Mrs. Laura D'Alessio

Tenure-Track Faculty Member - Biological Sciences, West Campus

NEWS & UPDATES

STEMpossible: Information about the STEMpossible Guest Speaker Series, including upcoming events, is available under "Course Materials"

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About Me

Commitment to Valencia College
I began my career with Valencia College at the Lake Nona campus in the Spring of 2014. In August 2017, I transferred to the West campus to continue my teaching career with Valencia as a full-time faculty member. I teach General Biology 1, General Biology 2, and Microbiology, with offerings and availability varying term-to-term.

Academic History
I graduated from UCF with a BS in Secondary Science Education in 2010, and an MA that fused Higher Educational Leadership, Community College Education, and Biology in 2013.

Teaching Philosophy
I believe that students in STEM fields need an academic experience rich in hands-on activities to simulate future job competencies and promote future career success. I try to infuse my traditional coursework with other life and job skills to help students mature into well-rounded citizens.

In my classes, students must be willing to engage with the complex issues facing humanity in the 21st century, while also examining and unpacking difficult historical issues in science. Currently, I am working on adding environmental justice, social justice, and equity-minded practices into my courses. Additionally, I am working to deeply integrate scientific methods of critical thought - such as logical reasoning, scientific inquiry, and informed skepticism - throughout my coursework.

I celebrate diversity and believe that diversity is the foundation of a strong classroom, college, and community. I believe that all students have the potential to achieve success and reach their goals if they are willing to put serious time and effort into their academic pursuits. While all that probably sounds quite serious, I do include ample humor and sarcasm to spice up class time and keep things fresh!

Professional Development
- I earned the Associate Faculty certification in the Summer of 2015 after completing my first 60 hours of professional development training with the Teaching and Learning Academy. Presently, I am nearing 400 hours of professional development coursework at Valencia.
- I earned Digital Professor Certification and Quality Matters certification in the Summer of 2016 to better facilitate student learning in hybrid and online environments. I recently completed ROC Peer Review Panelist training.
- I am a certified Active Learning instructor. Over the past years, I updated my courses into the new Canvas/Instructure learning environment, transitioned to fully online teaching during the pandemic, and continue to employ action research and a growth mindset to refresh and add new resources every semester.
- I also earned the LifeMap certification, through which I improved my abilities to advise and assist students and infuse learning strategies into my courses.
- I enrolled in conversational Spanish 1 and 2 to support our Spanish speakers and their families. I am currently attempting to learn conversational French and refresh my knowledge of Latin.
- I completed the SafeZone Ally certification to support our LGBT+ community. I also am working to increase representation and address issues of equity in my courses.
- I am the host of the STEMpossible Guest Speaker Series, a fully virtual opportunity for students to engage with young professionals working in various STEM fields.
- Lastly, I am in my final year of a 5-year voyage of personal discovery and professional development to earn tenure at Valencia College.

My Background
I was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. Before my time at Valencia, I taught Biology and Anatomy & Physiology at Edgewater High School and Winter Springs High School. While in high school, I worked in the construction industry doing home renovations. I was also the General Manager of a local Hardware store for six years while I was in college.

Hobbies and Interests
In my free time, I enjoy keeping active by doing indoor cycling and yoga. During the quarantine, I am improving my guitar skills, training to run a 5K, and working on my French lessons. I am a die-hard Star Trek fan, and I love collecting late '60s rock & roll and early '90s punk-rock music on vinyl. My father is a pilot, so I frequently can be found co-piloting or helping him with aircraft maintenance. I also enjoy wood-working, metal-working, and doing home repairs. I am happiest when I can be alone in my garage, building something.

My favorite musicians/groups are the Offspring, Lemonheads, Pixies, Foo Fighters, Weezer, Green Day, Sloan, the Monkees, Janelle Monae, the Who, and local artist Marc with a C.
My favorite TV shows are Star Trek, Supernatural, The Punisher, Stranger Things, Key & Peele, Futurama, South Park, King of the Hill, and Archer.
My favorite movie is the Back to the Future trilogy.
My favorite book is Cosmos by Carl Sagan.

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Regarding Full Classes and Enrollment:

My classes are capped at 24 students. Small class sizes allow Valencia students to benefit from meaningful interactions with their instructors. Overloading my classes would hamper my ability to serve my students and foster their success. For that reason, I do not override students or overload courses beyond 24 students per section.

The West Campus Science Division has many talented instructors whose classes are *not* filled. Please see if one of their course sections will fit your scheduling needs.

If you cannot find a section that suits your needs, please keep checking ATLAS to see if an opening appears in my course. The rosters see a tremendous amount of turnover in the weeks before a semester. If diligent, some students manage to snag an empty seat if another student drops from the course.

At Valencia, we believe in Starting Right. This means every minute of class is important, especially the first week. Attendance is mandatory during the first week. Sometimes, students don't attend or they choose to drop the course during the first week, leaving open seats.

If a student drops my course during the first week of the term, you may be able to grab that empty seat. If you see an open seat after the term beings, you must e-mail me requesting an override. I will review your request. If approved, I will work with our administrative office to get you enrolled as a replacement for the student who dropped. If you enroll late after missing any class meetings, you are still required to make up all missed information and assignments by the end of the second week of the term.

Students will not be granted overrides into my courses for any reason beginning Monday of the second week of the term.

The West campus Science Division Administrative Offices are located in AHS-231. Our wonderful administrative assistants are available by phone and email:
Gabby Brown (gbrown62@valenciacollege.edu or 407-582-5156) or
Jack Davies (jdavies18@valenciacollege.edu or 407-582-1164)
They are available during normal business hours. Due to the pandemic, they're asking people to contact them first - don't just show up at the office.

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Regarding Letters of Recommendation:

When you request a letter or reference from any professor, you are asking that professor to use their reputation to support your aspirations. Therefore, letters of recommendation are by no means guaranteed or "owed" to any students.

Students requesting a letter must show above-average qualities that made them stand out among their peers. Your instructors worked hard to earn their reputations; you also must work hard to develop your high-quality reputation to earn a letter from a professor.

If you intend to request a letter of recommendation from me, please keep in mind:

(1) All students must formally contact me via e-mail and receive my written approval/consent before listing me as a contact or reference.
Failure to receive prior consent will result in the refusal of your request.

(2) I will NOT write a letter or serve as a reference for a student who has not yet completed at least one of my courses.

(3) Students should be prepared to provide a cover letter, applicant statement, resume, or other similar documents to help guide the authoring of their letter. I need some inspiration!

(4) I require a minimum of 4 weeks of advanced notice if writing you a letter for the first time. I require a minimum of 2 weeks' notice to edit your existing letter for a new purpose. Faster turn-around times MAY be possible but are not guaranteed.


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If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email

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Contact

West Campus
AHS-207
407-582-5048
ldalessio@valenciacollege.edu

Hours

Available for current students in Discord Monday through Friday at 11:00 AM and 6:30 PM daily.

Otherwise available via e-mail.

Visit Me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Prof_Dalessio