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Mason Grad Insider

Welcome to the Mason Grad Insider Blog!

September 2, 2020

By Nikita Thadani and Austin A. Deray

We would like to welcome all new and continuing graduate and professional students to the 2020-2021 year! We know classes and campus operations may not be how you had imagined this semester, but we are confident that we will all make an amazing experience out of it nonetheless. The Mason Grad Insider blog is sponsored by Graduate Student Life and will feature great content, with contributions from colleagues in departments across campus. This blog was created to give graduate students a voice and be a guide and resource during their graduate career at Mason. Mason grad students can expect to find a wide range of posts focusing on academic, career and professional development, and well-being topics, along with insight on fun and leisure in the DMV area.

We are excited to introduce the writers and editors of the Mason Grad Insider for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Meet Austin A. Deray:

Austin joined the Mason community as the Graduate Assistant of Graduate Student Life in August of 2016. He has worked in higher education for over ten years: working as a GA and Assistant Director of a Writing Center, as a Professor of Gender Studies, and as an adviser to multiple graduate and undergraduate student organizations. As a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies, his fields of research are in Masculine Theory and Studies and Film and Media Studies; in both he  focuses on masculine identity formation and historical evolution. His dissertation research focuses on the lived experience of racial and ethnic identities within historically white fraternities. Austin currently works as one of the advisers to Mason’s Graduate and Professional Association (GAPSA) and works with other graduate student organizations at Mason. When free of responsibilities, he is an avid reader, traveler, and foodie, and is open to discuss any argument uttered in earshot.

Meet Nikita Thadani:

Nikita is the newest member of the team, working as Graduate Professional Assistant for Graduate Student Engagement in Graduate Student Life. Her primary roles include the planning and promotion of events, creation of graphics and social media campaigns, and graduate student outreach. Nikita is from Herndon, VA and recently graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Psychology with minors in Medicine & Society and Visual Arts. This summer she began her M.Ed. in Counseling and Development, with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. During her undergraduate career, Nikita worked in student programming at Virginia Tech Union, her university’s programming board, and participated in psychological research on college sexual assault and trauma. In her free time, she loves drinking coffee, reading, baking, hiking, painting, and taking care of her plants. 

Although Graduate Student Life operations will be primarily virtual this year, we still have a ton of great events planned for you! We hope many of you joined us for Gradstravaganza, our annual graduate student welcome event, right before classes began. For materials and recordings from the event, head to our Gradstravaganza webpage!

Lastly, we hope that y’all are as excited as we are for the events planned for the year. We wish you all an amazing start to the year and hope that you will join us at our events! Be sure to follow us on all of our social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and sign up for our newsletter for the latest updates from Graduate Student Life.


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