if you haven’t already, there’s still time to apply for 2013-14 valencia foundation scholarships!

Image

2013-14 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Applications are now available!

One application is needed per academic year. To apply for a fall 2013 scholarship, please visit: 
https://valencia.scholarships.ngwebsolutions.com/CMXAdmin/Cmx_Content.aspx?cpId=466.

Some scholarships offered through the Valencia Foundation require a student to demonstrate need by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Valencia encourages all students to complete the FAFSA early each year by visiting http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.

Don’t let another minute pass by, apply today!

state board of education oks new campus in poinciana

The State Board of Education on Tuesday approved Valencia College’s plans to create a new campus in Poinciana, paving the way for Valencia to begin the process of looking for a site for the new campus.

Although Valencia College officials have been eyeing a possible Poinciana campus since 2003, the discussion began to gain traction this year, said Dr. Sandy Shugart, Valencia College president. “We have been looking forward to bringing our presence to Poinciana for many years,” Shugart said.

When the campus will be completed depends on state funding, but college officials hope to get it added to the list of state-approved building projects. Plans call for securing a site by late spring of 2014.

College officials estimate that the first phase of construction of the Poinciana campus will consist of one 60,000-70,000 square foot building, which would serve about 2,500 students. Eventually, the campus would encompass 150,000 square feet of classrooms and offices and would serve about 4,000 students.

The new Poinciana campus will be Valencia’s sixth campus. The college currently operates four campuses in Orange County and one in Osceola County.

Poinciana is one of the fastest-growing communities in Central Florida. Census figures show that the area’s population grew from 13,600 residents to more than 53,000 from 2000 to 2010. Currently, students who live in the Poinciana area must commute about 45 minutes during rush hour to reach Valencia’s Kissimmee campus. The commute takes nearly two hours by bus.

“A campus in Poinciana would be a game-changer,” said Shugart. “We’d like to increase the college-going rate of students who graduate from high school in the Poinciana area; we’d like to get more adults to complete college degrees as well. We’d like to offer more career-training there; and we’d like to partner with the University of Central Florida and TECO (Technical Education Center Osceola) and others to make sure a full gamut of talent is available for companies that relocate and expand there.”

Source: Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia College; Valencia News; http://news.valenciacollege.edu

idignity

Michael DippyGlenda Lenihan and Michael Dippy of IDignity at
Association of Florida Colleges Gala

Michael Dippy graduated from high school with aspirations to major in architecture at the University of Florida (UF).  His application was not accepted.  Not one to give up, this led him to enroll at Valencia College.

Although Michael took numerous math and drawing classes at Valencia to prepare himself for a career in architecture, he attributes the encouragement he received from professors and several humanities classes he took for planting the seeds for his future. It was the study of the human condition that resonated with his inherent sense of empathy and compassion.

After Michael graduated from UF, he spent several years working for architecture firms. In his spare time, he would volunteer with social service organizations that served the local homeless population. Through the knowledge he gained about services available, he began to assist homeless people he met on the streets or at his church. Much of Michael’s assistance was directing individuals where they could go for food, shelter or healthcare. When a homeless man asked him where to get help to replace his photo-ID card so that he could accept a job he had been offered, Michael discovered a gap.  There was nowhere to refer the man for help.

Michael began work to create IDignity, an Orlando nonprofit organization dedicated to helping poor and homeless citizens obtain the identification they need to participate fully in society. The first IDignity event was held in May 2008 as a collaborative outreach program of five downtown Orlando churches with Michael in its leadership role.  The plan called for a monthly event that incorporated all multiple government agencies along with attorneys and numerous other volunteers to provide needed services in one visit.

IDignity has hosted monthly events at downtown’s Orlando Rescue Mission since that time.   Each day-long collaboration serves about 250 clients. Since it began, IDignity has provided life-changing identification to more than 10,000 clients in Orlando and thousands of additional clients though its three self-sustaining satellite sites in Deland, Merritt Island and Sanford. IDignity is also currently working with national consultants to expedite the launching of IDignity programs throughout Florida and other states that have requested assistance.

Michael’s work has not gone unnoticed. In 2011, the Orlando Sentinel recognized his leadership strengths and designated him the 2010 Central Floridian of the Year.  He also was designated a “Local Hero” by Bank of America and awarded the 2012 Community Service Award from the RAFMAN Club (Retired Air Force, Marine, Army and Navy).  In November 2012, Idignity received national recognition by winning the Manhattan Institute’s 2012 Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship.  He was a recent finalist in the Association of Florida Colleges Leroy Collins Distinguished Alumni Awards 2013.

Michael sums up his journey from Valencia to IDignity this way:  “Even though I am no longer working in architecture, I am still using those problem solving skills, only now focusing on societal problems. Much like my nurturing experience at Valencia College, I am now meeting individuals where they are in life and offering the guidance and support necessary for them to reach their full potential.”

Learn more on a short video, “Identity Crisis” at http://www.idignity.org/video-gallery.

mears family named among top donors by national community college fundraising group

Mears PictureThe Council for Resource Development (CRD), a national association of community college fundraising professionals, has selected Paul Jr. and Deb Mears to receive its 2013 Benefactors of the Year award. The annual award recognizes the outstanding contributions and service of donors who have made a difference to a community college. Mr. and Mrs. Mears were honored in Washington, D.C., as the top philanthropists for an urban, public college.

Paul Jr. and Deb Mears received the award in recognition of their long history of philanthropic support to Valencia College. The family has been involved with Valencia Foundation, the college’s fundraising arm, for more than a decade and their contributions include an endowed scholarship to benefit students in Valencia’s hospitality management program. Deb has served on the foundation’s board of directors since 2008.

In 2010, the Mears family pledged $1 million to create the Paul Mears Sr. Take Stock in Children Fund. Established in memory of Paul Mears Sr., the fund supports educational opportunities through the Orange County Take Stock in Children program, an initiative that helps promising at-risk children succeed through mentoring and a guaranteed college scholarship. In recognition of the gift, the college renamed its West Campus Student Services Building the Paul Mears Sr. Student Services Building.

“We are most grateful for the partnership and support of Paul and Deb Mears and especially for the lives their investment is changing,” said Valencia President Sanford C. Shugart. “This honor recognizes not only their commitment to Take Stock and the college, but also to their numerous other charitable endeavors.”

Paul Mears Sr. founded Mears Transportation Group in 1939 with three taxicabs. Today it is one of Central Florida’s most recognized premier guest services and destination management companies. The company also provides charitable support to the Red Cross and is a founding contributor to the Give Kids the World Village. Deb Mears has served on the committee for the local Festival of Trees and Mears Transportation Group has sponsored the event, presented by the Council of 101 to benefit the Orlando Museum of Art. In partnership with their sister company Hello Florida!, Mears has served as a corporate sponsor for the March of Dimes “March for Babies” charity walkathon.

Source: Carol Traynor, Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia College; Valencia News; http://news.valenciacollege.edu

two valencia administrators nominated for don quijote awards

Don Quijote AwardsTwo Valencia College administrators have been named finalists for the annual Don Quijote Awards, which are presented by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando and the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund of Florida Inc.

Each year, the Don Quijote Awards recognize business excellence and outstanding professionalism in Central Florida’s Hispanic community.

Elisha Gonzalez, executive director of Take Stock in Children of Orange County, was nominated as Professional of the Year. “To be recognized by both the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is an enormous honor,” said Gonzalez. “Growing up in Mexico City in a large family, I learned at a young age that everything is possible if you work together and for the greater good. I am committed to Valencia College and our community. I believe that economic development, education opportunities and top-caliber arts and culture offerings should be available to all citizens. I am proud to serve in Central Florida on various boards where collaboration and participation is the norm. I am humbled and proud to be a Don Quijote finalist and to be in the company of such accomplished Hispanic business and professional community leaders.”

Dr. Kathleen Plinske, president of Valencia’s Osceola Campus, was nominated for being a champion for the Hispanic community. At Valencia’s Osceola Campus, 42 percent of the students are Hispanic and Dr. Plinske has worked with the Osceola County schools and Osceola Education Foundation to increase the college-going rate for students in Osceola County.

“I can think of no greater honor than to be recognized as a finalist for the Don Quijote Hispanic Community Champion Award,” said Dr. Plinske afterward. “While not Latina by birth, through my studies of Spanish, travels to Latin America, and work in Central Florida, I truly feel embraced by and part of the Hispanic community.

“As a first-generation college student, I was blessed to receive a scholarship to study Spanish, including the opportunity to study in Mexico. The opportunity to learn Spanish and explore the rich cultural heritage of Latin America was truly a gift, and I can think of no better way to give back than to help our Spanish-speaking families learn about the importance of higher education and help the dream of going to college become a reality for our students.”

The awards will be presented on Dec. 7 at Disney’s Epcot Pavilion.

Source: Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia College; Valencia News; http://news.valenciacollege.edu

the johnson foundation scholarship for biomedical sciences is available now! apply today!

The Johnson Foundation Scholarship is intended to provide scholarship funding to Valencia-Osceola DirectConnect students enrolled in (or already completed) entry level Biology and Chemistry courses and intend to continue on to earn their Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida as a Johnson Scholar.  

The 2+2 component of the Johnson Scholarship starts with 1-5 semesters, each semester increasing the scholarship value at Valencia College from $500 in the Spring of 2014 to $1500 in the fifth term. As a 2+2 scholarship, students qualify to receive Johnson Foundation scholarship funding at the University of Central Florida with the condition that the meet all of the original scholarship requirements. 

Qualifying candidates must be first year Valencia College students with less than 15 college credit hours completed, demonstrate Financial need (verified via FAFSA), be enrolled in BSC1010C, CHM1025C or CHM1045C at Osceola Campus and intend to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida after successful completion of an Associate’s Degree from Valencia College.

Potential for renewal available to students who maintain a 2.75 GPA, follow precise educational plan for Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida, meet with an Academic Advisor/Faculty/Johnson Scholars Osceola each term, participate in Undergraduate Research and attend University of Central Florida Johnson Scholars events once a year.

In order to apply, please complete the 2013-14 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application

For more information this scholarship and more, visit: Valencia College – Scholarship Bulletin Board today! 

violin instructor’s fermata: legacy through music

Pennsylvanian music lover Doris Paisley took a chance on young Neal Phillips when she agreed to teach the preschooler violin. Neal became her youngest student ever.

Doris Paisley’s life was dedicated to performance violin. She joined the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra at the age of 15, where she played a total of 40 years and achieved first violin. Doris was a graduate of State Teachers College at Indiana, now Indiana University of Pennsylvania, with a B.S. in education. Her passions were education and music.

When Doris Paisley passed away in 2011, Valencia faculty member Neal Phillips found a way to honor his childhood violin teacher: by providing scholarship funds for musically inclined students to attend college.

Last week, two Valencia College students each received a $1,000 Instrumental Music Scholarships in memory of Ms. Doris Paisley. Both students have a passion for music; the scholarship funds will provide students the resources to explore their love of music while at Valencia and still afford core classes.

Pictured here are students Melody Cook and Jim Reyelt. They are joined by Neal Phillips (wearing a violin tie in honor of Doris Paisley) and Troy Gifford, program director and music professor at Valencia College.

Pictured here are students Melody Cook and Jim Reyelt. They are joined by Neil Phillips (wearing a violin tie in honor of Doris Paisley) and Troy Gifford, program director and music professor at Valencia College.

Pictured here are the first students to receive the Doris Paisley scholarship: Melody Cook and Jim Reyelt. They are joined by Ms. Paisley’s former student and Valencia professor Neal Phillips (wearing a violin tie in honor of Doris Paisley). Pictured also is Troy Gifford, program director and music professor at Valencia College.

bringing the community college mission abroad

Instructors from Valencia College's Criminal Justice Institute help train instructors at Puerto Rico's Ana G. Mendez University.

Instructors from Valencia College’s Criminal Justice Institute help train instructors at Puerto Rico’s Ana G. Mendez University.

Valencia received national publicity for several international partnerships, including one that is aimed at developing a women’s community college in Saudi Arabia and another that is helping to transform Puerto Rico’s criminal justice system. See the story in Community College Times:

http://www.communitycollegetimes.com/Pages/Campus-Issues/Bringing-the-community-college-mission-abroad.aspx

valencia homecoming 2013

ImageValencia board of trustees chairperson, Maria Grulich, and daughters at
Valencia Orlando Magic Night.

Homecoming 2013 wrapped up with the Magic’s opening night game on Friday night!  Valencia alumni and friends were busy during October with Osceola notable alumni and paralegal networking receptions, a Retiree Connection luncheon and the 35th Dental Hygiene Program Anniversary reunion.

Check out the photos for each event in the Alumni Association website photo gallery or Facebook page.

 

the johnson foundation scholarship for biomedical sciences is available now! apply today!

The Johnson Foundation Scholarship is intended to provide scholarship funding to Valencia-Osceola DirectConnect students enrolled in (or already completed) entry level Biology and Chemistry courses and intend to continue on to earn their Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida as a Johnson Scholar.  

The 2+2 component of the Johnson Scholarship starts with 1-5 semesters, each semester increasing the scholarship value at Valencia College from $500 in the Spring of 2014 to $1500 in the fifth term. As a 2+2 scholarship, students qualify to receive Johnson Foundation scholarship funding at the University of Central Florida with the condition that the meet all of the original scholarship requirements. 

Qualifying candidates must be first year Valencia College students with less than 15 college credit hours completed, demonstrate Financial need (verified via FAFSA), be enrolled in BSC1010C, CHM1025C or CHM1045C at Osceola Campus and intend to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida after successful completion of an Associate’s Degree from Valencia College.

Potential for renewal available to students who maintain a 2.75 GPA, follow precise educational plan for Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida, meet with an Academic Advisor/Faculty/Johnson Scholars Osceola each term, participate in Undergraduate Research and attend University of Central Florida Johnson Scholars events once a year.

In order to apply, please complete the 2013-14 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application

For more information this scholarship and more, visit: Valencia College – Scholarship Bulletin Board today! 

sage – study abroad opportunities at valencia

SAGEmainPageBannerValencia students can experience the soul-changing study abroad experience through Valencia’s Study Abroad and Global Experiences (SAGE) program. Scholarships provide access to those who might otherwise be sidelined by finances.

The mission of SAGE is to prepare students to live, work, and collaborate effectively in a global community by providing learning experiences that promote an understanding of cultural diversity, increase language acquisition and fluency, and develop intercultural competency.

What used to be about learning a foreign language in a “real” setting has grown to produce students who are much more reflective about their career path and how that path fits into the world community.

And an October Chicago Tribune article about Stacie Berdan’s book, “A Student Guide to Study Abroad,” says that those skills learned during international study can have lasting effects in the workplace as well, helping set the world traveler apart from their peers in the search for employment.

The SAGE process is started by a faculty member who would like to incorporate a study abroad component in their course. Faculty do research and select a destination that will best meet the course learning outcomes. Jennifer Robertson, director of SAGE, encourages faculty to do a survey prior to finalizing their proposal to ensure that the location is of interest to students.

Even with scholarship support, these programs can be costly. Currently, the committee expects to approve ten to 12 programs each year, but this will depend on the level of scholarship funding available. Interest and faculty involvement in SAGE is growing, but the reality is the program can’t afford to fund all of the expected 18 proposals for the upcoming year.

The SAGE office is currently accepting applications for 2014 short-term study abroad programs to England, India, Brazil, China, Germany and France, Poland and France and Belgium.

Trips to Italy, Panama and Italy and Greece have closed the application process and are scheduled for February and March of 2014. Chef Pierre Pilloud is leading the tour to Italy where students will have the opportunity to learn about various Italian cooking techniques at the Apicius Center School of Hospitality in Florence, Italy.

Biology professor Melissa Schreiber will take students to Panama City to learn about public health awareness in Panama related to infectious disease. Students will attend lectures at the USMA University and spend time at a UNAIDS facility, as well as spending time with patients and their families at a hospice center and local hospitals.

Professors Tammy Gitto-Kania and Caroline Cully are heading up the trip to Greece and Italy. This humanities course will examine dominant areas in Greco-Roman culture as expressed through government, art, literature, music, philosophy and religion.

Jennifer cites funding support as an integral factor in student involvement. “I have found that if students do not have scholarship dollars then they do not participate.”

To make sure that more programs would run and be successful, the SAGE committee decided to award bigger scholarships to fewer students. Even with the $1,700 scholarships, students can still incur costs for a study abroad experience. It is a fact that keeps Jennifer and her staff always on the search to identify new funding sources for the program.

It is an effort that is most worthwhile and students reap the benefits of a successful SAGE program. Jennifer says, “There is a lot of research already published on the benefits of study abroad, and they have been able to conclude that study abroad increases a student’s ‘global-mindedness’ to sum it up in just a few words. While we cannot really create ‘global citizens’ with just one short-term study abroad experience, these programs open up the minds of our students to the unlimited possibilities that are out there. They come back with a whole new perspective on life and are forever transformed.”

Additionally she shares that study abroad has been linked to higher retention and graduation rates.

Danielle McArdle traveled to Beijing and Shanghai to learn about business in China and feels that she learned so much while she was there. “Study abroad opportunities are important because they broaden your perspectives and open your mind to the fact that the world you live in is not just your immediate surroundings but the whole world.”

Sharon Chacon is a student on Valencia’s Osceola Campus and she traveled to England for a leadership course. She feels it was an incredible experience that allowed her to expand her horizon and immerse herself in a different culture. She says the course changed her life.

“I feel that this study abroad experience and similar opportunities are important because they allow us to grow as people in areas of communications, relations and personal knowledge.” And she echoes the remarks of the Chicago Tribune, citing that study abroad sets her apart from her peers and looks “amazing” on college applications – to have explored beyond America and shown the responsibility and skillfulness required to function in another country.

Sharon is grateful to the scholarship donors who made her trip possible. “The fun and memories I made, along with the friends and partnerships I made in England are priceless. The knowledge and opportunities granted by their donations allowed me to grow as a young adult as well as providing information and experience in the real world. All these things aren’t something that can be taken from you and they will live forever in your heart and mind, thus making the thank you never-ending and completely sincere!”

For more information, you can find SAGE on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB9F7378CCA172DE9&feature=plcp

You can also join the Valencia College Study Abroad group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_192350680814167

a new series – discussions on completion

Valencia was the inaugural winner of the 2011 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, cited as “the best community college in the nation.” The prize was based on measurable achievements in graduation rates, workforce placement and innovative programs.

Near the bottom of state funding per FTE (Full Time Equivalent) from among the state’s 28 community colleges, Valencia nevertheless achieves a graduation rate nearly three times the national average for similar institutions.

But how does that translate to students and what they experience at Valencia? There is an audience at Valencia that has a unique view on completion – those that are returning students. What can those that tried in the past teach us as they embark once again on their educational journey?

The response from students has been great and we will be sharing a few insights each month as part of this discussion.

While each story is unique, returning students seem to fall in two groups – those that started college in the past and stopped before attaining a certificate or degree and those that graduated from other programs, and came to Valencia to deepen their education.

Kyle Pietila is in the second group, attending and graduating from a culinary arts program in Minnesota in 1995 and the Disney culinary program in 1998. He is back to get his AA with hopes of becoming a culinary teacher. He chose Valencia because it has a good reputation and it is close to where he lives. He says as a returning student, “I am working full time and I am going to school and just trying to get back into the swing of things.”

Kimberly Chemente started down the path of a typical student. She began studying at Valencia in 1999 as a dual-enrollment student and then continued until 2002. Pressures felt from her young age and working full time led her to take a break from school. “And then life happened,” she says.

She relocated to Jacksonville in 2004, got married in 2007 and had her son in 2008. During this time, she felt her dreams for college slipping away. It was a job that brought her back on course, a recent position at Nemours Children’s Hospital that brought her back to Central Florida.

“Nemours takes education very seriously and part of my employment agreement was that I finish my schooling and degree.” After an 11-year break, she came back to Valencia in May of this year. She will receive her AA in May 2014 and then plans to continue her studies at UCF.

Valencia student Kimberly Chemente and her son

Valencia student Kimberly Chemente and her son

And it is the hope to be a role model to her son that drives her to succeed. “I want him to see that college is hard work but worth the time and effort.”

Marlene De Tour started her educational journey far from the Sunshine State, at Hastings Community College in Nebraska. She stopped attending when her daughter was born premature, “that changed everything,” she says. When her daughter was 18 months, they relocated to Florida.

She wanted to come back to school to push herself professionally and in order to do that she needed a degree. Marlene is very frank about the benefits of a degree, “I also want to make more money.” And like Kimberly, she hopes to be a good example for her child.

Her choice of Valencia was a pragmatic one, citing the partnership that allows for a two-year degree here and then transfer to UCF for a four-year degree. And expense was another factor, she found Valencia to be a more cost effective option.

Today she is a sophomore and she eventually hopes to get her bachelor’s degree in marketing.

I asked her what factors are important to make sure you complete your education at Valencia. “Since I am a single mom, financial aid and scholarships are important, as is cost of tuition, and having classes that meet my work schedule as I work from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Plus I have a daughter in middle school so I need to be able to attend her activities from time to time.”

Her answer hit so many important facets and I’m sure echoes countless students juggling work, school and family and sometimes struggling for ways to pay for college. This series will continue to uncover what makes completion a reality for our returning students.

a closer look: taste for learning makeover

Who doesn’t love a good makeover? Senior public relations manager Carol Traynor, senior art director Marty Csercsevits and their talented team at the college’s marketing and strategic communications department brought a new look and new life to our Taste for Learning event.

The next Taste event is scheduled for May 17, 2014 at Rosen Shingle Creek.

The event started in 2005 when foundation board member Jess Bailes and his team at ABC Fine Wine and Spirits partnered with Valencia Foundation. Our board of directors agreed to host the fundraiser only if we could ensure that every single dollar donated went directly to support education.

Today, we are still so blessed to have ABC’s involvement, as well as the support of Rosen Shingle Creek. Throughout the years, the logo stayed the same, with a graduation hat symbolizing the funds that went to support scholarships and grapes representing the wine that was served.

But now, as the event evolves, it was time for something new. First, the liquor landscape is always changing and ABC recognizes not just wines, but worldwide wine and spirits. Craft beers are currently very popular and that will be reflected at the event. As the event progressed, we came to realize that we had outgrown the grapes.

previous Taste logo

previous Taste logo

Additionally, we began partnering with other organizations for the event. First we partnered with UCF Foundation and now for the second year with Orlando Health Foundation. While we don’t share an identical mission with Orlando Health, we both place a priority on education. Funds raised at the event support student scholarships for us and medical education for Orlando Health Foundation.

Everyone is competing for fundraising dollars and these unique partnerships offer an opportunity to support more than one effort in our local community. What also sets us apart is the fact that still, eight years later, 100 percent of all funds raised goes directly to the cause.

We could not make that claim without the support of ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, Rosen Shingle Creek and our other sponsors. Our supporters work diligently to make sure that everything is donated, even down to the electrical drops for the event. The college generously underwrites the printing and creative costs.

Which brings us to the new logo – here it is!

new Taste logo

new Taste logo

Our new tagline is: An evening of food,wine and spirits paired with an auction to benefit scholarships and medical education.

The new logo gives a well-rounded representation of the spirits that will be at the event and the bright colors bring a sense of fun and liveliness, which is what Taste is all about.

Again, this year’s event will be on Saturday, May 17. In addition to ABC Fine Wine and Spirits and Rosen Shingle Creek, we are thrilled to have two early sponsors, Charles Perry Partners Inc. and Wolverine Anesthesia Consultants.

Stay tuned to the event website for updates WWW.ATASTEFORLEARNING.COM and if there is someone you would like us to send a sponsor packet to, please reach out to Donna Marino at 407-582-3128 or dmarino@valenciacollege.edu.

Mark your calendars – we will see you there!