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UMGC Alumni AssociationIntroducing UMGC’s 2022 Alumni Award Recipients

The UMGC Alumni Association is proud to announce the 2022 UMGC Alumni Award Recipients. This program, which is celebrating its 32nd year, recognizes some of our most accomplished graduates for their service, achievements and involvement in their professions and communities.

This year’s eight award recipients will be honored in person in a special ceremony at the College Park Marriott Hotel and Conference Center on October 6.

A Look at the Honors

Alumni Award recipients are recognized for the commitment they make to enriching the UMGC community through their intellectual, social, cultural and service contributions. The five award categories include:

Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest alumni award granted at UMGC. It was created in 1976 to recognize an alumnus who has realized outstanding personal and  professional achievements while demonstrating exemplary service. 

Lifetime of Service Award in recognition of extraordinary service, this award recognizes a recipient that has dedicated their life to volunteering in support of the UMGC alumni community and made a significant contribution to advance the Alumni Association for the benefit of others.

Executive Business Leader honors those who have served in a leadership role in their community and promote involvement in the university.

Edward A. Parnell Outstanding Alumnus Service Award recognizes a UMGC alumnus who has shown exemplary volunteer service over the course of the current year. 

Achiever Award pays tribute to UMGC alumni and community members who have made a significant contribution to supporting the alumni community and university's mission. 

Meet the Award Recipients

We invite you to take a moment to learn about this year’s awardees and how they are making a meaningful impact to their industries and communities through services, excellence and innovation.

2022 Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipient

Vernon Hood Taylor
Bachelor of Arts, ‘81

Vernon Hood Taylor has a lifelong dedication to higher education with a passion for the military community, and helping servicemembers, veterans and their families to reach their full potential. He is a proud Army Veteran and served 43 years in military education affiliated services. Taylor most recently served as the president of Workforce Training and Education Alliance, with a focus on connecting industries, training and schooling towards lifelong learning career paths. He also served as director of lifelong learning for the U.S. Marine Corps and was associate vice president for military programs at National University.

During his time as director of lifelong learning, Taylor implemented the Sailor-Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript (SMART), now known as the Joint Services Transcript assisting service members in obtaining college credit for their military experience. He led efforts in revamping the Navy Apprenticeship Program and developed the Military Academic Skills Programs (MASP) and coordinated the first military service tutor program within the Marine Corps, which resulted in the adoption of the tutor program throughout the Department of Defense.  

Over his career, Taylor has seen the growing importance of developing military-friendly virtual campuses. Standing steadfast on the flexibility and support required by universities for military students, this dedication was sparked when he served as a veteran service representative early in his career at the UMGC Europe Campus in the late 70s. Taylor continues to give back, now serving as the president of Vernon Taylor Enterprises Alliance, dedicated to uniting and aligning partners to bridge the gaps in the education and workforce ecosystem, advancing social and economic progress for all. 

Find him on LinkedIn.

2022 Lifetime of Service Award Recipient

Joseph V. Bowen, Jr.
Master of General Administration ‘84
Master of International Management ‘95

Joe Bowen has supported the UMGC community selflessly for more than 40 years. He is the retired senior vice president for operations at McKissack & McKissack, an architecture and environmental engineering firm. Prior to joining McKissack, Bowen served UMGC for 30 years in senior leadership positions. He was responsible for facilities management, capital projects, contracts and real estate development. 

In addition to his work at UMGC, Bowen was a passionate volunteer dedicated to supporting and advancing the alumni community. In 1998, he received the Edward A. Parnell Outstanding Alumnus Award for his extensive volunteer efforts. After serving as an Alumni Association Board member, he was elected as the 2000-2001 President of the Board. More than 20 years later, he continues to remain active and provide input and guidance to the Board as an Alumni Association Past President.

For more than 20 years Bowen has served as the UMGC alumni representative at Alumni Association International (AAI), an organization established to support alumni of educational institutions in the University System of Maryland. During his time as the UMGC alumni representative, he served on the executive committee and as president. Bowen continues his lifetime of service currently as a director for the University System of Maryland Foundation and is an active member of the Federal City Council and the Economic Club of Washington where he is a strong advocate on behalf of the university and alumni community. 

Find him on LinkedIn.

2022 Executive Business Leader Award Recipient

Jackie DeCarlo
Master of Science in Management, Non-Profit Management, ‘99

Jackie DeCarlo has an expansive career in education and not-for-profit management, dedicated to promoting economic and social justice within communities around the US, in Africa, Latin America, and Europe. She was the first director of the Fair Trade Resource Network and worked at Catholic Relief Services, leading its Fair Trade program expansion. As CEO of Manna Food Center, she is leading the organization's mission of eliminating hunger in Montgomery County, MD, through community-based food distribution, education and advocacy. With a staff of more than 40, thousands of volunteers, and a budget approaching $7 million, Manna serves nearly 50% of the 70,000 neighbors who are food insecure.

De Carlo has a reputation for leading with compassion, serving on the boards of Nonprofit Montgomery and Fairtrade America, and participating in UMGC's Women’s History Month providing insights about a career in the nonprofit industry.

Find her on LinkedIn.

2022 Edward A. Parnell Outstanding Alumnus Service Recipient

Ginger Miller
Master of Science in Management, Non-Profit & Association Management, ‘13

Ginger Miller is dedicated to volunteer service. As a service-disabled Navy veteran she experienced homelessness when discovering how difficult transitioning from military to civilian life can be. Determined to give back, Miller founded the nonprofit John 14:2, Inc. instrumental in starting the Prince Georges County Homeless Veteran Stand Down. She also founded Women Veterans Interactive, the leading member-based nonprofit organization for women veterans.

As a dedicated advocate, she served as chairwoman of the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, is a White House Champion of Change for Women Veterans, and serves as a presidential appointee for United Service Organizations, Inc. (USO). Miller is also an honorary commander for the 316 Operations Group Joint Base Andrews, and advisory board member at Northwest Federal Credit Union. 

She made a direct impact on the UMGC community as the Spring 2022 Commencement Speaker and offered valuable guidance as a resource organization at the UMGC 2022 Military and Veteran Appreciation Fair. 

Find her on LinkedIn.

2022 Achiever Award Recipients

David Austin, Cyber Threat Analyst, Peraton
Master of Science in Cybersecurity Policy ‘17
Master of Business Administration ‘20

David Austin is a cyber threat analyst at Peraton, working as an expert conducting research and evaluating intelligence with emphasis on network operations and cyber warfare tactics, techniques, and procedures. He is receiving a 2022 Achiever Award because of his dedication as an alumni career mentor volunteer providing career coaching to over 48 students and alumni in the past year, alone. He also participated in UMGC National Mentoring Month by providing valuable career insights to up-and-coming professionals.

Find him on LinkedIn.

Erika Pierson, Office Manager, KBE Building Corporation
Master of Business Administration, ‘18

Erika Pierson is the office manager at KBE Building Corporation, directing daily operations for an award-winning commercial construction services firm. She served as an alumni event volunteer at the May 2022 Grad Walk where she helped welcome new graduates to the UMGC Alumni Association. Pierson's support as an alumni volunteer headhunter, connecting students and alumni to jobs at her organization, provided valuable career opportunities to her fellow UMGC community. 

Find her on LinkedIn.

Ty Pinkins, Equal Justice Works Fellow at Mississippi Center for Justice
Bachelor of Science in Political Science, ‘12

Ty Pinkins is an equal justice works fellow at Mississippi Center for Justice dedicated to public service and developing resources to help underserved communities. He is a retired Army Officer who served 21 years in the military and led an elite communications team as the communications aide to the President of the United States. Pinkins founded the Pyramid Project which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to exposing youth from underserved communities to the social, cultural, and economic capital necessary for them to fulfill their dreams.   

Find him on LinkedIn.

Nadine Polynice, Recruiter, NRI Staffing
Master of Science in Human Resources Management ‘17
Certificate in Human Resources ‘17

Nadine Polynice is a leading recruitment, training, and human resources professional. She is an active alumni volunteer and has provided beneficial career guidance to more than 20 students and alumni in the past year as an alumni career mentor. Polynice's support as a volunteer panelist in the UMGC Career Webinar entitled Job Searching in the Digital Age provided valuable resources to the UMGC community to connect their education to career aspirations. 

Find her on LinkedIn.

Congratulations to all of the 2022 UMGC Alumni Award Recipients!  To view last year's recipients, click here.

Read more Alumni News.