tedxorlandosalon at valencia!

tedAnnouncing TEDxOrlandoSalon’s next meeting on Wednesday, August 6, 2014.
Hope you can come!

When: Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Where: Valencia College Osceola Campus, Bldg 4, Rm 105
1800 Denn John Lane
Kissimmee, FL 34744
Register: http://www.tedxorlando.com/salon/
Email us: info@tedxorlando.com
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New! Book exchange! Bring a book, take a new one home. (Please remember to take unclaimed books home with you.)

Two TED Talk videos will be shown, each followed by a discussion break; the event program is determined by vote.

What we have planned for our next meeting:

  • Sarah Jones: What does the future hold? 11 characters offer quirky answers
  • Wendy Chung: Autism — what we know (and what we don’t know yet)
  • Mellody Hobson: Color blind or color brave?
  • Amy Webb: How I hacked online dating
  • Stanley McChrystal: The military case for sharing knowledge

TEDxOrlandoSalon
TEDxOrlandoSalon meets every other month at Valencia College locations. A typical meeting draws approximately 50 smart, interesting, engaged people. Some will be regulars and some will be newcomers. Some choose to eat during the event, others choose not to. Two TEDTalk videos are shown, each followed by a discussion break. The event program is determined by vote, and discussions are open-ended.

TEDxOrlando
TEDxOrlando is a one-day conference featuring live speakers. Please stay tuned for details.

Code of Conduct
TEDxOrlando and TEDxOrlandoSalon are about the exchange of meaningful ideas and deep discussion, not selling. Opportunities do sometimes result from contacts made at our meetings and we encourage that. However, we ask that you refrain from using TEDxOrlando or TEDxOrlandoSalon primarily as a platform for promoting yourself, your personal political or religious views, your business, or your organization.

TEDx
TEDxOrlando and TEDxOrlandoSalon operate under license from TEDx, a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share ideas worth spreading. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks videos and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x=independently organized event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. http://tedxorlando.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=4065cf3354e5dbe3aa57ab169&id=771295dc95&e=dda8202fc9

TED
TED is an annual event where some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers are invited to share what they are most passionate about. “TED” stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design — three broad subject areas that are, collectively, shaping our future. And in fact, the event is broader still, showcasing ideas that matter in any discipline. Attendees have called it “the ultimate brain spa” and “a four-day journey into the future.” The diverse audience — CEOs, scientists, creatives, philanthropists — is almost as extraordinary as the speakers, who have included Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Frank Gehry, Paul Simon, Sir Richard Branson, Philippe Starck and Bono. http://tedxorlando.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=4065cf3354e5dbe3aa57ab169&id=30542d058c&e=dda8202fc9

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valencia graduate mehdi khoumassi

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Mehdi Khoumassi, information technology manager of Campus Technology Services at West Campus, was challenged by his father, who was on the verge of retirement at the time, to complete his bachelor’s degree so that he could retire without worrying about his son. Mehdi not only completed his bachelor’s degree, but around that same time he became a U.S. citizen and his son was born.

In early 2000, he enrolled at Valencia as an international student from Morocco — he is fluent in French and Arabic, but at the time did not speak much English. While completing his associate degree at Valencia, he worked as a student assistant in the Audio Visual Department.

“Since coming to Valencia I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with a variety of people. In fact, beginning my full-time tenure at Valencia was considerably easy because I had met so many of the faculty and staff of the West Campus in my roles of student and student assistant.”

In 2004, he became a permanent resident of the United States and was hired as a classroom technology support specialist at West Campus, a role that he thrived in for seven years.

“Mehdi has a ‘can-do’ type of attitude that perfectly balances out his technical abilities,”  says Carmine La Pietra, director of Campus Technology Services on West Campus, and Mehdi’s manager.

In 2011, Mehdi was promoted to IT manager of Campus Technology Services for the West Campus. As manager, he oversees the daily operations for the campus technology office that provides technology support for all classrooms and special events for the West Campus.

“I met Mehdi Khoumassi when he arrived at Valencia as an international student in 2000. I have followed his academic and professional progress since that time. Mehdi is an exceptional young man who is genuinely happy, caring and compassionate. To say that I am proud of Mehdi is an understatement, I believe he is a living example of Valencia’s “start right” philosophy,” shares Bliss Thompson, senior coordinator of international student services on West Campus.

Mehdi shares that he has “always been fortunate to work for and with good people.” He mentions mentors and friends, Karen Blondeau, Carmine LaPietra and John Watson as people who have helped him to achieve success at Valencia, but also notes that the culture here has promoted a collaborative environment and great teamwork among his whole department and beyond.

“All the part- and full-time staff of the department — these, and others I may not even be aware of — have always helped me to realize the potential in me and have continued to support all of my personal, academic and professional goals.”

Mehdi explains that he has the opportunity to see community, partnership and collaboration in action regularly while supporting technology components for community events sponsored by Valencia. “While the word community is no longer in the name of the College, the spirit of community lives [on],” he notes.

Mehdi has an associate degree from Valencia and a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from the University of Central Florida. He feels he has enjoyed great success, but says his most significant accomplishments are “as a husband and father.”

 By Laura Knight

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.

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

5k honoring 9/11 heroes

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Dear Friends,

Want to make a difference in our community? Sign up for the Valencia College Family Walk/Run for Heroes Osceola Campus 5K run and 2.5K run. All proceeds go toward the Rotary Club of Lake Nona’s Sept. 11 Memorial Fund to support Valencia scholarships for emergency responders at the Osceola Campus.

The Rotary club of Lake Nona’s September 11th Memorial Project — A flag for each of the 2,977 people that were lost on that fateful day — will be installed at the Osceola Campus for the second year.

Date: Saturday, September 7
Time: Race Start is 6:30PM
Distances:  5K and 2.5K fun run

Come and enjoy:

  • Lots of awards and fun
  • Refreshments
  • Kids Fun Run and crafts for kids under 10
  • Commemorative t-shirt and race bag
  • Flag display honoring 9/11 heroes

Go here for more information and to register.

See you there!

Your Osceola 5K Planning Committee

ALL Sponsors

new vitae magazine is out!

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Graduate Susannah Jo Snavely ’11 is featured in the Class Notes section on page 29. Susannah is majoring in Human Resources Management at the University of Central Florida, preparing to graduate with a B.S. in August 2013. After graduation, she hopes to continue in Human Resources full-time at Regal Marine Industries, her employer of almost three years.

An avid world-traveler, she recently expanded her trip portfolio to include a week in Ireland and two visits to Washington, D.C. with her brother, Valencia alum John Snavely. She also discovered a passion for politics, and devoted her free time last fall to promote Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign with the Republican Party of Florida.

Check this and more out! 

watch graduation live

grad

Click here on May 4 at 10 a.m. to watch Valencia College graduation live!

Valencia College’s Commencement Ceremony will be streamed live on Saturday, May 4 at 10 a.m. and will last about two hours. Limited technical support will be available at 407-582-1872.

Watch live on May 4 at 10 a.m. – click here!

2012-2013 Valencia Commencement Program

Please note: The broadcast will only be viewable until the ceremony’s conclusion. No other video recordings of the ceremony will be made available.

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