Monday, July 25, 2022
By Jennifer Keefe
Testing and Assessment Coordinator Isabelle Saint Joy says she is simple and even ordinary. But judging by her long list of hobbies, including recognition for her green thumb, going back to school during the pandemic and her passion for helping others, Isabelle has grown quite the life for herself since she came to Valencia College in 2019.
Isabelle’s first position at the College was as an academic advisor at the Lake Nona Campus. This past April, though, she picked up her roots and moved to Osceola Campus. In her new home, she’s doing everything she can to make everyone feel at home.
“Working in a high stress environment where students may not exactly be excited to visit has helped me to think more intentionally about compassion and empathy,” she explains.
Isabelle even tries to brighten the environment for test-takers and staff by bringing in fresh flowers for the testing center check-in area.
“This was a habit I developed once I was back on campus again at Lake Nona and the practice continues at Osceola. It brings a feeling of peace and reminds staff and our visitors to bring a bit of nature inside for a brighter day,” she says.
Isabelle also does a lot to get to know her team.
“I take pride in checking on colleagues regularly and demonstrating a personal interest in the people around me,” she explains.
Her quest to blossom as a team leader hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“She brings a breath of sunshine to the office with her pleasant smile and personality and her willingness to help students alongside of her staff. Just by entering the doors of the assessment and testing center, the fresh flowers that she brings and her smile will uplift anyone’s day,” Manager of Learning Support Services Marie Brady says.
As for Isabelle, she’s well aware that not everyone is excited to visit the testing center. Her role includes screening students before they come in for testing, answering questions about exams, welcoming students when they arrive at the testing center and proctoring exams.
“While students may not always feel positive about their final test results, it is my goal for them to feel empowered before they leave our office,” Isabelle says.
For her, the role she plays in the lives of our students is all about growth.
“As the coordinator, I am sometimes faced with challenging conversations with students and faculty, but I am always happy to reach a resolution and build strong relationships both on and off-campus. This role is dynamic, and each day brings something new!” she says.
When it comes to accomplishments on campus, Isabelle has grown a garden full of them. She’s especially proud of getting her first position at the Lake Nona Campus “even when my imposter syndrome said otherwise.”
Speaking of imposter syndrome, Isabelle has presented at Skillshops on the topic, along with other topics aimed at helping students set goals and reach their highest potential.
Her other accomplishments include becoming a Horizons Scholars mentor, being a member of the Valencia College Foundation Scholarship Committee and completing her master’s degree during the pandemic, something she was inspired to do after she presented to New Student Experience students about Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degree progression.
Before digging in at Valencia, Isabelle served as a substitute teacher for Orange County Public Schools and was a program assistant for the Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida. She also worked in the Credentialling Verification Office and the Diversity and Minority Business Development Office for Orlando Health.
But here at the College, she’s found a new variety of reasons to enjoy helping others.
“I love being able to work with people who are truly passionate about supporting students. True Valencians do not simply engage in transactional conversations, but instead they build relationships and serve as a resource for students long after their first interaction,” she says.
She’s also thrilled by the bouquet of opportunities she has to learn about our students and their stories.
“We have such a diverse population, and I thank each of them for choosing to make Valencia a part of their story. Their dedication motivates me to be a better person each day,” she explains.
Isabelle earned a master’s degree in educational leadership pursuing the higher education/college teaching and leadership track with a concentration in English. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in health services administration. Both degrees are from the University of Central Florida.
In her free time, she enjoys visiting state parks and botanical gardens, tending to her “indoor and outdoor jungles,” baking and cooking, and working out. She also likes to paint and crochet. Her favorite author (she loves reading, by the way,) is Maya Angelou. Isabelle is also a fluent speaker of Haitian Creole, crediting her parents for sharing their family culture with her.
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.