Studies at Mason Took Her across the Globe
When Laquasia LeGrand was researching universities, she felt George Mason University stood out for its wide choice of activities and opportunities.
In December, the Brooklyn, New York, native graduated as a double major from Mason’s School of Business with degrees in accounting and information systems and operations management, with a minor in nonprofit studies.
Along the way she also was president of the Mason chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants, an undergraduate teaching assistant, and a three-year resident associate, including a year as head RA in Rogers Hall on the Fairfax Campus.
Her time at Mason also expanded her worldview with a week-long residency in Mexico in 2015 as part of the Managing in a Global Economy program.
“That really sparked my interest in global business,” she says.
She followed that the next year with a voluntary month-long visit to Cape Town, South Africa, using $4,500 raised from a GoFundMe campaign, where she worked with a humanitarian nonprofit, One Heart Source.
“Since my minor is in nonprofit management, I wanted to see how nonprofits were managed there,” she says. “And I wanted to see how nonprofits were operated so that I can also create an international footprint abroad.”
In 2016, she ventured to the United Arab Emirates during Spring Break, taking a cultural tour through Mason’s Global Education Office.
Her fourth foray abroad was a semester spent in Australia, studying at the University of Technology Sydney, to fulfill the requirements for her degree in information systems and operations management.
She extended that experience with a six-week backpacking trip through Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia before returning to Fairfax.
LeGrand’s campus activities and study-abroad experiences, in addition to her dean’s list grades, add up to the kind of student employers seek.
“I believe the firms interested in Laquasia are interested because she has shown the leadership skills they look for,” says Constance Hylton, an accounting professor who served as a mentor. “And she loves to explore, as evidenced by her many study-abroad trips. This quest for knowledge will serve her well as she starts her professional life in accounting.”
That would appear to be accurate: After she interned at KPMG, one of the “Big Four” accounting firms, the company made her an offer for a position after graduation.
It was important to her, a first-generation college graduate, to set an example for others.
“The main thing that kept me motivated was my desire to set a good example for my four younger siblings,” she says. “I wanted to prove to them that no matter our circumstances, any goal we set for ourselves we have the ability to accomplish it. I'll be the first in my generation to graduate, and I can't wait for them to do the same.”
By Buzz McClain