shaped Zachary and continue to mold the young man he is today.

The son of two Nigerian immigrants, Zachary was born in Georgia but moved to Florida at the age of six with his parents and three older siblings. In the United States, the family struggled financially, and matters grew worse when Zachary’s father returned to Nigeria to tend to family matters.

Two years after returning to Nigeria, Zachary’s father died in a drowning accident in 2008. The youngest of the four children, Zachary was only eight years old at the time. Suddenly, all the financial and family responsibilities fell to his mother, which left a financial burden on the family.

“My mother would work extremely hard to keep a roof over our heads, but despite her best efforts, we lost the house and became homeless for a while,” says Zachary.

That period of homelessness is something he hopes to never experience again and is one of the reasons why he continues to work hard.

Zachary continued to face many hardships, including the death of his grandfather in 2017. Two years later, Zachary endured the passing of his mother due to cancer.

Read more of Zachary’s story on the Valencia News site.

Monthly Archives: May 2022

Students Honored at PodFest 2022 for Video Highlighting Accessibility and Inclusion for Deaf Individuals

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Two Valencia College students were honored prior to the official kickoff of the 2022 Podfest Expo, held at the Hilton Orlando from Thursday, May 26 – Sunday, May 29, 2022, for producing a video that promoted accessibility and inclusion of the Deaf community at the event.

Students Keisha Perez Lucena and Jason Sindoni participated in Valencia’s Internship in Digital Media program by interning with Employers 4 Change (E4C) and the Intern Whisperer Podcast. As a part of the internship, Keisha, a Deaf student, and Jason produced a video that highlighted the conference’s accessibility for Deaf individuals. Keisha, along with Judith Britt, interpreter, student disability services appeared in the video.

Intern Pursuit, Inc., doing business as Employers for 4 Change, is a platform that reduces employer bias and increases diversity, equity and inclusion skills recruitment using a proprietary AI (artificial intelligence) algorithm. The platform and E4C Academy accelerate cognitive learning making three months equal to one year of experience between the intern and employee mentor.

The Intern Whisperer Podcast is part of the Employers 4 Change brand, launched at the Valencia College Radio studio in 2018. Guests are CEOs, thought leaders, HR professionals, and futurists that share how they got started in their career, mentoring wisdom, and their predictions about the Future of Work in 2030. The Intern Whisperer Podcast airs on 20 podcasts globally and Valencia College RadioE4C YouTube and E4C Facebook. The show will release episode 200 on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, and has close to 6,000 downloads.

View the video created by Keisha and Jason below.

Monthly Archives: May 2022

Prepare For Hurricane Season

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

A Message from Misty Ellis Peaslee, Director of Security

Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 1, 2022, marks the beginning of hurricane season.

Just because we are located inland, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t worry about hurricane season. Although hurricanes have the most devastating effects on coastal communities, they could also create significant impact hundreds of miles inland. One change could save and protect your life, as well as help your community. Don’t forget — as hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria remind us, it is not just major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) that we need to worry about. All hurricanes could potentially cause significant damage.

However, there are many things that you can do now to prepare financially, know your risk and stay informed, as well as avoid a last-minute rush to grocery or home-improvement stores. Learn how you can develop a plan, receive emergency alerts and how and where to evacuate. To learn hurricane terms and ways to prepare, click here.

Valencia Alerts

Valencia’s public safety officials strive to provide a timely warning if severe weather approaches Central Florida. The West Campus Security Office serves as our Emergency Operations Center to coordinate mission critical services.

In an emergency, all 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. Therefore, it’s extremely important that you make sure your Valencia Alert contact information is correct.

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.

Home Preparation

For tips on building a hurricane supply kit, what to do to prepare for a hurricane and what to do after a storm hits, view this American Red Cross resource.

Monthly Archives: May 2022

Procurement Fiscal Year-end Closing Reminders

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

A Message from Yaremis Fullana, Managing Director, Procurement

For employees who have access to enter requisitions, as we continue to see significant supply chain delays in various industries, it’s imperative you plan accordingly and finalize all of your purchases as soon as possible. In order to ensure a successful year-end closing, regardless of supply chain issues, we must adhere to the timelines noted below.

Important Procurement Notes: 

  • As we approach the final weeks of FY22, please be sure the End of Year clause is included on all Fund 1, Fund 2 (Student Activities) and Fund 3 purchase orders. This is especially critical for grants with a Thursday, June 30, 2022, closing date. Please note that the requestor is ultimately responsible for ensuring goods or services are received by Wednesday, June 15, 2022. For your convenience, the statement can be auto populated by clicking and searching for the clause under Document Text ellipses (…). View instructions on how to include the clause.
  • To ensure that goods and services are received by Wednesday, June 15, 2022, and invoices are dated no later than Thursday, June 30, 2022, most purchase orders for General Operating (Fund 1), Student Activities (Fund 2) and Auxiliary Services (Fund 3) will no longer be issued as Friday, May 27, 2022, was the deadline. Purchase orders may be issued on an emergency basis after Friday, May 27, 2022, with my approval. Please email me at for approval prior to submitting a requisition after this date. Requisitions submitted after this deadline or without emergency approval will be rejected. A reminder that a purchase order or Pcard payment is required before goods and services are received. After-the-fact invoices are not considered an emergency and will require approval and justification. Please note that Pcard limit increases will not be issued after Friday, May 27, 2022, either unless an increase is granted on an emergency basis.
  • All approved invoices (signed by the budget manager or designee, indicating the goods/services were received on or before Wednesday, June 15, 2022) associated with existing purchase orders must be received in the Accounts Payable department by Thursday, June 23, 2022, for the expenditure to be charged to fiscal year 2021-22. A reminder that the last invoice associated with the purchase order must be marked “Final Ship.”
  • Purchase orders will not be processed for all funds after Friday, June 24, 2022. No exceptions!
  • On Friday, July 1, 2022, you may begin entering requisitions for fiscal year 2022-23. Do not enter requisitions for fiscal year 2022-23 prior to this date or it will need to be rejected.

Purchase Order Closing

  • Open General Operating (Fund 1), Student Activities (Fund 2) and Auxiliary Services (Fund 3) purchase orders will be automatically closed as part of the year-end process unless you email as to the reason for the retention of the purchase order. A reminder that for the exemption of most Grants and Fund 7, keeping a purchase order open will automatically encumber funds from your 2022-23 budget.
  • All standing and blanket purchase orders currently in open status will be closed at the end of the fiscal year.
  • For additional funds, if you require your purchase order to be closed, please notify the Procurement Department at A reminder that for the exemption of most Grants and Fund 7, keeping a purchase order open will automatically encumber funds from your 2022-23 budget.

For additional guidelines and timelines, please refer to the Fiscal Year-end Closing Memo available on The Grove. Please contact us for any questions or concerns.

Monthly Archives: May 2022

Delights of Portugal: From Art Tiles to ‘Pão de Ló’ Sponge Cake

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Date: Wednesday, June 8, 2022
Time: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 
Location: Zoom and West Campus, Communications Center (Building 5, Room 156) 

You’re invited to travel to Portugal with Professor of Portuguese Richard Sansone and his students as they explore the coastal town of Ovar, known as a living museum of decorative tiles called “azulejos.” The guide on the voyage will be local graphic artist Maria Almeida whose passion for art and history will bring the presentation to life as participants visit homes, public buildings and churches all covered in these beautiful ceramics — an art form handed down from the Moors who occupied the Iberian Peninsula from 711-1492.

The iconically Portuguese blue and white “azulejos” represent Portuguese culture throughout the world, and Maria will delve into their past. She will also visit a local pastry shop where students will learn how a local baker makes a sponge cake typical of Ovar named “Pão de Ló.”

If you have the opportunity to join the Zoom event from the West Campus Communications Center, you will be able to taste the delicious “Pão de Ló” and other delights created by our friends at our local Brazilian bakery Pão Gostoso.

Monthly Archives: May 2022

Featured Colleague: Amy Novak Brings Compassion to Her Work

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Helping others to understand everything from complex social relationships to changes in the way whole societies think is a way of life for Amy Novak, part-time faculty, sociology at the Lake Nona Campus. Before Amy came to Valencia College in 2011, she honed her craft by working for 10 years in the fields of mental health and developmental disabilities. But today she knows where her real talent lies.

“Teaching brings me joy,” she explains. “I get the opportunity to tell people about some of the things I am most interested in, in the whole world. It makes me feel alive.”

Amy recently served as a visiting professor for the College, a position she embraced with open arms.

“I really enjoyed being a full-time visiting professor, and I have enjoyed teaching more and more with each passing year. I fall more and more in love with my discipline, but I have also become a much better teacher,” she says.

Despite all of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amy says she’s really proud of how the College responded to our students’ changing needs.

“I was really proud that the College encouraged us to be extra flexible with our students during the pandemic. I have always found Valencia to be really supportive of students, but it meant a lot to me that they encouraged us to be even kinder during this time,” Amy explains.

Amy’s gentle voice and kind nature are a regular fixture at Lake Nona. Executive Dean Mike Bosley sees the impact her positivity has made over the years.

“Professor Novak has been with the Lake Nona Campus since we were housed at Lake Nona High School; a lot has changed since then,” he says. “Professor Novak continues to serve our Lake Nona students with compassion and a spirit that ignites learning. We are proud of her and look forward to her working with us for many more years.”

Amy does more than just teach at Lake Nona. She’s also a frequent presenter for campus Skillshops and events through the Peace and Justice Institute (PJI). She’s presented on topics related to gender identity, race and deviance.

“Even though I am turning 50 this year, I am as committed to solving social problems as when I was an undergraduate three decades ago (if not more so).  I’m just wiser and a little more realistic,” she explains.

“Amy is a big part of planning and executing the PJI events at the Lake Nona Campus. She has tackled some really heavy topics and always helps participants gain a better understanding of our world,” says Jennifer Keefe, part-time professor, humanities, and Peace and Justice Institute Lake Nona Campus coordinator.

Amy also has a lot of empathy for the unfamiliar environment our first-generation college students are navigating. That’s because she was a first-gen student herself. Amy earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Winthrop University and a master’s in sociology from Virginia Tech. She also has credits toward a Ph.D. in sociology at Georgia State University.

Amy got her first experience in teaching as a teaching assistant at Georgia State. Then, when her mother passed away, Amy started her career in mental health. She recalls, “focusing on helping others at that point in my life saved my life.”

These days, Amy is ready to start improving herself again. This fall, she begins work on a master’s degree in counseling at the University of Central Florida. Don’t worry, though, Amy says her own education will not interfere with her ability to keep teaching others.

When Amy is not working or studying, she’s developed a long list of self-care activities to keep herself busy. This list includes yin and aerial yoga, spending time with her husband and pets, going on cruises and playing board games. She also enjoys sci-fi and superhero shows and movies.

“I was a comic book reader as a kid,” she says.

Amy also likes cooking and trying new foods, crafting, bargain-hunting, tubing, and food competition and travel shows.

Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for at least one year? Send the colleague’s name to us at He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.

Monthly Archives: May 2022

Celebrate Pride Month and Honor Pulse Victims During June Events

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

LGBTQIA+ Pride Month is celebrated each year in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall uprising in Manhattan. The uprising took place from June 28 – July 3, 1969, and was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. With parades, festivals and concerts going on across the country, there’s always some way to get involved and learn some important social history along the way.

June also marks the sixth anniversary of the Pulse tragedy, where 49 victims were massacred at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Although this tragic event forever changed us, our community came together to support one another, show love and kindness, and stand in solidarity against hate and violence.

The Student Development team invites you to actively participate as we celebrate and commemorate Pride and Pulse throughout June with the following collegewide events:

East Campus Tabling Event

Date: Monday, June 6, 2022
Time: Various
Location: East Campus, Locations Vary

To provide awareness and support, East Campus Student Development will share information and provide handouts throughout the day. For more information on where Student Development representatives will be, follow them on Instagram.

Lake Nona Campus Pulse Memorial Event

Date: Monday, June 6, 2022
Time: 11 a.m.
Location: Lake Nona Campus, Main Hallway 

The Lake Nona Campus Student Development office welcomes students and employees to attend a Pulse Memorial event. Come and reflect to remember the lives lost and celebrate the strength of our community. Visitors will be able to leave sentiments and messages of love and kindness on an interactive board, as well as view a weeklong installation remembering the Valencia students who lost their lives on June 12, 2016. Light refreshments will be served.

Osceola Campus Moment of Silence

Date: Tuesday, June 7, 2022
Time: 12 – 1 p.m.
Location: Osceola Campus, Peace Garden, Behind Building 1

The Osceola Campus will hold a moment of silence and reflection in the Peace Garden. While attending, students will have the opportunity to contribute to the memorial poster that we will be taken on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, to the Pulse Memorial visit.

Poinciana Campus Tabling Event

Date: Monday, June 6, 2022
Time: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Location: Poinciana Campus, 1st Floor Hallway  

Poinciana Campus will host a tabling event to share information with students regarding the Pulse Memorial. Students will also have the opportunity to leave messages on glass boards.

West Campus Memorial Installation

Date: Monday, June 6, 2022
Location: West Campus, SSB Patio Stage

The West Campus Student Development office will have a temporary memorial installation from Monday, June 6 through Monday, June 13, 2022, on the SSB patio stage. This installation will allow students, faculty and staff an opportunity to reflect and pay their respects to the 49 lives lost on June 12, 2016.

Winter Park Campus Tabling Event

Date: Monday, June 6, 2022
Time: All day
Location: Winter Park Campus, Student Lounge & Classrooms

To provide awareness and support, Winter Park Campus Student Development will share information and provide handouts throughout the day. For more information on where Student Development representatives will be, follow them on Instagram.

Downtown Campus Bridge Lighting Ceremony

Date: Monday, June 6, 2022
Time: 7:30 p.m. 
Location: Downtown Campus, Dr. Phillips Academic Commons Plaza and Live Stream 

The Downtown Campus Student Engagement team will host a Bridge Lighting Ceremony to honor the 49 lives lost on June 12, 2016. Students, faculty, staff and community members are welcome to attend or watch the live stream ceremony happening on the University of Central Florida Main Campus, where the Dr. Phillips Academic Commons Plaza bridge and Millican Hall will be illuminated in rainbow colors. Refreshments will be served for those attending the onsite ceremony. Both buildings will light up every night from Monday, June 6, through Friday, June 10, 2022.

Collegewide Pulse Memorial Site Visit

Date: Wednesday, June 8, 2022
Time: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Buses will leave at 10 a.m.)
Location: Details on campus meeting locations will be provided to those registered.
Register here by Friday, June 3, 2020, at 12 p.m.

On Wednesday, June 8, 2022, Student Development collegewide will provide a chance to visit the Pulse Memorial site and take time to quietly reflect, honor, and share loving gestures to remember the horrible attack that occurred on June 12, 2016. Transportation will be offered from each campus, based on registration, to the Pulse Interim Memorial site. Buses will leave the campuses at 10 a.m., with the site visit from 11 a.m.-  12:30 p.m. Sign up up on Engage no later than Friday, June 3, 2022, at 12 p.m. Students and employees are welcome.

Downtown Campus Pulse Memorial Site Visit

Date: Thursday June 9, 2022
Time: 2 – 4 p.m.
Location: Details on the Downtown Campus campus meeting location will be provided to those registered.
Register here.

Student Engagement and the University of Central Florida Social Justice and Advocacy department are partnering to provide a second opportunity for students, faculty and staff members to attend the site of the Pulse Memorial. After returning from the site, there will be a discussion on how students can take action.

Collegewide Pulse Anniversary Memorial

Location: Student Development YouTube Channel

You’re invited to view the 2020/2021 Student Development YouTube channel to honor the anniversary of the Pulse tragedy with a streamed memorial to honor those we lost, learn more about why pride matters and celebrate our community’s continued commitment to Keep Dancing with a musical experience. Student Development Pride Celebration – YouTube

Be sure to check the Student Development Instagram account regularly for educational content, fun events and opportunities happening across Valencia and Central Florida to learn more about LBGTQIA+ history and celebrate pride.