Featured Colleague: Maritza Gaviria and the Value of the Journey

By Dani Moritz-Long

It’s about the journey, not the destination.

It’s easy to fall victim to the desire for rapid change — the eagerness to expediently achieve whatever destination is on the horizon. But, particularly in education, the destination is seldom as life-changing as the journey we take to get there — wherever “there” may be.

This was a pivotal lesson for Program Advisor Coordinator Maritza Gaviria, who, today, appreciates the value of time.

“In the beginning of my higher education career, I wanted to fix things,” she said. “I like to solve problems. In higher education, however, I learned to acknowledge that my timing to solve is not the solution. I learned that I’m an instrument, a resource for students. I do not hold a magic wand to make immediate amends to what I believe needs fixing. Just as our developmental advising model teaches us, my role is to empower my students to enhance their critical thinking and decision making skills.”

Thanks to this mantra and appreciation of the journey, Maritza has changed the lives of countless students. She’s helped students uncover passions they didn’t know existed, supported students through the challenges of balancing family, work and school, and served as a confidant for those absorbed in fear and anxiety.

“One of my biggest joys is to be a part of their journey, to see their self-esteem grow, to see attitude changes, improved grades, and, eventually, to see them reach their academic goals,” she said.

Maritza’s ability to impact students in such a meaningful way is what Christopher Garner-Quintero, assistant director, advising, says make her so special.

“Maritza is exceptionally talented,” he explained. “She has the gift of creativity and commitment, and has a unique way of rising to any challenge and conquering it beyond expectations. Maritza dives into her work with students and is always looking at ways to build a better student experience.”

It probably helps that Maritza has been in her students’ shoes as a Valencia student herself. She says that when she looks back at her own journey, which included working two jobs and applying for as much financial aid as possible before her earning her Associate in Arts degree, she experienced many of the challenges and opportunities our students experience today. Most importantly, she knows first-hand the value of a support system.

“Without the support of my family and my Valencia support system, I would not have been able to have so many opportunities,” she reflected.

Upon completing her associate degree at Valencia, Maritza subsequently earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Florida and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Central Florida. In 2014, she returned to Valencia to provide that support system she experienced.

“Valencia is access, opportunity and a support system,” she said.

She’s honored to be a part of that.

In her free time, you can find Maritza dancing with her husband, Kadmiel, watching documentaries, running, traveling and enjoying the journey of life.

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.


  • Melida Tellez said:

    Education needs more teachers like you Maritza Gaviria

    PMTue, 02 May 2017 18:27:03 +0000Tue, 02 May 2017 18:27:03 +0000pm17,6:27 pm

    • Maritza Gaviria said:

      Thank you <3

      AMWed, 03 May 2017 11:23:09 +0000Wed, 03 May 2017 11:23:09 +0000am17,11:23 am

  • Ilia Cordero said:

    Your commitment to students is admirable and I love your postive attitude. Maritza your mind is always focused on the success of students and your heart is always ready for them.You are a tremendous asset to Valencia and I am very fortunate to call you my friend.

    PMTue, 02 May 2017 20:06:05 +0000Tue, 02 May 2017 20:06:05 +0000pm17,8:06 pm

    • Maritza Gaviria said:

      Thank you so much for your kind words Ilia. El sentimiento es completamente mutuo!

      AMWed, 03 May 2017 11:23:55 +0000Wed, 03 May 2017 11:23:55 +0000am17,11:23 am

  • Christy Cheney said:

    Thanks for all you do Maritza!

    AMWed, 03 May 2017 07:15:45 +0000Wed, 03 May 2017 07:15:45 +0000am17,7:15 am

    • Maritza Gaviria said:

      <3 a ti!

      PMWed, 03 May 2017 17:56:19 +0000Wed, 03 May 2017 17:56:19 +0000pm17,5:56 pm

  • Lorie Bellot said:

    Maritza Gaviria is a very special person and a valued colleague. I am so proud of who she is and more importantly how she values our students and making those real connections. Thank you for reminding all of us about the value of time. Thank you for being you my friend!

    AMWed, 03 May 2017 08:27:49 +0000Wed, 03 May 2017 08:27:49 +0000am17,8:27 am

    • Maritza Gaviria said:

      Thank you for being there for me Lorie <3

      AMWed, 03 May 2017 11:25:08 +0000Wed, 03 May 2017 11:25:08 +0000am17,11:25 am

  • Alex Penn said:

    Congratulations, Maritza! You are a fantastic facilitator and educator for our NSE Faculty Advisor training! It is evident that you genuinely enjoy your position and that you are deeply committed to helping all students succeed. Well deserved recognition!

    AMWed, 03 May 2017 09:38:36 +0000Wed, 03 May 2017 09:38:36 +0000am17,9:38 am

    • Maritza Gaviria said:

      Alex thank you so much I am lucky we get to work together 🙂

      AMWed, 03 May 2017 11:26:26 +0000Wed, 03 May 2017 11:26:26 +0000am17,11:26 am

  • Marie Brady said:

    Maritza, great story. I'm so glad I met you and have the opportunity to work with you. Thank you for all you do to help students.

    AMWed, 03 May 2017 10:39:33 +0000Wed, 03 May 2017 10:39:33 +0000am17,10:39 am

    • Maritza Gaviria said:

      Thank you Marie for being part of my support system! <3

      AMWed, 03 May 2017 11:24:35 +0000Wed, 03 May 2017 11:24:35 +0000am17,11:24 am

  • Mia Pierre said:

    Great Work Maritza so excited that you shared your story.

    AMWed, 03 May 2017 10:42:44 +0000Wed, 03 May 2017 10:42:44 +0000am17,10:42 am

    • Maritza Gaviria said:

      Thanks Mia querida!

      PMWed, 03 May 2017 18:02:16 +0000Wed, 03 May 2017 18:02:16 +0000pm17,6:02 pm

  • Natali Shulterbrondt said:

    Yay, Maritza!

    AMWed, 03 May 2017 11:20:11 +0000Wed, 03 May 2017 11:20:11 +0000am17,11:20 am

  • Daisy Hidalgo said:

    Congratulations Maritza, thank you for your dedication to the students!

    PMWed, 03 May 2017 17:13:44 +0000Wed, 03 May 2017 17:13:44 +0000pm17,5:13 pm

    • Maritza Gaviria said:

      Thank you Daisy,<3

      PMWed, 03 May 2017 18:00:20 +0000Wed, 03 May 2017 18:00:20 +0000pm17,6:00 pm

  • ealipieva said:

    Congrats Maritza! So glad to have you as a colleague and a friend!

    PMWed, 03 May 2017 17:15:10 +0000Wed, 03 May 2017 17:15:10 +0000pm17,5:15 pm

    • Maritza Gaviria said:

      So glad to have you as well! Thank you <3

      PMWed, 03 May 2017 17:56:59 +0000Wed, 03 May 2017 17:56:59 +0000pm17,5:56 pm

  • M Morrell said:

    We encounter people who leave lasting impressions on us and you are one of those individuals that I am so very thankful to have met and continued a wonderful work relationship and I have observed on many occasions how you have impacted a student's life and encouraged them to giving the best of themselves to their education. Congrats on this recognition!

    AMWed, 28 Jun 2017 08:24:45 +0000Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:24:45 +0000am17,8:24 am

    • GMaritza said:

      Thank you for your sweet words Michele. Despite the short distance between us now I know I can always count on you. Thank you!!

      AMWed, 28 Jun 2017 09:34:55 +0000Wed, 28 Jun 2017 09:34:55 +0000am17,9:34 am

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