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Today, Cushman is a social worker who investigates and assists in cases of elder abuse—a career path that she can trace back to her time at Maryland.

“One of the biggest lessons I learned at Maryland was the importance of giving back and being there for people when they need you,” Cushman said. “People gave to me when I was there and needed help in College Park, so, when I left, I knew I wanted to stay in that field of giving back.”

She also stays involved in the youth volleyball world around her, using her Terp pedigree to inspire the next generation of players. 

“When you walk in a gym with young girls and someone says, ‘Oh, she went to the University of Maryland’, automatically, those young girls kind of turn their heads and they want to hear your story. To have that impact on younger generations is important.” 

Cushman knows firsthand the significance that being a Maryland student-athlete carries—even if she wasn’t completely aware of it at the time. 

“If you were to ask pre-college Mary what it means to go to Maryland on a scholarship, it would have been a quick, simple ‘I get to play volleyball for four years for free,’” Cushman said. “Obviously very grateful, but it was just kind of a single focus on playing volleyball at a great school. 

“Post-college Mary knows that the impact was way bigger than that. It meant going to a beautiful university, playing at a high level, meeting teammates and friends that I’ll always carry with me, and facing adversity and learning how to grow and become a better person because of that. It’s hard to put into words what the impact of a Maryland scholarship means but I can certainly say it’s extremely widespread and it changes lives.”

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