BY BASMA HUMADI, HAILEY BULLIS AND IZZ LAMAGDELEINE
STUDENT: Ethan Brown
WHERE DO YOU WORK ON CAMPUS?
I first started working parking at EagleBank Arena, and then from there, I found out about a job with Patriot Lift with Parking and Transportation. At EagleBank, I direct traffic for events and then for Patriot Lift around disabled students, students with mobility issues and staff.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE HAVING TWO JOBS ON CAMPUS AND YOUR SCHOOLWORK?
I have this large desktop calendar, and I [make] sure to write everything down. I’ve learned setting artificial [deadlines] has really benefited me. Like doing things ahead of time, doing things when I have time, that sort of thing.
WHAT IS A FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY OF YOURS?
My favorite childhood memory was probably learning to cook and bake with my grandmother in her kitchen. I really value that time with her … just because it’s nice to talk, and it’s not a stressful environment at all. It’s very relaxing to catch up with my grammy. I enjoy that.
IF YOU COULD TRAVEL ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, WHERE WOULD YOU WANT TO GO?
I would probably go to some tropical island right now, sit on a warm beach where I can just not have a care in the world as to where I am or what I have to do. So I don’t know, Puerto Rico, somewhere warm.
WHAT IS A HOBBY OF YOURS?
Just within the past few months, I have become actively involved in Student Government. I’m the undersecretary of parking and transportation. I hope to just [bridge] the gap of communication, or lack thereof, between students and [the] parking transportation administration, just because so many students are left in the dark about events and where their permits are valid. So I really look forward to just reaching out to students and seeing where the issues are and how we can fix them.
HOW DID YOU GET THE STUDENT GOVERNMENT POSITION?
I actually found the application on Facebook as I was scrolling, in all honesty, but I interviewed for a parking appeals board back in September, so that peaked my interest in that. And of course working with parking in EagleBank and then working with [the] parking and transportation administration through the university, I was seeing all these unanswered questions … and I saw issues that could just easily be fixed by putting a sign out or sending out an email. I saw [a] lack of communication, and I really look forward toward getting that, so that’s how I got involved.
WHAT’S ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS YOU HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO SO FAR?
To be honest, I’ve only had the position for a month, but I really look forward to implementing in the fall signs that will go out in high-foot-traffic areas in the parking lots to show students where their permit is valid, have a nice chart, something easy to read, and just feeding them information.
WHAT’S IT LIKE WORKING IN EAGLEBANK?
It has its ups and downs. It definitely does when you have angry students yelling at you and you have parking lots filling up faster than you can bat an eye at. It becomes stressful then, but it’s rewarding at times when you know patrons have made it in and out safely to their cars and hopefully home safely as well. But it’s definitely rewarding with the staff that I work with and the administration that I work with, as well.
IS THIS SOMETHING YOU WANT TO CONTINUE DOING AFTER YOU GRADUATE? OR DO YOU HAVE OTHER PLANS?
I would probably keep that as a side job. I would really like to pursue something along the lines of public administration in my major, remain at a local government level just so I can see the difference and closely listen to my constituents and their needs and be able to just make them happy as I can on a local level. Not get clouded in big politics.
FACULTY: Lisa Corinne DesRochers-Short Graduate Admissions Coordinator
SO WHAT DO YOU DO OVER IN THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT?
So I’m the graduate admissions coordinator for the graduate programs in the English department, all of them. We have five master’s programs, two Ph.D.s, the MFA [master of fine arts] program, which has three different tracks. And so I answer the phone. I’m … the first person of contact for people who want to pursue a degree in English.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DOING IT?
This is my second year, and actually I am going to be quitting in June, because I won two awards from the English department for my MFA, so I’m going to be their thesis fellow for next year for poetry.
SO ARE YOU A POET? WHAT STUFF DO YOU WRITE ABOUT?
I am a poet. I write about edible wild plants. That’s what I’m doing right now, anyway. That’s what my thesis is. And my experiences with those plants. … And … dandelions, so I have a poem about dandelions, and I also try to incorporate folklore into that, as well, so if there [are] any kind of stories about these plants.
The dandelion one, actually, is interesting because … a colloquial term for dandelions is pisabeds, which is weird, because why? But it turns out they’re a diuretic, and so, if you have dandelion grains, you’re probably going to have to pee. So that’s why they call ’em that, and they can help with that kind of thing, or hurt, so yeah. And in French they’re called “pissenlit,” which means pisabed in French. So there’s this weird combination of different cultures coming together, at least in Maine, with … the French and the English, and then you get pisabed for the dandelion. So [I’m] trying to explore those different kinds of concepts.
SO, YOU’RE FROM MAINE. WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO GEORGE MASON?
I got in.
DID YOU GO HERE FOR YOUR UNDERGRAD AS WELL?
No, I went to the University of Maine for my undergrad. And with MFA programs, they’re very competitive, so this was one of the places where I applied to, and I got in, and then I was in the process of maybe interviewing for a TA [position]. And the director of the program at the time, Bill Miller, told me about a receptionist position in the English department. So I applied for that, and I got it, and so through that, that helped me pay for my degree. And then the job that I have right now opened up, and I applied for that one, and because the one I’m working now is full-time, I got even more tuition benefits. … And now I’m in my last year, so I decided to try for that thesis fellowship, and I got it.
DO YOU BELIEVE IN GHOSTS OR THE PARANORMAL?
Yes, I do. I definitely believe in the paranormal. Maybe—maybe ghosts are something that we don’t fully understand, or some kind of [an] electricity, you know? But yeah, I think that there [are] parts of the universe we just don’t understand and will never understand—but if you let those experiences just kind of wash over you, I think that is a real phenomena.
SO WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FLOWER?
That’s a hard question. … This isn’t technically a flower, but it is technically the flower of Maine, and it’s the white pine pinecone and tassel. And I have to say that one’s my favorite, because I love the white pine, and it’s very representative of Maine. Maine’s called ‘The Pine Tree State,’ and our whole history is based on that one tree. And so actually, part of my thesis is writing about the white pine, and I haven’t gotten to that one yet, because it’s going to be a lot—it’s gonna be … a history of Maine, and … my own personal history, and a couple of other things, and it’s such an ancient tree … and the pinecone is actually one of the most ancient forms of a berry or a flower. So I just—I like to look at it, and I like to think about that and think, ‘There was a time on Earth when there was covered in these huge, weird, sticky pinecones,’ you know?
SO IS THAT WHAT YOUR THESIS IS ABOUT?
Yeah, so it’s all about all those different elements and—just trying to incorporate [the] different linguistic qualities of them, but then the actual fruits and berries and flowers and cells.
HOW IS THE MFA DIFFERENT FROM A TRADITIONAL GRADUATE PROGRAM?
It’s a creative thesis, so essentially, we’re writing books. And so it’s gonna be a full poetry collection when I’m done.
HOW MANY POEMS DO YOU EXPECT TO BE IN THERE?
Right now I have 25 poems, but I have about 35 planned out, but I’m kind of running out—I’m actually doing those ones I planned and then realizing I still have time, so it’s probably gonna be bigger than that, but I’m not entirely sure.
WHEN DO YOU EXPECT TO BE DONE WITH IT?
I’m gonna be done next year, 2020.
SO, DO YOU HOPE TO PUBLISH POETRY ONCE YOU GET DONE WITH YOUR MFA?
Yeah, absolutely, and actually … I really love creative nonfiction, as well. So fun. I love it, and so I’d love to do something like that, like some kind of freelancing, just writing articles, those kinds of things. So I want to do stuff like that. I want to freelance … and I feel like the time with the thesis fellowship will give me the time to stretch my writing legs, you know what I mean? Like I can write that, and I’ll have time to do it instead of working every day here.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ANIMAL?
Favorite animal is a ferret. I own four of them.
AWWWWWWW CUTE!! WHAT ARE THEIR NAMES?
Their names are Waffles—he’s a boy, Meatball—also a boy, Carl Sagan—but she’s a girl, and Dipsilla, who is a boy, and he’s very fat. And I just got him. He’s my last one that I just got. He was kind of an impulse, Black Friday thing—it just was the day of Black Friday, and I was thinking, ‘You know, I have three ferrets. They’re all actually pretty old.’ Two of them are 7. One’s 5. And so this one that we’ve just [gotten] off Craigslist … he’s got more energy than the other ones, and it was really funny because … I was just looking through Craigslist, and this lady was like, ‘I … want to get rid of my ferret for a hundred bucks.’ I was like, ‘Sure. I don’t even care. Yeah, I want it.’ You know? Have you ever felt that way, where you’re just kind of feeling you’re up for an adventure, and you want to see where it goes? And I don’t know. For whatever reason, I was on Craigslist looking at ferrets, and that’s the feeling I had, and I was like, ‘That’s my ferret. I need to go get him.’
IS THAT HOW YOU FEEL IN THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHERE YOU WANT TO HAVE ADVENTURES AND EXPLORE?
Oh, absolutely. Coming here was one of those. Yeah, I applied to a bunch of different programs all over the country to move, pretty much, and to start over again and just see what happens. And it’s really fun to do that kind of a thing at least once in your life. I’ve done it a few times now, but once is great, and I highly suggest it.
ORGANIZATION: Saudi Student Association
WHAT DO YOU WANT MASON STUDENTS TO KNOW ABOUT THE SAUDI STUDENT ASSOCIATION (SSA)?
Student clubs were introduced to University Life decades ago with the intention of sharing the culture, interests or [hobbies] of a given group. This concept holds a special place in educational [experiences] abroad. Saudi student organizations across the United States focus their efforts on sharing our culture with our fellow Americans, as well as the hosts of other nationalities of our colleagues, professors and university faculty.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS WITH SSA?
We want them to know our goal. Our goal is to create events and, through these events, also serve the interests of Saudi students, providing them with a sense of a ‘home away from home.’ Through our events, we aim to be present our culture with the integrity it deserves, as well as contribute to community-building in a way that will positively reflect upon our culture’s values and norms.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THIS TOY DRIVE THE SSA PUT TOGETHER AND HOW IT IS GOING?
It went amazing! The SSA organized a toy drive with Inova Hospital to arrange a [children’s] toy drive, and people loved it! People loved the idea, and a lot of people donated to the toy drive. We already have three full boxes of toys!