Commencement 2005: Student Earns Double the Degree in Half the Time

Posted: May 18, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

On Saturday, May 21, George Mason will hold its 38th annual Commencement at 10 a.m. in the Patriot Center. This week, the Daily Mason Gazette highlights a few of the university’s many outstanding graduates.

By Tara Laskowski

Most students come to college and study for four years or more to get their undergraduate degree. Shehrish Rajpoot, an ambitious teenager with her future in mind, is graduating this May after only two and a half years of college—and she’s earning two degrees. A double major in psychology and government and international politics, Pakistani-American Rajpoot came to Mason in January 2003 because she loved the diversity and accepting nature of the university.

Rajpoot started her college career with no transfer credits and only three AP credits in English. She ended up taking a course load of 18-20 credits each semester, including summers—and the English course anyway. Rajpoot hopes to go to law school in the fall. She is applying to the ambitious joint JD/PhD in psychology program at Columbia University and would like to pursue a career in criminal law.

But she’s not just a bookworm. Rajpoot also works two part-time jobs—one on-campus at the Office of the Registrar and one off-campus—and she is involved in many volunteer activities. She is chair of the Amnesty International chapter at Mason, public relations officer for the Muslim Students Association, and chair of events management for the Psychology Students Diversity Affairs Committee.

In her “spare time,” Rajpoot enjoys hanging out with friends and family and volunteering for her community. As a Muslim, Rajpoot feels it is important to build awareness of her culture and religion, especially after the events of September 11, 2001. Living in the Lorton, Va., area with her parents Khan and Ansa Rajpoot and her four siblings, Rajpoot is helping with the community effort to build a mosque in her town. She regularly does gardening and other volunteer work at the site.

“I have the fortune of being able to get a good education, and I want to use that education to give back to the community and help people as best I can,” she says.

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