Featured Colleague — Miguel Naranjo

miguel-naranjo-fc-groveBy Joy S. Jones

“One of my proudest accomplishments since starting at Valencia College has been graduating with my bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with a minor in psychology. Valencia has been a second home and family for me,” said Miguel Naranjo, student services advisor. “Without the family-like support, encouragement and available Staff and Program Development (SPD) funds, finishing my degree would have been tremendously harder to complete.”

SPD funds are a component of Valencia’s Total Rewards program that provide full-time employees $1,100 each academic year to attend conferences and other educational opportunities that support employee development and growth.

It is Miguel’s completion of his degree that led his supervisor, Jennifer Mezquita, manager of student services, to nominate him for the honor of being profiled as a Featured Colleague.

“This is a wonderful milestone for Miguel, as it took him longer than he expected, but he did it, and we are so proud of him,” Jennifer affirmed.

Aside from earning his degree, Miguel regards having made close friendships with staff, instructors and most importantly, the students.

“I have grown both personally and professionally in the almost three years I have worked here and am excited to continue my journey.”

Not to mention, working at Valencia provides him the good fortune to serve the community in which he lives.

“It’s easy to forget or lose track as to why one chooses to work where they do, but I have the pleasure of being reminded by the students I serve each day,” he professed. “Working one-on-one with a diverse population reinforces and validates why I am here. It’s such an honor and great responsibility to know that I am educating, advising and playing an important part in students’ success at the College.”

It’s a responsibility he doesn’t take lightly, and he strives to do right by each student, always taking care to foster relationships in the spirit of a servant leader.

Consequently, it is in those moments of service that he’s found his greatest inspiration, and his work in the Answer Center has provided untold opportunities of meeting students who are at the beginning of their formal education.

“It’s a beautiful and emotional experience when I get to praise my students for completing a successful semester, or greatly improving their English, and of course, when they graduate and are a step closer to fulfilling their academic dream,” he described.

And for Miguel, it matters that Valencia’s culture isn’t stodgy, stuffy or unapproachable — on the contrary:

“I believe that Valencia College signifies a cool, open and trustworthy college one can come to get a great and personal education at an affordable cost.”

Miguel is currently working on PIVOT 1 leadership training and has completed Safe Zone diversity training at Valencia. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Central Florida and an Associate in Arts in general studies from Lake Sumter State College.

Know of someone doing great work at the College, who has been an employee for one year or more? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu so he or he can be one of our featured colleagues.


  • Jenny Charriez said:

    Congratulations Miguel!
    It has been an honor working with you and Jennifer on the SPD paperwork. It is always lovely to see great learning goals come to fruition like this! Way to go!

    PMTue, 10 Feb 2015 22:41:16 +0000Tue, 10 Feb 2015 22:41:16 +0000pm15,10:41 pm

  • Frances said:

    Awesome Miguel! Congrats you are always smiling and your energy is so infectious. Thank you for always being so very helpful whenever I have questions.:)

    AMWed, 11 Feb 2015 08:36:34 +0000Wed, 11 Feb 2015 08:36:34 +0000am15,8:36 am

  • Donna said:

    Miguel, you are an asset to the college and a gift to the students. I have enjoyed working with you! Congrats on your degree and I hope you continue to grow as your Valencia family cheer you onward and upward! Wishing you all the best.

    AMThu, 12 Feb 2015 11:12:02 +0000Thu, 12 Feb 2015 11:12:02 +0000am15,11:12 am

  • Jacquelyn Thompson said:

    Miguel is an awesome resource to Enrollment Services and our students. I have enjoyed working with him, especially during our summer enrollment initiative where he showed initiative and leadership in working with a team of newly hired staff members doing outreach to student prospects. Thanks Miguel!

    PMMon, 16 Feb 2015 14:15:37 +0000Mon, 16 Feb 2015 14:15:37 +0000pm15,2:15 pm

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