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!
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.
September 2017 Winner: Michael L. Hurd,
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."
October 2017 Winner: Jessica Gilles, '17
Jessica Gilles's passion for serving the community was inspired by her mother who would bring the family with her to volunteer for the local sports leagues and at the annual carnival. Most recently, Gilles has acted as coordinator for her law firm's Susan G. Komen Maryland Race for the Cure team and for their Operation DaySpring: Adopt-a-Child, through which the firm provides holiday gifts for 65 families. Gilles has also been active in her son's schools, raising money for the Parkville High School Athletic Boosters Club and serving as Parent-Teacher-Student Association president and as vice president of fundraising for her son's middle school.
"My engagement in the community and local youth advocacy and mentoring is very important to me," remarked Gilles. "It has been my pleasure to serve, and I have instilled the same in my son, who is as kind-hearted and understanding as his mom."
Gilles balances her volunteer work with her other responsibilities, including raising her son as a single parent, taking a full-time course load, and working as a legal assistant at Goodell, DeVries, Leech & Dann, LLP. Gilles completed a bachelor's degree in August 2017, and is studying for the LSATs. She plans to begin a dual MS/JD program in fall 2018, focusing on health law.current undergraduate student
Michael Hurd is pursuing his bachelor's degree in business administration while serving as an active-duty servicemember and volunteering in his community.
Since 2015, Hurd and his wife have served as Sunday school teachers at their church for a class of 13 children. Hurd says it is an honor to volunteer in this position and see the growth of each child.
Hurd also volunteers at his local state park, where he leads various activities like hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor adventures. Here, he works with diverse groups—from young children to adults with special needs.
"I love volunteering and accepting any opportunities that come my way," Hurd says. "I will always accept the call to serve others and feel joy when I do so."
Recently, Hurd found out about the One2One Mentorship program with UMUC's Office of Veterans Initiatives, and he is now a mentor for other UMUC military-affiliated students.
Thank you, Michael, for your willingness and eagerness to serve your community!
August 2017 Winner: Amanda Estrada, current undergraduate student
Amanda Estrada is currently a part-time student at UMUC. She recently completed all of the requirements for an associate's degree in general studies and is now working toward a bachelor's degree in social science with a minor in women's studies.
Volunteering has been an important part of Estrada's life since she was a teenager. She spent two summers volunteering at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona. After graduating from high school, she entered the military, during which time she continued her volunteer work with other programs, including the Adopt-A-Highway Litter Removal Service of America and the Pensacola Humane Society. Estrada makes sure she instills the same values of volunteering in her daughter, who received an award for Outstanding Junior Volunteer of the Year.
Estrada also organizes the Lunch Buddies Mentorship program with Warrington Middle School in Pensacola, Florida, providing on-to-one mentoring for middle school children during their lunch periods. Estrada also created the Flight Academy mentorship program—also at Warrington Middle School—in which aviation professionals mentor students through their course of study.
Congratulations, Amanda, and thank you for your service to the community!
June–July 2017 Winner: Linnita Hosten, '15
National speaker, college success advocate, and UMUC alumna Linnita Hosten is known for challenging young women to set a standard of excellence. She recently volunteered as the emcee for UMUC's 27th Alumni Reception and Awards celebration, where she kept event attendees engaged throughout the evening with her enthusiastic, dynamic speaking talent.
Hosten has had the privilege of speaking for the U.S. Army; Washington Redskins Cheerleaders; Georgetown University; Howard University; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; several public school systems; and many other organizations.
At the age of 19, Hosten began a life of service starting on her college campus. Various leadership roles quickly fostered her competency in student leadership program development, community outreach, volunteer management, and youth development and advocacy.
Hosten is an adjunct professor of speech communication at Anne Arundel Community College and a communications professional at Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
Hosten recently released a new book titled The College Strategy: How Ambitious Students Create Workplace Value While on Campus.