"One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again."
- Abraham Maslow
Transformative learning allows students to develop their own identity and sense of meaning in the world that's not influenced by other people's opinions or accepted cultural beliefs, values, and judgments. Instead, students become independent thinkers, which is imperative in a democratic society and it is also the primary goal of higher education.
A Science- Based Approach
I grew up in a village of 300 people in a third world country. My father had an 8th-grade education and my mother didn't go to school due to poverty. At 16 years old I left my village for a 5 am shift factory job and GED evening classes. At 26 I left my native country on my own in search of a better life. The journey from a GED to a doctorate degree in a different country and in a different language has been incredibly difficult but well worth it. My transformational story of sacrifice, persistence, resilience, and determination is a testament that anyone can become resilient and pursue their dreams. That's why I am so passionate about helping people achieve their full potential. I believe we CAN have meaningful work, excellent health, financial independence, and happy relationships.
I am a fighter and a doer. I refuse to take no for an answer and I never give up. Why should I? Why should you?
Throughout my life, I’ve approached every challenge with an "I Can Do It" mindset, enthusiasm, creativity, and readiness to learn from my mistakes and ask for guidance. With hard work and perseverance, I developed the skills I needed to pursue and achieve my goals and to believe in me, to take chances and to not be afraid of failures. To learn and to grow every day in every way. I am not perfect and I will never be. But life is about trying and doing your best each day. You'll learn more about me in my book if you wish.
My academic background is in sociology and education leadership. I love to teach and inspire people to think BIG and to take action toward a better life, a better future. I am committed to making a difference in teaching people the tools to design their own lives based on their own values and interests. Sadly, the education system is not equitable nor it prepares all students for the real world, which is why I decided to share my knowledge and help make the world a better place. When more people are educated and independent we all win.
I believe that ALL of us have the power within ourselves to create our own destiny and to live a life with intention, purpose, and meaning.
I believe ALL students CAN achieve success.
I believe in and value human potential. I constantly challenge and reinvent myself as I believe there is no limitation to what I can imagine and accomplish. I am committed to creating a future that’s inclusive as it is diverse. I want to help people become self-empowered and in control of their lives. You and I deserve to live an amazing life and I am committed to helping you achieve it.
Faculty - I love to teach, inspire and empower students of all ages with the skills they need to achieve success in their careers and in life. I want my students to be ready for the real world that's changing faster than we do. I primarily teach in education leadership programs, as well as general education courses (communications, sociology, public speaking...).
Speaker - I love to share my passion for education, to inspire and empower people to dream bigger and to not be afraid of the unknown.
Author - I wrote, "The Successful Student Mindset" which is about the skills and strategies successful students use to achieve success in the classroom and beyond. I also wrote, "Why Not You? How To Become An Empowered Woman" which teaches the reader how to overcome challenges and develop lifelong skills and achieve full potential.
Mindfulness Meditation Teacher: Holistic Wellness Advocate. My journey to wellness began in 2001 after my father died unexpectedly. I was devasted and bed-ridden for months. During that time I decided to change my life and become an advocate for holistic health. I quit smoking "cold turkey", signed up for workout classes, joined running groups and committed myself to read and to learn about living a healthy, intentional and meaningful life. Since then I ran a marathon, and so many other races, meditate consistently and supported and empowered others to begin their own transformative journey.
Val's Blog - Here on this website/blog I write and share ideas about how to achieve success and happiness at school, at work and in your personal life. Topics range from success, motivation, confidence, health/workout, growth mindset, retraining the brain to respond to your commands, education in America, teaching in American schools, soft skills training, and finding your passion and purpose.
My competition is myself...yesterday. I aim to grow at least 1% each day as I know there is no limitation to what we can learn and achieve if we determine that we want to be extraordinary. I am a role mlodel for my students and know that if they see me get things done they will too. No excuses.
LIFE IS A JOURNEY ...
To say life was challenging in my new adopted country would be an understatement. But I was committed to making it work. My farm life prepared me for working hard and for getting things done no matter how hard I had to work for it. But nothing prepared me for losing my father shortly after I left.
I was devasted and felt so alone and questioned myself if it was all worth it. If leaving everything I loved behind was worth it. I still grapple with it but what I discovered in this journey of loss and grief is that life is short and beautiful and I must search for meaning and purpose. After chasing success after success, from a GED to an EDD I was still not living my life fully and with a purpose. All the degrees, new condo, new car, friends, new clothes... - all of it did not fulfill me until I realized that things must change before they can get better.
And I did.
Once I did the work and found out who I really was, my values, my strengths, my dreams and desires that's when I began to change and design a new life for myself. A life aligned with my values, which is the only way to find true love, success, and happiness.