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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

September 2022: Ebony McArthur ’18 & ’20, current student

Marco Avecilla

When the opportunity arose, Ebony McArthur chose to run for the Student Advisory Council (STAC), knowing that her unique perspective as a student who participated in multiple degree programs at UMGC would be valuable in a role that represented the student community. McArthur began her studies at UMGC in 2016 and has since earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance and an MBA. She began her service as a graduate representative on STAC in January 2021 when she entered the doctoral program in business administration.

In addition to serving on STAC, McArthur has also volunteered for various student panels, an experience that has enabled her to share the student experience directly with UMGC leadership. She has also been a member of the University System of Maryland Student Council since September 2021.

“Volunteering is extremely important to me because it gives me a sense of community and the ability to work with others,” shares McArthur. “It means sacrificing your time and sharing your knowledge to aid others, which is what I love to do. I’ve always loved to learn, and I’ve always loved teaching and sharing my experiences.”

McArthur is owner of McArthur Realty Group and a financial literacy coach.

August 2022: Marco Avecilla ’22

Marco AvecillaMarco Avecilla recalls how his father told him about almost becoming a priest when he was younger. In the end, his father followed his heart. “It is about choices and whatever that choice is, it must come from your inner soul,” recalls Avecilla. “I volunteer because of his principles as a servant leader.” At UMGC, Avecilla volunteers through his role on the Student Advisory Council, first as the undergraduate European division representative and then as an undergraduate stateside representative. 

Avecilla has served on the council since summer 2020. Often staying up past midnight to attend meetings in Europe, he provided valuable feedback, representing military students. In 2021, Avecilla became the secretary for the council, a position he held until June 2022. Avecilla completed his Bachelor of Science in Accounting this month. 

While serving in the U.S. Air Force, Avecilla was awarded Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year, Air Force Meritorious Service medals, Air Force Commendation medals, Air Force Achievement medals, and NATO medals. 

“I volunteer because it is the right thing to do. Giving back to the community gives me a sense of humility and that there’s hope for humanity,” says Avecilla. “Just like my father left me with kindness and the legacy that I should be a model for others to follow.”

July 2022: Alexandra Alexis ’21 and current graduate student

Alexandra AlexisAlexandra Alexis believes in the power of celebration and helping others. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she recognized the importance of celebrating each course that took her closer to her goal. Nothing stopped her, and in May 2021 she earned her bachelor’s degree in social science from UMGC. When she heard about the UMGC Spring Grad Walk and how 2020, 2021, and 2022 graduates were invited to walk, she wanted to celebrate this milestone with her fellow graduates. Instead of walking herself, she signed up to volunteer on both Saturday and Sunday, spending her weekend welcoming new graduates to the alumni community. Alexis believes “It is important to make time to motivate and encourage others to be successful and want to accomplish so much more!”

“I had a great time cheering for the new graduates. I know how much these graduates and their families have overcome to achieve this,” shares Alexis. She has also overcome challenges to achieve her education. With a focus on her passion for helping others, she returned to UMGC and is pursuing her Master of Science in Healthcare Administration for a career in healthcare.

“It was not a question of whether I would be there to volunteer,” says Alexis.  “Volunteering is good for the heart and soul.”

April/May 2022: Nicole Bryant '16 & '18

Nicole Bryant Nicole Bryant, an alumna who completed both an MS in Health Care Administration and an MBA at UMGC, volunteered for the university’s annual career fair in March. The career fair is a large event designed to help match students with potential employers, and it relies on volunteers to provide both parties with a high-quality experience. “UMGC has given me an opportunity to share my talent and skills with other alumni and students,” says Nicole, who mentors new employees at her job at MedStar Health.

Bryant has been a volunteer her entire life. As a child, she helped to put together food bags with her grandmother at their church to feed the homeless. Growing up, she continued to volunteer at local shelters and churches in their outreach initiatives. As an adult, Bryant has mentored new employees, helping young professionals become managers, directors, and vice presidents. She also helps at her church, in her neighborhood, and at her daughter’s school, and she serves as treasurer and a mentor in the Greater Maryland Chapter of the National Black MBA Association.

“Volunteering is something everyone should do,” Bryant said. “Either on a small scale or large scale, volunteering is the backbone of success for many people and organizations. Someone helped me to be successful, therefore I believe I must help the next person.”

March 2022: Keairra Adams '14

Keairra AdamsKeairra Adams makes volunteering and helping others an integral part of her life. “One of the greatest gifts you can give is your time, for we can never get it back,” she said. Adams volunteers at various organizations, from her church, where she serves as an outreach ministry member, to local service organizations, where she participates in a number of events, including food drives, visits to rehab facilities, recycling initiatives, reading time at childcare centers, and women’s empowerment activities.

While she was a student, Adams became a member of multiple honor societies, and she has given back to them by volunteering to serve on their scholarship committees. Most recently, she participated in the fall 2021 induction ceremonies for UMGC’s chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda, the premier honor society for adult students in higher education.

As a recent alumna of UMGC, Adams signed up to mentor new students in 2015, helping them adjust to the university and checking in on them throughout the term. She continued to help students until the mentoring program ended in 2016. She has also volunteered for UMGC’s annual virtual career fair.

Adams said, “My favorite quote is ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it's the only thing that ever has.’ I aspire to be one of these world-changing individuals and pray that I've blessed at least one person in my years of volunteer service. It is my sincere honor and pleasure to continue forevermore.”

February 2022: Barbara Archer, Current Student

Barbara ArcherAs a child, Barbara Archer learned firsthand what it is to rely on the kindness of others. She now feels fortunate that she was able to overcome the obstacles she faced to support herself and her children but is aware that not all people have had the same privileges she had. Therefore, Archer takes on volunteer roles when she has the opportunity in hopes of helping others.

For the past year, Archer has served as the executive chair of the UMGC Student Advisory Council. As chair, Archer plans and leads the monthly meetings, coordinates with UMGC staff, and communicates with fellow students. She hopes that she can make a difference in advocating and being the voice for the student body. She has also participated on the development committee for a new mental health advocacy student organization.

In 2000, Archer acted as the chaplain at a correctional facility. As chaplain, her main duties were to administer, supervise, and perform work in a program of spiritual welfare and religious guidance for inmates.

When asked, “How can one person open the door for someone else?” Archer said, “We all walk unique paths, and our own experiences shape how we view the world. You may think of yourself as an underdog, but just think how you can use your sphere of influence to help the next underdog be successful.”

Archer is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in legal studies in the hope of one day becoming an attorney so that she can continue to help others in a new role.

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