You’re Invited to the Valencia College Poinciana Campus Solar Celebration

Monday, May 9, 2022

A Message from Loren Bender, Vice President, Business Operations and Chief Financial Office

Opened in 2017, Valencia College’s Poinciana Campus was constructed to increase access to higher education for a historically underserved and diverse community. Given the importance of environmental sustainability to the community and college constituencies, the campus is an energy efficient campus that includes three Green Globes certified buildings and was built to support the future installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system to move toward carbon neutrality. The building’s rooftop has the capacity to support a 292 kW PV system, which would meet about 40% of the campus’ energy needs each year.

We are pleased to share that through the leadership of U.S. Congressman Darren Soto, Valencia College has secured $500,000 toward Valencia’s commitment to creating a solar energy system at our Poinciana Campus.

Please join us in thanking Congressman Darren Soto for his efforts in partnering with Valencia College in this important community and sustainability effort.

Valencia College Poinciana Campus Solar Celebration

Date: Friday, May 20, 2022
Time: 1 p.m. 
Location: Poinciana Campus and Zoom 

The event is open to employees, students and the community.

The Poinciana Campus Solar Energy Project will bring several benefits to the community, notably the reduction of operating costs to provide higher education to residents, in addition to improving our climate resiliency by adding onsite renewable energy generation.

East and Lake Nona Campuses Welcome Sobia Khan

Thursday, May 5, 2022

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Outgoing Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

Today’s Campus Concentrate marks an exciting day, as we celebrate the arrival of Provost for the East and Lake Nona Campuses Sobia Khan.

I know Sobia will receive a warm welcome from our East community. I am looking forward to working with her as we both start new roles, and I am equally excited to meet the other new members of our provost team, Lancelot Gooden and Danny Hoey.

It is recognized this is a period of much transition at the College but at the same time, it is certain that our dedication to our core mission is stronger than ever. In fact, one could argue that we have doubled down on serving our students and our Valencia community as a whole in many new and exciting ways. As we go through this organizational transition, it is important to remember, who we are as an organization and who we serve binds us together.

We will also be reimagining campus and college communications, so this May edition is the last of the East and Winter Park Campus Concentrate in its current iteration. Please stay tuned for more on this in the future. But for now, please join me in thanking the small but mighty East Campus team that has worked along with our wonderful colleagues in Organizational Communication to publish the East and Winter Park Campus Concentrate over the past few years: Susan Howard, and Jessi Pringle, coordinators, academic affairs; Charlenne Valere, manager, academic and student success; and Tamara Madison and Mandy Mahaffey, professors, English.

In closing, I want to thank our East and Winter Park Campuses for the hard work, dedication, vulnerability, compassion and trust that we have shared — in particular during our COVID-19 pandemic response. It has been a true honor to serve as your interim campus president during this time. In particular, thank you to the East and Winter Park leadership team of deans and campus administration for your steadfast service and incredible mix of intelligence, good humor and grit.

Last but not least, thank you to Sobia for saying “yes” to Valencia and for landing on the East and Lake Nona Campuses. The future is bright!

East and Winter Park Campus Concentrate to Sunset

Thursday, May 5, 2022

A Message from Isis Artze-Vega, College Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs and Amy Bosley, Vice President, Institutional Planning and Development, and Chief of Staff

As we welcome our new provosts and implement our new academic leadership structure that couples our East and Lake Nona Campuses and our Downtown and Winter Park Campuses, we are sunsetting the East and Winter Park Campus Concentrate with this final issue on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

Thank you for your readership, engagement and partnership on the East and Winter Park Campus Concentrate newsletter over the years. This summer, we look forward to engaging our new provosts and campus leadership in discussions about how best to share important updates, progress on strategic work and campus-based news in the future. Our goal is to have a new version of our campus newsletters ready for the fall term. Stay tuned for updates later this summer.

In the meantime, please be sure to read The Juice, sent Tuesday of each week, to keep up with the latest Valencia College news, stories and campus events. If you have campus news or events that you’d like to share, please email our Organizational Communication team at

Valencia Celebrates World Health Day

Thursday, May 5, 2022

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Outgoing Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

In celebration of World Health Day, on Thursday, April 7, 2022, the Study Abroad and Global Experience (SAGE) office and Professor of Biology Melissa Schreiber hosted the event “COVID-19 in Costa Rica.”

“World Health Day is important to spread awareness of health issues and the overall well-being of all humans,” Melissa shared.

The event outlined Costa Rica’s response to the COVID-19 virus and highlighted key reasons for the country’s initial success. This includes the country’s universal health system, which covers approximately 95% of the population, as well as strong institutional support.

For example, many of Costa Rica’s institutions were mobilized to respond to the pandemic. They equipped and strengthened the intensive care units, public universities concentrated on developing respirators and the National Learning Institute produced thousands of items, including hospital clothing items.

The SAGE guest speaker, Luis Murillo, is a registered nurse practitioner with the Costa Rican Board of Professional Nursing. In his role as healthcare services and occupational health coordinator at the University for Peace, Luis actively and intensively assists the institutional COVID-19 Task Force with the definition, implementation, effectiveness, evaluation and modification of public health measures. He also aids in executing infection control principles and confirming the pandemic response protocol established by the university and ordered by Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health.

Thank You, Susan Howard

Wednesday, May 5, 2022

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Outgoing Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

Thank you to Susan Howard, coordinator, academic affairs, who worked tirelessly in the East Campus Academic Affairs Office to support students, faculty and staff, and was responsible for leading a myriad of projects — including managing the copy for the East and Winter Park Campus Concentrate — since her start in October 2015.

“She has been a leader, a mentor and a coach, all while managing multiple projects each day,” shared Michelle Foster, dean, academic affairs. “We thank her for her diligent work on the Campus Concentrate each month. A day without Susan is like a day without sunshine!”

Susan retired on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Allan Maxwell Nominated for the 15th Annual International Color Awards

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Outgoing Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

Congratulations Allan Maxwell, part-time faculty, art, who was recently celebrated as a nominee at the 15th Annual International Color Awards with pictures in portrait and still-life categories. His submissions were two of 6,786 entries received from 78 countries.

The International Color Awards is the industry’s yearly online event that celebrates the most exceptional achievements in color photography. Professional and amateur photographers may submit all forms of color photography using traditional or digital methods.

View the entries here.

Spring Beauty Abounds

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Outgoing Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

Spring is celebrated on East Campus with beautiful vibrant colors everywhere! The gardens behind East Campus’s Building 3 are especially breathtaking.

Thank you to Professor of English Holly Elliott for sharing one of her spring poems.

Green Eyes by Holly Elliott

The Stones say paint it black

and a “poet” told me to not use green.

But there aren’t many choices

to make about black — either matte

or gloss, with no shades

mixed in-between. And if

someone said to paint it green, then

someone else would have to ask


if it should be forest or aspen

or olive or jade or emerald or sea

or just plain green, like the crayon

in the Crayola box, the one that


wore down in a six-year-old hand

from coloring in tops of trees —

not individual leaves, but filling in

puffy shapes like thought-


balloons, impressions of solid flat

pure impossible green. Most children see

trees in that way; they aren’t concerned

if they’re pine or willow or oak.


Paint it green, green as April grass.

Use whatever shade each thing wants to be —

see not only trees in green, but dances and

words, so the view can never mist to black.

East Campus Math Faculty Form Team to Develop Instructional Math Modules for Science Disciplines

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Outgoing Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

If you have met the East Campus Math faculty, you know that they are ready to attack any problem head-on. That is what they did this fall after noticing students struggling with prerequisite math skills in their first Valencia biology course. After further investigation, they realized that lack of basic math skills was a common complaint of the science teachers and that many of these students are not required to have even a single math class before their introductory science course.

This prompted them, in fall 2021, to attend an East Campus Science department meeting where they collected input from the science instructors about the prerequisite math skills where students need support.

Afterwards, the Math/Science Collaboration team consisting of Professors of Math Dan Mullins, Joanne KiriazesSidra Van De Car, Abdul Zainulabdeen, Eve Gassman, Jim McCloskey, Steve Purtee, Lisa Potchen and Michelle Karkkainen was formed. Their goals are for Valencia students to leave math classes ready to apply the math they have learned, to support the science faculty in filling in any mathematical holes the students may have and to integrate more science applications into their math courses. One of the ways they are going about this is to develop instructional math modules specific for each science discipline.

The team decided to address biology first with a group of dedicated BSC1005C instructors from across all campuses for technical support and input. The math team will be presenting the completed module to support BSC1005C at the end of the spring semester. Plans include developing a physics module this summer with starting work on a chemistry module in the fall.

As much as this group loves math, they understand that mathematics is a tool to be applied and their ultimate desire is to work with and support their science colleagues in order to positively impact Valencia students.

Students From Koning Willem I College Visit Valencia College

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Outgoing Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

In March, Valencia College marked its eighth reciprocal study abroad trip with students from Koning Willem I College (KWIC) in s’-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, led by Professor of Speech Suzette Ashton. This year, the trip included two service-learning projects and a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the School for Public Safety, including a hands-on virtual shooting range experience.

Students had an opportunity to experience the tactical simulator that trains police officers with simulated firearms for the emotional realities of real-life, use-of-force situations.

“This was the first time I held and shot a gun,” a KWIC student commented. “I had less than a second to react. Being a police officer is more difficult than it seems, and I have a greater appreciation for them. I wouldn’t have this same feeling if I hadn’t experienced the tactical simulator.”

Kudos to Executive Dean of the School of Public Safety Jeff Goltz and Director of the Criminal Justice Institute Rob Pigman for their assistance in organizing this experience. In addition, Orange County Sheriff’s Office Lead Tactical Simulator Trainer Yuri Melich provided the students with an informative session on safety and gun culture in the United States.

The trip also consisted of dinner with College President Kathleen Plinske on the Winter Park Campus and two service-learning opportunities, including a trip to the Marine Discovery Center. Students spent part of the day learning about the biodiversity of marine and plant life in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. They also clocked in volunteer hours at IDignity, a local organization that helps disadvantaged people in Central Florida obtain personal identification such as birth certificates, Florida ID cards and social security cards.

“I learned a lot of things during my visit to Valencia College, but the one thing that stuck with me the most was volunteering at IDignity,” another KWIC student said. “I really felt like I made a difference, and it was fascinating to hear the clients’ struggles with obtaining identification. I hope I can come back to Orlando and volunteer there again.”

It was a busy week full of wonderful opportunities to learn about culture from a truly interpersonal experience.

“The people here are very close; I felt a real sense of community during my visit to the USA,” an additional student shared. “I saw this at the College, at the church we attended, at the skatepark, in the images at the Pulse Memorial and even on the streets of Orlando.”

Suzette hopes to visit KWIC with a group of students next summer, pending pandemic restrictions.

Dorea Cooks Receives a 2022 Emerging Leaders Award from NATS

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Outgoing Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

Congratulations to Dorea Cook, visiting professor, music theory, who recently received a 2022 Emerging Leaders Award from the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). This biennial grant program is designed to recognize teachers of singing with no more than 10 years of teaching experience and who are active at the chapter and regional level of NATS.

Winners receive a $750 grant to assist with their attendance at the NATS 57th national conference from Friday, July 1 through Wednesday, July 6, 2022.