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Gateway to Success: A Guide to Mason’s Resources

September 15, 2016

By Austin A. Deray

At Mason Grad Insider, we are dedicated to making your transition to Mason, or back to Mason, as easy as possible. To continue our welcome theme, this week’s blog focuses on a multitude of resources and support services available to you on all Mason’s Northern Virginia campuses: Fairfax, Arlington, and SciTech.

University Career Services:

University Career Services (UCS) is a unit within the Division of University Life and while the main office is on the Fairfax Campus, they have a presence at our regional campuses (Arlington and SciTech) and can support students at all campuses. From job searches to résumé and curriculum vitae (CV) prep, to interviewing, Career Services is there for Mason students at every step of the career development process. University Career Services emphasizes professionalism which is a subject that should be important to every graduate student.

“Professionalism is the skill, good judgment, and polite behavior expected from a person who is trained to do a job well. University Career Services is committed to raising the baseline of professionalism of Mason students through mutually beneficial partnerships with employers, faculty, staff, alumni, student organizations, and Mason families.”

— University Career Services

In addition to University Career Services, various academic units house their own Career Services offices. To schedule an appointment with University Career Services or with the career services offices within the School of Business, the Law School, or the Schar School of Policy and Government, visit the Make an Appointment page on the UCS website.

Office of Graduate Fellowships:

The Office of Graduate Fellowships is a vital partner in every graduate student’s academic journey. The office helps us find funding and it’s never too early to start looking. The Office of Graduate Fellowships works to increase awareness, participation, and success in extramural fellowship competitions among Mason’s graduate students, with an emphasis on nationally competitive awards. With offices at Fairfax and Arlington campuses, the Office of Graduate Fellowships offers:

  • Info sessions and announcements for fellowship competitions
  • Workshops on how to find funding opportunities and craft strong applications
  • One-on-one coaching and feedback during the application process
  • General fellowship advising for graduate students
  • Support for faculty mentoring graduate students through the fellowship application process

Office of Student Financial Aid:

The Office of Student Financial Aid is available to speak with students about a myriad of financial issues including applying for aid, scholarships, grants, loans, federal work study programs, and military/veterans issues. The best place to start for information about financial aid is on their website.

The Writing Center:

As a former Graduate Assistant at Armstrong State University’s Writing Center, I know how important the Writing Center is to graduate students’ academic success. Mason’s Writing Center is committed to supporting writers in the Mason community as they work to construct and share knowledge through writing. With locations at both Fairfax and Arlington, they strive to provide writers with the opportunity to test out ideas, while under the tutelage of their tutorial staff. The Center supports writers from the exploratory stages of the writing process to the final phases of polishing the final version. For hours, please check out their hours and locations; to make an appointment, please check out their scheduler.

In service of these ideals, the Writing Center provides:

  • Supportive and well-trained graduate and undergraduate tutors who are invested in the writing process, as they are experienced writers themselves
  • ESL specialist tutors with a linguistics background
  • An administrative staff well versed in current teaching and tutoring writing research and practice
  • The opportunity to meet with tutors face-to-face or to receive email-based tutoring through the Online Writing Lab
  • Weekly graduate student write-ins at both the Fairfax and Arlington Campuses
  • A collaborative relationship with Mason Libraries to support writers in their research and research integration
  • Writing workshops designed to address the needs of student writers

Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning

The newly formed Stearns Center comes from the merging of the Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence and the Office of Digital Learning. They have moved into their new offices on Innovation Hall Fourth Floor, which include several new collaborative spaces where we can work with Mason faculty. The Stearns Center encourages graduate student to take advantage of professional development opportunities offered by their office. Just as we keep up to date with the latest developments in our disciplines and fields of study, it is important to stay abreast of the newest discoveries about what makes a difference in enhancing student learning. The resources on this page are intended for new incoming faculty, experienced faculty members, and graduate students alike. Check out their programming and conferences here!

Mason Recreation:

Mason Recreation’s main facilities can be found at the Fairfax campus; however, the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center is located at the SciTech Campus. The Arlington Campus does have a deal with the local YMCA for Arlington students’ recreational needs; for more information contact University Life Arlington. The purpose of these recreation centers is to enrich the physical and holistic well-being of a diverse student body by providing quality facilities, programs, and services. Mason Recreation endeavors to be at the forefront of the Mason community’s well-being. They promote:

  • Community– We value our effect on a strong community by being responsive and building diverse and inclusive relationships.
  • Growth & Positive Impact– We value growth and vitality through experiential learning supported in a caring environment to enhance well-being.
  • Respect & Integrity– The Mason recreation family values respect and integrity through honesty, civility and the free exchange of ideas.
  • Safety– We place personal and physical safety as a priority.
  • Fun– We have fun in everything we do.
  • Teamwork– We support teamwork through leadership, cohesion and resilience.

Student Health Services:

With locations on all three campuses, Student Health Services provides physicians and nurses who can diagnose and treat many common injuries and illnesses. They also can provide immunizations, fill prescriptions, and address women’s and men’s health issues. There is no charge to speak with a health care provider; however, there are nominal fees for lab work, medications, dressings, etc. If you require care that is out of our clinics’ realm, an outside physician or facility can be recommended.

Counseling and Psychological Services:

Like Student Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) can be found on all three campuses and provides confidential personal and academic services to students. Individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, consultations to students, faculty and staff, and community education programs are offered.

Student Support and Advocacy Center:

The Student Support and Advocacy Center (SSAC) believes that students are most successful when they are healthy and happy and we strive to help students find that balance for themselves. SSAC staff offer students one-on-one support, interactive programming and on and off campus resources. Some of the topic areas we address are healthy relationships, stress management, nutrition, sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, stalking, drug and alcohol use and sexual health.

Office of International Programs and Services:

Mason has been host and home to thousands of students, researchers, and faculty members from around the world. The Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) educates, celebrates and serves the Mason community, including international and domestic students, faculty and exchange visitors, by helping them reach their highest academic and personal goals. OIPS advises non-immigrant students, scholars, faculty, and staff at George Mason University.  If you have questions or concerns related to your immigration status, we are here to help. The office offers the opportunity to meet with an adviser, help with document processing, and cultural, social, and educational programs. The OIPS office is located in Fairfax but international student advisers have a regular in-person and virtual presence in Arlington.

Office of Disability Services

As part of George Mason University’s continuing commitment to upholding the letter and spirit of the laws that ensure equal treatment of people with disabilities, the university established and maintains Disability Services. Under the administration of University Life, the center implements and coordinates reasonable accommodations and disability-related services that afford equal access to university programs and activities. Disability Services is available to serve all students with disabilities, including those with cognitive (e.g., learning, psychological, and closed head injury), sensory, mobility, and other physical impairments, and is available as a resource across Mason’s campuses.

Y’all, this is by no means the end-all list of resources at Mason. These resources are by no means an exhaustive list; however, they are a good place to start: departments, units, and offices that I think would be most helpful for our graduate community to know about. If you have any questions or think others should be added, please email me or call me at 703-993-5582.

Have a great week,

The proceeding blog has been edited and updated to showcase the most current information about Mason’s resources for graduate and professional students. Changes and edits were made by the author. Edited 09/09/2020.

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