Mason Family Flash

2018 Family of the Year – The Zakin Family

This year, New Student and Family Programs awarded one family the eighth annual Alan and Sally Merten Family of the Year award. This award was established to recognize the critical role families play in their student’s experience at Mason and to remind us that families are an essential part of the support network for our students.

During Family Weekend, Sally Lorentson, Associate Dean of University Life, presented the 2018 Family of the Year award to the Zakin family. Kacie Zakin, a freshman, Global Health and Spanish major from Pittsburgh, PA, nominated her mother, father, and her two brothers to receive the award. In her essay, Kacie expressed her desire to be a Patriot and the commitment and sacrifices her family made to support her endeavors. Below is an excerpt from Kacie’s essay about her family:

“I wanted to be a Patriot more than anything, but I knew the other university would be more financially intelligent. I sat down with my parents and we made a pros and cons list of the two schools. The only thing that I could do to set them apart was the money. It would have been very easy for my parents to tell me to go to the cheaper university, but one night my dad said something that will stick with me forever. He said, “There will be days in which you want to follow the money for a new job or opportunity but if your heart isn’t in it then it doesn’t matter.” That night was April 30that 11:50 p.m.; 10 minutes before college decisions needed to be final. I then took my dad’s words of wisdom and committed to George Mason University. To this day I know I made the right choice and so does my family.”

Nearly 2,700 students and families participated in this year’s Family Weekend events. The weekend was comprised of more than 50 events, and highlights included the George Mason men’s basketball game, bus tours across the D.C. metro area, Mason’s Got Talent featuring student performances, 5K run/walk around the beautiful Fairfax campus, and Breakfast & Bingo with the Patriot. Mason students and families also collected food for the Patriot Pantry. Subscribe to to receive a notification once the Family Weekend recap video is uploaded, and visit the George Mason Family Programs Facebook page to view photos from the weekend.

We hope your Mason family will join us for next year’s Family Weekend, which will be held November 8-10, 2019!

Amie Mbye
Graduate Student for Family Programs
New Student and Family Programs