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Meet the Staff

Talia Popovski

Managing Director, International Student Recruitment & 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

Thanh Bui

Regional Recruitment Coordinator

Thanh Bui completed her bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration, and English Linguistics and Literature in Vietnam. Although her background is in business, she loves the education industry where she has been working for almost 10 years. Thanh enjoys working with students, traveling, and exploring new places, cultures and food. Currently, Thanh represents Valencia College in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Vietnam Office

Mia Čančarević

Mia Čančarević

Manager, International Student Recruitment

Mia Čančarević is originally from Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mia holds a BFA in Art History and Classical Studies from University of Florida and a Masters in History of Art and Architecture from Boston University. Prior to joining the International team, Mia worked at Valencia College for four years, most recently as Coordinator Program Advisor for Architecture. Mia is skilled in linguistics and is fluent in multiple languages. In her spare time she is active in the archaeology field; she has excavated in Macedonia, Italy, Greece, Egypt and Belize.

Robert Welch Robert Welch

Manager Int’l Agent Development

Robert Welch has worked in international education for well over a decade, with much of that experience coming from his time living in Asia. He holds a MBA from Rollins Colleges, as well as a bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a certificate in Asian Studies from the University of South Florida. Prior to joining Valencia College, he led international marketing and recruitment for one of China’s top 4 graduate business schools and a leading private school in central Florida. Robert brings a passion for helping international students and a zeal for understanding and communicating with different cultures to Valencia College.

West Campus Staff

Ariel OrtizAriel Ortiz

Assistant Director of International Student Services

Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New York City, Ariel has been in the field of International Education since 2007. Prior to coming to Valencia in 2018 he worked in different capacities at the Canisius College of Buffalo, Florida International University and Auburn University. He holds a Bachelor of Technology in Network Administration and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration. As an active leader of the International Education knowledge community, he has held various roles for his State and Regional organizations and in May 2018 was inducted as member of the NAFSA Trainer Corps program. In his spare time Ariel enjoys movies, cooking, Latin dancing and sports. He actively plays tennis, baseball and is also an avid runner, participating in races around the world ranging from 5-42KM distances.

Marieta ChemishanovaMarieta Chemishanova

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: College Student Development from Oklahoma State University and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership–Higher Education from University of Central Florida. Dr. Chemishanova has 19 years of experience in higher education and has dedicated more than 9 of them to international education. Prior to joining Valencia College, she gained diverse experience working in higher education at Oklahoma State University, Texas A&M University, and Rollins College. Dr. Chemishanova is a member of NAFSA Trainer Corps and serves as NAFSA’s International Student and Scholar Services Knowledge Community Regulatory Practice Coordinator. 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.

Shreyas Trivedi

Specialist, International Admissions

Shreyas Trivedi came to Valencia College in 2007 as an international student from Kenya and worked at the International Student Services office as a student assistant. After getting his A.A degree he transferred to the University of Central Florida through the DirectConnect program and graduated with a Bachelors in Advertising and Public Relations in 2012. Having an Indian origin and a Kenyan upbringing, Shreyas is fluent in Swahili, Hindi and Gujarati. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling to different countries, experiencing varied cultures, spending time with family and watching soccer.

Yonitha BerryhillYonitha Berryhill
(advisor for students with last names A-J)

Coordinator, International Student Services

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

International Student Services Specialist

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.”

William Westlake
William Westlake
(Advisor for students with last names K-Z)

Coordinator, International Student Services

William 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.

Jefferson Crutchfield
Jefferson Crutchfield
International Technical Support Specialist, International Student Services

Raised on Florida’s Space Coast in a family of engineers, Jefferson Crutchfield was a student at five different high schools across the U.S. before attending the University of Oklahoma, then the University of Central Florida. Although he started working at Walt Disney World as a teenager, his 35-year technical career in filmed and broadcast entertainment eventually has earned him production credit at the end of six feature-length Disney animated films. Jefferson is comfortable with a variety of computer operating systems and programming languages, and he enjoys making complex computing concepts easy to understand. He is somewhat fanatic about the classic television sci-fi series “Star Trek”.

Blanca Villagrana Blanca Villagrana
Staff Assistant II, International Student Services

Blanca Villagrana is originally from Mexico and came to the U.S. as an international student. She holds a bachelor’s degree in both English and Spanish from the Florida State University, as well as a certification in Multicultural and Hispanic Marketing. Prior to Valencia College, Blanca worked in higher education at the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication at the Florida State University and in the hospitality industry at Universal Orlando Resorts. She has served student and professional populations and has specialized in providing insights of the cultural drivers that influence multicultural markets. Blanca loves spending time with her family and experiencing different cultures.

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

Specialist, International Admissions

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.

Mia Hamilton

Mia Hamilton

International Credential Evaluator

Mia Hamilton is originally from Wuhan, China and speaks Mandarin Chinese. Mia holds a BS in Applied Mathematics and Statistics from Southeast Missouri State University and is currently completing a master’s degree in Business Administration at the University of Miami. Prior to joining Valencia College, she served in the U.S. Army as a Financial Management Technician and worked as a Finance Associate for a Global Fortune 500 company in New York City. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, dancing and spending time with her family.

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.

Haley Fox

Haley Fox

International Recruitment Specialist

Haley holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She spent six months studying in Seville, Spain while earning her degree, which was where she solidified her passion for learning about other cultures. Prior to joining Valencia College, Haley worked in the hospitality industry at Walt Disney World Resort as well as Universal Orlando Resort. When she is not working, you can find Haley exploring Florida’s springs, hiking, and spending time with her rescue dog.

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 B.S. in Criminal Justice from University of Central Florida and is currently in pursuit of his M.S. 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.

 Anderson Perez Anderson Perez

Osceola Campus Coordinator

Born and raised in Venezuela, Anderson Pérez came to Valencia College in 2008 to study as an F-1 International Student. He earned his A.A. and transferred to the University of Central Florida where he earned a B.S. in Sports and Exercise Science. In his first semester at Valencia College he started working as a Student Leader in the Atlas Lab, he enjoyed working with students so much that has not left since. In his current role at the College he is excited to have the opportunity to advice and support International Students that are in the same shoes that he was once in. During his off time he likes to travel, try different foods, play soccer and relax near the water.