Spring commencement's student speaker named

  • Tuesday, May 8, 2018
    Jahmai Elisha Holland

    Senior Jahmai E. Holland will deliver the student commentary on behalf of her classmates at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's 2018 spring commencement exercises May 25. 

    A panel of judges picked Holland, an accounting major from Landover, Md., following an audition where she delivered a rousing preliminary version of her speech. 

    In her audition application, Holland wrote: “ever since high school … I've wanted so desperately to be (a) student commentator.” 

    Since enrolling at UMES, Holland has honed those public speaking skills many times as a highly visible and engaged undergraduate across as well as off campus. 

    “I want to inspire my peers not to simply make a paycheck, but to truly invest in their life passions, learn from their mistakes to anticipate and overcome future pitfalls and use knowledge to lift up those around them as they climb higher in their respective career fields,” she said. 

    Holland has worked as resident assistant and student director for the Office of Residence Life and was president of the UMES chapter of National Association of Black Accountants. 

    She is credited with helping establish two student groups; “My Sister's Keeper” and “Tresses” to eradicate African-American stereotypes “through the process of hair care.” 

    Holland aggressively pursued internships in her field each summer since enrolling, working for the Maryland Department of Public Works, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Land O'Lakes Inc., which she points out allowed her “to gain experience in a state agency, a federal agency and a well-known company in the private sector. 

    This summer, after a brief break, she'll start her post-graduate career as an accountant with the firm KPMG as a federal audit associate. She plans to remain active as an alumna by serving as the UMES campus chapter liaison to the National Association of Black Accountants. 

    As a member of the Richard A. Henson Honors Program, Holland twice traveled to the Dominican Republic during winter breaks to do service-learning work and she has also represented UMES at the Thurgood Marshall Leadership Institute. She is expected to graduate with honors.