If ever there was a lesson to be learned about elections, this year’s contest for student body leadership was it. Paul Wyche, a cyber security engineering major, and running mate Nell Palumbo, a government and international politics major at the Schar School of Policy and Government, won the George Mason University student body presidency and vice presidency, respectively, by a mere three votes.
Of the 1,474 votes cast, the Wyche-Palumbo combo took 646 of them, topping the Liam Keen-Amanda Magpiong ticket’s 643 votes. Wyche and Palumbo were sworn in on April 27.
For Nashville native Palumbo, the three weeks of campaigning she characterized as “stressful” were worth the effort. “I believe that the most important part of Mason is the students,” she said.
Palumbo, who will be a junior in the fall, chose to attend Mason since it fit with her desire to go to a large university near Washington, D.C., where she could pursue a future in government. But as her first semester as a freshman came and went, she was nervous that she would be lost amid crowds.
To her surprise, she saw benefits of belonging to a smaller school—the Schar School—within a larger institution and found that it unlocked more paths for her future.
She added that relationships with professors, who encouraged her to explore new avenues of academics, influenced her to consider law school, which is now on her horizon.
Palumbo has taken advantage of leadership opportunities during her Mason career. As her sorority’s president, Alpha Phi, she strives to motivate peers and improve community building. Although the chapter does not have a traditional Greek house, she has managed to live with several of her sorority sisters in a home that offers stress-busting DIY projects. At the moment, she is working on gardening boxes she plans to bring from the Mason greenhouse to her own house.
Palumbo is also enjoying the proximity to Washington, working this summer as an intern on Capitol Hill. A prior internship for the Institute for Justice in Arlington, Virginia, prepared her for her next political assignment.
Included on the Wyche-Palumbo campaign platform was a promise to increase student engagement with student government. Palumbo hopes to explore new ways to use communication platforms to generate participation in common goals.
And in doing so, maybe get more students to vote.