Alumni Leadership and Chapter

George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government encourages the active involvement of its alumni. The Schar School Alumni Chapter co-sponsors Schar School social and professional networking events and organizes the Annual Alumni Awards Gala.

The Schar School of Policy and Government Alumni Chapter invites all graduates of programs within the Schar School to participate. We are looking forward to your involvement.

The goals and purpose of the chapter are to:

  • Unify the alumni and students of the Schar School of Policy and Government from all degree and certificate programs in the interest of personal and professional enhancement.
  • Establish a medium through which the chapter may support, advance, and strengthen the value of all Schar School degree and certificate programs.
  • Serve as a source of information and mentoring for current students.
  • Participate as an active chapter of the George Mason University Alumni Association and support the goals and mission of the university and the alumni association.

The Alumni Chapter Board is elected annually for one or two year terms in May electronically. Terms run from July 1st to June 30th.

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Alumni Leadership

The current Alumni Chapter Board Members for 2023-2024 are listed below. For more information, contact

Brennan R. Georgianni, Board President

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Master of Public Policy ‘16

Brennan Georgianni is the Senior Director of State Government Affairs for the American Cleaning Institute, the trade association that represents American cleaning product brands and suppliers. He works with government affairs professionals at member companies to develop policies that he promotes in state capitals. His work consists of submitting comments on drafted legislation, meeting with state industry groups and legislators, and updating member companies on legislative affairs. He has over 10 years of D.C. professional experience working with the Plastics Industry Association and in other Congressional and fundraising roles.  

Mr. Georgianni earned his B.A. in Political Science from Auburn University and his Master of Public Policy degree from the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. Brennan currently serves as the president of the Schar School Alumni Chapter and liaises with the George Mason University Alumni Association.

View Brennan Georgianni's LinkedIn profile.

Ashley Cole, Member at Large

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Master of Public Administration ’17, Certificate in Public Management ’17 

Ashley Cole is a Research and Evaluation Manager for the Children’s Services Council (CSC) of Broward. After graduating from GMU with her MPA in 2017, she began working with a private international development firm in Bethesda, MD, supporting programs in Haiti, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. A South Florida native, she left the D.C. area in 2019 to work with a nonprofit based in Miami, Florida, managing prevention programs for middle and high school students across the tri-county area. In her current role, she is responsible for the development and implementation of several CSC research, analysis, and evaluation projects, serving children and families across Broward County, Florida. Ashley is currently a Program Coordinator for the Schar School Alumni Mentorship Program and has supported the program since 2021.

View Ashley Cole's LinkedIn profile.

Troi Dixon, Member at Large

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Master of Public Policy ‘22

Troi Dixon is a Political Appointee in the Biden-Harris Administration after serving as a Legislative Intern for the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. She is native to North Carolina, moving to D.C. after being a dual-enrolled graduate of Johnston County Early College Academy and Johnston Community College. With a bachelor's in political science from Old Dominion University, she created social welfare programs as an executive board member of Model United Nations. After graduating, she served as a Field Organizer with the North Carolina Coordinated Campaign and as a Regional Service Lead for the Presidential Inaugural Committee. She recently graduated with a master's in public policy from the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University where she was an Executive Vice President of Arlington Campus for the Graduate and Professional Student Association, ambassador for her college, and Graduate Professional Assistant. Troi's mantra is, growing through what you go through, as she seeks to serve those who need activism the most.

View Troi Dixon's LinkedIn profile.

Daniel Gerstein, Member at Large

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PhD Biodefense ‘08

Dr. Gerstein joined the RAND Corporation in December 2014.  Previously, he served in the DHS from August 2011 to December 2014 as Under Secretary (Acting) and Deputy Under Secretary in the Science and Technology Directorate. He has extensive experience in the security and defense sectors in a variety of positions while serving as a Senior Executive Service (SES) government civilian, in uniform, in think tanks, in industry and in academia.  He began his professional career in the U.S. Army, serving on four continents while participating in combat, peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, counterterrorism and homeland security. Before joining DHS, Gerstein served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Policy) as Principal Director for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction. He has extensive experience in international negotiations having served on the Holbrooke Delegation that negotiated the Bosnia peace settlement; developed a counternarcotics initiative for Andean Ridge cross border communications and negotiated the destruction of SS-24 intercontinental ballistic rocket motors in Ukraine.    

View Daniel Gerstein's LinkedIn profile.

Paul Goodfellow, Member at Large

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Master of Public Administration ’17

Paul Goodfellow is a Program Manager with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys in Anchorage, Alaska. He graduated from the Schar School of Policy and Government in 2017 with a Master’s in Public Administration, emphasis on public management. His work for the state of Alaska is centered on the intersections of public policy, scientific research, and community development.\

Much of his work over the last seven years has involved working with large and small communities across the state, including many tribes and remote towns and villages, on matters from air pollution to climate change. He is currently spearheading an effort to tie the state’s growing radon testing program into a larger pan-Arctic effort that includes neighbors in Canada, as well as partners in Scandinavia.

Paul and his wife live in Anchorage with their two-year-old son, David, and a boxer mix they adopted.

View Paul Goodfellow's LinkedIn profile.

Leah Hoffman, Member at Large

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Bachelor of Arts in Public and International Affairs ’21

Leah Hoffman (they/she) is the Associate Manager of Development for the GiveGreen Program at the League of Conservation Voters. In their current role, Leah is dedicated to fundraising for climate champions who are committed to creating a safer and healthier environment. Leah's professional journey is rooted in non-profit and political fundraising, with notable experience at Voices for Progress and consulting on fundraising efforts for critical Senate and House re-election campaigns. 

Leah graduated from George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government in 2021 with a degree in Government and International Politics. Recently elected to the Schar School's Alumni Board, Leah continues to contribute to their alma mater and its mission, fostering connections and inspiring future leaders.

Their commitment to ensuring government leaders prioritize a healthy environment extends beyond their professional life. In her free time, Leah enjoys volunteering on local campaigns, exploring national and state parks, reading, and caring for her two cats in Arlington, VA, Maisie and Sammy.

View Leah Hoffman's LinkedIn profile.

Greg Hunt, Member at Large

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Bachelor of Science in Public Administration ’94

Greg Hunt is a Policy Advisor at the Department of Health and Human Services. Greg works on human services policy issues in this role, covering issues such as child welfare, senior nutrition, and issues involving persons with disabilities. Greg received his Bachelor of Science from the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He earned his Master’s of Public Administration from the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Delaware and a Master’s in defense and strategic studies from the United States Naval War College.

Greg and his family are longtime residents of Alexandria, Virginia. He serves as a board member of the Hemophilia Council of California. Greg is a member of the United States Naval Institute, the Naval War College Foundation, the American Society for Public Administration, the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, and the Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society in Education.

View Greg Hunt's LinkedIn profile.

Paola Jimenez, Member at Large

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Bachelor of Arts in Government and International Politics ’08

Paola Jimenez is an El Salvadoran born trailblazing Latina with a career in the Department of Defense as an Air Force civilian. She is a class of 2008 Schar School of Policy and Government graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and International Politics with a concentration in Theory and Law and holds a Master’s in Public Administration. She is an active member of the Air Force Association, an advisor in the Prince William County Woodbridge District, and a leader in several Diversity and Inclusion groups. For her dedication to public service, she is a multi-year award recipient.

Ms. Jimenez lives in Northern Virginia and enjoys spending time with family, friends, and her three pups.

View Paola Jimenez's LinkedIn profile.

Dr. Erika Laos, Member at Large

Bachelor of Arts in Government and International Politics ’01

Dr. Erika Laos is the founder and CEO of Bold Alliance Global Strategies, LLC where she oversees the strategic direction of the company and its subsidiaries.  She possesses over 25 years of combined experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. As a military veteran, she synchronizes strategic planning, operations, and global citizenship in her efforts.  She holds a Doctorate in Strategic Leadership from Regent University, a MA in International Affairs from Catholic University, and a BA in Government & International Politics from George Mason University.

Freddy Mitchell, Member at Large

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Master of Public Policy '17

Freddy Mitchell is Senior Vice President of Federal Government Relations at Wells Fargo and serves as a senior member of the Government, Regulatory & Public Policy team, leading the company’s advocacy and lobbying efforts on capital markets, small business, and various other financial services policies in Washington, D.C. He engages policymakers on key legislative issues that impact Wells Fargo to achieve public policy and political affairs objectives before Congress. 

Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Freddy served as Vice President of U.S. Government Relations at MetLife, where he led congressional and regulatory advocacy on retirement, pensions, and insurance policy. In addition to MetLife, Freddy served as Vice President of Congressional Relations for the American Bankers Association. Freddy also spent three years in the office of Government, Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC). 

Mitchell has held positions in a government relations and paralegal capacity with several law firms including Jones Walker LLP and Williams & Connolly LLP, and spent time on the Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. Freddy received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from George Mason University and studied at the University of Oxford.

View Freddy Mitchell's LinkedIn profile.

Brett Palat, Member at Large

Master of Public Policy ’05

Brett Palat is a 2005 graduate of the George Mason School of Public Policy (now Schar School) with a Master of Public Policy and concentration in Security Studies.  Since graduation from GMU, Brett has held various positions in the national security sector. These positions have previously included employment with the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, International Center for Terrorism Studies, and as a contract analyst in support of the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. Brett’s Professional functions within DOD and DHS were in furtherance of training and prevention of terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. Brett has been employed at the US Department of Justice for over 15 years, and has completed assignments in Washington DC, New York City, Miami and a diplomatic post in Mexico.

Catherine Read, Member at Large

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Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics ’84

Mayor Catherine Read moved into the first dorm ever built on the Fairfax campus of Mason on October 25, 1981. In the 40 years since getting her degree, she has done many different things professionally including human resources, a small business owner (twice), non-profit legislative advocacy work, broadcast media for Fairfax Public Access, and currently as Mayor of Fairfax City, George Mason’s hometown.

View Catherine Read's LinkedIn profile.

View Catherine Read's website.

Mike Riley, Member at Large

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Bachelor of Science in Biodefense ’09

Colonel Doctor Mike Riley retired from the Marine Corps with 31 years of service. Two significant projects that he accomplished prior to retirement were the stand-up of the Marine Corps National Capital Region Command in support of homeland defense and homeland security and the Opening and Dedication of the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Mike has also served as a Town Manager and a Congressional Staff member. He currently is a business developer for a Virginia based federal contracting company. Mike is a Board Member of GMU’s Hylton Performing Arts Center Development (HPAC) and remains engaged in supporting the HPAC’s mission, the Veterans in the Arts Initiative, and marketing the benefits of the HPAC. As an advocate for George Mason University degrees and programs, Mike frequently shares the many George Mason opportunities, specifically the Biodefense program, which has burgeoned on the Prince William Campus.

View Mike Riley's LinkedIn profile.



Former Board Members

Cindy Acevedo

Bachelor of Arts in Government and International Politics '19

Cindy graduated from George Mason University with a degree in Government and International Politics. Currently, she works within the defense industry negotiating subcontracts as a Subcontracts Administrator for BAE Systems. An advocate for advancing cancer research she previously worked at Georgetown University negotiating contracts and clinical trials.

Raghad Al Saadi

Master of Science in Peace Operations ’13

Ms. Al Saadi is an expert on human rights law, counter-terrorism, international humanitarian law, international refuge law, Women, Peace and Security, humanitarian assistance, peace negotiations, conflict-related GBV and the rule of law. Worked with the UNOCHA-Turkey as a humanitarian access consultant on the Syrian conflict. Developed strategic planning for the Ministry of Justice in Libya; a former Congressional Fellow on Capitol Hill; a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Policy Council in Washington. Raghad was a Delegate of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum (NPPF) 2017 A public speaker at the Initiatives of Change (IofC), Caux, Switzerland.  A panelist for the Global Policy Dialogue on WPS in Doha, Qatar. A selected expert on Climate Conflict & Security in Paris Peace Forum. Ms. Al Saadi holds a Master of Laws (LLM) in Human Rights Law from Oxford Brookes University, School of Law, Oxford, UK, and a M.S. in Peace Operations Policy—Schar School of Policy and Government, GMU. Ms. Al Saadi is a publisher at IEEE-Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, International Policy Digest, and Stability Operations Magazine.

Amanda Attiya

Bachelor of Science in Public Administration '20

Amanda Attiya is a Policy Analyst for the CDC Foundation on a contract with Washington DC’s Department of Health. Amanda works with the Office of Government Relations to identify and analyze areas of policy concern for DC Health and serves as a liaison between DC Health, the DC Council, and other executive departments in the district.

Amanda graduated Magna Cum Laude from George Mason University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration with a double concentration in Public Policy and U.S. Government Institutions and a minor in Health and Social Policy. During her time at Mason, she served as a Schar School Ambassador, Mason Ambassador, Resident Assistant, and Student Government Senator. She currently lives in Bowie, MD where she spends her free time dancing, editing other people’s essays, and searching out the perfect NJ-style bagel.

Khushboo Bhatia

B.A. in Government and International Relations

Khushboo Bhatia is 2016 graduate of the Schar School of Policy and Government, with a B.A. in Government and International Relations. Khushboo was the first Undergraduate Alumna to join the Schar Alumni Chapter Board of Directors. Since joining in 2017 she has focused on Undergraduate Alumni engagement. Outside of Schar, Khushboo served as the Advocacy Chair for Golden Quill and has served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors for three years - once as the Undergraduate Representative, and twice as the Young Alumni Representative. Khushboo is excited to continue supporting the Board as an At-Large Member and looks forward to setting up the Undergraduate Outreach committee.

Daniel Button

Bachelor of Arts in Government and International Politics '06, Master of Public Health '11

Daniel Button graduated from George Mason University and began working as a contractor with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) on biosafety/biosecurity/bio risk and chemical security efforts throughout the Middle East. After the management, and development, of these programs turned to a knack for business development, Daniel was offered a position at Teledyne FLIR where he served as Senior BD Manager for the Integrated Solutions line – eventually moving to work with robotics and drone applications for federal non-DOD customers.  Most recently, Daniel became dual-hatted as both the Director of Business Development for federal non-DOD, and the Sales Director for the Octopus ISR Systems line, at Edge Autonomy – a San Luis Obispo, CA based company with offices in Herndon, VA.  Daniel lives in Arlington, VA where he enjoys politics and playing tennis.

Tom Bradley

Master of Peace Operations Policy '18

Tom Bradley is an educator and facilitator with extensive leadership experience in the military, non-profit organizations, consulting, and contracting. He has twenty years of successful experience as an instructor and curriculum planner. In 2020 he started his third year leading a graduate fellowship program for an internationally focused non-profit association in Washington, drawing graduate students from ten prestigious local universities, including the Schar School.

He also facilitates strategic-planning meetings for government agencies and other organizations. He has been a board member of a Washington non-profit association for nine years, leading the organization in expanding programs, increasing funding, and enhancing mission accomplishment. For four years, he was the chief executive officer of a non-profit educational association. 

Tom’s military experience included US Air Force small-unit command, fighter operations and flight instruction in the F-4 Phantom II, modeling and simulation, strategic planning, international affairs.

Tom earned the master of science in Peace Operations with a certificate in National Security and Public Policy from the Schar School in 2018. He earned certificates in Facilitation and International Business Management form Georgetown University, and holds a master’s in political science from Auburn University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Tennessee.

Craig Buckley

Master of Public Policy ‘16

Alexander Cumana

Master in International Commerce and Policy (now Master of Global Commerce and Policy) '12

Alex Cumana is a 2012 graduate of the Schar School of Policy and Government (M.A., International Commerce and Policy) and currently serves as the Budget Director for the United States Trustee Program, a component of the Department of Justice. Prior to this position, Alex spent nearly 6 years at the State Department, working on the Department's central budget, HIV/AIDS foreign assistance programs and global health matters in the western hemisphere. While a Schar School student, Alex interned at the White House and was selected to the 2012 Presidential Management Fellows program. Alex is a native Floridian, born to Cuban immigrant parents, and currently resides in Arlington, VA with his wife and daughter.

Daniel M. Duckwitz

Bachelor of Arts in Government & International Politics with a minor in Economics ’09, Master of Public Administration ’15

Dan Duckwitz is a Deputy for Small Business at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Headquarters. Dan supports the health of the defense industrial base through innovative outreach to industry, maturing small business analytics, and fostering collaboration and high velocity learning at headquarters and the field. He has worked as a small business professional since 2014. Before joining NAVSEA in 2019, Dan worked at the Defense Health Agency, first as a financial management analyst and then as a small business analyst. He is a veteran of the US Army Reserve serving as a financial management technician with deployments in the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns.  Dan holds a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Government & International Politics with a minor in Economics from George Mason University.  Dan enjoys spending time with his dog Dapper, supporting DC United, playing Call of Duty, and running slowly.

View Daniel Duckwitz's Twitter feed.

View Daniel Duckwitz's LinkedIn account.

Anne Fenley

Master in Public Administration 16’

Anne Fenley is a Homeland Security Analyst with the emergency management exercise design company, Ascenttra, Inc. and focuses on process and project development. In this role, Anne has worked with local, state, and federal governments by reviewing their emergency plans and policies and provides insight and actionable improvement suggestions on how these entities can strengthen their preparedness and response plans.

Anne graduated with a Master’s in Public Administration from George Mason University in 2016. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. and spends spare time with friends and family, enjoying the city and traveling as safely as possible.

Christina Fullmer

Master in Public Policy

Christina is a Political Affairs Manager with the Environmental Defense Fund and leads projects focused on knowledge management, partner engagement, and climate advocacy. Prior to her current role, Christina spent over a decade in local government building and maintaining strong collaborative partnerships with stakeholders and planning and executing special projects and events as a Senior Aide to the Fairfax County Chairman.

Christina graduated with a Master’s in Public Policy from George Mason University in 2013. She currently lives in Northern Virginia wine country and spends spare time with family, volunteering in her community, and participating in socially distant outdoor activities.

Laura Gouge

Master in International Commerce and Policy (now Master of Global Commerce and Policy)

Laura Gouge currently works for the American Sugar Alliance as the Special Projects Coordinator.

Ms. Gouge is co-chair of the George Mason Schar School of Policy and Government Alumni Student Support Committee, which strives to connect alums with the needs of prospective and current students, as well as new alumni. She also co-chairs the Schar School Alumni Mentorship program. She has been an active member of the Mason Schar School Alumni Chapter Student Support Committee since September 2015.

Ms. Gouge graduated from George Mason's Schar School in 2015 with a Master's in International Commerce and Policy. She also holds a dual Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Chinese with a minor in International Business from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Cherrita Guy

Bachelor’s of Science in Economics ’18, Master of International Commerce & Policy (now Master of Global Commerce and Policy) ’19

After graduating with her Bachelor’s degree in Economics in 2018, Cherrita attended the Schar School of Policy and Government and obtained her M.A. in International Commerce and Policy during the Spring 2019. Currently, Cherrita is a Senior Consultant within the Government and Public Sector Practice of Ernst & Young, LLP and works with many Federal agencies in their civilian, and defense & national security sectors. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with Girls On The Run -DC and is a member of EY’s Greater Washington Corporate Social Responsibility committee to coordinate nonprofit outreach and community service in the D.C. area. Cherrita is excited to be a Member-At-Large on the Schar School Alumni Board and looks forward to serving both current students and alumni during her term.

View Cherrita Guy's LinkedIn account.

Colin R. Hart

Master of International Commerce and Policy (now Master of Global Commerce and Policy)

Vice President of Direct Investments at Freedom Capital, a privately held investment management firm, and Managing Director of Freedom Development, a real estate acquisition and development company.

Mr. Hart was the Managing Director of Vanquest Investments, an emerging markets asset management and investment advisory firm specializing in Eastern European markets, including Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine. He also served as President and CEO of the largest independently-owned French petroleum storage and distribution company, Dyneff SAS.

Mr. Hart has held several other positions of leadership in international investment firms including Milestone Merchant Partners, The Carlyle Group and as an analyst at Reed Smith Shaw & McClay in Washington, D.C. Mr. Hart holds a Masters of Arts in International Transactions from George Mason University (1992) and a Bachelor of Arts in Middle Eastern and Asian Studies from the University of Virginia (1989). He is a member of the boards of Petit St. Vincent Resorts, Ltd. and Freedom Resorts and served as president of the initial alumni chapter for George Mason University’s MAIT graduate program. He is married with two children and lives and works in Virginia.

John Lefavour

PhD in Public Policy '03

Dr. John W. LeFavour received his Bachelor of Science in Health Care Planning from the University of Cincinnati, a Master’s in Hospital and Health Administration and a Master’s in Business Administration from Xavier University, and a Doctorate in Public Policy from George Mason University.  He served in the United States Navy Medical Service Corps for thirty years and retired as a Captain.  Throughout his Naval career, he served at numerous commands including several assignments in policy development for Navy Medicine.  He held command (CEO) of Naval Hospital Jacksonville and subsequently served as the Senior Policy Advisor to the Navy Surgeon General.  Following his retirement, he joined Accenture Federal Services where he currently serves as a Senior Military Health Policy Advisor.  He is also a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.  He and his wife, Sharyl currently reside in Oxford, FL.

Anthony Luberto

Master of Peace Operations Policy ’13

Mr. Tony Luberto earned a Master of Science in Peace Operations from George Mason University in 2013 and a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in History from Tarleton State University in 2005. His passion for international development and diplomacy has brought him all over the world including Haiti, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Guatemala, Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Belgium, Turkey, and Germany. He was awarded the Department of State’s Meritorious Honor Award in 2017. In 2014 his Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan team received the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence in Maintenance Training, Advice, and Assistance of Foreign Security Forces, Ministerial Level Award. He’s also a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Combat Action Badge, and Parachutist Badge. Tony was born in Frankfurt, Germany and grew up as an “army brat,” living all over the U.S. but claims Texas as his home state. He loves George Mason University, the students, and aims to defeat his wife in Jeopardy at least once.

View Anthony Luberto's LinkedIn profile.

Emily Mark

Master of Public Administration

Emily Mark currently works at the Department of State (DoS) as the Acquisition Lead for all Human Capital contracts. Previous to her employment at DoS, she started her federal career at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) where she advanced to become the Acquisition Program Manager for several mission critical DHS programs. Ms. Mark has received multiple awards recognizing her efforts in acquisition planning, contract administration, and program management.

Ms. Mark attended the Ohio State University and graduated in May 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Political Science. She continued her education to graduate in December 2009 with a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government, with a concentration in International Management.

Ms. Mark is involved in several professional organizations and nonprofits. In 2005, she and three of her college colleagues founded the EAGLE (Empowering Asian Global Leaders to Excellence) and HAY (Healthy Asian Youth) nonprofits which are based in Columbus, Ohio and serve Asian American youth and their families.

Jason Matechak

Master of International Commerce and Policy (now Master of Global Commerce and Policy)

Jason Matechak is Managing Principal at the Impresa Legal Group. He focuses his practice on Government Contracts and Grants, NGOs, Governance and Compliance and International Matters. He serves as the Director for the Center for International Procurement Law and Policy at the International Law Institute. He has served as the General Counsel of International Relief & Development, the Legal Advisor to the International Development Law Organization, and as a Partner in the Reed Smith Firm. As a civil servant, he served as a contract negotiator and legal reform officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

He has served on the Council and Administration Committee, and as the Technology Officer, and Rule of Law Officer for the American Bar Association Section of International Law, and has served as a Delegate to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group on Public Procurement.

He earned his Law Degree from the George Mason University School of Law, his Masters in International Commerce and Policy from the George Mason University School for Policy, Government, and International Affairs, and his Bachelors in Political Science, with minors in Russian Studies and Economics from James Madison University.

He is a member of the Bars of Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Fleciah Mburu (Njeri)

Master of Public Administration ’18, Certificate of Public Management ’18

As a Schar student, Njeri supplemented her passion for emergency management and homeland security through her course work, research and practical experience. Njeri’s work ethic and drive have kept her focused in both her academic endeavors, as well as her professional career. She embodies the spirit and values of a public servant. She is eager to not only create opportunities for her own growth and learning, but to lift others up and provide encouragement and support to her peers as well. She is passionate about getting involved, has a strong curiosity for learning, and is able to connect with people from all walks of life. As a Graduate Research Assistant and Campus Ambassador, Njeri was able to engage with students and help Dr. Neaves bridge the gap between theory, and practice.

Since graduating Schar in 2018, Njeri has continued to find ways to connect with people and stay involved in the emergency management/homeland security field through numerous academic and professional opportunities. For example, as a Camp Counselor for the 2017 and 2019 Arlington County HERricane program, she empowered young girls ages 13-17 to pursue leadership roles in emergency management through training in incident management, national hazards, and leadership skills. The camp recognizes the value and importance of empowering young women and maintaining long-term hands-on professional development opportunities. Thanks to her involvement in the camp, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency has spearheaded the initiative to develop a HERricane DC camp for young girls too. Academically, Njeri has continued to challenge herself and is completing her 2nd Master’s degree and expanding on the knowledge she gained at Schar.  As an alumna, she is involved as a Schar School Alumni Student Support Committee Member.

Ajay Narayanan

Master in Organization Development and Knowledge Management '20

Ajay Narayanan is currently the Manager for internal audit at the World Bank Group. He is retiring from his current job in 2021 to pursue his interests in individual and team coaching and organizational development and strategy.

Ajay has 30 years of executive and technical experience in national and global development finance organizations. He has worked on enterprise risk management, internal audit, insurance, EHS management consulting, infrastructure and climate finance, organization strategy and innovation. Having worked for over two decades in complex organizations solving challenging problems, he has a passion for transformation of human systems for public good. His approach to innovation and change in large human systems integrates wisdom traditions drawn from Daoism and Mindfulness with current Western Organizational Development approaches such as Social Constructionism, Adaptive Leadership and Complex Systems.

Ajay has master's degrees in Organizational Development & Knowledge Management at George Mason University, and Mechanical Engineering and Safety Engineering. He is a Certified Internal Auditor, Certified Fellow of the Institute of Risk Management, London, and a LEAD Fellow.

Mark P. O’Malley

Master of Public Administration

Mark O’Malley presently serves as the Director of Operations and Plans in the Division of Sealift Operations and Emergency Response at the U.S. Maritime Administration in Washington, D.C. In this position, he directs the management of shore side logistical support for 53 Ready Reserve Fleet vessels that support Department of Defense and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. Additionally, he manages emergency response policy and procedures for MARAD in coordination with other modes in the Department of Transportation.

Previously he was the Director of Boating Services at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources from, 2012-2017. In this position was responsible for administering a $20 million grant program to construct and repair boating infrastructure and conduct dredging projects, and the development of navigation standards and safe boating regulations. 

He served 30 years in the United States Coast Guard in the fields of maritime safety, security, and search and rescue retiring in 2012 at the rank of Captain. His last assignment was as Commanding Officer of Sector Maryland and the National Capital Region. Sector Maryland/NCR executes all Coast Guard missions for Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington DC with a crew of 480 active duty and reserve personnel.

His previous Coat Guard field assignments included Group New York, Marine Inspection Office, New York, Marine Safety Office Providence, RI, Deputy Commander Activities Baltimore, and Commanding Officer of Marine Safety Office Portland Maine. Three staff assignments included Office of Response, and Office of Port and Facility Security at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington DC, and Chief of Prevention for the Seventh CG District in Miami, FL. 

In addition to his MPA from GMU, he earned a bachelor of science from the University of Massachusetts. Mark also graduated from the College of Naval Command and Staff at the Naval War College. He later attended the Maxwell School National Security Management Course at Syracuse University and the National Security Leadership Seminar at the Department of State's Foreign Service Institute.

He lives in Annapolis, MD with his wife Susan. They have two adult children, Elizabeth O’Malley who is an Asylum Officer with Citizenship and Immigration Service, and Conor O’Malley, GMU ’12, who is presently serving with the Peace Corps in Morocco.

Joshua Pipes

Master of Peace Operations Policy

A native of Arlington, Texas, Joshua Pipes graduated from the Peace Operations Policy Program at George Mason University in 2014. He is currently a federal contractor at the U.S Department of State supporting the Bureau of Administration. Previously, Joshua was a federal contractor supporting the Bureau of Information Resource Management, the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations. Prior to arriving in Washington D.C., Joshua taught English in South Korea. While in South Korea, he obtained his TESOL certification at Korea Nazarene University. As an undergraduate, Joshua attended Shorter University in Rome, GA and received his Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and a minor in journalism.

Mariam Rahmani

Bachelor of Arts Government and International Politics '19, Master in Public Policy '21

Mariam Rahmani graduated Magna Cum Laude from George Mason University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and International Politics (with a concentration in Law, Philosophy, and Governance and a minor in Sociology) as well as with a Master's in Public Policy (with a concentration in National Security Policy) in 2021. During her time as a Schar student, Mariam took part in multiple fellowships, including the Joseph Schumpeter, Frederic Bastiat, and Global Politics fellowship programs. She also interned on Capitol Hill and served as both an undergraduate and graduate research assistant for multiple esteemed faculty members of the Schar School. As a student, Mariam aimed to pursue both rigorous coursework and career development opportunities that further strengthened her knowledge and passion for progressive and sustainable policy solutions as well as effective leadership.

Mariam is now an incoming law student at the American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) and intends to pursue a career in public interest law. She lives in Falls Church, Virginia and enjoys reading, baking, and spending time with family and friends in her free time.

Emily Rogers

Master of Public Administration ’20

Emily Rogers currently works as a research assistant at George Mason University focusing on lobbying and advocacy. Previously, Emily worked in the nonprofit sector specializing in volunteer recruitment, engagement, and retention at SCORE and DECA. Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies with a minor in Health from the College of Charleston. She graduated from George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government in May 2020 with a Master of Public Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management. Emily is a member of the Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration, the Nu Lambda Mu Honor Society for Nonprofit Management, and the recipient of the Julianne Mahler Award for Outstanding Research in Public Administration.

View Emily Rogers' LinkedIn profile.

Dr. Divya Shrider

PhD, Public Policy '11

Divya Sridhar serves as Policy Director, Digital Equity at Excel in Ed. Previously, Divya was the Public Policy Advisor for five years with the leading learning science publisher, McGraw-Hill and prior to that, served in health IT policy roles in the telehealth space. Divya earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Texas A&M University and a PhD in Public Policy from George Mason University.

Edwina L. Smallwood

Master of Public Policy '16

Edwina Smallwood is an Economist at the Department of Transportation (DOT) - Federal Transit Administration (FTA). She works on developing and drafting economic analysis on proposed regulatory actions, manages research projects, assists in the preparation and drafting of congressionally mandated reports to Congress, and provides support and technical assistance on policy and economic matters related to transit. Edwina is a 2016 Presidential Management Fellow (PMF). During her time as a PMF, she worked at the Department of Justice, detailed at the Department of Energy - Energy Information Administration, and now works at FTA. Edwina is a four-time graduate of George Mason University. She holds a Bachelor's in Economics, a Master's in Public Policy with a concentration in Regional Economic Development, a Master's in Business Administration, and a Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics. During her free time, Edwina enjoys spending time with family and friends, sightseeing, cooking, traveling, reading, collecting comic books, and expanding her knowledge base.

J.J. Stakem

Master in Organization Development and Knowledge Management

J.J. Stakem is the Founder of Objective Area Solutions LLC, a management consulting firm focused on the public sector. Mr. Stakem has over 17 years of experience in the areas of organization development, strategic planning, performance management, process improvement and implementation, workforce planning, and training across a wide variety of public and private sector clients. As a professional consultant, he has managed programs for the Department of Defense, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of State, and private industry. Mr. Stakem has significant international experience and has managed multiple projects for the U.S. Government, particularly focused on building capacity with partner nations in the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia.

Mr. Stakem serves as a member of George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government Alumni Board and, as a former Marine Corps Officer, is particularly focused on veteran outreach and engagement for current and prospective students. He holds a Master of Science in Organization Development and Knowledge Management from George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Virginia.

He is a licensed commercial pilot and flight instructor in fixed-wing and helicopter aircraft. In his spare time, he enjoys recreational flying at the Leesburg Airport and spending time with his wife and two children.

Kristen Taylor

Bachelor of Arts in Government & International Politics ’88

Kristen graduated from George Mason University in 1988 with a B.A. in Government and International Politics. She has extensive leadership and a deep understanding of information assurance, cybersecurity, risk management framework, network security, enterprise architecture, supply chain risk management, information technology portfolio management and security regulations, standards and policies. She possesses strong analytical, briefing, written, and verbal communication skills. Ms. Taylor has a Master’s of Science in Computer Information Systems and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)®.

Jenny Walters

Master of Public Policy

Ms. Walters is the Communications Director for the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) of the Department of Homeland Security. She and her staff manage internal and external strategic communications for OCFO’s staff of over 200 employees. OCFO coordinates closely on communications across other department management functions such as CIO, CHCO, and the Chief Procurement Officer.

Jenny earned her MBA at York College of Pennsylvania and spent the first six years of her career as a market researcher and information technology project manager for the private sector. While continuing to work full time, she returned to graduate school and earned a Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University. Shifting her focus to the public sector, she supported the National Science Board (NSB) as a research analyst.

Jenny began her career at the Department of Homeland Security at the Science and Technology Directorate, where she spent seven years before moving on to her current position working at DHS Headquarters.

Schar School Alumni Faculty/Staff Liaisons

Get contact information for the Schar School's alumni faculty/staff liaisons.


Please consider serving on one of our chapter’s committee:

  • Student Support Committee seeks to provide the following programs for alumni and students:

    • Chaired by Fleciah Mburu (Njeri)

      • Exam Stress Break Event (donuts, blue books, coffee, fruits and an open space are offered to students, faculty, and alumni twice a semester).
      • Undergraduate alumni and student engagement events (on Fairfax Campus/Mason Square and regionally).
      • First Year Initiative (Alumni visit undergraduate/graduate first year classes to acquaint new students to the Alumni Chapter services and events).
      • Alumni to Student & Alumni to Alumni Mentorship Program
      • Alumni speakers at orientation
      • Host perspective & admitted student events
      • They also work with students organizations at the Fairfax Campus/Mason Square
  • Events Committee seeks to provide the following programs for alumni:
    • Chaired by Anne Fenley

      • Plan all policy and networking events
  • Veterans/Active Military Committee seeks to provide the following programs for alumni and students:
    • Chaired by Kristen Taylor

      • Represent Veteran Owned Companies, Student Veterans, and those Military-Connected at the Schar School Career Fair
      • Plan Schar School at the State Department Day for students
      • Plan athletic & charity events 

For more information email us!

Schar School of Policy and Government Alumni Mentoring Program

Enroll in the mentoring program as a mentor or mentee.  Throughout the mentorship process, Mentees work toward goals and professional growth, while Mentors support them through next-level career decisions and engagement.

Mason Alumni Association

The Schar School of Policy and Government encourages all graduates to actively participate in the Schar School Alumni Association Chapter which is a member of the George Mason University Alumni Association. The George Mason University Alumni Association w



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