INTERVIEWS BY AHMED FARID AND NAYOMI SANTOS
STUDENT: Tom Sit
What made you come to Mason?
Mason’s close to D.C. Since I’m majoring in IT, I found out that there are a lot of IT jobs in NOVA and Washington, D.C.
Why did you choose IT?
I’ve been involved with computers at a very young age. I’ve always loved computers and wanted to find a profession that deals with computers. IT covers a wide range of topics, there’s information security, web development and multimedia, database and programming. So while it is computers, there are different concentrations. I’ve been focused more on web development and programming.
What’s been your favorite thing about Mason so far?
There are a lot of things I love about Mason. I love the JC, it has everything I need in one place — especially the food court. I also love how massive this campus is. And the people here have been very nice about helping me find my way around campus.
What clubs have you been involved with on campus?
It’s not really official, but I attended the first meeting of the Culinary Club last Friday, Jan. 31. It was an amazing experience because I got to meet about a dozen people, and we made hybrid brownies with chocolate chip cookies and Oreos, and they were delicious. Somebody also made fried rice for everyone, and it was really good!
Are you an experienced cook?
No. I like cooking and sometimes watch videos about cooking, but have never cooked anything difficult. In this club, we plan to learn how to cook as we go.
Student: Hayes Makinano
Why did you choose to combine an IT major with a conflict analysis and resolution minor?
So, with IT, you have to communicate with all sorts of people, whether it’s your supervisor or your client. You have a wide variety [of people] that you have to communicate [with] and being able to communicate in different ways with your wording, with the technical language and with problems arising in today’s technological industry.
You have to be aware of how you communicate things, how you resolve conflict, how you solve little and big issues at work. For me, going into college, I thought I was going to focus more on project management. … Even though there was a class on it, I wanted to delve [into it] as much as possible. I’ve learned that through the projects [I’ve worked on] and through communicating with professors but I wanted to show that on my resume. By declaring that minor, I was able to not only show that but also be exposed to another school and to other people with different majors.
How are you involved on campus?
Right now, I am one of the student advisory board members for the Clearance Ready Program under Career Services. [The program] prepares students for being cleared when they are applying for internships and for careers. I am also a representative of the STEM outreach program. I am working with the Clearance Ready Program, the board, as well as the other industry advisors at Career Services, specifically with Matthew Meyers, who is the Government industry-focused advisor. For the STEM outreach program, I am working alongside Dr. Kamaljeet Sanghera.
How did you get involved with the STEM outreach program?
At this cyber event with the SANS Institute, I was connected with Dr. Sanghera to help volunteer and through that, I networked with another volunteer who is now my STEM outreach partner, Hajrah Choudry.
We proposed to Dr. Sanghera in November of last year for the GMU/VSC STEM Outreach Initiative 2020 to visit high schools in the area to help promote not only GMU programs, services and degrees but also expose high school students to some of the pipeline events in the area … So that’s what we have been doing with the initiative but the program as a whole is to help outreach to the community in general.
So, within the program, I went to the Science and Society Conference in Maryland at River Hill High School and [two weeks ago] I went to a Science Night for Alexandria public schools. [I talked] to students and their families about the summer programs that we have here at Mason … We are trying to promote GMU in every possible way and make it as fun as possible so high school students can get involved.
What are your goals for these programs?
For the outreach program, we are looking for students or faculty who have experience in graphic design, photography [and/or] social media content to help us promote our program and to help network with educators, sponsors and students in the Northern Virginia area, and also with prospective students who want to come to Mason. … We are looking for people who have some technological interest through the graphic design [program] because from industry to industry, there are some different techniques with graphic design and promotions and how flyers, brochures and presentations look.
And also, for the photographer, [they should be] willing to come to some events that are off-campus, visiting the schools and visiting companies at their events and having access to reliable transportation. Right now, I am a representative but me and Dr. Kamaljeet Sanghera are looking to change it to STEM ambassador.
What are your personal goals in these roles?
For this new semester, I want to help organize and plan for the outreach program and Clearance Ready Program. And have a structure within them to get things going and get ready for the fall semester, when the whole entire year starts over. So, get more involved.
Have you applied the skills you’ve learned in your conflict classes in these programs you’re involved in?
What I really like about getting involved at Mason is that there is so much access to so many opportunities, and it’s not only learning about the skills and knowledge [taught] in class but also applying those skills and knowledge to the community outreach, extracurriculars and student involvement that I am getting into.
What do you like to do for fun when you have some downtime?
Usually I like to go to the gym or meet up with friends or just relax and take a break and watch Youtube or Disney+.