By Laura Knight
Elvin Cruz is adept at helping Valencia students figure out where to start, when to complete their programs and how to handle everything in between as they embark on their college careers. As a student services advisor in the Answer Center on East Campus, he guides students through the enrollment process, helps them apply for financial aid and determines if they need preparatory courses. He is also a student success coach and provides support to LinC students.
Teamwork is essential for his day-to-day work, as he often reaches out to his colleagues in the tutoring services, students with disabilities, counseling and international student services departments. Elvin recognizes the importance of that collaboration among departments and utilizes it to help shape a cohesive experience for students, who may otherwise feel lost and overwhelmed.
“What I love the most about working at Valencia is that we have the opportunity to collaborate with each other on a regular basis. Many of us wear different ‘hats’ at the College, but we keep in mind that everything we do is for our students and sometimes we need the help of others to accomplish that.”
Elvin began working at Valencia in February 2011 as a staff assistant in the Teaching/Learning Academy. In that position he provided administrative support, created courses in Banner, enrolled employees into professional development courses and gained experience with event planning by assisting with Boot Camp for Online Instruction and Destination 2011.
In September 2011, he accepted a position as enrollment services advisor and excelled at helping students navigate their first experiences at Valencia. He also assisted with coordinating events like College Night, Counselor Day and College Fairs. One year later, in September 2012, he was promoted into his current position, student services advisor.
“Elvin has a keen sense of team spirit and always offers to help out his colleagues … he shares a passion to help students succeed, and he promotes this with his colleagues by sharing information he learns [about] how to get more involved with student success. He has worked very hard to prove his leadership abilities and has grown professionally through his hard work and dedication. He brings a competitive strength to the team through his dedication to student success,” shares Angela Trujillo, manager of student services at East Campus.
Elvin embraces the professional development opportunities that Valencia offers to employees. This year, he obtained his Digital Professor Certificate, and he is currently working on completing his LifeMap certification in 2014. He has served as secretary and treasurer of the Career Staff Association, participated in the Big Idea Group, Student Purpose, to support the development of the QEP and served on the Co-Curricular Taskforce Committee for Learning Outcomes.
Elvin is dedicated to being a role model for diversity and inclusion with colleagues and students. He is the co-advisor of the Gay/Straight Alliance on East Campus and attends the Florida Collegiate Pride Conference annually. Another way he incorporates diversity into the Valencia community is through his presentation titled, “Crossing Spectrums: Bringing Down the Barriers.”
Elvin doesn’t just advise his students; he shows them how to succeed. He has led presentations and student success workshops on topics like navigating online student services and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
“I think that Valencia signifies opportunity to the community. It is never too late to finish a degree or to even start one. We have many resources available to help students be successful whether they are traditional students or working adults,” Elvin notes proudly.
Elvin thinks back on his time at Valencia and all that he has and has yet to accomplish — he credits his first supervisor with having an impactful influence on him.
“My first supervisor at Valencia, Remy Ansiello, [who is] now a counselor and humanities instructor, has been a great mentor to me … his kind nature creates such a welcoming environment for students during his advising sessions. He always goes above and beyond to keep students on track and most importantly, motivated. Who wouldn’t find that inspiring? The best thing he ever said to me when I graduated with my bachelor’s degree was, ‘when are you starting your masters?’” shares Elvin.
Elvin was recently accepted into a master’s program in liberal studies at Rollins College that he will begin next summer.
Elvin has an associate degree and a business specialist technical certificate from Valencia, where he graduated with honors. He earned his bachelor’s degree in humanities from the University of Central Florida and expects to complete his master’s program in 2017.
Know of someone doing great work at the College? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu so he or she can be one of our featured colleagues!