A message from Falecia Williams, President, West Campus
It is with great sorrow that I share news Dr. Brenda Schumpert passed away on Saturday evening, November 22, 2014.
A graduate of the University of California/San Diego and the University of Washington, Brenda interestingly, began her college career at Grossmont Community College in California. It was there she developed an appreciation for the mission of community colleges and the students they serve.
Brenda loved Valencia and was zealous about the promise a college degree provides for our students. She was hired at Valencia in 2007 and earned tenure in 2010. She regularly taught Fundamentals of Biology I and II, and for each of the past four years, she mentored three to four students per term, helping them research and present undergraduate research projects. Brenda was named a 2014 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Award recipient. She was also recipient of the Lester N. Mandell Chair in Natural and Physical Sciences and the Lockheed Martin Endowed Chair in the Sciences.
Brenda was an excellent teacher who inspired many of her students to pursue their dreams in biology and in medicine. She was passionate about spawning “citizen scientists,” and with her endowed chair funds, she developed a model for her students to perform undergraduate research through the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Plankton Monitoring Network. Students monitored U.S. coastal waters for toxic algal blooms and presented this and other student research, gained through field studies which she shepherded, at various conferences. Brenda touched many more students’ lives as the founding sponsor and advisor to Valencia’s West Campus Pre-Med Club/American Medical Student Association Chapter.
Brenda’s contributions to making the College a learning-centered environment were numerous. She was proud of her interdisciplinary collaboration on West Campus’ Bat House with Andy Ray, Professor of Building Construction Technology, and Jerry Reed, Professor of Computer Technology, through the Valencia College Sustainability Committee. The collaboration resulted in several active learning projects, including opportunities for her Biology students to monitor the bat populations. She was fond of creating such opportunities for her students that, in her words, “helped them to gain skills, expertise and confidence that they’ll be able to use in their future.”
Brenda passed peacefully at a local hospice facility with her best friend Paige by her side. She will be remembered by many for her desire to inspire her students, to provide high standards in teaching and learning, and for her deep admiration for those who work to make Valencia College a place with which she was very proud to be associated.
It was Brenda’s request that there be no memorial or funeral, but for those who wish to remember her with a donation, to do so in her memory with a gift to one of these two non-profit organizations that she supported:
International Justice Mission
P.O. Box 96961
Washington, DC 20090-6961
VITAS Inpatient Hospice
VITAS Community Connection
2201 Lucien Way
Maitland, FL 32751