Featured Colleague — Niurka Rivera


By Wendy Jo Moyer

“Non-traditional students inspire me the most,” shared Niurka Rivera. “I feel inspired by the single mother who struggles to balance her personal and academic responsibilities, the retiree who seeks other opportunities in life, the non-native speaker who is learning not just a second language but a culture, the student whose physical or learning disabilities present an opportunity to demonstrate their strengths, and the homeless student who strives for a brighter future.”

Students who increase their knowledge, are eager to learn, work toward a better tomorrow and invest their time and effort to reach their goals inspire Niurka as an academic advisor on East Campus.

In this role, Niurka provides developmental advising to students, including discussions on their lives and educational goals, educational planning and course selection and information students need on their academic progress. She also coordinates, presents and assesses academic advising training for the Career Center, new employees and New Student Experience (NSE) faculty. In addition, she has served as an advising mentor for NSE faculty.

According to Niurka’s featured colleague nominator Evelyn Lora-Santos, campus director, advising, “Her knowledge in advisement and enthusiasm for contributing to the professional development of others is exemplary.”

Her supervisor, Celena Ziems, assistant director, advising, added, “Niurka is a tremendous academic advisor. She is knowledgeable, hardworking, and, most of all, a passionate student advocate. Niurka’s contributions to Valencia are numerous; she has also played a key role in strengthening collaborative relationships between our advising team and other departments. I truly appreciate her willingness to take on new challenges and initiatives with enthusiasm and a smile. We are so fortunate to have her on our team.”

Niurka is proud to have helped guide EAP (English for Academic Purpose) students from admissions to graduation as a Communications Department liaison. “The EAP program is very dear to my heart, because like many non-native speakers, I also participated in the program,” she conveyed. “The EAP program gave me the opportunity to not only learn a second language, but it also provided me with an opportunity to continue with my education.”

In addition to serving as a liaison, she has served on a strategic planning committee to increase enrollment in the EAP program.

Niurka loves the personal connections she’s developed at Valencia, since she joined the team in May 2004. “I have had the blessing of working with an amazing group of faculty, staff and students,” she said. “The professional relationships that I have established have inspired, guided and helped me to become a better professional.”

She also likes Valencia’s diversity. “The opportunity to work with diverse groups of students, faculty and staff is what has maintained my interest throughout the years and has created an enjoyable working environment,” Niurka explained. “Different ideas, ethnicities, social and cultural backgrounds fascinate me. I believe diversity makes Valencia College a successful institution and a great place to work.”

Niurka has an Associate in Arts from Valencia and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration with a minor in emergency response management and homeland security from the University of Central Florida. In her free time, she enjoys being with her family, watching television, cooking and studying the Bible.

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. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.


  • Tina Crane said:

    Niurka is a great coworker and a passionate voice for students! The work she has done and continues to do daily, inspires us all to do more and to do our best 🙂


    PMTue, 19 Apr 2016 18:41:27 +0000Tue, 19 Apr 2016 18:41:27 +0000pm16,6:41 pm

  • Yulisa Nunez said:

    Niurka you are such an amazing and inspirational woman. Your patience and eagerness to help our student speaks volumes of you. You truly deserve this recognition. 🙂

    AMWed, 20 Apr 2016 08:12:46 +0000Wed, 20 Apr 2016 08:12:46 +0000am16,8:12 am

  • Laura Skelton said:

    I can attest that Niurka is one of the friendliest staff members and a hard worker. As a new employee I've come to know her very quickly and feel very comfortable around her. Her positivity is very present always. I'm very glad to see her featured 🙂 Congrats Niurka 😀

    AMWed, 20 Apr 2016 08:22:17 +0000Wed, 20 Apr 2016 08:22:17 +0000am16,8:22 am

  • Cassandra said:

    Congrats on the acknowledgement that is well deserved. Keep up the good work Niurka!! 🙂 

    AMWed, 20 Apr 2016 08:40:38 +0000Wed, 20 Apr 2016 08:40:38 +0000am16,8:40 am

  • Angela Trujillo said:

    Niurka you are very deserving of this recognition! You are a great person and colleague and our students are lucky to have you on their side! Congratulations!!!

    AMWed, 20 Apr 2016 10:03:31 +0000Wed, 20 Apr 2016 10:03:31 +0000am16,10:03 am

  • Rafael said:

    Niurka, you are most deserving of this recognition. Your professionalism, expertise, kind heart, and great sense of humor make you a great co worker and friend. Congratulations! 🙂

    AMWed, 20 Apr 2016 11:13:04 +0000Wed, 20 Apr 2016 11:13:04 +0000am16,11:13 am

  • Karen Cowden said:

    It is wonderful to read your story! Currently the west campus is revisiting how we serve our EAP students in their lab experiences. If we can partner with you it would be a welcome collaboration. Again, congratulation on your recognition.

    PMWed, 20 Apr 2016 19:43:36 +0000Wed, 20 Apr 2016 19:43:36 +0000pm16,7:43 pm

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