By Stephanie McMillen
Aaron Bergeson is a word processing specialist on the Winter Park Campus, a position that involves supporting class and event scheduling, filling textbook orders, and assisting students with credit-related matters.
“Aaron is a great addition to our team,” said Michele McArdle, executive dean of the Winter Park Campus. “He is bright, focused on students, and willing to help with any project.”
The most rewarding aspect of his job, Aaron explains is, “Helping students accomplish their goals. I love it when I can help a student find a class that fits their schedule and their learning track.”
Not that long ago, Aaron was one of those Valencia students himself – a young person looking for a purpose. He grew up in Orlando, so Valencia was an obvious choice after graduating high school in 2005.
“I was one of those kids growing up who had a drive to be a good student, but I didn’t know what sort of occupation I would pursue,” he said. “That’s really why I picked Valencia… It gave me the extra time to discover the field that I wanted to enter while acquiring a foundation in solid college courses.”
Aaron originally viewed Valencia as a stepping stone for getting into any four-year institution in Florida. “It was like that friend who knows all the right people and can get you the VIP passes to wherever you wanted to go,” he said.
After he experienced Valencia as a student, however, Aaron realized that his initial viewpoint was an injustice to the college. “While [that viewpoint] does give Valencia credit for its strategic goal of building pathways, it seems to downplay the actual value of Valencia as a learning institution.”
It wasn’t until after he completed his bachelor’s degree, that Aaron realized Valencia contributed to half of what he learned in college. “It was not just a bridge to the next thing, but it was the supplier of many of the foundational skills on which I relied during and after college.”
In 2007, Aaron transferred to the University of Florida (UF) where he obtained a degree in journalism, which he selected because he enjoyed writing.
From there, he spent two years substitute teaching – an endeavor he found both rewarding and challenging. He also realized that while he enjoyed teaching, he wanted to pursue a career that would allow him to put his skills to work in a college-level, learning atmosphere. This prompted him to seek employment at Valencia.
Now that Aaron has gone full circle from being a Valencia student to a Valencia employee, he says that his colleagues are what make the college great.
“I know lots of people who absolutely dread going to work,” he said. “I just got back from vacation, and I was telling my family that I wanted to return to work, and it’s because the people here are so great.”
Aaron is currently pursuing his master’s degree at the University of Central Florida in the e-learning track of the instructional design and technology program.
“I’ve decided that I really like solving problems, and helping people accomplish their goals in education, without necessarily being the instructor,” Aaron said. “I am hoping to continue working with Valencia as an instructional designer someday.”
In his free time Aaron “loves” reading, and right now his reading list includes Agatha Christie mysteries and textbooks. He is also learning tennis, and enjoys mentoring and spending time with the teenagers at his church.
Know someone doing great work at the college? Send your recommendation to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu and he or she may our next featured colleague.