Access to Excellence Podcast

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George Mason University's Access to Excellence podcast brings you the university's most compelling research and stories.


    • Nov 19, 2021 LATEST EPISODE
    • monthly NEW EPISODES
    • 33m AVG DURATION
    • 34 EPISODES

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    Latest episodes from Access to Excellence Podcast

    The real story of the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 19, 2021 47:21

    John G. Turner, a professor of religious studies at George Mason University talks with Mason President Gregory Washington about the real history of Thanksgiving. Were the Pilgrims religious refugees who established democracy and the holiday in New England, or invaders who betrayed their native allies and even enslaved them? Turner also gets to the bottom of the age-old Thanksgiving question: light meat or dark? A fascinating discussion with lots to digest.

    Hakeem Oluseyi calls his education ”a matter of life and death”

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2021 49:55

    Hakeem Oluseyi tells George Mason University President Gregory Washington how he went from a life of crime to being one of the world's renowned astrophysicists. The Visiting Robinson Professor at Mason also describes what aliens might look like – think a two-foot tall Incredible Hulk – and tells a remarkable tale of how working as a hotel janitor, and eating room-service leftovers to survive, made him understand that his education was “a matter of life and death.”

    How sustainability is good business

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 13, 2021 36:42

    Lisa Gring-Pemble thinks business can be a force for good in society. And the co-director of George Mason University's Business for a Better World Center and co-founder of the university's Honey Bee initiative is an outspoken champion of that sensibility. Gring-Pemble tells Mason President Gregory Washington how and why business should address world challenges. She also describes how business can drive sustainability success and shouldn't be measured simply by profits but how it affects the environment and the communities in which we live.

    Talking immigration, DREAMers, the border wall ... and margaritas

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 26, 2021 47:00

    For Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a nationally recognized expert on the dynamics of the U.S.-Mexico border and immigration, the border region is like a third country. The George Mason University professor talks to Mason President Gregory Washington about the wonders and dangers of the border region, and why we must be honest about the causes of illegal immigration while stopping politics from driving decision-making.

    At the nexus of policing and society

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 28, 2021 47:53

    For Cynthia Lum, a professor of criminology, law, and society at George Mason University, the realities of policing don't always match what the public thinks of policing. That disconnect doesn't allow a discussion about the most effective approaches to curbing use-of-force discrepancies. Lum, a former Baltimore City cop, tells Mason President Gregory Washington about how evidence-based policing is part of an overall strategy to fight crime that includes being respectful to the communities with which they work.

    Spencer Crew: At the intersection of museums and social justice

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2021 50:04

    George Mason University history professor Spencer Crew, the first African American to lead a major Smithsonian museum, tells Mason President Gregory Washington about the evolving role museums play in society, and how the Black community in the United States, and those who work with it, are trying to be the conscience of the nation.

    Concussion discussion

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 26, 2021 38:18

    Shane Caswell, co-director of George Mason University's Sports Medicine Assessment Research and Testing Laboratory tells Mason President Gregory Washington about his research that could change how concussions are diagnosed and treated, how Mason students are working in the community as athletic trainers, and what the latest science says about concussions and CTE.

    COVID-19 mental health crisis is the second pandemic

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 8, 2021 48:12

    COVID-19 presented individuals with many challenges. Some were obvious, such as how to continue one's education through distance learning. But some were not as clear cut, such as dealing with anxiety, depression and grief. Robyn Mehlenbeck, director of George Mason University's Center for Psychological Services, talks about how college campuses can deal with those stresses, and why the mental health crises associated with COVID-19 is the second pandemic.

    Gail Christopher: On racial healing and overcoming a legacy of separation

    Play Episode Listen Later May 14, 2021 36:26

    A false story has been told in this country about people of color, social change agent Gail Christopher says, and it’s time to tell the truth about the “bad idea” of the hierarchy of human value. Dr. Christopher, executive director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity and a senior scholar at George Mason University, tells Mason President Gregory Washington that racial healing includes building a belief system “that is grounded in a deep understanding of our interconnectedness and interdependence as an expanded human family.”

    With Emergent Ventures, Tyler Cowen puts money where his mind is

    Play Episode Listen Later May 4, 2021 46:48

    Emergent Ventures, which looks for big and unique ideas, has raised $60 million and funded 200 projects. Mason economist and co-founder Tyler Cowen says the grants are “something you can win that’s not about connections.” Push ideas, he said. “Make the world tell you no.” Cowen also talks about how the Fast Grants program is helping fight Covid-19, why having children can help fight climate change and why he is bullish on the U.S. economy.

    Climate change and the misinformation war

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 21, 2021 41:50

    There are those who still don’t believe in climate change or that it is manmade. As Earth Day approaches, public health scientist Ed Maibach, director of George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication, speaks about overcoming climate change misinformation, which he calls the world’s most important public health initiative.

    The coronavirus as Rubik's Cube -- Part 2

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 29, 2021 41:25

    Epidemiologist and public health expert Saskia Popescu talks COVID-19 from policy to the front lines, including fractures in our critical infrastructure and what she tells Mason President Gregory Washington is the false dichotomy between public health and the economy. A fascinating conversation that informs and enlightens.

    The coronavirus as Rubik's Cube -- Part1

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 10, 2021 42:21

    How hard was it to get things aligned to fight COVID-19? In the first of a two-part series exploring the pandemic and its effects, Mason epidemiologist Amira Roess explains what we know about the virus and how the U.S. response could have been better, from public policy, to research, to vaccine distribution and acceptance. And we’re not out of the woods yet. 

    Doing the work: Anti-racism, inclusion and disrupting inequality

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 21, 2021 45:43

    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.

    'It's important who tells the stories'

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 17, 2021 34:07

    In this fascinating conversation, President Gregory Washington speaks with Kevin Clark, director of original animation for preschool programming at Netflix, 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.

    Creating a safer return to campus

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 29, 2021 31:59

    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.

    The climate change imperative

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 13, 2021 32:50

    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, says for the go-getters, opportunity awaits.

    Into the eyes of a murderer

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 16, 2020 24:56

    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.

    Election projection

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 2, 2020 31:46

    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 Greg Washington speaks with Schar School Dean Mark J. Rozell on where our politics goes from here.

    60 seconds to nuclear war

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2020 28:35

    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.

    We all have skin in the game

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 14, 2020 26:22

    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.

    Would a Trump election loss benefit the Republican Party?

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 27, 2020 20:41

    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.

    The U.S.'s approach to immigration is like 'policy formaldehyde'

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 31, 2020 28:15

    Mason's Justin Gest, an expert on immigration and the politics of demographic change, explains why the U.S., from the outside looking in, appears to be a "closed angry giant."

    Is the U.S. experiencing a third Reconstruction?

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 19, 2020 26:35

    Mason's Charles Chavis, a historian of the early civil right movement, puts the current protests for racial justice in historical context.

    Investigating the Olympic Spirit

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 29, 2020 29:31

    Did you know the torch relay began at the 1936 Berlin Games? With this summer’s Tokyo Olympics on hold, Mason Olympic scholar Chris Elzey examines the Games as an athletic, cultural and political event.

    The ups and downs of policing since Ferguson

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 8, 2020 30:32

    Mason professor Laurie Robinson, who during the Obama administration was co-chair of the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing, explains a complicated legacy.

    The economics of COVID-19 in the Washington, D.C. region

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 16, 2020 16:50

    Jeannette Chapman, director of Mason's Stephen S. Fuller Institute, says the region's primarily knowledge-based economy provides a strong foundation for recovery, but some sectors could take two years to rebound.

    Let's talk (from home) about telework

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 3, 2020 31:48

    How does Monday and Friday as work-at-home days sound? Mason professors Matt Cronin and Kevin Rockmann discuss how the pandemic could change how we view the office.  

    Thomas Lovejoy: The Amazon is at a tipping point

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 21, 2020 21:20

    University Professor Thomas Lovejoy, known worldwide as the "godfather of biodiversity," explains why the great rainforest is so imperiled, and how he fell in love with the region he has visited since 1965 and calls "a biologist's gigantic Christmas stocking."

    Let's talk about how we talk about vaccinations

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 13, 2020 28:17

    How does rhetoric play into debates about vaccination? Mason professor Heidi Lawrences explains her research into the role that professional communication from physicians, health officials, and researchers plays in shaping public debate and parental beliefs about vaccines.

    Why we go mad for March Madness

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 10, 2020 23:48

    Is it the win-or-go-home setup? Is it watching an underdog reach the Final Four, as George Mason did in 2006? Mason sport management professor Craig Esherick, a former head coach at Georgetown, says it's all of the above when it comes to the NCAA basketball tournament. Esherick tells us why the tournament might be the best it's ever been, has a new story about Mason's 2006 run, and discusses different paths to the NBA for high school players. Just don't ask him to fill out a tournament bracket.

    When (three) worlds collide

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 2, 2020 29:43

    George Mason University professor Shobita Satyapal and PhD student Ryan Pfeifle discuss their discovery of three galaxies with supermassive black holes at their centers that, when they collide, could shake apart matter and light up gravitational wave detectors on earth. It is a fascinating detective story that was reported in the New York Times and on CNN and was aided by the use of several major observatories.

    Introducing your host: John Hollis

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 27, 2020 3:27

    John Hollis is a seasoned journalist, a master interviewer and, as a senior communications officer at George Mason University, his familiarity with his subjects makes for enlightening and entertaining conversations. Join John as he speaks to the thought leaders and newsmakers who make Mason one of the nation's most vibrant educational environments.

    The Enslaved People of George Mason

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 7, 2020 33:36

    In 2017, a team of undergraduate students at George Mason University began exploring the history of their school's namesake, George Mason, as a slave owner. The project inspired the university to plan a memorial, to be unveiled in 2021, that honors those enslaved at Gunston Hall.Join host John Hollis, Mason history professor Wendi Manuel-Scott and University Librarian George Oberle as they discuss the lives and culture of the slaves at Gunston Hall, and the Enslaved People of George Mason project.

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