CIVICUS Ambassadors

Our CIVICUS Ambassadors meet and greet prospective students and their families to share their knowledge and experiences as members of the CIVICUS community.

Megan Cowie

Hometown:  Bel Air, MD

Major(s): Mechanical Engineering

Anticipated Date of Graduation: Spring 2020

Clubs and Activities:

  • Flexus (women in engineering living-learning program)
  • Society of Women Engineers

Why did you join CIVICUS?
I wanted to be part of a community that would allow me to have a unique experience on campus. Living with people of similar interests and values made UMD feel like a second home very quickly.

What has been your favorite CIVICUS experience so far?
Meeting a lot of sophomore members and alumni at the retreat who don't live in Somerset Hall was really fun. Playing silly games with people you just met made the experience one of a kind.
 

Becca Delaney

Hometown: Hillsborough, New Jersey

Major(s): Special Education

Anticipated Date of Graduation: Spring 2020

Clubs and Activities:

  • CIVICUS Student Advisory Board Outreach Committee Chair
  • Traditions Committee Member- SGA
  • Autism Speaks UMD Member

Why did you join CIVICUS?
I joined CIVICUS because I wanted to continue doing community service throughout college. Being in this living-learning community makes Maryland feel smaller and I love the group of people I get to spend a lot of my time with!

What has been your favorite CIVICUS experience so far?
My favorite CIVICUS experience was Grilled Cheese Night. As a member of the CIVICUS Student Advisory Board, I was able to help plan and make grilled cheese for all my friends during finals week.
 

Lexi Duncan

Hometown: Pasadena, MD

Major(s): Psychology

Anticipated Date of Graduation: Spring 2019

Clubs and Activities:

  • Residence Hall Association
  • National Residence Hall Honorary
  • CHAARG
  • Terp Thon Planning Team

Why did you join CIVICUS?
I joined CIVICUS to help a big school feel small, while also being able to continue my passion for serving others.

What has been your favorite CIVICUS experience so far?
My favorite CIVICUS experience was last year's end of year dinner celebration. It was a great experience to be in the same room with all of my fellow CIVICUS Associates, celebrating a great year of service.

Jonathan Frank

Hometown: Cumberland, MD

Major(s): Economics

Anticipated Date of Graduation: Spring 2020

Clubs and Activities:

  • Food Recovery Network Recovery Leader
  • America Reads Peer Mentor

Why did you join CIVICUS?
I joined CIVICUS to broaden my knowledge and awareness of the world.  I have always enjoyed volunteering my time to help others and the five themes of the program are all very important to me.

What has been your favorite CIVICUS experience so far?
My favorite CIVICUS experience was volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House of Greater Washington, D.C.  Preparing a meal for the affected families was a truly unforgettable experience.

Bryan Gallion

Hometown: Roseland, NJ

Major(s): Journalism and English

Anticipated Date of Graduation: May 2019

Clubs and Activities:

  • Residence Hall Association
  • Student Government Association
  • CIVICUS Student Advisory Board
  • Office of Student and Community Development Programs
  • National Residence Hall Honorary

Why did you join CIVICUS?
To join a community of like-minded fellow leaders who are passionate about service that would aid in making this large university feel smaller.

What has been your favorite CIVICUS experience so far?
Spending a Sunday afternoon getting dragged around by a strapping Puerto Rican rescue dog named Tonka for three and a half hours at an adoption event with Lucky Dog Animal Rescue was a memorable experience.

Sreya Gunna

Hometown: Irvine, CA

Major(s): Psychology

Anticipated Date of Graduation: Spring 2020

Clubs and Activities:

  • Student Government Association - Sexual Misconduct Prevention
  • Maryland Discourse
  • Students Ending Slavery
  • Color Guard

Why did you join CIVICUS?
I joined CIVICUS because I was interested in helping the community and building my leadership skills.

What has been your favorite CIVICUS experience so far?
My favorite CIVICUS experience so far has been our scavenger hunt in Wahington D.C. 

Makaela Jackson

Hometown:  Bowie, MD

Major(s): Marketing and Information Systems

Anticipated Date of Graduation: Spring 2019

Clubs and Activities:

  • University of Maryland Cheerleading Team
  • Black Student Union
  • A Legacy Left Behind
  • Maryland Media
  • College Mentors for Kids

Why did you join CIVICUS?
I joined CIVICUS because it would create a smaller community on such a big campus. I also joined because of the various opportunities that CIVICUS would allow me to take part in, such as community service around the campus and community.

What has been your favorite CIVICUS experience so far?
I have enjoyed having classes with people I live with and going to the diner with them before or after class!

Adam Kristick

Hometown: Ocean City, MD

Major(s): Public Health Science and Biology

Anticipated Date of Graduation: Spring 2020

Clubs and Activities:

  • Vice President of sustainability for Resident Hall Association
  • Lifeguard at the Eppley Recreation Center

Why did you join CIVICUS?
In high school, I valued leadership and giving back to the community and CIVICUS provides the opportunity for me to continue those things in college.

What has been your favorite CIVICUS experience so far?
The CIVICUS tradition of grilled cheese study breaks during finals is awesome. It gave me time away from my homework and time to socialize with my friends. Even when there’s not a study break, I like going to the dining hall with my friends because there’s always someone willing to eat in Somerset. 

Mario Menendez

Hometown: Takoma Park, MD

Major(s): Business Marketing

Anticipated Date of Graduation: Spring 2020

Clubs and Activities:

  • Resident Life - Resident Assistant in Training
  • University of Maryland Office of Strategic Planning & Communications - Intern
  • CASA de Maryland - Volunteer
  • College Success Scholars (CSS) - Outreach Executive Board Member
  • Coalition of Latino Student Organizations (CLSO)  - Community Service Liaison
  • Robert H. Smith Business Academy
  • Political Latinxs United for Movement and Action in Society (PLUMAS)
  • American Marketing Association (terpAMA)
  • Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA)
  • League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

Why did you join CIVICUS?

I decided to join CIVICUS because I knew that it would be the perfect enhancement to my time here at Maryland. I came into UMD with over 500 student service learning hours and a President's Volunteer Service Award, so it was only fitting that I join a program centered around a huge part of my involvement - community service. For me, joining CIVICUS has given me the perfect balance between two pillars of my life: a professional one within the Smith School of Business, and one that is centered on community building in a diverse society that starts in Somerset Hall - the home and heart of CIVICUS.

What has been your favorite CIVICUS experience so far?

My favorite CIVICUS experience was the start of the year retreat. Just at the start of my first semester of college, I found the retreat was the best way to meet both first and second-year CIVI-Associates. Away from College Park, technology, and the stress of classes, the CIVICUS retreat was a very relaxed environment full of like-minded peers who would be and are my support system and network for the next four years. The annual Huggie Bear competition is also a favorite. And while I didn't win last year, I'm coming back twice as prepared and stronger, so watch out!


Dylann Middleton

Hometown: Fairfield, CT

Major(s): Undecided, but leaning towards Environmental Science

Anticipated Date of Graduation: Spring 2020

Clubs and Activities: Terps for Animal Welfare

Why did you join CIVICUS?

I joined CIVICUS because I have always had a passion for helping others and I wanted to continue doing community service in college. I also really was looking for a way to get a sense of community and make a large school smaller and CIVICUS provides the perfect opportunity to do so.

What has been your favorite CIVICUS experience so far?

My favorite CIVICUS experience was the peanut butter and jelly sandwich making night because it was the first time we all bonded together as a community. 

 

Caroline Mitzel

Hometown: Hampstead, MD

Major(s): Undecided: Letters and Sciences

Anticipated Date of Graduation: Spring 2020

Clubs and Activities:

  • Intramural Tennis
  • Intramural Soccer
  • Intramural Volleyball

Why did you join CIVICUS?

I joined CIVICUS because of the great things I heard about it from my brother who was also in the program. In addition, I was very involved in community service in high school and I liked how CIVICUS gave me the opportunity to continue to stay involved in service.

What has been your favorite CIVICUS experience so far?

My favorite CIVICUS experience was the cookout on the first day of classes. It was a fun to get to hang out with friends and meet new people!

Nikhil Modi

Hometown: Princeton Junction, NJ

Major(s): Business, Undecided

Anticipated Date of Graduation: Spring 2020

Clubs and Activities:

  • Provost’s Student Advisory Committee
  • SmithPeers
  • International Economics & Finance Society
  • Breakdancing Terps
  • American Sign Language Club

Why did you join CIVICUS?

I joined CIVICUS because I loved to volunteer throughout high school, and I thought that living with other students who also shared that interest would allow us to engage in community service more frequently and in projects that made significant impacts on our community.

What has been your favorite CIVICUS experience so far?

My favorite CIVICUS experience was volunteering with En Camino my first semester. We went to a nearby community center and spent time coloring, playing, and teaching the children living in the surrounding neighborhood.

Valeria Retana

Hometown: Federick, MD

Major(s): Undecided

Anticipated Date of Graduation: Spring 2020

Clubs and Activities:

  • Terps for Animal Welfare

Why did you join CIVICUS?
I joined CIVICUS mainly because throughout high school I realized I was passionate about community service and giving back. The second I visited the website, I knew it was for me. Not only did I join CIVICUS because of the service aspect, I also joined because of the familial aspect. I was scared to come to such a big school like UMD but CIVICUS truly made it smaller and more personal. I've met some of my best friends through this program! From the start, CIVICUS has made me feel welcome and like I have a place within this huge campus.

What has been your favorite CIVICUS experience so far?
I can't choose a specific CIVICUS event as my favorite because there have been so many and each so unique.  Whether it was a service project or grilled cheese night or just people hanging out down in the ground floor lounge. However, my favorite part about CIVICUS is that we're such a diverse group and we all know each other. Obviously, in a program of over 100 people, you are going to be closer with some than others. Even with those who you are not closest to, you will always have something to talk about and it's all because of CIVICUS. 

Gracie Riley

Hometown: Ocean City, MD

Major(s): Government and Politics; Minor in Global Terrorism

Anticipated Date of Graduation: Spring 2019

Clubs and Activities:

  • Zeta Tau Alpha
  • Club running
  • Law Intern
  • Editor for the Left Bench
  • Terp Thon

Why did you join CIVICUS?
I decided to join CIVICUS because I wanted to be in an environment of driven and passionate individuals focused on making themselves and their community a better place. Before joining CIVICUS, I remember listening to how successful past alumni have become through the guidance of this program. After my first year as a CIVICUS student, I have realized that my college career has been shaped by the nature of the course as well as by my fellow peers motivating me to think in ways I have never before and challenging me to leave my mark on CIVICUS, the University of Maryland and my community as a whole. I can honestly say that my college experience thus far would be far less fulfilling had I not been involved in CIVICUS.

What has been your favorite CIVICUS experience so far?
I have always loved volunteering and giving back to the community that has given so much to me, but it wasn't until I joined CIVICUS that I fully realized how much the community needed the help of volunteers. I come from a very privileged neighborhood and because of this, I have grown up in a sheltered bubble. I think my favorite memory from CIVICUS was when I volunteered at a DC soup kitchen for the first time. I remember watching hundreds of different people all with unique backgrounds and hardships line up to receive a warm meal, usually the only one they would eat that day. Most people would be pessimistic about the circumstance they found themselves in. However, each person I had the pleasure of serving sang, danced, prayed, talked with friends and was so genuinely hopeful that their situation would improve. It was rare to encounter someone that didn't thank us for volunteering or open up to us about their past. Not only was I humbled by this experience, but I felt a shift in my thinking and became more passionate about serving my community. I can thank CIVICUS and this particular experience for helping me grow as a person and leader in my community and inspire me to continue to volunteer for years to come.