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Doreen Joseph in front of bank of computers, wires

Cyber security engineering major Doreen Joseph was Mason's Black Scholar of the Year and hopes to make public service her life's mission.

Secure in the Knowledge that Helping Others Is Her Mission

Mason’s Doreen Joseph credits her father for her desire to help others. The junior cyber security engineering major hopes to make public service her own life’s mission.

“All throughout my life, my parents always raised me to always help out other people,” Joseph says. “So I’ve been trying to figure out how I can best serve others.”

Joseph, a 3.98 GPA student from the Honors College, was named Mason’s Black Scholar of the Year, was a Truman Scholarship finalist, and received Honorable Mention honors for the Goldwater Scholarship that’s reserved for the nation’s top STEM students.

She spent last summer working on cybersecurity during a fellowship in Boulder, Colorado, with the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

“She’s met every challenge I’ve seen her take up,” says Kathy Alligood, Joseph’s former Honors College advisor. “I think she can do anything she sets her mind to.”

But it’s what Joseph does beyond the classroom that could have the most lasting impact.

When she was a sophomore in 2016, Joseph helped develop the idea of building a textbook library that could help financially needy students at no costs. She led the charge in making it a reality by spearheading the collection of previously owned books to be used again by students of limited means. That library continues to serve that segment of the Mason student population today.

Joseph was equally as instrumental in working with Early Identification Program (EIP) students as they sought to complete their college essays. Her quality insights and empathy quickly became a big hit among EIP students, many of whom were attempting to become the first in their families to attend college. They requested Joseph so often that Richard T. Stafford, instructor and digital initiative coordinator for the Honors College, said that he had to limit her availability.

With her constructive feedback, Joseph played a key role in expanding the college prep program to include face-to-face contact, Stafford says. Contact between the Mason students and the EIP students from nearby schools had been online only, until Joseph suggested a way to incorporate personal contact between the groups to improve coaching.

This story was written by Mason Communications Officer John Hollis. Read more Mason News.