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University Scholar Stories

David Berens (Class of 2013) hopes to provide sustainable, market-based solutions to environmental problems in the developing world. He spent a semester at Mason’s Center for Conservation Studies at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s historic and beautiful 3,200 acre facility in Front Royal, Virginia, and he has traveled to Guatemala to investigate whether shade-grown, bird-friendly coffee is actually more profitable for growers.

Lawrence, Kansas, native Keil Eggers (Class of 2014) is the founder of the Kansas Consortium for Youth Voice, an organization that helps young people effectively express their views, influence decision makers, and participate in major debates, particularly those regarding education policy. As part of a State Department program, the Consortium coordinated service-learning workshops for youth from Central Europe and Iraq. Keil aims to expand his efforts at community building beyond the  the borders of the United States. With these goals in mind, Keil saw himself at home in Mason’s global curriculum, location in the National Capital Region, and diverse student population.

Esther Jackson and Aniket Panjwani (both members of the Class of 2013) have devoted much of the last few months to advanced mathematics research with important implications for finance. As part of Mason’s Undergraduate Research in Computational Mathematics Program (funded by the National Science Foundation), both were awarded $10,000 grants and were able to present their work at the 2012 Joint Mathematics Meetings in Boston.

Kevin Loker (Class of 2012) may be the most well-networked student at Mason. As executive editor of Connect2Mason, he revamped the University’s student-run online source for breaking news. He also has worked as an online content editor for Washington Post Live, the paper’s events and conferences division, and he has contributed commentary on technology’s effect on campus life for USA Today College. You can follow Kevin on Twitter at http://twitter.com/kevinloker.

Audrey Ferguson (Class of 2012) is passionate about health care and policy in the developing world. A nursing major for southeast Ohio, Audrey was awarded a Critical Language Scholarship by the U.S. State Department, which allowed her to spend the summer of 2011 in Bangladesh developing a proficiency in Bangla. She was recently awarded a CLS alumni grant, which provides funds for continuing study of the language.

Nina Garcia (Class of 2012) has disparate interests: A computer science major specializing in game design and has spent time with the robotics lab in Mason’s Volgenau School; she’s also an accomplished musician and has taught violin to students of all ages for over 10 years. Through undergraduate research, she’s found innovative ways to bring these interests together. Over the last year, she’s worked to apply cutting-edge technologies to the measurement and even the improvement of the human ability to match a pitch.

Curiosity about other cultures and a commitment to justice have inspired Emily Zagone (Class of 2013) and her work at Mason. Proficient in both Spanish and Arabic, she founded Partners in Literacy, a Mason organization that helps service workers on campus develop English skills, and has traveled to El Salvador to research how revolutionary groups transition into electoral politics. Her abilities and experiences earned her a prestigious internship with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section.