BY BASMA HUMADI, HAILEY BULLIS, AND KRISTEN KOEGLER
Alumni- Ashley Hill; Communications Specialist
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED SINCE GRADUATING FROM MASON?
Since graduating from Mason, I have learned more than I can put on paper – and honestly, I am still learning the lessons I learned! My top three lessons I’m still learning are:
- You are ready and you will be okay. After graduating, I was scared I was not ready for life after college. Life came at me with all it had and I felt like the challenges would never end. I eventually overcame them and became a stronger person as a result. In the end, I was ready and I was okay.
- Listen to understand, not to respond. Active listening to understand the other person is difficult to master. A lot of the time, people listen only to respond. However, we all should be listening without judgement to understand the other person. It is difficult to apply, but it is vital to making real connections and so much more.
- Rarely anything is personal. If someone wrongs you, chances are their actions are not personal. Everyone has an unspoken story. Most likely what you think they did was not personal. Don’t worry about it!
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING POST-GRADUATION?
Post-graduation, I have been working here at Mason as Human Resources & Payroll’s communication specialist! I am also earning my master’s in communication from Mason as well. I love working at Mason because I can now give back to the place and the people that gave so much to me.
WHAT’S SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOU, AND WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Something interesting about me is I started practicing ballet as an adult! Ballet is an outlet for me to de-stress, escape momentarily from the world and refocus my state of mind. Practicing ballet as an adult breaks up my workout routine, allows me to express my creativity while making me feel beautiful, strong and capable of taking on the world!
WHAT’S SOMETHING/SOMEONE THAT’S SHAPED YOU AND WHY?
Something that has shaped me is Disney’s Cinderella, both the old and new versions. As an underclassman, I would let people walk all over me. I would never stand up or speak up for myself. Cinderella taught me to “have courage and be kind.” This phrase means to me that I can have courage by standing up for myself while doing it in a kind way. After hearing those words, it gave me a better sense of self-worth and gave me the courage to stand up for myself.
IF YOU COULD DESCRIBE YOUR LIFE IN ONE QUOTE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
“It’s not about you, it’s about connecting with them.”
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT?
[My proudest achievement] is graduating from George Mason University with a 3.97 GPA!
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT MASON?
What I love most about George Mason University is its drive for excellence. Mason is committed to continuously bolstering the resources and well-being for the Mason community and extending community. I love being a part of this mission.
Alumni- Asha Athman
WHERE/WHAT IS YOUR SCHOLARSHIP?
I completed a Boren Scholarship, which is a scholarship or fellowship that is funded by the National Security Education Program for students to study abroad for a period. It is usually between 6 to 9 months, and allows students to be able to study a critical foreign language for a certain amount of time. I received the scholarship to study Arabic, and studied Arabic in Jordan for nine months. I did three-quarters of study at a language institute in its capital.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE FUTURE?
I’m currently looking for work because I am in the process of graduating. I studied global affairs with a concentration in international development and Middle East and North Africa. I am also now pursuing a degree in Arabic because when I did the scholarship I had a minor in Arabic. Now, I’m working on the major, as well as applying for work that is related to the Middle East or Africa.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU LEARNED DURING YOUR TIME AT GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY?
I think one of the most important things that I learned during my time at Mason is recognizing that all issues have multiple perspectives. I got that from my classes because I studied global affairs, so that brings together a lot of students and teachers that come from different walks of life and different parts of the world.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR PEOPLE SEEKING THE SAME KIND OF INTERNSHIP/FELLOWSHIP THAT YOU RECEIVED?
I think starting early on is really important… These federal fellowships and scholarships, sometimes you have to apply for them more than one time in order to get it… I think applying for things more than one time and really putting the effort in doing a lot of different applications helps you because it shows you have a commitment to study abroad. At the same time it helps you because it helps you learn how to present yourself well, while you also learn a lot about yourself by doing different types of applications. Even if you don’t get something or you do get something you will have gotten something out of the application process itself, and I think that really helps you in the future.
Faculty- Patricia Yvette Boudinot
WHAT DO YOU TEACH AT MASON AND WHY?
I teach at the GGS department — or Geography and Geoinformation Sciences. I studied geography for eight years at the University of Nice, France and taught geography since the first day I became an instructor.
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO MASON?
My daughter is a GMU alumni and, thanks to her, while she was a GMU student, I heard a lot about Mason. This explains why I was eager to join the Mason culture.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT MASON?
What I enjoy most about the university is its diversity and its openness. At Mason I truly get a unique experience of cultures and discussions that I cannot get anywhere else. I enjoy taking a walk on campus and being able to hear different languages or being able to see people dressed up in their cultural clothing. Needless to say, my favorite time is the International Week in April that showcases culture from all around and the diversity of every Mason Patriot.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO GET UP IN THE MORNING?
What motivates me every morning is a new beginning. Every morning is a new day to learn and impact my environment to either my students or my personal life.
HAVE YOU EVER TRAVELED TO ANOTHER COUNTRY? TELL US ABOUT IT
I have traveled to quite a few countries. I was born in France, so I have traveled to most of the countries of Western Europe and Scandinavia. My husband and I visited Asia, North Africa and the Sub-Saharan Africa but my most memorable experience I had would be in Senegal where I strongly felt the need of developing a humanitarian project in an orphanage located in Kabrousse: planting orange trees which would bring natural nutrients to the kids.
HAVE YOU TRAVELED ANYWHERE RECENTLY OR DO YOU PLAN TO?
I am planning a trip to the Shetland islands next summer. I look forward to hearing the Scottish accent and admiring the unique sceneries.
Organization- ANOINTED VESSELS OF UNITY
WHAT IS ANOINTED VESSELS OF UNITY?
Anointed Vessels of Unity (AVU) is an on-campus ministry that seeks to allow its members to grow closer to God and explore their faith through singing, dance, mime, and devotion. That’s the professional way of saying that we just have a bunch of fun enjoying music and each other’s company. We have a gospel concert at the end of each semester to give people the chance to experience God and to showcase what we work on during the semester.
HOW IS ANOINTED VESSELS OF UNITY IMPORTANT?
AVU is important because it allows people to have a spiritual outlet. When we come to college, we want to have fun and explore without worrying about consequences. We stray away from what we know we need. AVU is just a place for people to get that extra encouragement and peace that they need to get through the week or the semester. Overall AVU has given a lot of people hope for themselves.
WHAT IS ANOINTED VESSELS OF UNITY’S PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT?
I think our organization’s proudest accomplishment is our impact on the community. We are constantly asked to perform at events and services. We get invited to churches all over the DMV (D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area) and we love going.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY OF ANOINTED VESSELS OF UNITY?
My favorite memory of AVU isn’t even from when I was a part of the club. I went to their concert spring semester freshman year and they were so full of energy and life that it was contagious. I won a tee-shirt in a “guess that song” competition and my friend Tyler made cupcakes for after the concert that were amazing. So my favorite memory would definitely have to be the first concert I ever went to.
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOUR ORGANIZATION HOPES TO ACHIEVE THIS YEAR?
This year AVU wants to accomplish a lot of things. [First] we want to hold more events to bring people together and help them with stress and grief. [Second] we want to give people the courage to be honest with themselves about their spirituality and the strength to be confident in themselves and God. [Third] we want to have the best concert AVU has ever done. Anointed Vessels of Unity literally means that we are blessed carriers of combined strength. I think we do a good job of upholding that truth.