Nominate a Student or Graduate for Volunteer of the Month

Nominate a UMUC student or graduate today to be the next Volunteer of the Month! This recognition highlights outstanding student and alumni volunteers who serve their communities. Each month, one volunteer will be honored.

UMUC faculty, staff, alumni, and students are encouraged to submit nominations of outstanding volunteers who show a high level of commitment to helping others. This commitment can be demonstrated in a variety of ways, including consistent participation, a willingness to give extra effort, and going beyond the duties of their role.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the award, a nominee must be

  • A UMUC student or graduate
  • A current or recent unpaid volunteer for a program, organization, event, or service project
  • A reliable and effective volunteer who is dedicated to helping others
Nomination Process

To nominate a UMUC student or graduate for this award, please e-mail UMUC Student Success with the following information and with any questions. Self-nominations are welcome!

  • Nominee's name
  • Nominee's e-mail address
  • Summary of the nominee's volunteer service
  • Website or contact information for the organizations, events, and/or programs for which the nominee volunteers.

A new winner will be selected the first week of each month.

UMUC commends students and alumni for all of their volunteer work. We encourage you to nominate a student or alumnus who is an active volunteer, including yourself!

April 2017 Winner: LaVita McCray-Morris, current student

LaVita McCray-MorrisLaVita McCray-Morris has a passion for volunteering. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in business administration, is a recent a member of the Student Advisory Council, and has previously been a mentor in the Allies Mentoring Program. Through these roles, LaVita has been able to represent the needs of UMUC's overseas students.

In addition to volunteering within UMUC, LaVita is an active volunteer in her community. She has held the positions of secretary and vice president for the RAF Lakenheath High School Roundtable, and participated in various positions with the Protestant Parish Advisory Committee, the Brandon Basketball Club, and other community organizations.

Over the years, LaVita has managed to balance volunteering with her responsibilities as a student, a substitute teacher, a wife, and a mother of three.

"I began volunteering many years ago when I was taught it is better to give than to receive," says LaVita. "I found the more I gave the more I received. My volunteer experiences have given me the chance to lead, serve, and to give back to my community and to my university. Volunteering provides opportunities to improve and learn new skills, learn new things about myself, and to network. Volunteering for me is rewarding, exciting, and fun!"

Thanks to LaVita for being a role-model for community involvement!

March 2017 Winner: Nicole Allen, current student

Nicole AllenNicole Allen is pursuing her bachelor's degree in public safety at UMUC while serving as director of industrial security and facility security officer for federal contractor DELTA Resources, Inc. In January of this year, Nicole volunteered her time and expertise as a subject matter expert for a UMUC Career Services webinar, "Security Clearances: What You Need to Know." During the webinar, Nicole shared her insights about how the U.S. government grants individuals access to classified information and offered timely advice to attendees about the clearance process. She also provided follow-up resources for interested students.

More recently, Nicole readily agreed to participate in a "flash" mentorship (informational interview) with a fellow student who had an interest in industrial safety and human resources to talk about her professional background.

Nicole's volunteer efforts have provided valuable information and industry know–how to many UMUC students and alumni. Thank you Nicole!

February 2017 Winner: Philippe Ki, '15 and '16

Philippe KiPhilippe Ki, a UMUC alumnus from the Cybersecurity Technology graduate program, was a volunteer mentor with UMUC's Allies Mentoring Program for two years. Philippe committed himself to providing encouragement and advice to several students majoring in information technology and related areas.

Philippe also coached students through educational challenges, sharing strategies for success. Most recently, Philippe signed up to be a tutor with, a university-centric online community, so he could offer academic help to current students.

"This [award] means a lot to me because my primary motivation is my desire to help others," said Philippe. "That drive and determination has enabled me to successfully teach traditional and non-traditional students (older adults) for years in remote and rural areas in Africa and to be a Peace Corps Volunteer Counterpart."

Thank you, Philippe, for your commitment to helping UMUC students and for your volunteer efforts!

December 2016–January 2017 Winner: Maria Foster, '11

Maria FosterWith the support provided by her employer, UPS, Maria Foster successfully obtained her UMUC bachelor's degree in Human Resources Management in 2011. "I enjoyed taking classes through UMUC," Maria said. "They offered many of my classes online, which allowed me a great deal of flexibility to balance school, work, and my mom duties."

Since graduating, Foster has been promoted to full-time management at UPS, and enjoys participating in volunteer activities with the UPS Veterans Business Resource Group. The activity closest to Foster's heart is UMUC's participation in Operation Welcome Home. The UPS Veterans Business Resource Group collaborates with UMUC alumni in preparing travel snack bags and "welcome home" cards for military members—and their families—as they pass through airports when returning from deployment. Foster's son is currently serving in the U.S. Army and he has started classes with UMUC as well. In 2017, he will begin his second overseas deployment since joining the military. Foster says it's wonderful to think that, as he returns, a group of well-wishers may be waiting at the airport to provide snacks and their "thank yous."

Thank you, Maria, for all you do for UMUC, our students and alumni, and our nation's service members!

November 2016 Winner: Seth Barksdale

Seth BarksdaleSeth Barksdale is an undergraduate finishing up his bachelor's degree in Cybersecurity. During a biology class in the Spring 2015 semester, he attended weekly study sessions led by a peer leader. Seth appreciated the support so he decided to return the favor.

For the past year, he has worked closely with a few classmates in his computing courses, tutoring them over the phone, on the computer, and in person. He also signed up to be a WiseGuy tutor, volunteering to help other students through the WiseGuy platform. Since joining in mid-September, Seth has helped four students and logged more than ten hours in that system.

Thanks, Seth, for taking the initiative to help your fellow students in multiple ways.

October 2016 Winner: Dr. Anh Thai, '96 and '02

Dr. Anh ThaiDr. Anh Thai spent his career in business management and leadership, working 10 years for the government and more than 20 years in the private sector. His research involves the interactions and relationships between leadership and employment within organizations. Additionally, Dr. Thai developed and maintained his own consulting and business services at

He earned his bachelor's in management and technology ('96) and his MBA ('02) from UMUC. Dr. Thai is an active alumni mentor in the UMUC Career Mentor Program and recently participated in the program's first-ever Mix & Match Mentoring Event.

Thank you, Dr. Thai, for being so involved with UMUC!

Previous Winners

September 2016 Winner: Yvonne Davis, '08 and '16

Yvonne DavisYvonne Davis served as the student president of UMUC's Phi Kappa Phi chapter during the 2015–2016 school year. In this position, she acted as a spokesperson for the student members, sat on the officer committee, and planned member activities. During the spring semester, she organized a drive to help collect books for a local children's hospital. Thanks to her hard work, the Phi Kappa Phi chapter and the UMUC community collected more than 300 books to donate.

Although Yvonne recently graduated with her master's degree, it is likely she will continue to play an active role with UMUC. She has been volunteering since her time as an undergraduate student when she participated in the Allies Mentoring Program, helping other students acclimate to the university.

Please join us in thanking Yvonne for her service!

August 2016 Winner: Jacqueline Williams, Current Student

Jacqueline WilliamsJacqueline (Jackie) Williams is a UMUC student studying to earn her Bachelor of Science in business administration, with a minor in human resources management. She serves as the vice president of public relations and recruitment for the UMUC Chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars Honor Society. Jackie is responsible for fostering awareness of NSCS and its activities among potential members, the online student body, and the community at large.

Jackie says that volunteering as an officer with NSCS is a role that she takes very seriously. She demonstrates her dedication to the student members by listening to their concerns, answering inquiries, sharing information, and finding ways to implement suggested ideas.

Thank you for leadership and service to our students, Jackie!

July 2016 Winner: Anne Alston '12

Anne AlstonAnne Alston earned her dual master's degree in 2012 from UMUC in information technology, specializing in information assurance and cybersecurity policy. Anne is active in the UMUC Mentor Program and has mentored 20 UMUC students and alumni since joining the program in October 2015. She is extremely responsive to her students and is an example of mentoring excellence.

Anne is the founder and CEO of Alstntec, LLC, a new, emerging woman-owned consulting organization that "connects clients, industries, and technologies." With more than 25 years of combined information technology and administration experience, Anne's extensive background comes with the knowledge and precision of providing valuable consultation services to all business levels.

Thank you, Anne, for being so involved with UMUC!

June 2016 Winner: Sharna Olafisoye, Current Student

Sharna OlafisoyeSharna Olafisoye is an undergraduate student who has been a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars Honor Society since 2013. In March of that year, she applied for and later received the position of vice president of social media, a role that has afforded Sharna the opportunity to connect with many students not only within UMUC but at other universities as well.

Because NSCS is an online chapter, Sharna and the other officers have to be creative in how they plan activities and how to support other members. This includes learning new technology for communication.

"I work with a great team of officers who strive to help other members enjoy NSCS as we do," Sharna reflects. "You get to help this great community of learners that you wouldn't realize were out there by sitting on the sidelines."

May 2016 Winner: Philip Callahan '66

Philip CallahanPhilip Callahan—an alumnus of the Munich, Germany campus—currently serves as senior vice president for the 2015–2017 UMUC Alumni Association Board. He chaired the 2013 Munich reunion, which brought together more than 80 alumni to the Maryland event. This summer, Philip is helping Munich alums organize a trip to Germany to revisit the campus.

Philip regularly attends UMUC volunteer events, like Operation Welcome Home, where students, alumni, faculty, and staff honor military servicemembers returning home from overseas. Since December 2014, he has served as a career mentor for the UMUC Mentor Program. Philip earned his AA in general studies, with an emphasis in psychology.

Thank you, Philip, for being so involved with UMUC!