Culture News

LMI Volunteer Spotlight Series, Part 3

April 18, 2022

LMI Staff

 

In celebration of National Volunteer Month, we are pleased to continue to recognize LMIers and the important work they are doing for their communities.

 

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Photo collage of LMI employees volunteering with "National Volunteer Month" text
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Photo of VBC Founders and local elected officials

Brian Grana: Boy Scout Leader, Veteran Networking Organization, and Mentor

Philanthropy comes in many forms. So many associate money with the concept of philanthropy. I have, however, learned that giving your most valuable resource — your time, through volunteering — is the purest form of philanthropy. I learned the value of volunteering from my parents. They were both so happy to help others in any form possible, and this left such a positive impression on me.

My late wife, Carey, inspired my decade plus of coaching youth sports and wearing the uniform of a Boy Scout Leader. There really is nothing better than receiving wedding invitations from your Eagle Scouts, who I initially met as young impressionable lads.

Since my transition out of uniform, I helped form a now-national Veteran networking organization, which my other founders and I cheekily named The Veterans Beer Club (VBC). The name alone elicits a smile and the relaxed atmosphere we seek when getting down to the often unnerving “business” of helping transitioning Veterans reinvent themselves. 

Brian Grana (continued)

Outside of our events, it is not uncommon to field multiple phone calls per week from Veterans seeking additional mentorship and guidance. Similarly, I proudly mentor several younger colleagues in LMI’s MentorConnect™ program. Along with leading the national growth of VBC, I have served on several non-profit boards and volunteer organizations: The Marine Corps Association & Foundation, The Naval Academy Board of Trustees for Athletics and Scholarship, The San Diego Military Advisory Council Foundation, and the Advisory Board for San Diego American Legion Baseball.       

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Photo collage of animals and pet rescue organization

Linda Goudreau: Animal Foster and Rescue Coordinator

Yes, they are cute, soft, and warm—and sometimes have big teeth and bad breath—but there is nothing like waking up with a warm, snoring, content being cuddled up to your armpit. Especially when you know that happy bundle was recently lost, scared, hungry, injured, mistreated, and alone.

I’ve always loved animals, but I became involved with animal rescue just 13 years ago. That was the beginning of my ongoing education about companion animals and about human nature. There is a lot of nastiness in the world, but every act of rescue kindness makes a difference. An oft-quoted truism comes to mind: “Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.”

Linda Goudreau (continued)

I work mostly with cats, but I’ve helped rescue dogs, lizards, hamsters, horses, rabbits, birds, and fowl—also deer, foxes, opossums, and baby squirrels. You just answer the phone and say, “Yes, I can help.” But it takes a network to find who has a spare foster or quarantine room or just a car at midnight. I work primarily with Homeless Animals Rescue Team as a foster and rescue coordinator. I am an active community educator throughout the Mid-Atlantic region (Trap-Neuter-Release, low cost spay/neuter, advice on vaccinations, and basic nursing care). And still, I learn new things every day!

I am also involved with community awareness of the strong correlation between animal abuse and child/elder abuse and neglect. Data shows that mistreating animals is often a warning sign that other family members in the household may not be safe.

Monday April 11 is National Pet Day! It is now kitten season, and rescues are always looking for fosters!

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Katie Thompson visiting the #IfThenSheCan exhibit in Washington, DC

Katie Thompson: STEM for Her

In high school, I was the only female student nominated for a math-based award in my class. Knowing that STEM for Her supports female students’ endeavors and allows them to explore their own passions within the STEM disciplines, excites me and makes me feel empowered.

I feel proud to know that I can empower someone else through the volunteer work that I do and that LMI provides us with several opportunities to serve across all domains.

The photo on the left shows Katie visiting the #IfThenSheCan exhibit in Washington, DC. She attended the exhibit in March with the Women in Data COP, which is focused on Women in STEM and empowerment pertaining to STEM for Her.

“It is important to me to help shape opportunities for our future female STEM leaders and increase opportunities for women like me, to support these amazing girls in their quests to find their passions and careers.”

Audra Upchurch

Vice Chair for STEM for Her, Founding Chair CNRE Master of Natural Resources Alumni Advisory Council, and member and volunteer for the Virginia Tech Pamplin Society

 

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Photo of Audra Upchurch with STEM background
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Photo of Julia Buffinton mentoring young women.

Julia Buffinton: Black Girls Code

I volunteer with Black Girls Code (BGC), which is an organization that seeks to empower young women of color to innovate and lead in STEM fields through hands-on exposure to computer science and technology related activities. They host workshops, summer camps, code clubs, company demos, and hackathons. I participated in one recent hackathon that was focused on app development. The young women I was mentoring were really excited and really motivated, and they ended up winning the competition in the region! It was very rewarding to see them recognized for their technical talents.

Organizations like BGC are so important to building a diverse pipeline of STEM talent. You see girls who are 11 or a bit younger express interest in a career in a STEM field, but when you ask them again when they’re closer to 16, they often feel differently and don’t see themselves as able to succeed in those fields. We feel that opportunities focused on young women in that age range may be most effective at empowering them to feel like they can envision themselves in these technical fields.

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