Gradstravaganza: Graduate Student Welcome

Gradstravaganza 2021

Friday, August 20: 9am-4pm

Saturday, August 21: 12pm-3pm

All new and continuing Mason graduate students are invited to Gradstravaganza, Mason’s annual graduate student welcome event! This year, Graduate Student Life is bringing back Gradstravaganza as a two-day event, including a fully virtual lineup of mini-workshops & educational sessions on Friday, August 20 from 9am-4pm and our Gradstravaganza picnic in-person on Saturday, August 21 from 12-3pm! Brought to you by Graduate Student Life, the Office of the Provost, Mason Recreation, Student Involvement, and the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GAPSA).

Friday’s lineup includes mini-workshops highlighting strategies for success in graduate school, special sessions for Graduate Assistants (GRAs, GTAs, and GPAs), opportunities to meet and connect with fellow Mason graduate students, and more! Saturday’s picnic includes FREE food, t-shirts, games, giveaways, and more! Be sure to bring your Mason ID and your Mason COVID Health Check. Registration information is posted below.

Agenda for Friday, August 20

Please note: Registration is required in order to receive the Zoom links for each session. Click on individual session links below, or visit our Gradstravaganza page on Mason360.


Opening Session and Welcome (plenary session)

Welcome to Gradstravaganza! Join us for opening remarks to welcome you to the start of the new academic year. Steven Zhou, President of the Graduate and Professional Student Association, and Dr. Laurence Bray, Associate Provost for Graduate Education, will offer their words of welcome. We will then hear keynote remarks from Dr. Andre Marshall, Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Economic Impact at George Mason University and President of the George Mason Research Foundation. Dr. Marshall joined Mason in July and will share his vision for how graduate students can contribute to and benefit from Mason’s rising research, innovation, and economic agenda.


Mini-Workshops for Graduate Student Success (concurrent sessions)

Please register for each session of interest in order to receive the Zoom links.


Pathway through the PhD

Materials from the session: Pathways Through the PhD


Strategies for Success in Your Master’s Degree Program


Making the Commitment to Writing



Title IX Overview and Sexual Harassment Prevention (Replaces Required Online Training)


How to Get On-Campus Employment as a Graduate Student



Building an Effective Relationship with Your Mentor/Advisor



Managing Limited Time and Multiple Demands

Materials from the session: Time Management Tips for GradstravaganzaProject Plan SheetTime Budget SheetHow do you spend your timeDaily Preparation Schedule


Title IX Overview and Sexual Harassment Prevention (Replaces Required Online Training)


Resilience in Graduate School: Strategies to Support Your Thriving

Understanding Financial Aid Options and the Impact of COVID-19

Building Your Network Now for Your Job Search Later


Title IX Overview and Sexual Harassment Prevention (Replaces Required Online Training)


Lunch Break


Speed Networking

What better way to meet your fellow graduate students than through speed networking? This 30-minute speed networking session will allow you to introduce yourself and get to know several Mason graduate students across disciplines & programs. We will provide guiding questions to help steer the conversation, but feel free to bring questions of your own! You may join this session at any time and will be able to hop into the next round of speed networking.




Finding Your Community of Support: Student Panel (plenary session)

Cultivating a community of support is an essential task for all graduate students; connections with fellow students, faculty, and the broader campus community, as well as support from a personal network of family and friends, contribute to graduate student success and well-being. However, finding this community of support can be a challenge, made even more daunting amid a global pandemic. Join us for a panel discussion to hear how 5 current Mason graduate students from a range of backgrounds and identities have navigated finding their communities and support systems here at Mason before, during, and (hopefully) after the virtual world of the COVID-19 pandemic.




Sessions for Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs), Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs), and Graduate Professional Assistants (GPAs) (concurrent sessions)

These sessions are intended for Mason graduate students who currently hold Graduate Research, Teaching, or Professional Assistant positions. These sessions will not address how to apply for or get a GRA, GTA, or GPA position.

Graduate Research Assistants as Researchers, Mentors, and Professionals

Materials from the session: GRA session Gradstravaganza 2021

Building Professionalism through Your Graduate Professional Assistantship Starting Strong: Planning for the First Two Weeks as a GTA


Graduate students attend Gradstravaganza on the Fairfax Campus. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University

Graduate students attend Gradstravaganza 2014. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University

Agenda for Saturday, August 21

Please note: Registration is required in order to attend the Gradstravaganza Picnic. 

*UPDATE 8/20/21: Due to anticipated inclement weather on Saturday, August 21, the Gradstravaganza Picnic will be moving to Johnson Center Ground Floor. Check-in will be outside of Dewberry Hall in the Johnson Center. In accordance with Mason’s current mask policy, masks must be worn by all individuals while indoors on campus, regardless of vaccination status. You may remove your mask while you are actively eating or drinking, but you must put it back on at all other times.*

Join us for the Gradstravaganza 2021 Picnic from 12-3pm on Mason Pond Lawn! At the picnic there will be FREE boxed lunches with a variety of choices, a FREE Mason Graduate Student t-shirt, crafts, games provided by Mason Recreation, and more! Seating will not be provided, so be sure to bring your own picnic blanket or chairs to sit comfortably.

To attend the picnic, you must bring your Mason ID and completed Mason COVID Health Check. This is a family friendly event and you are welcome to bring guests who are not Mason students; any non-Mason guests must also fill out the Mason COVID Health Check. Although pets are not allowed on campus, service animals are welcomed to this event. As per Mason’s current official masking and vaccination requirements, any attendee who is not vaccinated is required to wear a mask and socially distance. (Official masking guidelines subject to change as per Mason’s guidelines). If you are vaccinated and feel most comfortable wearing a mask and physically distancing, we support you and encourage you to do so. There will be a limited number of free graduate student t-shirts and free boxed lunches, including some vegetarian and gluten-free options. If you have more specific dietary restrictions or needs, we encourage you to bring your own lunch/food. Register here.

Free printable weekend parking permits for Lot K can be obtained via Parking Services. Additionally, hourly parking can be purchased at Rappahannock River Parking Deck. Please be mindful that there will be move-in traffic and road closures this weekend as new Patriots are moving in on campus. More information & permits can be found at the Parking Services website.