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Mason Memories

I first enrolled at George Mason in January 1963 and received a doctorate from George Mason University in January 2000. When I began, George Mason College was an eight-room building at Bailey's Crossroads with a few full-time instructors who took a personal interest in their students.

In 1965, I received an associate's degree from George Mason and headed for the University of Virginia (UVA) to earn a B.A. in mathematics. Mathematics at UVA seemed moribund, while biology seemed young, vibrant, and growing. Armed with excitement about research, I earned a B.A. in biology in 1967.

Over the next decade, I married my wife, Carol, and earned two master's degrees, one in biology from American University and one in educational leadership from UVA. I taught in Fairfax County Public Schools from 1969 to 1974, when I was recruited by a government agency to work in cryptography. In 1978, I completed a three-year government professionalization program to become a computer systems analyst.

For several years, I developed computer skills and began to understand how cryptography and operating systems might help protect data. By 1988, it was clear that concepts for protecting information needed change. To get ahead in my field I enrolled in classes at George Mason University. I met Professor Paul Ammann, who suggested I work toward a master's degree, which I earned in 1993.

Ammann suggested that I meet Professors Edgar Sibley and Jeff Offutt to discuss pursuing a doctorate in information technology. Sibley suggested I meet Professors David Schum and Sushil Jajodia. Over many hours of discussion, they gently introduced me to my own ignorance, but they also provided me ways out of it. I was able to research, write, and defend a dissertation and earned my doctorate in January.

Prior to graduation, Ammann suggested that a doctorate is a beginning--not an end. I think he was right. During my journey, I have learned about serendipity, relationships, collaboration, listening carefully, persistence, and the diversity of belief, but I know I have further to go. And George Mason will surely have a role in whatever happens next.

--Joseph M. Costantini, M.S. '93, Ph.D. '00

Do you fondly remember certain places within the George Mason community that exemplified the "college experience?" Did you befriend a mentor/professor at George Mason who influenced your life? If so, tell us about it! Send your submission to Alumni Affairs, MS 3B3, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, Virginia 22030-4444. Please keep submissions to a maximum of 500 words.

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