Tuesday, March 29, 2022
By Jennifer Keefe
Many of our students fall in love with the Valencia experience and decide they later want to work at the College.
Noraida Velez did that, but she also hit the jackpot and fell in love at the College, too.
She explains, “My husband and I are Valencia sweethearts.”
“We met at Valencia in 2010, and the rest is history. If I hadn’t chosen Valencia, I wouldn’t have met my soulmate,” she adds.
Noraida joined the Financial Aid office at the Osceola Campus in 2012 as a part-time financial aid specialist and moved into a full-time role in 2015.
While she was a student earning her associate degree, Noraida also served as a financial learning ambassador and was a member of Valencia Volunteers.
She then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in sociology and education from the University of Central Florida.
Today, Noraida is co-advisor for the Osceola Region Financial Learning Ambassador Program (FLAPP), where she has mentored dozens of students in the program.
She explains, “We promote financial awareness amongst the student body through peer-to-peer learning.”
Topics covered by FLAPP include financial aid, loan awareness, scholarship resources, budgeting and saving.
“Although I have worked in financial aid and with FLAPP for a decade, it never gets old, and I still get so excited in seeing students succeed,” Noraida explains.
Something you might not know about Noraida is that she was a first-generation college student.
It’s a part of her history that helps motivate her in her work today.
“I’m proud to have overcome many adversities as the first student in my household to complete her college education and continue on that journey by giving back and helping others reach their education goals as well,” she explains.
Like money in the bank, Noraida considers her work at the College essential to student success.
“Financial aid is essential because without financial aid, it would be challenging for most of our students to pay for college,” she explains.
Noraida’s supervisor, Assistant Director of Financial Aid Services Ilia Cordero agrees that she is a valuable asset to the campus and the collegewide financial aid team.
“I am very proud to have Noraida as part of my team,” Ilia explains. “Her dedication to financial aid and financial literacy has changed student lives these past 10 years.”
Noraida really appreciates the role she plays in our students’ journey through college from their first federal financial aid application (FAFSA) all the way to graduation.
She’s also inspired by what she calls the “yes you can” philosophy of the College.
“I love the fact that Valencia gives all students the opportunity to get a great college education and a new beginning in launching their endeavors,” she explains.
That’s exactly what the College did for her.
In her free time, Noraida likes spending time with her family, which includes her dogs. She also likes riding her bike, going to the beach, practicing self-care and creating new things.
Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for at least one year? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.