Mason Graduate Launches New Degree Program at Korean Campus
An exciting addition to the Mason faculty at Korea’s Incheon Global Campus is Assistant Professor James Brian Colchao, a Mason graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology and a Master of Science degree in Data Engineering. Brian is charged with initiating the Computational and Data Sciences BS degree program, which is currently in its inaugural semester. As the sole faculty member in the new department, he is teaching all the introductory courses: CDS 101 (2 sections) CDS 102 (2 sections), CDS 130, and CDS 151. The courses are currently offered virtually to students at the Incheon Global Campus with plans to move to a hybrid in-person mode in January 2022.
Brian has also introduced the STARs (Student Teachers and Research Assistants) peer-mentoring program at Mason Korea, hiring the first STARs student on October 1st. The program, unique to Mason’s CDS department, draws members from top-performing CDS students who are then trained by staff in skills required to successfully mentor other students, further develop their own data science skills, gain job experience, and work on research. Brian, himself a former STARs student, is starting his next publication focused on analyzing data regarding how the implementation of such a program affects student academic performance as well as faculty job burden and satisfaction.
The new CDS program is already over 90% capacity and is expected to continue to grow quickly. Brian is part of the hiring committee currently searching for a second faculty member, and plans for adding an MS degree program are currently underway. The department also hopes to forge a relationship with Samsung Biologics in the coming semesters--a relationship that Brian expects will be facilitated by his own academic background in microbiology and professional experience as a surgical technologist in interventional radiology.
Brian is also a member of the Mason Korea Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion task force and is on the Community Outreach and Engagement Committee. He is delighted to be part of the multi-faceted Mason faculty. As a member of both the LGBTQIA+ and Latinx communities, he considers promoting diversity in the Mason community a passion project. He is currently learning the Korean language with 2 tutors and working on earning 2 medals the Korean government awards for completing Korea's extensive cycling and hiking paths.
For more information on Brian’s academic concentrations and publications, and on Mason’s Korean campus, see:
Interview at Incheon Mason Korea | News: Mason Korea Welcomes New Faculty (gmu.edu)
Mason Korea site Mason Korea (gmu.edu)