My role on campus: I have worked in the English Department since 1996 and was one of the co-founders of the Staff Senate. I am serving a fourth term as senator.
Mason journey: I started out as a transfer student graduating with my B.A. in English in 1988. I left to work for a variety of companies and projects as a contractor and also traveled. When I was hired at Mason, I had no inkling of the extraordinary experiences I would soon have.
Lead from the front: Mason President Alan Merten wanted to start a Staff Senate just as the Staff Advisory Council was forming. Dr. Merten and Senior Vice President Morrie Scherrens joined us for many work sessions to answer questions and have lunch with us. They gave us full independence to create the organization we felt was going to foster innovation and partnerships. I served as vice chair from 2001-2002 and then was elected chair from 2002-2006.
Senate impact: The senate has been instrumental in the hiring decisions of many of our highest-level positions. We have influenced decisions such as how the Child Development Center was designed. We were involved in facilitating peace roundtable discussions after the 9/11 attacks. We reached out to the Virginia Tech Staff Senate after the mass shooting in Blacksburg. We have partnered with Mason Police to figure out ways to build community and outreach. We have successfully lobbied for the increase in tuition waiver hours from six to 12 per academic year, among many collaborative successes.
COVID-19 transition: Resilience is a Mason trait. We are rising to the challenges of a time of tragedy and grief the way we did after 9/11. I am not surprised by how the entire university has pulled together despite what seems like profound and overwhelming circumstances. I know Mason will not only survive but will be an example to the world of what it means to be the best of humanity.
Best thing about working at Mason: The spirit of community and the belief that humanity can be better than the sum of its parts. We are unique because that universality extends to our community. My years serving on the Quality of Work Life Task Force as well as countless search committees and other advisory committees has helped me build a love for and pride in Mason that I would not otherwise feel. My experiences have inspired me to stay here for the duration of my career. I will retire here.
Why serve on Staff Senate: It is an opportunity to build professional relationships and friendships, and to become an integral part of the Mason vision. It is a chance to try out new ways of interacting and innovating.
At the end of the day: I am grateful for the years of these amazing experiences. Mason is special. When I leave Mason, I will feel that this was my greatest personal and professional contribution. My senate colleagues have elevated the senate to a level that has exceeded my greatest hopes.