Making the most of her college career

December 2020 George Mason University graduate Delaney Hertel
Delaney Hertel, a government and international politics major, said an introductory event with the Honors College convinced her to come to Mason. Photo by Naomi Fort.

Ever since Delaney Hertel was in the eighth grade, she knew she would attend college on the East Coast.

True to her word, the California native is closing in on her final days at Mason as a government and international politics major at the Schar School of Policy and Government. She graduates in December with honors.

Hertel said she decided to come to Mason after attending an introductory event held by the Honors College.

“I just remember seeing a professor on a panel get so passionate about what he was talking about, and I hadn’t seen that anywhere else,” she said. “I really appreciated that.”

Hertel brought her own passion to Mason, particularly when it came to helping fellow students. She enlisted as a Patriot Leader, working at campus orientations. She was an orientation leader for incoming freshmen, served as an Honors College peer mentor, and is on the executive board of the Mason chapter of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority.

During her time at Mason, Hertel held internships at the Arlington, Virginia-based American Veterans Center and at talk-programming network Radio America. She also worked at the Republican Attorney Generals Association, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy agency that works to elect Republican AGs. She later landed a position at a polling company doing data management and research.

Currently, Hertel is interning at the National Association of Counties, staying busy in their research lab, cleaning data sets, polishing literature reviews, and assisting with economic mobility reports. The association represents some 40,000 U.S. counties.

“Mason and especially the Schar School are really good at teeing up the ball,” she said. “You just have to take the initiative to step up and hit it.”

Hertel named three professors who assisted in her success at Mason, including Schar School Assistant Professor Lucas Núñez, for whom Hertel became a research assistant; former Army Strategic Intelligence Officer Lee Roberts, whose positive comments on her work, she said, “meant the world, because I knew he meant it”; and Professor Robert Deitz, former senior counselor to the director of the CIA and general counsel of the NSA “who really cares about his students, looks for the best in them and is willing to go the extra mile to talk to a confused senior.”

By way of advice to incoming students, or students looking to expand their experiences at Mason, Hertel offered, “If you are a student who seeks out the opportunities you want and takes the time to seek out the professors and have legitimate conversations with them, I think that’s what makes you successful. That’s what the Schar School does really well, providing the professors who will do that with you.”

After graduating, Hertel said that she is interested in pursuing a career in research analysis, possibly in security studies. She is also considering, at some point, pursuing a graduate degree with the Schar School’s master’s in international security program, ranked No. 2 in the country.