By Laura Knight
Tanisha Castor, coordinator of career program advising at Osceola Campus, has a lot of wisdom – both personal and professional – to impart on the students she helps. Some ways that she has been able to share her knowledge with students have included being a Learning in Community (LinC) success coach and leading “LifeMap Moments”, a workshop that teaches students about decision making, critical thinking and etiquette.
“It is very important to include students in all aspects of their learning process,” she explains. Each time she meets with a student, it is an opportunity not only for her to teach them something, but also for her to learn something from them. “I enjoy my current position because of the rapport I am able to build with my students. It is very special because I get to be a part of their academic journey at Valencia.”
Tanisha’s career in higher education began in 2000 at York College/City University of New York (CUNY), in Jamaica, New York, where she worked as a college assistant and tour guide in the admissions office. Later, she transitioned into the role of admissions counselor at the college and eventually became coordinator of recruitment.
In December 2006, after six years with York College/CUNY, she left New York and moved to Orlando where she began working at the University of Central Florida as an admissions specialist. Her Valencia journey began in January 2009 when she accepted a position as a student services advisor in the Answer Center at the Osceola Campus. In August 2012, she was promoted to coordinator of career program advising there.
Her current role still gives her an opportunity to assist students with selecting appropriate courses for their career paths, and now she also helps students who are on academic probation by providing them with advice on how to get back on track and giving them consistent encouragement.
Her position also allows her to plan and organize career development events for students looking to earn Associate of Science degrees and technical certificates.
Along that vein, she is looking forward to upcoming projects that involve event planning for A.S. majors at the Osceola Campus. The events will be created with the aim of assisting science majors in setting career goals and improving the advisor-student relationship. “I love the fact that Valencia is a learning-centered institution. At Valencia, students are the most important people, and we measure our effectiveness by the success of the students.”
Tanisha also creates and presents Skillshops for students, something she loves to do. “My students really inspire me and push me to do or learn more in order to assist them,” she conveys. She has led Skillshops on a variety of topics such as, email and campus etiquette and healthcare career options for students that explore paths outside of being a nurse or physician.
One Skillshop that she is most proud of is “Tunes to Stomp Your Graduation Blues!” The workshop is focused on the transition from college to the workforce and the struggles along the way, using music as a way to connect with students and facilitate conversations within the group. “I always start the Skillshop by playing various genres of music that have continuously uplifted my spirits, [then] I also ask the students to share their favorite type of music.” Tanisha says the Skillshop has been well received by students and has proved to be a resource for them.
Her status as a resourceful professional has led her to opportunities to serve on the collegewide Career Program Advisors Taskforce and on industry advisory committees. Currently, a top priority for Tanisha’s professional development includes participating in the 2014 Pivot 180 (the newly named Leadership Academy).
Considering her career at Valencia, and what she likes best about working here, Tanisha says one thing remains central, “Most important of all, I love my job. My passion for advising and teaching students continues to grow. I believe that advising is a partnership and we each have a role.”
Tanisha has earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from York College/CUNY and a masters’ degree in education with a specialization in guidance and counseling from Brooklyn College/CUNY.
Her favorite hobbies are listening to different genres of music, travelling and spending time with family and friends. As the daughter of parents who both served as Salvation Army Corps officers, she is well-traveled. A native of Haiti (who is fluent in Creole) and a former New Yorker, Tanisha has not only traveled extensively, but has also lived in Trinidad and Barbados.
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