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Meet the Staff

Rocky Blesso

Director, International Student Services

Rocky Blesso is the collegewide director for International Student Services at Valencia College. He came to Valencia in 2013 after working for 12 years at the University of Central Florida. At UCF, he held different positions for Undergraduate Admissions, Graduate Admissions, and the International Services Center. His experience includes immigration advising, employment and taxation, and cultural programming. Rocky holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in education. Rocky is originally from the Washington D.C. area and enjoys reading, working out and traveling with his wife, who is from Bulgaria. Rocky strives to make Valencia the best educational experience possible for the international student population.

Talia Popovski

Director of International Student Recruitment and Global Engagement

Talia Popovski has more than 11 years of experience working in international student recruitment and admissions and has had an opportunity to travel to over 40 different countries. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in Latin American studies, as well as a master’s degree in public administration—both from the University of Central Florida. Talia loves experiencing different cultures, trying new foods, and spending time with her husband and pug.

International Student Recruitment Staff

Lucymar Carbajal

Specialist, International Recruitment

Lucymar Carbajal is originally from Peru and is fluent in Spanish. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from Rollins College and is also a graduate of Valencia College, where she was part of the Valencia Model United Nations and Valencia Intercultural Student Association clubs. Lucymar enjoys reading, traveling, working with international students and learning about other cultures.

Hamza Lamrani

Specialist, International Recruitment

Originally from Tangier, Morocco, Hamza Lamrani started his studies with an Associate in Arts in business administration and eventually transferred to the University of Central Florida through the DirectConnect to UCF program offered at Valencia College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in international and global studies. Hamza is fluent in French and Arabic and can speak Spanish at an advanced level. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling, cars, good music and good cuisine.

West Campus Staff

Marieta Chemishanova

Assistant Director, International Student Services

Originally from Bulgaria, Marieta Chemishanova earned a bachelor’s degree in English from her home country and came to the United States in 2000 as an F-1 international student. She earned a master’s degree in educational leadership studies and is currently finishing her Ed.D. in educational leadership – higher education. Prior to coming to Valencia in 2013, Marieta gained diverse experience working in higher education at Oklahoma State University, Texas A&M University and Rollins College. In her free time, Marieta loves salsa dancing, attending cultural activities, trying different ethnic foods and spending time with her dog, Happy.

Boris Alemnka

Specialist, International Admissions

Originally from Cameroon (West Africa), Boris moved to the U.S. in 2005 and after graduating high school, he enrolled at Valencia in 2007. As a student, he supported the domestic admissions team as a student employee (work study). Boris holds an A.A. degree from Valencia and is currently working on earning a bachelor’s degree at the University of Central Florida. During his career at Valencia, Boris worked with the electronic records department (Banner Document Management System – BDMS) for 3 years. He later moved to a role as an Admissions Specialist, serving the domestic student population. He has acquired vast knowledge and experience with Higher Education in admissions and registration and joined the ISS team in 2015 as an International Admissions Specialist. Boris enjoys soccer, cars, basketball, volleyball, and working with international students.

Yonitha Berryhill

Specialist, International Admissions

Prior to joining Valencia College, Yonitha Berryhill held positions at University of California-San Diego and San Diego State University. She holds a master’s degree in postsecondary educational leadership from San Diego State University, a bachelor’s in business administration from Florida International University and an A.A. from Miami Dade College. Yonitha enjoys running and going to the movies. She was born and raised in Miami, Florida and identifies as Haitian-American. Yonitha speaks Haitian Creole.

Kenia Liriano

Staff Assistant

Born in the Dominican Republic, Kenia Liriano moved to Orlando with her family at the age of 13. Thanks to the support of her family and new friends, she overcame the anxiety of adapting to a new language and a foreign culture. She enjoys learning about new cultures and their customs, language and what makes each place unique. Of her job, Kenia says, “I love the fact that I have the opportunity of contributing to the future of others through my work.”

Douglas Westlake

Coordinator, International Student Services

Douglas Westlake earned a bachelor’s degree in both English and philosophy from Florida State University.  He has more than ten years of experience working in higher education. Prior to joining Valencia College, he served student populations at Florida State University and the University of Central Florida.  In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing guitar, watching film, and practicing transcendental meditation.

East Campus Staff

Michelle Torres - Coordinator, International Student Services

Michelle Torres

Coordinator, International Student Services

Michelle Torres holds a B.A.B.S. in Management Information Systems from the University of Central Florida. She has worked in higher education for more than 14 years with experience in admissions, immigration compliance, academic advising and cultural programming. Michelle has a passion for working with diverse populations and loves to travel.

Martin Diaz-Rios - Coordinator, International Admissions Specialist

Martin Diaz-Rios

Staff Assistant, International Student Services

Martin Diaz Rios holds his A.A from Valencia College. He then transferred and is currently studying under the Sports and Exercise Science program at the University of Central Florida.  Upon earning his degree, he plans to pursue a career in Exercise Physiology. Previously, Martin worked at Valencia College as a Staff Assistant in the Business, IT and Public Services Division. In his spare time he enjoys working on computers and participating in physical activities such as trail hiking and rock climbing.

Carmen Sepulveda

Specialist, International Admissions

Carmen Sepulveda is originally from Puerto Rico and speaks Spanish. She holds a BS in Office Management from the P. Catholic University of PR and credits toward an MS in ESOL. Before joining the ISS team, Carmen was a teacher at a Technical Business school in Puerto Rico. She moved to the U.S. in 2000 and worked in the banking, administration and higher education fields before joining Valencia in 2006. In her free time, she likes to build, refinish and decorate furniture. She loves cooking and enjoys working with international students.

Matthew Diaz - Staff Assistant, International Student Services

Matthew Diaz

Staff Assistant, International Student Services

Matthew Díaz is an International Relations student at the University of Central Florida. Matthew was born in New Jersey but raised in El Salvador since the age of one. Matthew has worked in several departments of Valencia from Laboratory Aide II for the English for Academic Purposes Lab, and in the Testing Center as a Testing Specialist. Matthew also works for the Guest Experience Team at Orlando City Soccer Team. At UCF Matthew served as Senator for the College of Sciences representing students and the different student’s organizations on campus. Matthew enjoys traveling around the world. Matthew wishes to continue traveling and meeting new people and getting to know more about their culture and traditions.

Osceola Campus Staff

Rico Rodriguez

Specialist, International Admissions

Rico Rodriguez is originally from Germany. He holds an A.A and an A.S. in Criminal Justice with a Specialization in Homeland Security from Valencia College and is currently attending the University of Central Florida in pursuit of a B.A in Criminal Justice. Prior to joining Valencia College he served in the Armed Forces as Military Police for the U.S. Army. Before joining the ISS team he worked as a Veteran Affairs Benefit Advisor at the Osceola Campus helping fellow Veterans with their enrollment process. Rico is fluent in Spanish and proficient in German. And in his free time, he enjoys traveling, photography, collecting sports cards, and spending time with his family.