Meet Our New Full-Time Faculty

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, Executive Vice President and Provost, and Campus 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.

Kristopher Merceron – Professor of Speech, Poinciana
Kristopher Merceron recently moved from Tampa, Florida. He previously worked as an account specialist and trainer for a diabetic company, as well as an insurance account manager and trainer. He received a Bachelor of Science in health science from the University of South Florida and a Master of Science in corporate and organizational communications specializing in leadership from Northeastern University. He recently completed his Doctorate in Educational Studies specializing in adult learning and development at Lesley University. He has served as a keynote speaker for several ceremonies, as well as a guest judge for local speech competitions. He is a Dean’s Scholar recipient and has also recently co-authored a book titled “Managing Nervousness as a Public Speaker.” He has a deep passion for speech and communications and hopes to inspire others to feel the same.

Erin O’Brien Grogan – Professor of English, Poinciana
Erin O’Brien Grogan has enjoyed teaching a variety of English classes at Valencia College for over 15 years. She has a master’s degree in English and a doctorate in education from the University of Central Florida. She has also taught courses in the EPI program and Digital Professor courses at Valencia. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys theater, traveling and cycling.

Daniel Smith – Professor of English and English for Academic Purposes, Osceola

Wikaliler Daniel Smith (Daniel) will be a full-time faculty member in English and English for Academic Purposes (ESL) in the fall after serving as an adjunct for two years.

Because Daniel’s academic passion has always been the study and description of grammatical phenomena in languages, Daniel pursued M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin, where his primary foci were the description, documentation and preservation of indigenous languages of Latin America. He received a three-year grant from the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) at the University of London and a one-year grant from Documenting Endangered Languages (DEL-NSF) to document and write a grammar of Guna, an indigenous language of his native Panama.

Daniel is now returning to his academic roots. He holds a B.A. in English from the University of Panama and has over four years of experience teaching English and ESL in Panama and in the U.S. Teaching in the English and EAP departments allows him to combine his passions: helping students improve their academic writing and engaging with students on discussions about grammatical processes in English.

In his free time, Daniel enjoys reading, playing and watching sports (Hook ‘em Horns and go Cowboys!), spending time with family and looking for awesome Latin American food.

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