INTERVIEWS BY HAILEY BULLIS, ASSISTANT CULTURE EDITOR
Student: Alex James
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY?
One really good memory that I have is of my parents and [I, when I] was a baby, like maybe three or four. We were driving down the road and the windows are down and we were eating pistachios … and my dad eats one and they’re playing the song … “Drift Away” [by Dobie Gray] and that was my favorite childhood song. So we’re driving and he throws the [shell] out the window, and it comes back and hits him in the eye … and that was probably the funniest thing I had seen at that age.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FOOD?
My favorite food is macaroni and cheese because it’s good. It’s creamy and cheesy, but not in a gross cheesy way. I don’t like a lot of cheeses, but macaroni and cheese has this way of making gross cheeses taste good and you can eat it with a lot of things … Macaroni and cheese is great. I’ll eat it with almost everything.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST DREAM IN LIFE? HOW DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE THOSE DREAMS?
To be a singer and an actress and a writer and a philanthropist … So far as film, I would love for the projects that I do to take off. For acting, I would love to act on Broadway. I would love to get into plays and stuff. Singing, I just want to find people who can make good music that I can work with. Writing, I honestly have always had this dream that someone is going to find all of my journals—I have millions of journals—and just put it together and be like “Look at this work of art” when it’s really just a bunch of scribbles and craziness. But that would be really cool if someone just published my book.
WHAT KIND OF STUFF DO YOU WRITE ABOUT?
Everything. I really only write when I’m sad, but that’s just because it’s a way of letting things go, I guess. It’s therapy. I write about my relationship with God a lot and how I deal with being in the world and try my best not to be of the world. I also write a lot about my struggle with confidence, because I’m a very confident person but throughout my life, but I’ve been told that my confidence in myself is misplaced. I’ve been told that I’m either too arrogant or that I’m too out there, and so having the confidence to be myself and be confident with myself—I like myself a lot— but I’ve been conditioned to think liking yourself too much is a bad thing.
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU’VE WANTED TO TRY THAT YOU WERE TOO SCARED TO BUT THEN ENDED UP DOING?
Doing spoken word. It’s like poetry … but slam poetry, so normally free-verse poems that people stand up and recite like their acting. Usually it will be a monologue that tells a story. I finally did it, and it wasn’t that great, but my friends really supported me. I thought that was cool.
Alumni: Andrea Granetto
WHAT DID YOU DO AT MASON?
What didn’t I do? So, I worked for the radio station, I was the production director and I went to school. Getting my major and that’s it.
WHAT DID YOU DO AS PRODUCTION DIRECTOR?
Back then I was doing commercials, editing them, editing all commercials that came through my path, and I was doing all the live-man interviews that would come into [the] “old” Johnson Center station, which is still there, but it looks nice. Then I would also record concerts over at Patriot Center, so I got to meet a lot of the big-rigs and that was pretty much it.
WHAT DO YOU DO NOW?
I’m a recruiter—IT recruiter. I recruit for technical positions with different companies.
AS A RECRUITER WHAT IS THE MAIN THING YOU ARE LOOKING FOR WHEN YOU’RE HIRING?
Good quality candidates, and I like the spunky ones. I don’t like your typical, professional A-manner type. I like the cocky ones, the ones that see way past the regular line if that makes sense and see outside the box.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FROM STUDENTS ONCE THEY GRADUATE?
Live life. Life is too short, you’re never going to find the right job that pays you enough money, you’re going to be hopping 24/7, it’s life, you will be fine. I’ve survived Northern Virginia for 37 years [and I am a] single mom of an eight-year-old, so trust me, you will always find a job. And just live life—and get drunk a little.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE?
Mexico City. That’s where I was born and raised.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS IMPORTANT FOR STUDENTS TO FOCUS ON ACADEMICS OR EXTRACURRICULARS?
I would say both. And it depends on where they’re at, if that makes sense. So, yeah academics, but curriculars shape you more. It’s more fun. Academics you can learn anywhere, whether you have a degree or not.
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT EXPERIENCE AT MASON?
Working for the radio station. It … I got to meet so many awesome people, including Rodger, I met my first husband here, because of my first husband I had my daughter. I got to work for “Elliot In The Morning.” I was the intern, I got to meet famous people 24/7—I got to meet famous people here.
Student Organization: L-Team
WHAT DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION DO?
L-Team helps students by enhancing their leadership skills and [helping them] learn new skills. We believe everyone has the potential to be a leader. We provide volunteer opportunity to students that attend our meetings. We hope to transform their leadership theories into practical experiences.
WHAT EVENTS IS YOUR ORGANIZATION HOLDING?
The Hampton Middle School leadership workshops are led by George Mason students, and we are working with the school’s athletic program. The purpose of these workshops is to meet the students where they are and engage them in activities that relate to their growth and development as leaders. We are also holding the Alumni Leadership Speaker Series on Nov. 13. This year’s series will focus on the Successful Skills and Competencies Needed Before Graduation: Choose Your Path at the Alumni Leadership Speaker Series. Our alumni will be sharing their college experiences and personal growth that led them to where they are today. We will also be hosting our Brown Bag Lunch Series focusing on Mindfulness and Leadership on Nov. 14. The Brown Bag Lunch Series is designed to empower and inspire students to make positive change, challenge the systems of oppression that exist and encourage students to lead more effectively and ethically.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF BEING APART OF THIS ORGANIZATION?
My favorite part is seeing people grow in their leadership roles. At L-TEAM, people become very comfortable with who they are. Everyone has a voice in this organization. Everyone’s opinion matters. We also work with the Mason LIFE program. Our Leadership Consultants, along with members from our L-TEAM, help to facilitate workshops for students focusing on team building, communication, problem solving, goal setting and leadership development.
HOW DO YOU HOPE TO SEE YOUR ORGANIZATION GROW THIS YEAR?
I hope to see more people attend our events. We offer some really amazing programs and educational opportunities geared towards our students, and we would love to see more students engage with our programs.
HOW IS YOUR ORGANIZATION UNIQUE?
It is important because leadership is needed in every professional field. While in class, students may indirectly learn leadership through group projects and academic work. By participating in our programs, they can directly work to become better leaders. We provide a safe environment in which people can challenge themselves and learn more about themselves as well. Additionally, several of our programs often lead to the development of impactful friendships. One of the things that is really unique about our office is that our program offerings are very diverse, and we have something to offer for any student, regardless of major. We also allow for a lot of introspection and personal development in a supportive environment.