votes are pouring in for valencia’s student video contest

Voting is under way in Valencia College’s Student Video Contest and already more than 12,000 votes have been cast.

So what are you waiting for? Get on your Facebook account (or join Facebook and set up an account) and vote for your favorite student videos.

The video contest — which is open to current students and those who have attended Valencia within the past five years — will reward five winners with up to 60 credit hours of free tuition.

Over the past month, 103 students submitted videos in the contest — based on the theme “Why College? Why Valencia?”  Now the public – along with Valencia students, faculty and staff — can help decide the winners by voting for their favorite videos on Valencia’s Facebook page (

Voting began on Oct. 24 and will continue through Nov. 4. 

Already, the video contest has created a buzz on Valencia’s campuses.  “I started looking at these videos and some are so great,” said Jade Lewis, Valencia’s computer labs manager. “A few have been my students and it actually choked me up….The college is on the right path with this idea!”

Five winners will be selected from the 10 videos that collect the most votes. A team of judges will then sort through the top 10 vote-getters to select the winners.  Judges will be focusing on originality, creativity and the best use of the theme: challenges that students have overcome to pursue an education.

The winners will be announced Nov. 15.

Source: Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia Community College; Valencia News;

looking to the future

When economic prospects look dismal it’s natural to focus on short-term, rather than long-term, goals. Our foundation board is committed to keeping both horizons in our line of sight so that we can serve today’s deserving student and prepare for tomorrow’s generations. 

We imagine a community in which family finances
never stand in the way of earning a college education. 

As you plan for your family’s future, I invite you to use our web site tools at, which may spark some creative thinking about how to maintain your legacy forever. 

  • Make a bequest pledge that costs you nothing during your life.
  • Give a contribution that provides you lifetime income.
  • Preserve your estate for your heirs and provide years of income to Valencia.
  • Convert surplus life insurance coverage into an endowment.
  • Donate appreciated securities and realize larger tax savings than if you had used cash.

We welcome your feedback on our new online resources, designed to help you chart your charitable intentions, which can be found at If you would prefer, our foundation team would be delighted to meet with you to discuss your philanthropic objectives and to explore how you and your family can benefit.

Geraldine Gallagher, CFRE
President and CEO

P.S. If you have already made Valencia Foundation a planned giving priority please let us know so that you can become a founding member of our new Legacy Society. Feel free to contact Donna Marino at (407) 582-3128 to learn more.

reading by poet Paul Guest canceled

Sadly, our poet Paul Guest had to cancel – his caregiver has a family emergency and is unable to travel with him to Orlando this weekend, and Paul was unable to find a suitable replacement.  We are attempting to find a good date to reschedule this event in the spring.

We will let you know when the event has been rescheduled.

author, paul guest, will be reading on october 28

Paul Guest, author of the memoir One More Theory About Happiness and four award-winning poetry collections, will be reading on Friday October 28th at 7pm at the Winter Park Campus of Valencia College in Rooms 224-226. 

 At age 12, Guest was paralyzed from the neck down from a biking accident.  He has triumphed over extreme physical challenges to become an acclaimed writer and teacher.  Currently, Guest is a professor at the University of Virginia and continues to write about his experiences. 

 from One More Theory About Happiness:

 “It was terrifying to no longer be a patient. To no longer be inrehabilitation. In recovery. Unspoken, but quietly feared, was the assessment, by doctors, by nurses, and therapists, that you had reached an endpoint in this process. That your rehabilitation had come to its expiration date. That nothing more could be done. What awaited was the rest of your life.”

This event is made possible by funding from the Dr. P. Phillips Chair in Education for the Physically Challenged.  For further information, please contact Dr. Ilyse Kusnetz at or at extension x6937.

dia latino en ICE! on saturday, november 19

dia latino en ICE!

This year the Gaylord Palms ICE! is hosting a whole day scholarship fundraising event called Dia Latino en ICE! on Saturday, November 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

The Gaylord Plams’ is offering a 47% discount off general admission. The price for an adult is $12.00 and $8.99 for children. Half of the discounted ticketed price will be donated to the Hispanic Business Council Scholarship fund to support Valencia students!

For donations to be made to the Hispanic Business Council and to get your discounted rate, please purchase your tickets online and use the discount code SENOL

The ICE sculptures are new and the hotel has other activities to make it a fun day.  Even thought it is a Latin day promotion, all the shows are in English, same as a regular day.     

The chamber is also working on having a “meet the chamber” event from 5 p.m. to
7 p.m. where they will have free hot chocolate and coffee. All groups are welcome!

Dia Latino en ICE!

a toad that rolls down hills to escape foes is among the discoveries of visiting biologist

Learn about the unusual creatures of the South American rainforest discovered by Dr. Bruce Means, when he lectures at Valencia College’s East Campus on Tuesday, November 1 from 1-2 p.m.

Means’ presentation, titled “Wild, Wild Lost Worlds of South America: Exploration, Discoveries, Secrets,” will include the discovery of a biodiversity hotspot on previously unexplored mesas called “tepuis” in Venezuela and Guyana. These table-top mountains are where Means has found numerous frogs, giant earthworms (named Andiorrhinus meansi after Means), and terrestrial crabs new to science, including the tumbling pebble toad that curls into a ball and hurtles itself down the side of a mountain to escape its predators.

To scientists, though, Means’ most exciting discovery is an entirely new family of frogs that occupies a critical link between those frogs that lay aquatic eggs that hatch into gilled larvae (tadpoles) and the several families of frogs that lay eggs that develop directly into froglets.

Means has published four books and 270 scientific research papers, and has authored articles that have appeared in Natural History, National Geographic, International Wildlife, National Wildlife, BBC Wildlife, South American Explorer and other natural history magazines. He co-produced and starred in eight documentary films for National Geographic Explorer, BBC Television and PBS. He is currently executive director of the Coastal Plains Institute and Land Conservancy based in Florida and an adjunct professor at Florida State University.

Following the free presentation, Means will hold a book signing with copies of his “Stalking the Plumed Serpent and Other Adventures in Herpetology,” “Priceless Florida” and “Florida Magnificent Wilderness: State Lands, Parks and Natural Areas” available for sale.

The event, sponsored by Student Development, will take place in the Performing Arts Center on the college’s East Campus, which is located at 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail in Orlando. For more information, please call Steve Myers, Valencia professor of biology, at (407)582-2205.

The tumbling pebble toad can be seen in this feature story from BBC-Earth News:

Source: Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia Community College; Valencia News;

etch your name in someone’s future

You are invited to create a memory! Click here to purchase your engraved brick and etch your name in Valencia's legacy.

Help lay the foundation for a student’s future!

The sale of personalized engraved bricks are available to anyone who wishes to create a lasting memory. 

These bricks will be embedded in the entry courtyard of the newest Valencia Osceola Campus building 4 once construction is complete.

The cost of a personalized memory brick is $100.  The proceeds from these courtyard-bound bricks will used to support scholarships for Osceola Campus students of Valencia College.

For more details or to place your order, please visit

grainger is one of five finalists for the best partnership award

We wanted to share some exciting news.

Grainger is one of five finalists for the “Best Partnership” award, one of the prestigious U.S. Chamber of Commerce Corporate Citizenship Awards that recognizes companies that make a positive difference in society. Grainger and the American Red Cross were nominated for the Ready When the Time Comes™ volunteer program. 

Today there are 14,000 trained volunteers from more than 460 organizations and businesses across the country who serve as Red Cross emergency responders.

The nomination for the Best Partnership Award reflects their deep commitment to the Ready When the Time Comes™ program and emergency preparedness.

We are reaching out to partners in hopes that you will consider the opportunity to help garner national exposure for this volunteer program. For additional information on the volunteer program, visit Ready When the Time Comes™

The winner is selected by popular vote and voting ends on October 28, 2011. We encourage you to take a minute to view the strong partnerships nominated and then cast your vote at:

valencia professor: learn to appreciate and embrace diversity

What does a diverse student body mean to teachers and to colleges?

Professor John Scolaro, who has taught humanities at Valencia for 22 years, answers that question in an essay published in The Orlando Sentinel. Well done, professor!

My Word: Teachers must appreciate diversity

 By John Scolaro, September 27, 2011

 After teaching 22 years at Valencia College’s West Campus, I am more excited now than I have ever been about the prospects of the students I teach and see every day.

 Students deserve the utmost respect from their teachers. They are, as the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber once said, developing beings. By this he meant that every student is an untapped reservoir. The teacher’s task, then, is to invite his or her students to share their experiences based on genuine interaction. As Buber said: “It means that the teacher shall face his pupils not as developed brain before unfinished ones, but as being before beings, as mature being before developing beings. He must really face them, that means not in a direction working from above to below, from the teacher’s chair to the pupils’ benches, but in genuine interaction.”

 Teaching, in other words, is a lot more than simply dispensing information from above; it is more often the result of genuine dialogue. In fact, without dialogue between teachers and their students or between students and their peers, the transfer of ideas is dead. The root meaning of the Latin word for education, educare, is to “draw forth.” Students must be invited to speak.

 Finally, the diversity among students these days is obvious. College-wide, we now have an enrollment of close to 60,000 students. Our students represent diverse cultures, languages, and religious and economic traditions. This constitutes a formidable challenge of the highest order.

 As teachers, we need to appreciate diversity. Its absence leads to what a former student called unidimensional thinking, or the idea that everything should be filtered through the prism of our own world view in order to gain credibility.

 If teachers and students maintain this closed view of others, we will continue to perpetuate the intolerance, racism, and disrespect for others so common in American culture today. The better route is to accept the world as a human kaleidoscope infused with mystery. We must learn to appreciate diversity.

 Since students are imbued with unlimited potential, we teachers must find a way to inspire and honor them. To honor the uniqueness of our students today is more necessary now than ever before.

 John Scolaro of Orlando is a professor of humanities at Valencia College.

Source: Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia Community College; Valencia News;

valencia homecoming

With a variety of activities during the month of October on multiple campuses, as well as special off-campus outings in the community, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to connect with fellow Valencia alumni, retirees, faculty, staff, students and friends. Chances are good that you will be able to find at least one you can’t resist!

Wednesday, October 12

  • Valencia Alumni Association Networking Reception & Idea Exchange
    West Campus Special Events Center, Bldg 8
    6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. —  Networking Reception
    RSVPs Encouraged

Thursday, October 13

  • Valencia’s Student Development Celebrates “Spirit Day” (Matador Day)
    • West Campus: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., SSB Patio
    • Osceola Campus: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Clock Tower
    • East Campus: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Mall Area
    • Winter Park Campus: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Student Lounge & Courtyard
    • Lake Nona Campus: 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Room 408 Atlas Lab/Student Lounge
  • Popcorn Flicks in Central Park featuring “The Fly” 8-10:00 p.m.  Bring your blanket or chair to enjoy the movie under the stars in Central Park in downtown Winter Park.  Free popcorn. Rain date will be Oct. 27th.  Free.

Friday, October 14

  • Valencia College Allied Health Fair
    West Campus (outside tables located near cafeteria, SSB and AHS), 10 am – 2 pm. Learn about the health care programs offered at Valencia.  Laboratory tours every hour, free popcorn and snow cones.  Free. Allied Health
  • Latin Night in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month Osceola Campus, 7-10 p.m. Entertainment, food, dancing. Free for Valencia students; $5 for non-students. Directions

October 14 through November 6

  • Little Shop of Horrors
    Book and lyrics by Howard Ashman; Music by Alan Menken; Produced by TheatreWorks Florida.
    Seymour loves two things: a beautiful, way-out-of-his-league girl named Audrey and interesting, unusual plants. As a down and out floral assistant, he never dreamed that discovering an exotic plant with a mysterious craving for fresh blood would turn him into an overnight sensation! Little Shop of Horrors is an affectionate rock-n-roll spoof of 1950s sci-fi movies that will have you laughing and dancing in your seats.
    Advance purchase tickets for Oct.14-Oct.23 – performances $17 with Promo Code VALENCIAHOMECOMING

Wednesday, October 19

  • Reception and presentation by Dr. George Lopez of Notre Dame Univ. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
    East Campus, Bldg 6 Room 110, 1-2:15 p.m. Directions
  • Reception, Dinner and Conversation with Dr. George Lopez of Notre Dame Univ. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, Private event

Friday, October 21 Campus Locations

  • Fine Arts Faculty Exhibit Opening Reception
    East Campus Building 3 Atrium
    6:30-8:30 pm, Free
  • Monster Ball – “No Tricks Just Treats” Halloween Event  
    Osceola Campus 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Loud music, food, drinks, scary characters, fun!   Entry donation of $3 to benefit the American Cancer Society.
  • “The Drowsy Chaperone” opening night – musical comedy
    Music and Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, Book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar. Winner of many Tony awards in 2006, this magical musical will transport the audience to the dazzling musicals of the 1920’s as the musical literally bursts to life in the living room of a die-hard musical theater fan! 
    East Campus Performing Arts Center – Curtain time: 7:30 p.m.
    Discounted tickets available online at  @ $6 with Coupon Code: VALENCIAALUMNI

Saturday, October 22

  • Memory Walk – Walk to End Alzheimer’s
    8am-registration begins
    9 am-walk begins
    For more details and to join Team Valencia, visit

October 22 through 23rd

  • Enzian’s Second Annual Haunted Swamp Walk of Terror
    The walk is a chilling tour through 2,000 feet of natural woods behind the Enzian Theater. Featuring original characters, spine- tingling theatrics and impressive decor, attendees will experience nail-biting fun and anxiety as they fall prey to hidden scare traps and surprises around every turn of their tour. Admission is $6 when purchased in advance, $8 day of the event and free for Enzian Film Society members. 8p.m. – 1a.m.  For tickets and more information, visit

Sunday, October 23rd

  • Bright House Networks Calle Orange Festival
    10 blocks of downtown Orlando are closed for the largest event in Central Florida! Now in its 14th year, Bright House Networks Calle Orange Festival features five stages of Latin America’s biggest and best performers! Music variety will appeal to the American Hispanic as well as those from the Caribbean, Central and South America! Enjoy authentic food delicacies from Hispanic countries and all types of entertainment including a block just for kids!

Thursday, October 27

  • “Wagner’s Music and Anti-Semitism in Film” presented by Professor Matt McAllister as part of the East Campus Humanities Speaker Series 
    Opera has remained relevant within popular culture primarily via its use in film and ironical deployments constitute one of its most sophisticated uses.  The Nazi party’s use of music during its reign and the stigma that Wagner’s music in particular suffers from as a result will be discussed as well as the circumstances that allow for music to be read ironically in film.
    Valencia’s East Campus Bldg. 6 Room 110, 1-2:15 p.m.
    Contact Nichole Jackson at for more information.  Free. Directions

Saturday, October 29

  • UCF Homecoming Game vs Memphis Tickets $15 ($10 savings) for seats in the north end zone. Get an optional PATCH for just $2 more. Game Time is 4 p.m.   UCF football tickets can be purchased by calling the UCF Athletics Ticket Office at (407) 823-1000 or email

October 29 through 31st

  • Enzian’s Second Annual Haunted Swamp Walk of Terror
    The walk is a chilling tour through 2,000 feet of natural woods behind the Enzian Theater. Featuring original characters, spine- tingling theatrics and impressive decor, attendees will experience nail-biting fun and anxiety as they fall prey to hidden scare traps and surprises around every turn of their tour. Admission is $6 when purchased in advance, $8 day of the event and free for Enzian Film Society members. 8p.m. – 1p.m.  For tickets and more information, visit

houston, we have a valencia intern

Designing a mission to Mars may have helped Dolores Petropulos land in a place that once seemed equally far out – the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Now, the Valencia computer programming student is in Houston for a 15-week paid internship at NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

There, the 55-year-old Petropulos is working on the development and testing of software that can navigate and control the next generation moon lander.  At the end of her internship, Dolores will make a final presentation to technical staff in the Johnson Space Center engineering directorate, the team responsible for providing engineering design, development, and test support for space flight programs.

“This is the next generation moon lander,” says Dolores, of the project she’s working on. “It’s pretty cool stuff. It’ll be used on a robotic mission.”

Dolores’ journey to Houston really began last summer, when she read a college-wide email encouraging Valencia students to apply for NASA’s National Community College Aerospace Scholars program.  “It sounded interesting,” she says.  “It was an online class and you had to develop a mission to Mars in it.”

Based on her work in the online class, NASA offered Dolores a trip to the Johnson Space Center in October 2010. There, teams of community college students from across the country competed to create a robotic Mars rover that could, among other tricks, pick up a rock out of a water obstacle.  “Our little rover won the competition,” Dolores said. “Everybody else’s broke down at least once.”

That trip to Houston inspired Dolores – and ignited in her a new passion for robotics. “Once I won the trip to Johnson Space Center, and I got to see the next generation of space vehicles, the next generation rover, it got me very excited and made me realize that was the way I wanted to go,” she says.

When NASA officials encouraged the community college scholars to apply for internships with the space agency, Dolores checked it out – and sent in her application. Although she wasn’t selected for a spring internship, she learned over the summer that she would be going to Houston for the fall semester. The internship also comes with a $9,000 scholarship that she can apply to her living expenses.

Now Dolores is temporarily living in a Houston apartment furnished with mail-order furniture from Wal-Mart and an inflatable mattress – but she’s continuing to pursue her dream.

 “I was looking at the business end of computers, not something like this,” she says. ”When I first started at Valencia, I never thought I’d end up being a rocket scientist.”

This isn’t the first time Dolores has been a pioneer. After graduating from Valencia in 1974, Dolores joined the Orlando Police Department – and became one of 12 women on the force of more than 500 officers.

Even that took a leap of courage. Dolores’ parents didn’t finish high school — and her father didn’t want her to attend college. But Dolores went anyway, and graduated in 1976 with an associate of science degree in criminal justice. “My dad was adamant that I not go, but it was a choice I made and I told him that I hoped he would understand,” she says. “Later on, he ended up being very proud of me and what I accomplished.”

During her years on the force, she struggled with the timed tests required for promotions.  She practiced writing reports and memorized the law, but couldn’t pass the tests.  Jealous of other officers who’d earned their four-year degrees, Dolores began talking to a Valencia counselor about returning to college in 1991.

Dolores confided in the counselor, telling her what she hadn’t told others – that she’d had problems taking promotional tests while on the force. The counselor suggested she get tested for a learning disability, and when Valencia’s Office of Student Disabilities tested her, Dolores finally discovered the root of her problems. She has dyslexia – which means her brain doesn’t properly process symbols such as letters and numbers.

Armed with knowledge about her learning disability, Dolores began taking remedial math classes, one at a time, while continuing to work on the police force. With the help of tutors and professors, she gradually worked her way through the math curriculum, up to Calculus 3.  But she was sidelined in 1997 when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, cancer of the lymphatic glands.

Even cancer couldn’t stop her.  Although she waited until 2009, when she’d retired from the police department, Dolores returned to Valencia, eager to study computer programming.  Determined to understand her disability and make the most of it, Dolores now regularly seeks out tutors or pops into professors’ offices to ask for help.

“All you have to do is go to the math lab and say the name Dolores,” said one of her professors, Hatim Boustique. “Everybody there knows Dolores.”

Other students tell Dolores that she’s got something they haven’t. But Dolores  and her professors say that’s not true.

“She’s a normal student – as far as performance,” says Boustique, who teaches computer programming and analysis. “She is not a quitter. If she does not understand something, she will live in your office. She used to come to my office hours, every single hour.  I gave her my full attention. If she does not understand something, she will stay and stay and stay until she understands it.”

For Dolores, who plans to attend Rollins College in fall of 2012 to finish her bachelor’s degree, Valencia will always be a special place. That’s because the college recognized her abilities when others didn’t, she says.

“It’s amazing that when I graduated from high school, I barely passed,” she says. “To see me now in Phi Theta Kappa, and being part of the honors program, is unbelievable.  The educational system in the public schools had actually failed me. Coming to Valencia was the best thing I ever did – both then and now.”

Dolores will return to Orlando in December and complete her dual degrees, an associate of science in computer science and an associate of arts degree in general studies.  Then she’ll transfer to Rollins. But she won’t forget Valencia.

“Valencia gave me my accomplishments that I have today and, for that, I’m very grateful,” she says. “I’m not saying they gave it to me on a silver platter. I had hard courses and very hard professors. But I’m finding and learning a lot of new things about myself, even at this stage in life.”

Source: Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia Community College; Valencia News;

news from Russia

Steve Cunningham, professor of ESL and English is currently in the Russian Federation as a Fulbright Scholar, lecturing at the Orsk Humanities and Technology Branch or Orenburg State University.

“After almost two days of travel with a nine hour layover in the Moscow airport, I arrived in Orsk, Russia, at 2:00 in the morning on Friday, September 30th.  The head of the Institute’s English department, Marina, and her husband were there to welcome me, and move me into my room at the student dispensary.  What is a student dispensary, you wonder?  So did I.  I thought it was going to be a student dormitory.  It is far from it.  The dispensary is actually a facility where students can live while they are being treated for minor medical problems, and it also has guest rooms for special guests.  I am in one of the guest rooms, and it more like being in a hotel than a dorm.  My room is not huge, but it has a comfortable bed, a stuffed arm chair, a private bath, refrigerator, a radiator heater, and a 13″ color TV with rabbit ears.  The only thing I’ve noticed missing so far is a laundry facility, so I’ll be washing my clothes in the sink and drying them on the radiator – a very workable solution.”

To find out more about this post and Mr. Cunningham’s other Russian adventures, visit his blog at

the results are in: tina’s turnout for scholarships

Remembering Tina Collyer. At the event Fire Chief John Miller (pictured here) spoke to friends and family and honored their commitment to keeping Tina's spirit of service alive.

Tina’s Turn Out was established by friends and community members in memory and celebration of Tina Collyer’s life.  With the proceeds from the inaugural Sept. 24th walk, the Tina Collyer scholarship has reached $9,400 and is almost half way toward becoming a perpetual scholarship. 

Tina Collyer, a Valencia graduate and an Orlando firefighter, had a passion for helping young Explorers fulfill their dreams of becoming firefighters.   Once endowed, the Tina’s Heart scholarship will be earmarked for students, especially Explorers, who wish to certify as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) at Valencia College. 

The EMT-Paramedic Program is designed for students who are interested in providing pre-hospital emergency care to acutely ill or injured patients. A stumbling block for many is the expense of completing the EMT program. 

Help us with the next steps.  Please contribute in memory of Tina Collyer and to help future EMT students.  You can contribute online at, just click on Give Now and make a donation. 

If you would prefer to mail a check, write ‘In Memory of Tina Collyer’ in the memo field, and send to: Valencia Foundation, 190 S. Orange Ave., Orlando, FL 32801.

Thank you, in advance, for your consideration.  Every gift, no matter how large or modest, will make a difference to our students.

Honoring Tina Collyer, community members create a scholarship in her honor.
Thank you to all who participated. Every gift, no matter how large or modest matters! You can still support future EMT students in memory of Tina Collyer by visiting and click on ‘Make a Donation’

More photos from this event are available on Facebook via Valencia Alumni Association or click here