Recognizing Outstanding Student Achievement

Oscar statues Sure, the Academy Awards might have aired a couple of weeks ago, but nominations are just rolling in for our biggest awards of the year. The Career Development Center likes to recognize students who are outstanding representatives of their respective programs and Seminole State College as a whole. One way way to do this is through the Florida Association of Colleges & Employers (FloridaACE) Student of the Year Award. This annual award presents a cash prize to a deserving student who has demonstrated exceptional achievement in the field of experiential learning. Any student of a two or four-year Florida higher education institution may be nominated for this award by a college/university member or an employer member.

We nominated Alfred Jon Sparks (Jon) for the cooperative education/internship experience he completed with The Douglas Company in the summer of 2015. The Career Development Center first had the pleasure of meeting Jon in 2014 when he began as a Construction Management major at Seminole State College. Jon had some serious life changing milestones taking place, such as transitioning from military to civilian life, managing his own carpentry restoration company, and becoming the father of two children. Knowing this was a critical time for his future and the growth of his family, Jon became a frequent consumer of Career Development Center resources and services.

In working with our Assistant Director regarding his cooperative education/internship requirements, Jon was considering using his own company for his experience and was hesitant to explore the private sector. After working almost two years on his resume, Jon had a final draft and, with the encouragement of the Career Center, the confidence to move forward with applying to internships outside of his comfort zone. After several successful interviews with medium and large construction companies, Jon chose to accept an internship opportunity with The Douglas Company, an Ohio based firm. During this 13 week senior internship, Jon excelled by showing “eagerness to learn”, “high assertiveness”, and “iron clad integrity” to the firm’s culture and long-term goals. Jon was nominated for, and ultimately won,  an educational scholarship for his work on an estimating project that resulted in a contract awarded to The Douglas Company. Finally, after the conclusion of his internship,  Jon was extended a full-time position upon his graduation in May 2016.

It is with great honor and pride that the Seminole State College, Career Development Center team nominate Alfred Jon Sparks as the FloridaACE 2016 Student of the Year recipient.


Summer Job Shadow Week Success

The Job Shadow Program is a one-day to a week-long, voluntary experience providing Seminole State students an opportunity to explore specific industries or career fields of interest, while being exposed to work environments and networking with professionals. The summer session took place August 10-14 2015. Below you will find a summary of some of the student experiences.

Adventist Health System Information Services

Students at Adventist
From left to right: Solomon Longsworth-IS Manager, Christopher Lee-Student, and Jessica England-Director

Seminole State student, Christopher Lee, received top-notch treatment to several days of Job Shadow experiences with a variety of professionals within Adventist Health System Information Services in Altamonte Springs, Florida. Christopher’s visit included shadowing professionals from cyber security to health informatics. This gave him the ability to network, see operations first-hand and one-to-one meetings with administrators and staff. “Adventist Health System is a faith-based health care organization with a tradition of caring for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of every patient.” This mission shows through in the energy and enthusiasm of the professionals that were introduced to Christopher, in addition to the wonderful tour and leadership provided by Jessica England, Director of Clinical System Optimization & Functionality.

Christopher shared his interest in technology and learned about various roles that may directly or indirectly match his interests and the various career paths related. Jessica shared wonderful insight regarding associations he may want to connect with while in college to better support his career exploration. Ms. England shared that there is definitely a strong need for IT professionals in the healthcare industry and her career path started as an Emergency Room (ER) Nurse that then evolved into health informatics.

Stewart Law Group

Stewart Law Group
Kaley Ellis-Student (2nd from the Right) and
members of the Stewart Law Group team.

Seminole State student, Kaley Ellis, received top-notch treatment to a full week of job shadow experiences with a variety of professionals within the Stewart Law Group in Lake Mary, Florida.  Kaley’s visit included shadowing professionals in law, business operations, administration and entrepreneurship.  This gave her the ability to network, see operations first-hand and meet professionals in the industry.  The Stewart Law Group in Lake Mary has served the greater community since 2009 and serves as a firm that provides legal counsel appearance throughout the State of Florida.  Career Development Center Assistant Director, Lisette Dolby, was granted a tour of their law office by Anna DeLuca, Operations Supervisor, who shared a wealth of information regarding the nature of the business and really showcased their need to grow into a building of their very own.  Ms. DeLuca shared that this group manages several hundred cases weekly and the business is dynamic when it comes to meeting the needs for attorneys there and all across the State of Florida.

In speaking with Kaley at the end of her week-long experience, she shared that this experience has helped her to integrate what she is learning in the classroom and supported her continued research in career paths related to law and healthcare.  Kaley shared that the President of the Stewart Law Group, Leslie Stewart, gave her insight regarding career paths and learned more about what it takes to be successful in the industry.

Total Quality Logistics (TQL)

Students at TQL
From left to right: Nelson Perez-Student, Cassandra King-TQL host, Ashley Stafford-Student, Katina Woods-Student, Bryan Tyson-TQL host

Seminole State students, Nelson Perez, Ashley Stafford, & Katina Woods, enjoyed a job shadowing experience with Total Quality Logistics (TQL). Their one-day experience was packed with activities as they toured TQL’s laid-back and friendly, yet competitive, atmosphere. They learned about the company’s origins and growth, shadowed a Logistics Account Executive, met with the Office Manager, and concluded the day with a role-play sales competition.  The students learned sales techniques and strategies and the fast-paced challenge of conducting sales calls while negotiating transport contracts.

Students Nelson Perez and Ashley Stafford are both enrolled in Seminole State’s Business Information Management program and Katina Woods is pursuing a degree in Business Administration and Marketing. Danielle Malagian, Senior National Sales Recruiter, shared that there is definitely a strong need for sales representatives in their transportation logistics business, and that TQL provides professional development support to grow and nurture their sales reps into team leaders and management professionals.

The Seminole State Career Center thanks all of our Job Shadow employer partners for their support of career programming and we look forward to keeping this valued partnership.

Hispanic Chamber Helps Young Professionals Grow

The following article was contributed by Camia Berry, Career Development Center Clerk and Seminole State student:

After having the opportunity to attend the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals seminar, I am ecstatic to share my experience with you. The seminar, “An Introduction to Nonprofit Board Service,” that I attended was for young professionals from 25 -35 years of age. Time for networking was set aside before and after the seminar so I got to learn a little more about the other attendees. There was a great variety of individuals in attendance from various professional backgrounds: business owners, a Clerk, a Dog Trainer, a Project Specialist, a Lawyer, and many more.

The presenter was Emily Furlong of the Edyth Bush Institute and a retiree of Rollins College. She spoke on non-profit service and encouraged us to start by asking ourselves what type of organization we want to serve: educational, arts or cultural, animal welfare-environmental, health, religious or faith-based, civic-societal, or human service oriented. Other examples included professional organizations/associations and homeowners associations. During the seminar, we also learned about the competencies of effective boards and what questions to ask prior to joining a particular board. Overall, this provided us with the knowledge to make well-grounded decisions while looking to become a part of a nonprofit board.

We collectively learned a wealth of information and it was presented professionally.  This experience would be truly beneficial to any individual who attends. One of the great things about opportunities hosted by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is that you do not have to be Hispanic to attend any seminars/workshops. The goal is diversity and interaction between individuals from various ethnic backgrounds. The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Program mission statement is, “To empower young professionals of Metro Orlando to become world-class professionals, entrepreneurs, and leaders”.  From what I have seen so far, they are doing just that.

If you are interested in learning more visit their website.

Seminole State Students Explore Careers During Job Shadow Week

The Job Shadow Program is a one-day to a week-long, voluntary experience providing Seminole State students an opportunity to explore specific industries or career fields of interest, while being exposed to work environments and networking with professionals. The spring session took place May 4- 8, 2015 and hosted over 60 students at over 30 employer locations. Industries represented included: Education, Early Childhood Education, Accounting and Finance, Computer Science and Information Technology, Engineering, Architecture, Construction and Construction Management, Legal Studies, General Business, Social Services, Healthcare, Criminal Justice, Government and Public Administration.

Here’s a highlight of some of the student experiences:

CFE Federal Credit Union 

Io’mitzi Dominguez (Left), Fahmida Hussain (Center) and Valerie Moses (Right)

Two Seminole State students enjoyed a full-day’s Job Shadow experience with CFE Federal Credit Union in Lake Mary, Florida.  Students, Io’mitzi Dominguez and Fahmida Hussain, enjoyed a full day of networking, branch operations first-hand and one-to-one meetings with CFE executives and staff.  CFE Federal Credit Union is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization that has served the Central Florida community since 1937 and is today, a billion-dollar institution.

The students started their experience with a tour of the Lake Mary location from the bank to the gym to the board room and all of the other wonderful amenities afforded the CFE employees.  Io’mitzi is a math major currently and wanted to learn more about career paths that would align with her major.  Fahmida has higher education but is studying at Seminole State working on a certificate to enhance her already attained college degrees and wanted to connect with organizations like CFE.  Valerie Moses, Marketing and Development Specialist with CFE, shared the importance of creating and maintaining a network while in college and encouraged students to consider internships, as well as take advantage of career services (e.g. Business Etiquette Training).


Student Alyssa Gonzalez in the Infant Room

Alyssa is currently a nursing student and ultimately wants to work with women and children.  She currently works two jobs part-time (a retail store and a portrait studio photographer), but she thoroughly enjoys working with children. During the Spring Job Shadow Program she shadowed Childtime Learning Centers and observed mostly the infant and toddler rooms. Activities included participating in and observing: playing with children, changing and feeding, and lesson plan activities.

Debra Pase, Director of Childtime Learning Center in Oviedo, indicated a hiring need for afternoon help with their various daycare rooms.  She was impressed with Alyssa’s performance and instructed her to complete the online application and questionnaire.  Debra stated that the job shadow program is a great way to screen candidates for possible employment by providing a “test drive” opportunity for both students and employers, allowing students a chance to be exposed to the environment, and employers to observe student’s personality and performance.  Students and employers can get a feel for each other and whether or not there is a good fit for the student within that environment or organization.


Traci Brown, Sales Manager (Left) and Anusha Yerramilli (Right)

Seminole State College student, Anusha Yerramilli, was proudly selected to participate in a Job Shadow experience with TelAffects in Lake Mary, Florida.  Anusha shared that experience was more than she imagined, as she was greeted by various employees working in different capacities within the organization.  TelAffects is a professional business to business sales and marketing firm.  This is a privately held organization founded in 2008 and is recognized as an annual winner (2013 and 2014) of the Orlando Sentinel’s Top 100 Companies for Working Families.

Anusha has higher education but is studying at Seminole State working on a certificate to enhance her already attained college degrees and wanted to connect with an organization like TelAffects for future opportunities.  Cheri Gillett, Vice President of Client Operations with TelAffects, had this to say about the experience, “Anusha was absolutely awesome and we believe there is an opportunity for her to intern with us.  It was a great experience.”  Cheri is a Seminole State graduate and we are proud that she was able to connect this student to TelAffects through the Job Shadow Experience program.

Dress for Success

Student Milca Journet Beltran working in the Dress for Success Boutique
Student Milca Journet Beltran working in the Dress for Success Boutique

Student Milca Journet Beltran is currently majoring in Social Work and is interested in obtaining a career in the non-profit and/or social/community assistance field. Currently she is in a training program to work for Goodwill Industries of Central Florida. For the Spring Job Shadow Program she shadowed Dress For Success, a non-profit organization which strives to assist disadvantaged women by providing professional attire and career development tools so they may find gainful employment. Milca’s shadowing activities included working in the boutique, observing representatives serving clients, and attending/observing meetings and professional conferences.

Interested in participating? 

The summer session will occur the week of August 10-14, 2015. Sign-up to participate at:  Completing this online registration indicates your interest in participating in a job shadowing experience in August. You are not obligated or committed to a job shadow experience until you agree to your match.