Behind the Scenes with Rafaela

In planning his remarks for Academic Assembly on the role of purpose in student achievement, Dr. Shugart wanted to feature an alumnus, a student who had been successful based on having a clear sense of purpose and direction, and who was on a path to create significant change in the world. He immediately thought of Rafaela (Ella) Uwaibi.

Ella recently graduated from Rollins Hamilton Holt School of Business and is in the process of applying to medical schools. She plans to become a doctor and work in developing nations, bringing healthcare services to those in need. While at Valencia, Ella was a recipient of scholarships and worked in the East Campus Specialized Preparatory Area math tutoring lab to fund her education.

Though she faced many obstacles (including learning English), she stayed the course and successfully completed her studies at Valencia.  She was definitely the right person to deliver a message to a room full of faculty about purpose, direction, and the role of Valencia in helping her achieve her dreams. But there was a problem in delivering this message – she was in Brazil for the summer.

Like so many families and friends do on a daily basis, we agreed to connect via Skype to capture the conversation for Academic Assembly. On a Thursday morning, Jenny Nevarez Charriez, Nichole McPhereson, and Amy Bosley sat with Dr. Shugart as he connected with Ella in Brazil. With just a computer loaded with Camtasia (recording software used by our learning technology specialists) and a Wi-Fi connection, Dr. Shugart reached Ella and began a twenty-minute conversation about the pathway to her goals.  The resulting video (above) provided a glimpse into the life of one student working hard to reach her dreams and an encouraging opening to the fall semester.

Stories like Ella’s are compelling and help us affirm that our day-to-day work is an important part of helping others achieve their goals and aspirations.

Do you know of a student who has a story about purpose? If so email abosley@valenciacollege.edu – the student might be featured in an interview like Ella’s.

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