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University of Maryland Global Campus Alumni Association has honored seven outstanding alumni volunteers for their exceptional service to UMGC.

As in the past, the honors, which recognize individual alumni who enrich the UMGC community through their intellectual, social, cultural, and service contributions, were bestowed during the association’s annual Alumni Reception and Awards celebration—now in its 29th year—held this year during the UMGC Global Alumni Homecoming 2019 celebration: Together We Are UMGC.

Nearly 600 UMGC alumni joined in-person events in the U.S., Europe and Asia, while approximately 1,100 alumni, faculty and staff officially “checked in” to the UMGC virtual alumni homecoming platform to network, celebrate their achievement and successes, and pay tribute to this year’s Alumni Awards honorees.

About the Awards

Awards are granted in four categories. The Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest alumni award granted at UMGC, was created in 1976 to recognize an individual who has realized outstanding personal and professional achievement while demonstrating exemplary service.

This year’s recipient, Steven Schupak ‘95, is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Maryland Public Television (MPT). He oversees planning and operations at Maryland's statewide public TV network (MPT), including its content, creative services, programming, sales, finance, and business units. And his MPT team includes producers, writers, finance and accounting personnel, graphic designers, sales representatives, plus on-air talent and freelance professionals. Their combined efforts result in upwards of 300 local, regional, and national programs annually, delivered via traditional, online, mobile, and social media platforms.

Prior to joining MPT, he served as vice president at Henninger Media Services, running the TV production and distribution group for eight years. Earlier in his career, he worked at Eon Corporation (formerly TV Answer), a pioneering interactive TV firm, and at COMSAT Video Enterprises, developing and producing content for subscription and pay-per-view video services.

Schupak launched his television career in the 1980s while on production staff at ABC Television Network for projects ranging from World News Tonight and Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve. Today, he is an active member of the board of directors of Olney Theatre Center, and a participant in Leadership Maryland.

His efforts in terms of serving and promoting his alma mater can best be described as above-and-beyond. In 2018, he was instrumental in securing a prime-time broadcast slot for “Over There,” the documentary about UMGC’s traveling faculty and has supported keeping the program available on the MPT website through 2022.

Through his leadership, MPT is now the presenting station for public-broadcast service of the award—winning Kalb Report. Underwritten by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, The Kalb Report explores the vital role of the press in our democracy and the transformation of journalism in the 21st century. UMGC is one of the program’s contributing producers.

Schupak also has been the catalyst for UMGC President Miyares’ appearance on MPT’s weekly public affairs program called State Circle. 

The Edward A. Parnell Outstanding Alumnus Award recognizes a UMGC alumnus or individual who has shown exemplary volunteer service over the course of the current year. The 2019 awardee, Anjelica Dortch ’18, is a recognized technology leader who has assisted UMGC in advancing its partnership with the federal government, provided mentorship and advocacy for women in technology and cybersecurity careers, and continues to share her expertise with UMGC alumni and the student community through career webinars and panels.

Dortch is a senior policy advisor for the Office of Management and Budget within the Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer. She is the recipient of the Maryland Cyber Warrior Woman award, Women Leading for Impact award, and Federal Computer Week's Rising Star award. Her dedication to service and leadership is an inspiration to her fellow graduates and alma mater.

The Alumni Executive Business Leader Award honors those who serve in a leadership role in their community and promote involvement in the university. This year's recipient, La’Naia Jones ’14, is deputy chief information officer (CIO) of the Intelligence Community (IC). She is a demonstrated leader and innovator in her field.

Jones supports the CIO and organization by leading modernization efforts of the IC Information Technology Enterprise and other areas of the IC Information Environment, which encompass transforming the IC through foundational cloud, data sharing and cyber capabilities. Prior to her selection as deputy CIO, she served as the chief of transformation and transition for a global IT service provider within the Department of Defense, delivering full spectrum information technology services to a global footprint spanning all time zones.

Over the course of her career, Jones has collaborated with global partners to provide exceptional service and support. She has also provided her expertise and time to the UMGC alumni community, participating in the UMGC Cyber Innovators alumni video series and mentoring students and alumni alike.

The Alumni Achiever Award pays tribute to UMGC alumni and community members who have made a significant contribution to supporting the university’s mission. There were four honorees for 2019:

Lionel Hounkanrin ’15—is  not only a workday financials system analyst at Evolent Health, but the author and founder of, a book accompanied by a blog that provides expert advice on personal finance, career development, and entrepreneurship.

His blog has received several awards, including "Top 50 Money Blogs for Millennials" and "Top 20 Black Owned Money Blogs." Since 2018, Hounkanrin has been a LinkedIn Advisor, providing feedback on the network experience. He is not only generous with his financial advice, but generous with his time and dedication to his alma mater.

He is receiving the Achiever Award for his commitment and support to serving as a UMGC mentor, social MVP, career panelist and dedicated volunteer.

Velma Hart ’18—is an Army Reserve veteran, currently serving as the chief operating officer at the Construction Specifications Institute and president and CEO of Velma Hart & Associates, a company that helps small and mid-size organizations build business operations and governance through strategic planning.

Hart also serves on several boards of directors and has dedicated time and effort to serving the UMGC alumni community as a career panelist and volunteer. She received her award for her exceptional dedication and service.

Norman Workman ’87—is the senior technical recruiter and military outreach specialist for IntelliDyne, LLC, as well as the founder and contract recruiter of the Workman Group. As a U.S. Army veteran, he specializes in military and veteran recruitment and has volunteered his time at the UMGC career fair, working directly with the Employer Services team to recruit UMGC talent for IntelliDyne.

He has been recognized with the Achiever Award for his key participation in the UMGC alumni career video series, as a Career Services webinar guest expert, and the career experts video for the Master in Transformation Leadership classroom, where he provided invaluable industry and career knowledge to students and fellow alumni.

Nancy Rhyne ’94 ’03—is an asset manager of affordable housing for the Montgomery Housing Partnership, Inc., a non-profit organization focused on neighborhoods, families, and affordable housing in the Washington metropolitan area.

She received the Achiever Award because of her dedicated commitment as a volunteer in support of her fellow graduates. Rhyne has given freely of her time for numerous alumni night events, including participating for the last five years in “Thank-a-thon,” when volunteers reach out by phone to UMGC alumni donors to thank them for their gifts.

UMUC President Javier Miyares has praised UMUC alumni as a group for distinguishing themselves through their service, philanthropy, and professional achievements.

“You are ambassadors. Your every success increases the success of your UMUC degree, for yourself, for alumni around the world, and for the future students who will join your ranks.”

About the Cover Photo:

Pictured (L to R) are the UMGC 2019 Alumni Award Recipients La'Naia Jones, Norman Workman, Anjelica Dortch, Steven Schupak, Nancy Rhyne, Lionel Hounkanrin and Velma Hart.

To learn more about the UMGC Global Alumni Homecoming 2019 event where Alumni Awards were celebrated, visit the UMGC Alumni News page HERE.