Inspiring Messages Come Out on Top (Literally) at UMGC Winter Commencement

The University of Maryland Global Campus Class of 2020 winter graduates attended commencement virtually this year, but that did not stop them from celebrating. Each year, the mortarboards atop graduation caps are adorned by inspired grads, showing their creativity and telling the story of their individual educational journey. This year was not any different. Several weeks prior to the virtual commencement ceremony, graduates were invited to participate in a cap decorating challenge.

Invitations went out to UMGC winter graduates and voting opened on Nov. 18. Grads were able to share their entries on their social media channels to encourage their friends and family to vote for their cap. Voting was encouraged throughout the challenge period, which ended on Dec. 16. Anyone could vote once per cap in a 24-hour period and return to vote again after 24 hours. With 91 caps entered, these graduates collectively gathered 17,897 votes. 

The winner was announced on Dec. 19, the morning of virtual commencement, and was featured on the UMGC virtual commencement website. Marcus Johnson received 4,256 votes for his inspired cap featuring the phrase, “Smart Enough to Save the Day.” Michelle Freeman’s cap took second place with 3,181 votes and Christina Holt’s cap gathered 2,560 votes to place third.

Freeman said the creation of her cap was a family effort; she got help from her niece and nephew to complete it. “I thought this was a great gesture on behalf of the university to get us excited about our ceremony. Although we could not have a formal ceremony due to the pandemic, this friendly competition built up momentum day by day to our virtual ceremony,” she shared.

Holt, who encouraged people to vote for her through her social media channels, said she entered the competition to showcase her crochet artistry.  “I am amazed at how many people came forward to support me during this competition and I am appreciative of every vote I received!”

While Johnson has bragging rights and is featured at the virtual commencement ceremony, all participating graduates are winners, finishing 2020 with a milestone accomplishment.

‘Watch Out for Each Other’ Say UMGC Alumni, Faculty Members on the Coronavirus Front Lines

Each May, the nation celebrates National Nurses Week, National Police Week and National Emergency Medical Services Week.  And throughout the month, University of Maryland Global campus has been recognizing some of its own first responders—nurses, EMTs, police officers and others—among its community of faculty members and alumni who are working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These UMGC Voices featured on the university’s social media channels during May, offer reflections on the current health crisis, words of wisdom and expressions of gratitude.Continue Reading

Stressful Times: Staying Connected While Apart

In this final installment of the University of Maryland Global Campus series “Stressful Times,” UMGC psychology program faculty members explore tips for staying connected with those you’re separated from while continuing to practice social distancing.

The practice of social distancing to reduce the spread of viral infection can cause stress for individuals everywhere as they continue to navigate the uncharted landscape created by the novel coronavirus. But in a March 20 World Health Organization press briefing, epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove suggested a key to reducing such stress is remembering that the purpose of social distancing is physical—and not emotional—separation.Continue Reading

Stressful Times: Understanding Stress and Its Symptoms

April Is Stress Awareness Month

With the onset of COVID-19 and the challenges caused by the pandemic, more and more people may be encountering higher levels and different types of stress than they normally experience.  In this three-part series, University of Maryland Global Campus psychology program faculty members discuss the effects of stress, strategies for coping with stress and tips for staying socially connected while physically distant from family, friends and coworkers.

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