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Mason Grad Insider

Welcome To Mason Grad Insider!

September 6, 2017

By Austin A. Deray and Andrew J Quillen

Greetings, Mason graduate and professional students, and welcome to the Mason Grad Insider blog! The purpose of this blog, sponsored by Graduate Student Life and University Life Arlington, is to connect with graduate students across the Mason campuses to communicate useful information and resources that will support your success and well-being.

Check back each week for blogs that will cover various topics ranging from academic and professional tips and strategies to resources on well-being. This year, we will also be introducing a new series of blogs on Fun and Leisure. We encourage new ideas! If you have any topic suggestions you’d like to submit, please send them our way to gradlife@gmu.edu. Occasionally, Mason Grad Insider will feature posts by guest bloggers from around the Mason community. If you are interested in this unique opportunity, let us know!

Who We Are

Austin Deray is the Graduate Professional Assistant for Graduate Student Life and is beginning his second year in this role at Mason. Austin promotes a strong graduate student community through planning programs planning, managing  communications (including web, social media, and other outlets), and works closely with Julie Choe Kim, the Director of Graduate Student Life. Last year, Austin piloted Grad Night In and Graduate Outdoor Adventures and is excited to see them continue this academic year.

Austin is a second–year doctoral student in Cultural Studies at George Mason University. His research interests include the historical construct of gender and heteronormative masculinity, all-male institutions and how they fit into larger social institutions, and the roles privilege and regionalism play in gendered social institutions. Austin has a B.A. in European History, minoring in Religious Studies and Medieval Literature, a M.A. in Medieval History, concentration in Norman and Plantagenet England and Capetian France, and a Graduate Certificate in Gender Studies, concentration in heteronormative masculinity in collegiate males and women in medieval French and English literature.  He currently serves as the co-chair for the George Mason University Cultural Studies’ Student Organizing Committee and is the Chapter Advisory Board (CAB) Chairman to DC Alpha Colony, George Washington University, of Phi Delta Theta.

Prior to coming to Mason, Austin was a Lecturer of Gender Studies at Armstrong State University (where he is still an adjunct professor) and faculty adviser to Armstrong’s Feminist United undergraduate club and The Graduate Coordinating Student Council. He also served as the CAB Chairman to the Georgia Epsilon Chapter of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and currently serves as their Scholarship Adviser. Austin also spent two years as a Court Appointed Special Advocate with Savannah/Chatham County Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Andrew J. Quillen is the Graduate Professional Assistant for University Life, in UL: Arlington, and President of the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GAPSA). In his work with University Life, Andrew supports program planning and coordination on Mason’s Arlington campus, including trademark events Pizza & Perspectives and Coffee & ConversationHe also serves as the liaison to Arlington Campus student leaders and supports University Life’s ongoing division-wide projects and strategic initiatives. As President of GAPSA, Andrew represents the graduate and professional student body through communicating their needs and concerns with university administration. GAPSA aims to create community through representation; Andrew and the GAPSA Executive Board achieve this through engagement, community events and forums, and advocacy.

Andrew is a Master’s student in Public Administration, concentrating in State and Local Governance; additionally, he is pursuing a graduate certificate in National Security and Public Policy. Andrew was born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Charlottesville, Virginia. He graduated from George Mason University with a B.A. in Global Affairs, concentrating in International Development. While completing his Bachelor’s, he studied for a year in France and Spain at Sciences Po Paris, Carlos III de Madrid, and Universidad de Granada respectively. Andrew has a passion for political and community engagement and has worked for both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. He is a proud Eagle Scout and member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

Grad Student Welcome Days

As the year kicks into full swing, several Mason offices and departments have come together to provide resources to help graduate students get acclimated. During the first six weeks of the semester, as part of a series called Grad Student Welcome Days, several events will be held across the Mason campuses, ranging from educational and career workshops to networking events for graduate students of diverse identities. Check out the line-up for Grad Student Welcome Days here.

We would also like to take this opportunity to highlight one of the major fall events for Graduate Student Life: Gradstravaganza, on September 8, 3:30-7:30pm. All new and continuing Mason graduate students are invited to the 5th annual Gradstravaganza, Mason’s graduate student welcome event! Mini-workshops for Graduate Student Success will be held 3:30-5:00pm in the Johnson Center on the 3rd Floor. The Picnic will be held 5:30-7:30pm at The Hub, including the Lawn, Patio and indoor spaces.  Join fellow Mason grad students for FREE Halal/Kosher food with vegetarian options, mini-workshops highlighting strategies for success in graduate school, connections with campus resources, and giveaways, including t-shirts! Families are welcome to the picnic! Remember to bring your Mason student ID with you. For full details, visit the Gradstravaganza page.

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