By Dani Moritz-Long
A brief interaction with Coordinator, Career Program Advisor Jason Mills quickly reveals his compassionate and empathetic nature. In addition to being a talented staff member with a silly sense of humor, he’s also an artist and an American hero.
Jason served in the United States Navy from 2014 – 2016. For a long time, he dedicated his career to criminal justice — working in roles such as court liaison and socio-therapist and earning an associate and bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, as well as master’s degree in public administration from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Also devoted to serving others through spiritual guidance, Jason is adding to his already-impressive list of educational accomplishments by pursuing his master’s degree in biblical theology with the hopes of eventually achieving a doctor of ministry.
His spiritual compass led him to publish three inspirational and spiritual, non-fiction novels: “A Butterfly Restored: 7 Keys to Experience Spiritual Transformation; “A Butterfly Restored: Arise, and Shine; and “Wounded Soldier: A Greater Purpose,” which artfully connects Jason’s experiences as a veteran and believer.
“I have been a writer for the past 13 years,” Jason explained. “Interestingly, I do not like to physically write or type as most authors I know enjoy doing. I write because I believe it’s the best way for me to communicate messages to people. My passion for writing is to help guide people as they experience their spiritual curriculum in life. My writing, in essence, is my way of contextualizing our experiences, thus serving as a reminder that we are bigger and better than our life experiences.”
A different form of storytelling, however, was Jason’s first passion, as he first began communicating through reggae music and continues his work as a recording artist.
At Valencia, Jason enjoys yet another opportunity to communicate with and serve others. Having recently transitioned from working in Organizational Development and Human Resources (ODHR) to Student Affairs, he embraces every opportunity to contribute to Valencia’s service-oriented mission.
“My transition from ODHR to working in advising was interesting in that I left the administrative perspective of the College where we mostly served employees (though I worked with students concerning Title IX-related matters) to directly working with students on the front-line,” Jason said. “My transition was challenging at first as I learned to serve students in a different capacity. Upon my transition to advising, I quickly learned that academic advising was way more complex and nuanced than I had thought before. My colleagues and leadership in advising maintained a welcoming environment and demonstrated continuous patience while I learned a new role.”
Now, Jason is well-equipped to help students navigate their college experience by supporting them as they design road maps for their academic and life success.
“I support students by providing all relevant options for them to make the best possible choices on their academic journey to arrive at their respective academic/career destinations,” he said.
Assistant Director of Advising Lynn Desjarlais says she’s grateful to have Jason on her team.
“He’s always considerate and eager to serve our students in any way he can,” Lynn said. “His people-oriented personality and personal commitment to service make him a great asset to the Advising team and the College as a whole.”
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 The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.