A Message from Kathleen Plinske, President, Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses
In the coming weeks, we will welcome a number of new full-time faculty to our region. This week and next, I will share brief biographies of our new faculty as a preview of who will be joining our team for the start of the 2019-20 academic year.
Kinyel Ragland, Professor, Political Science, Osceola Campus
Kinyel hails from New York City by way of New Jersey. He acquired his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in political science from Brooklyn College, and he is is currently a Ph.D student at the University of Central Florida (UCF), studying in the social inequalities track in sociology. He began as an adjunct professor at the Osceola Campus in 2011.
His career in academia started with participating in research projects including: working with the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York (ROC-NY), which is an organization that gives attention to the exploitation, issues and rights of immigrant workers in restaurants; research focusing on black males and education for Brooklyn College; and working with Florida State University in an extensive study on reading comprehension as it applies to social studies for middle school students in Osceola County. Recently, he participated in a project that is looking at safe spaces as they apply Hispanic and LatinX students at Hispanic Serving Institutes (HSI).
Kinyel taught in several sectors including private school, the Salvation Army and Orlando Tech College. He enjoys basketball (Knicks, Nets and anywhere LeBron James goes), cycling, reading non-fiction and writing. He lives in East Orlando with his wife and two sons.
Jorge Valladares, Professor, Psychology, Osceola Campus
Jorge has been with Valencia College since 2010 and considers himself a “homegrown” Valencia faculty member. He has held several roles in academic affairs, including answer center specialist, academic advisor and Office for Students with Disabilities coordinator. He began teaching psychology and the New Student Experience (NSE) course part-time in 2014, and transitioned to full-time faculty as an NSE professor, in 2015. Most recently, Jorge served as professor of psychology at the Poinciana Campus and returns to the Osceola Campus as professor of psychology in the fall. Jorge earned an associate degree from Valencia College; a bachelor’s degree in organizational behavior from Rollins College; and a master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University.
During the 2019-2020 academic year, Jorge will serve as a full-time counselor intern at AdventHealth Center for Behavioral Health (formerly Florida Hospital), working primarily with patients in crisis to complete a 1,000-hour practicum/internship requirement for the master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling at Rollins College. His interests in counseling include crisis, trauma, family and relationship counseling, substance abuse and homelessness. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Jorge is a fan of New York teams — Yankees, Jets and Knicks. He is a guitar and bass player of many years who enjoys playing all musical styles, but particularly enjoys blues, reggae and several Latin and Afro-Caribbean styles.
Heather Ramsier, Professor, Political Science, Poinciana Campus
Heather has a passion for teaching that is evident throughout her experience as a Valencia faculty member, middle school social studies instructor, church Sunday school teacher and National Park volunteer. Heather completed her associate degree at Pasco-Hernando State College and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social science education from UCF. She has been part of Valencia’s Osceola Campus since 2011 with experience instructing political science courses while also serving as a full-time NSE faculty member. She is actively involved in Valencia initiatives related to service learning, the Seneff Honors College and learning outcomes assessment. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cheering on the UCF Knights, traveling, riding roller coasters and attending concerts.
Ángel Pagán, Professor, Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities, Osceola Campus
Ángel was born in New York City and raised in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. He has lived in New York, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Ponce, and currently lives in Orlando. He has a bachelor’s degree in English literature and linguistics from Universidad Central de Bayamón, Puerto Rico, and a master’s degree in philosophy from Cleveland State University. He has worked as a full-time professor at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico; as a part-time professor at Cuyahoga County Community College, Ohio; and at Ana G Méndez University. His academic interests are critical thinking, philosophy, logic, ethics and the human spirit in the process of creation. He has a passion for William Faulkner, José Saramago and Gabriel García Márquez. Ángel admits he is addicted to reading. His other interests include performances in which spoken word and music are intertwined; he is a percussionist of hand drums.
Karen has been a part-time professor of humanities at the Osceola Campus and will join us as a full-time, annually appointed faculty member in the fall. She is a native Floridian and a professional artist and printmaker, who has participated in more than 50 art festivals around Florida. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and a master’s degree in humanities/art from California State University Dominguez Hills. She worked as a stage technician at Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom for more than 20 years. As an artist, Karen enjoys printmaking, drawing, painting and mixed media. She works with fabric, foam and carbon fiber to create props, costumes and puppets. She also enjoys cruising and visits art museums.
Mohammad Obeidat, Professor, Mathematics, Osceola Campus
Mohammad Obeidat joined Valencia College in 2016 as a math professor. Prior to that, he was a graduate teaching assistant at UCF. Mohammad received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Jordan University of Science and Technology and his master’s degree in industrial mathematics from UCF. He is currently a Ph.D. student at UCF. He taught mathematics and statistics courses for few years. His primary research interests are in the field of big data and artificial intelligence.
Yasmine Moustafa, Professor, Chemistry, Osceola Campus
Yasmine just recently started to teach chemistry at Valencia’s Osceola Campus for incoming students in fall 2019. She was born in California but lived most of her life in the Tampa, Florida, area. She moved to Orlando in 2012 to pursue her college degrees. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry (2015 and 2017 respectively) with a minor in biology. She has conducted research for her doctorate degree in forensic trace evidence and biotechnology and will graduate with a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry in fall 2019. She is Egyptian-American and is bilingual in Arabic and English. She enjoys learning new things from others, traveling, music and getting to meet new and interesting people. She is really excited and looking forward to sharing her knowledge and passion in chemistry with students of the future.