December 2014 Kudos

Week of December 14 – 20, 2014

Valencia’s Elisha Gonzalez and Kathleen Plinske Recognized for Service to Hispanic Community


Top left to right: Jesse Gonzalez, Comelco, Inc.; Monica Oganes, Monica Oganes & Associates, Inc.; Kathleen Plinske, Valencia College; Elisha Gonzalez, Valencia College; and Dr. Gregor Alexander, Orlando Health

Bottom left to right: Jan Aspuru, OUC; Augusto Sanabria, Hispanic Business Initiative Fund Florida; Mercedes McCall, Florida Bank of Commerce; Blanquita Trabold, Casa de Mexico; Diana Bolivar, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando; and Giorgina Pinedo-Rolon, Gio Communications, Inc.

Congratulations to Elisha Gonzalez, director of community affairs, and Kathleen Plinske, president, Osceola and Lake Nona Campuses, on being honored by the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund of Florida, Inc. and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando with Don Quijote Awards on Saturday, December 6, 2014, at the Epcot World Showplace Pavilion.

Don Quijote Awards are presented each year to recognize dedication to and professionalism in Central Florida’s Hispanic community.

Elisha was named Professional of the Year. This award recognizes Hispanic individuals who have achieved a distinction within their corporation or industry. A strong emphasis is placed on professional accomplishments; innovations or contributions in the company or industry; demonstrated leadership or community involvement; and honors or awards.

Kathleen was named Hispanic Community Champion. This award is intended to recognize a non-Hispanic individual who has led by example in supporting the progress of the Hispanic community of Central Florida. A strong emphasis is placed on innovations or contributions to the Hispanic community; evidence of promoting Hispanic professionals, executives and board members within the nominee’s respective organization and in the general community; demonstrated leadership or community involvement in benefit of the Hispanic community; and honors or awards.

Visit the Valencia News Site for additional information.

Week of December 7 – 13, 2014

Sal Navarro Featured in Leukemia & Lymphoma Society “Someday is Today” National Campaign

sal-navarro-lls-270wSal Navarro was recently featured on the national website of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for his winning fight against leukemia. Sal is collegewide courier services manager and has worked at Valencia for four years — through which he has battled chronic myeloid leukemia, including a stem cell transplant.

“It has been quite the journey for our family since Sal’s diagnosis in 2010, but Sal is a true hero,” says Cathy Penfold Navarro, project director, Pathways (Title III) and Sal’s wife. “He has survived some incredibly challenging treatments, and we are so grateful that today he is cancer free.”

Click “Meet Sal” to read Sal’s inspiring story of celebrating his “three-year post-transplant birthday.”

Week of November 30 – December 6, 2014

World-Wide Audio Engineering Society Inducts Raul Valery into Education Committee

audio-engineering-society-groveIn photo, from left to right, Joseph McBride, instructional assistant, senior; Wendy Hawkinson, professor of music and sound technology, Raul Valery, professor of music production technology, Bob Katz, mastering engineer, and Janos Kovacs, audio engineer.

A message from Stacey Johnson, President, East & Winter Park Campuses

Congratulations to Professor of Sound and Music Production Technology Raul Valery, who was inducted into the Education Committee of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) in November 2014.

AES is the only professional society devoted exclusively to audio technology and unites audio engineers, creative artists, scientists and students worldwide by promoting advances in audio and disseminating new knowledge and research. The Society oversees professional audio issues, standards and the publication of a peer-reviewed journal each month.

The education chapter includes members from more than 700 schools, colleges and universities worldwide, while a limited membership of about 30 schools, including representatives from Middle Tennessee State University, New York University, Ohio State University, Penn State University, University of California Los Angeles and now Valencia, participate on the education committee.

According to Valery, “this organization gives Valencia sound and music technology more visibility and prestige within the industry, and it enables us to be direct contributors and to benefit from all the innovations in audio education, the development of shared program outcomes and assessments and the ability to collaborate with colleagues from around the world in audio education research projects.”

Raul founded Valencia’s section of the student chapter of the Audio Engineering Society and serves as advisor.

We are honored to have Raul representing East Campus and Valencia College!

Employees Serve as Appellate Judges for Moot Court Association Regional Tournament

A message from Stacey Johnson, President, East and Winter Park Campuses

East Campus’ Carin Gordon, dean of business, information technology and public services, Wendy Toscano, professor of paralegal studies, and Dana Hankins, adjunct professor of paralegal studies and attorney, served as appellate judges in the American Collegiate Moot Court Association Regional Tournament, held at the University of Central Florida on Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8, 2014.

More than 40 student teams from 11 undergraduate institutions competed in a series of oral arguments of appellate law dealing with the First Amendment, freedom of speech and the 14th Amendment, due process.

Carin, Wendy and Dana are all members of the Florida Bar Association and deliberated in panels of various elimination rounds of the South Atlantic Regional Qualifying Tournament.

Congratulations to the 2015 Roueche Excellence Award Recipients

2014-roueche-winner-collage-names-groveCongratulations to the outstanding Valencia employees nominated by colleagues to receive a 2015 John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Award. The John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards are open to League Alliance member institutions to celebrate outstanding contributions in improving student learning and leadership by community college faculty and staff. The recipients are:

East and Winter Park Campuses

  • Julie Phelps, professor, mathematics
  • Suzanne Salapa, professor, dance
  • Diane Vargas, senior instructional assistant, mathematics

Osceola and Lake Nona Campuses

  • Stanton Reed, professor, business/accounting
  • Leila Sisson, professor, mathematics

West Campus

  • Charles Davis, coordinator, career program advisor
  • Kathleen Marquis, coordinator, ATLAS Access Lab

Recipients will be recognized in a series of activities and promotions and honored at special events during the League’s Innovations Conference on Sunday, March 8 – Wednesday, March 11, 2015, in Boston, Massachusetts.

To read nomination summaries on the recipients’ accomplishments, click here.

For additional information about the John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards Program, visit the website or contact your campus president’s office.


  • Nicholle Trapp said:

    Congratulations to you all!!!

    PMTue, 02 Dec 2014 17:54:30 +0000Tue, 02 Dec 2014 17:54:30 +0000pm14,5:54 pm

  • Deborah Xavier said:

    Congrats to all!

    AMWed, 03 Dec 2014 08:18:59 +0000Wed, 03 Dec 2014 08:18:59 +0000am14,8:18 am

  • Jeannie said:

    Congratulations, Stanton! 🙂

    AMWed, 03 Dec 2014 11:35:23 +0000Wed, 03 Dec 2014 11:35:23 +0000am14,11:35 am

  • Andrew Ray said:

    Congrats to all the award recipients! Special kudos to Charles Davis, who has been our “Go-To” guy in the Built Environment programs for many years. His dedication to the students and Valencia is quite obvious in his everyday actions, and this honor is well deserved.

    PMWed, 03 Dec 2014 15:08:18 +0000Wed, 03 Dec 2014 15:08:18 +0000pm14,3:08 pm

  • Derrick H. said:

    Well done by All!!!…Congrats!!!

    PMWed, 07 Jan 2015 12:04:31 +0000Wed, 07 Jan 2015 12:04:31 +0000pm15,12:04 pm

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