Access to Excellence Podcast Features Grand Challenges

Mason President Gregory Washington takes on some of the toughest issues facing students and graduates and the opportunities those issues present.

Access to Excellence Podcast

"Here are some of the big issues out there that you can solve, that you can attack with your Mason education," says Mason President Gregory Washington. Read more. 


About the Podcast

There are serious challenges facing the world: sustainability; climate change; health care; issues of gender and race equality. Mason President Gregory Washington's conversations on these topics with thought leaders and experts broaden perspectives, enlighten and educate. Communications Manager John Hollis, who covers many of these topics for the university, takes over the conversation when Dr. Washington does not host.


President Washington at lectern

Latest Episodes:

There are those who still don’t believe in climate change or that it is manmade. As Earth Day approached, public health scientist Ed Maibach, director of Mason Center for Climate Change Communication, spoke with Mason President Gregory Washington about overcoming climate change misinformation, which Maibach calls the world’s most important public health initiative.

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Podcast Episodes

  • April 21, 2021
    Host Dr. Gregory Washington speaks with Ed Maibach, director of Mason's Center for Climate Change Communication about overcoming misinformation about climate change dangers.
  • March 29, 2021
    Host and Mason President Dr. Gregory Washington speaks with Mason epidemiologist and public health expert Saskia Popescu about what she has experienced on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • March 12, 2021
    How could the U.S. have improved its response to the COVID-19 pandemic? Mason president Gregory Washington hosts CHHS epidemiologist, Amira Roess, PhD MPH, as she breaks down the many factors impacting the nation's response and recovery.
  • February 22, 2021
    How are anti-racism efforts building on college campuses? How will Mason affirm its core values and mission of inclusion? President Gregory Washington speaks with Wendi Manuel-Scott and Shernita Parker, co-directors of Mason's Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force about the university's commitment to be a national leader in this dialogue.
  • February 19, 2021
    In this fascinating conversation, President Gregory Washington speaks with Kevin Clark, director of original animation for preschool programming at Netflix, and retiring professor in the Learning Technologies Division in George Mason University’s College of Education and Human Development, about how technology and economics are helping fuel the rich entertainment content highlighting people of color, and how that programming can be a conduit for anti-racism efforts.
  • January 29, 2021
    On Jan. 22, Mason President Gregory Washington spoke with Mason scientists Lance Liotta and Virginia Espina, who head the university’s effort to push the boundaries of technologies that are keeping its three university campuses safe from COVID-19. That includes a rapid-result saliva test, and development of an antibody test that can track a body’s response to the virus and vaccine.
  • January 29, 2021
    Fighting climate change is a global imperative, and the consequences of inaction could be dire. But Mason's Andrew Light, who helped negotiate the Paris Agreement on climate, tells Mason President Gregory Washington that for the go-getters, opportunity awaits.
  • January 29, 2021
    What's it like to interview a mass murderer? Professor Mary Ellen O'Toole, a former FBI profiler, fills us in on that and Mason's new Forensic Science Research and Training Laboratory, which will be one of only eight in the U.S. to use donor remains for forensic research.
  • January 29, 2021
    How did the election play into our national identity? How did Donald Trump mold the Republican Party in his image? How can we reform the Electoral College? Mason President Gregory Washington speaks with Schar School Dean Mark J. Rozell on where our politics goes from here.
  • January 29, 2021
    Professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Martin J. Sherwin discusses his new book about the Cuban Missile Crisis and tells a terrifying, and not well-known, story of how close we came to nuclear war with the Soviet Union.
  • January 29, 2021
    Tehama Lopez Bunyasi, assistant professor in the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, explains how using our democratic freedoms will help overcome racism in America.
  • January 29, 2021
    Schar School Dean Mark J. Rozell provides an unbiased analysis of the stakes heading into the presidential debates -- with some debate history thrown in as well.