George Mason University

News at Mason

Crystal Hall Brett is August Employee of the Month

July 30, 2019   /   by Hannah Harmison

Crystal Hall Brett, receiving her Employee of the Month certificate from Mason President Ángel Cabrera, says the best thing about working at Mason is her "positive, encouraging and helpful" coworkers. Photo by Lathan Goumas.

Since she became George Mason University’s associate director of graduate admissions in August 2017, Crystal Hall Brett has had a critical impact on the recently centralized Office of Graduate Admissions.

“Crystal helped stabilize the leadership and re-chart our path to success,” said Cody Edwards, Mason’s associate provost for graduate education.

Brett improved communications with incoming graduate students by creating and implementing a plan that increased follow-ups with those students to ensure a smooth-as-possible application process.

She assisted in refining the office’s new customer relationship management software. She also created a daily “Power Hour,” which uses music and enthusiasm to motivate graduate admissions staff to, as she said, “power through” an hour each day of the time-consuming task of auditing enrolled graduate students’ files.

“I want to be able to provide the best service to our applicants,” Brett said. “That’s what guides me. I’m motivated by the mission of education.”

“Crystal’s leadership single-handedly changed the culture of the graduate specialists,” said Amy Takayama-Perez, Mason’s dean of admissions. “She thinks creatively about how to motivate others and has created a team that is built on mutual respect and support. She’s an outstanding contributor, innovator and leader on our admissions team.”

Andrew Bunting, Mason’s director of admissions operations, said he appreciates Brett’s focus on examining how processes can be altered so people can “work smarter.” He said the implementation of the robust new communication plan for graduate students was a perfect example.

“My job is more than a nine-to-five to me,” Brett said. “Serving students by making education accessible is so fulfilling, and it makes me happy both personally and professionally. Helping people pursue their goals is my passion.”

How she got here:

I actually grew up around the corner from Mason, so I am very familiar with the school. In high school, I would use the library to do research and attend performances on campus. Professionally, I’ve mostly worked in higher education, so when I was looking for a new position, naturally Mason crossed my mind. I’m glad it worked out.

Best day on the job:

The best day was the day we launched our new application system in TargetX. It took months of planning, building and collaborating to get it created. Quite a big project and one I am proud of.

What she likes best about working at Mason:

The people. Everyone in the Office of Admissions is so positive, encouraging and helpful.

What she likes doing when not working:

I like to explore my neighborhood [Old Town Alexandria], try new recipes, make cocktails, and take Pure Barre classes.