George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Student Advisory Board

The Honors College Student Advisory Board hopes to provide a platform to better enrich the current Honors College community and foster stronger relationships within the institution.

The Honors College Student Advisory Board’s goal is to strengthen the relationships between student and faculty members of the Honors College community. It provides advisory feedback about the desires and expectations of the students, communicates these ideas with faculty, and connects students with opportunities and resources available throughout the Honors College. The board helps students engage more robustly with the Honors College, and strives to implement changes that students want to see in order to promote further growth and development of the Honors College community.


Ahmad Alach, Chair

Student Advisory Board Member Ahmad AlachAhmad Alach is a senior at George Mason University majoring in Bioengineering. In addition to his interest in the medical and engineering worlds, Alach has a keen interest in people, organizations, and leadership. He takes tremendous pride in the diversity of Honors College students and hopes to help cultivate an atmosphere in which every honors student’s full potential can be realized. Alach is also passionate about explicating the relationship between the Honors College and the GMU community as a whole in order to better integrate the two. He brings expertise in project implementation, event planning, and media outreach to the Honors College Student Advisory Board.

Elsie Amoako-Kissi, Vice-Chair

Student Advisory Board Member Elsie Amoako-KissiElsie Amoako-Kissi is a transfer student from Northern Virginia community college where she obtained an associate of science degree. While there, Amoako-Kissi served as President of the international honors society for two-year colleges, Phi Theta Kappa. Under her leadership, the NOVA Annandale chapter maintained 5-star status and was recognized for an outstanding Honors in Action project. She is also a member of the 2018 Phi Theta Kappa All-Virginia Academic team and, in addition, is a recipient of the prestigious NOVA SEAL award for service to the NOVA community. After George Mason, Amoako-Kissi looks forward to conducting biological research while preparing to attend graduate or medical school.

Taye Folk, Secretary

Student Advisory Board Member Taye FolkTaye is a Junior majoring in Criminology, Law, and Sociology with a concentration in Homeland Security and minors in Intelligence Analysis and Geographic Information Sciences. She is an active member in the Honors College and is extremely passionate about helping others and learning about different backgrounds, cultures, and languages. Folk joined the Honors College Student Advisory Board in hopes of connecting with Honors College students and to help provide a platform for their voices to be heard and impactful. She loves meeting new people and playing in the Green Machine, so make sure to say hello or help guide her away from the alluring trap of books in a mysterious place known as Fenwick.

Nikaela (Kady) Buserkrus, Faculty Liasion

Student Advisory Board Member Nikaela (Kady) BuserkrusNikaela is a passionate CHSS student majoring in History with minors in Spanish Language and GIS. In her time at Mason, she has participated in various independent research projects with Dr. Peter Stearns and Dr. Jennifer Ritterhouse, focusing on the history of educational and social movements. For the past two years, she has served as a student ambassador for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences to facilitate outreach events for current and prospective students. She has also worked as a regular volunteer in an after school care program for low-income families at Green Acres Child Development Center in Fairfax and as an administrative assistant and office manager at a Fairfax law firm. Beyond the Mason-Fairfax community, Buserkrus served as the first student intern and projects coordinator for the Kailua Historical Society in her hometown of Kailua, Hawaii, and as a staff member and logistics coordinator for a non-profit summer camp through Action Service Ministry. In the Spring 2019 semester, she studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the University of San Andres. Buserkrus is grateful for the opportunity to serve her Honors College peers as a member of the student advisory board, seeking their opinions and implementing change on their behalf.

Dhuha Baig

Student Advisory Board Member Dhuha BaigDhuha Baig's passion for community engagement began at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) National office where she operated as a research assistant for over a year. This summer, she furthered her passion for public advocacy and government in the congressional office of Senator Tim Kaine where she not only learned the inner workings of the legislature, but also honed the necessary skills of community work. At GMU, Baig is a research assistant under a project mapping unauthorized influences of domestic and international actors and their control over policy-making. She serves as the Vice President of her school’s chapter of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and continues to play an active role in the Northern Virginia community as a Sunday School teacher, youth mentor, and a high school MSA advisor. Her admission in the Honors College inspired her to stay connected with the campus community, which is why she is excited to do her part in generating an innovative, inclusive, honors college community.

Sidonia Cannon

Sidonia Cannon is a freshman from Tennessee studying Global Affairs. She is incredibly excited to be a part of the Honors College Student Advisory Board. In addition to service, Cannon is passionate about leadership and communication. As an out-of-state student, she can’t wait to learn more about her new home and help others find theirs at GMU. Cannon looks forward to connecting the Honors College students and faculty with the greater university and community.

Abigail Hawkins

Student Advisory Board Member Abigail HawkinsAbby Hawkins is a sophomore studying Global Affairs with a concentration in Human Security and double majoring in Arabic. She joined the Honors College Student Advisory Board following her first year at GMU to help empower student voices and implement changes to ensure that the diversity of learning styles, interests, and goals of the students within the Honors College are reflected within the curriculum. On campus, Hawkins is involved with GMU Model UN, ROSE, InvestInYouth, and College Diabetes Network, in addition to interning for the State Department and being involved with the #InsulinForAll movement in the greater DC area. If you ever need to find her, the first place to look is at the on campus Dunkin where she is almost always buying iced coffee.

Minhyuk Ko

Minhyuk Ko is a first-year college student majoring in Computer Science. As a first-generation student to attend college in the United States, he had the honor to be in the STEP (Student Transition Empowerment Program) program last summer at Mason. Throughout the program, he learned academic skills, leadership skills, and resources available at Mason. At Mason, he is a Special Project Coordinator (SPC) at F1rst Gen Mason to help create an educational and supportive network for first-generation students. As an immigrant, he is passionate about meeting new people from diverse backgrounds, and that’s one of the reasons why he was excited to attend Mason. Currently, he is researching how we should change English education to accommodate gender-neutral pronouns for the LGBTQ+ community as an Honors 110 research project. He is looking forward to using his interests and skills to make Honors College a more inclusive environment as an Honors College Student Advisory Board member.

Breana Alsworth

Breana is a Junior majoring in Community Health with a minor in International Security, hoping to pursue a career in Field Epidemiology. In this pursuit, she has completed health initiatives, geared at educating youth in developing countries on different infectious diseases, specifically HIV/AIDS, to help prevent, treat, and reduce the stigma against the disease. She is hoping to apply skills learned through years of interning in Infectious Disease units, communicating with and helping patients, to her position on the Honors College Student Advisory Board. She cares deeply about advocating for the desires of the students and ensuring that George Mason University is a place that is representative of all voices from a variety of backgrounds with different styles of learning, interests, and goals for the future. The influence of these ideas are instrumental in creating an environment that fosters development. With a passion for connecting with people, Breana hopes to facilitate active discussions and implement changes to ensure that George Mason University and the Honors College are serving the students to the best of their ability.

Ghaaliyah Brown

Ghaaliyah Brown is a sophomore at George Mason University pursuing a Bachelor of Science. Her local community has fostered her penchant for advocacy, public service and community engagement. As a volunteer tutor, she has strived to utilize her skills as a source of empowerment for the youth in Fairfax County. She served as the president of her high school’s Girls Learn International chapter where she gained valuable experience in advocacy, public outreach, and project management. At GMU, she enjoys serving on the oversight committee for the COVID-19 Student Service Corps and her involvement in the Muslim Student Association and the Mason Environmental Justice Association. The Honors College community is a place of diversity, inclusivity, support, and innovation of which she feels privileged to be a part. She is excited to help implement positive change, so the Honors College community continues to be a source of enrichment for its members and the wider GMU community.

Madeline Portnoy

Maddie Portnoy is a junior majoring in Criminology, Law, and Society with a minor in Atmospheric Sciences.  Her dream career is in emergency management and disaster response, so she places great value on organization and efficiency and helping communities.  The Honors College has shaped Maddie's college community and home at Mason, so she wants to give back and make sure other Honors students have their voices heard. Maddie currently serves as the Secretary for Administrative and Financial Affairs for Mason's Student Government and also gives tours to prospective students as a Mason Ambassador.  She also interns for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, D.C.