Mason Employees to Don Caps and Gowns

Posted: May 17, 2011 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: May 16, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Among Mason’s 7,392 students who will celebrate their graduation this year is a group of people who are also Mason employees.

They have discovered that one of the many benefits of working at Mason is a tuition waiver for full- and part-time faculty and staff. Some Mason employees have used the benefit to take a few courses for professional growth, but others have used the benefit to earn a degree or finish a degree.

This week, the Mason Gazette will highlight some of these employees. If you are a Mason employee who is graduating this spring, email to let us know and be recognized.

Jessica James

By Aisha Jamil

Jessica James

Jessica James. Photo courtesy of Jessica James

Jessica James came to Mason as a student, but when she graduates this week, she’ll be wearing two hats.

James, who is an administrative specialist for Mason’s Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHS), is graduating this semester with a BA in English with a concentration in cultural studies.

“The reason why I pursued this particular degree is because I wanted to learn from the literature written by people from different cultures and different time periods,” says James, who enrolled at Mason in 2007.

But James’ long-term goal is to work with autistic children.

“My dream is to teach children with learning disabilities,” James says. “I believe that no child should be pushed to the side because they aren’t seen as ‘normal.’”

Before attending Mason, James was a student at Virginia Union University in Richmond.

“After attending school there for one year, I decided I wanted to transfer to George Mason University because it was commuter-friendly and culturally diverse,” James says. “And I can honestly say that my educational experience at Mason has been a great one.”

James started working for the Environmental Health and Safety Office last year. She says she has enjoyed her experience at Mason, both as a student and as an employee.

“I love coming to work every day,” says James. “I love the group of people I work with because they have become a second family to me.”

James intends to continue her education at Mason to reach her goal after she graduates this spring.

“I intend on applying to graduate school here to pursue my master’s degree in special education and obtain my teacher’s licensure to work with students with disabilities who access the adapted curriculum,” James says.

“Being at Mason, I can actually say, ‘I learned something,’ and that is an amazing feeling,” she adds.

Carolyn Klenner

By Aisha Jamil

Carolyn Klenner

Carolyn Klenner. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Klenner

Juggling two to three demanding classes at a time is not easy. Juggling two to three classes along with full-time work is even harder.

But that is what Carolyn Klenner, intellectual property paralegal for Mason’s Office of Technology Transfer, has been doing for the past several years.

In just a few days, Klenner will graduate with magna cum laude honors and receive a BS in management. She plans to continue her studies at Mason in the fall.

“I am honored to have been accepted by the School of Management into the part-time MBA program to begin this fall,” says Klenner. “I am really excited about this opportunity!”

In her job, Klenner assists with disclosure, intellectual property protection and commercialization of inventions created at the university.

“It’s a challenging, diverse and interesting job, and I enjoy championing the results of hard-working Mason inventors,” Klenner says.

Klenner, who joined Mason’s staff four years ago, is pleased to be both a student and an employee, and says she is especially proud of the diversity Mason has to offer.

“My time at Mason has been a rich and rewarding experience, and I am very proud to be a part of our exceptional university,” she says.




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