FOURTH ESTATE April 4, 2016 | Volume 3 Issue 18 George Mason University’s official student news outlet gmufourthestate.com | @IVEstate
MASON RESEARCHERS EXAMINE
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org
A position in Doctor's office as receptionist with good communication skills. Please call 703-666-8844 or Camila.Sahebi@yahoo.com
2016-009141 / Drug / Narcotic Violations
Assistant News Editor
/ Drug Equipment Violations / Liquor Law
Steiner Vision Pt/Ft - Office Work . Will Train, Excellent pay, low stress work environment-many George Mason and NOVA students over the years have gained valuable work experience in our 7 Corners, Falls Church, VA office. For more info call Dr. Steiner at Cell 571-276-1534 or ask for Maria at Office- 703-237-1770
/ Possession of Bomb Components / Theft
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
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
For Sale 50cc Scooters Sold and Serviced. Great for getting around on and off campus. No license/insurance req. www.metroscootersva.com; 571-418-2025.
Violations / Possession of Burglarious Tools from Building / Unlawful Entry / Burglary (GMU) were arrested and transported to Fairfax County ADC for committing various crimes. Subject #1 was arrested for possessing alcohol while under age 21, possessing burglarious tools, possessing illegal drugs and drug equipment, possessing materials to create fire bombs, and committing larceny. Subject #2 was arrested for possessing alcohol while under age 21 and possessing burglarious tools. Subject #3 was arrested for possessing alcohol while under age 21 and possessing illegal drugs with the intent to sell a controlled substance on a public four-year institution of higher learning. Jefferson Hall / Ike’s / Robinson Hall / Johnson Center / Exploratory Hall / Planetary Hall / Cleared by Arrest / 8:47 PM
Mar. 21 2016-009599 / Destruction / Damage/ Vandalism of Property Complainant (GMU) reported damage to a State Vehicle (four slashed tires). Damage estimated $900. Case referred to Criminal Investigations Division. Power Plant Facilities / Pending / 7:54 AM
Mar. 25 2016-010157 / Credit Card/Automatic Teller Machine Fraud / Credit Card Theft
Johnson Center (Starbucks) / Cleared by Arrest / 2:48 PM
Mar. 29 2016-010710 / Disorderly Conduct / Suspicious Circumstances Canoes and cherry blossoms. Full story on page 16.
Tatyana White-Jenkins 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
Victim (GMU) reported the theft of a Mason ID card and fraudulent “Mason Money” charges to the account.
ON THE COVER
Complainant (GMU) reported a suspicious male subject possibly taking pictures in a men’s restroom. Case referred to Criminal Investigations Division. Johnson Center (2nd Floor Men’s Restroom) / Pending / 4:17 PM
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David Carroll Associate Director Fourth Estate is printed each Monday for George Mason University and its surrounding Fairfax community. The editors of Fourth Estate have exclusive authority over the content that is published. There are no outside parties that play a role in the newspaper’s content, and should there be a question or complaint regarding this policy, the Editor-in-Chief should be notified at the email provided. Fourth Estate is a free publication, limit one copy per person. Additional copies are 25 cents payable to the Office of Student Media. Mail Fourth Estate George Mason University Mail stop 2C5 4400 University Drive Fairfax, Va. 22030 Phone 703-993-2950
Mason holds grand opening for Fenwick extension
(ROSHAN MIRAJKAR/FOURTH ESTATE)
Brian Lamb, the founder of C–Span, gave the keynote address for the opening of Fenwick Library’s extension last Thursday. Other speakers at the event included Dean of Libraries John Zenelis, University Board of Visitors Tom Davis, University Provost David Wu and University President Àngel Cabrera. ROSHAN MIRAJKAR | STAFF WRITER
Last Thursday night, Fenwick Library held a grand opening celebration for its new extension. The Fenwick Library is the newest and largest library located on Mason’s Fairfax campus. The expansion cost $60 Million and the total space is about 150,000 square feet. It can house 2,000 students with an additional 30 study rooms dedicated to group sessions. Brian Lamb, the founder of C–Span, gave the keynote address for the opening. Other speakers at the event included Dean of Libraries John Zenelis, University Board of Visitors Tom Davis, University Provost David Wu and University President Àngel Cabrera. They each talked about a different aspect of the significance the Fenwick Library has on the campus as a whole. Following Lamb’s keynote address, the main event open to the public began with each speaker giving their remarks about the library. Zenelis discussed the impact of increasing the space to 157,000 square feet. “It offers more suitable space capabilities for research purposes that did not previously exist on this campus” Zenelis said. Cabrera discussed the complexity of creating a new library that was not only better, but one that reflected values of how students interact with libraries in the age of technology. “This was an exercise of figuring out what a library ought to be in the 21 century,” Cabrera said.
In regards to using the library, Wu discussed the importance of students knowing how to conduct primary research through books, as information found on the internet cannot always be verified. He also talked about how the new library will help Mason solidify its position of being ranked a R1 research university. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education rates colleges based on whether they meet criteria that counts them as doctoral research universities and then ranks them as R1, R2 or R3. There are 335 colleges on the list, with only 115 being R1. With its R1 rating, Mason has entered the highest research activity category.
Lamb added that he thought the library is terrific and students here should know it’s one of the most modern of all libraries in any school. Jamie Coniglio, the engagement officer at the Fenwick library, said she thought Fenwick reflected Mason well. “Libraries reflect [their] environment and I think that this one really reflects Mason in a way” Coniglio said. She added that the amount of student traffic has increased.
“Mason is now a research one university by Carnegie, and it’s quite fitting that in the same semester we opened this state of the art library” Wu said.
“I wasn’t here when the library initially opened but on a daily basis I would say it’s at least significant and the thing that has been significant to us is that students have responded to it so warmly and wonderfully” Coniglio said.
Lamb wrapped up the speeches by discussing how his amiable relationship with Zenelis is what led him to donate his entire Booknotes collection to Mason.
Sophomore Intisar Khan said he at first thought spending $60 million was too much, but later changed his mind.
“John Zenelis sent me a letter in 2005 saying I would like to have your books for the library and six years later I said yes because it just sounded like a neat idea” Lamb said. Lamb also talked about how the university’s founder, George Mason, used a library as the main source of education. He ended his remarks with a quote by John Adams. “I am mostly intent at present, upon collecting a library, and I find, that a great deal of thought, and care, as well as money, are necessary to assemble an ample and well-chosen assortment of Books” Lamb quoted.
“At first I thought it wasn’t but now I do believe it is better because I used to walk 20–30 minutes, now I just come here” Khan said. The new library houses a variety of new technological features and additional workspace. There are 30 group study rooms, all equipped with white boards, monitors, and some with screen sharing capabilities. There are also private study pods where students can take power naps or unwind. A section of the library will be open 24/7 with a café also being added. Both these new developments are planned to take effect in the near future.
Students protest potential tuition increase at Board of Visitors meeting
(AMY ROSE/FOURTH ESTATE)
Members of GMU Student Power ask for a tuition freeze at the Board of Visitors meeting in Merten Hall on Thursday. ELLEN GLICKMAN | NEWS EDITOR
At the Board of Visitors meeting this past Thursday, members of GMU Student Power held a silent protest demanding a tuition freeze. While the Finance and Land Use committee ate lunch and discussed a variety of topics — including university housing, the Virginia state budget and ongoing facilities projects — approximately 15 members of the student organization filed into the room and stood alongside the back wall, facing the committee. Each student held a sign, some of which read “Student Power #fightthehike,” “Education is a right” and “High tuition ≠ accessible.” “We were protesting the cost of tuition at George Mason University, and we were trying to be preemptive in protesting any type of potential tuition increase,” said senior Samantha Parsons, president of GMU Student Power. Rector Tom Davis briefly left his seat to invite the students to stay after the committee meeting and discuss the issue in more detail. Upon returning, he acknowledged their presence to the entire room. “We appreciate you being here,” he said. He described the protestors as “ahead of the curve,” since the board is not discussing next year’s tuition until their next meeting. The students remained in the Merten Hall room for roughly one hour then left to discuss a potential tuition hike with Rector Davis, Senior Vice President of Administration and Finance JJ Davis, Vice President of University Life Rose Pascarell and Student Body President Khushboo Bhatia, who is also a BOV student representative. “Students’ perspectives are critically important in this discussion,” Senior VP Davis said. She said it is vital to continue to “find opportunities where the university can explain the complexity of the tuition process and understand what students needs and wants
are.” Senior VP Davis said previous opportunities for this conversation include the Student Government-sponsored tuition town hall, hosted by Senior VP Davis and Pascarell in early March, and the collaboration between administration and GMU Student Power to create a Stay Mason fund, an emergency resource for students who are no longer able to afford Mason tuition.
recommended a plan to the board that would add approximately 1,000 beds. •
Money allocated for the renovation of Robinson Hall was included in Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe’s proposed budget. Senior VP Davis said the university has been asking the state to support this project for a decade.
A tentative partnership is forming with Wiley Education Services to embark on an online education initiative. “Nothing has been inked yet,” Senior VP Davis said. Details are expected at the May BOV meeting.
“Not only does a tuition increase affect students that are already at Mason, but it really…[decreases] the opportunities for graduating high schoolers to come to Mason,” Parsons said. “...“[Our goal is] kind of twofold -- making sure students already at Mason can stay and also making our education at Mason more accessible to students who deserve it.”
Tom Calhoun, vice president of Facilities, updated the FLU committee on several projects. The grand opening of the Point of View Center in Mason Neck will take place this Wednesday. Due to budget problems, the Potomac Science Center is behind schedule, but the new building for the College of Health and Human Services is making good progress.
Parsons said the student protest was a rare event.
“Oftentimes students don’t even know who the Board of Visitors are [or] when their meetings take place, and in reality they make a ton of the really important decisions that affect all of us,” Parsons said.
The George Mason University School of Law has been renamed the Antonin Scalia School of Law.
The next BOV meeting is scheduled for May 5 in Merten Hall, according to the BOV website.
Parsons agreed the Stay Mason fund was an important success, but said GMU Student Power’s original name for the fund, Access Mason, was more aligned with the organization’s goals.
Other things of note took place during the Finance and Land Use committee meeting as well as throughout the BOV meeting, which included six separate committee meetings and lasted from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. •
The three students recently arrested on charges of drug/ alcohol possession and possession of bomb-making materials have been expelled from housing and from the university. The students are in their parents’ custody and are consulting with lawyers.
The Finance and Land Use committee discussed various plans to add more beds for on-campus residents. The committee
To read more about the law school’s name change, visit gmufourthestate.com.
The smallest organisms, the biggest impact A study of the BP oil spill MACKENZIE EARL | STAFF WRITER
In an effort to better understand the ecological impacts of the 2010 BP oil spill, Mason professors are studying the microbial communities growing on top of shipwrecks below the Gulf of Mexico. Funded by the National Oceanographic Partnership Program and the Naval Research Lab, the research is gathering long-term data on microbial life forming on historic shipwrecks that serve as artificial reefs. The study is comparing the present health of these reefs to their health prior to the 2010 spill, formally known as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Leila Hamdan, assistant professor in the Environmental Science and Policy department, serves as co-principal investigator and chief scientist for all the project’s oceanic expeditions. Hamdan said this research aims to serve as a “framework for understanding impact of [the] BP oil spill,” emphasizing that the mission of this study is to evaluate how the BP oil spill impacted life over a long period of time. While data-collecting expeditions provide snapshots of the conditions present on the ocean floor, they must be continued over time in order to draw effective conclusions. According to British Petroleum’s official statement, “On the evening of 20 April 2010, a gas release and subsequent explosion occurred on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig working on the Macondo exploration well for BP in the Gulf of Mexico.” This incident caused eleven deaths, a 36-hour fire and a significant leakage of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico before the well was sealed. According to Hamdan, the study focuses on micro-organisms because they are the “first organisms that will interact with change in [an] aquatic environment.” She continued that any object that rests on the ocean floor will “almost immediately [be] colonized by micro-organisms.” Post-doctoral research associate for the project, Jennifer Salerno, who has a background in coral biology, explained that micro-organisms living in a specific area release chemicals that tell invertebrates and other organisms it is a safe place to live. Slowly, a community develops as “micro- and macro-organisms [work] together on the sea floor,” Hamdan said. Hamdan explained that eventually a shipwreck can transform into a thriving artificial reef system, bringing pockets of diversity to the seafloor. “Everything works together in a quite frankly beautiful community,” she said. Though micro-organisms are often overlooked in oceanic studies, Hamdan explained that microbial life has become “ink that we write our stories with.” Researchers examined six historic shipwrecks for the study. Two of the ships sit close to the epicenter of the incident, and four lie 75 miles east and west of the Deepwater Horizon rig. Though the Gulf of Mexico is home to over 2,000 shipwrecks, some of which are over 50 years old, these six ships were chosen for their distance to the rig and depth below sea level. “Water depth is a very significant population structure of life,” Hamdan said. According to Hamdan, the most important factor in the selection of these ships was the availability of pre-existing data for conducting a thorough before-and-after comparison of marine life. The research team was designed to include researchers who had visited any one of these shipwrecks before the 2010 incident.
Dr. Chris Horrell, a marine archaeologist with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement; Robert Church, a marine archaeologist with C&C Technologies, Inc.; and Dr. Lisa Fitzgerald, research chemist with the Naval Research Laboratory, worked with Hamdan as co-principal investigators for the project. Horrell and Church of C&C Technologies initially discovered one of these sites by investigating “an anomaly in seismic survey,” Hamdan said. Their investigation discovered a shipwreck that had been missing for more than 60 years. Researchers performed their first 24-day expedition in 2014, utilizing the Research Vessel Pelican, an oceanographic ship equipped with tools and infrastructure for conducting at-sea experiments. These shipwrecks are at least 8,000 meters underwater, far too deep for human divers to swim. Therefore, researchers used a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to capture photographs and three dimensional snapshots. Researchers equipped the ROV, which is roughly the size of a Mini Cooper, with a highly dexterous robotic arm capable of collecting sediment around shipwrecks. From the safety of the Pelican’s control room, the team also collected hundreds of hours of video footage exploring the sea floor and the shipwrecks. In May 2015, the team collected sediment from each site. They plan to return to the Gulf next month, a year from their last visit. Though the initial three-year study is concluding this year, Hamdan and her team are already working toward funding a proposal to extend the project another four years. According to an interview by the American Geophysical Union, the research not only brought legitimacy to studying deep-sea shipwrecks as a way of observing change in aquatic ecosystems, but also found that oil was impacting the communities of microbial life long after its introduction in 2010. The paper, “Conserving Archaeological Sites as Biological and Historical Resources in the Gulf of Mexico: the Effects of Crude Oil and Dispersant on the Biodiversity and Corrosion Potential of Shipwreck Bacterial Biofilms,” includes a full description of researchers’ most recent conclusions. Salerno also conducted experiments within a lab to simulate the conditions of aquatic corrosion on shipwrecks. Though the oceanographic expeditions focus on collecting information related to ecosystem health, they are also collecting information on how the oil spill is impacting the corrosion processes of shipwrecks.
“Each shipwreck has its own story and history that is fascinating,” Salerno said. To further study the process of shipwreck degradation, Salerno placed “coupons” of carbon steel within four tanks of ocean water. These small disks represent the metal materials most often found in shipwrecks. The tanks included a control tank, crude oil-contaminated tank, a chemical dispersant-contaminated tank and a tank containing both crude oil and chemical dispersants. Salerno and her grad students performed regular DNA extractions on the archaea found on bio-films, identified the micro-organisms that developed and observed corrosion levels. This experiment revealed the 2010 oil spill’s effect on the microbial life growing on the shipwrecks. “Adding oil and dispersant did change the community as well as how they functioned metabolically,” Salerno said. Salerno mentioned that during the four-month study, every single student working in the Environmental Science and Policy labs was involved in this labor-intensive data collection. Though this part of the research has not yet been published, it “turned into one of the most elegant studies this project has supported,” Hamdan said.
Research at Mason: Where are we headed and what are the risks? HAMNA AHMAD | STAFF WRITER
Mason is serious about research. This semester, Mason formed a partnership with Inova Health Systems to collaborate on research in cancer, heart disease and personalized medicine. The university also achieved one of its strategic goals — moving into the “Highest Research Activity” (R1) category of the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Also, Deborah Crawford was hired as Mason’s first-ever vice president of research. In the midst of this growth, Robinson Professor of Public Affairs Steven Pearlstein published an op-ed in the Washington Post that questioned research activity at public universities. His piece was the catalyst for a panel hosted by the Roosevelt Institute in early March titled “Research at Public Universities: Do We Need Radical Reform?” The Carnegie Classification measures research activity as it correlates with scientific and nonscientific research expenditures, doctoral conferrals and the number of science and engineering research staff. R1 schools must offer a full range of baccalaureate programs, be committed to graduate education, give high priority to research, award 50 or more doctoral degrees each year and receive $40 million or more annually in federal support. The Carnegie Classification, which was first published in 1973 and has been published seven times since, developed the classification system to support research and policy analysis. “For Mason, earning this highest classification announces to the scientific community, funding organizations and industry partners that we have the capacity and the commitment to play a leading role in tackling some of the most pressing challenges of our time and to drive innovation and prosperity in our state and region,” President Ángel Cabrera wrote in an email to the university following the announcement of the listing. But what does this proliferation and celebration of research mean for Mason students? Pearlstein believes it might correlate with rising tuition, with universities tempting famous researchers with higher salaries and lower teaching loads. The consequence to teaching being seen as punitive and research being exalted is the propagation of “mediocre” research, he wrote in his op-ed titled “Four tough things universities should do to rein in costs.” “98 percent of articles published in the arts and humanities are never cited by another researcher. In social sciences, it is 75 percent,” Pearlstein writes. “Even in the hard sciences, where 25 percent of articles are never cited, the average number of citations is between one and two.” Bethany Usher, director of the Students as Scholars initiative with the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR), believes Mason’s research environment is of a direct benefit to students, even if they do not directly participate in it. “There are a lot of opportunities where it’s not just about research, but thinking more globally about the kinds of questions we ask,” Usher said. “We’re informed by being part of a large community where people from lots of different places come together, who are here because we’re a research university, but it creates an environment where lots of interesting things happen.”
Exploratory Hall, with its many labs, is home to a lot of Mason research.
Usher also said that research requires communication, with researchers working together and building off of different work being published in their field. Failure or inconclusive results, she said, is part of the process and cannot be used to malign the entire field. (AMY ROSE/FOURTH ESTATE)
“Being a R1 university is prestigious, but our Strategic Plan says ‘students come first.’ As long as that is maintained, I don’t think there’s such a thing as too much research,” she said. “I think being thoughtful of the research we do and they way it opens up educational opportunities is most important.” The University of Texas at Austin released a study in 2012 indicating that students who participate in undergraduate research tend to have higher grades, graduate earlier and make plans to obtain graduate degrees. The prestige of a university and the ability to take classes from “renowned researchers” were indicated as two important points students considered when choosing graduate schools. According to Peter Stearns, provost emeritus and history professor at Mason, the benefits of research expand far beyond the academic microcosm of a university campus. First, he said, research can lead to practical applications that lead to regional business development and economic revitalization. Second, regions with research universities attract a dynamic, talented labor force because of the actively evolving atmosphere created by the school. Finally, Stearns said, the value and prestige of the students’ degrees are increased by the university’s research, and students disproportionately stay near their alma mater upon entering the workforce. This idea aligns with Mason’s Strategic Plan for 2014-2024. “Mason is also committed to enhancing the economic development of the region and Commonwealth through partnering with industry and government in research and discovery that results in increased investment and economic growth,” the plan states. Despite the economic benefits to university research, funding for public universities continues to be cut from state budgets. In 2014, the progressive policy organization Demos released “Virginia’s Great Cost Shift: How Higher Education Cuts Undermine the State’s Future Middle Class” by researchers Robert Hiltonsmith
and Mark Huelsman. The study notes that from 2007 to 2010, higher education funding in the commonwealth fell from $2.07 billion to $1.62 billion, or a 21 percent decline. According to the
(AMY ROSE/FOURTH ESTATE)
Washington Post, Mason had a 9.8 percent tuition increase from the 2007-08 academic year to the 2008-09 year. Since then, out-ofstate tuition has increased by 5.8 percent over the past five years, according to College Factual. The decline in state funding is not a local issue. According to the Pew Charitable Trust, state funding for higher education fell by nine percent from 2000 to 2012. (Conversely, federal funding, primarily for Pell Grants, grew by 92 percent.) In Wisconsin, the 2015-17 state budgets cut funding for the University of Wisconsin system by $250 million, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. According to CBS Denver, the state proposed a $20 million reduction in higher education (ALYA NOWILATY/FOURTH ESTATE) funding in Colorado, a state that ranked last in a National Science Foundation study for amount of state funding per student from 2002 to 2010.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN R1 UNIVERSITY?
Reduction of funding is not, however, a result of denigrating public opinion towards research, but rather the result of the current financial reality of the 21st century, Stearns said. “Most states are operating in a climate where there’s tremendous resistance to a tax increase,” he said. “Then, some expenses have gone up … so if you can’t raise taxes, and you have expense categories that are going up that are out of your control, you’ve got to cut somewhere. It’s not so much that they [state governments] are hostile to us, but they have reduced their appreciation of higher education.” Until recently, the proposed solution to lower public funding was to increase tuition, which worked until students started graduating with too much debt, Stearns said, and those students who do not benefit from financial aid or wealthy parents -- the middle class -- are hurt the most. This conundrum is what Pearlstein’s article attempted to respond to and what later spurred formal conversations with the Roosevelt Institute and more informal discussions around the university. “It is a really interesting conversation,” Usher said. “Too much of a push on research does take away from the student experience -- I understand the arguments. But I think as long as we maintain the frame of thinking about research as being an educational opportunity that also has greater benefit, then that’s the way a research university ought to be looking at it.”
R1 schools must...
• Offer a full range of baccalaureate programs The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education have three categories that designate the level of research activity at doctoral • Be committed to graduate education, • Give high priority to research institutions. • R1: Highest research activity
• Award 50 or more doctoral degrees each year
• R2: Higher research activity
• Receive $40 million or more annually in federal support
• R3: Moderate research activity
For more information on Carnegie Classifications, visit carnegieclassifications.iu.edu.
Now accepting ’16 –’17 student member applications! Discuss current issues and actions relating to the student experience at George Mason University with President Cabrera, Vice President for University Life Rose Pascarell, and fellow student members. This group will meet for two hours, over lunch, twice a semester.
TO APPLY, complete and submit an online application by April 15th, 2016
Instruments in the Attic gives old instruments new life wishing to play an instrument should have the opportunity to do so.
around the world, Instruments in the Attic is also environmentally friendly, ensuring that all instruments get a second life.
“Part of my job [for Instruments in the Attic] is [to] go and do instrument petting zoos for the kids,” Day said. “The look on their faces when they first get to touch an instrument -- when they make that first sound and they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, did I just do that?’ and their parents are taking pictures of them -- it’s [all] just so exciting. Music is just so powerful that there’s nothing to compare it to.”
“This is really is recycling on steroids,” Curtis said.
Day first heard about Instruments in the Attic on Classical WETA 90.9 FM, Northern Virginia’s local classical radio station. “I heard it on the radio, probably 10 years ago and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I would love to do something like that someday,’” Day said. Day did not get the chance to meet with Curtis for years, but once she did, the two got the ball rolling. (BASMA HUMADI/ FOURTH ESTATE)
BASMA HUMADI | STAFF WRITER
A new outreach program is spreading tunes in a new way by collecting used musical instruments for children and students to give them a second life. Instruments in the Attic, first sprouted in 2007 when Mason alumnus John Paul Phaup took a methods class that required him to learn to play numerous musical instruments. Phaup realized there were not enough instruments to go around and decided to begin collecting used instruments from the local community. In about two years, Phaup collected around 125 instruments for the School of Music. However, as more and more instruments kept coming in, there was no one at Mason available full time to oversee their distribution. Phaup got in contact with Libby Curtis, director of the Potomac Arts Academy to discuss the future of the program and the two ultimately agreed that Potomac Arts would take the program under its wing. The program, Instruments in the Attic, was officially founded in 2008. Today, it is sponsored by Day Violins, a local family-owned business that specializes in string instruments, that assists Instruments in the Attic by providing free instrument repairs. The Patriot Green Fund, which finances Mason projects that promote environmental, social or economic conservation, also supports Instruments in the Attic. Jeremy Cochran, Mason alum and an intern for Instruments in the Attic, assists with the day-to-day work of the program. He helps by making basic assessments of instruments, creating tracking tags for the instruments and keeping a record of donors. “It’s almost like a library, you can come in and check [an instrument] out if you want,” Cochran said. “The purpose of it is to serve Mason music students who might need it for playing a second instrument or for one of their methods courses or something. Obviously for educational outreach there are a lot of needs out there for kids who want to play in band or orchestra and aren’t able to get an instrument. If anyone wants to come in here and borrow an instrument, it is available.” Instruments in the Attic helps children in schools across Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington counties. Jenna Day, co-owner of Day Violins, explained that her company supports Instruments in the Attic because she believes every child
“We only met for maybe an hour, but in the conversation I already promised that we would repair all the instruments,” Day said. “I already committed my entire life to Instruments in the Attic. It was like all the pieces kind of fell in together and it was the perfect timing for me to help but also the perfect timing she [Curtis] needed help. All these little things fell into place.” The program is currently taking on an international presence by reaching out to communities in El Salvador, Haiti and Costa Rica. Oftentimes, nonprofits or individuals involved in international volunteer work reach out to Instruments in the Attic for assistance. The first time this happened, Curtis said, was the time she received a call from a Harvard medical student asking to partner with the program. The student told Curtis that Harvard’s medical school, while building a clinic in El Salvador, had discovered a remote village with a small community arts program that needed instruments. After discovering Instruments in the Attic online, the student contacted Curtis right away. “He came down with a van and loaded up a bunch of guitars,” Curtis said. “The doctors, as they were flying down, loaded them on with their luggage. So we got about 10 instruments down in El Salvador to help the community arts program there.” After the Haitian earthquake in 2010, a D.C.-area lawyer contacted Instruments in the Attic to see if they would be willing to donate instruments to the relief effort. The lawyer told Curtis the instruments would be sent to Haitian church that was trying to revitalize the community through music. Along with helping people
Besides donating usable instruments to musicians, Instruments in the Attic turns instruments that are past their prime into art projects. In some cases, if the instrument has historical value, staff will preserve them as antiques. “We want nothing to go to the landfill,” Curtis said. “The point is to really recycle these things away. To find the next best use for them -- hopefully musical, but maybe not.” For example, a violin donated by the Women’s Committee at the Kennedy Center was preserved for its historical value. “The history of it [the instrument] is that it was built in the 1800s by an Italian violin maker, and supposedly Jascha Heifetz played that violin,” Curtis said. “He is a world-renowned virtuosic violinist. So every violinist in the world wants to play like Jascha Heifetz.” Day said that helping Instruments in the Attic is has helped her in turn by allowing her to help others. “Instruments in the Attic is very important to me because it gives me the opportunity to give back, we’ve been so blessed,” Day said. “Literally when I heard that [radio ad] ten years ago, it was something that really struck me, and I don’t know why, some things just really strike a chord with you.” Curtis said the program is poised to continue growing. “It’s a building program,” Curtis said. “I think it has a wonderful life ahead of it.”
Inspiring Women at Mason MIA WISE | STAFF WRITER
Women’s History Month brings spotlight
The month of March was Women’s History Month. Here at Mason, from faculty to students, women are making a change on campus and in their communities. Fourth Estate took the time to get to know some of the many inspiring women at Mason.
(COURTESY OF CINDY HERRERA)
(COURTESY OF WENDI MANUEL-SCOTT)
(COURTESY OF ELIZABETH DORIAN)
Dr. Wendi Manuel-Scott
On an average day, students can find senior Cindy Herrera studying; working in the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Education (ODIME); or leading a meeting for one of the many organizations she supports.
Every student has taken a class with an instructor who has left a positive impact on them. For many Mason students, Dr. Wendi Manuel-Scott is that instructor.
Every morning, sophomore Elizabeth Dorian starts her day with a cup of tea and a look at NPR or the Washington Post. From there, she leaves for her job at the Fairfax Circuit Court, then spends the rest of the day attending classes or club meetings.
A criminology, law and society major with a minor in intelligence analysis, Herrera is also vice president of the Hispanic Student Association (HSA) and president of Chi Upsilon Sigma’s Beta Delta chapter. “HSA is a cultural organization on campus that aims to unite, educate, and empower the Latino community at George Mason University and anyone else interested in embracing our culture,” said Herrera. “Chi Upsilon Sigma is [an] independent Latin sorority that educates the community on political, educational, cultural and social [issues]. Our sisterhood values leadership, sisterhood, character and service.”
Manuel-Scott is the director of the African and African American Studies program at Mason as well as an associate professor of history and art history. She received a bachelor of arts in history from the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C. Manuel-Scott is extremely dedicated to her students, always making time to help them and make sure they feel supported and safe. “Every day in the classroom is a privilege for me, and I am so honored to support and mentor my students,” Manuel-Scott said. “I am inspired by Mason students, and their curiosity and persistence motivates me to show up with authenticity and passion.”
Herrera works as the operations coordinator and receptionist at ODIME.
This semester, Manuel-Scott is teaching an introduction to African American studies class as well as a course on Black protest in the Atlantic region.
“ODIME is an office that leads the university in creating and sustaining inclusive learning environments where all members of the Mason community are welcomed, valued and supported,” Herrera said.
Manuel-Scott said she owes her teaching inspiration to her time at Howard University and to her experience as a first-generation college student.
While this may sound like a heavy workload, Herrera has no trouble balancing it and says she enjoys the time she spends giving back to the Mason community.
“I attended Howard for my master’s and Ph.D. in history,” Dr. Manuel-Scott said. “Many of the individuals that were really helpful to me were the faculty members I interacted with. The ways I saw them mentor and support the students stayed with me.”
“I enjoy my involvement with [these] organizations because I am very passionate [about] my involvement with the community,” Herrera said. “I make sure to always have my agenda and prioritize what is needed.”
Manuel-Scott also started the Paul Robeson Saturday Leadership Academy, a program brings students in grades seven through 10 to Mason to participate in STEM-focused activities. Typically, these are students who are underrepresented in the STEM fields.
Herrera was originally a nursing major, but this quickly changed after her first semester.
Manuel-Scott is also focused on trying to improve things around Mason. She said that she and other faculty members are trying to move Mason into the 21st century, and they are ready to do the heavy and difficult work to improve the school for everyone.
“I was attending Mason because it had an excellent nursing program,” Herrera said. “But after changing my major I was able to take advantage of the location of Mason. I had an internship in our Nation’s Capital.” From her reminder texts about upcoming events to her social media posts, Herrera is known as someone who wants everyone to get involved.
“I’m engaged in finding ways to support Mason students,” ManuelScott said. “There is so much going on not only on campus, but in the world. I want to make sure students feel supported. I want to be present and be able to create spaces for students’ concerns and frustrations.”
Dorian is studying international government and policy with a minor in intelligence analysis. She is the vice president of the Network of Enlightened Women at Mason and is also involved with Mason’s College Republicans chapter and the university’s equestrian club. Dorian got involved with the Network of Enlightened Women, known as NeW, last year after a friend suggested she check out the organization. “We have conservative groups on campus, but none tailored specifically to conservative women,” Dorian said. “Over the summer, Gabby Nelson, our president for the 2015-16 school year, reached out asking if I’d be willing to help make the Network of Enlightened Women a registered student organization at Mason, and I jumped on board.” Dorian believes that getting involved on campus is beneficial to students. “You’re here for four years -- make them count,” Dorian said. “Becoming involved on campus is so much more than another bullet point on your resume. Becoming involved on campus opens the door to ... so many great friendships, memories, and new opportunities. Taking up leadership roles, planning events, and even simply participating in different campus groups gives you what a classroom can’t: firsthand experience and more dynamic interpersonal relationships. Every moment is a learning experience.” For some students, joining a student organization can be a little intimidating, but Dorian has advice for conquering that fear. “The best advice I have for anyone wanting to get involved on campus is simply to dare the boundaries of the so-called comfort zone,” Dorian said. “Speak your mind, never back down from a challenge, try new things, and enjoy the ride.”
04.04.2016 11 lifestyle IV Nursing Student gets internship in Tanzania helping at risk children GMUFOURTHESTATE.COM @IVESTATE
SAVANNAH NORTON | LIFESTYLE EDITOR
While spring semester finds most Mason students pinning down summer internships in D.C. or in their hometowns, one Mason student will be traveling much farther -- 7,768 miles, to be exact -- to spend her summer interning in Tanzania. Taylor Wittel, junior studying nursing at Mason, will be working with a nonprofit called Neema House located in Arusha, Tanzania. “I have wanted to go into the medical field since I was a little girl, I just wasn’t sure which route or how I wanted to approach it,” Wittel said. “Throughout my life I have found that in order to help those around you, you must first take every opportunity you are presented with.” Wittel knew her calling from a young age. “My great grandfather was diagnosed with emphysema when I was eight,” Wittel said. “It solidified my drive for wanting to become a nurse. I was extremely interested in the science and etiology involved with the disease, but I was also deeply impacted by the care and compassion that the nurses had for my great grandfather as well as for our family.” Wittel hoped to use her life to make a difference for others, and she feels she is on the right track. “I believe with my deep passion for helping people in any way that I can and a compassionate, empathetic and respectful personality, along with my drive to learn and interest in the medical field, nursing is the perfect career,” Wittel said. Wittel said she came across Neema House while applying to different nursing internships. “I had found a global health internship in Ghana with a nonprofit called Operation Groundswell, and when I was talking about it with my stepmom, she mentioned that one of her uncles founded a nonprofit in Tanzania,” Wittel said. “I then reached out to the founder to inquire about any nursing internships available and information on the nonprofit.” Founders and Executive Directors, Michael and Dorris Fortson, sent Wittel an application along with more information on Neema House. Neema House is a rescue center for abandoned, orphaned or at-risk infants. A 501(c)(3) organization in the U.S. and a non-government organization in Tanzania, Neema House works to rescue babies and reunite them with extended family or with adoptive
parents. The organization also serves local women through education, parenting skills workshops and support for women who have lost relatives to AIDS. “I will be working under their medical director,” Wittel said. “I will be in charge of a multitude of things, from providing skin-toskin contact for the babies, to feeding [them], to teaching [people] how to properly use the medical equipment available, to providing nursing care for the babies and transporting them to the hospital if they need emergent care.” Wittel will be taking care of Neema House’s 46 children receiving in-house care. These children, whose ages range from newborn to four years, have been at Neema House since January 16, 2016. According to its website, Neema House has helped 114 babies since June 2012. “As a nonprofit, all their monetary resources are spent feeding and housing these children, [so] internships like mine are unpaid,” Wittel said. Wittel has started a GoFundMe webpage to raise money for airfare and room and board in Arusha. “The rest of the money will go directly toward Neema House. The money going directly to Neema House is used to purchase anything needed in order to run the orphanage such as diapers or formula.” Wittel’s current fundraising goal is $3,000, and she is well on her way to reaching it. In just over two weeks she has raised $1,575. “I am incredibly surprised and blessed, I was not expecting to raise that much in such a short amount of time,” Wittel said. “I am unbelievably thankful for all of my friends and family support and encouragement that I have received.” Wittel said it means the world to her when people donate. “The amount of generosity and humility from the people who donate amazes me on a daily basis,” Wittel said. “It makes me feel so exceptionally blessed and thankful to be surrounded by amazing people who are supporting something that I am so passionate about doing. “ She is excited to get hands-on experience in Arusha and use the skills she has learned in the classroom in a real-life environment. “The thing that excites me most about this opportunity is that I will be able to apply the knowledge and skills that I have learned
(COURTESY OF TAYLOR WITTEL)
through nursing school to directly impact and serve the babies and children, while learning about different diseases and issues that are prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Wittel said. Wittel is ready for her journey to begin, but she knows it would not be happening without the help of her family and friends. “I appreciate all of the support and encouragement that I have received from those around me,” she said.
Bullied to Death?
Professor criticism links to mental health issues TIFFANY LIN | STAFF WRITER
An honors student at Scottsdale Community College was allegedly bullied to death in February by two professors. This is a situation any student could come across on while attending college. Fourth Estate prompted discussion about professor-student relationships on Mason’s campus. The 20-year-old honors student, Kendra Parton, was pursuing an associate’s degree in equine science to become a veterinarian. She had received a full-ride scholarship for the program. According to 12 News, Phoenix, Arizona’s local news outlet, Barbara Hanes, professor of equine science, and Patricia Evans, director of the college’s equine science program, were accused of contributing to Parton’s suicide. 12 News said there were several events that supposedly led up to Parton’s death. It all began in 2012, when Parton enrolled in an internship for which she was required to give a presentation worth 40 percent of her grade.
-- she could raise her presentation grade to a C, and thereby pass the course. Mason psychology professor Dr. Tara Chaplin also said Scottsdale faculty should have spoken to Parton in a more positive way. Chaplin also said, however, that she thought Hanes and Evans acted justly in allowing Parton to redo the project, suggesting that Parton might have considered cutting back on extracurricular activities to put more effort into the presentation. Dr. Chaplin said if she had a student like Parton, she would have direct him or her to Mason’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Parton declined this option, stating that she had six classes, extracurricular activities and finals to worry about.
Parton did not pass the internship because of her performance on this presentation. However, her family has argued it was specifically the feedback she received after the presentation, along with email correspondence with Evans, that triggered Parton’s suicide.
12 News stated that Parton reached out to Evans via email concerning her degree, however, which she could not receive unless she passed the internship.
Dr. Anne Scherer, a Mason biology professor, said that the two individuals’ feedback and behavior were unprofessional and unhelpful. Scherer said she believes that while it is unnecessary to “sugarcoat” negative comments, professors should give only constructive criticism.
In the email, Parton apologized for bothering Evans, but added, “for some reason I find you to be an incredibly intimidating person, and to be perfectly honest, you scare the crap out of me most of the time.”
She also said she believes professors should approach students in a straightforward way, while “being polite and helpful.”
Parton also explained in the email that she had completed 332 hours in the unpaid internship -- double the hours that were required -- and quit her part-time job in order to complete it.
Scherer said she remembers a professor she had when she was a student who wrote “worst in the class” on one of Scherer’s assignments. Scherer said she felt discouraged and distressed upon reading the comment.
She also expressed distress concerning her degree.
“I think that it is important for students to learn to accept criticism, but they should not feel demeaned in the process,” Scherer said. “I want all of my students to feel comfortable in my class so that they can get the most out of the class.”
“I am panicking because I absolutely cannot afford to do another internship, which in my mind means that I will not be able to get my Associates degree in Equine Science and that I have basically wasted the last two years of my life and a lot of money at this school—all because of one presentation,” the email read.
The feedback, written by Hanes and Evans, read, “A struggle to listen to this presentation … This may be the worst presentation ever.”
Evans replied that she was not sick of hearing from Parton, but Parton should have thought of the professors whose time she was using while giving her presentation.
However, Hanes told Parton that if she wished to redo the presentation -- by improving her speaking and wearing the proper attire
“You may find it hard to believe but three faculty were willing to give up their time to listen to and evaluate your presentation and were not doing this to waste everyone’s time,” Evans’s email said. At the end of the email, Evans wrote that if Parton felt that she had wasted two years of her time in the program, she was probably right. Upon reading the message, Parton logged off the computer and texted her brother Shane to let him know she did not need a ride home. Parton proceeded to end her life that day. According to the Maricopa County medical
(MEGAN ZENDEK/ FOURTH ESTATE)
examiner, Parton’s death was carried out with a pistol. 12 News stated that Parton had no alcohol, drugs or signs of pregnancy in her system. Her parents, Wendy and Dave Parton, testified that Parton had no medical record of mental health issues. 12 News reported that the Parton family is suing Scottsdale Community College for $5.1 million for their daughter’s death. Freshman biology major Charlina Mansaray said she does not believe Hanes and Evans handled Parton’s situation well. “They exaggerated her incompetence,” Mansaray said, adding that as authority figures, Hanes and Evans should have communicated more effectively. Zoe Quint, also a biology major, agreed that Parton’s mentors were harsh and did not offer constructive criticism. Quint also said, however, that she believes suicide is caused by a buildup of multiple events in an individual’s life -- not just one situation. “Therefore, I don’t think the teachers can be the only ones to ‘blame,’ although of course it’s nice to be able to have a reason to explain why someone who seemingly had so much going for them would choose to shoot herself and end her life,” Quint said. However, Quint said that ultimately words are powerful, and everyone -- especially educators -- should remember this. “With a few simple phrases, the professors were able to lower Kendra’s self-esteem and make her feel like she was not able to accomplish her goal of completing her degree,” Quint said. “That’s unacceptable, and that’s not what educators are supposed to do. They are there to encourage and empower their students and show mutual respect between peers and elders. In fact, that’s what everyone should try to do.”
MONDAY 4/4 On campus:
Off campus: Linda Oh
Johnson Center G34- Dance Studio
The John F. Kennedy Center
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
@jessicalbrdy Jessica Lynn
“Fenwick lobby doesn’t have a water fountain. Okay.....That sounds illegal but okay.”
@run_harper_run Harper Manette
TO DO THIS WEEK:
Yoga for Well-Being
“There’s a guy dressed up as Jesus in front of the JC, just your typical day at Mason”
TUESDAY 4/5 On campus:
Stress Management Workshop
Carlos Santana Warner Theatre
Research Hall 163
10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
WEDNESDAY 4/6 On campus:
Mason Recess: Let’s Play
Student Union I Patriots Lounge
11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
“college has reduced my sense of humor to pointing at anything that mildly resembles trash and declaring ‘same’”
THURSDAY 4/7 Off campus:
On campus: Music Productions Club Open Mic Night
The Hub Corner Side Pocket Lounge
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
“George Mason really been cuttin up lately!”
FRIDAY 4/8 On campus: ABC Party Johnson Center Dewberry Hall 9 p.m. - 1 a.m.
Off campus: Big Gigantic Echostage 7 p.m.
Seymour talks goals, life behind a college athlete COURTNEY HOFFMAN | SPORTS EDITOR
Being sidelined by a serious injury is one of the most frustrating ordeals a student athlete can go through. For Liz Seymour, an injury sustained on the basketball court ended her goal of playing D1 college basketball - and opened up an opportunity for her to shine on the softball field. Redshirt senior during her junior year of high school, Seymour was going up for a layup when she fell to the ground, hurting her back. Upon examining Seymour’s back, doctors decided she had experienced muscle bruising. Soon after her initial injury, however, Seymour was playing a softball game when, sliding into third base, she experienced acute back pain. After yet another doctor visit, Seymour learned she had fractured both sides of her L3 vertebra. After this setback, which happened in October 2012, Seymour spent three and a half months in a brace. “That was really frustrating -- not playing,” Seymour said. However, Seymour showed the world just how strong she was, stepping back onto the softball field that March -- just six short months after her injury. Before she hurt her back, Seymour had been considering playing D1 college basketball. She realized after her injury, however, that basketball would put too much pressure on her body, so she began trying out for college softball teams instead. Now, three years later, Seymour is a sophomore information technology major here at Mason, tearing it up on the softball diamond for Mason’s women’s softball team. Shortstop and second baseman, Seymour hit the team’s first home run of the season against Georgetown University on March 23, leading the team to another victory. Fourth Estate sat down with Seymour to chat about softball, Mason and life as a college athlete. FE: What has been your favorite thing about Mason so far? LS: Definitely the athlete atmosphere. In high school, you hang out with people who don’t necessarily love the game they’re playing. They’re just there because it’s high school and they [have] to play. When you’re at college I feel like everyone wants to be here. I feel like it’s a better atmosphere than when you’re in high school or travel ball. FE: How have you seen yourself progress during your year with the program? LS: Coming from high school ball to college, there is a little bit of a change. I definitely think that after last year my confidence went up a lot. I actually say my opinion out loud [now] and [try] not be the innocent little freshman scared to talk. This year I’ve been more vocal ... so that’s definitely been progress.
(PHOTO COURTESY LIZ SEYMOUR)
LS: Not too much, to be honest with you. We’re starting to figure out hitting the ball, and our defense needs to get stronger, but it’s a work in progress.
lost both games Saturday, 8-0 and 4-1, and Sunday’s game was cancelled due to weather - Seymour recognized what she hoped to see in the team.
FE: What do you want to see out of yourself this season?
FE: What do you want to see from your team during your games against UMass?
LS: Out of myself, I definitely want to improve my fielding percentage and have less error as the season goes on. And, just keep up my hitting because I think my hitting is my stronger ability, so I need to keep that consistent throughout the season.
LS: I want to see us keep hitting the ball, because we’ve been making good contact, and get ahead in the first inning ... [W]e are a better team when we get out and we’re having fun and we’re scoring. It doesn’t put as much pressure on our pitchers, either.
FE: What do you want to see out of the team this season? FE: Do you have any pre-game rituals? LS: I definitely want to win the A-10 [Championship]. I think we have a really good shot; we have a great team. We definitely want to be higher than our preseason ranking. I think we were supposed to get fifth in the conference, but I think we can get higher than that. That’s something I’m striving for personally, but I know our team is too. The team has been practicing extensively for the championship. Coaches have been focusing on defensive skills, Seymour said, noting that defense is something that they have been emphasizing for the players. Seymour also said she wants to see the team continue to play a solid offense in addition to improving its defense.
FE: Have you experienced any major surprises so far this season? Before last weekend’s three game series against UMass - Mason
LS: We hacky, like hacky sack, but we don’t really have too many pre-game rituals. We do have a couple superstitious girls, though. Yesterday, our pitchers threw a combined perfect game and literally Sarah [Kleinfelter] was like, “you need to sit right there on that bench! You can’t move!” FE: Walk me through a typical day as a college athlete. LS: Tuesdays are my worst days because I go [to class from] 9 to 10:15, then 10:30 to 1:15. Then I go to lift at 1:30. Then we go outside at 2:30 until about 5 p.m. [for practice]. And, then I go in and I see our trainer, and she does stuff with my arm and my back. I usually get an ice bath, and then I go home. I eat somewhere in
between there. Though it’s been three years since her fracture, Seymour still has to be careful about avoiding further injuries. FE: What’s one thing you do with your teammates during your spare time? LS: We’ll literally be with each other from 12 to 5 p.m. then we’ll go get food. Usually, teams get like “I can’t stand you, I don’t want to be with you anymore,” but we don’t get like that. While it seems like Seymour could not fit anything else into her schedule, she said she still finds time to grab cheese fries from Manhattan Pizza with her teammates and binge watch Netflix. FE: What have you been watching on Netflix? LS: Oh my gosh, I watch multiple shows. “House of Cards” [is] a wonderful show. I’m on “House of Cards” right now. I feel like I’ve watched every Netflix thing I possibly could have. Mason softball’s next home game is against Maryland-Eastern Shore this Wednesday, April 6, at 3 p.m.
Photos of the Week
Women’s lacrosse took on Mount St. Mary;s, Wednesday, March 30 in Farifax, VA. The patriots finished on top winning 15-4.
(DAVID SCHRACK/FOURTH ESTATE)
Civil engingeering students from Mason used teamwork to take first place in the co-ed sprint race at the annual Regional Concrete Canoe Competition on Saturday.
ANNELISE JENSEN | STAFF WRITER
On April 2., civil engineering students from Mason competed in the annual Regional Concrete Canoe Competition at Thompson Boat Center in Washington, D.C. Concrete Canoe is a civil engineering clubs that builds and competes against other universities to judge who has the best canoe design. Hosted by GMU American Society of Civil Engineers, the event scores each team based on several
(AMY ROSE/FOURTH ESTATE)
categories, including a presentation and design score, and a race course set along the Potomac River. The timed race had an endurance men’s’ and women’s’ event, followed by a men’s, women’s and co-ed sprint event. Civil engineering student also had a chance to explain the tough processes and many months of work that went into building a canoe made from concrete. Mason took first place in the co-ed sprint race and came in fifth place overall.