Each year, students are chosen to receive the Orkand Endowed Scholarship from the Undergraduate School. This scholarship covers a students' remaining tuition for their existing degree plans.
The scholarship was established through an endowment from Donald S. Orkand, founder of the Orkand Corporation and former chair of the university's Board of Visitors, to assist students in the completion of their degrees.
The Orkand Scholars demonstrate excellence and achievement in their area of study and have financial need. Here are their stories:
Rachel Bowser, RN to BSN
I am a registered nurse, and I absolutely love nursing. I currently work as an ER nurse in two different emergency departments, one of which is a trauma center. I am a member of the Emergency Nurses Association and recently attended their trauma conference in New Jersey. I attended Wor-Wic Community College where I obtained my associate's degree in nursing, and I am working toward my bachelor's degree in nursing at UMGC.
With the Orkand Scholarship, I will be able to finish that degree without the financial strain that I am currently under. I am also a wife and mother of two children, and while learning is something I love, it can be difficult without the right financial resources. I can't put it into words what this scholarship means, not just for me, but for my family as well!
Jason Ciemielewski, biotechnology major
I am a married adult student who works full-time as an associate immunologist while finishing my degree with online courses. The Orkand Scholarship allows me to focus the time I have outside of work on my studies, without the need for a second job. I will be applying at the end of 2020 for graduate school programs in immunology. The generous Orkand Scholarship will help me be better positioned financially for applying to graduate school.
Danielle Hall, psychology major
I am 31 years old and a proud native New Englander, born and raised in Maine. I started my college education in 2008, but after being diagnosed with a chronic illness, I had to take a hiatus. I was unable to start again until 2018, and by that time, I was married and had a 7-year-old son. Then in August 2018, my daughter was born.
Throughout the last year and a half, I have been working toward completing a degree in psychology am now in my last year of the program. Because of the Orkand Scholarship, I will be able to finish my education and set my sights on a graduate program. After I graduate in the spring of 2020, I plan to work toward a master's program in child psychology, either in the clinical or the counseling fields.
Nicole Humphrey, English major
I initially began working on my English degree immediately after I graduated high school. Now, 25 years later, I am finally nearing the finish line. My husband and I were married during my senior year of college. Over the past 18 years, we have been on a great adventure, living on three continents and bringing five amazing children into our family. During this time, my husband has worked for the Department of Defense, and I have stayed home with our growing family. Although being a stay-at-home mom has been incredibly rewarding, I have always felt the desire to complete my education.
The Orkand scholarship will allow me to finish my degree without compromising my family's financial stability. My hopes are to obtain my bachelor's degree in English and, hopefully, to receive a master's in distance education. Our youngest daughter has cerebral palsy, and this degree plan will allow me the flexibility to work from home if she is unable to live independently. Not only will the Orkand scholarship afford me the freedom to complete my bachelor's degree without debt, but it will ultimately allow me to contribute to our family's long-term financial security. For these reasons I am incredibly grateful for the generosity of Dr. Orkand and the opportunities he is providing to all the Orkand scholars.
Roula Parks, psychology major
This scholarship is extremely helpful in finishing my senior year as a psychology major with a minor in business administration. I plan to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology upon graduation. Ultimately, I would like to gain licensure to practice as a neuropsychologist.
Timothy Perry, business administration major
My school journey started on Christmas day of 2016. I had already received an associate’s degree in business a few years earlier, but it never opened any doors for me. During this time, I was taking care of my mother, who had stage IV breast cancer, and I found myself unhappy working a dead-end job. That Christmas something clicked, and I decided I wanted more out of life. I realized that a major change was needed and that I must go back to school, so I started researching online schools. Within a month, I was accepted at UMGC and began my first classes in spring of 2017. I was hoping to graduate before my mother passed away, but unfortunately, she passed last year. She was always proud of me for going back to school.
After my mother's passing, I was worried about how I would be able to afford my school. Thankfully, I was awarded the Orkand Scholarship, which allowed me to continue my education. I am about to graduate with my bachelor’s in business administration. I am forever thankful for the Orkand Scholarship in allowing me to finish my degree and give myself a better future. After graduation, I hope to get into the project management field.
Note: Timothy Perry has been an Orkand Scholar since spring 2019, and the other Scholars are starting their scholarship in the fall 2019 semester. Students are considered for the scholarship through the Office of Financial Aid. Students who complete a FAFSA and meet the minimum qualifications will be invited to apply for scholarships.