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Volunteer of the Month

Nominate a Student or Graduate for Volunteer of the Month

Nominate a ballbet体育 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.

ballbet体育 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.

Important Information

October 2021: Matthew Gossett, Current Student

Matthew GossettMatthew Gossett is about to complete his bachelor's degree with an English major and Asian studies minor in December 2021. When he is not working on his classes or completing his military duties, he is an avid volunteer within his community.

Since joining the Air Force in 2004, Gossett has enjoyed using his unique position to help people when he sees the chance. He has been a member of his local Air Force Sergeants Association and the Awards Committee leader. His team organized the annual POW/MIA remembrance run at their base and ensured that the POW/MIA flag moved around the base track for 24 hours straight. His efforts allowed his team to win the 2020 division-level Legislation Chapter of the Year Award.

Gossett aids in the professional development of his fellow noncommissioned officers and has been a leader in the E5/E6 ranks for many years. He was secretary of his unit E5/E6 organization at his last base. When he moved to another location and learned his unit did not have such an organization, he was able to bring together a team and build a program for his unit. They held their first elections in July.

"I volunteer because I enjoy helping people. Nobody is perfect; we all need help with something," shares Gossett. "I've been lucky to have been presented opportunities that allow me to be active in my community. Being a mentor to those around me has allowed me to share my experience and encourage others to find out what motivates them as well."

Gossett also encourages other students to find what they enjoy doing and to volunteer.

August/September 2021: Kaandra Wilson, Current Student

Kaandra WilsonKaandra Wilson, a psychology major, is currently fulfilling her lifelong dream of being a firefighter. She is now employed in the city of Alexandria as both a firefighter and a paramedic, holding the rank of lieutenant and serving as aide to the assistant chief of administration. Wilson is a member of the Alexandria Explorer's program and has also joined the International Association of Firefighters Local 2141 Union, the Black Professional Firefighter's Association, and the Traumatic Exposure Recovery Program (TERP) team.

The TERP team is a peer-driven group that communicates with Fire Department members who have responded to a call that can be perceived as traumatizing. The TERP team ensures that members have adequate resources to be resilient members of the department. The team's goal is to keep first responders healthy in their work and home environments.

"I believe that we all have special parts of ourselves that, when shared, may be the reason that someone else feels cared for," says Wilson. "Knowing that my peers feel comfortable enough to trust me when they are in a vulnerable state of mind is a humbling experience. I hope that we all can continue to be advocates for one another and build up our strengths so that we can care for the citizens in the city that we represent."

July 2021: Jerred A. Johnson, Current Student

Jerred JohnsonJerred A. Johnson is a current graduate student who expects to graduate in December of 2021. At ballbet体育, Johnson is starting his second year on the Leadership Board for the Behavioral and Social Sciences Student Association (BSSSA), this year serving as the communications director. With the BSSSA, he coordinated the implementation of the inaugural BSSSA newsletter, which won a ballbet体育 Best in Show Student Organization Award. He is also a member of the Events Committee for the Public Safety Student Association and is a member of the National Society for Leadership and Success.

Johnson has been volunteering since early high school. He was named Volunteer of the Year in Worcester County, Maryland, in 2014 and received the Presidential Service Award all four years in high school. His volunteer service includes being a Disaster Action Team Responder with the American Red Cross; deploying to South Carolina during Hurricane Dorian in 2019; packing food for Terps Against Hunger; assisting veterans and loved ones at The Wall That Heals in Ocean Pines, Maryland; helping at the annual fundraisers for the local school that serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities; and participating in various events for his local church. 

Johnson says, "I have always felt a calling to serve others and be present in the community. Through my service, I have been exposed to some of the best people on the planet, and I am blessed to serve for them or with them throughout the years." 

In addition to his education and volunteer work, Johnson works full-time as the emergency planner and public information officer at the county level on Maryland's Eastern Shore and is an avid outdoorsman, spending his free time fishing, hiking, camping, canoeing, gardening, and training as an aspiring survivalist.

June 2021: Michael Bick, Current Student

Michael BickMichael Bick, an undergraduate student finishing up his bachelor's degree, is an avid volunteer in his local and military communities. In April, he spent 25 hours helping with flood relief efforts in Nashville, Tennessee, including handing out food and water, participating in cleanup, and rebuilding the local baseball and softball fields. He also helped with similar projects after tornados hit the area in 2020, working with local organizations to help others.

In the past year, Bick volunteered for the 2020 Wounded Warrior 5k, establishing a virtual team comprising 30 members across 12 military commands. Bick is also active in community sports—he is currently the head coach for a local Little League team and has volunteered for the Healthy Kids Marathon and the Nashville Dolphins Special Needs Swim Team.

"The reason I volunteer is simple to me—it is to give back to those around me and to provide support to those who need it," shares Bick. "I hope that if my family were to ever need a helping hand that we would have some level of support from our community. I truly enjoy helping and mentoring others and believe that it is our duty as humans to help one another whenever we can. It is the right thing to do."

May 2021: Kirk Platt '99

Kirk PlattFor the last year, Kirk Platt has dedicated his time and talents to coordinating more than 6,000 food donations and deliveries to countless hospitals every week. This work has recently earned him a Governor's Citation from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. He also applies his engineering skills to V-Linc, a volunteer initiative where engineers work to solve problems for the disabled.

Platt has always been a steadfast volunteer. In 2017, he received a ballbet体育 Achiever Award from the Alumni Association because of his participation in numerous ballbet体育 alumni activities, including ballbet体育's Operation Welcome Home initiative. In 2014, he received the Boy Scouts' Silver Beaver Award, which is given to scouters who have made an impact on the lives of youth. He also received the Points of Light Volunteer Award from President George H. W. Bush in 2013 as well as Bronze, Silver, and Gold President's Volunteer Service Awards.

Platt has spent most of his life working in the government sector, protecting the country from harm, and is currently a consultant for Tower Technologies.

April 2021: Ashley Esposito, Current Student

Ashley EspositoAs Ashley Esposito finishes her final classes for her bachelor's degree at ballbet体育, she reflects on the hours she has spent volunteering for the university and representing the ballbet体育 student body in various ways. "I have chosen to volunteer and be active because at a young age I realized that using my voice alone, and within a collective, has power," shares Esposito. "I am very passionate about volunteering and being an advocate for students, especially those with learning differences." Esposito has served on the ballbet体育 Student Advisory Council for more than four years, including holding the roles of secretary and chair; the Maryland Higher Education Commission Student Council; the University System of Maryland Student Council; and more. In addition, she recently participated on two panels geared toward new and prospective students, sharing her own educational journey. Many of these roles require her to take time out of her schedule to attend meetings—on weekends, before work in the mornings, and even on Friday evenings—so that she can provide feedback and work on behalf of students.

"One of my favorite quotes, by Maggie Kuhn, is, 'Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes,'" says Esposito. "That phrase resonates with me because people may not realize their perspectives are unique and valuable. As volunteers, collectively we can paint the big picture and offer solutions to tough challenges."

In addition to her volunteer work and classes, Esposito works full-time as a technology analyst and enjoys spending time with her husband and baby.

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