THESE STORIES WERE FIRST PUBLISHED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND ALUMNI ASSOCIATION ON THEIR BLOG.
WRITTEN BY ALLISON EATOUGH ‘97
The Rising Terp Award honors three alumni under 30 years old who has distinguished themselves personally and professionally. This year, two Do Good alums were selected to receive the award: Audrey Awasom, founder, Noble Uprising, and Matthew Hollister, Chairman and CEO, James Hollister Wellness Foundation; Co-Founder, Save Pharmaceutical.
A finalist in the Do Good Accelerator’s Scale Your Impact Program, the organization helped women develop career readiness skills like critical thinking, professional writing, time management and problem solving for two years. Noble Uprising also provided training for workplace tools, including Microsoft Office. And to round out the career readiness experience, Noble Uprising provided a shopping spree for its inaugural group of participants.
But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Awasom took a step back and realized she could do—and wanted to do—more.
“It’s hard to focus on getting a job when you don't have the basic fundamental needs met already,” said Awasom, a graduate of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. “Employment is definitely one of the major reasons why individuals experience homelessness or poverty. However, we also have to be mindful that there are other, more basic needs like food, housing and health that must be met before individuals can focus on pursuing a career or getting into the workplace.”
“Audrey’s passion, energy, and leadership are truly inspiring,” Kaitlin Ahmad, Do Good Institute's manager of communication, said. “She has remained steadfast in her efforts over the last five years, constantly looking at how to best support the women in her program to truly transform their lives.”
READ AUDREY'S FULL STORY HERE.
Matthew Hollister ’18 will never forget the day his father, James, died.
It was August 31, 2015 – the first day of Hollister’s sophomore year at UMD. And while he didn’t realize it at the time, it was also the start of a nonprofit that would honor his dad and help thousands of people worldwide access life-saving medication.
“After my father died, we still had several thousands of dollars of his cancer medications,” Hollister said. “At the time we had absolutely no idea what to do with them.”
Hollister and his family ended up giving the leftover medications to the local fire department, which coordinated their safe disposal. But seeing valuable medication go to waste left a “sour taste” in Hollister’s mouth, he said.
“Being partially raised by grandparents who grew up during the Great Depression, waste not, want not was always drilled into my head,” he said. “I wanted to find out if there was any other solution. And If I couldn't find one, then I’d try to make one for myself.”
Within two months of his father’s death, he founded the James Hollister Wellness Foundation as part of his capstone scholars project. The following year, the foundation won $6,500 in funding from the Do Good Institute’s Do Good Challenge.
“Over the last six years, Matt’s innovative approach has offered cost-effective ways to modernize global healthcare while ensuring equitable access to pharmaceutical drugs,” Kaitlin Ahmad, Do Good Institute's manager of communication, said. “It has been incredible to see and support him as he leads his organization through all of the ups and downs of starting and growing such an impactful effort.”