For the first time since its inception, a project management student from the University of Maryland (UMD) participated in the Project Management Day of Service (POMDoS) which has been held at the Stamp Student Union and hosted by the Project Management Center for Excellence at the University of Maryland for the last three years. Developed and organized by Project Management for Change, the PMDoS is held each year on Martin Luther King Jr. day and provides project management professionals the opportunity to give back to the community by assisting nonprofit organizations. Using project management best practices, project management volunteers guide the day-to-day work of nonprofit organizations to enhance the delivery of their community-oriented services. This year 150 project management professionals, plus one highly motivated UMD student, assisted 38 nonprofits with 44 different projects which equates to 755 hours of pro bono project management services in one day.
“Implementing my coursework in practical life was a great experience,” stated UMD’s Masters of Engineering (MEng) in Project Management student, Vindhya Juvaa. “Our nonprofit, The Armand Center, wanted a Strategic outreach plan so our team brainstormed strategies and channels to reach the audiences. Once that portion was completed, we came up with the ideas to support the solutions and provided the Executive Director a work breakdown structure and schedule.”
Ms. Juvaa was part of a five member team assigned to assist The Armand Center, located in Silver Spring, MD. The center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides an affordable, safe and family-friendly environment for kids to be able to spend quality time with their parents who may be going through a divorce or separation, many of whom are survivors of domestic violence. The Armand Center’s Executive Director, Natasha Carter, stated, “The takeaways from the day were tremendous. I accomplished much more than I expected. The ideas my team generated will help me take my project to a whole new level.” As far as having Vindhya participate in her work group, Ms. Carter indicated, “It was a win-win for me and for my work team having a student participating in our group. She was very enthusiastic and provided a different perspective.”
Photo: The Armand Center Executive Director, Natasha Carter
“It was a win-win for me and for my work team having a student participating in our group. She was very enthusiastic and provided a different perspective,” stated Natasha Carter.
For the project management professionals that participate in the PMDoS, it is an excellent opportunity for them to give back to the community using their project management skills. It provides an avenue for them expand their network, enhance their skills or even gain new ones, earn PMI professional development units (PDUs), and meaningfully impact the lives of people in ways they can only understand through participation.
Some of the comments about the PMDoS from the other team members that assisted the Armand Center included:
- “I experienced much more than I thought. Every team member was a contributor and provided a unique value.” – Janie Branson, Decisions Oriented
- “Everyone brought different project management experiences.” – Sandra Menzies, FDA/CBER
- “This was a wonderful learning experience as a project manager. I have my own 501(c)(3) so I got a lot out of the experience from the two perspectives. “ – Charlotte McKenzie, DeVry University Professor and Urban Agile Learner Institute, Executive Director
- “The event takes you out of your normal project manager role and provides a different perspective in which to apply your project management experience. Our project was from a completely different industry than what I usually work in and it was interesting to see the same project management skills I use on a daily basis applied to a completely different industry. It was proof that project management skills are applicable no matter what the organization or industry. “ – Kelley Doane, IT project manager for the FBI.
As host of the event for the third year in a row, John Cable, Director of the Project Management Center for Excellence at the University of Maryland feels that the PMDoS is an extremely valuable event. “We have built community outreach into the mission of the Center and the Project Management Day of Service is an excellent opportunity for us to become involved and give back to the local community. This was the first year we had one of our project management students participate in the event. Her success and experience gained has motivated me to encourage more of our students to participate in next year’s event.”
Kudos to our Masters of Engineering in Project Management (MEng) student, Vindhya Juvaa, who had the courage and inspiration to volunteer and participate in the event knowing that she would be grouped with seasoned project management professionals. She admitted to feeling “nervous to even strike up a conversation with them initially as I was just an emerging student in their field.” Despite her anxiety, Vindhya emerged from the day with valuable hands-on experience and a new found confidence in her emerging project management skills.
As a result of her experience at the event, Vindhya is working to start up a project management club at the University of Maryland. The goals for the organization would be to become an active component of a PMI Chapter, attend and host events to broaden member’s knowledge and skill set in project management, network with current project management professionals and develop a relationship with alumni from the University of Maryland’s Project Management program.
Posted by Kathy Frankle on January 30, 2018