Alumni Update from Cece Burns, ’13

Chacoryia “Cece” Burns, Valencia’s 2013 Mary Smedley Collier’s Distinguished Graduate is currently a Broadcast Journalism major at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). Those of us that have read Cece’s triumphant story and may have also had the privilege of meeting such a kind spirit know that she has manage to persevere through all odds. She has proven that if you put your mind to it you can accomplish any goal.

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Cece shares “Recently, I’ve become the weather anchor for FAMU TV News-20 which broadcast live to over 8,000 Comcast viewers in the north Florida and south Georgia area. I am a Gospel Radio Personality for WANM 90.5 FM “The Flava Station” which airs on Sunday’s from 8am-11am. As I continue with my journey as a reporter, I plan to continue to work with FAMU TV News 20 as the lead desk anchor as well as intern for a local news station and print journalism company until my graduation on April 30, 2016. After that I plan to either move to Orlando or stay in Tallahassee and pursue a Masters in Fine Arts in Production as well as become a Multi-Media Journalist (MMJ) for a local news station or become a local Gospel Radio Personality.”

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“My advice to the students is to continue to strive for your dream. Never let anyone deter you from being what you want to be in life. And also always volunteer and get internships in your profession. Be persistent and always be kind to others because you never know who you will meet and who will take you to the next level.”

Cece is a positive role model and is constantly giving back to the community, whether it be volunteering for children’s church or serving on the Transfer Student Association. Her story encourages us all.

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Cece is doing big things and is truly an amazing Valencia Alum….Way to represent!

Check out Cece’s story here

 

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TEDxOrlando 2015

September LIVE Ted Talk

We’re very pleased to announce that TEDxOrlando will return Saturday September 12 to the beautiful, historic Garden Theatre in Winter Garden.

At TEDxOrlando, an exceptional group of thinkers and doers from across Central Florida come together to experience an exciting, interdisciplinary program of short talks given in the celebrated TED format.

Tickets will go on sale to you beginning June 1 — because you are among our most valued supporters. Tickets will be announced to the general public on June 12.

We’re especially excited about this year’s event and hope very much that you’ll join us.

In the meantime, we welcome you to let friends and family know about TEDxOrlando, share your “idea worth spreading,” check out our volunteer opportunities, or participate in a TEDxOrlandoSalon event.

Need money for college?

 

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making a difference

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(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.

Valencia employees give back

why-i-give-logoValencia’s faculty and staff giving campaign is underway and in full swing. Last week, the Foundation sent information regarding this year’s “Why I Give Where I Work” campaign with Valencia colleagues who expressed the reasons why they choose to give.

Scholarships change lives.

Our goal is that each student who comes through our doors will be able to fulfill his or her dream of earning a college degree. As the data shows, those who complete a college degree and work full time, earn an average of $17,500 more than those with a high school diploma only, according to a recent Pew Research Study.

Additionally, Valencia’s associate in science graduates boast 95 percent job placement, even in this economy, and starting salaries average $43,385.

So it’s no wonder that Patti Riva, operations manager, energy education, says that she gives because “investing in Valencia will bring a brighter future for all.”

Reasons Valencia College employees give where they work:

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Employees can be a part of this movement simply by completing the Payroll Deduction form — it’s that easy.

Sharing the Reasons

Valencia invites other employees to share why they choose to give by leaving a comment below.

If you have questions or would like more information on the campaign or how you can support the “Why I Give Where I Work” campaign, feel free to you may contact Valencia Foundation donors stewardship manager Donna Marino at dmarino@valenciacollege.edu or any of the faculty and staff giving ambassadors located at www.VALENCIA.org/FSG.

 

Valencia employees share “Why I Give Where I Work”

Valencia employees make a big difference in our student’s lives!

Many Valencia College employees support students inside and outside the classroom. It was Sir Winston Churchill that said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

There are many reasons to contribute to Valencia Foundation, below are a few Valencia employees  who shared “Why I Give Where I Work.”

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Gustavo Morales, professor, geology, West Campus:

I give because I like to support all the fantastic work my colleagues do.

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James Thomas, professor, English, East Campus:

I give because I know exactly where my money goes: to help deserving students.

laurie-halftone-180w Laurie Youngman, manager, employee support:

I give because I believe in Valencia’s mission and want to show how strongly.

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Donna Sovern, administrative assistant in the math office on Osceola Campus:

I give because Valencia is a community of helpers, and I love helping our students.

Share your passion for learning and student success! Help our faculty and staff support those students who need it most. Please visit http://www.VALENCIA.org and click on Make a Donation.

You can join the team of almost 300 Valencia colleagues and give today. Simply complete the Payroll Deduction form to start your giving legacy.

If you have questions or would like more information on how you can support the “Why I Give Where I Work” campaign, contact Diana Ciesko, professor, psychology, or Josh Murdock, instructional designer — the Faculty and Staff Giving Committee Chairs, or Donna Marino, CFRE, manager, donor stewardship.

Want to share why you give to Valencia College? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

“Why I Give Where I Work” is a part of the faculty and staff giving campaign that was designed by a team of Valencia employees and honors the commitment of faculty and staff to student success while seeking to provide additional resources for faculty, staff and students who work together to realize educational goals. This campaign is focused on sharing the good work of the Valencia Foundation and encouraging faculty and staff participation based on individual interest and willingness to contribute. A faculty or staff member should not, at any time, feel pressured or compelled to give to the foundation.