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Volkening gives valedictory address at UMBC commencement

August 15, 2011
  • Alexandria Volkening
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BALTIMORE — On May 23, at 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, Alexandria Volkening of Boonsboro experienced her first graduation ceremony.

Volkening, who was homeschooled from first through 12th grades, was honored as the Class of 2011 valedictorian of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Standing in front of more than 5,000 students, faculty members and family, she delivered a commencement address that highlighted the great diversity at UMBC.

She challenged her peers to continue to reach out of their comfort zones and combine their voices together to tackle today’s increasingly multidisciplinary problems.

Graduating summa cum laude and inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Volkening completed her Bachelor of Science in mathematics at UMBC with a 4.0 grade-point average.

She was on the dean’s list and president’s list all four years, and received multiple scholarships and recognitions, including Outstanding Senior in Math and Outstanding Teaching Assistant in Math.

She was actively involved in volunteerism during her time at UMBC.

Her experiences span providing math support at an inner-city elementary school to teaching aerobics at a senior center.

Volkening also held leadership roles in several campus clubs and was a member of the UMBC Dance Team, a spirit squad that performs at basketball games and supports university athletics.

Volkening is a product of the Hagerstown community.

She lifeguarded at the city’s Claud E. Potterfield Pool for five years before college and, in 2007, planned Swim-to-Stock-Shelves, a benefit for the Washington County Food Bank.

She said her experiences of dancing and teaching acrobatics at Dancin’ Time Studio in Hagerstown helped her feel comfortable under the stage lights while she was speaking at commencement.

During her speech, she mentioned Girls Inc. of Washington County, where she volunteered before college.

This fall, Volkening will leave Maryland to begin pursuing her Ph.D. in applied mathematics at Brown University with support from a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship.

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