For my capstone research project I focused on the role globalization plays in the psychosocial and economic development of communities in conflict. I’m a mental health advocate and I like to look at trauma from all its angles, not just from a medical standpoint. Many globalization processes and policies reshape and transform the lives of individuals and communities in development, without necessarily providing them with the resources and support needed to deal with the stressors, conflicts, and challenges that result from globalization.
I chose global conflict and security as my specific area of study because I care about different global issues such as migration, conflict, and inequality. This specialization gave me the opportunity to take conflict analysis courses that deepened my knowledge and enhanced my analytical and practice skills to pursue conflict resolution at different levels.
The academic experience that impact me the most in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences was the Foreign Investment and Global Integration study abroad program in Cuba. This was not only an opportunity to learn about the economic, political, and historical background of Cuba but also to expose ourselves to some of the enriching traditions, cultural and social life of the Cuban people. This unique cultural experience allowed me to explore different global issues within the context of the Cuban culture and life that I would not have been able to explore as a regular tourist. Many misconceptions about Cuba, its political system, and its foreign relations were debunked during this trip. Immersing myself in the Cuban culture as a student undoubtedly gave me a deeper sense of resilience and life appreciation.
I feel that I have accomplished many great things at Mason, but the one I am most proud of is being able to complete my master’s degree altogether. We all have our own personal and life struggles, but I personally feel that working and studying full time can be overwhelming as well. I am proud of myself for completing the program despite the challenges I faced, but it wouldn’t have been possible without my discipline and commitment as well as the support of my family, friends, and faculty.
There were many faculty members who supported me and made a difference during my Mason career especially Professors Jennifer Ashley, Rob Ericson, and Al Fuertes. Al Fuertes significantly impacted my life as he assisted me with examining my thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and values to discover my career passion. He is genuinely committed to his students and humanity. Through his conversations and interactions, he brings healing and transformation to those who need it the most. Everyone deserves to encounter someone like prof. Fuertes in this journey called life!
The advice I would give to an incoming cohort of graduate students would be to immerse themselves in the program and take advantage of the resources the school offers because it opens the doors to many academic, professional, and personal development opportunities.
After I graduate, I plan to become a certified trauma and resilience practitioner. I want to continue developing skills and abilities that will enhance my practical role as a facilitator to transform individuals and communities in conflict.