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.
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
To nominate a UMUC student or graduate for this award, please e-mail UMUC Student Success with the following information:
- 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
You can e-mail UMUC Student Success if you have any questions. Self-nominations are welcome.
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!
May 2019 Winner: Shaei Rodriguez, current student
In his three years of active-duty service in the Air Force, Shaei Rodriguez received plenty of support from the USO, especially when traveling. That's why, when he was deployed to the Middle East in 2018, Rodriguez decided to give back and volunteer with the USO on base.
During his deployment, Rodriguez logged over 70 hours volunteering with the USO. "While it's not the most glamorous of jobs, I definitely appreciated it," Rodriguez says. His tasks included managing the front desk, cooking meals for other servicemembers, cleaning, and planning events such as a weekly poker and cornhole tournament. His favorite event, he recalls, was a Star Wars trivia night. "The night ended with a tie, so the two runner-ups had to perform their best Chewbacca yell for everyone to see!" he says.
Rodriguez states that his experience with the USO has been nothing but positive. "The highlight of volunteering at the USO is the relationships you form with your peers," he says. "I made plenty of lifelong friendships from the many hours we spent collaborating on projects to make the deployment a little easier on servicemembers."
Rodriguez is working towards a Bachelor's of Science in accounting and aims to be in the graduating class of '22. His accomplishments at the university include becoming a member of the SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society and receiving a Veteran's Initiative Scholarship. Thank you, Shaei, for all you do for UMUC!
April 2019 Winner: Matt Williams, '16, current graduate student
Matt Williams was working through his undergraduate degree in marketing when he was selected to serve on the UMUC Student Advisory Council. Now, he serves as the Executive Committee chair.
As a representative voice for the students, Williams provided feedback on the UMUC initiative to move towards a textbook-free environment. In addition, he has represented the university at the state level and supported UMUC initiatives by testifying at both the University System of Maryland Board of Regents and the Maryland State Senate. Williams has also represented UMUC as its representative to the University System of Maryland's Student Council, working with student government leaders from across the state to address issues of diversity and inclusion, student welfare, and inter-campus relationship building. Williams is graduating this spring with a Master of Science in management with a specialization in information systems and services.
Having served in the U.S. Air Force from 2001 to 2015 as a language and cultural analyst, Williams continues to engage in interpersonal outreach with fellow vets, assisting them with their transition to civilian life through job placement mentorship and free résumé services. He is an active participant in a veteran's suicide awareness and prevention group that provides a sense of community and agency to service men and women.
Most recently, he was asked to be a principal adviser to a non-profit seeking to serve a wide range of backgrounds with a specific focus on transitioning servicemembers, veterans, and minorities who are interested in public, state, and federal service.
"Volunteering, for me, is my way of being grateful for the opportunities I have been given and fostering those opportunities for others," Williams says. "Pay it forward!"
Outside of his university engagements, Williams also organized a disaster recovery volunteer group to assist with local business cleanup after the devastating Ellicott City flood of 2018.
Thank you, Matt, for all you do for UMUC!
March 2019 Winner: Harvey Muñoz, current student
In 2017, Harvey Muñoz wanted to bring cultural awareness to his community of military and civilian families at Beale Air Force Base, so he stepped up to propose, and later coordinate, the base's first international event. Titled "Hands Around the World," the event took place in September 2017 and consisted of expositions of different countries including displays, entertainment, and food.
Muñoz committed more than 200 hours to organizing the event, recruiting and leading volunteers, and participating and managing the schedule on the big day. Following up on the success of that event, he also played a prominent role in organizing the second annual "Hands Around the World" event in October 2018. Through his hard work, folks in his community were able to learn from the diverse performances and exhibits of no fewer than 12 countries and two U.S. territories.
In addition to managing these international events, Muñoz leads a professional networking group and a lifestyle group for expatriates in the Sacramento, California area. Last fall, he worked with military organizations to provide school supplies, shirts, and more for children in need.
As a computer science major at UMUC, Muñoz manages to balance his coursework, his military career, and his volunteer efforts. His positive attitude, dependability, and commitment have made a strong impact on his community.
January/February 2019 Winner: Jason Hurst, '14
Jason Hurst enjoys sharing his learning experiences so others may learn from them, but as a mentor for the UMUC Career Mentor Program, Hurst explains that his mentor/mentee connections are beneficial for himself, as well.
"I have to stay on my toes and research things, then tie them to experience and information I can relate to for better helping my mentee," Hurst says. "This forces me to keep learning and adjusting—something which prevents me from getting too stagnant."
Hurst holds a bachelor's degree in computer networking and security and a master's in cybersecurity and information assurance. Currently, he's an instructor and writer for the U.S. Army Cyber School.
In addition to his work as a mentor, Hurst volunteers as a STEM coordinator and teacher with the Boy Scouts of America and an adjunct teacher with Augusta Technical College supporting network security.
Thank you, Jason, for all you do for UMUC students and alumni!
December 2018 Winner: Jermique Hopkins, current student
Jermique Hopkins has a passion for computers and a strong desire to help others by providing quality training to those seeking employment, career advancement, or basic computer knowledge. Her passion shows through her career and volunteering choices.
Professionally, Hopkins works as a programmer/analyst with LabCorp, where part of her job is to facilitate trainings. She also serves as an adjunct instructor and an IT trainer for ITrainEM, LLC, a company that provides IT and soft skills training.
At UMUC, Hopkins volunteers as a tutor through the WiseGuy platform, at which she has spent many hours helping other UMUC students on various computing and IT topics. She does this in between taking her own courses toward a bachelor's degree in information systems management and working.
"I find pleasure in knowing that the education I'm providing can help someone to become a better performer or prepare them for the next steps in their career," said Hopkins. "It is my way of blessing others with what I've learned over the years that has allowed me to be successful in my career."
Thanks for helping other students and professionals, Jermique!
November 2018 Winner: D. Andrew Blankenship, current student
As an active-duty member of the U.S. Army and a UMUC student, D. Andrew Blankenship makes a positive impact on his community, both at home and around the world. At UMUC, he is a One2One mentor, helping military students and their families achieve success in their desired programs. He encourages soldiers to engage in academics early in their careers and provides assistance as they apply for FAFSA and tuition assistance, consolidate their credits, and enroll in their first course.
Blankenship has volunteered as the senior vice commander at the Veterans of Foreign Wars, first at Post 12147 in South Korea, and currently at Post 5580 in Yelm, Washington. Within this role, he has served as honor guard, prepared food, represented the VFW at multiple Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, and given advice to active-duty and retired servicemembers. While stationed in South Korea, Blankenship not only helped feed the less fortunate, he also encouraged others to volunteer.
Blankenship also enjoys mentoring youth as a soccer coach and helping young adults gain business skills. He is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in business administration with a minor in human resources. His interest in serving others extends to his career goals of working in human resources and opening a non-profit organization to help teenagers in poverty pursue life goals, develop strong work ethics, and find employment.
September/October 2018 Winner: Sondra Roberts, '13
Sondra Roberts is a volunteer with the UMUC Alumni My Volunteer Program (MVP). She recently served at the UMUC Alumni Volunteer Night, where she assisted with making calls to thank alumni who have supported student scholarships in the last year. Throughout the evening, Roberts also assisted with preparing alumni lapel pins for soon-to-be UMUC alumni, which graduates receive when they walk across the stage at commencement.
"I have found volunteering as a UMUC alumna a multi-dimensional opportunity that I feel honored to be able to do," says Roberts. "It warms my heart and allows me to show appreciation to the many donors whose scholarships I and other students have benefited from."
In addition to volunteering with UMUC, Roberts is also an active alumni member of Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus in Washington, D.C. "Through volunteering, alumni are afforded the opportunity to network with other alumni, share ideas, opportunities and create new friendships," she says.
Roberts currently works for the federal government as a financial specialist and is currently pursuing her second UMUC degree—a master's in human resources management. She enjoys reading, traveling, shopping and being a first-time grandmother. Thank you, Sondra, for all you do for UMUC!
August 2018 Winner: Wendy Latimer, Undergraduate Student
Wendy Latimer enjoys volunteering her time at a variety of organizations, which she balances with her job, her family, and her studies as a Business Administration major at UMUC. In her community, she has been involved with the La Plata Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary for more than 20 years, serving in numerous positions. She also serves as the treasurer for a local Cub Scout pack. In 2017, Latimer served as the team captain for the Purple Angel Dementia Campaign, raising $1,000 for Alzheimer's awareness. Professionally, she participates on subcommittees at her job to help organize events and drives and is involved in both the National Property Management Association, where she serves as vice president of the NOVA Chapter, and the National Contract Management Association, where she has participated in women's leadership mentor activities and is an annual speaker for property management. Within her church, Latimer serves as the toddler nursery leader.
Latimer stress the importance of involving children in volunteer work. "It shows you don't always get something in return, like a paycheck, but it helps your community greatly. Engaging children in one's volunteering also combines serving one's community and family time―it can be a win-win for everyone involved!"
July 2018 Winner: Ademola Wood, '18
Ademola Wood has dedicated his time to numerous community organizations throughout the last five years. In addition to being a petty officer in the U.S. Navy and a student, Wood volunteers for events with Toys for Tots, Meals on Wheels America, Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill Industries International, and others. Recently, he has dedicated more than two hundred hours to volunteering on his base in Djibouti, participating in cleanup activities, helping the on-base basketball teams at their games, and acting as the vice president for the Friends of Africa volunteers. This past spring, Wood completed his Bachelor of Science in management studies.
"My interest in volunteering has been solely due to my humble upbringing," states Wood. "Through my childhood, I learned early on that being kind, selfless, and treating others as I would want to be treated should be the principles I live by, for this would not only enhance another person's life but would, in turn, fulfill my spiritual needs. Despite the world's tragic events, I still believe that the majority of people are centered on morals and values."
Wood's nominator, Priscilla DuBose, says, "His volunteer work is an inspiration to all who witness it."
Thank you, Ademola, for your dedication to volunteering!
June 2018 Winner: Julian M. Galvan, current undergraduate student
Julian Galvan began volunteering while on tour as an active-duty Marine in Okinawa, Japan in 2013. He has since logged hundreds of hours, supporting numerous events for various causes within his community. During his time in Okinawa, he volunteered at events that connected the United States Marine Corps to Japanese citizens, including Earth Day events, community fairs on the U.S. base, and events to help the impoverished. Galvan stated, "In my opinion, that is what a good Marine is supposed to do."
After his tour in Japan, Galvan continued to serve, volunteering at school and church events and with local organizations. "I noticed the effect my volunteer service had on the surrounding communities," he said. In addition to participating in fairs and charity events, he spent over 200 hours helping out at a local farm that acts as an educational and historical facility.
In correspondence acknowledging his community service, project organizers noted that he brings an "element of joy to the team," and that his "politeness, verbal, and leadership skills are hard to find these days."
In addition to volunteering and being an active-duty Marine, Galvan is finishing up his Bachelor's degree at UMUC, majoring in computer networks and security. He also received an Associate of Arts degree from UMUC in 2017.
May 2018 Winner: Kirk Ney, '15
Recently, Kirk Ney went above and beyond in his role as a volunteer at the University of Maryland University College 2018 Spring Career Fair. He felt called to volunteer at the university's largest annual career event, and did so by staying not only for his four-hour shift, but for the duration of the event—assisting staff and career fair attendees in any capacity possible.
In 2015, Ney graduated from UMUC with a Bachelor of Science in fire management and a minor in emergency management. "UMUC gave me a strong foundation and the confidence I needed to tackle my graduate degree head-on and the skills to serve as an emergency services supervisor and provider," Ney says.
Working for the past 18 years for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, Ney has risen to the rank of captain. He says he enjoys being challenged, and working in the emergency services field has afforded him countless opportunities to learn new skills. In addition to being a field supervisor, paramedic, and training academy instructor, Ney earned his Master of Education in curriculum & instruction from Concordia University last year.
This summer, Ney plans to further fulfill his call to service by starting a non-profit organization that will organize free fishing trips on the Chesapeake Bay for active-duty military servicemembers and veterans. In his spare time, Ney says he enjoys exploring the Chesapeake Bay by boat with his wife Elizabeth and his son, Christopher.