Mason Family Flash

Teach, research & present at Family Weekend: Learn about this year’s Faculty Spotlights

Our Mason faculty are doing some impressive work and we want to show it off to you! We are spotlighting three Mason faculty members during this year’s Family Weekend. Read about each of the professors and their research below and register for their virtual events at

#LivingWhileBlack: Social Justice in the Age of Social Media
Friday, Oct. 23; 7 p.m. ET
Listen as Dr. Shayna Maskell, Assistant Professor in the School of Integrative Studies, discusses the current racial injustices in America and social media’s role in advancing racial justice.

Dr. Maskell has her PhD in American Studies from the University of Maryland, where her dissertation examined DC hardcore punk 1979-1983 and the construction of gender, race, and class through sound. Her areas of research include popular and youth culture, music, social movements, and subcultures.

Dr. Maskell has taught for over a decade at such institutions as the University of Southern California, California Institute of the Arts, University of Maryland, and Corcoran College of Art and Design, before coming to Mason.

Her classes often focus on intersectionality and the ways in which concepts of self and society are constructed through a multitude of texts. Publications include “I Predict a Riot: Riot Grrrls and the Contradictions of Feminism,” “Performing Punk: Bad Brains and the Construction of Identity,” “The Zombie as Foodie: Liv, iZombie, and the Politics of Consumption,” and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Washington Nationals, Walk-Up Music, and National Identity.”

Register for Dr. Maskell’s faculty spotlight.


Inside the Real Criminal Minds
Saturday, Oct. 31; 7 p.m. ET
Ever wonder what goes on inside the real criminal minds? Listen to Dr. Mary Ellen O’Toole, Director of the Forensic Science Program in the College of Science, share her experience as one of the FBI’s most senior and accomplished profilers.

Dr. O’Toole is an internationally recognized Forensic Behavioral Consultant who regularly works with corporations, government agencies, law enforcement, educational institutions, mental health and the media. She specializes in the recognition and assessment of concerning, troubling and dangerous behavior that, if unaddressed, can have a wide range of serious consequences from loss of business and revenue to loss of lives.

Prior to her work at Mason, Dr. O’Toole served as an FBI agent for nearly 28 years. For more than half of that time, she worked in the Bureau’s prestigious Behavioral Analysis Unit, the unit featured in the hit TV series, Criminal Minds.

She has published many books and worked on multiple high-profile cases including the Elizabeth Smart abduction, the Unabomber case, the Green River Killer, and the Natalee Holloway investigation.

Register for Dr. O’Toole’s faculty spotlight.


Exploring Emerging Infectious Disease and COVID-19
Thursday, Nov. 12; 5:30 p.m. ET
How do infectious diseases emerge and evolve? Join Dr. Amira Roess, professor of Global Health and Epidemiology in the College of Health and Human Services, as she discusses the history of emerging infectious diseases, how she studies them, and the challenges to this field of study.

Dr. Roess is an epidemiologist with expertise in infectious diseases epidemiology, multi-disciplinary and multi-species field research, and evaluating interventions to reduce the transmission and impact of infectious diseases. Dr. Roess currently oversees several longitudinal studies to understand emergence and transmission of zoonotic infectious diseases globally, including the emergence and transmission of Campylobacter (with support from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), MERS-CoV (with support from the US National Science Foundation), and the development of the microbiome during the first year of life.

She is also leading and is part of a number of COVID-19 projects. She studies breastfeeding patterns and their association with future health disparities and has also studied the impact of hurricanes on morbidity and mortality in the United States, links between food animal production and emerging infectious and zoonotic disease emergence globally, and mHealth (especially apps) technology integration and evaluations to reduce the impact of infectious diseases outbreaks, promote health care and health reduce disparities.

Dr. Roess holds a PhD in global disease epidemiology and control from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to joining academia, Dr. Roess served as the Science Director for the Pew Commission on Industrial Food Animal Production at Johns Hopkins and was an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She has served as consultant for the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank, and Westat Inc.

Register for Dr. Roess’ faculty spotlight.

For more information about Mason’s Family Weekend, visit If you have questions, contact us via email at, phone at (703) 993-2475, or our live chat at

Rebecca McCrory
Associate Director of Family Programs
New Student and Family Programs

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