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September 16, 2022

Kelly Knight, Mark Wilson, Georgia Williams

Today’s #FacultyFriday features our Forensic Science DNA experts. Kelly Knight, Associate Professor, is the Principal Investigator for the Mason Forensic DNA Laboratory, where they evaluate methods for low-level and low-quality DNA samples and new methods for body fluid identification. Knight uses her experience in crime and DNA labs to immerse our students in interactive activities to prepare them for field and agency work. Knowing that her contribution to the justice system has helped countless of victims is what continues to inspire her work. Georgia A. Williams, Associate Professor, currently researches ways to improve and develop new methods of DNA extraction from low-level forensic samples, such as bone. After realizing her interests in law enforcement and forensic science, she quickly discovered her passion for teaching through her lab and teaching assistant roles. Now, she continues to be inspired by her students and her contribution to the greater good of society. Mark Wilson, Associate Professor, focuses in three main areas of research: DNA extraction from bones, mixture deconvolution, and genetic genealogy. With his background in biosciences and DNA expertise, he is teaching the future generation of forensic scientists how to apply their skills to the real world. Wilson is inspired by the application of the scientific method, specifically in forensic science, since the application of justice using science is a cornerstone of a free society.

#FacultyFriday Kelly Knight, Mark Wilson, Georgia Williams

September 9, 2022

Joseph A. DiZinno

This #FacultyFriday features Joseph A. DiZinno, Associate Professor, Forensic Science Program. After practicing dentistry for approximately six years, DiZinno pursued his dreams of becoming an FBI Special Agent. Over his 22 years of service, he worked in different roles on multiple high-level cases; he went on to retire as the Director of the FBI Laboratory. DiZinno came to Mason to use his real-world forensic experience to teach aspiring forensic scientists. As the Forensic Science Research Coordinator, he continues to be inspired by the curiosity, intellect, and energy his students display on a daily basis. Thanks to his students and the advancement of science, DiZinno is driven by the need for forensic science to ensure the fair application of criminal justice. Outside of the classroom he works as the Principal Investigator on the National Institute of Justice, National Center on Forensics.

Joseph DiZinno, Faculty Friday

September 2, 2022

Mary Ellen O'Toole

#FacultyFriday features Mary Ellen O’Toole, Director, Forensic Science program. O’Toole has over 30 years of experience within the forensics industry. She grew up with a passion towards human analysis, which led her to becoming a criminal investigator. She was later recruited by the FBI as a Special Agent, where she worked on some of the most infamous cases in modern history, such as the Unabomber Case, the Green River serial Murder case, and the Zodiac Case. O’Toole came to Mason to blend her background in forensics, her passion to inspire future forensic scientists, and the drive to build our forensic science program as one of the best in the country. When she is not in the classroom or at one of our four forensic science research facilities, she spends her time as Editor in Chief of Violence and Gender, an international peer reviewed journal. Want to learn more about O’Toole and forensic science? Check out her book, “Dangerous Instincts: How gut feelings Betray Us.”

Mary Ellen O'Toole, Faculty Friday, Forensic Science

August 26, 2022

Dominic White

Dominic White, Assistant Professor, Department of Computational and Data Sciences, is today's #FacultyFriday feature. White is a computational paleontologist. He uses new methods in computational and data sciences to study old animals. His research has focused on the evolution of quadrupedality in dinosaurs, and the phylogenetic analysis of serially homologous structures. 

Dominic White, FF, CDS

August 19, 2022

Estela Blaisten-Barojas

This #FacultyFriday highlights Estela Blaisten-Barojas, Professor, Department of Computational and Data Sciences, Director, Center for Simulation and Modeling. After 30 years at Mason, Blaisten-Barojas has been an integral part of the growth and success of the CDS department and the College of Science. She has mentored dozens of graduate students while continuing her internationally recognized research. Currently, her research analyzes a group of linear polymers from the perspective of atomistic simulations, helped with machine learning techniques. One of these polymers, PEG2000, is an inert constituent of the COVID-19 vaccine. While she may have her hands full with her research and mentees, she will always dedicate time to chat with her students and colleagues. 

Estela Blaisten-Barojas, CDS, FF

August 12, 2022

Arie Croitoru

This #FacultyFriday features Arie Croitoru, Professor, Department of Computational Data and Sciences. Croitoru's current research focuses on spatio-temporal data processing and analysis. Due to the unprecedented wealth of spatio-temporal data, his interests lie in the process of multi-dimensional trajectory data, with the overall goal to develop an algorithmic foundation that will allow the utilization of spatio-temporal data and the need to facilitate various tasks.

Arie Croitoru, CDS, FF

August 5, 2022

Robert Axtell

This #FacultyFriday highlights Robert Axtell, Professor, Department of Computational and Data Sciences. Axtell works at the intersection of computational, social, behavioral, and economic sciences. His research group combines agent-based computing with micro-data to build large-scale models having high verisimilitude with the real-world. Axtell and his team have worked on variety of policy issues from housing, fisheries, sustainability, and more. 

Rob Axtell, CDS, FF

July 29, 2022

Ferah Munshi

#MasonScience welcomes new faculty member Ferah Munshi, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy. She joins Mason thanks to our unique location for astronomical research and our collaborative and welcoming spirit. Here at Mason, Munshi continues her research on galaxy evolution and the use of galaxies to constrain the nature of dark matter. With the help of supercomputers, she builds galaxies to simulate how they form and evolve. She draws her inspiration for astronomy from her desire to understand the universe and hopes to continue to inspire future generations by making science more equitable.

Ferah Munshi, #FacultyFriday

July 22, 2022

Fereshte Ghahari Kermani

This #FacultyFriday features Fereshte Ghahari Kermani, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy. Her research focuses on understanding quantum phenomena in low dimensional materials with a focus on graphene-based nanostructures. She studies novel quantum phases in these structures by a combination of nanofabrication, quantum transport and scanning probe measurements. Throughout her career, her passion has been to discover new physical phenomena in quantum materials and better understand the world around her with hopes these discoveries make the world a better place for generations to come.

Fereshte Ghahari Kermani, Phys Astro, FF, square

July 15, 2022

Nirmal Ghimire

This week’s #FacultyFriday features Nirmal Ghimire, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy. His research focuses on discovering and understanding novel emergent phenomena in quantum materials via designing and synthesizing materials and measuring their magnetic and transport properties. Currently he is studying topological materials that are a new state of quantum matter beyond the classical metals, insulators and semiconductors, and have potential for smaller, more energy efficient, and faster devices. The impact these materials can have in transforming the current technology is what drives Ghimire’s passion for designing and discovering new materials. 

Nirmal Ghimire, Physics and Astro, Faculty Friday 2022

July 8, 2022

Igor Mazin

Igor Mazin, Professor of Practice, Department of Physics and Astronomy, is today’s #FacultyFriday feature. His primary research falls between magnetism and superconductivity, especially the less common manifestations of either such as altermagnetism and Ising superconductors. As a practical theorist, he is always inspired by new experimental findings and challenges they present to the theory- Mazin has always been fascinated by the opportunities to look deep into various phenomena at a level that is impossible in pure experiment. As a professor, he encourages all to ask questions and seek explanation of what we see around us. One tip of advice Mazin offers: “one should not fall into a trap of concentrating too much on your own narrow field. A true researcher, who thinks outside the box, is, perforce, a thinker in the general arena of sciences and humanities.”

Igor Mazin, Phys Astro, FF

July 1, 2022

Physics and Astronomy MentorsShobita Satyapal, Joe Weingartner, and Peter Plavchan

In his 2022 College of Science Degree Celebration speech, Michael Reefe, Department of Physics and Astronomy alum and former SPECTRUM President, highlighted three faculty members that greatly impacted his journey towards a B.S. in Physics. Joe Weingartner, Associate Professor, was the academic advisor who first supported Reefe’s decision to change majors. Peter Plavchan, Associate Professor, gave Reefe the reassuring advice, “I don’t expect you to know everything, you’re here to learn,” when Reefe first joined his research group. And Shobita Satyapal, Professor, leader of Reefe’s most recent research group, provided the enthusiasm and encouragement Reefe needed to publish his research and complete his undergraduate degree.

Phys and Astro Mentors

June 24, 2022

Vicente Notario

#FacultyFriday highlights Vincente Notario, Professor, Director, Division of Radiation Research, Co-Leader, Molecular Oncology Program, Georgetown University, Affiliate Faculty, GeorgeSquared ABS Program. Notario’s research focuses on studies of molecular mechanisms of oncogenesis and the effects of environmental chemical carcinogens and radiation on mammalian cells. Within the GeorgeSquared program, he enjoys teaching future graduate and medical students the intricacies of cells and microscopic anatomy. 

Vicente Notario, GeorgeSquared, Faculty Friday

June 17, 2022

Susan Mulroney

Today's #FacultyFriday features Susan Mulroney, Affiliate Faculty, GeorgeSquared ABS, Professor, Department of Pharmacology & Physiology, Associate Dean for Preclinical Sciences and Interdisciplinary Medical Programs, Georgetown University. Mulroney’s biomedical research focused on kidney growth and development, mechanisms of diabetic renal damage and hypertension. She now focuses her research on pedagogy, specifically for using active learning methods and technology in graduate and medical courses. She has also helped design courses on how to teach science courses effectively. While she originally went to Georgetown for biomedical research, she found her passion for teaching. This passion has transferred to her work in the GeorgeSquared program, where she has helped dozens of student cohorts achieve their educational goals. Mulroney is also co-author (with Adam Myers) of Netter's Essential Physiology, Netter's Physiology Coloring Book, and Netter's Essential Physiology Flash Cards.

Susan Mulroney, Georgesquared, Faculty Friday, square

June 10, 2022

Allison Tomson

Today’s #FacultyFriday features Allison Tomson, Instructor, Department of Biology, GeorgeSquared Advance Biomedical Sciences Program. Tomson has written and published multiple Anatomy and Physiology lab manuals for the Biology department. When she’s not in the classroom teaching, she performs cadaver dissections and presentations to various groups at Northern Virginia Community College. Tomson is also helping design the future cadaver lab at the SciTech campus. With GeorgeSquared being such a unique program, she’s happy to help ease students’ transition from undergrad to their graduate and medical journeys.

Allison Tomson, Georgesquared, FF

June 3, 2022

Robin Couch

This week’s #FacultyFriday features Robin Couch, Associate Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry, GeorgeSquared Advanced Biomedical Sciences Program. With more than 20 years of experience, Couch’s research is centered upon the purification and characterization of biomolecules. He is interested in how the biochemistry of life works and believes if we can understand the life processes, we can correct them to treat or cure diseases. As a GeorgeSquared faculty member, his course in cell and molecular physiology provides students a solid foundation of biochemistry to prepare them for the rigorous coursework of medical school.

Robin Couch, Chemistry, GeorgeSquared, #FacultyFriday

May 27, 2022

Anne Verhoeven

Today’s #FacultyFriday features Anne Verhoeven, Associate Professor, Biology. As a biology PhD alumnus, Verhoeven’s research focuses on molecular and microbiology, specifically infectious diseases. She leads the Medical Laboratory Science Program at Mason and coordinates the undergraduate immunology lecture and lab. We also congratulate her on winning the 2022 Chair's Special Recognition Award. 

Anne Verhoeven, Biology, FF

May 20, 2022

Elisabeth Epstein

This week’s #FacultyFriday features Elisabeth Epstein, Assistant Professor, Biology. Epstein has made a significant impact on our biology program by reviving our introductory biology courses with an emphasis on experimental learning. The new introductory biology courses give students the tools to be informed and evidenced-based decision-makers when they inevitably face choices that intersect with biology in the future. Her goal is for students to develop a critical perspective, an understanding of the scientific method, and a curiosity about how life works. 


Elisabeth Epstein, Biology, Faculty Friday

May 13, 2022

Daniel Hanley

This week's #FacultyFriday features Daniel Hanley, Assistant Professor, Biology. Hanley has found a rich array of untapped questions relating to color perception and decision-making. Consequently, he leads the Hanley Color Lab, studying the function and evolution of natural colors. Specifically, the lab uses avian brood parasitism as a model system for experimentally testing decision-making in wild, untrained animals. If you want to talk birds, stop by his office at the SciTech campus.

Daniel Hanley, Biology, Faculty Friday

May 6, 2022

Biology Advising Team

#FacultyFriday highlights our Mason Biology advisors: Lorelei Crerar, Associate Professor, Malda Kocache, Professor, Charles Madden, Professor, Valerie Olmo, Assistant Professor, and Deborah Polayes, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor. In addition to conducting innovative research and teaching rigorous science courses, these faculty members go the extra mile to ensure our students receive the necessary support to succeed here at #MasonScience.

Faculty Friday, Biology Advisors

Spring 2022


Esther Peters, ESP, Faculty Friday, Square

Esther Peters

April 29, 2022

As we wrap up #EarthMonth, we feature Esther Peters, Associate Professor, Environmental Science and Policy. Peters specializes in the study of diseases in corals and other invertebrates by using histopathological techniques. She had a key role in researching the Stony Coral Tissue Loss disease in Florida’s Coral Reef and continues to conduct research to fight disease outbreak amongst coral reef organisms. Peters not only feels inspired by her students, but also energized by their eagerness and passion to change the world.


Vivek Prasad, ESP, Faculty Friday

Vivek Prasad

April 22, 2022

This week's #FacultyFriday features Vivek Prasad, Adjunct Faculty, Environmental Science and Policy. An ESP PhD alumnus, his research focuses on how humans affect the environment and the use of geographical information systems to study global climate change. Prasad also works as an innovation advisor with the Agriculture Global Practice of the World Bank, where he focuses on issues such as rural livelihoods, climate change resilience, Agri-Tech, spatial data analytics, and data visualization. 


Jennifer Salerno, ESP, Faculty Friday

Jennifer Salerno

April 15, 2022

Our #EarthMonth celebration continues with this week’s #FacultyFriday highlight, Jennifer Salerno, Assistant Professor, Environmental Science and Policy. Salerno’s research focuses on symbiotic and free-living microorganisms and the role that they play in maintaining and destabilizing organism health and ecosystem function. When she is not teaching Environmental Microbiology and Coral Reef Ecology courses, she leads the Salerno Lab at the Potomac Science Center


Natalie Howe, ESP, Faculty Friday

Natalie Howe

April 8, 2022

#MasonScience continues to highlight #EarthMonth with this week’s #FacultyFriday feature, Natalie Howe, Adjunct Faculty, Environmental Science and Policy. Howe’s research focuses on disturbance and recovery in urban plant and lichen communities of urban areas in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States. In addition to educating students on mushrooms and molds and society, she works as an Agriculturist at the USDA, where she helps make sure that the fresh food plants we trade with other countries are not carrying pests or diseases that could harm farms. Most notably, Howe helped create and deliver an innovative botanical education program for the State Prison System in New Jersey.


Travis Gallo, Faculty Friday, ESP

Travis Gallo

April 1, 2022

We kick off #EarthMonth with Travis Gallo, Assistant Professor, Environmental Science and Policy, as this week’s #FacultyFriday feature. Gallo leads the URBANxNATURE Lab here at #MasonScience, where they use theories and principles in ecology and conservation science to sustain and restore biodiversity in urban ecosystems. Gallo has recently collaborated with scholars from the John Mitchell, Jr., Program for History, Justice, and Race at the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution to create an online exhibit highlighting and acknowledging the hidden history of enslaved naturalists. The exhibit aims to promote narrative change by introducing the contributions that enslaved African Americans have made to our understanding of, and inextricable relationship with, the natural environment. 


Faculty Friday, Joanna Jauchen, Mathematical Sciences

Joanna Jauchen

March 25, 2022

Joanna Jauchen, Instructor, Associate Chair for Teaching, Mathematical Sciences, is this week's #FacultyFriday feature. Jauchen specializes in intersectional, critical feminist STEM education research on faculty engagement in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) service. While they have always enjoyed math, they fell in love with the beauty of the discipline in their undergraduate studies, “It sometimes feels magical the way things work together in mathematics and I like understanding how the magic works,” they said. As an educator, she finds joy in talking to students about their own understanding of mathematics.


Faculty Friday, Anton Lukyanenko, Assistant Professor, Mathematical Sciences

Anton Lukyanenko

March 18, 2022

This #FacultyFriday, features Anton Lukyanenko, Assistant Professor, Mathematical Sciences. Lukyanenko studies the quirks of non-Euclidean geometry through the lens of familiar concepts like distances, shadows, and optimal paths. He then applies this theoretical work to collaborative projects with researchers in robotics, computer science, and quantum computing. In addition to research, Lukyanenko works to engage students and the public in experimental mathematics and visualization by directing the Mason Experimental Geometry Lab (MEGL). Watch this video to learn more about MEGL.


Faculty Friday, Mahamadi Warma, Professor, Mathematical Sciences

Mahamadi Warma

March 11, 2022

This #FacultyFriday features Mahamadi Warma, Professor, Mathematical Sciences. Warma is currently working on two major research projects with approaches based on the rich and fruitful mathematical apparatus offered by PDE, functional analysis, controllability, optimization, and numerical approximations. He has published a total of 79 papers, with seven of those published in 2022. Warma is very active in the Center for Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence (CMAI) at Mason. His passion for math started in high school and continues to grow as he faces new challenges with an eagerness to solve them.


Rebecca RG, Math, Faculty Friday

Rebecca R.G.

March 4, 2022

Our first #FacultyFriday feature of the month kicks off with Rebecca R.G., Assistant Professor, Mathematical Sciences. R.G.’s research is in commutative algebra, a field of math that involves studying the behavior of algebraic objects like rings and modules. R.G. is passionate about supporting students and creating a space for everyone to do math. As a result, she worked with colleagues to organize several programs including the New PhD Mentoring Program, the Graduate Learning Assistants (GLA) Program, and the PhD Launchpad Program. R.G. is a big advocate for active learning, reflected in her newly designed course, History of Math (joint with Jessica Otis). Be sure to stop by her office to see crocheted models of hyperbolic planes and a Sierpinski triangle shawl. 



Paul Betka, AOES, Faculty Friday

Paul Betka

February 25, 2022

This week's #FacultyFriday features Paul Betka, Assistant Professor, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences whose research focuses on the rates, timing, mechanics, and deformation styles of the Earth’s lithosphere in response to the motion of its tectonic plates. Betka currently leads the Structural Geology and Tectonics Lab and is actively recruiting graduate students with an interest in geology.


Kathy Pegion Faculty Friday

Kathleen Pegion

February 16, 2022

"Better forecasts. Better decisions,” is the motto for today’s #FacultyFriday feature, Kathy Pegion, Associate Professor, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences. Pegion currently leads the Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) - a national, multi-institutional, and multi-agency research project that focuses on understanding and improving predictions on the subseasonal (2 to 4 week) timescale. In addition to leading the project, she developed and maintained the real-time forecast visualization tools and performed the comprehensive skill evaluation. When not conducting research, you can find her enjoying the outdoors.


Benjamin Cash, AOES, #FacultyFriday

Benjamin Cash

February 11, 2022

This week’s #FacultyFriday features Benjamin Cash, Research Professor, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences, and researcher for the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies. According to Cash, getting coffee and walking around campus talking research with colleagues is probably his favorite way to work - there’s nothing quite like it for sparking interesting ideas. Just ask him about his current work developing NOAA’s new Unified Forecast System. He also continues to research the predictability of seasonal rainfall and will present on the Cape Town “Day Zero” drought next week at the International Conference on Southern Hemisphere Meteorology and Oceanography (ICSHMO).


Yunyao Li

Yunyao Li

February 4, 2022

To kick off this month’s Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences spotlight, this #FacultyFriday features Yunyao Li, Research Scientist, AOES and Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems (CSISS). Since joining #MasonScience, she has worked alongside Daniel Tong, Associate Professor, AOES, on biomass burning emission and air quality modeling. Li led the charge of developing the wildfire ensemble forecasting system and the Mason daily air quality forecast system. Currently, she conducts research on evaluating and simulating the impact of wildfires on air quality and human health.



L. Ren Guerriero, Neuroscience, Faculty Friday

L. Ren Guerriero

January 28, 2022

This week we highlight new faculty member L. Ren Guerriero, Assistant Professor, Neuroscience. Guerriero conducts sleep-related research and has taught several courses regarding the subject since joining #MasonScience in August 2021. This semester, Guerriero plans on starting a teaching focused lab where they will be investigating novel-sleep related genes in fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster. If you’re interested in sleep research, register for NEUR 424: Sleep & Circadian Rhythms with Guerriero this semester. 


Nadine Kabbani, SSB, Neuro, #FacultyFriday

Nadine Kabbani

January 21, 2022

Today we feature Nadine Kabbani, Associate Professor, School of Systems BiologyNeuroscience. Kabbani’s research centers around the discovery of mechanisms underlying brain disease, with an emphasis on cholinergic signals in cells. There are still a few seats available for Kabbani’s NEUR 101: Intro to Neuroscience course. This course fulfills the Mason Core Natural Science Non-Lab requirement- register now. 


William Kennedy, CDS, #FacultyFriday

William Kennedy

January 14, 2022

Today we highlight William Kennedy, Co-Director, Center for Social Complexity and Associate Professor, Computational and Data Sciences. After serving in the U.S. Navy for 30 years, Kennedy went on to earn his PhD in Information Technology at George Mason University. Now, he teaches both computational data and computational social science courses, all while conducting research in cognitive processes and behavior using cognitive and agent-based models.


Monique Van Hoek, SSB, Faculty Friday

Monique Van Hoek

January 7, 2022

#MasonScience congratulates Monique van Hoek, Professor, Associate Director of Research, School of Systems Biology, for earning the Dean’s Impact Award. Her research focuses primarily on antibiotic-resistant and biothreat bacteria, with an emphasis on exploring novel antimicrobial and anti-biofilm compounds. In addition to her research, van Hoek plays an important role in SSB leadership—acting as interim associate director for research and serving as a mentor to PhD and MA students. 

Fall 2021


Chao Luo, Chemistry, #FacultyFriday

Chao Luo

December 31, 2021

#MasonScience congratulates Chao Luo, Assistant Professor, Chemistry, who earned the Dean’s Research Scientist Award. Luo’s area of study focuses on rechargeable batteries. His three primary areas are (1) structure design and material fabrication for organic alkali-ion batteries, (2) high-energy lithium sulfur batteries, and (3) all-solid-state lithium batteries. By exploring inherent properties of the nanostructures, he will be able to address environmental energy challenges and develop improved functional devices. 


Jason Kinser, CDS, #FacultyFriday

Jason M. Kinser

December 24, 2021

Today we feature Jason M. Kinser, Associate Professor, Chair, Computational and Data Sciences. His current research focuses on data science and modeling, though he’s taught courses across several disciplines including Physics, Bioinformatics, Forensics, and even Biology. At our #ScienceConnect event this past fall, Kinser spoke about our one-of-a-kind CDS department


Brian Colchao, CDS, #FacultyFriday

Brian Colchao

December 17, 2021

This week’s #FacultyFriday, highlights Brian Colchao, Term Instructor, Computational and Data Sciences. Colchao, a Mason graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology and an MS in Data Engineering, initiated the computational and data sciences BS degree program at Mason Korea.


Anamaria Berea, CDS, #FacultyFriday

Anamaria Berea

December 3, 2021

This week’s #FacultyFriday highlights Anamaria Berea, Associate Professor, Computational Data Science. Berea recently received a Frontier Development Lab Award of Merit, acknowledging outstanding contribution in the field of artificial intelligence for space exploration and humanity. As a Mason alumna and now faculty member, Berea feels privileged to see how the CDS department has grown and evolved over the years, much like the complex living systems she is studying in her research. 



David Wong, GGS, #FacultyFriday

David Wong

November 19, 2021

With #GISDay2021 behind us, we conclude our celebration by highlighting David Wong, Professor, Geography and Geoinformation Science. Wong’s research focuses on population, spatial statistics, public health, and more. Recently, he received funding from the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the project: "An intersectional approach to improve family and social support measures of county health - Incorporating racial-ethnic and age dimensions."


Taylor Anderson, GGS, #FacultyFriday

Taylor Anderson

November 12, 2021

With #GISDay2021 around the corner, we highlight Taylor Anderson, Assistant Professor, Geography and Geoinformation Science, for this week’s #FacultyFriday feature. Over the summer, Anderson was a Summer Team Impact Project (STIP) mentor, guiding #MasonScience students conducting research in areas such as disease modeling, COVID-19 genome data, human mobility prediction, and more. Watch her discuss her experience here.


Benjamin Schweinhart, Math, #FacultyFriday

Benjamin Schweinhart

November 3, 2021

For this week’s #FacultyFriday feature, we highlight one of our new faculty members, Benjamin Schweinhart, Assistant Professor, Mathematical Sciences. Schweinhart’s research focuses on problems in applied, stochastic, and computational geometry and topology, with applications to materials science, physics, and biology. Currently, he is looking for graduate students to conduct research in the areas of stochastic topology and/or development of methodology for the quantification of materials geometry. If you are interested, contact



Ginny Espina, CAPMM, #FacultyFriday

Virginia Espina

October 29, 2021

As Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to a close, it’s fitting to highlight #MasonScience researcher, Virginia (Ginny) Espina, Research Professor, Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM). Espina dedicates her research to finding a cure for breast cancer by deciphering mechanisms of cell signaling, drug-protein interactions, and host-pathogen interactions. Currently, she directs the CAP-accredited clinical proteomics lab at the Science and Technology Campus. Espina recently appeared in the Grand Challenges panel at President Washington’s Investiture event. 


Sarah Ward, Faculty Friday, Chemistry

Sarah Ward

October 22, 2021

In honor of #NationalChemistryWeek, we highlight Sarah Ward who joined the department of Chemistry & Biochemistry in August 2021 as an assistant professor of organic chemistry. Her research focuses on synthetic organic chemistry, examining the total synthesis of marine natural products, with cytotoxic properties against human colon carcinoma. 


Kerin Hilker-Balkissoon, Dean's Admin, #FacultyFriday

Kerin Hilker-Balkisson

October 15, 2021

We conclude our #HispanicHeritageMonth celebration with Kerin Hilker-Balkissoon, Director of Educational and Career Pathways. Her research focuses on identifying systemic inequities in STEM education and career readiness for undergraduate transfer students. She serves as co-PI on our Rural and Diverse Student Scholars and Noyce Scholarship Programs, along with leading multiple initiatives at Mason including our STEM access partnerships, our Science Learning Community, our program for Transfer Equity and Success, the First-Generation Task Force, and Mason’s FamilyU student-parent initiative. Hilker-Balkissoon is committed to paying it forward by supporting Latinx students at Mason and beyond, from serving as faculty advisor to Mason’s SACNAS Chapter, to her ongoing service as a Board Member with the Virginia Latino Higher Education Network (VALHEN)


Rocio Caballero-Gill, AOES, #FacultyFriday

Rocío Paola Caballero-Gill

October 8, 2021

Our #HispanicHeritageMonth celebration continues as we highlight Rocío Paola Caballero-Gill, Research Assistant Professor, Atmospheric, Oceanic & Earth Sciences. Caballero-Gill is a geoscientist whose research focuses on climatic and oceanographic change in the geologic past. Currently, she is the director of The CycloCohort Program - an early-career springboard for inclusion, diversity, equity and justice focused leadership in geoscience & astronomy. She is also the co-founder of GeoLatinas, an organization that empowers Latinas to pursue and thrive in careers in Earth and Planetary Sciences.


Eduardo Lopez, CDS, #FacultyFriday

Eduardo Lopez Atencio 

October 1, 2021

Eduardo Lopez Atencio, Director of Graduate Studies and Assistant Professor, Computational and Data Science, is this week's Faculty Friday feature and Hispanic Heritage Month highlight. His research focuses on flow processes in networks, along with quantitative laws in social, economic, and technological systems. When he's not teaching CDS 292 or an advanced graduate course on network models and their algorithms, he advises students in computational sciences and informatics graduate programs


Liana Chafran, Chemistry, #FacultyFriday

Liana Chafran

September 24, 2021

#MasonScience continues to celebrate Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month by highlighting Liana Chafran, Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry. Chafran started at Mason two years ago as a Research Associate specializing in biomaterials. Now an assistant professor on Mason’s SciTech campus, she continues her research on the synthesis of smart biomaterials for biomedical applications. Both inside and outside of the lab, Chafran strives to create opportunities for her students. 


Fernando Miarlles-Wilhelm, Dean, #FacultyFriday

Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm

September 17, 2021

To kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, this #FacultyFriday features Dean Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm. While serving as Dean for the College of Science, he continues to teach for the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences and conduct research in hydrology and water engineering. He recently published a study titled "Water is the middle child in global climate policy."


Karen Akerlof, ESP, #FacultyFriday

Karen Akerlof

September 10, 2021

Karen Akerlof, Assistant Professor, Environmental Science and Policy, studies how communities interpret scientific information and bring experience, values, and local knowledge to making decisions. This summer, Akerlof led a research team at the 'Ai'opio Fishtrap in Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park in Hawai'i surveying visitors about their sun protection behaviors, awareness of environmental impacts from sunscreen, and exposure to NPS outreach and education programs. 


Hamdi Kavak, CDS, #FacultyFriday

Hamdi Kavak

September 3, 2021

This Friday, #MasonScience features Hamdi KavakComputational and Data Science Assistant Professor, for receiving the 2021 Young Simulation Scientist Award from The Society for Modeling and Simulation International (SCS). The award recognizes scientists and engineers under the age of 35 who demonstrate excellence and leadership qualities in the field of modeling and simulation.