The Office of Curriculum Initiatives team left to right, front row: Ayana Bernard, accounting specialist; Vannia Ruiz, administrative assistant; Lindi Kourtellis, manager, study abroad programs; and Juliana Burchette, AmeriCorps VISTA; back row: Ashley Linder, staff assistant II; Robyn Brighton, director, curriculum initiatives; and Bonnie Clum, administrative assistant
A Message from Robyn Brighton, Director, Curriculum Initiatives
It’s been a busy six months for the Office of Curriculum Initiatives. Four employees have joined the Office of Curriculum Initiatives team, which supports teaching and learning practices that are systematically integrated across disciplines and offered collegewide. The department includes oversight of Study Abroad and Global Experiences (SAGE), Learning in Community (LinC) and Service Learning initiatives. Included in these larger initiatives are Valencia’s Global Distinction (VGD), Internationalizing the Curriculum (INZ) and the First 30 learning community.
Please join me in welcoming the following employees to the Office of Curriculum Initiatives team:
Julianna Burchett – AmeriCorps VISTA
The Office of Curriculum Initiatives has hired Juliana as its first AmeriCorps VISTA member. VISTA members spend one year serving a community organization on anti-poverty projects.
In her role at Valencia, Juliana will will be influential in connecting faculty and students involved with the First 30 program to community partners throughout Central Florida. First 30 is a new learning community model that offers students a clear academic pathway. Students are guaranteed courses for their declared major and are pre-registered in 30 college-level courses throughout the first three terms. Through co-curricular and community-based learning, students engage in real-world application of content to strengthen their academic, pre-professional and personal learning goals.
Julianna will work with a team of administrators, faculty and staff to develop a model for offering students alternative breaks for Service Learning credit. By advocating for Service Learning and coordinating projects, she will indirectly serve the community by assisting underserved students at Valencia College, along with nonprofit organizations throughout Central Florida.
Julianna is a Wilmington, North Carolina native who previously worked with the North Carolina Guardian ad Litem office before coming to Valencia. Julianna’s service learning experience has included working with inner-city schools through Girls on the Run and Girls Outside, as well as a semester abroad in Santander, Spain, studying global sustainability. In college, Julianna was a first-year mentor and worked with incoming students to connect them with opportunities to supplement their undergraduate career, including community engagement and study abroad programs. Julianna has a Bachelor of Science in environmental science from the University of Tennessee.
Lindi Kourtellis – Manager, Study Abroad Programs
Lindi, who manages SAGE programs, has 10 years of experience working in higher education and, more specifically, with the East Campus Communications and Learning Support departments. Lindi’s expertise in fiscal management and with sustaining collaborative and effective partnerships is shown in her ability to manage multiple laboratory budgets, develop and facilitate curriculum for international students and English language learners, and model best practices for Valencia faculty and staff by facilitating professional development coursework for the Office of Faculty and Instructional Development. Lindi first experienced a short-term study abroad program to the United Kingdom in high school, which enhanced her appreciation for international travel and ignited her passion to connect students with their own impactful international opportunities. She holds a Master of Arts in TESOL and a Bachelor of Arts in humanities from the University of Central Florida.
Ayana Bernard – Accounting Specialist
Ayana supports the SAGE office as an accounting specialist, a part-time role that focuses on providing accounting analysis on program budgets for short-term study abroad, fiscal monitoring and reconciliation, and other financial-related services. Ayana holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Bowie State University and has more than 10 years of accounting experience.
Bonnie Clum – Administrative Assistant
In her role as administrative assistant, Bonnie supports the Service Learning and LinC initiatives. She has more than 35 years of experience as a senior administrative assistant and holds an Associate in Science from Valencia in medical secretarial science. Bonnie assists with the enrollment process for courses offered through Service Learning and the First 30 program. Additionally, she helps coordinate faculty and student events collegewide.