For the past two years, I have had the privilege of being a member of the Mason Parent and Family Council, with the honor of serving as Chair this past year. The Council consists of volunteer family members of current Mason students who serve as ambassadors for the University and current and prospective families. We are the ones in the bright purple “Ask Me” shirts you have seen during summer orientation sessions and Family Weekend.
We meet once a semester to learn all we can about Mason – from how the University operates to different departments on campus and what they offer students to how we as family members can offer a personal perspective to incoming and current families. Serving on the Council has been a joy and a pleasure, and I am grateful to Orientation and Family Programs and Services for providing this opportunity to give back to the community in which my son, Greg, has called home for the past four years.
One of the great benefits of serving on the Council has been the ability to sit with members of different departments within the University and learn about the services and opportunities available to our students.
A resource that caught my attention is University Career Services (UCS). This department aids students in their endeavor to find experience and opportunity during and after college in their chosen field of study. Students can get help with resume creation, internship applications, prep for career fairs and interviews, as well as direction for their next steps after college. Staff members specialize in many different fields, which enable students to have a formal discussion on available options.
The internship opportunities in and around Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. are infinite, and with their many relationships and connections in the area, UCS is extremely helpful to students looking for the perfect internship. Government, Public Relations, Business, Communication, Technology and IT, Defense and Security are only some of the areas where students can find both paid and unpaid internships.
Mason’s location makes it easy for students to intern. Greg has interned for three different offices within the U.S. Government while continuing to attend classes and be active on campus. These experiences are invaluable and have led to full-time employment for him.
In addition to internships and career services, Mason students have the opportunity to study abroad. The Global Education Office (GEO) is instrumental in helping students find the right study abroad program to enhance their college experience. The office works well with Financial Aid and the academic units to coordinate affordability, while ensuring each trip has courses that are beneficial for students and their degree requirements.
Study abroad trips combine academic requirements with the immersion into a new culture and new people. Our experience with the program was very positive. Greg went to London for two weeks over winter break this year for an intensive study in public relations. The knowledge he gained and the people he met will last a lifetime.
As a parent of a Mason student, I encourage all parents and family members to consider joining the Parent and Family Council to become actively engaged, informed members of the Mason community. To learn more, visit gmu.edu/parent-and-family-council/membership-information.
Parent and Family Council