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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

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.

January 2022: Rachel Jones, Current Student

Rachel JonesWhen Rachel Jones heard about the ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) program with NASA, she embarked on a yearlong project to help local students participate. Her efforts included reaching out to schools, completing an application, designing a curriculum, teaching students, and coordinating a large-scale event. She also coordinated with local radio clubs to ensure that they had the technology needed to communicate with the International Space Station.

Throughout the year, Jones helped the students learn about various STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) topics. “As a STEM mentor, I understand the importance of establishing a love of science at a young age,” Jones said.

As a result of her efforts, ten students from Savannah River Academy in Georgia were able to talk to an astronaut on the International Space Station on December 10, 2021. More than 200 people attended the event in person, and—thanks to Jones’s coordination with the local community—more than 2,000 others were able to watch the live stream.

Jones feels that her experience was well worth the hard work. “If there was one thing I learned from this experience, it's to make others tell you ‘no’ rather than stop yourself from trying,” says Jones. “Savannah River Academy was a small school . . . , but we developed a program and put forth an application. We didn't let the size of our community stop us from trying. Together I think we accomplished something amazing.”

Jones worked on the project while also pursuing her own studies in the computer networking and cybersecurity program at UMGC.

November/December 2021: Joseph Jolley, Current Student

Joseph JolleyMaster Sergeant Joseph Jolley, USAF, is an avid volunteer in his military community. While finishing up his bachelor’s degree in business administration, he serves on the Wright-Patterson AFB Top III, an organization dedicated to improving the health, morale, welfare, and discipline of all enlisted airmen. Under the leadership of Jolley and the executive committee, the Top III has offered 16 professional and personal development courses to the base workforce, presented monthly awards to outstanding airmen, presented four scholarships to further airmen education, coordinated two senior enlisted release parties, and hosted an induction ceremony. Top III also recruits volunteers for 10 local food banks.

Jolley also serves as an advisor with Diversity Cyber Council, Inc, a nonprofit organization that serves disadvantaged communities by enabling the education, training, and staffing of underrepresented groups in cybersecurity fields.

Over the years Jolley has been part of different nonprofit organizations wherever he lived. “It’s part of the life. I joined [the military] to protect and serve,” he said. “I serve the community I am in. If that community is in a different country, it is still my community. I try to live by the ‘high tides rise all ships’ philosophy. Rising others rises us all.”

October 2021: Matthew Gossett, Current Student

Matthew GossettMatthew Gossett is about to complete his bachelor's degree with an English major and Asian studies minor in December 2021. When he is not working on his classes or completing his military duties, he is an avid volunteer within his community.

Since joining the Air Force in 2004, Gossett has enjoyed using his unique position to help people when he sees the chance. He has been a member of his local Air Force Sergeants Association and the Awards Committee leader. His team organized the annual POW/MIA remembrance run at their base and ensured that the POW/MIA flag moved around the base track for 24 hours straight. His efforts allowed his team to win the 2020 division-level Legislation Chapter of the Year Award.

Gossett aids in the professional development of his fellow noncommissioned officers and has been a leader in the E5/E6 ranks for many years. He was secretary of his unit E5/E6 organization at his last base. When he moved to another location and learned his unit did not have such an organization, he was able to bring together a team and build a program for his unit. They held their first elections in July.

"I volunteer because I enjoy helping people. Nobody is perfect; we all need help with something," shares Gossett. "I've been lucky to have been presented opportunities that allow me to be active in my community. Being a mentor to those around me has allowed me to share my experience and encourage others to find out what motivates them as well."

Gossett also encourages other students to find what they enjoy doing and to volunteer.

Previous Winners

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