First Engineering Alumni Chapter Forms

Posted: July 18, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The School of Information Technology and Engineering (IT&E) gained its first alumni chapter this month in its Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering Department (CEIE). Approximately 15 CEIE alumni, led by 1994 graduate David Shacochis, spearheaded the creation of the chapter after deciding they want to play a greater role in the development of the department and in its professional networks. The group was officially recognized by the university’s Alumni Association at its June meeting.

“We want to get the message out that there is a civil engineering program in Northern Virginia, that it is excellent, and that it is at George Mason University,” says Shacochis, the chapter’s president. “A recurring theme was that many influential people in our industry don’t yet know what’s going on at Mason,” he says. Shacochis also wants the chapter to provide networking opportunities for alumni. “It’s important to build up a network as alumni get into positions of leadership,” he says.

All of the approximately 150 graduates from CEIE are automatically included as members of the chapter. This includes all those who previously earned their degrees in urban systems engineering, a degree name that changes to civil and infrastructure engineering this fall. In addition to Shacochis, the chapter’s leadership includes Firas Makarem, vice president of alumni affairs; David Paccassi, vice president of operations; Matthew Hardy, director of activities; Daniel Reinhard, director of public relations; Steven Sheffield, director of membership; Barry Liner, director of finance; and Ashlee Van Horrsen, director of internal operations.

Christine Clark-Talley, Alumni Association director, says that over the past months several other departments within IT&E have expressed interest in creating alumni chapters. “They are at various stages of formation,” she says. “We look forward to supporting other groups as they emerge and this group could easily serve as a model.”

The chapter holds its next meeting tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the Johnson Center and plans to host a department picnic in September. For more information, contact Shacochis at

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