A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Patriot Profile: Lela Ross

By Corey Jenkins Schaut, MPA '07 on July 3, 2013

Major: Integrative Studies major minoring in Conflict Analysis and Resolution

Internship: For the past year, the rising senior has been a student analyst with the U.S. Department of State as part of the Student Career Experience program, now known as Pathways. Ross works in the Office of Information Programs and Services, which handles privacy and records management for the department.

Future plans: Ross aspires to be a diplomat. She’d like to stay with the State Department, possibly with U.S. Agency for International Development. She’s also interested in pursuing a graduate degree in international studies, global affairs, or conflict analysis and resolution.

In the meantime, she’s making the most of her academic career. Ross was recently awarded an OSCAR grant to pursue a research project with assistant professor Al Fuertes where she will explore how elementary school students handle conflict. In addition to working with local first and fifth grade students, she plans to interview Mason students who experienced conflict in school and explore how bullying is handled in the classroom.

New Century College student Lela Ross with classmates.

New Century College student Lela Ross with classmates.

Why she loves NCC: Becoming an NCC student was a happy accident for Ross. “When I was applying, I didn’t realize that international studies was part of the integrative studies degree,” she says.

Once in the program, she found that she loved the experiential learning component. “It’s a great opportunity to explore the field in a hands-on way,” she says.

This past semester, she most enjoyed her applied ethics course, which [former NCC director] Nance Lucas taught, and a course on refugees. Both offered outside-the-classroom experiences. For the refugees course, one standout experience included joining classmates in building a “refugee tent” out of recycled materials near the clock on the North Plaza to raise awareness. Ross noted that the tent construction occurred on a rainy day, which added to the project’s impact on her and her classmates.

Penny Gilchrist contributed to this story.

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