Awesome Awasom

Awesome Awasom

Audrey Awasom ’16 was among the first class of ACES students. This year, she completed a BS in marketing, minor in technology entrepreneurship, at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Lumnwi Audrey Awasom, 21, always wanted to do something big for the community. During her sophomore year at MC, she co-founded the One Heart Project, a community service project supported by MC-Enactus that already helped more than 50 homeless women with career and job readiness skills. During her last semester at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business this spring, Awasom founded her own organization, Noble Uprising. The new 501(c)(3) organization continues the mission of providing career readiness training and employment.

“Our main objective is to empower a population of individuals that are often overlooked in our community,” says Awasom, who serves as the organization’s CEO and president.

Awasom’s own experiences motivated her to make a difference. She and her family emigrated to Maryland from Cameroon when she was six. The third of four children, she knew paying for a college education would be impossible for her parents. During senior year at Seneca Valley High School (2014) in Germantown, she heard about a new program for students like her: ACES (Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success), initiated by Montgomery College.

As an ACES student, Awasom received coaching and advising while still in high school. At MC, and later as a transfer student at the Universities at Shady Grove, she continued with ACES. She also received a three-year Hillman Entrepreneurs Program scholarship, which provided tuition assistance, advising and mentoring, three credit courses in entrepreneurship, and membership in a growing network of alumni, community and business leaders, and future sponsors and partners.

On launching Noble Uprising, Awasom pulled together a board of directors from people in her network that she knew would help the organization be successful. Among the team are two of Awasom’s mentors: assistant director of ACES, Damian Robinson, and director of the Hillman Entrepreneurs Program, Rebecca Razavi.

“Audrey’s determination, grace, and passion to make a difference are irresistible,” says Razavi about her decision to join the board.

While at MC, Awasom worked with Fiorella Rayme ’16 and Herwina Alyssa ’17, both Macklin Business Institute scholars, to form the One Heart Project. They focused on helping women at the Montgomery Avenue Women’s Center in Rockville. The center, now renamed Interfaith Works and relocated on Taft Court in Rockville, is a 70-bed emergency shelter serving approximately 300 women per year.

They put together a multifaceted plan to help center residents prepare for employment. They led a career-clothing drive and produced workshops in time management, resume building, software instruction, and occupational personality testing during a three-month period.

Thirty women signed up for the inaugural program; 11 completed the entire series and received citations from Senator Chris Van Hollen’s office at a special ceremony at the College in January 2016. Two participants received scholarships for college; two others found employment. One program alumna, Sonji Greene Vazquez, has joined the Noble Uprising team as a community outreach consultant. She is working to create the organization’s summer training program, projected to begin in July.

“Going forward,” Awasom says, “we are looking forward to establishing strong corporate partnerships that will result in employment for our clients. The clients go through intense training. When completed, they have Microsoft Office Suite certification, mentors, electronics, and the confidence needed to start their new jobs. Through Noble Uprising, our clients are one step closer to their new careers.”

Before Awasom collects her UMD diploma—she earned a degree in marketing with a technology entrepreneurship minor—she will accept special recognition for Noble Uprising as a fall 2017 Do Good Mini-Grant Recipient, at an event sponsored by the University’s Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Noble Uprising was one of 27 teams to win the grant out of 54 applications.

—Diane Bosser
Photograph courtesy Audrey Awasom

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