When Emilie Llenado, M.P.S. ’12, professional studies, first moved to Maryland from Kansas City, Missouri, she didn’t know a soul, and was working as a server at Longhorn Steakhouse. But, she was hopeful, and she knew she wanted to do great things, so she enrolled in UMBC at the Shady Grove campus. Four years later in 2012, she graduated from the Industrial/Organizational Psychology program with life-long friends, and a new job at Freddie Mac.
“When I first moved to Maryland, I didn’t know anyone. I came right out of my undergraduate degree. I didn’t know what it would take to succeed at school,” said Llenado, who recently joined the UMBC Alumni Association Board of Directors. “I made three goals, as I knew they would help me be a happier person, and the best version of myself.”
Pillars of Success
Those three goals, or the pillars of success as she called them, were “academic excellence, career enhancement, and interpersonal relationship growth.” With that in mind, she made the most of every moment at the Shady Grove campus.
“If there was a job fair, I would go. If there was a luncheon, I would be there. If a professor would offer up special office hours or a group study session, I would participate. You definitely get out of the program what you put into it,” she said.
At Shady Grove, she said, she built a network of faculty and friends who all encouraged her to succeed. “As I started studying more and getting more involved in my classes, I became closer with my classmates and teachers, who in turn became not just friends, but critical resources in building out my future career,” said Llenado.
Years later, she remains close with the friends she made during her time on campus. They go on an annual beach trip to Ocean City. “We go to the beach, boardwalk, and get crab toast, every year, rain or shine!” said Llenado. “We’ve all been close since the year I moved to Maryland, and this past year marked our 7th annual beach trip.”
For their 10th anniversary, they have big plans for a cruise or a resort to “celebrate our friendship, and tradition in style!”
The spring before she graduated, Llenado was offered a job at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, also known as Freddie Mac. After graduating on her birthday in December of 2012, she received another offer to advance at the company. After yet another offer and a promotion, she is now a multifamily underwriting senior associate.
“All of my daily activities, throughout my career, in Freddie Mac have directly aligned with skills learned through UMBC,” she said. UMBC gave her the ability to serve as a leader, collaborate with others, prepare presentations and more.
Giving Back as an Alumni Leader
In addition to her busy days at work, Llenado was invited to join UMBC’s Alumni Association Board of Directors (AABOD), a group that plans events and recognizes outstanding alums, all while creating a community atmosphere among UMBC’s 77,000-plus alumni. With the start of her term this spring, Llenado became the first Shady Grove alum representative on the board.
“It is important for us in alumni relations that UMBC at Shady Grove alumni see themselves in the work we do,” said Stanyell Odom, director of alumni relations. “Having an alumna on the board of directors that represents that voice will be instrumental as we develop strategic initiatives to thoughtfully organize events and initiatives that will speak to this community of alumni.”
Llenado believes that with the support of UMBC’s Shady Grove community, she was able to find success, which is a big part of why she now gives back as a part of the AABOD. “UMBC gives you all the tools you need to succeed, and that investment and engagement definitely works both ways!”