making a difference

Pic 2 i really like this one

(L to R; Melissa Pedone, Barbara Shell and Katherine Pedone at
the Valencia College 9th Annual 5K Run, Walk & Roll)

BY JOY S. JONES

Barbara Shell teams with valued community partners and a host of volunteers in her role as the director of community and alumni relations. It’s a position where the sky’s the limit. After all, her goal of providing lifelong personal educational and professional growth for alumni and students of Valencia College can take many forms when dealing with a group as far reaching and diverse.

Just this week, two Valencia alums, Dick Batchelor, business and political consultant, and State Senator Andy Gardiner were listed in “Orlando Magazine’s” 2014 “50 Most Powerful List.” And new alumnus Angel Sanchez, Valencia’s 2014 “Distinguished Graduate,” is speaking at Blackboard World’s 2014 conference today.

It’s a huge responsibility and a welcome career for anyone who relishes no two days at work being the same, which is how she describes what she does.

“A true advocate of Valencia and our wonderful alumni, I’ve worked closely with Barbara the last few years and am always impressed with how well she works with so many different types of people and personalities,” says Michelle Matis, foundation vice president and chief operating officer. “She is very patient and compassionate and truly believes in developing authentic relationships with everyone she meets.”

Any wonder that Barbara’s work in alumni and community relations keeps her extremely busy with numerous meetings and events. “Many of these happen after hours and on weekends and she tirelessly keeps up with managing all of them and always with a smile on her face,” Michelle continued.

“The challenge is to find opportunities that will appeal to everyone — all different ages and interests, but fun. And any success that I might have is thanks to the many community volunteers with whom I work,” Barbara says. Those volunteers include current students and alumni.

One such opportunity is the TEDxOrlando partnership, with TEDxOrlandoSalons.

“TEDxOrlando has been very successful for over four years and held the organization’s TEDxOrlandoSalons monthly at a restaurant in College Park that closed down in December 2013,” says Barbara. “Many of our alumni, retirees, employees and students were involved and loved the TEDxOrlandoSalon experience, including me, and I was able to develop a partnership to bring the Salons to Valencia campuses. Now instead of offering them at only one location, it expands the opportunity for others to more conveniently participate,” she says.

One important factor that drives the success of her office is the database of alumni, now 25,000 members strong, including the 600-member Retiree Connection group. All receive “Vitae” magazine, a part of the glue that keeps alumni connected to the College and each other. They’re an industrious bunch, spread throughout the country and abroad. Barbara struggles to keep up with what’s new with them and their current contact information, to keep the relationships alive, which is something she invites faculty and staff to help her do.

“Whenever anyone is in touch with alums, if you just prompt them to be sure that the alumni office has their current contact information, it will help us a great deal,” she says.

Barbara readily confesses that the work itself isn’t difficult, given Valencia’s outstanding reputation in the community, and nationwide, as a result of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. What’s more, she frequently encounters those who contribute in some way who say they simply want to “pay it forward.”

“Seems that everybody knows somebody who knows somebody who has been impacted by Valencia in a positive way. Most everyone wants to be part of a good investment, which Valencia is,” Barbara says.

In turn, they make investments in the gifts of their time, talent and treasure.

“When a person provides an internship opportunity that will help a student succeed later in life, volunteers with our office or programs, or contributes to student scholarships, they’re making important and valuable investments,” she says. “And our impact as an institution is felt, not just in Central Florida, but in the world community. It’s just very exciting to be a part of it all.”

Among the most prized aspects of her job is coordination of the annual Alumni Achievers Reception held each June where Alumni Association scholarship awards are celebrated.
14396511362_28a686a1a1_o“What’s always fascinating to me is how surprised the recipients are to see themselves as ‘special’,” Barbara says. “With their families looking on, many with children and many more, first generation college students, it is just tremendous to see their level of gratitude that someone believes in them and their abilities. Their example of working to get an education and placing an importance on the value of an education goes a long way for everyone.”

While she shares that it’s a challenge to keep up with it all, she finds it all very rewarding.

“We have the entire spectrum of people who can tell you a compelling story about how Valencia was a significant factor in helping them achieve their educational goals — and the stories just keep growing.”

Barbara has been employed at Valencia since 2004. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington and a master’s degree in community health from Plymouth State University.

association of honors alumni transfer scholarship

Capture

Student volunteers from the Honors Program will be working hard selling roses at Valencia’s Commencement this Saturday to raise funds to support the Association of  Honors Alumni Transfer Scholarship.  Donations to support their work and the scholarship can be made online .

 

valencia graduate doing it big!

grad picHeather Marinello ’11,Valencia College Honors graduate–
“To fulfill my dreams of becoming a doctor, I started off by taking heavy science classes at Valencia and without them I would never have had the foundation necessary for me to get to where I am today.”

Heather graduated on December 16th, 2013 from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Bio-medical Science, Health Science, and a minor in Medical Sociology. She participated in two outreach trips to Haiti in 2012 and 2013, and became the treasurer for the club International Medical Outreach. Heather was then awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Award and also worked in the Florida Hospital Waterman emergency department in Tavares for a year. “Throughout my last year, I found a great balance of medical sciences and patient interaction in Clinical Audiology.”  Heather has now been accepted into Nova Southeastern University’s Doctor of Audiology program for fall of 2014. Once she has completed this program, Heather hopes to publish using her medical illustration skills and education.  She also hopes to own her own practice.

Go Heather! Doing BIG things and making all of Valencia proud.

2014-15 valencia foundation scholarship application now available!

The 2014-15 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application NOW AVAILABLE! APPLY TODAY!

Valencia Foundation scholarship application - click here to apply online.

 

By submitting your application by June 27, 2014, you will be entered to win a brand new iPad!

Winners will be determined one week after the drawing and we will arrange pick-up directly with the winner. We would also like to get your photo and interview you for our monthly foundation newsletter.

Some helpful hints for completing your application:

  • Students must only use their Atlas email address on the application
  • Don’t let the fact that you may not qualify for financial aid stop you. We use the FAFSA to verify financial need and not all scholarship decisions are based on the FAFSA.
  • Recommendations and a high GPA are very helpful, but not all scholarships require them. Please finalize your application so we can see if you are eligible for any of the hundreds of scholarships still available.

For questions on completing your scholarship application, please contact Susan Ambridge (407-582-1168, sambridge@valenciacollege.edu) or Jen Bhagirath (407-582-3154,jbhagirath@valenciacollege.edu).

Don’t let another minute pass by! Complete your 2014-15 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application for a chance to receive scholarship funding as well as a brand new iPad.

 

how to: complete the valencia foundation scholarship application

Need help completing your Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application? We can help! 

The Valencia Foundation maintains over 650 named scholarships that are available to qualifying students currently enrolled at Valencia College

By completing just one Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application, the foundation will forward your application for review for any and/or all scholarships to which you qualify for! It’s really that simple! 

Need help completing your scholarship application? Watch the Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application Tutorial for a step by step guide of how to complete your application from beginning to end. 

Many students believe they must be “straight A students” or that if they qualified for federal aid, they won’t qualify for scholarships. Join us as we tackle common Scholarship Myths

To access the Spanish version of the Valencia Foundation Scholarship application, visit: Valencia Foundation Spanish Application – Read Only. (Please note: applications and essays must submitted online and in English upon submission.)

Don’t let another minute pass by! Complete your 2014-15 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application TODAY! 

Will you start Valencia in the fall of 2014? New students can submit their 2014-15 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application in May! 

For questions on completing your scholarship application, please contact Susan Ambridge (Phone: 407-582-1168, Email: sambridge@valenciacollege.edu) or Jen Bhagirath (Phone: 407-582-3154 Email: jbhagirath@valenciacollege.edu).

reminder: april 4, 2014 priority deadline for valencia foundation scholarship applications!

Have you submitted your 2014-15 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application

By submitting your application by the April 4, 2014 priority deadline, you will be entered to win a brand new iPad!

The lucky winner will be selected on April 9, 2014. We will arrange pick-up directly with the winner. We would also like to get your photo and interview you for our monthly foundation newsletter.

Some helpful hints for completing your application:

  • Don’t let the fact that you may not qualify for financial aid stop you. We use the FAFSA to verify financial need and not all scholarship decisions are based on the FAFSA.
  • Recommendations and a high GPA are very helpful, but not all scholarships require them. Please finalize your application so we can see if you are eligible for any of the hundreds of scholarships still available.

Don’t let another minute pass by! Complete your 2014-15 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application for a chance to receive scholarship funding as well as a brand new iPad.

For questions on completing your scholarship application, please contact Susan Ambridge (407-582-1168, sambridge@valenciacollege.edu) or Jen Bhagirath (407-582-3154, jbhagirath@valenciacollege.edu).

2014-15 valencia foundation scholarship applications are available now!

Have you submitted your 2014-15 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application? 

By submitting your application by April 4, 2014, you will be entered to win a brand new iPad!

The lucky winner will be selected on April 9, 2014. We will arrange pick-up directly with the winner. We would also like to get your photo and interview you for our monthly foundation newsletter.

Don’t let another minute pass by! Complete your 2014-15 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application for a chance to receive scholarship funding as well as a brand new iPad.

Some helpful hints for completing your application:

Don’t let the fact that you may not qualify for financial aid stop you. We use the FAFSA to verify financial need and not all scholarship decisions are based on the FAFSA.

Recommendations and a high GPA are very helpful, but not all scholarships require them. Please finalize your application so we can see if you are eligible for any of the hundreds of scholarships still available.

For questions on completing your scholarship application, please contact Susan Ambridge (407-582-1168, sambridge@valenciacollege.edu) or Jen Bhagirath (407-582-3154, jbhagirath@valenciacollege.edu).