George Mason University

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Building a bridge between Mason and the federal government

October 25, 2018   /   by John Hollis

Reginald Allen is Executive-in-Residence, Affiliate Professor in the College of Science’s Department of Environmental Science and Policy (ESP). Photo by Lathan Goumas/Strategic Communications

Reginald Allen joined the Environmental Protection Agency in 2015 after 30 years in the U.S. Army because he wanted to continue a life of public service.

Now, through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, George Mason University is benefiting from his knowledge, experience and connections. Allen, the EPA assistant deputy chief of staff, joined Mason in the spring as a resident executive/affiliate faculty member within the College of Science’s Department of Environmental Science and Policy (ESP).

Allen has embraced his one-year stint at Mason as an executive-in-residence and affiliate professor, serving as a bridge between Mason and the federal government.

He views his role as helping students who are interested in government service get a better understanding of military and federal service in general, and EPA policy in particular.

“You’re supporting our government, you’re supporting our people and you’re supporting the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency,” he said, “which is to protect human health and the environment. That’s a mission people can get behind.”

Allen, a retired U.S. Army colonel, has already arranged a student visit to EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and leveraged his extensive personal relationships at EPA to set up the Environmental Professionals Career Network, a mentoring service that matches senior EPA officials with Mason students. He has also lectured in various classes while working to bring notable speakers to Mason, such as former deputy administrator Michael Flynn.

Allen will be co-teaching a new course on environmental security next semester.

His experience will prove invaluable, said A. Alonso Aguirre, an associate professor and ESP’s department chair.

“Scientists need to learn how to turn their science into policy,” Aguirre said. “Having Reggie brings a wealth of opportunity for our students.”

The agreement began on April 15, 2018, and ends on April 14, 2019, with the EPA continuing to pay Allen’s salary.

“Serving in the federal government is honorable,” Allen said. “It’s one of the most honorable things you can do.”