Nominate a Student or Graduate for Volunteer of the Month
Nominate a UMUC 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.
UMUC 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 UMUC 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 UMUC student or graduate for this award, please e-mail UMUC 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 UMUC Student Success if you have any questions. Self-nominations are welcome.
A new winner will be selected the first week of each month.
UMUC 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!
D. Andrew Blankenship, current student
As an active-duty member of the U.S. Army and a UMUC student, D. Andrew Blankenship makes a positive impact on his community, both at home and around the world. At UMUC, 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 UMUC Alumni My Volunteer Program (MVP). She recently served at the UMUC 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 UMUC alumni, which graduates receive when they walk across the stage at commencement.
"I have found volunteering as a UMUC 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 UMUC, 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 UMUC 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 UMUC!
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 UMUC. 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!"
July 2018 Winner: Ademola Wood, '18
Ademola Wood has dedicated his time to numerous community organizations throughout the last five years. In addition to being a petty officer in the U.S. Navy and a student, Wood volunteers for events with Toys for Tots, Meals on Wheels America, Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill Industries International, and others. Recently, he has dedicated more than two hundred hours to volunteering on his base in Djibouti, participating in cleanup activities, helping the on-base basketball teams at their games, and acting as the vice president for the Friends of Africa volunteers. This past spring, Wood completed his Bachelor of Science in management studies.
"My interest in volunteering has been solely due to my humble upbringing," states Wood. "Through my childhood, I learned early on that being kind, selfless, and treating others as I would want to be treated should be the principles I live by, for this would not only enhance another person's life but would, in turn, fulfill my spiritual needs. Despite the world's tragic events, I still believe that the majority of people are centered on morals and values."
Wood's nominator, Priscilla DuBose, says, "His volunteer work is an inspiration to all who witness it."
Thank you, Ademola, for your dedication to volunteering!
June 2018 Winner: Julian M. Galvan, current undergraduate student
Julian Galvan began volunteering while on tour as an active-duty Marine in Okinawa, Japan in 2013. He has since logged hundreds of hours, supporting numerous events for various causes within his community. During his time in Okinawa, he volunteered at events that connected the United States Marine Corps to Japanese citizens, including Earth Day events, community fairs on the U.S. base, and events to help the impoverished. Galvan stated, "In my opinion, that is what a good Marine is supposed to do."
After his tour in Japan, Galvan continued to serve, volunteering at school and church events and with local organizations. "I noticed the effect my volunteer service had on the surrounding communities," he said. In addition to participating in fairs and charity events, he spent over 200 hours helping out at a local farm that acts as an educational and historical facility.
In correspondence acknowledging his community service, project organizers noted that he brings an "element of joy to the team," and that his "politeness, verbal, and leadership skills are hard to find these days."
In addition to volunteering and being an active-duty Marine, Galvan is finishing up his Bachelor's degree at UMUC, majoring in computer networks and security. He also received an Associate of Arts degree from UMUC in 2017.
May 2018 Winner: Kirk Ney, '15
Recently, Kirk Ney went above and beyond in his role as a volunteer at the University of Maryland University College 2018 Spring Career Fair. He felt called to volunteer at the university's largest annual career event, and did so by staying not only for his four-hour shift, but for the duration of the event—assisting staff and career fair attendees in any capacity possible.
In 2015, Ney graduated from UMUC with a Bachelor of Science in fire management and a minor in emergency management. "UMUC gave me a strong foundation and the confidence I needed to tackle my graduate degree head-on and the skills to serve as an emergency services supervisor and provider," Ney says.
Working for the past 18 years for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, Ney has risen to the rank of captain. He says he enjoys being challenged, and working in the emergency services field has afforded him countless opportunities to learn new skills. In addition to being a field supervisor, paramedic, and training academy instructor, Ney earned his Master of Education in curriculum & instruction from Concordia University last year.
This summer, Ney plans to further fulfill his call to service by starting a non-profit organization that will organize free fishing trips on the Chesapeake Bay for active-duty military servicemembers and veterans. In his spare time, Ney says he enjoys exploring the Chesapeake Bay by boat with his wife Elizabeth and his son, Christopher.
April 2018 Winner: Andrew Dibonge, '17, current graduate student
Transit initiatives; clean, renewable energy efforts; classroom resources; and the future viability of local businesses are among the diverse topics Andrew Dibonge has tackled as chairman of the Quality of Life subcommittee for the Upcounty Citizens Advisory Board.
Dibonge's belief in the importance of being actively involved in his local community inspired him to volunteer for a three-year term on the board, a commitment that requires monthly attendance, organizing meetings, and drafting suggestions for county leadership. The board represents about 30,000 residents in an area of Montgomery County, Maryland.
"I've always felt compelled to volunteer for the board because of how much the county has done for my family and [me]," Dibonge said. "It is our responsibility to take care of one another and to make sure all of our voices are heard, especially when decisions are made that will affect us."
Dibonge completed his Master of Science in biotechnology, specializing in biotechnology regulatory affairs, in fall 2017. He is now pursuing a Doctor of Management degree at UMUC so he can advance his leadership skills and knowledge for his own start-up company.
March 2018 Winner: Tiffany Doby, current undergraduate student
Tiffany Doby is accustomed to creating space in her life for the people who need her help. An active-duty servicemember, a UMUC student, and a mother, Doby made the time, when her local food bank needed donations, to organize a food drive that canvassed more than 500 homes, distributing bags and collecting offerings.
"I grew up in a town where many families rely on these programs to feed their children, and it hurts my soul to think about how many people in America go to bed hungry at night," said Doby.
In addition to the Golden Harvest Food Bank, Doby is a volunteer for multiple organizations. She coached and mentored more than 20 girls as an assistant cheer coach for the Greenbrier Pop Warner youth cheer organization, and participates as a mentor in the UMUC One2One Mentorship program, working to support military students in the transition to civilian and academic life.
Doby slides other community service into her schedule whenever the opportunity presents itself, including volunteering with the local elementary school parent-teacher organization to assist in special events, such as book fairs and Veteran's Day events, and even liberating unused food from a holiday party for the local soup kitchen.
"Volunteering gives me a sense of community," Doby said. "It allows me to make a difference, even if it is small."
At UMUC, Doby is pursuing her bachelor's degree in business administration with a minor in human resources.
February 2018 Winner: Jeremy Honaker, current undergraduate student
Two years ago, Jeremy Honaker signed up to be a peer tutor at UMUC through the WiseGuy platform. Since that time, he has conducted more than 100 sessions with students in math and computing subjects, logging more than 130 hours of volunteer tutoring and responding to every student request he receives. Honaker's commitment to helping other students within WiseGuy is impressive.
Within his WiseGuy profile, Honaker has earned a five-star rating, with more than 75 reviews from students. They describe Honaker as patient, professional, and knowledgeable, with an ability to break down problems and make processes easier to comprehend.
"I decided to start tutoring to give back and work a bit on my teaching skills," Honaker said. "I figured, at the very least, if I helped one more person pass, it was a job done well."
Honaker is enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and is a current student majoring in computer networks and cybersecurity at UMUC. In addition to volunteering as a peer tutor at UMUC, Honaker has spent time tutoring elementary and middle school students in basic courses such as English, biology, and math.
Thank you, Jeremy, for dedicating your time to help other students be successful in their courses!
January 2018 Winner: Jennifer Leydorf, '17, current graduate student
Jennifer Leydorf works to create positive change by volunteering at school, work, church, and in her community. While pursuing a bachelor's degree at UMUC, Leydorf served on the Student Advisory Council to help undergraduate students have a voice in institutional decisions. At her workplace, she actively mentors new personnel and interns. At her church, Leydorf teaches middle school girls and volunteers with DivorceCare for Kids, a divorce recovery support group. As part of Grace Gives, a summer program within her church, Leydorf works with elementary school students and visits residents in nursing homes. She also volunteers her time doing administrative work and assisting in themed camps at Eco Adventures, a local wildlife conservation center focused on children's education.
Leydorf believes that every little bit helps when it comes to helping others. Throughout the year, she collects the pop tops of soda cans, canned vegetables, and canned fruit for Ronald McDonald House Charities. She also saves labels for the Campbell Soup Company's Labels for Education program and box tops for her church's school.
Leydorf graduated from UMUC with a bachelor's degree last spring, and is a member of two honor societies. She is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration.
November/December 2017 Winner: Angela Chavis, '09, '11
As a resident of Glenn Dale in Prince George's County, Maryland, Angela Chavis supports many efforts that benefit her community, school, place of worship, and workplace. She remains an active member of the UMUC alumni community and is a regular event volunteer through the UMUC Alumni Association's My Volunteer Program.
"From my work experience and the wonderful education that I received from UMUC, I stand prepared and committed to support those who may not be able to walk this path alone, understanding the fundamental truth that the strong should bear the weak," Chavis says. "I recognize that my support is part of the solution, not all of the solution."
In addition, Chavis's son is a U.S. military veteran, which means she is well aware of the commitment servicemembers and their families make to their country. She says that's why she enjoys supporting efforts that ensure our troops are appreciated.
"Volunteering is an integral part of my life," she says. "I never viewed volunteering as anything to be recognized for. It's just part of who I am and the way that I express my love."