FOURTH ESTATE February 29, 2016 | Volume 3 Issue 16 George Mason Universityâ€™s official student news outlet gmufourthestate.com | @IVEstate
THEY TICK ME OFF PAGE 5
MASON PLAYERS ARE ON
MOVING FORWARD WITH
(AMY ROSE/FOURTH ESTATE)
Alexa Rogers Editor-In-Chief
Darian Banks Managing Editor
Communications Specialist to work in a higher education setting on website updates, design, and content; writing projects, publications, promotional pieces, and help with student activities. Candidate will possess excellent writing and communication skills, proficiency in PhotoShop and/or other design programs,be highly creative, energetic, and dependable. 15-30 hours per week. Salary negotiable. Contact Cheri at email@example.com
Energetic Person with experience Cooking, Care giving, and light massage. Live In or Out - to work at a very nice home in Fairfax, VA Part Time days/hours negotiable . Nice Family! In home patient care for FEMALE . Need help with multiple tasks including assistance with bed ridden patient. . Personal Care Assistant FEMALE's ONLY PLEASE . Experience Preferred in caring for handicap - Nurse Best! . Must be US Citizen, speak fluent English, Must Drive with own transportation. Call John 703-929-1777
Pet Sitting company of 18 years hiring a Pet Sitter for multiple homes surrounding the Fairlakes area. About 10 hours per week mostly evening and weekend. Flexible schedule. Pays up to $10 per hour. Email Dana2paws@aol.com or call 703-968-0475 if interested. A position in Doctor's office as receptionist with good communication skills. Please call 703-666-8844 or Camila.Sahebi@yahoo.com
Child Care Seeking p/t nanny to transport 2 kids, aged 4 years and 18 months bw Alexandria and Arlington, M-F, 3-7p. Call or text to inquire:202.604.0361
Services Skilled proofreader for your papers; $1 per page email: kristin@ theedifyingword.com
2016-006229 / Driving Under the Influence / Drug
Assistant News Editor
/ Narcotic Violations / Drug Equipment Violations
Subject (GMU) was arrested and transported to Fairfax County ADC for driving a vehicle while under the influence of illegal drugs. Subject, along with a second subject (GMU), were also referred to Office of Student Conduct for possessing illegal drugs and drug equipment.
Campus Drive / Cleared by Arrest / Referred to OSC/ 11:06 PM
Feb. 22 2016-006436 / Burglary/Breaking & Entering Subject (GMU) entered an area without proper authorization and stole low value property. The Hub / Cleared by Arrest / 1:42 PM
Lifestyle Editor Assistant Lifestyle Editor
Courtney Hoffman Sports Editor
Ben Cowlishaw Assistant Sports Editor
Amy Rose Photography Editor
Katie Morgan Design Editor
Megan Zendek Visual Editor
Barbara Brophy Copy Chief
Feb. 22 2016-006493 / Drunkenness Subject (Non-GMU) was arrested and transported to Prince William County ADC for being highly intoxicated in public. Beacon Hall Parking Lot (Science & Tech Campus)/ Cleared by Arrest / 10:45 PM
Feb. 23 2016-006577 / Hit and Run Complainant (GMU) reported a hit and run of a parking garage gate arm. Shenandoah Parking Deck / Inactive / 1:50 PM
Feb. 25 2016-006827 / Hit and Run Complainant (GMU) reported a hit and run of a vehicle. Occoquan Parking Lot (Science & Tech Campus) / Inactive / 10:14 PM
ON THE COVER A scene from this past weekend of Mason Players production of “Cloud 9.” Details on page 11 and more coverage online at gmufourthestate.com.
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Global health experts discuss ethics of the battlefield Panel event included announcement of new Global Health Fellows program DONNA IMADI | STAFF WRITER
On Feb. 24, a panel of experts met on Mason’s campus to discuss ethical issues that plague current national security policies in regards to global health. The panel, “National Security and Global Health: Human Rights, Ethics and the Way Forward,” was accompanied by the launch of the Global Health Fellows program, a new addition to the Arlington Fellows which offers various and challenging semester-long programs for Mason undergraduates at the Arlington campus. The two distinguished guest panelists were Lawrence J. Korb, former assistant secretary of defense (1981-1985) and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and Leonard Rubenstein, director of the program on Human Rights, Health and Conflict for the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at Johns Hopkins University. Mason professor Dr. Lisa Eckenwiler, who teaches philosophy and health administration and policy, moderated. The discussions and presentations from the panelists and Eckenwiler highlighted the importance of recognizing the intersection between national security and global health. This connection is currently a heated issue and can be seen in “outrage over the use of vaccination programs in the covert raid on Osama bin Laden, to civilian casualties from drone strikes, to the conflation of health care services with support for terrorism in counterterrorism laws,” according to the event’s website. At the forefront of the panel discussion were the ethical debates over counterterrorism policies within the intelligence community. Rubenstein, for his part, elaborated on the ethical implications of warfare in medicine. He emphasized the importance of respecting medical ethics by protecting the impartiality of medical practitioners. This means that in times of warfare, medical practitioners must treat every individual the same, which means indiscriminate treatment of the enemy. This moral duty to treat “the enemy” is an ethical debate that “conflicts with many of the counterterrorism policies adopted by the U.S. post-9/11,” Korb said. The panel also addressed ethical implications of drone warfare. “[Drones may] detach human beings from the ability to physical-
(SARAH KLADLER/FOURTH ESTATE)
Leonard Rubenstein, from Johns Hopkins University, described the intersection of medicine and warfare at a panel event on campus last Wednesday. Eckenwiler brought up the dilemma of hospitals being used as targets of warfare, such as what has taken place in Syria.
interested in health practice, policies and challenges in a global context, according to the Global Fellows website.
“The current decision-making apparatus has no mechanism to account for these [civilian casualties] harms,” Eckenwiler said. If ethical implications are not considered in the decision making process, the system can be considered “morally impoverished,” she said.
This program will be the fifth Arlington Fellows program offered at Mason. The others are the Global Politics Fellows, Peace Building Fellows, Social Innovations Fellows and Nonprofit Politics Fellows.
The issues of the modern era indicate that moral and ethical questions surrounding global health continue to face challenging and ambiguous territory as security measures become a crucial priority, according to the event website.
“[Drones may] detach human beings from the ability to physically be connected to the areas in which they are bombing. Detachment creates a dissonance between the reality of a
Mason’s new Global Health Fellows program aims to enable students to tackle these challenges.
ly be connected to the areas in which they are bombing,” Korb said. “Detachment creates a dissonance between the reality of a situation, and simply launching a bomb as though it were a video game.”
The program will be of specialized focus in global health and will entail two philosophy courses and a course in bioethics in addition to a six credit internship, which the program will help accommodate for students. Classes will be Tuesdays and Thursdays, while Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays will be freely available for students to work on their internships.
“I think a lot of people are blinded because it’s not reported in the news,” freshman Christina Makhlouf, a assistant secretary of defense biology major, said of the intersection of global security and health. “People need to realize this [global health] is an essential priority, health is so important in maintaining order and control to keep everything stable.”
“[It’s] a wonderful idea for students who are concentrating in Global Health. It’ll bring about more concern for the issues that were raised at this panel, and it’s a great opportunity for people within this major to get closer to like-minded peers,” Makhlouf said.
The Global Health Fellows program will be a 15 credit semester-long academic program for selected students who are
“Get involved in programs and discussions,” he said. “It is so important for yourselves, for the country, and for the world that young people start talking about these huge concerns.”
situation, and simply launching a bomb as though it were a video game.” - Lawrence J. Korb, former
“This [program] is no extra tuition,” said Dr. Lisa Breglia, associate professor and director of the Global Affairs and Global Interdisciplinary programs. “In fact, you can get a couple hundred dollars in stipends to travel to the Arlington campus.”
At the closing of the discussion, Korb put it simply after bring asked what his message to the younger community would be regarding living in a world in which these issues are becoming of greater importance.
Mason Scholarship application gets a revamp HAMNA AHMAD | STAFF WRITER
One year after a series of changes to the online Mason Scholarship application, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) is continuing to modify the application for the scholarship, which provides hundreds of internal awards to students every year. The application for scholarships that will be awarded for the 2016-17 school year will likely be due in early May; however, an exact date has not yet been selected. One change to the application, that will go live this spring, will be the implementation of the Central Authentication Service (CAS), which allows a student to sign in to the scholarship application through Mason’s student authentication system, similar to how students would log into the library systems or PatriotWeb. This ensures that only students with a Mason ID can submit an application and it makes reviewing the submissions easier for OSFA. Some of the questions in this year’s application have been changed, too, said Rosalind Moore, current scholarship manager at OSFA, to better reflect donors’ criteria in selecting candidates. Students are now “auto-applied” to some scholarships based on their answers to the general application, but still need to fill out additional information for other scholarships. The GPA requirement has been decreased from 3.0 to 2.7 for the general application because certain awards only require a 2.7 minimum, according to Moore. The OSFA is also working with IT Services to improve capacity, Moore said, as the application tries to accommodate the multitude of users on both the student and administration sides. “We tend to have a problem around the deadline, when you have a large amount of students trying to submit the application, so it slows the process down. It does affect the capacity, so we have addressed that to the vendor,” she added. Both Moore and Paola Torrico, scholarship coordinator, advise students to apply as early as possible to avoid problems or delays with the online submission of their application. In early 2015, the scholarship vendor, STAR, was renamed Award Springs. The vendor offered a beta test, a kind of test-drive of the new application, to the OSFA and its former director, and the original changes were made when Mason switched over to the beta platform. “They [Award Springs] were making some improvements to the application and were looking to George Mason to give some feedback about the process,” Moore said about joining the beta test. “They wanted to simplify the application.” The main difference between the 2014-15 and 2015-16 applications was the appearance of the interface, Moore said. The student
(MEGAN ZENDEK/FOURTH ESTATE)
have worked with over 200 institutions to provide scholarships and awards. Although OSFA was not directly involved with the changes made to the application during the beta test, they did have control over the information provided, such as questions and available scholarships. Moore said feedback on the new application was collected throughout the beta test, first from the administration’s side and then from students’. “We’re working on a process. I can’t tell you it’s perfect now. Anytime you’re starting a process, you are going to do a reassessment every year to see what works and what doesn’t work,” Moore said.
“We just want to make it [the application] very accessible, so it’s easy for students to find and navigate through the scholarships.”
Moore added that although Mason’s relationship with STAR, and later Award Springs, was fairly new, the company had been collecting data and feedback from universities for many years. Award Springs’ website states that in the past two years alone they
The 2015-16 application year saw an increase in the number of scholarship applications, with a total of 2,300 submissions, but after running the clean, Moore said, the number of eligible students decreased to 1,800, often because transfer or first-time freshman students applied as well, and they are not eligible for the Mason Scholarship. Torrico advises students to be as careful as possible in completing the scholarship application. One change Moore would like to see made to the scholarship program is how it communicates information to students. According to Moore, there is a lot of confusion about which funds will be awarded and when they will be deposited to students’ accounts.
“We just want to make it [the application] very accessible, so it’s easy for students to find and navigate through the
scholarships,” Torrico said.
“Our goal is to have departments award early so students can see their awards. … Our goal is to try and award anything that is for the academic year before bills are posted. Students want to know if they have been awarded a scholarship, and we really want to tell them,” Moore said.
Many of the responses, according to Moore, were about how the software determines a student’s eligibility for the scholarship. Through the software, students may be deemed eligible for many scholarships, but once OSFA reviews the application, the number of awards they are actually eligible to receive decreases. This can result from student errors or confusion when filling out the form.
As IT Services continues to work on the CAS system, Moore said that the OSFA’s goal is to launch the scholarship in early March and close it on May 1, though exact dates have not been set. Moore encourages students who have feedback on their experience with the application to contact both the OSFA and the vendor directly through the support tab on the application.
- Paola Torrico, scholarship coordinator
dashboard, which provides students a summary of their application process, was expanded and more information about the individual scholarships was included as well.
To collect feedback in the early stages of the application, Moore said they used the many students completing work-study hours for OSFA to gain feedback.
To remedy this, OSFA runs what they call a “clean” after all the applications have been submitted. This process ensures that a student’s name, G Number and other information match up. According to Moore, this process can take up to four weeks, especially after an update like the beta test.
New early detection Lyme disease test a reality MADISON ANTUS | STAFF WRITER
Mason researchers have created an early detection urine test for Lyme disease after three years of research. According to Lance Liotta, co-director and medical director of the Mason-based Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM), this study was the largest of its kind that explored early indicators of Lyme disease. The study examined 300 patients, Liotta said in a recent Mason Newsdesk article. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and CAPMM worked with Ceres Nanosciences Inc., a privately owned life sciences company founded and run by Liotta and co-director Chip Petricoin, to complete the research. While the technology used in the study is licensed to Ceres, the research was done through CAPMM under the direction of tenured Mason systems biology professor Alessandra Luchini. “If you are bit by a tick, you can’t be sure if you will get Lyme disease -- that is the biggest problem right now,” Luchini said in the same Mason Newsdesk article. The early detection test involves taking a sample of the patient’s urine and applying Ceres Nanotrap technology to find the earliest traces of Lyme disease. The test can detect the disease even when traditional diagnostic tests cannot by detecting proteins produced by Lyme disease-causing bacteria. “There is an invasion of the pathogen in our skin first and then it goes into the blood, and then the organs … everything that exists in the blood that needs to be exited is filtered through the kidneys … And what the Nanotraps do, they occupy all the volume of the urine and separate the bacterium. In other words they act as a vacuum cleaner, they suck up all the proteins,” Luchini said. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease is caused by the Borellia burgdorferi bacteria, which is transmitted to humans who are bitten by infected blacklegged ticks. Symptoms include joint and muscle aches, fatigue, fever, headaches and swollen lymph nodes, according to the CDC. In some cases, the erthema migrams rash, which resembles a bullseye, can also be present. However, a bite from an infected tick does not always result in Lyme disease. Traditional Lyme disease diagnoses work by measuring the patient’s antibody response to the disease. However, it takes about four to six weeks for infected patients to develop this response, so tests often come back negative, according to the Mayo Clinic. Sometimes, patients who have been given a false negative diagnosis in the past will return to their doctor years after being infected, convinced that they have Lyme, Liotta said. The new early detection test aims to change that. “Most infectious diseases are treated with Serology,” Luchini said, “which means you try to detect the immune response [to the disease]. This takes some time, so the problem is early diagnosis. You cannot do diagnosis early enough because it takes time for the body to realize the pathogen is present and to create the response.” Luchini said another challenge with Lyme disease is knowing when the patient is cured and when to stop antibiotics. “You cannot have certainty that the disease has been cured, because you will retain the immunological memory of the disease. [For example,] when you’re exposed to the measles for the first time, then the second time you get them, you will not get sick
(MEGAN ZENDEK/FOURTH ESTATE)
because you have the immunological response,” Luchini said. Luchini said that the early detection test can also be used to monitor a patient’s progress and see when the proteins stop appearing in the patient’s urine. “You can [use the early detection test to] monitor for treatment success. In other words, you can have a good idea when to stop antibiotics,” Luchini said. According to Luchini, her laboratory is certified by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) to perform the test and researchers have all the certification they need to perform the test and diagnose patients. However, before CAP can grant other research groups access to the test, the test must receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In order for FDA approval, Luchini said, Mason researchers need to develop a device or diagnostic kit that can teach external researchers how to use the technology. Luchini said that she and her team are currently working to create such a kit. “Our future, very short-term test plan is to create a device to perform the test, and get FDA approval. … At this moment, we run this in our lab, so it’s a lot of workload,” Luchini said. The team is also working to create early detection tests for diseases such as Ebola, malaria, tuberculosis and Chagas disease, Luchini said. They are also looking to create early detection tests for cancer and schizophrenia by searching for biomarkers. For example, one future test may be able to determine if someone is likely to develop schizophrenia by searching for biomarkers in their sweat. Biomarkers are characteristics of biological processes that can be measured and evaluated as indicators of pathogenic processes or
pharmacological responses, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Luchini said the idea for the early detection test actually was inspired by the search for an early detection biomarker test for cancer and the concept of applying the technique to Lyme disease came from a student whose family had been affected by Lyme disease. “I think it’s a nice example of teamwork, perseverance and following your ideas. I think it makes for a nice story,” Luchini said. Liotta and Petricoin founded CAPMM in 2005. The center’s biomedical research team is made up of 15 scientists and nine fellows, whose backgrounds include medical technology, chemistry and biomedical engineering, among others. The center is located within the College of Science, in the School of Systems Biology on Mason’s Science and Technology campus. CAPMM’s website states that their “research team strives to transform medical research through bench-to-bedside translational research in a variety of diseases including cancer (multiple myeloma, breast, brain, prostate, lung, ovarian skin and colorectal), neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, cardiovascular disease, liver and obesity disorders and infectious disease including sepsis and Lyme disease.” The mission of Ceres Nanosciences, according to its website, is to deliver innovative products incorporating the Nanotrap technology to provide diagnostic solutions and research applications that will benefit humanity. CAPMM urges anyone who thinks they may have Lyme disease to talk to their doctor about participating in the study.
Poll results: How do you feel about Student Government leadership? is room for improvement. We recognize these results are not statistically significant, however, the questions asked are of special importance as spring elections approach. We will continue with our effort and see if this poll’s results are indeed indicative of the opinions of Mason students. Going forward, we will ask if it is true that while most students seem to understand Student Government’s purpose
ELLEN GLICKMAN | NEWS EDITOR
Last week, Fourth Estate conducted its first ever poll and asked the Mason community how it feels about Student Government. Roughly 150 people participated and gave us their thoughts on Student Government’s overall performace, including where there
1. Do you understand Student
Government’s purpose on campus?
(Question #1), it appears some think the organization could do a better job of representing the community (Question #10). If you took this poll and are interested in being interviewed for a follow-up article, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Somewhere in between
6. How many Student Government sponsored events have you been to?
43% 0-4 events
27% 5-10 events
31% TOTAL VOTES: 152
TOTAL VOTES: 160
2. Overall, are you satisfied with Student Government’s leadership?
7. Has any legislation passed by Student Government had a positive impact on your Mason experience?
21% Yes, I have noticed a positve impact on my experience.
45% They have passed positive legislation, but it has not impacted my experience.
TOTAL VOTES: 150
3. Do you think Student Government is
involved with the Mason community?
TOTAL VOTES: 146
8. Has any legislation passed by Student Government had a negative impact on your Mason experience?
38% Yes, I have noticed a negative impact on my experience.
They have passed negative legislation, but it has not impacted my experience.
TOTAL VOTES: 150
4. Do you feel comfortatble reaching out to members of Student Government?
29% 22% 49% TOTAL VOTES: 150
5. Do you think the actions of Student Government
accurately represent the views of the student body?
17% 45% 38% TOTAL VOTES: 141
9. What do you think are Student Government’s strengths?
10. Where do you think
there is room for Student Government to improve?
Number of Votes:
Number of Votes:
Representing Student Views/ Community Response
Representing Student Views/ Community Response
TOTAL VOTES: 303
TOTAL VOTES: 486
Graphic created by Megan Zendek, Visual Editor for Fourth Estate. Poll questions developed by Hamna Ahmad, Ellen Glickman and Alexa Rogers.
Overweight female hotel workers preferred, study says manipulate the job context (customer service jobs vs. technical jobs) to examine these interactive effects in more detail.” The idea of warmth versus competence is drawn from the Stereotype Content model, which poses that all social groups fit into one of four categories based on two variables: warmth and confidence. For instance, highly educated people of Asian or Jewish descent are seen as highly competent but not warm, according to a 2002 article in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.” But the results from Mason and Penn State’s study show that some stereotypes can be mixed. “There are certain groups that can have mixed stereotypes. Asian Americans are stereotyped as high in competence and low in warmth whereas the elderly are stereotyped as low in competence and high in warmth,” said Sabat. “Thus, these mixed stereotypes can predict different behaviors depending on the context, as we see in the current study.” Despite its surprising results, Sabat finds that this study holds great importance because of the effects it can have on employers and employees.
(MEGAN ZENDEK/ FOURTH ESTATE)
TATYANA WHITE-JENKINS | ASSISTANT LIFESTYLE EDITOR
What makes a successful hotel employee? According to a recent study, having more to love may be the key to great work ethic and happier customers.
“The pictures varied in terms of gender, male or female, as well as weight, heavy or average weight, which we manipulated using photo editing software,” said Sabat.
A study conducted by researchers at Mason and Pennsylvania State University recently found that female hotel employees who weigh more than average are perceived to be kinder and more competent than their less heavy coworkers.
While the study showed that the weight of male employees had no impact on participants’ perceptions, that was not the case for female employees. According to the study, participants favor heavier female hotel workers.
Isaac Sabat, a fourth year doctoral student at Mason, helped contribute to the study. He initially got involved in order to help his friends with the study, but they later asked him to take on a more involved role.
“Interestingly, heavier women were perceived to be the highest in warmth, which led to increased perceptions of service satisfaction,” Sabat said. “We were surprised by these results, but we believe they make sense after reading other literature on this topic.”
“Initially, I was simply helping my friends submit this to the Academy of Management conference,” said Sabat. “Afterwards, they invited me to help analyze and write up the study to submit. I helped to analyze the data and write up the study for publication after the data had already been collected.”
In an interview with Phys.org, Larry Martinez, assistant professor of hospitality management at Penn State who was involved with the study, said that the study’s findings “highlights the greater emphasis on weight and appearance for women compared to men in general.”
The study of 169 participants across the United States was conducted online through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk in the summer of 2014. It used photos of various front desk employees with written scenarios about how the employee handled a typical situation of a guest checking into a hotel. Participants were shown one of four photos with the hypothetical worker and situation.
According to Sabat, most studies on this topic find that people prefer less heavy employees, especially when rating men against women. However, he found that this particular study showed unexpected results due to the customer service aspect.
After viewing the photos, the group answered questions about the employee and the overall experience of the hotel. Photos used in the study included both male and female employees with varying
“The current study was unique in that we were looking at a customer service context, in which perceptions of warmth matter more than perceptions of competence,” Sabat said. “In this unique context, we find that heavier women actually receive a boost in ratings. We are planning on conducting follow-up studies that
“I think this study is important because it highlights a discrepancy between science and practice,” Sabat said. “Managers sometimes try to hire customer service staff who are ‘visually appealing’ and assume that placing overweight women in these positions will lead to reduced customer service perceptions. The current study finds that the opposite is true. Thus, we urge managers not to base their hiring decisions on these uncontrollable, superficial demographic characteristics.” Sabah said that having the chance to work on this particular study was a great experience for him because he is highly interested in organizational psychology. He previously worked with Martinez and Nicholas Smith, a doctoral student at Penn State, on workplace diversity and discrimination research projects, but this particular project differed from his previous experiences. “This experience was quite different from others because we were submitting our study to a hospitality journal,” Sabat said. “Thus, there were different protocols and different concerns brought up by the reviewers that we were not used to addressing.” While the study revealed unexpected results, Sabat believes it still holds great significance to his field of study and has the potential change lives. “I am most passionate about examining strategies to improve workplace diversity and inclusion,” he said. “Research on this topic has the potential to improve the lives of actual, stigmatized employees. Thus, I feel as though I can contribute to society in a positive way through this work, which gives me a great sense of inspiration and purpose.” Sabat will have the chance to continue following his area of interest after he graduates this year. He recently accepted a job that will allow him to work in this field and bring awareness to the issues he cares about. “I have just accepted a faculty position in industrial/organizational psychology and diversity sciences at Texas A&M University,” Sabat said. “I plan on continuing to conduct research studies that highlight workplace diversity issues.”
Spoon University debuts at Mason chapters, giving readers insight into the types of food students are eating around the country. For example, University of Georgia students are eating different things than students at the University of Chicago.
college students I love food,” Lobb said. “I wanted to be a part of a club that cooks together and hosts food-related events. Overall, Spoon University is a fun and cool organization, and I think GMU would really benefit from having it on campus.”
Spoon University began as a print magazine in 2012 and launched as a website in 2013. Co-founders and Northwestern University alumni MacKenzie Barth and Sarah Adler wanted the website to be a source for college students to learn about all things food-related.
Around the same time time that Lobb was thinking about starting a chapter, health administration major Adrienne Galang was just finding out about Spoon University. Unlike Lobb, however, Galang says her encounter with Spoon was more a matter of chance.
“My partner [Adler] and I started this as just a print mag at Northwestern in fall 2012. It was a passion project,” Barth said. “We wanted to bring people together around food. We did these guacamole-making competitions — guac-offs. And we were always throwing potlucks. We thought it was strange that there was no publication around that. Senior year we launched the print magazine. Then we launched a dinky website in fall 2013, with five [college] sites,” Barth said in an interview with Yahoo! Food.
(COURTESY OF SPOON UNIVERSITY)
MIA WISE | STAFF WRITER
Calling all Mason food lovers: Spoon University is bringing a chapter to our campus. It’s time to prep your kitchens and stomachs for recipes and tips.
Spoon University’s content is written by college students, and, like BuzzFeed Food, its layout is less formal than more traditional food websites. Articles are centered on things college students care about and offer easy recipes that anyone with a microwave can follow.
On the website, users can find tips, easy recipes and any news that has to do with food or the relationships people have with it. Examples of trending articles include “The 50 Best Doughnuts in America,” “20 Desserts That’ll Make You Wanna Be Paleo for the Night” and “The Skinny on Skinny-Shaming.”
“I don’t remember exactly how or when I subscribed to their [Spoon University’s] newsletter, but I started getting emails from Spoon University,” Galang, who is now community manager for Mason’s Spoon University chapter, said. “I ignored them at first, but one day I was bored, going through my inbox and actually read through an email from them. I regretted not looking at it sooner because it instantly grabbed my attention.” Once Galang visited the website, she was hooked. “I … found a lot of cool stuff and followed [Spoon University] on their social media accounts.” Galang said she finally reached out to the website’s editors after seeing a post on their Instagram account that gave instructions for starting a chapter. Galang emailed Spoon’s editors, who put her in contact with Lobb. The rest is history. But Spoon University is not just about the food. It also gives its contributors an editorial experience. The website states that “behind the scenes, we’re helping teach the next generation of journalists, marketers and event planners the best practices in digital media. We empower a network of over 5,000 contributors at 100+ college campuses to write, photograph, create videos and throw events.”
The website even includes a feature called “Dining Out” where users can type in their address and receive recommendations for nearby restaurants.
Not only do contributors learn about writing, photography and videography, they also get to be a part of a program called “Secret Sauce” that offers leadership and other skill training. Their contributors get personalized analytics on what’s working and what’s not working for their chapter’s section of the website.
Mason’s Spoon University chapter will open in mid-March.
Editorial Director of the Mason chapter and sophomore, Shannon Lobb, was interested in starting a chapter, so she emailed Spoon University headquarters. The site’s editors then told Lobb that she would need to get a petition signed by 300 people before the chapter could begin.
The website is divided into sections based on the different college
“Spoon University is the destination for and by young people. We cover everything from the latest food news and unintimidating recipes, to how to navigate your first kitchen and recover from a deadly hangover. Basically, we make food make sense,” the Spoon University newsletter says.
“I wanted to start a chapter here at Mason because like many
Spoon University is a website for students who are navigating kitchens on their own for the first time. Calling itself “the everyday food resource for our generation, on a mission to make food make sense,” Spoon University is comprised of daily posts written by college students from over 100 colleges and universities, including nearby campuses like Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, American University and Georgetown University.
New fiscal budget brings promise to job hopefuls DONNA IMADI | STAFF WRITER
For those worried about finding a job in Washington, D.C., there is hope -- $1.1 trillion dollars’ worth of hope -- in store, as the D.C. area economy seems to be reaping the benefits of recent legislation. In previous years, from 2010 to 2012, Virginia experienced $9.8 billion in defense cuts. The D.C. area economy suffered, most severely Northern Virginia, when the federal sequestration process -- a term describing mandatory spending cuts to federal programs -- “slowed new contract awards.” This forced many of the region’s “government contractors to consolidate or close locations,” and “developers of some new buildings to have trouble finding companies willing to sign deals,” according to the Washington Post. However, the past years of uncertainty are easing up this fiscal year. The 2016 budget is much more promising for those looking to be hired in the D.C. Metropolitan area, which includes some upcoming Mason graduates. Congress passed a $1.15 trillion budget plan on Dec. 18. The legislation provides “$557 million for a Department of Homeland Security campus in the District, $390 million toward an FBI campus, $154 million for improvements at Fort Meade, $150 million for Metro and $60 million for the Gaithersburg campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology,” according to the Washington Post. There was also a notable increase in spending on defense (nearly $24 billion), the National Institutes of Health ($2 billion), the Office of Personnel Management ($132 million; $21 million devoted to cybersecurity) and the Food and Drug Administration ($122 million). Ann Garner, associate director of Career Development within University Career Services, said this all correlates to greater opportunities for graduates to navigate this job market that will now have the capacity for growth due to the ending of sequestration and increased fiscal capacity within these sectors. For students across the nation wishing to pursue majors in government, international politics, global affairs or cybersecurity, the budget increase on defense has a great impact on the amount of opportunities available for students graduating seeking these career paths in the DC area, according to the Washington Post. The challenge for students is thus figuring out how to be competitive in attaining employment for a position in these job markets. “Employers tend to look at students from the standpoint of not what their majors are, but what their industry focus is,” said Ann Garner, associate director of Career Development within University Career Services.
At a Mason career fair on Feb. 17 and 18, federal government recruiters echoed Garner when asked what job applicants were the most competitive. Their responses generally revolved around two main points. “[You should have] a focus within your studies and be able to exemplify an area of expertise,” a federal recruiter said. Garner advised upcoming graduates that “your resume should be targeted to what industry you are applying to,” and for those with a couple years to go before entering the job market, “target a specific sector early on in order to foster skills needed to target these industries.” In terms of what skills are most valuable in the constantly changing job market, Garner mentioned a resource called the National Association of Colleges and Employers. They have a top 10 list of skills such as the ability to communicate orally, in writing and analyze quantitative information. When speaking to a recruiter from the Department of State, and a private consulting firm, the largest skill emphasized by them was to “be a good writer who is able to effectively communicate within different writing styles, such as grant, proposal and analyses writing. In this job environment, you need to know how to communicate on paper. It is such a valuable skill.” In addition to fostering needed skill sets, it’s also important to be aware of when the application periods for your industry are open. “Industry models find that different sectors have different hiring time lines. Federal government hiring tends to be in the fall, and takes 9-12 months to get hired,” Garner said. In sectors within the tech industry, employment opportunities are also booming, especially within fields such as cyber security. “There is a push to hire more
(MEGAN ZENDEK/ FOURTH ESTATE)
entry level, but it is very, very competitive,” a recruiter from General Dynamics said. “However, the demand seems to be more than the supply right now.” He also advised that diversification in a field was a key plus, such as not limiting yourself to only one field. Additionally, selling yourself seemed to be the most reiterated tip that recruiters voiced across the board. “Try to be someone who can talk to people,” the recruiter from General Dynamics said. “Don’t be like a robot at interviews or when talking to recruiters, be yourself. There is a job market out there, there’s always a job. I have two kids, and it’s stressful thinking about how [the job market] is now, because it’s so competitive.” The ambiguous job market is competitive for most new graduates, but in his final words, the recruiter from General Dynamics offered what he said was the greatest piece of advice: “Figure out what you love and what you’re passionate about, whatever it is, you’re going to be so much better at it anyway. It will make for a great life. Just make sure you are always proactive.”
TO DO THIS WEEK:
“Cloud 9” brings a story about gender, identity and family
MONDAY 2/29 On campus:
Evenings Under the Stars
Research Hall 163- Lobby
Reston Town Center
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
TUESDAY 3/1 Off campus:
Ice Cream Social
The Howard Theatre
Student Union 1 Patriots Lounge
1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
(AMY ROSE/ FOURTH ESTATE)
CAROLA PATTY GORENA MORALES | STAFF WRITER
“Cloud 9” invited audience members into the life of a complicated family dealing with timeless issues. The cast and crew of “Cloud 9” performed the enticing comedy Wednesday, Feb. 24 through Sunday Feb. 28. The play’s Outer Program Manager said 500 tickets were sold. Free student tickets and opening night sold out. Written by British playwright Caryl Churchill, “Cloud 9” gave a portrait of a dysfunctional family confined by societal standards none of them can live up to. With dry British humor and wit, the play shifts between 1880s British Africa and 1980s London. The actors also shifted roles and didn’t always play their own gender. The play first premiered in 1979. “It’s a play about societal pressure, gender roles, homophobia and colonialism. It views these big issues through the lens of the 1880s to the1980s. So the audience is going to see how far we’ve come as a society and how far we still have to go,” Madison Landis, a theater major and the director of the play, said. Although “Cloud 9” was written almost 40 years ago and part of it is set in the Victorian era, its characters address concerns of identity in a way that is relatable to the audience. “You can empathize with them,” said Brandon Lock, a freshman communication major who played Harry, an explorer visiting the family as well as Martin, the daughter’s husband in Act II. “A lot of the characters struggle with what society wants them to be, and that’s not necessarily what they want to be. They are always striving to be something more than themselves,” Lock said.
Read more at gmufourthestate.com
Study Abroad Advising Social
Smart Farmers Market
Merten Hall 1204 - Meeting Room
Unity of Fairfax Church
6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
THURSDAY 3/3 Off campus:
On campus: Music Productions Club Open Mic Night
Foon Sham: Culture House Workhouse Arts Center
The Hub Corner Pocket Side Lounge
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
FRIDAY 3/4 On campus: Mindful Meditation Student Union I 3011- University Life Meeting Room 12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Off campus: A Great Big World U Street Music Hall 7:00 p.m.
Behind the success of Taylor Brown DARIAN BANKS | MANAGING EDITOR
points, according to GoMason.com.
Redshirt senior guard Taylor Brown has been making a name for herself during her five years as a Mason Patriot. Brown has stepped up to be an example for success both academically and within the sport. She has also helped lead the women’s basketball team toward upward growth each season with her scoring and assists.
FE: What’s your favorite memory from Mason basketball so far?
Fourth Estate sat down with Brown so we could learn more about her life both on and off the court.
Mason played St. Bonaventure on Jan. 14 where Brown scored a buzzer beater that sent the game into overtime to defeat St. Bonaventure 68-55.
FE: How did you get into making music? TB: I would definitely say the St. Bonaventure game – the buzzer beater. That was exciting, because no one was expecting us to beat them since they were at the top. It was a good win for us.
FE: When did you know you wanted to play college basketball? FE: What is your favorite thing about home games? TB: I always wanted to play college basketball. Ever since I was a kid, I always dreamed of going to the WNBA. Brown’s focus has paid off, as she is the third All-Time Scoring Leader, eighth in assists and eighth in three pointers. She has set many records during her time at Mason, including being the fastest to reach 2,000 points in history and recently receiving the All-State Good Works award. The women’s basketball team had their last home game on Saturday against George Washington falling short with a 73-66 loss. However, Brown set a career-high with six 3-pointers and 20
TB: My English class in undergrad, because I just like to write. I write music, so I was really into that.
TB: I would have to say the Green Machine. They really make you feel hype and like you’re at home, especially when you go to away games and it’s not the same. Off the court, you can find Brown writing lyrics and producing music that tells of her Christian faith or reading for her graduate degree courses in film and video studies. She finished her undergraduate degree in in sports management and is now in her second-to-last semester in graduate school. FE: What has been your favorite class?
TB: I have a passion for inspiring others to follow Christ and I created a website called taybrowntestimony.com. FE: When you got the All-State Good Works award two weeks ago, how did you feel? TB: I was a little emotional. And then they told me that I’m going to the Final Four. I’ve always wanted to go to the Final Four, and the fact that I’m not going to play basketball but I’m still going is really exciting. Jerome Botcher, assistant director, added that there are five athletes from Division I and five from Divisions II and III and the NAIA. These athletes team up to participate in a community service project in Indianapolis, Ind., while the Final Four is taking place. Mason is headed to the Atlantic 10 Tournament as at No. 9 seed and will play on Thursday against against No. 8 seed Dayton in Richmond, Va.