When the elementary school student she was tutoring via Zoom appeared on the screen, Meghan McLees ’23 sensed something was wrong. So, she quickly switched gears, replacing the scholarly lesson she’d planned for the day with an educational game.

“We just did that the whole time, and we talked about his day,” she said of the session with a student from Stafford Junction, a nonprofit dedicated to helping families struggling with poverty. “He was having a hard time at school.”

The call was just a small part of the volunteer work she completed as a University of Mary Washington student, but it created a career path for McLees, who enrolled in a master’s program for school counseling at the University of Maryland after graduating from UMW in May. Now, in addition to a chosen profession, her penchant for giving her time to others has earned her something else – the 2023 Outstanding Young Adult Volunteer Award from the Virginia Office of the Governor.

“Meghan is a great role model with a wonderful combination of passion for making the world a better place and organizational skills,” Center for Community Engagement Director Sarah Dewees said in her nomination letter for the award, bestowed on McLees at a ceremony last night. Read more.