News at Mason
These seniors made the most of their Mason experience
May 14, 2018
Helping an underserved community
Christina Cherry, human development and family science
Cherry, in a project with master’s student Jasmine Felder and directed by associate professor Bethany Letiecq, focused on the strains and concerns of African American residents in Alexandria, Va., who will have to find alternative housing as their communities are redeveloped. Their findings were presented to Alexandria’s Office of Community Service, whose director Jessica Lurz said the report “made us think how we might be creating barriers to service for certain populations.” Said Cherry, “Hopefully, we will develop a partnership, so we’re able to work with the population more to really help the community.”
A fashionable idea
Sana Mahmood, marketing
Mahmood remembers all too well what it was like as a young Muslim American female with few viable clothing options, so she did something about it. In forming Veiled Beaut in April 2016, Mahmood sought to fill a growing niche by designing affordable, high-quality apparel for young Muslim American women, like herself, who seek to dress stylishly and professionally in accordance with their Islamic faith. But the desire to make a lasting difference runs a lot deeper for Mahmood, who traveled to Jordan in the summer 2016 to work with Syrian and Palestinian refugees. As a result, 10 percent of Veiled Beaut’s profits go to organizations that provide relief services to refugees.
A healthy viewpoint
Joe Russell, government and international politics
Russell was a founding member of the Student Health Advisory Board, which helps ensure students know about the health care options available on campus, and also is a liaison between Mason’s administration and students in helping them to determine those best options. An Arizona native, Russell, a member of the Honors College, was a Truman Scholarship winner and was Mason’s first Rhodes Scholar finalist since 2007. “The opportunities I’ve had at Mason, and the things I’ve been able to do here, aren’t things I would be able to do back in Arizona,” he said.
A model approach
Connor Stapp, bioengineering
Stapp was the primary builder in a project creating a biomechanical model of a pelvic floor, the first step in creating patient-specific models that can identify women who might injure their pelvic floors during vaginal deliveries and would benefit from a C-section. With the National Institutes of Health reporting that one-third of U.S. women are affected by some sort of pelvic disorder, this is research of consequence. “We’ll be able to adjust things like muscle parameters, so it more accurately reflects each patient,” Stapp said. “There are not really any models that have done that, so we’re kind of on the forefront of developing a critical model.”
'An outstanding leader'
Isaiah West, kinesiology
When West was president of the Eta Delta Delta fraternity, he organized the “Bras for Hope” event, which collected 150 new and used bras that were dropped off at Belle Mode Intimates in Fairfax, Va., to be either recycled or donated. The event promoted Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it highlighted West’s desire for activism and involvement. His willingness to volunteer for four years in Mason’s athletic strength and conditioning program led to a coveted internship at the NBA Academy Africa in Senegal. “He’s a special kid,” said Mason strength and conditioning coordinator Robert “Handy” Handerahan, “an outstanding young man, an outstanding leader.”