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