Featured Colleague: Student and Staff, Samantha Pabon Embraces Her Gifts as a Student Whisperer

By Dani Moritz-Long

Known around East Campus as the student whisperer, Samantha Pabon, administrative assistant, academic affairs, takes pride in her work supporting students — even when that means answering disgruntled students’ calls. Without doubt, Samantha’s uncanny ability to handle these sometimes trying situations can be attributed to her compassionate and empathetic nature, as well as her 14 years of Valencia experience. But, she says, her status as both a Valencia College alumna (she proudly earned her associate degree in 2014) and a current student enrolled in Valencia’s bachelor of applied science in business and organizational leadership program also plays an important role.

“As a student myself, I’m better able to understand student needs,” Samantha explained. “I always try to advocate for students and tell them I understand, I’ve been in your shoes.”

This ability to connect students to the resources they need and support them in navigating their concerns drives Samantha — serving as constant inspiration to plug in to Valencia’s mission of changing lives, one student at a time.

“It’s such a good feeling when a student comes in, and I’m able to make a call and get them an answer,” she said. “When they leave here with that satisfied feeling it’s all you can ask for.”

This kind of intimate, one-on-one environment is also what attracted Samantha to Valencia as a student. While she’s long considered enrolling at the University of Central Florida to earn a bachelor’s degree, she never quite felt comfortable registering. When Valencia announced the new program, however, everything changed.

“It was love at first sight,” she said. “I felt like they created it just for me.”

Samantha also enjoying the familial atmosphere of the College as a staff member, and happily calls the East Campus Academic Affairs team her second family.

“You come here and you make connections with the people you work with,” she said. “You look forward to coming to work and working with the people you work with and you build these friendships.”

Laughing, she added, “You understand what it means when people say your second family. I mean you spend more time with them than your own family.”

When she isn’t changing lives at Valencia with her work family, though, Samantha enjoys every second she can with her actual family — whether that means bonding with her son or visiting her sisters in New York, where Samantha was born and raised. You’ll also find her frequenting local pool lounges, as this administrative-assistant-by-day also leads a life as pool-shark-by-night. (Hint: playing a game against her is not recommended; she’ll probably win.)

Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for at least one year? 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.

8 Comments

  • Yasmeen Qadri said:

    Congratulations Samantha, You are always there to help with any problem that we may come across and you have such a pleasing personality!! Thank you for all that you do for us.

    AMWed, 03 Jul 2019 00:33:54 +0000Wed, 03 Jul 2019 00:33:54 +0000am19,12:33 am

  • Jaylene Alarcon said:

    Congrats Samantha! Felicidades!! I'm so happy to see you being recognized, you're a truly wonderful person. Thank you for all you do 🙂

    AMWed, 03 Jul 2019 08:33:23 +0000Wed, 03 Jul 2019 08:33:23 +0000am19,8:33 am

  • Noelia said:

    Congrats on this spotlight, Samantha! You are a treasure to work with.

    AMWed, 03 Jul 2019 10:42:29 +0000Wed, 03 Jul 2019 10:42:29 +0000am19,10:42 am

  • Kenia Pimentel said:

    Despite all the obstacles life has thrown at you, you have managed to keep a kind spirit and a good sense of humor. Your kindness, hard work, and determination will take you even further. Keep up the excellent work you do, because it really makes a difference! !Felicitaciones amiguita! 🙂

    PMWed, 03 Jul 2019 13:03:07 +0000Wed, 03 Jul 2019 13:03:07 +0000pm19,1:03 pm

  • Stanton said:

    Awesome work! You truly have a warm and giving spirit.

    PMWed, 03 Jul 2019 20:16:15 +0000Wed, 03 Jul 2019 20:16:15 +0000pm19,8:16 pm

  • Jade Lewis said:

    Felicidades Samantha. Usted siempre se ha esforzado para asegurar que los estudiantes necesidades se cumplen y que se sientan que han conseguido una experiencia integral y no rebotó de la oficina a la oficina.

    PMSun, 07 Jul 2019 12:14:13 +0000Sun, 07 Jul 2019 12:14:13 +0000pm19,12:14 pm

  • Laura Skelton said:

    I would say 110% Samantha goes above and beyond. She is always so kind and does her best to assist her fellow co-workers. I'm so glad to know that she got this recognition. It is extremely well deserved!

    AMTue, 09 Jul 2019 09:47:28 +0000Tue, 09 Jul 2019 09:47:28 +0000am19,9:47 am

  • Samantha Pabon said:

    I know much time has passed, but I am so thankful and happy for all of these heartwarming words. I work with such a wonderful bunch, I match all of the positive energy! thank you all so much!

    Jade, I'm very impressed with your Spanish, I had to use google translate for some of it, it looks like you know more Spanish than I do 🙂 <3

    PMWed, 21 Apr 2021 15:13:52 +0000Wed, 21 Apr 2021 15:13:52 +0000pm21,3:13 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts

    Featured Colleague: Makendy Jacob Plays a Starring Role...

    Tuesday, February 15, 2022 By Jennifer Keefe As we all know, Valencia College prides itself in finding top-notch talent to help the sometimes impossible become possible for our students. But for Makendy Jacob, student services advisor for the Downtown Campus, life is all about using his skills to create that kind of magic, both on and […]

    Featured Colleague: Valencia College Empowered Anna...

    Tuesday, August 10, 2021 By Wendy Jo Moyer If it weren’t for a friend who led her to Valencia College, Anna Castillo may not be the same person she is today. When she was in high school, that friend encouraged her to join him at a Valencia College presentation. And now, seven years later, she owes her […]