We are incredibly proud of our Spring 2017 BA award-winning graduates and would like to spotlight their successes and accomplishments during their time at Mason. Read more about their stories below.
Ana Tobar-Romero was born in San Salvador, El Salvador and migrated to the United States when she was five years old with her family. Graduating summa cum laude with a double major in global affairs and communication, Ana could not be more grateful for the opportunities she has had at Mason. She recognizes that education has been the key to her success as a first generation college student.
While at Mason, Ana has traveled to El Salvador to study gang violence in marginalized communities, traveled to Israel to engage with government officials about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and has even shook the hands of Barack and Michelle Obama. She has also taken leadership roles on campus which include being a resident advisor, student senator, mason ambassador, mentor for the Student Transition Empowerment Program, and a global politics fellow. Her passion is deeply rooted in immigrant issues, which has led to her presenting her research on immigration at institutions such as University of California, Berkeley and Princeton University. She has been part of Mason DREAMers since her freshman year and this year served as Internal President.
After being an immigration paralegal this semester, Ana has decided to pursue a law degree in the future so she can give back to the community that has given so much to her. Ana would not be here today without the scarifies of her family, guidance from her mentors and encouragement from her friends and support system at Mason.
Jason Fasano graduating with double major in Global Affairs and Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Throughout his studies he has focused primarily on the Middle East; a region that he feels continues to be severely misunderstood by the average American. Of particular interest to Jason has been the interplay between macro-level geopolitical conflicts between great powers on the international stage, and the everyday human suffering that such conflicts inherently engender.
Jason was a member of the Global Affairs Honors Program, in which he conducted an independent research project investigating the motivations behind U.S. support for autocratic governments. This research culminated in a 175 page-long thesis, which he had the opportunity to present to both peers and professionals at local, regional, and international conferences.
This semester he interned with the Syrian-American Medical Society, a humanitarian non-profit that provides support to the remaining medical staff that continues to operate within Syria and organizes medical relief missions for refugees in neighboring countries.
This past spring break, Jason travelled to Jordan with Mason’s Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution, to study non-conventional conflict resolution strategies and to volunteer with organizations implementing these strategies into practice by providing various support services to Syrian refugee populations in Jordan.
This focus on humanitarianism for strategic peacebuilding, rather than for simply altruistic reasons, led Jason to realize he didn’t have to choose between either working toward a political solution to conflicts or servicing those directly effected by these conflicts, and he is now planning on pursuing a career in this innovative field of peacebuilding that straddles this divide.
Jason would like to thank his family, he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do any of this without the sacrifices that you all have made for him. Second, Professor Heba El Shazli: you’ve played many roles throughout Jason’s time here at Mason. Jason would like you to know that he consider you a friend. And lastly he would like to thank, the children at the Project Amal ou Salam school in Jerash, Jordan. After four years of studying every aspect of the chaos and destruction engulfing Syria, Jason had admittedly grown a little jaded and cynical regarding the possibility for a better future. Your smiles reminded him that there is still so much to remain hopeful for.
Rahima Ghafoori is graduating with a concentration in Global Governance. Throughout her undergraduate career at George Mason, Rahima has developed a strong interest in international law and human rights, which drew her to take part in the Global Politics Fellows (GPF) program offered to Global Affairs and Government majors. She credits her unique time as a Fellow as one of her most formative periods at Mason. During her fellowship, she had the opportunity to intern at Grieboski Global Strategies (GGS), an international strategic consulting firm focusing on human rights and international development. She was awarded GPF’s Outstanding Intern Award for her time at GGS, and after graduation she will be joining the Grieboski Global Strategies team as a full-time Associate. The impact the Global Affairs program has made on her life is incomparable, and she would like to thank all her professors along the way who motivated her to think critically, ethically, and globally.
Bradley Sherman is graduating with a concentration and particular interest in Russian and Central Asian studies, however his true passion lies in his next endeavor. Bradley will be entering the 2020 class at George Mason Law School this fall, and is eager to pursue a career as a public defender. Brad’s favorite experience at George Mason was meeting his now fiancé and daughter of his Russian 210 professor in his Conflict 340 class his junior year. The wedding is set for July 2nd, and he couldn’t be more excited. Outside of his studies, Brad’s obsession is and always will be Star Wars. Special thanks goes to his parents, John and Liz, his fiancé Oksana, and although the occasional annoyance, his sister Savannah, who have all supported him through ups, downs, and everything in between.
Hannah Warner is a GLOA student with a concentration in international development, and minors in Spanish and economics. She is from Martinsville, VA (the real Virginia), and is still learning to understand NOVA through grad studies at Mason and work for The ONE Campaign in D.C. Some of her fondest memories from her Mason experience come from her time leading the educational advocacy group College Impact Tours, where she was able to connect with middle school students and explain to them the finer points of the college experience, such as being able to stay up as late as you want and how to smuggle hot food out of a dining hall. She also enjoyed Mason’s Outdoor Adventure club and being the co-editor for the OSM publication Outlier Magazine. Hannah’s learning process at Mason was shaped by excellent Professors such as Dr. Woolsey, and by role models out of the classroom such as her former supervisor Sean Cox, both of whom helped her grow in different but equally important ways. She would like to thank her parents Mark and Paula for their support and for showing her how far basic respect and mindfulness can take you.
Global Affairs major with a concentration in International Development and minors in Social Justice and Conflict Analysis/Resolution. Growing up between the U.S. mainland, Japan, and Hawai`i, Tabatha was immersed in diverse communities from a young age. She values active citizenship and community-building, as evidenced by her on-campus advocacy for displaced populations, role as a Mason Ambassador, weekly mentorships with local youth, and leadership with Alternative Breaks. As an Honors College student, she conducted research through OSCAR regarding West Papuan indigeneity. She has also studied abroad in the Philippines and Taiwan, led service-learning trips to Jamaica and El Salvador, and interned in Japan. She recently accepted a fellowship with Princeton in Asia (PiA), where she will work as an English Lecturer at Mae Fah Luang University in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Ultimately, she hopes to become a scholar-activist, engaging in the fight against white supremacy both in the U.S. and abroad. She thanks her family, friends, and professors for their endless support and remains deeply appreciative of all the knowledge and experiences gained during her four years at GMU.
Jessica is a first generation Hispanic college student with a concentration in Global Governance and a minor in Anthropology. During her time at Mason, she has interned with US Department of Justice and an NGO (Save the Children) and has taken part in the Global Politics Fellowship.
Her most memorable experiences at Mason has been studying abroad - she camped out in the Sahara Desert in Merzouga, Morocco and hung out by "El Malecon" drinking Cristal in Havana’ Cuba. Jessica’s favorite classes at Mason were International Relations Theory and International Economics.
She will be getting her paralegal certification over the summer and will be attending law school to work in international trade or corporate law. Jessica would like to thank her mom, Maria, for working so hard to give her the opportunity of gaining a college education and she also wants to thank Susan Castiglia for all her useful life advice she's given Jessica over the years.
Stephanie is double majoring in Global Affairs and Spanish. At Mason she was a student in the Honors College, joined numerous honor societies including Phi Beta Kappa, worked for Mason Recreation, and participated in a variety of clubs and organizations. During her time as an undergraduate at Mason she developed a passion for Latin American culture, politics, and history. She pursued that passion through her coursework, internships with Latin America-focused NGOs in DC, a semester abroad in Argentina, and most recently a research project where she traveled for a week to Guatemala to analyze the impact of job skills training programs for youth. She has loved all of her professors in the Global Affairs department and Spanish department but would like to make a special thank you to Dr. Lisa Breglia. When Stephanie was visiting Mason before she enrolled, she spoke with Dr. Breglia at an event and that conversation is what convinced her to declare a major in Global Affairs.
Stephanie would also like to thank the Global Affairs advising staff for guiding her in the right path each semester so that she could achieve exactly what she wanted to and more. The experiences she has had as a Global Affairs major these past four years have helped her develop her skills as an academic, as a critical thinker, and as a problem-solver who strives to make a positive, sustainable impact in underdeveloped countries. After graduation she hopes to land a job in the development field in DC where she can use her expertise in the Latin American region. Longer term plans include graduate school, potentially pursuing a Ph.D, and hopefully more international work experience.
Having grown up in a diverse community, Niku Neshati always knew she wanted to go into a field with a global focus. She hopes to use her concentration in global governance to combat food insecurity, climate change, global disease, and other human security threats at a worldwide level. As a Global Politics Fellow, she became interested in international law and human rights, which were deeply embedded in the internships she has held in social services and research on the rule of law. Her semester in Spain shined a spotlight on the persistent othering that occurs in geopolitical discourse, and its destructive consequences on all.
She is pursuing an accelerated MA in Global Affairs with a specialization in Global Health, and hopes to find a career in the nonprofit sector. She would like to thank Dr. Singh, Dr. Ashley, Dr. Breglia, and Dr. Hultin for their encouragement, and for challenging her to confront her biases. She would also like to thank her family for their unwavering patience and support, and for being her biggest source of inspiration.
As a student at Mason, Timothy Brush has attempted to make the most out of his time here. Besides gaining the freshman 15 and maintaining it, going into D.C., and playing volleyball at the RAC, he has also spent time learning here too. The Global Affairs program has given him the opportunity to study about the world and across the world. From freezing cold England to sweltering hot Jordan, Timothy studied different societies abroad during the summer, winter, and every spring semester, unfortunately having to miss out this time for graduation related reasons. He has learned how the world operates, or sometimes doesn't, and it has led him to desire a future career of serving his country through the State Department. But before heading down that path Timothy must finish his Accelerated Master's degree in Global Affairs. Without this program nothing of what he has accomplished today would be possible. And without the help of his Advisor Mrs. Erika Marquina, who has supported him when he wanted to take on twenty classes at a time but kindly making sure he doesn’t and go crazy, he wouldn't be where he is today.
Chanel Grice is a double major in Global Affairs and Economics. She is a Boren scholar that spent 6 months in Japan; teaching English and studying Japanese and Economics. She is interested in International Development concentrated on women's labor and rights. She plans to attend John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies for a Masters in Applied Economics. Before entering her graduate studies, she will be working as a Junior Research Assistant at Economic Systems. She currently is an intern at the U.S. Department of Treasury and conducts loan and policy review from multilateral development banks on development projects. She is thankful for her background in global affairs, which helped her develop an understanding of international issues created by economic policy. She hopes to use what she has learned from her studies to create economic policy that not only produces economic growth but empowers the less fortunate.
After an action-packed four years at Mason, Hannah Matangos is so excited to be graduating with a B.A. in Global Affairs, B.A. in Art History with Honors, and minor in Religious Studies. From living in Italy to studying at Oxford to hanging out in the Johnson Center, Hannah has enjoyed every moment of her undergraduate experience. She would especially like to thank each sister of Gamma Phi Beta for their true and constant support, as well as her professors for continuously opening her mind and helping her engage in rigorous scholarship. After graduation, Hannah looks forward to sleeping, working, and applying to PhD programs in Art History.
May 11, 2017