Meet Our New Full-time Faculty

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, President, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses

We’re welcoming a number of wildly talented full-time faculty to the Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses this fall.  They are either new to Valencia, or new to their position. Over the next several weeks, I’ll share their biographies as a preview of who will be joining our team. The biographies were authored by the faculty, so you’ll also get a sense of their personalities from what they shared.

Ola Martin – Professor, Biology, Osceola Campus
Ola Martin grew up in Florida and has long had a strong interest in teaching and higher education. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from New College of Florida in 1999 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Cornell University in 2005. Following her Ph.D., she worked in the field of biomedical research — studying the molecular mechanisms of metabolic disease. For her first postdoc, she studied the metabolic impact of fat metabolism in muscle cells at Duke University. In 2008, she moved back to Florida with her family and began a postdoc at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (SBMRI) in Orlando. Her research focused on the molecular regulation of mitochondrial growth and development in cardiomyocytes. Following this postdoc, she continued at SBMRI as a staff scientist researching the role of ketone metabolism in the development of cardiomyopathy. In 2014, she began teaching biology at Valencia College as a part-time professor.For the past two years she has been on the Osceola Campus as an annually appointed faculty member, teaching General Biology, Biology II and Microbiology. She is very excited to continue her teaching career as a faculty member here at Valencia College.

Nilesh Patel – Professor, Mathematics, Osceola Campus
Nilesh has a master’s degree in mathematics and is interested in deep learning about calculus. He is dedicated to providing help to students as well as to other people who are having a difficult time with mathematics.

Nilesh wants his students to never give up and teaches them that there is more than one way to solve a problem. He strives to create a wonderful learning environment for every student to grow and develop a life-long appreciation of mathematics. He believes that attitude is as necessary as ability and that you should always think positive and put in your best effort to learn new things.

Lili Carneglia – Professor, Economics, Lake Nona Campuses
Lili is absolutely thrilled to be joining Valencia College as a professor of economics for the Lake Nona Campus. Prior to joining Valencia College, she was an instructor at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia, where she taught multiple sections of a course emphasizing principles of macroeconomics to help her students to develop a solid basis for problem solving, citizenship, and their subsequent careers. Lili is also a former policy fellow with The George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center in Washington, D.C. She publishes regular opinion pieces on a variety of economic issues through Young Voices, also based in Washington, D.C. Her work has been published by The Hill, USA Today, The Foundation for Economic Education and others. Her research interests include applied economics and the intersection of economics and public policy. She holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Alabama.

Bonnie Cross – Professor, English, Osceola Campus
After serving a year as an annually appointed faculty member in English at the Osceola Campus, Bonnie Cross will begin in the role of tenure-track faculty in English at Osceola this fall. She doubled majored in English and psychology at Allegheny College for her bachelor’s degree and received her master’s degree in English from the University of Vermont. She was an adjunct professor of English for three years at two community colleges in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, before moving to Florida. Currently, she is researching the connections between literature and science and spends time hiking with her puppy dogs.

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