Featured Colleague: Jennifer Keefe Goes Above and Beyond to Create Opportunity

By Dani Moritz-Long

When Jennifer KeefeTitle V project director for Osceola Campus, contemplates her role at Valencia, her daily to-do list isn’t what first comes to mind. Sure, she’s responsible for developing new career and technical programs, implementing the Ad Astra building scheduling software, and finding new ways to offer classes through innovative technology. But, her real role goes much deeper.

“In short, I work with amazing people to do amazing things for our students,” she said. “My job is to create access and opportunity for Osceola students.”

And each May, she’s reminded of the importance of her calling and the part she plays at Valencia.

“I see students overcome so much adversity at times that it really makes all of the work we do worthwhile,” she said. “When I went to my first graduation as a full-time staff member, I got a little teary-eyed. Every student who walked that stage had a story, a favorite professor, something that makes us all Valencia.”

In her work to contribute to these stories, Jennifer, whose degrees include a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications, master’s degree in liberal studies and an Ed.D. in higher education policy studies, focuses on building new pathways and developing students through a myriad of means.

For example, in addition to her work on Title V, she teaches Humanities on Lake Nona Campus and serves as the Lake Nona Campus Peace and Justice Institute campus coordinator.

Summarizing Jennifer’s holistic impact, Mathematics Professor Nichole Segarra said, “Jennifer does tremendous work at the College not only with the Title V grant, but also with coordinating exceptional opportunities for our students through the Peace and Justice Institute as well as through her Humanities courses. She always goes above and beyond her ‘regular’ call of work and is an essential asset to our best work at Valencia.”

In agreement with Nichole, James McDonald, dean, career and technical programs, highlighted Jennifer’s “exceptional job” directing the Title V grant and contributing to what James considers a stand-out team.

Outside of Valencia, Jennifer finds additional ways to serve her community. In the past, she’s supported the community in radio and television. You may know her as Jennifer James on Mix 105.1 from 2006-2008 and Hot Carla (she points out this was not her choice of radio name) on Real Rock 101.1 from 2001-2004. She also worked as a news producer and reporter for various other stations and channels between 1996 and 2008. As a volunteer, Jennifer served the Junior League of Greater Orlando for 10 years and currently volunteers with Give Kids the World and the Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fund.

If there’s any free time in-between those obligations (which, she explains, is never a given), you can find her catching up on sleep or visiting the beach with her husband and 13-year-old daughter.

Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s Values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for one year or more? 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.

3 Comments

  • Lee Lucia said:

    Jennifer is awesome to work with and a lot of fun. Congrats on this well-deserved recognition!

    PMTue, 01 May 2018 12:44:25 +0000Tue, 01 May 2018 12:44:25 +0000pm18,12:44 pm

  • Nichole Segarra said:

    Thank you for all of your incredible work, Jenn! 🙂

    PMTue, 01 May 2018 15:54:28 +0000Tue, 01 May 2018 15:54:28 +0000pm18,3:54 pm

  • Jonathan Lair said:

    Great to see Jennifer on featured colleague, she is exceptional!

    AMWed, 02 May 2018 09:31:55 +0000Wed, 02 May 2018 09:31:55 +0000am18,9:31 am

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