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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "george mason university"

How is the pandemic impacting college students? They’re worried. Here’s how to help.

For many college and university students looking toward the fall, questions left unanswered and swirling concerns about the year ahead have stamped the first semester of the new academic year with a question mark. 

While schools grapple with options such as hybrid courses, in-person (yet socially distanced) classes and more, we caught up with Rita Snyder Furr, assistant director of ADVANCE Operations at George Mason University

The ADVANCE program is specific to transfer students from Northern Virginia Community College to George Mason University, but the circumstances and concerns being brought up by the program’s students are reflective of what many are coping with, both on a local and national scale. 

From a college success coach’s perspective, here’s what Furr is seeing in here daily communications with students, as well as her advice on reaching out to college counselors and advisers, and how both students and parents can stay hopeful at this time. Highlights from our conversation are below. 

First, what is a college success coach and what is its importance in higher education?

The term ‘success coach’ may be defined differently between colleges and universities, but for the ADVANCE Partnership between Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and George Mason University (Mason), the success coach serves myriad student-centered functions. At the heart of this is a holistic focus on creating personalized educational and professional plans with students while offering support, guidance and access to institutional resources, which help students advance their short-term and long-term goals. In other words, the success coach role is one that seeks to move beyond providing transactional student services to one that purposefully seeks to integrate academic planning and non-academic support into meaningful and sustained interactions with students from their admission into the ADVANCE Program until the day they walk at Mason commencement to receive their bachelor’s degree (of course, with the earning of their associate’s degree at NOVA in the middle of this educational journey). It is important to note that the ADVANCE Success Coaching Team works in collaboration with NOVA front-line academic advising and counseling staff to support student success. 

When the pandemic began, what kind of questions and comments were you hearing from concerned students, and how did you all adapt to the circumstances?

The collective uncertainty we all felt when the COVID-19 pandemic began was reflected in the questions and comments that we were receiving from concerned students. These questions ranged from, “I am scared. This is my first experience with online learning. How do I continue to be successful now that my in-person courses have abruptly shifted into an online setting?” to, “My partner has recently lost their job as a result of the pandemic and I can no longer afford to attend and/or focus on my studies. Without this financial support, I am seriously considering dropping out of college altogether. What are my options?” And helping students navigate uncertainties becomes increasingly different from a distance. Therefore, we had to think critically about how we were holding space for students, meeting them where they are at and not creating additional social distancing in our approaches to serving them that did not compound on the physical and emotional isolation they may already have been experiencing. 

In other words, thinking about how we are engaging with students, having multiple accessibility points to hold student interactions, being up-to-date on how institutional plans (e.g. semester schedules and course delivery), resources and support (e.g. how students are able to access counseling and psychological services despite a university closure) were shifting as a result of COVID-19, as well as new opportunities, like special COVID-19 grants to financially help students with their own unforeseen circumstances, that also became important in helping the ADVANCE team shift and adapt to meet the needs of our growing student population.

What have you seen to be some of the biggest concerns of students, and how do you go about keeping them calm and giving them clear ways to handle their circumstances?

Being academically successful in a predominately or exclusively online setting is one of the biggest concerns students are currently expressing, however we also have students experiencing various forms of insecurity (housing and/or food) as well as mental health concerns from experiencing stress, anxiety and depression as that has either been brought on or worsened as a result of the global pandemic. Knowing your student population and their material circumstances is key because this allows advisers and success coaches to be equipped to have these conversations with students and to keep them clear about their options and the path they need to be on, especially when this conversation is pursued through a coaching framework and the student has dedicated time and space to articulate their needs and create their own action plan with a supportive coach who is also able to help the student identify and leverage institutional resources to stay on track. And in doing this, it is imperative for an adviser or a success coach to establish a safe and inclusive space where students not only feel heard, but experience an ethic of care, which allows the student to keep calm and engaged.

Are you getting a lot of questions about how school will look next year?

Yes, absolutely. While we gain more information regarding how both NOVA and Mason will implement their mixed formats of in-person and virtual instruction for fall 2020, many students have been asking questions focused on academic planning and whether or not specific courses are a good “fit” for them in an online format when considering their specific learning styles or life circumstances. This is where our ADVANCE success coaching team has really been able to shine. Expressly, their role as the student’s primary point of contact throughout their college experience coupled with their training in coaching methodologies, our success coaches are able to leverage their rapport with a given student to provide personalized answers to these questions while offering additional resources at both institutions to address certain student needs during these uncertain times.

How are you all keeping students hopeful at this time, even though the circumstances are tough and often changing day by day?

Again, we have found that communication and expressing genuine care for our students has been key in keeping them hopeful during the current circumstances. While we are required for good reasons to physically distance, we have found that maintaining continued contact with our students and being mindful of not creating additional social distancing in our practices is keeping students hopeful and engaged. A safe and inclusive space where students not only feel heard, but experience an ethic of care is key. Also, giving the students space to problem solve and leveraging resources and encouragement is also keeping us all hopeful as it is showing us collectively the resiliency we have as individuals and as a learning community despite the circumstances.

Why is it important for college students to reach out to their advisers or success coaches in times like this, but also just when they need help in their educational journey?

It is important for college students to reach out to their advisers or success coaches, especially during the global COVID-19 pandemic for two reasons. First, higher education and student affairs research shows that if students have one quality and supportive relationship with a faculty or staff member on their college campus, they are more likely to be academically successful, persist and graduate with their credential. This level of student rapport becomes even more critical during times of uncertainty and when students are facing very real challenges such as job loss or housing and food insecurities and/or mental health stressors due to the aforementioned insecurities. The sudden shift from on-campus engagement and in-person instruction to fully online student services and coursework, and social distancing mandates in their personal lives are also factors. This makes continuity of communication with their institution and those who support them academically even more imperative in order for them to feel connected as together we attempt to create a “new normal.” We believe that reaching out and establishing that connection is even more important to keeping students engaged and enrolled, especially at this time.

Second, it is important for college students to reach out to their adviser or success coach because this individual is often their primary gateway to student-success resources. The ADVANCE Program allows students to have a number of unique benefits that they otherwise would not have access to at NOVA or as non-ADVANCE Mason-bound transfer students. ADVANCE equals access, so in addition to a number of great resources at NOVA, ADVANCE students can access student health services, counseling and psychological services, learning services, the Patriot Pantry and other resources offered at Mason. It is important to note that with most of the ADVANCE Team having spent a significant time in our respective careers dedicated to serving community college students, the insecurities or “unique” circumstances such as being an adult leaner, a student parent, juggling full-time employment with full-time academics or any of the other seemingly “nontraditional” circumstances that current students are now facing are not only the norm, but championed within open-access, two-year institutional contexts, so we thrive on working with student populations grappling with “real-world” issues and connecting them to much-needed resources in an effort to help them in their educational endeavors. With that said, these resources can be a real gamechanger for students, especially facing new or worsened hardships as a result of the global pandemic. Suddenly, resources that some students would not necessarily need are now available to them, as well as additional opportunities, such as student emergency assistance funding. Again, these resources would not be accessible to them at both institutions if they were not a part of the ADVANCE Program.

What has been keeping you all hopeful during this time?

The resiliency of our students and knowing that we are helping to support our community during an uncertain time and because of this, we will collectively come out stronger.

For students who might be worried about the upcoming year and have lots of questions, what is your advice for them remaining calm and navigating the upcoming months?

Feeling worried about the upcoming academic year and having lots of questions is a completely normal reaction given we are all navigating uncertain circumstances. However, instead of being reactive, I strongly encourage students and their supporters to be proactive and to explore academic options and seek answers to questions as soon as possible. Failure to speak with an adviser, a success coach or a representative at your chosen college or university of interest as soon as possible will only lead to greater uncertainty. There are a lot of options and resources available to aid in student success, even during a global pandemic. During this time where things feel out of our control, empowering yourself with information regarding your academic options or questions is ultimately in your hands. Take some uncertainty out of the equation and connect with a faculty or staff member at your chosen institution as soon as possible. Knowledge is power and you will be happy you did so sooner rather than later.

For parents, is there anything else they should know about concerns college students may have, any ways they can help or when/how to reach out to a school’s success coach or adviser?

I encourage supporters [of current or rising students] to be engaged, but to allow the student to take the wheel and drive the vehicle. Higher education is not only an investment in their future, but an important developmental opportunity to foster skills such as self-advocacy, autonomy and a sense of identity and purpose. It is important for supporters to be engaged in the process, but to allow the student to claim the process for themselves. 

For more on local colleges and universities, subscribe to our Education newsletter. 

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George Mason basketball coach ups his technology game

The coronavirus pandemic has forced people to improvise how they live and work. For many people, including George Mason University’s basketball coach Dave Paulsen, that includes learning new skills.

Paulsen had to up his technology game at the Fairfax, Virginia, school, spending a lot of his time on video conference calls, as meeting with players in-person amid the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t option.

“Some people are going to come out of this better prepared for the future. I’ve tried to use this time as a mini sabbatical to try and reevaluate everything that I do, that we do.” Paulsen said.

He has been watching film of other programs and sitting-in on Zoom coaching clinics from all across the country.

“I think it’s a way for all of us to come out in the new normal with some skills at our disposal.” Paulsen said.

The coach is putting those skills to work now, helping with his recruiting.

“With a prospect, we can share some of our practice footage and some of the drills we do. It’s a way we can now access recruits videos, watch them share the screen and offer some feedback.” Paulsen said.

Paulsen said he is never been home this long, but he still makes an effort to keep in touch with his players who are spread out all over the country.

One way is holding individual virtual meetings, which include film edits from the season.

Paulsen also conducts once-a-week team calls, while coaches check in daily with players to see whether they’re healthy and how they’re doing.

George Mason will have its starting five back next season, but will the fans be back? The season may go on, but there may be no fans in the stands.

“It would be weird. The excitement, the passion of college basketball makes it different and unique from professional basketball. Doc Nix and the Green Machine make Eagle Bank Arena rock. When we have a good crowd, that place is electric,” Paulsen said.

“So, no doubt about that, we want to play in front of our fans. But, if you told me we could play but with no fans for the first semester, I’d sign up for that in a second, if the alternative is not to play. I think all of our guys would feel the same way.”

The unusual circumstances have made him appreciate his job more than ever.

“I’m never going to take for granted again just the privilege I have of doing a job I love with kids I love being around. At the core of why I coach and where guys play is not about how many fans are there, it’s about the joy of competing and the joy of becoming as good as you can become at something.” Paulsen said.

The coach said he is trying to be good at something else.

Paulsen is enjoying his “DP Distancing Dialogues.”

He has developed an extensive coaching tree during his 26-years as a head coach. His former assistants hold positions in the NBA, NCAA and high school ball. They include the Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Catholic University.

Unable to reconnect with them at the Final Four this year, Paulsen has taken their discussions to YouTube and Twitter.

They share coaching philosophy and hold a video coaching clinic.

“They will kind of replace the old, corny coaches’ shows they used to show on TV. We’ll just have meaningful discussions.” Paulsen said.

And for a meaningful cause.

The Patriots coach makes a charity donation with each episode. Some recipients include D.C. Central Kitchen, Coaches vs. Cancer, and Coaches Coalition for Progress.

His guests also contribute to local charities in their area.

Source

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Alan Merten, former George Mason University president, dies at 78

Alan Merten, former president of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, died Thursday in Florida at age 78 following a battle with Parkinson’s disease, according to the school.

Merten spent 16 years as Mason’s fifth president, beginning in 1996.

“The impact of Alan Merten is felt on our campuses every day,” Mason interim president Anne Holton said in a statement released by the school.

“His sharp and prudent leadership at a pivotal time in a young university’s history guided Mason on a path to prominence. So much of what we value about Mason today is a direct result of his vision.”

A highlight for Merten was the 11th-seeded Patriots men’s basketball team winning the D.C. region in the 2006 NCAA Tournament after an 86-84 overtime win over top-seeded Connecticut, Mason’s first-ever trip to the Final Four.

“He was my best friend and biggest supporter during our 14 years together at George Mason. His accomplishments were incredible. He was one of a kind,” said former Patriots coach Jim Larranaga, who is now men’s basketball coach at the University of Miami.

Merten, who was born in Milwaukee, attended the universities of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and Madison.

He worked at the Pentagon during his time in the Air Force, which he joined after graduating.

Merten also earned a master’s degree in computer science from Stanford and returned to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he earned a doctorate in computer science.

He taught in the engineering and business schools at the University of Michigan before becoming the school’s associate dean for executive education and computing services.

Merten was also the dean of the University of Florida’s College of Business Administration and dean of Cornell University’s graduate school of management before his tenure at Mason.

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George Mason University raises tuition for students, despite coronavirus pandemic

It won’t be a popular move as people struggle financially during the coronavirus pandemic, but George Mason University has decided to raise tuition.

The school’s Board of Visitors voted 15-1 Wednesday to adopt a new $1.18 billion budget that includes a $450 tuition hike for in-state and out-of-state students.

The board said that the Fairfax school should prioritize reducing tuition if more state or federal funding becomes available.

“This is a ceiling for what we’ll charge, this isn’t the floor,” said Tom Davis, the university’s rector.

The tuition increase is significantly lower than what was originally planned for before the pandemic hit. The board said it lowered the increase after holding listening sessions with students to hear about their economic situations.

With the tuition hike, the university, which is the state’s largest public research university with 38,000 students, plans to invest more in support services for students, including academic coaches and advisers.

It also plans to spend more on online education and technological infrastructure to support virtual learning.

“We know that even a small tuition increase can affect our students and their families,” said interim President Anne Holton. “At the same time, we must make strategic investments to serve our students and keep them on track to graduate. That is how we will emerge stronger from these crises and play a significant role in lifting the region and state economy in the coming years”

Other colleges and universities in Virginia — including James Madison University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Christopher Newport University and the College of William & Mary — have agreed on plans to hold tuition steady in response to the economic fallout from the coronavirus and the uncertainty of when students will return to campus.

George Mason University will “freeze noncritical hiring, slow spending, defer cost, and eliminate, reduce or delay noncritical expenses as the university considers the pandemic’s financial impact in 2020-21 and the long-term financial health of the university,” a news release said.

In April, state lawmakers held a legislative session where they voted to delay several of their initiatives, including freezing in-state college tuition.

Gov. Ralph Northam said he’ll likely call lawmakers back into a special session later this year to adjust their spending priorities after the state has a better handle on what the virus’s impact has been on revenues.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source

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George Mason University raises tuition, despite coronavirus pandemic

It won’t be a popular move as people struggle financially during the coronavirus pandemic, but George Mason University has decided to raise tuition.

The school’s Board of Visitors voted 15-1 Wednesday to adopt a new $1.18 billion budget that includes a $450 tuition hike for in-state and out-of-state students.

The board said that the Fairfax school should prioritize reducing tuition if more state or federal funding becomes available.

“This is a ceiling for what we’ll charge, this isn’t the floor,” said Tom Davis, the university’s rector.

The tuition increase is significantly lower than what was originally planned for before the pandemic hit. The board said it lowered the increase after holding listening sessions with students to hear about their economic situations.

With the tuition hike, the university, which is the state’s largest public research university with 38,000 students, plans to invest more in support services for students, including academic coaches and advisers.

It also plans to spend more on online education and technological infrastructure to support virtual learning.

“We know that even a small tuition increase can affect our students and their families,” said interim President Anne Holton. “At the same time, we must make strategic investments to serve our students and keep them on track to graduate. That is how we will emerge stronger from these crises and play a significant role in lifting the region and state economy in the coming years”

Other colleges and universities in Virginia — including James Madison University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Christopher Newport University and the College of William & Mary — have agreed on plans to hold tuition steady in response to the economic fallout from the coronavirus and the uncertainty of when students will return to campus.

George Mason University will “freeze noncritical hiring, slow spending, defer cost, and eliminate, reduce or delay noncritical expenses as the university considers the pandemic’s financial impact in 2020-21 and the long-term financial health of the university,” a news release said.

In April, state lawmakers held a legislative session where they voted to delay several of their initiatives, including freezing in-state college tuition.

Gov. Ralph Northam said he’ll likely call lawmakers back into a special session later this year to adjust their spending priorities after the state has a better handle on what the virus’s impact has been on revenues.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source

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George Mason University’s summer camp programs move online; registration now open

Westlake Legal Group george-mason-universitys-summer-camp-programs-move-online-registration-now-open George Mason University’s summer camp programs move online; registration now open virtual summer camps virtual events Things to Do summer camps Summer Camp Summer parenting gmu george mason university Family Features Family Education COVID-19 coronavirus
Westlake Legal Group child-on-computer George Mason University’s summer camp programs move online; registration now open virtual summer camps virtual events Things to Do summer camps Summer Camp Summer parenting gmu george mason university Family Features Family Education COVID-19 coronavirus
Photo by Kelly Sikkema

It seems like everything is changing due to COVID-19—summer plans included. For many families, summer camps for their kids will be held virtually this year, and the camps at George Mason University are no different. 

GMU’s Mason Community Arts Academy (MCAA) and Mason Game and Technology Academy (MGTA) have revamped their summer programmings and are now offering the learning experiences through digital platforms, including virtual theater, music, visual arts and film and video games through the MCAA for students ages 5 to adults. MGTA’s programming includes game design, computer programming and AI courses/machine learning.

Registration is now open for the programs, which include over 80 camp and academy options running from mid-June through August. Each class offering in the programs will include a mix of livestreamed interactive learning experiences and virtual classroom research, design and creation time. 

To register your child for a program through MCAA, or to find out more information, visit masonacademy.gmu.edu/online, and for MGTA camps, visit mgta.gmu.edu/2054-2.

Help your child stay up to date on their education this summer by subscribing to our Family and Education newsletters.

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George Mason University alumnus brings Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order video game score to life

Westlake Legal Group star-wars-jedi-fallen-order-video-game-screenshot George Mason University alumnus brings Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order video game score to life vincent oppido Video Games Star Wars school Profiles Music Movies local kids george mason university Family Education Culture Features Culture
Photo courtesy of EA

Star Wars mania continues to span generations, not only with books, movies, collectible items and clothes, but video games as well. The latest of which has a unique Northern Virginia connection.

Arguably, a video game’s soundtrack is one of the most important factors. It can set gamers up for adrenaline rushes, give warnings with suspenseful chords and create ambient sounds for white noise during calmer, transitional points of the plot. Vincent Oppido, a George Mason University alumnus who studied composition and conducting, contributed to the musical score for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, the most recent Star Wars video game, collaborating with the team to arrange and compose additional music for the score.

Westlake Legal Group george-mason-university-composer-star-wars George Mason University alumnus brings Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order video game score to life vincent oppido Video Games Star Wars school Profiles Music Movies local kids george mason university Family Education Culture Features Culture
GMU Grad Vincent Oppido contributed to the musical score for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. (Photo by Peter Mackie)

Oppido, a Long Island native who earned his bachelor’s degree in music (2008) and master’s in conducting (2010) at GMU, currently lives in Los Angeles, working as a freelance composer, orchestrator and conductor. He was first approached to work on
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (released November 2019) by one of the game’s main composers, Gordy Haab. “He had heard my music and it’s such a small community out here,” Oppido says. “So people will make recommendations, and I think he just felt
the music I write fits the type of music they wanted for the game.”

The video game’s musical score, led by Haab and co-composer Stephen Barton, was recorded at legendary studio Abbey Road in London with a 90-plus-piece orchestra. “The reality is that a project like this, it’s not just a two-hour movie,” Oppido says. “Video games have an enormous amount of music. People could play these games for dozens of hours. No one on the team was stifled with what they could write. It was the bigger the better. I got to write music in the style that I grew up loving: pure, orchestral music.”

And, what does it take to keep the musical score on brand to represent the Star Wars franchise? “The good thing is because of Star Wars, we already know the sound world because John Williams [the composer who scored the original Star Wars films] established it for us decades ago,” Oppido says. “Gordy wrote the themes with Stephen. They were essentially their tunes, but it was very collaborative. They would be very descriptive of what kind of cue they were looking for. They might start a cue and I would finish
it or orchestrate it. It was different from day to day.”

Westlake Legal Group star-wars-jedi-fallen-order-video-game-cover George Mason University alumnus brings Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order video game score to life vincent oppido Video Games Star Wars school Profiles Music Movies local kids george mason university Family Education Culture Features Culture
Photo courtesy of EA

Other scoring and composing credits for Oppido include Fortnite, CollegeHumor’s Troopers, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2 and NBC’s Timeless.

Although Oppido spends most of his days on the West Coast, he will be back in Northern Virginia this summer on the GMU campus to teach a weeklong workshop to local high schoolers, called The Art of Filmscoring. Being held from July 20 to 24, the class covers multiple techniques used to compose music for motion pictures.

“This is the third year I’ll be doing it,” Oppido says. “It’s my way of giving back a little. And, it’s interesting because you learn a lot when you’re experiencing the learning process through young people who are eager and very interested in what you do. You learn from that because they see things differently. I felt very recharged after doing it the first year.”

This post originally appeared in our May 2020 print issue. For more local features, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

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Senior season suspended, George Mason lacrosse player turns attention to sewing protective masks

Westlake Legal Group senior-season-suspended-george-mason-lacrosse-player-turns-attention-to-sewing-protective-masks Senior season suspended, George Mason lacrosse player turns attention to sewing protective masks Washington, DC Sports virginia news Other Sports News morgan rynn Local News Lifestyle News Health & Fitness News george mason university george mason lacrosse Fairfax County, VA News dave johnson coronavirus

On or off the field, George Mason University women’s lacrosse player Morgan Rynn has never been one to stay on the sideline. With the season canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, Rynn has gone from midfielder to seamstress.

The senior from Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, had never used a sewing machine before. It didn’t matter: Rynn ordered a sewing machine online. After the machine arrived, Rynn and her mother, Donna, went right to work and now, about three weeks later, have made over 100 protective masks for medical workers and others in the community.

“After hearing so many stories about people struggling right now, it’s hard to sit back and watch when you are so fortunate to be in position where you are healthy and safe,” Rynn said. “I definitely think having that athletic background has driven me to want to do something more with my time.”

That drive led Rynn to sewing, even though she had never done it before. She always wanted to try it, something her paternal grandmother Theresa had a passion for, but with school and playing lacrosse, the civil engineering major never could find the time.

Rynn is continuing to take classes from home online and is a few weeks away from completing her degree at George Mason. While the studying continues, the protective mask making has turned into a family project. Rynn’s father Frank, brother Chris, and sister Katie have all been helping out with everything from cutting fabric to distributing the masks.

Westlake Legal Group Morgandetermind Senior season suspended, George Mason lacrosse player turns attention to sewing protective masks Washington, DC Sports virginia news Other Sports News morgan rynn Local News Lifestyle News Health & Fitness News george mason university george mason lacrosse Fairfax County, VA News dave johnson coronavirus
Morgan Rynn of George Mason University was supposed to be capping off her college career on the lacrosse field this year, instead she’s finishing her civil engineering degree from home in Pennsylvania and making protective masks with her extra time.

Westlake Legal Group Mogan-Mask Senior season suspended, George Mason lacrosse player turns attention to sewing protective masks Washington, DC Sports virginia news Other Sports News morgan rynn Local News Lifestyle News Health & Fitness News george mason university george mason lacrosse Fairfax County, VA News dave johnson coronavirus
Morgan Rynn and her mom have made about 100 masks so far.

Westlake Legal Group MaskVariety_sized-940x1254 Senior season suspended, George Mason lacrosse player turns attention to sewing protective masks Washington, DC Sports virginia news Other Sports News morgan rynn Local News Lifestyle News Health & Fitness News george mason university george mason lacrosse Fairfax County, VA News dave johnson coronavirus
Rynn said she can make one mask in about 15 minutes after learning with the help of YouTube videos.

Westlake Legal Group MaskVarietyB_sized-1018x1254 Senior season suspended, George Mason lacrosse player turns attention to sewing protective masks Washington, DC Sports virginia news Other Sports News morgan rynn Local News Lifestyle News Health & Fitness News george mason university george mason lacrosse Fairfax County, VA News dave johnson coronavirus
Rynn said the first mask took her about two hours. It required a lot of trial and error.

Westlake Legal Group Morganshot_sized-1880x1254 Senior season suspended, George Mason lacrosse player turns attention to sewing protective masks Washington, DC Sports virginia news Other Sports News morgan rynn Local News Lifestyle News Health & Fitness News george mason university george mason lacrosse Fairfax County, VA News dave johnson coronavirus
Morgan Rynn of George Mason University was supposed to be capping off her college career on the lacrosse field this year, instead she’s finishing her civil engineering degree from home in Pennsylvania and making protective masks with her extra time.

Westlake Legal Group sizedMorganrun-1880x1254 Senior season suspended, George Mason lacrosse player turns attention to sewing protective masks Washington, DC Sports virginia news Other Sports News morgan rynn Local News Lifestyle News Health & Fitness News george mason university george mason lacrosse Fairfax County, VA News dave johnson coronavirus
Rynn said the extra time she’s had this spring has helped her think about what’s coming next after graduation.

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Westlake Legal Group Morgandetermind-260x174 Senior season suspended, George Mason lacrosse player turns attention to sewing protective masks Washington, DC Sports virginia news Other Sports News morgan rynn Local News Lifestyle News Health & Fitness News george mason university george mason lacrosse Fairfax County, VA News dave johnson coronavirus
Westlake Legal Group Mogan-Mask-260x174 Senior season suspended, George Mason lacrosse player turns attention to sewing protective masks Washington, DC Sports virginia news Other Sports News morgan rynn Local News Lifestyle News Health & Fitness News george mason university george mason lacrosse Fairfax County, VA News dave johnson coronavirus
Westlake Legal Group MaskVariety_sized-260x174 Senior season suspended, George Mason lacrosse player turns attention to sewing protective masks Washington, DC Sports virginia news Other Sports News morgan rynn Local News Lifestyle News Health & Fitness News george mason university george mason lacrosse Fairfax County, VA News dave johnson coronavirus
Westlake Legal Group MaskVarietyB_sized-260x174 Senior season suspended, George Mason lacrosse player turns attention to sewing protective masks Washington, DC Sports virginia news Other Sports News morgan rynn Local News Lifestyle News Health & Fitness News george mason university george mason lacrosse Fairfax County, VA News dave johnson coronavirus
Westlake Legal Group Morganshot_sized-260x174 Senior season suspended, George Mason lacrosse player turns attention to sewing protective masks Washington, DC Sports virginia news Other Sports News morgan rynn Local News Lifestyle News Health & Fitness News george mason university george mason lacrosse Fairfax County, VA News dave johnson coronavirus
Westlake Legal Group sizedMorganrun-260x174 Senior season suspended, George Mason lacrosse player turns attention to sewing protective masks Washington, DC Sports virginia news Other Sports News morgan rynn Local News Lifestyle News Health & Fitness News george mason university george mason lacrosse Fairfax County, VA News dave johnson coronavirus

It took Rynn a couple of hours to learn how to sew her first mask. She and her mother suffered plenty of trial and error. Now, Rynn can make one mask in less than 15 minutes. From oil changes to home repairs, many of us turn to the internet for guidance and it was no different for Rynn and her mother.

“YouTube has been like my best friend through this,” Rynn said. “I watched about 10 videos before I started making everything and getting the materials together. There is a bunch of different templates, and after sifting through, I found one that would fit for my purposes and hit the ground running.”

Rynn’s position on the George Mason roster is listed as Attack/Midfield, and it also said a lot about how she approaches life and its challenges. A four-year letter winner in lacrosse at Upper Perkiomen High School in Red Hill, Pennsylvania, Rynn also made distinguished honor roll, was a member and president of the National Honor Society, and served the student council, including one year as president.

In addition to helping people, Rynn has discovered she has likes her newfound hobby. Which came as no surprise to her, as Rynn said she has always been into arts and crafts, and in her words, sewing is something that keeps her off her phone all day when not doing homework.

“Sewing is something that takes my mind off school and everything that is going on outside,” Rynn said. “It’s relaxing to me and so it’s great that I can do something that I enjoy, while also giving back to the community and helping.”

While the drive and determination picked up in her time as an athlete helped spur Rynn in to getting involved in sewing protective masks, she has also been helped by her coursework in civil engineering.

“I think the attention to detail is something that has helped me a lot,” Rynn said. “I am not doing any calculations or equations or anything like that I usually do in school, but just having the patience to sit down and taking the time to figure out something new and problem solve.”

Civil engineering major at George Mason University, lacrosse player, and now seamstress making a difference, are now all part of who Rynn has become and this time has given her pause to think about what is next.

“I have been struggling over the past year honestly just trying to figure out what I want to do with my career, with my degree and everything,” Rynn said. “This all happening right now has made me step back and appreciate the little things and realize I don’t have to have everything figured out right now. There are bigger things in life to worry about.”

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George Mason University’s Mason Arts at Home brings concerts to your living room

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Photo by Bruce Mars

Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy everything you love about the performing arts. Thanks to George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, Northern Virginians can enjoy livestreams of guest artists performing music; releases of previously recorded content; showcases of work done by alumni, students and faculty; and other interactive activities from across the college.

The program, called Mason Arts at Home, kicked off on April 2 in conjunction with Mason’s fourth annual Giving Day, featuring jazz musician Maria Schneider. And, on April 4, Bumper Jacksons performed a concert via Facebook Live.

Coming up on the calendar: Celebration of Green Machine on Thursday, April 9 at 1 p.m., featuring music from the university’s pep band; (Re)LiveArts Streaming on Thursday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m., which features a performance by New York Live Arts; and the Okee Dokee Brothers: Adventure Movies on Friday, April 10 at 10 a.m., featuring a concert by the Okee Dokee Brothers band.

Keep your eyes open for more events to be announced soon at cfa.calendar.gmu.edu.

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The Hylton Performing Arts Center debuts new education and rehearsal wing

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Rendering courtesy of Hylton Performing Arts Center

For local performing artists, the Hylton Performing Arts Center just got even better, with the opening of a new education and rehearsal wing.

“This wing makes the Hylton Center complete, and transforms us from a place where great art happens to a place where great art is created,” said Rick Davis, executive director of the Hylton Performing Arts Center and Dean of George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts

The addition includes two rehearsal halls, six practice rooms, two classrooms and two additional lobby spaces. The expansion allows for students, artists, faculty and staff to further educate, rehearse, perform and collaborate at the university. 

It also completes the original vision for the Hylton Center, after nearly a decade of understanding what the university and its population requires in order to propel its art community forward. 

One of the rehearsal halls has the floor size of the Merchant Hall stage, and the other of the Gregory Family Theater, allowing performers to practice in areas that are sized for full-scale performance rehearsals. The spaces also feature flexible seating, advanced acoustic treatments and spring dance floors. 

The project was funded in part by the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as the generous support of private donors. Early contributions from the Cecil and Irene Hylton Foundation kick-started the Hylton Center’s Capital and Endowment Campaign, which is close to reaching its goal of $31.5 million. The campaign has also raised funds for the Hylton Center’s Endowment Fund.

An invite-only ribbon cutting will be held in partnership with the Prince William Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. // Hylton Performing Arts Center: 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas

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