Ardine Williams, vice president of people operations and Amazon HQ2 workforce development, toured Mason’s Nguyen Engineering Building on Wednesday. She was accompanied by Mason President Anne Holton, Provost and Executive Vice President S. David Wu, Vice President for Academic Innovation and New Ventures Michelle Marks, Volgenau School of Engineering Dean Ken Ball, and Volgenau School of Engineering Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Community Engagement Liza Wilson Durant.
They visited multiple classrooms and labs in the building including those of professors Duminda Wijesekera, Department of Computer Science, and Peter Pachowicz, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
“This is a great opportunity to show Amazon first-hand how we’re preparing students for technology jobs,” said Marks. “Mason has already announced a new cloud computing degree in partnership with Amazon and Norther Virginia Community College and we continue to expand our relationship by preparing career-ready graduates.”
Mason plans a large-scale expansion of its computing degree programs in anticipation of Amazon’s second headquarters.
"We are very excited about the new opportunities that our partnership with Amazon will provide for our students," Ball said. "These include internships, design projects, and research experiences, which will greatly enhance hands-on learning and better prepare our graduates for successful careers."
Already the largest producer of tech talent in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Mason has pledged more than $250 million over the next five years to grow degree programs, hire new faculty, and expand its Arlington Campus.