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Dean's Blog: Making Real Mason Moments That Matter

Dean Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm
Dean Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm

This time of year, we enter the season of harvest and gratitude. When the work we’ve done is starting to show results. Whether it’s papers being published, grant submissions receiving funding, nurturing new or ongoing program partnerships, or students grasping key concepts in the classroom due to your guidance in learning; thank you to our faculty and staff for the time and effort you are putting into your days – it’s hard work doing hard work and it’s making a difference. 

I was in a virtual session earlier this week connecting with students in the college’s virtual learning community (VLC). A freshman biology student mentioned how hard it’s been for her to build meaningful connections. And the faculty in the meeting brought up many opportunities and avenues for her to consider. “I’m trying to attend every session like this that I can, but how do I find a research mentor when I can’t talk to a lot of people?” she shared. “Everyone tells me to look at the faculty listings on the website. Sure I can, but I also need events like this to have real conversations,” she said. Those faculty were able to make a difference for that student, just by taking time to engage. And keeping it ‘real.’ 

I encourage you to continue making and taking the time to have those real conversations with your students in the classroom or virtual lab, with that grad student you’re mentoring, with that faculty member who is struggling with work life balance. Be there to support each other.

This Covid-19 crisis is taking a turn many of us knew was coming. Yet it doesn’t make it any easier when we’re in the middle of it. Mason continues to offer counseling services to help us navigate. Share that information with those who may need it. We said at the beginning of this challenge and I will repeat again, we must be here for each other. “We’ve got your back.”

Keep daring to dream big things and make new partnerships. Consider transdisciplinary approaches to your research.  Who would’ve thought that a commercial vendor would be able to work with NASA to put people into space? But this week, it happened. And the trajectory of space transport has changed forever.

For us, perhaps it starts with one conversation or with one student at a time. Like it did for that student in our VLC. Know that you are helping shape meaningful Mason memories. That moment of listening, sharing or learning may be the one that changes the trajectory of someone else’s world. We are thankful for your efforts to make a difference.

NASA launch




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