Picture an upbeat, passionate, energetic, optimistic person who embodies service at Stevenson University: Morgan Somerville likely comes to mind.
Somerville, the director of student engagement, has been at the university since Monday, August 7, 2006, a day she recalls vividly. She described herself as being “very comfortable” and having a “magic feeling” when she interviewed for a position as an admissions counselor for Villa Julie College.
Throughout her 12 years at Stevenson, Somerville has served as an admissions counselor, an assistant director of admissions, a student employment manager, and her current position as the director of student engagement.
ENGAGING CO-WORKER AND MENTOR
Although Somerville holds the official title of director of student engagement, she described herself as an ambassador for the university. She is always mentioning Stevenson and building connections and partnerships with new people and organizations.
Dr. Christine Moran, assistant vice president of student success and Somerville’s co-worker of over four years, said, “Morgan’s positive energy and ‘can do’ spirit is contagious. She always has great ideas on how to better serve our students and the community at large.”
Somerville explained that her position involves working with everyone on campus. From athletics, to residence life, to clubs and organizations, to academics, she is in constant contact with groups and individuals in an effort to do whatever she can to enhance the student experience.
Lauren Novsak, Somerville’s student coordinator and senior business communication major, said, “Morgan has always been a friend, a boss, and a mentor. But she has also been an older sister and my go-to adulting guru. I do not think I would have grown personally as I have without her advice and encouragement. I strongly believe I am more outgoing and more confident in myself because of her influence.”
One of the many aspects of Somerville’s job includes connecting current Stevenson service scholars with service opportunities to help them fulfill their individual requirement of 100 hours each year.
Somerville created the program three years ago and has challenged the 84 scholars to collectively complete 10,000 hours of service by the end of this academic year.
“Everything I’ve done here, thankfully, has been in the light of supporting students to be the best they can be,” Somerville said.
MISSION: I’M HOME
In addition to working with both service and presidential scholars, and coordinating all service-related projects, Somerville is the advisor and co-founder of Mission: I’m Home. According to the Stevenson University website, the organization “teams with local service organizations to rebuild and repair homes damaged or destroyed by natural disasters.”
Before the launch of Mission: I’m Home, Somerville had attended a service trip with a church group to New Orleans to rebuild from the damages of Hurricane Katrina. Upon returning, she felt compelled to do more for the impacted area.
She approached her supervisor at Stevenson to ask if there was any way she could implement an alternative-break program to take students to New Orleans to help rebuild the community. Coincidentally, Art Fifer, assistant professor of information systems, and Romas Laskauskas, assistant professor of business administration, wanted to create a course that involved students engaging in service to gain hands-on experience in project management.
Somerville described Noya as “the fairy godmother of Mission: I’m Home.”
Together, Somerville, Fifer and Laskauskas created what is now known as Mission: I’m Home, an organization through which over 700 students have participated in numerous trips to rebuild areas impacted by disasters since 2009.
This upcoming year is the 10th anniversary of Mission: I’m Home. To celebrate the anniversary, the organization’s 2019 spring break trip to New Orleans is open to all Mission: I’m Home alumni, Mission: I’m Home members, and any other interested students.
VOLUNTEER AND AWARD RECIPIENT
In addition to her work at Stevenson, Somerville serves on the board of one of the oldest service providers in Baltimore, Alliance, the young professionals group for Catholic Charities. She is on the advisory committee for Business Volunteers of Maryland, an organization that partners non-profits with corporate America. She has also been actively involved in the Notre Dame Prep Alumni Association for 10 years, which is where she attended high school.
Somerville was the recipient of the 2017 Claire E. Moore Award, an award given to a staff member who goes above and beyond to ensure exceptional student experiences. She also attends the fall, winter and spring Mission: I’m Home trips, as well as countless local service activities with students weekly.
With a wide range of community partners and service opportunities, as well as a basket filled with inspirational quotes on her desk, Somerville encourages students to visit her in her office on the Owings Mills campus in Garrison North room 103.
Somerville said, “I have an open door policy, so students can come and talk to me about anything at anytime. I love connecting people and resources.”