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.
To be eligible for the award, a nominee must be
- A UMGC 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 UMGC student or graduate for this award, please e-mail UMGC 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 UMGC Student Success if you have any questions. Self-nominations are welcome.
A new winner will be selected the first week of each month.
UMGC 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!
August/September 2019 Winner: Jose Cabiya, current student
Jose Cabiya is an active-duty servicemember in the U.S. Air Force, a husband, a student, and a volunteer who manages a non-profit CrossFit gym on RAF Molesworth in the United Kingdom. To date, Cabiya has dedicated more than 780 hours to coaching military servicemembers, dependents, and contractors to remain fit-to-fight—or to simply get back in shape. Cabiya has earned the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for his work with the military community.
"I believe in taking care of your body and mind, and I find that giving back to the community in the way of fitness is very rewarding," says Cabiya. "I enjoy volunteering my time helping others push their limits and find that I have created a tight-knit community that aims towards a positive goal of self-improvement."
Cabiya is pursuing a bachelor's degree with a major in marketing. Although he is originally from Puerto Rico, he is a huge New York Yankees fan, and hopes to work for the organization once he retires from the military.
July 2019 Winner: Kelly Steveson, current student
The thing Kelly Steveson enjoys most about his volunteer work is that it allows him to help military spouses and veterans.
Steveson began volunteering for Veterans of Foreign Wars in 2010 and is now the junior vice commander/service officer for Post 9555 in Yokota Air Base, Japan. Steveson provides counseling and educational guidance for all veterans in the Yokota area, whether they're transitioning back to civilian life or thinking about starting their academic careers at UMGC.
In addition to his work with the VFW, Steveson also works with the Retired Activities Office in the Airman Family Readiness Center on base. In this role, Steveson gives medical and career advice to the retired community. He also helps the surviving spouses of servicemembers with funeral planning.
"I see people at their most vulnerable state," Steveson says. "It is a great feeling when we can make them feel at ease knowing we are going to hold their hand through the process."
Steveson has been taking classes at UMGC since 2016. This past spring, he completed a certificate in Japanese Studies.
Thank you, Kelly, for all you do for the military community!
June 2019 Winner: Fredricia Cunegin, '97, '12
Fredricia Cunegin has a passion for teaching fellow entrepreneurs how to distinguish themselves in the market. That's why she's proud to be a member of the UMGC alumni My Volunteer Program (MVP), where she serves as both an industry expert and a headhunter volunteer.
In addition to her work with UMGC, Cunegin is also the founder and CEO of HRinMotion, LLC, a woman- and veteran-owned consulting firm located in Largo, Maryland. She and her company provide human resource management services to small and mid-size organizations.
This entrepreneurial spirit is what led Cunegin to participate in last month's LinkUp with UMGC Alumni Entrepreneurs event, where alumni were given an opportunity to build meaningful connections with industry experts. During the event, Cunegin proved to be a valuable resource, sharing key insights and helping participants further their career goals.
Thank you, Fredricia, for all you do for UMGC!
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 UMGC!
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 UMGC Student Advisory Council. Now, he serves as the Executive Committee chair.
As a representative voice for the students, Williams provided feedback on the UMGC initiative to move towards a textbook-free environment. In addition, he has represented the university at the state level and supported UMGC initiatives by testifying at both the University System of Maryland Board of Regents and the Maryland State Senate. Williams has also represented UMGC 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 UMGC!
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 UMGC, 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 UMGC 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 UMGC 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 UMGC, Hopkins volunteers as a tutor through the WiseGuy platform, at which she has spent many hours helping other UMGC 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 UMGC student, D. Andrew Blankenship makes a positive impact on his community, both at home and around the world. At UMGC, 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 UMGC Alumni My Volunteer Program (MVP). She recently served at the UMGC 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 UMGC alumni, which graduates receive when they walk across the stage at commencement.
"I have found volunteering as a UMGC 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 UMGC, 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 UMGC 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 UMGC!
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 UMGC. 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!"