Profile of a Senator August 2020

Meet Stephanie Atkins, Office Manager, Mason LIFE Program and Staff Senator

Stephanie Atkins, photo by Creative Services/George Mason University

Role: I joined the the Mason staff in April 2015. Mason LIFE (Learning Into Future Environments), in the College of Education and Human Development, is a postsecondary program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Mason LIFE offers the opportunity for an inclusive university experience and was one of the first such programs in the country. I provide administrative support for the program and am the main point of contact for staff, students, and their families.

Mason Journey: I graduated from Mason with a BA in Sociology in 1998 and am taking advantage of the tuition waiver to pursue a graduate degree in the Masters Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) program. I am taking classes with a social justice and human rights focus, more specifically related to individuals with IDD.

January 2020 Profile of a Senator

Meet Jessi Adams: Staff Senator and Fiscal Training Manager

Jessi Adams, Staff Senate. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services

Role: I educate members of the Mason community on the policies and procedures for making purchases on behalf of Mason and (ultimately) the state. I teach people how to appropriately spend state money!

Mason journey: I started in University Career Services in 2011 and transitioned to University Life’s central office in 2014. I joined Fiscal Services in 2017.

Live and learn: In May 2019, I earned my master’s degree in Organization Development and Knowledge Management. We are a proud Mason family—my husband, Wayne Adams, is senior academic affairs coordinator in the College of Health and Human Services. He also earned his master’s degree here.

Best thing about working at Mason: The people! I love the work that I do and my ability to connect with individuals from all over campus no matter their position, title, or location. I enjoy helping people and encouraging them to be their best. The fiscal requirements of working for a state agency can be tedious, so I like to bring empathy, humanity, and a little bit of humor to the topic.

Why serve on Staff Senate: I want to be an advocate and a voice for staff members. I think everyone is valuable, and too often I hear from other staff members that they do not feel appreciated for what they bring to their team. Honestly, the staff (admins, analysts, advisors, and everyone in between) run this place, and we need to look out for those people who are the backbone of our community.

Added impact: I have worked hard, along with my supervisor, Heather Strange, to create the Fiscal Support and Connections Network (FSCN). This supportive and collaborative group of almost 200 people from all over the university come together once a month (roughly 20 to 50 people attend in-person or via WebEx) to share their knowledge, insight, and input to the fiscal procedures. Any Mason staffer who would like more information can contact me and subscribe to our newsletter for previous meeting notes and future dates.

At the end of the day: Mason is more than a job or a place of work for me; it is a family. A home. I have grown so much because of the people I have had the privilege to work alongside. I have discovered that in every experience and interaction we have a chance to learn and grow. Mason has made me the person I am today, for the better.