Featured Colleague: Saudia Yassin Sees Value in Diversity

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

By Claudia Zequeira

Since starting at Valencia as a federal work study student while pursuing her Associate in Arts degree, Saudia Yassin, staff assistant I, knew this was the place she wanted to be.

“I was able to see how much Valencia prioritizes their students, which made me feel more connected to the College as a student,” she said. “I believe this helped me become successful.”

Since then, much has happened. Saudia completed her A.A. at Valencia, transferred to the University of Central Florida and completed a bachelor’s degree in human communication. Today, she is pursuing a master’s degree in educational leadership there.

As staff assistant, she has grown much since starting in that position in 2018. On any given day, Saudia balances a series of complex tasks, from creating Excel spreadsheets and running reports to ordering books and handling student concerns, mostly revolving around registration or issues with professors.

“I feel that with my role as a staff assistant, I am capable of wearing many different hats to help my department in any way I can, which is part of what makes my role at Valencia a role like no other,” she said.

Saudia said she chose to stay in part because of Valencia’s values, particularly diversity.

“Something that I like the best about working at Valencia would be how as a college, we are determined to make sure that inclusion and diversity are incorporated in our overall dynamic and culture,” she said, adding students’ voices are also taken into account. “They have an equal say in what matters to them and that is what is important,” she said.

She is also glad to have grown with Valencia and to have gained opportunities to learn new skills. Saudia specifically mentioned working with Verba, a textbook application software, and mastering Banner 9 — the primary software used by the College to register students and provide pre-requisite overrides needed for course enrollment. She added that she was also proud of her ability to help students with multiple needs.

“I feel accomplished to have helped many students in one way or another with getting into a class that they needed to graduate or to assist them with understanding how to properly communicate to their professor when they need assistance,” she said.

In addition, she said she is most appreciative of her department’s support as she completed — and continues to complete — her studies.

“I could not have accomplished this without the valuable support that I have received from my wonderful coworkers and supervisor who supported me along the way,” she said.

Her supervisor, Mark Collins, dean, social sciences, sees Saudia as a valuable member of the team.

“Saudia is what excellence uses as a mirror,” said Mark. “She embodies the hope for a better tomorrow.”

Saudia herself values the connections she has made while helping students and by the culture of teamwork found at Valencia, which is exemplified by her co-workers on a regular basis.

“There have been many times when I would call another department searching for an answer to a question I did not know and the person on the other end of the line was always more than happy to help,” she said.

“It impresses me how at Valencia we all work as a one big team. Even while working remotely we all have formed great connections to make sure we all stay in touch with our Valencia family and are there for one another to help in such a challenging time.”

She also values Valencia because she sees it as a place that offers many the chance to pursue an education while demonstrating to the community that “anyone can get a college degree and that it is possible no matter where you are in life.”

In her free time, Saudia loves to read, especially psychological thrillers. She also enjoys spending time in gardens and parks in the Central Florida area with her significant other.

In addition, she volunteers with the Days for Girls, an organization that prepares and distributes sustainable menstrual health solutions to girls who would otherwise miss school during their monthly periods.

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.


  • Laura Skelton said:

    This article makes me beyond happy to see! Saudia has been amazing since day one when she was a work study student. Saudia has been mature, kind, and hardworking and embodies so much of Valencia's core values.

    This recognition is well deserved! I have no doubt that Saudia is going to continue on making great strides in her work and school life.

    Congratulations Saudia, I'm very proud of you! Keep up the amazing work!

    PMTue, 11 Aug 2020 13:48:16 +0000Tue, 11 Aug 2020 13:48:16 +0000pm20,1:48 pm

    • Saudia Yassin said:

      Thank you so much Laura! I appreciate your kind words and thank you for being there for me throughout my Valencia journey! 🙂

      PMTue, 11 Aug 2020 14:07:16 +0000Tue, 11 Aug 2020 14:07:16 +0000pm20,2:07 pm

      • Laura Skelton said:

        You're very welcome Saudia. I'm always here to support/help if you need! Keep up the amazing work!

        AMWed, 12 Aug 2020 09:53:48 +0000Wed, 12 Aug 2020 09:53:48 +0000am20,9:53 am

  • Yasmeen Qadri said:

    One of our own, Saudia:)

    Congratulations Saudia, your smiling face and willingness to help are always appreciated. So glad you are working for SSPE. Good luck on your Masters!

    PMTue, 11 Aug 2020 15:46:06 +0000Tue, 11 Aug 2020 15:46:06 +0000pm20,3:46 pm

    • Saudia Yassin said:

      Thank you Dr. Qadri! I appreciate your support!

      PMTue, 11 Aug 2020 16:40:34 +0000Tue, 11 Aug 2020 16:40:34 +0000pm20,4:40 pm

  • debdrob said:

    Ahh, Saudia!!!! That was so nice to see you ”spotlighted!” It’s too bad everyone doesn’t have a Saudia in their department; they should be so lucky? We all know how lucky WE are to have you with us. That was a well-deserved ”bravo!”… well-deserved indeed.

    PMTue, 11 Aug 2020 20:13:27 +0000Tue, 11 Aug 2020 20:13:27 +0000pm20,8:13 pm

    • Saudia Yassin said:

      Aww! Thank you Debbie!!! You are the best! 🙂

      PMTue, 11 Aug 2020 20:29:03 +0000Tue, 11 Aug 2020 20:29:03 +0000pm20,8:29 pm

  • Isabelle Saint Joy said:

    Thank YOU for prioritizing students here at Valencia as well! How beautiful it is to give back to an institution which helped to shape us. I am so thankful you have been the individual on the other end of the line, or the other side of an IM, with the answer for me! Happy to get to know you even better through this article and I knew we would have something in common – a love for gardens and parks! 🙂 Wishing you continued success in all you look to achieve!

    PMThu, 13 Aug 2020 23:22:41 +0000Thu, 13 Aug 2020 23:22:41 +0000pm20,11:22 pm

    • Saudia Yassin said:

      Isabelle! Thank you so much for your kind words, I am always more than happy to assist! I am so glad we have made an awesome connection through Valencia! Also, that's awesome we both love gardens and parks! Living in Central Florida has it's perks! Thank you again Isabelle!

      AMFri, 14 Aug 2020 11:05:31 +0000Fri, 14 Aug 2020 11:05:31 +0000am20,11:05 am

  • C. Espenscheid said:

    Saudia! I am so glad to see you honored as a Featured Colleague. You are a real asset to Valencia, always doing your best to support and help students, faculty and staff. We are lucky to have you. I'm glad to see you are continuing to grow and getting your Master's degree. I'm sure great things are ahead for you!


    AMFri, 14 Aug 2020 10:13:52 +0000Fri, 14 Aug 2020 10:13:52 +0000am20,10:13 am

    • Saudia Yassin said:

      Catherine, thank you so much for your encouraging words and for supporting me throughout my Valencia journey! 🙂 I am hopeful for the future!

      AMFri, 14 Aug 2020 11:06:40 +0000Fri, 14 Aug 2020 11:06:40 +0000am20,11:06 am

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