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 Affairs 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 Affairs 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!
October 2020: Loyce Pailen, '90, '96, '05
Dr. Loyce Pailen is an author, alumna, current UMGC employee, and an avid volunteer. Dr. Pailen helps older members of the Metropolitan Baptist Church by supporting Zoom call-in services for those who do not have computers in their home. Within her community, Dr. Pailen is a court-appointed surrogate advocate (CASA) for children in the foster care system, often using her vacation time to attend court appointments for the families.
"Loyce is such a kind-hearted giving person," shared colleague Jennifer Hull. "I don’t think Loyce considers volunteering a job. She is just being herself; she would help anyone one that needed it."
As an author of children's books that focus on cybersecurity, Dr. Pailen donates some of her books to children both locally and internationally. She also volunteers her time to talk about the importance of cybersecurity to people of all ages as well as local associations. Dr. Pailen is the Director of the Center for Security Studies at UMGC, where she is currently organizing the annual Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which hosts a series of events open to students, alumni, and staff.
"I have been blessed to have many people who have helped me," said Dr. Pailen "I am dedicated to helping others who may not be as fortunate."
September 2020: Kevin Juico, Current Student
Kevin Juico first volunteered at the age of 15 as an altar server at Good Shepherd Catholic Church. He joined the U.S. Navy in 2017 and was stationed at Naval Medical Center in San Diego. During his time there, Juico assisted with the summer camp for the San Luis Rey District of the San Diego Imperial Council of the Boy Scouts of America and delivered food to people in need with Meals on Wheels.
Currently stationed at Camp Foster in Okinawa, Juico supports the local catholic church as an usher. He works with Single Marine Program (SMP) and leads base clean-ups to promote camaraderie among different commands. Overall, Juico contributed 296.5 hours of volunteer service in the 2019 and received a Gold Level of designation from the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
"Volunteering enables me to be engaged with our community, especially in Okinawa where it helps strengthen our relationship with the local nationals," says Juico. "Helping make an impact — no matter how small the task — can positively affect those around you!"
August 2020: Joshua Lavoie, Current Student
Joshua "Jay" Lavoie is a peer tutor volunteer, assisting students with computing courses. The student who nominated him shares, "Jay is the embodiment of a good tutor. He is positive, patient, knowledgeable, and a good listener. Tutors like Jay has made my learning experience at UMGC pleasurable and successful!" Lavoie’s interest in helping other students comes from his own experience of receiving valuable assistance from others. "I have had many people who have mentored me in several areas of my life," Lavoie states, "My wife and her family have instilled the importance of education in me, and I have enjoyed being able to pass that along to others when I have the opportunity to do so."
Lavoie is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer networks and cybersecurity. As he moves forward in his career, Lavoie aims to be a professor one day. He is very thankful for the nomination and to UMGC for recognizing him for this award.
July 2020: Diana Ravelo, current student
Diana Ravelo is an active-duty servicemember in the U.S. Army, pursuing her bachelor’s degree in human resources management. Ravelo received her associate’s degree in general studies from UMGC in 2019.
Ravelo has volunteered more than 500 hours of service in support of various agencies. She served as the non-commissioned officer-in-charge for Better Opportunity for Single Servicemembers, planned holiday events and coordinated the gifting of baby baskets for soldiers and expecting mothers. Ravelo has also volunteered for the Green Berets Foundation. She received the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service member award in May 2020 from the U.S. Army for her efforts and contributions.
"Giving back to my community is what I’m passionate about. Doing that throughout my military career has been by far one of the best experiences," says Ravelo.
June 2020 Volunteer of the Month: Judy Kitusa, '10, '12, ‘17
Judy Kitusa is an alumna of the dual master's degree program, earning an MBA in 2017 and a Master of Science in cybersecurity in 2012. Kitusa earned a Bachelor of Science in information systems management in 2010.
Kitusa volunteered throughout her UMGC journey. As a member of Alpha Sigma Lambda, she participated in the Allies Mentoring Program as a peer mentor in 2016. Kitusa has been student vice president of the Phi Kappa Phi chapter of the National Honor Society for the last three years and has worked with the chapter's board of directors by attending monthly meetings and contributing to the annual initiation ceremonies. She helped organize annual book drives to support several local nonprofit organizations.
"Volunteering has given me motivation and a sense of self-accomplishment in knowing that I help to make a positive impact in the society," says Kitusa.
May 2020 Volunteer of the Month: Ron Jackson, '16, ‘15
Ron Jackson is a graduate of UMGC's dual master's degree program, earning an MBA in 2015 and a Master of Science in Management with a specialization in human resource management in 2016. As an alumnus, he has volunteered multiple times to present in webinars hosted by UMGC Career Services and Alumni Relations. In the webinars, Jackson helped other students through sharing his extensive work experience and by providing peer career advice.
Jackson joined the Natural Resources Conservation Service Office of the Chief Human Resources Management Officer in April 2017 as a Presidential Management Fellow Management Analyst in Washington, D.C. During this time, Jackson was the human resources liaison responsible for the day-to-day management of the agency's PMFs and the recruitment of the 2018 class of PMFs.
Before entering the federal workforce, Jackson served in the U.S. Army and spent nearly 23 years on active duty. He enlisted in the infantry with an assignment in the 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. However, most of his career was in the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, where he served in several positions, including, recruiter, recruiting operations analyst, and senior trainer.
April 2020 Volunteer of the Month: Danielle Davis, current student
Danielle Davis, an undergraduate student pursuing her bachelor's degree in psychology, has a passion for helping others. As an instructor at the Airman Leadership School within the Air Force, in addition to teaching the curriculum, Davis mentors students through real-world barriers and helps them find resources so they can write a plan for success. On her base, she serves on the Base Club Board and the Innovation Council and has helped organize events, such as a Multicultural Day and a women's Veterans summit. She also volunteers at a local animal rescue and helps to fundraise for the shelter in her free time.
"I genuinely care about the health and wellbeing of others", states Danielle. "This is the driving force behind my passion for helping people."
When Davis served as a police officer in Baltimore City, she voluntarily completed Crisis Intervention Training to learn about different resources for citizens so that she can better assist the people she interacted with in the community. Davis continues to serve her hometown by volunteering as an emergency medical technician for the Baltimore County Volunteer Firemen's Association when she is home. She also enjoys visiting her old high school to speak with students about military opportunities.
Excited about the award, Davis appreciates "the opportunity to share my contribution to the selfless things UMGC students are doing for society." Congratulations, Danielle!
March 2020 Volunteer of the Month: Adam Arruda, current student
Last spring, when Adam Arruda received an e-mail to volunteer as a student leader for the UMGC chapter of the National Society of College Scholars, he jumped at the opportunity. As chapter president, Arruda took the initiative to revive the chapter by holding regular meetings, conducting information sessions, and collaborating with other officers to develop activities for members.
"As chapter president for NSCS for the past year, I have become a better leader and team-builder, while building skills in communication, social media, planning and development, and conflict resolution." Arruda graduates this year with a bachelor's degree in business administration, and he hopes the next president will benefit from the structure he's put in place.
Arruda also volunteers outside UMGC when opportunities arise within the military community. He is currently assisting in coordinating a USO mobile tour for a local Freedom Fest event, and recently participated in an Adopt A Highway® clean-up effort. Arruda has an interest in volunteering his time to teach mental health first aid and intervention skills to adults.
"I feel a sense of reward in helping others," says Arruda. "It is good for the mind and body and allows me to gain a broad spectrum of experience. I truly believe knowledge is power, so my main focus is to educate and professionally develop those around me at any opportunity I am given."
Thanks, Adam, for your dedication to the UMGC NSCS chapter and beyond!
January/February 2020 Volunteer of the Month: Marisa Sees, current student
Marisa Sees is an East Asian studies major at UMGC and an active-duty servicemember in the U.S. Air Force. Sees volunteers as team leader at the Titans' Refuge Ministry Center at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, which provides approximately 3,000 U.S. military and NATO personnel with a place to connect and recharge through complimentary amenities, refreshments, and special events.
Sees has more than 382 volunteer hours, has trained more than 200 new volunteers, and has supported 188 community events. She has also taught Japanese classes so that she can share her love for Japan and educate her peers about the language and culture. Through her dedication, community service, and time working with the Ministry Center's volunteer team, she's received the President's Volunteer Service Award (Gold Level), as well as the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal (MOVSM).
Sees also served as the secretary for the dorm council at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and as the president of the Incirlik Air Base Security Forces dorm council.
"I knew I wanted to grow as a leader," says Sees. "As president [of the dorm council], I have worked hard to improve the quality of life for our residents, as well as raise funds for dorm events."
December 2019 Winner: China Lee, current student
China Lee was nominated due to her participation on the University of Maryland Global Campus Student Advisory Council (STAC). "When I transferred from Towson University to UMGC in 2017, I wasn't sure that I would be able to play a role in changing or contributing to the lives of others," said Lee. "When I was presented with the opportunity to be a member with STAC, I was thrilled." Lee was elected as an alternate on the council and in this role, she attended the monthly meetings and regularly chimed in with her ideas and suggestions. For a welcome call initiative that STAC was conducting, she volunteered her experience and shared her strategies and email templates with the other representatives.
Volunteering is something Lee has done for years. During her time in nursing school, she volunteered at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. She has participated in the Annual Red Shoe Shuffle 5k Run hosted by the Ronald McDonald House, and she was an active events committee member with her previous employer. She has served on the STAC at UMGC for the past year and will continue her role through the end of December, when she will be graduating with a bachelor's degree in social science.
"As a person who truly enjoys helping others, it is important to me to take advantage of any opportunities that allows me to do so," said Lee. "My favorite quote is from Mark Twain: 'The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.' I am glad that I have found my purpose and take pride in helping others discover theirs."
November 2019 Winner: Adonis Cooper, current student
Adonis Cooper's commitment and involvement with the Student Advisory Council (STAC) over the past year has earned him this award. As a new member, he volunteered to be on the executive committee as a vice chair, attending monthly meetings, making welcome calls to new students, and providing feedback.
Cooper is an event volunteer for the BSides Augusta InfoSec Conference, a vendor-sponsored conference that is attended by cyber security professionals to discuss trends, best practices, and new technologies. He also mentors soldiers who are looking to obtain experience in the IT and cybersecurity fields. "I get to watch the soldiers who earn certifications and/or change jobs achieve their goals," states Cooper. "The icing on the cake is when they come back and thank me for the time I invested in their future and development."
In addition, Cooper has volunteered for Meals on Wheels America, where he personally delivered more than 400 meals to senior citizens in the Presbyterian Homes and Housing Foundation of Florida assisted living facility. "It brings me joy to see the gratitude on someone's face after I have helped them. I believe positivity and kindness are contagious, so I just try to do my part to spread it so that others will join in and do the same."
Cooper is graduating with his bachelor's degree in computer networks and cybersecurity in December.
Thanks for your volunteer work, and congratulations on your degree completion, Adonis!
October 2019 Winner: LaShown Nicole Sterling, current student
LaShown Sterling started volunteering for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in 2015 and joined Maryland's AFSP committee in year 2017. She has hosted a series of fundraising events and led AFSP's annual walk in Rockville, Maryland in 2018, with more than 500 participants. Sterling continues to be involved in AFSP to this day.
"I have personally lost loved ones [to] suicide, so it is important for me to continue to volunteer and fundraise to raise awareness, educate, and help AFSP reach their goal of reducing the suicide rate 20% by year 2025," said Sterling.
Sterling is also currently serving as an officer for the UMGC Chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, which is committed to scholarship, leadership, and service.
"True wealth is not determined by the amount of money you make or the number of things that you possess. Your true wealth is determined by your mental and physical health and it is vital to actively take care of both," said Sterling. "Volunteering is rewarding and provides me with the opportunity to do my part and give back to my community."
Sterling is double-majoring in investigative forensics and psychology, and she anticipates graduating in 2021. Upon graduation, she plans to earn a master's degree in digital forensics and cybersecurity, then pursue work in the forensic psychology and computer forensics fields.