By Wendy Jo Moyer
Lizza Burgos-Reynoso describes her role at Valencia as being a public safety career advocate — aka the “Public Safety Momma.” Officially though, she’s a coordinator, career program advisor, at the School of Public Safety, a role that she’s quite proud to play.
A Valencia graduate who took evening and weekend classes while working and raising three children, Lizza wanted to be a part of the College’s mission to transform lives, strengthen the community and inspire others to excellence.
“When I started my journey here at Valencia as a student, I remember how the faculty and staff wanted to see me succeed,” she explained. “I made it a goal that when I graduated, I would give it my whole heart to become employed at Valencia College, so that I can inspire others to believe in themselves and follow the desires of their hearts, no matter how difficult life may become.”
She has now reached that goal. Lizza joined Valencia in 2006 in the East Campus Security department as a staff assistant. Two years later, she became the administrative assistant to the East Campus dean of social sciences before making the move to the School of Public Safety in 2016 for her current role.
As a career program advisor in the School of Public Safety, she’s found a great fit. Lizza loves her work inspiring future public safety workers. It’s kind of a thank you from her to public safety officials for rescuing her during a frightening accident during her childhood. “At the age of 5, I was crossing the street and was hit by a truck,” she said. “Thankfully, first responders rushed me to the hospital and, therefore, more reason for me to assist these individuals to obtain their degree and certifications.”
Miraculously, little Lizza had no major injuries or broken bones — only skin abrasions.
“The School of Public Safety provides students with the best, most recognized and respected training and education in the state of Florida for law enforcement officers, corrections officers and firefighters,” she explained enthusiastically. “I am thankful and humbled to be able to serve our civilian students, law enforcement, firefighters, corrections, veterans and public safety community. I also wanted to take the time to honor our veterans and public safety servants,” as she mentioned she’s a proud Army mother, with her oldest son joining the U.S. Army just last month at the young age of 18.
Her passion for the role is getting noticed. “Lizza is an all-star. She is a passionate career program advisor and her number one priority is serving our students,” praised her supervisor, Jeff Goltz, executive dean, School of Public Safety. “She collaborates across the College and beyond to ensure all students are treated like family.”
During her 12 years as a Valencia employee, Lizza’s proud that she helped with the launch of three degree programs in her current and former positions: the Associate in Arts pre-major for sign language interpretation, the Associate in Arts pre-major for early childhood education and the Associate in Science law enforcement academy track, which is coming in fall 2018.
But overall, she’s energized by Valencia’s people. “I love to serve the students, staff and faculty at Valencia. It gives me the opportunity to impact lives as Valencia College did for me.”
And she loves when she can see the impact firsthand. “I am most proud of receiving email messages and cards from students that when they wanted to give up, I would not let them, and that my words of encouragement and belief, pushed them to finish their program.”
Lizza earned a Master of Nonprofit Management and a Bachelor of Arts in legal studies from the University of Central Florida and an Associate in Arts from Valencia.
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.