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Volunteer of the Month

Nominate a Student or Graduate for Volunteer of the Month

Nominate a UMGC 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.

UMGC 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.

Important Information


May 2024: Lawrence Gross Jr., '97, '16

Lawrence Gross Jr. is a retired federal senior executive and federal regulatory corporate executive with more than 40 years of combined federal and military leadership experience. In March, Gross participated in UMGC’s Career Fair as a volunteer, using his experience to advise and support students and alumni looking for new careers or advancement.

Gross holds bachelor's and master’s degrees in information systems technology/management, a Chief Information Officer certification from the National Defense University, and a Balanced Scorecard certificate from George Washington University. Gross is a member of various professional information technology–related organizations and is the recipient of several prestigious military and civilian awards, including the Presidential Award for leading the federal Financial Management Line of Business initiative; the Department of Energy Secretary's Award for Leadership in Electronic Government; the Department of Justice Attorney General’s Award; and the Federal 100 Award, which recognizes government and industry leaders who have played pivotal roles in the federal government IT community.

Upon his retirement, Gross founded Etegrity Strategic Partners, a strategic consulting firm, and GenWealth Financial Services and serves as CEO of both entities. He is also an adjunct professor at the College of Southern Maryland and at UMGC.

April 2024: Anthony Patterson, current student

Anthony Patterson is an active-duty servicemember of the Air Force and an undergraduate student who makes time to fight food insecurity in his community. He volunteers for the Community Assistance Program with Whosoever Will Christian Church, a program that aims to provide education and nutritional food in the communities in and around Beltsville, Maryland. Patterson hands out food and nonperishable items and has led teams to serve meals. In the past year, he and his team members served more than 5,000 individuals and 3,000 families in need.

Patterson has many reasons for volunteering, which he sees as both a way to give back and a way to build his own skills. “As someone who has been through and overcame homelessness, I truly appreciated those who helped me along the way,” he states. “Helping others stimulates my own growth and helps me learn new skills personally and professionally. Volunteering improves my leadership and teamwork, which makes me happier because I am able to connect with others.” Through volunteering, Patterson has a sense of purpose and strong ties to his community.

March 2024: Destiny Bell, current student

For the past three years, Destiny Bell has volunteered with Upward Thrive Academy, an organization in Charles County, Maryland, that promotes personal, family, and occupational wellness. Within the organization, Bell volunteers in multiple ways, from distributing food items to the homeless and seniors to helping children and teens learn their lines and fine-tune their vocal performances in the organization’s theater program. Bell currently serves as a board member, providing experience, dedication, and leadership to the organization.

In addition, Bell is a part of the youth staff with the Greater Morning Star Apostolic Ministries and previously volunteered as a victims’ advocate for the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center at the University of Maryland Prince George's Hospital Center. In this role, she provided emotional support, accompanied victims to medical appointments, and coordinated with medical staff and families as needed. “I believe that volunteering is an avenue by which we can express compassion and love of Christ toward others,” shares Bell. “It is my way of showing gratitude.”

Bell is finishing her bachelor’s degree in human resource management at UMGC.

February 2024: Catherine Pearson, ’03, ’08 & ’11

Catherine Pearson is passionate about volunteering and serving others to foster personal, professional, and spiritual growth. A military veteran, an alumna of UMGC and North Central University, and a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and the Delta Mu Delta Honor Society, she fulfills her passion by coaching and mentoring students.

As a mentor through UMGC's Community Connect, she helps students align their career paths with their personal interests, providing guidance and business strategies. She has also volunteered at UMGC’s Career Fairs, sharing résumé and interview tips.

Beyond UMGC, Pearson is active in local organizations. She is the vice president of Texas Business Women of San Antonio, where she creates an environment in which women can thrive through education, networking, and community outreach. She also serves as a mediator for the local justice of the peace courts. In addition, her service on the Community Resiliency and Health Promotions Council and involvement with children's centers and charter schools reflect her unwavering commitment to her community.

Pearson’s journey in volunteerism began in high school when she assisted students with academic challenges. Of her mission to volunteer, she says, "I understand the struggle, and I loan my heart to the world by serving people in need of a better life experience."

January 2024: Catha Marie Stewart ’13

Catha Marie Stewart enjoys volunteering for her church service activities and UMGC alumni events. She often volunteered for the alumni fundraising telethon when it was held in Largo, Maryland, and loves helping out at UMGC commencements.

She also supports her fellow alumni at Prince Georges Community College, where she received her Associate Applied Science Degree in Forensic Science Technology. Since 2008, she has managed student and faculty administrative matters for the Weekend College Program, currently on a part-time seasonal basis.

One of Stewart’s dreams was to work for University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). She began her career with UMCP in 2006 in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. After earning her associate degree, she took advantage of the tuition remission program to study at UMGC, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Investigative Forensics in 2013. Later, she completed a Leadership and Management certificate program through tuition remission.

Now a program manager at UMCP, Stewart oversees administrative functions for various scientific research programs associated with the Institute for Physical Science and Technology within the College of Mathematical and Natural Sciences. She is a nominee for the 2024 Employee MVP Award for successful leadership in a postdoctoral fellowship program that awards tuition remission to students conducting research collaboratively with UMCP and advisors at the National Institutes for Health for the Partnership in Integrative Cancer Research.

Throughout Stewart’s career, she has been able to pursue her educational goals by having employers pay for classes. She delights in seeing students’ academically successful outcomes from tuition benefits because she gets to witness their dreams come to fruition.

Stewart is a fraternal twin and a Maryland state public notary for Prince Georges County.

December 2023: Nia Luckey, current student

In the past five years, Nia Luckey has volunteered for a number of organizations, including the Information Systems Security Association, Kennesaw State University, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and the CyberSafe Foundation's CyberGirls Initiative.

As a career mentor in the cybersecurity field, Luckey provides mentees with guidance and support to help them achieve their career goals. In 2023, she has assisted more than five mentees on their journey to their next career milestones. Her one-on-one mentoring, résumé review, interview preparation, and interactive podcast sessions have proven to be instrumental in helping her mentees succeed. Through the CISO Mentor Program at Kennesaw State University, Luckey helps graduate students enter the workforce and provides invaluable insights about breaking into the industry and navigating the path to success.

“Through my military service, I learned that selfless service is a core component of a great leader,” said Luckey, who is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity management and policy. “The idea of giving oneself without expecting something in return is lost in a society fueled by transactional relationships. Voluntary contributions become a critical component of selfless service, embodying the spirit of empathy and solidarity.”

Luckey’s unwavering dedication and outstanding contributions have profoundly and positively affected both the organizations she serves and the communities they support.


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