The University of Maryland has moved to online learning through the rest of the semester in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With most students and faculty at home hunkered down with their families, many are thinking of ways to give back to their communities during these difficult times.
Henry C. Boyd III, a clinical professor of marketing at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, is spending his time on a worthy cause. (Yes, he continues to practice social distancing while helping others.)
Boyd, working in tandem with his 10-year-old daughter, Gigi and his wife, Isabel, has been making face shields and preparing bottles of hand sanitizer for frontline ER doctors and ICU nurses at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Boyd’s wife is an international care coordinator and Portuguese medical interpreter at the hospital. When she got wind of the fact that John Hopkins was looking to expand its network of volunteers during the pandemic, the family jumped into action.
Raised in a military family with a history of service, Boyd was eager to join the battle. “We have this opportunity to make a difference by putting face shields together. At the end of the day, we know that there’s someone who might be a little safer because we were able to do something,” Boyd said.
Maintaining a safe social distance, the Boyd crew has been assembling face shields, creating labels, and preparing bottles of hand sanitizer inside a voluminous warehouse in Dundalk, Maryland.
Boyd says he’s been inspired by the tireless dedication of the frontline clinicians in the midst of this crisis. He takes comfort in the selflessness of his fellow volunteers, especially his precocious daughter, Gigi, who has not complained once about the tedious nature of the work.
“As a proud parent, I can attest that Gigi has done the work,” said Boyd. “My wife and I have shown her that we have an obligation to our community, and this is what we can do to help now. That’s what we all should be doing.”
In his role as a Maryland Smith professor, Boyd has been adjusting to a synchronous learning environment using WebEx. Admittedly a fan of old-school, in-person teaching, Boyd says he misses engaging with students in a physical classroom. Still, he finds much reason for optimism.
“What I find gratifying are the many stories coming out stating: This is what we’re doing as Americans,” he said. “We’ll get through this.”
–By Emma Grazado, Maryland Smith special writer.
–Photos courtesy of Henry C. Boyd III