Volunteer Spotlights

Stories from Volunteering with the Alumni & Friends Association

Volunteer Spotlights

Cindy Bond
Class of 1999

Cindy Bond is a two-time CU alumna. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in International  

Affairs from CU Boulder in 1982. In 1999, Bond completed her MBA (with an Information Systems focus) from UCCS. She chose to pursue an MBA at UCCS because of the selection of courses available, the affordability, and the familiarity of programs having already attended a CU institution. In 2022, she joined the UCCS scholarship application review volunteer group. She reviewed multiple application groups, including a round of reviews for the Colorado Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program (C-CAP). Bond was a scholarship recipient during her time at CU and reviewing applications is a way for her to pay it forward to future scholarship recipients.  

Besides scholarship reviews, Bond has participated in tree planting and clean-the-creek volunteer opportunities with UCCS. She enjoys volunteering in the great outdoors and is part of a volunteer effort known as Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC). VOC is dedicated to building trails and enabling volunteers to become stewards of Colorado’s natural resources. Bond is retired and enjoys hobbies like traveling, skiing, biking, photography, scuba diving, and volunteering.  

Bond’s advice to those thinking about volunteering with UCCS is, “Do it. Even if it is a small gesture or volunteer opportunity, please find the time. When you start volunteering you might do it because you think you’re giving back, but in return you receive so much more.”  

Carissa Gordon Gump
Class of 2010
Living in the East hasn’t stopped UCCS alumna Carissa Gordon Gump from volunteering with her alma mater. Thanks to the many virtual opportunities offered by the UCCS Alumni and Friends Volunteer Program, Gordon Gump has been able to review student scholarship applications, support the UCCS commencement video series, and write letters to incoming students as part of the Write-A-Mountain-Lion campaign.

Gump moved to Colorado Springs in 2001 from Essex, Vermont to live and train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. She competed as a weightlifter in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Gump, ’10, also was eager to start her education at UCCS. “I returned home early from the Olympics because I could not miss my first week of class at UCCS where I was enrolled for the first time in my college career as a full-time student.”

To earn her degree as efficiently as possible, Gump began attending classes at both Pikes Peak Community College and UCCS. Gump majored in business and focused on her passion for athletics by studying sports management. This decision ultimately changed her career path. “The Sport Management program enabled me to see the true inner workings of the sport.”

Gump encourages others to explore UCCS volunteer opportunities, as there are so many benefits and resources available for all types of volunteer interests. “The biggest benefit I receive out of volunteering is the feeling of being connected and that I still matter as an alum to UCCS.” Besides weightlifting and learning, Gump enjoys spending time with her family hiking, biking, and fishing.
Heather Fairburn
Class of 2018

Heather Fairburn has not wasted time reaching milestones in her career since graduating from UCCS in 2018. A Florida native from a military-affiliated family, she transferred to UCCS from a college in southern Georgia. She entered the Criminal Justice program at UCCS and quickly realized there are many paths that the major can take people down, even beyond working in some of the more traditional law enforcement roles. She was even chosen as student of the year for the Criminal Justice program her senior year. After she completed her degree at UCCS, she went on to work with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in a Fusion Center. Fusion Centers are intended to improve sharing of criminal activity information among varying law enforcement agencies because of the Patriot Act. She was then promoted to Strategic Intelligence Analyst while in Florida. Now, after relocating to Virginia in 2022, she is working as a Criminal Intelligence Analyst. 

Being a first-generation, non-traditional, and transfer student in college made the transition to a new university challenging, but Fairburn worked hard and quickly started to excel in the classroom. When she first started the Criminal Justice Research Methods course with Sherry Marshall, she said she struggled to see how it could ever fit into her life outside of the classroom. The math aspect of the course challenged her greatly, but in her second semester of the one-year course, Professor Marshall asked her to come and help some fellow students with the course because she was doing so well. Hindsight truly is 20/20, as Fairburn now shares that she uses principles and concepts from that course in her professional work frequently.  

One of Fairburn’s first tastes of volunteering at UCCS came when she responded to the call for help to write letters to incoming students in summer 2020 via the Write a Mountain Lion program. Her love for UCCS inspired her to get involved as a volunteer despite living thousands of miles from campus. She has also helped read and score student scholarship applications with the Chancellor’s Leadership Class. When asked what advice she would give to others who are considering volunteering with UCCS she said, “I enjoy volunteering because I know it has a purpose, even if I don’t always see it on the forefront. If you enjoy volunteering, give a look around (the website) to see what is being offered and interests you, because you can sort by looking at your interests and know that you are making a difference, even if you do not always see it.”   

Fairburn has no shortage of interests and hobbies outside of her work. She enjoys volunteering, traveling, camping, hiking, gardening, sports, attending concerts, and spending time with her husband and their two dogs. 

Mary Koepp
Class of 2012

Mary Koepp received her undergraduate degree in Speech and Theatre in 1968 from Montana State University and taught junior high English and history for seven years.  She then enlisted in the U.S. Army and completed her service 33 years later as a Chief Warrant Officer Four. Later, she would go on as a post-traditional student to receive both a master’s degree in Curriculum for Diverse Learners and certification to teach English as a Second Language from UCCS.  She now serves as an international missionary teaching English and drama as an evangelism tool to students in Bible colleges and seminaries in Africa and India.  As a facet of her master’s study at UCCS, Mary had the opportunity to intern in South Korea helping to develop a curriculum standard to guide English instructors of children between the ages of seven and 14.  She especially enjoyed this internship opportunity as it highlighted a cause close to her heart and inspired some of the work she continues to do today as a global missionary. Koepp enjoys volunteering for many organizations in the Pikes Peak region. She likes to donate her time to classical music organizations in the community and on the UCCS campus because she enjoys giving back to her alma mater. 

At UCCS, Koepp volunteers for the Write-A-Mountain-Lion (WAML) letter-writing campaign for incoming freshmen, supports scholarship reviews, and ushers with the Theatre Works program and the Ent Center for the Arts. As she has a passion for the performing arts and the theatre, these opportunities are a great fit for her interests. Koepp is also an active board member for Curiosity Unlimited, founded in 1977 by a group of Pikes Peak area citizens and CU alumni. This program was created to provide a forum for stimulating community interest in UCCS, to create opportunities to become acquainted with university faculty members, to study relevant issues through free on-campus lectures, and to help students engage in leisure-time learning. Koepp recommends volunteering with UCCS because it is “a worthwhile experience, is easy and flexible for your schedule, and literally offers opportunities for every interest.” In her free time, Mary likes to garden, attend performances of classical music or theatre, and do mission work with her church.  

Travis Tafoya
Class of 2016

When talking about his time as a UCCS student, Travis Tafoya, ’16, said, “the biggest impact was how involved I got.” Tafoya was vice president of the Student Government Association, a student employee, a participant in the UCCSlead scholarship program, and the president of his fraternity. All of these connections helped Tafoya rise as a leader and form strong friendships.  

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Travis Tafoya spent a few years traveling across the U.S. for work. He also made time to volunteer with UCCS. One of the first volunteer opportunities that caught his attention was mentoring students in his fraternity. Tafoya enjoyed this activity because it allowed him to share his experience as a UCCS student and help up-and-coming students. Tafoya said he is passionate about volunteering with UCCS, “knowing I am giving back to something I got so much from.” Some of Tafoya’s other volunteer work includes reviewing scholarship applications and writing letters to incoming students during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Volunteering helps me keep a connection to UCCS and allows me to make a difference for students,” he said. 

Kyle Boyle
Class of 2018

Kyle Boyle is one of UCCS’ outstanding alumni volunteers. Boyle, ’18, is from Crested Butte and has made a lasting impact on UCCS with the contributions of his time and talent.  

Boyle came to Colorado Springs to pursue his education in business management at UCCS, which Boyle described as “the perfect fit.” While a student, Boyle had a multitude of experiences, with one that particularly stands out. Boyle says his favorite and most significant activity was working as the station manager for the campus radio station, UCCS Radio. Boyle was able to learn as a leader, make friends, and experiment with new ideas with mentors to guide him.  

Boyle got involved with the UCCS Alumni and Friend Volunteer program by reviewing student applications for the Kane Scholarship, as Boyle was a previous winner of this award. Since then, Boyle has participated in numerous volunteer opportunities, setting an example for other alumni and friends. Boyle wants others to know the sense of pride “towards self, community, and the organization” that comes when volunteering for UCCS. He believes others should be “hungry to stay involved” as it makes a larger impact than many realize.  

Boyle participated in the two-year Fellowship program at El Pomar Foundation after graduating from UCCS. He remains at the foundation serving as an IT and Media Specialist. Boyle says he wants to continue volunteering at UCCS and building bonds to better the community. “Others should be aware of the volunteer opportunities at UCCS and take initiative to pick things that can benefit both them and UCCS,” he said. 

Jacque Jewell
Class of 2020

Jacque Jewell is a UCCS volunteer who loves the great outdoors. Jacque has many hobbies that allow her to appreciate nature, including hiking, biking, and training her German Shepherd, Moji. Jacque also enjoys volunteering with UCCS and has made many contributions to the campus and its students. 

Jacque received her Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Management and International Business from UCCS in 2020. After discovering the UCCS Alumni and Friends Volunteer Program, Jacque quickly became very involved. She started volunteering as a judge for the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Case and Essay Competitions and was recently a panel member at the Daniels Fund Southern Colorado Ethics Summit. Jacque says she was “always impressed by the students writing and presentation skills.” Jacque also volunteered at events like the career fair and STEM career fair, where she was able to show students career opportunities with her employer, FedEx. She found it very rewarding to share why she likes working there and how others can make an impact on the company. Additionally, Jacque serves on the College of Business Alumni Leadership Team, as a mentor for the College of Business’ Relationships, Opportunities, Acumen, Readiness, (R.O.A.R.) program and as a client project lead for the Information Systems capstone course.  

Jacque went back to school to pursue her MBA many years after finishing her undergrad degree and hopes to help other students in that same position through her volunteer work. Jacque says, “I have a lot of business experience and can help students learn and grow.” Jacque believes helping students is a meaningful way to pay it forward. She encourages others to volunteer because she believes in the value of connection and the importance of preparing younger generations for the workforce.  

Heidi Rogers
Class of 2019

After Heidi Rogers graduated from UCCS in 2019, she immediately got involved with the UCCS Alumni and Friends Volunteer Program. Her favorite volunteer opportunity so far? Rogers said it was the Mountain Lion Grad Slam competition, where she evaluated and scored graduate students’ research projects. Rogers enjoyed this opportunity because she got to see the students’ hard work and passion for their subject matter come to life.  

As a UCCS alumni volunteer, she calls on her experiences as a student. She said she enjoyed the smaller class sizes at UCCS, where she could easily connect to students, faculty, and even staff members. Rogers graduated with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and uses her education to train management professionals as a U.S. Air Force employee. 

Volunteering at UCCS helps students further their careers and pursue their goals. Rogers said she wants people to know how simple it is to volunteer with UCCS, because the online website is easy to use, the staff members are helpful, and there are plenty of exciting volunteer opportunities. She encourages others to “get out there and volunteer!”

 

Additional Volunteer Resources