Interviews by Mia Wise, James Stemple, and Dinanda Pramesti
Student: Mariam Zaidi
What is your major and year?
I am a Junior, Computer Science major and Math minor.
What organizations are you involved in on and off campus?
I love staying involved on campus. It has made my college experience extremely enjoyable. I am a member of the engineering fraternity, Theta Tau. It’s a fraternity made up of engineering students on campus. It’s given me some really great friends who help each other out with classes and hang out together. The alumni help us get internships and jobs during school and when we graduate as well. I am a part of the Society of Women Engineers. Last year, it helped me land a summer internship at Northrop Grumman as a software engineering intern.
What brought you to Mason?
Originally, I was very interested in the cyber security field and wanted to major in it. GMU was one of the only schools to offer the program and it was the one closest to me. After my freshman year, I enjoyed my computer science classes more than the cyber security ones, so I switched my major. I was drawn to the campus as well because of the diversity and political activeness we have. One of the highlights of my college experience was getting to listen to Michelle Obama speak at GMU.
What encouraged you to become involved on campus and what drew you to the organizations you’re involved in?
Whether it’s with academics or sports, I love staying busy. I’ve always been one to enjoy being involved in various organizations since it helped me expand my social circle and stay busy outside of classes. I’ve met great friends, been part of some amazing initiatives, and made experiences that I’ll remember for the rest of my life! I’ve been part of a lot of organizations since I was a freshman but the ones that I am still a part of now, two and a half years later, are the ones that have either helped me academically, socially, physically, or have just been fun.
Photo Courtesy of Mariam Zaidi
Student Org: Mason Noise
What is Mason Noise?
Mason Noise is the university record label, organized under Mason’s School of Music. Mason Noise is mainly composed of music technology majors, and our organization primarily focuses on production of CD’s – from recording, mixing to the album art. Outside of that, we host concerts which feature upcoming Mason musicians and have weekly meetings. In our weekly meetings, we discuss mixing techniques and have timed composition challenges for electronic producers. Our goal is for students to get as much experience with audio engineering, and by having many musicians/artists in one room, we hope to create a hub for creators and collaborations.
Why is Mason Noise Important?
Mason Noise is important for music technology majors who want more experience with recording and mixing on the board. Of course the organization is open to non-Music Technology majors, and those students have learned a lot of material as they attend meetings and take part in recording projects. In greater sense, our organization is important on giving students an opportunity to become a proficient audio engineer/producer.
What is Mason Noise’s proudest accomplishment?
Every semester, we produce a CD of either a solo artist or a GMU ensemble. All of them have been successful, (or currently in production) so I would say having those projects a success is an accomplishment. In terms of concerts, we hosted the music for the Grand Opening of the MIX@Fenwick. Thankfully, we were given positive comments after the show, so that was also a great accomplishment.
Photo Courtesy of Allie Thompson
Alumni: Mason Pazhwak
How were you awarded the Fulbright Grant for English Teaching Assistantship in Malaysia?
So my last year at Mason, the Honors College, they have a really good fellowship team there led by Dr. LaNitra Berger. She really encouraged me to apply and I’ve been interested for several years in doing those fellowships and scholarships that allows you to go abroad. So, starting my last semester at Mason, I began the application and it was pretty a long application process, I kinda worked through it over the summer. Finally, last October, we submit the application first to a team that reviewed it, and once they approve it, we send it to the Fulbright Commission to review. It was a long process.
You said you were a Global Affairs major, what was your concentration in Global Affairs?
One concentration on global governance and a second concentration in Middle East studies or Middle East and North Africa. What got me interested from my major in going to Malaysia is while doing the Middle East and North Africa concentration, I did a class on political islam. The professor who taught that class was actually a specialist in Indonesia and Malaysia which never really occurred to me as predestinations for that area.
Where did you work after you’ve graduated and before you’ve gotten this assistantship?
So for the past year and a half, I’ve been working at Grant Thornton LLP. They are one of those big tax advisory audit firms and I am working in their advisory portion doing public sector consulting. It gave me some good exposure to the world of business and actually had no background in finance at all, so it increased my background a bit.
If you could live in one country, where would it be besides Malaysia?
If I could work in a country, a place that I want to really visit again would be the UK. I studied abroad there for a semester, which I really enjoyed. I wouldn’t mind going back there especially since it’s an English-speaking country, it would be easier to work there. In terms of countries I would love to visit again outside of Europe or Western countries, I’d really like to go to Turkey. I went on a brief trip to Istanbul and I thought it was an incredible city, so I would love to go there again.
Photo Courtesy of Allie Thompson