The Mason Spirit: The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of George Mason University


Arts and Sciences


Bert Carmody, B.A. History '72, achieved the Certified Investment Management Consultant designation from the Investment Management Consultants Association in Denver, Colo. Bert lives and works in Atlanta, Ga.

Howell C. Sasser, M.A. History '74, received a master's of theology degree from Oxford University in 1998 and has been serving as a priest in the Diocese in Europe of the Church of England since 1992. In May 2002, the bishop of Gibraltar in Europe commissioned Howell as archdeacon of Gibraltar with responsibilities for pastoral oversight of Anglican churches in Andorra, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco, and the island possessions of Spain and Portugal.

David Smith, B.A. English '74, became a grandfather on August 21, 2002, when his grandson, Anthony Todd Smith, was born.

Michelle O'Keefe, B.A. History '76, is finishing up a master's of theological studies at Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C.


Rita K. Chow, B.I.S. Public Health and Gerontology '83, was awarded fellow status in the American Association of Integrative Medicine (AAIM) and diplomat of the College of Nursing in AAIM.

Clifford Kellett, B.S. Public Administration '84, is the housing program officer for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Philadelphia. He is married and the father of five boys.

Ed Downes, M.P.A. '88, received a doctorate from Syracuse University in 1997 and is a professor in the College of Communication at Boston University.


Steve Hafner, B.A. Economics '91, founded HEP Development and received the runner's up award for Entrepreneur of the Year for Loudoun County in November 2002 from the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce.

Vinton Joseph Valentine, M.S. Geography and Cartography '91, received a Ph.D. in Marine Studies from the University of Delaware's College of Marine Studies in January 2003.

Paula (Ana) Oliveira, B.A. Foreign Language '92, is married and has been living in Luxembourg for the past 10 years, learning to speak French fluently, Luxemburgish, and some German. She is currently taking a break from her work as a legal documentation reviewer at a bank.

Rebecca Wee, M.F.A. Creative Writing '92, was selected by Billy Collins, the U.S. poet laureate, as one of two poets nationwide to receive a Library of Congress poetry fellowship.

Ted Arnn, B.S. Law Enforcement '93, was promoted to first lieutenant in the Fairfax County Police Department in February 2002. He works in the Community Policing Initiatives Division and continues in a leadership role with the WGMU Radio Alumni Chapter of George Mason's Alumni Association.

Meredith Cawley, B.A. English '93, is an editor for an aerospace engineering association in Reston, Va.

Robert Manuse, M.A. International Transactions '93 and M.P.A. '98, is an associate on Booz Allen Hamilton's Economic and Business Analysis Capability Team and provides financial management consulting services to a variety of federal agencies. He is completing an M.A. in Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University.

Valerie Orlando, M.A. Foreign Languages '93, joined the faculty of Illinois Wesleyan University in 1999 and recently received tenure and a promotion to associate professor in modern and classical languages and literature.

Jeffrey W. Peaper, M.A. Industrial and Organizational Psychology '93, received an M.B.A. from the University of Delaware in January 2003.

Did You Know?

Sarah Kozer, B.A. Philosophy and B.A. Communication '98, was one of two finalists on the Fox Television Series Joe Millionaire.

Marcus J. Perry, B.A. Government and Politics '93 and M.B.A. '00, was promoted to senior vice president of BB&T Corporation and is the bank's Leesburg, Va., area executive.

Joy Gatewood Fulton, B.A. English '94, married Rob Fulton in January 2002. She was a speaker at the Accessibility Forum's conference in San Francisco in February 2003 and also spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Marcus A. Johnson Jr., M.P.A. '94, is a foreign service officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development. His latest post is in Bamako, Mali, with his wife, Natalya, and son, Maxim.

Joseph Kennedy, B.S. Math '94, has been certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards as a national board-certified teacher. He teaches at Normal Community High School in Normal, Ill.

Carol Mirko Rice, B.A. Anthropology '94, and her husband, Kevin Dean Rice, B.A. History '94, had their second child, Andrew Dean, on May 31, 2002.

Tom Acri Jr., M.A. History '95, and his wife, Michelle, celebrated the birth of their son, Thomas Patrick III on August 7, 2002.

Ruma Dutta-Bhowmik, B.A. Communication '95, married Shamal Bhowmik in 1997 and earned her M.S.W. from Howard University in 1998. She is the program supervisor for the Healthy Families Fairfax Program with Reston Interfaith Inc.

Jennifer Bannat Harrison, B.A. English '95, married Matthew Harrison in 1996. The couple's two children, Garrett Joseph and Connor Kennedy, were born in 1999 and 2002, respectively.

Kira (Amolsch) Mayrides, B.S. Psychology '95, and husband, Ben Mayrides, B.A. International Studies '95, have a two-year-old daughter, Jessica Leigh, and reside in Reston, Va., where Ben is a technical manager for AOL Time Warner.

Melissa M. Riahei, B.A. Government and Politics '95, is an associate in the Chicago law office of Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon. She earned her J.D. from the University of Richmond in 1998.

Musa L. Eubanks, B.A. Government and Politics '96, has joined the law firm of Maignan & Associates as Of Counsel. Musa focuses on litigation in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.

Elizabeth Larsen, M.A. Sociology '96, earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh in December 2002. Currently, she is researching gender issues in the field of computer science and lives with her husband, Erik, and daughter, Jessica, in Pittsburgh.

Amy Melnick, M.P.A. '96, is the director of government relations for the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology, a small medical specialty society.

Jeanette Marie Snyder, B.A. English '96, has written her third book, Power Play, which is available online at As with her previous books, the work is self-published gay fiction.

Deborah Barfield, M.P.A. '97, was appointed assistant director of the Nonprofit Enterprise Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. Her assignment is an administrative faculty position in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration in the College of Humanities and Sciences.

Jeannie Beidler, B.S. Social Work '98, married Michael Beidler in 1997. Their son, Joshua, was born in January 2000, and their daughter, Hailey, in December 2001. Jeannie, a full-time mom, and family live in Montclair, Va.

Sara J. Crowe, B.A. Sociology '98, and her husband moved into their new three-level townhouse last October and are expecting their first baby in May.

Joe Little, B.A. Speech Communication '98, escaped the bad weather and low pay of Pennsylvania, moving to San Diego where he is an associate producer at the NBC affiliate.

Joshua Semerjian, B.A. Communication '98, received an M.A. in Human Communication Studies from the University of Denver in 2002 and has moved to Seattle, Wash., where he is the assessment and retention specialist for an HIV prevention research study in the Innovative Programs Research Group of the School of Social Work at the University of Washington.


Amanda Adolph, M.P.A. '00, was named director of communications and public relations for George Mason's School of Management.

John B. Jones Jr., B.A.I.S. History '00, is a member of the 34th Basic Police Academy class with the Henrico County, Va., Division of Police. John will be sworn in as a police officer in July 2003 upon completion of the 28-week academy.

Kate Timlin, B.S. Social Work '00, lives in New York City and works as a mental health therapist for chronically and acutely mentally ill adults and older adults. She is working on her M.S.W. at Columbia University.

Beth Anne (Hutton) Williams, B.A. History '00, and her husband, Rudi, announce the birth of Brody on September 4, 2002.

Odette (Wise) Carrillo, B.I.S. Organizational Management '01, a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, was activated in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. Her most recent assignment has been in Uzbekistan as the liaison officer between the U.S. Army and the contractor, Brown & Root.



Martin Johnson, M.S. Accounting '82 and M.B.A. '93, and his wife have a daughter, Carly, who was born on August 11, 2001. The couple is expecting their second child in June.


Jennifer (Faigle) Musser, M.B.A. '96, and husband, Duane Musser, M.B.A. '96, announce the birth of their daughter, Dana Elizabeth, on November 1, 2002.



Sandra Lee (Pomeroy) Hawes, B.S. Education '81, was inducted into the University of Southern Florida/Tampa Chapter of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society on November 3, 2002. Sandy earned her M.A. in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Southern Florida in 2001.

Victor E. Yager, M.Ed. '83, received an Excellence in Teaching Award from the Virginia Department of Education in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in adult English as a second language education.

Ayleen (Arias) Cunningham-Sherrill, B.A. Spanish '89 and M.Ed. Educational Leadership '03, an ESOL teacher in the Prince William County Schools in Virginia, was promoted in November 2002 to the rank of major in the U.S. Army Reserve.


Charlotte James Young, M.Ed. Administration and Supervision '92, has her own tutoring business, Tutor to Success Inc., in Murfreesboro, Tenn., where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

Information Technology and Engineering


John Gaston, B.S. Urban Systems Engineering '97, a registered professional engineer in Virginia, has been hired as a project engineer in the Dulles, Va., office of Burgess and Niple. He and his wife, Denyse, live in Fairfax County and have a baby daughter named Camille.

Mark Christenson, M.S. Electrical Engineering '98 and Ph.D. Electrical and Computer Engineering '01, is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Southern Methodist University in Texas.



Charles Nance, J.D. '82, was elected to the Richmond Public School Board on November 5, 2002, and took office in January 2003, representing Richmond's Second District. He succeeds Mark Emblidge, a former assistant to former George Mason President George Johnson, who was appointed by Governor Warner to the State Board of Education.


Deirdre Farrington, J.D. '96, has taken a senior attorney position in Tallahassee with the Florida State Department of Health. Any local alumni can contact her at

Jon Moseley, J.D. '96, has written a spy novel, Cold Peace, based on his experience teaching business in Eastern Europe. The book is available from

Buzz Hawley, J.D. '97, is running for the Mason District seat on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. He currently serves as director of government relations and counsel at Van Scoyoc Associates.

Paul A. Pelish, J.D. '97, opened his own company, Historic Title Inc. He is a single dad, raising a two-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Anna.

Ronald A. Robinson, J.D. '99, is pleased to announce the formation of Gross & Robinson Law Offices, P.C. His new firm is located at 9431 Main Street in Manassas, Va., and can be found online at

Nursing and Health Science


Brenda D. Smith, M.S.N. '85, was appointed dean of the Linfield Good Samaritan School of Nursing in Portland, Ore.


Patricia A. Westberg, B.S.N. '91, received an M.S.N. from San Diego State University and is a clinical nursing instructor at Ventura College as well as a nursing supervisor in Nursing Administration at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, Calif.

Cheryle S. Lee, B.S.N. '96, earned an M.S. in Health Policy and Research from Georgetown University and works as a childbirth educator.

Jean Jenkins, Ph.D. Nursing '99, was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2000 and was named senior clinical advisor at the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. She was also awarded the Distinguished Nursing Alumni Award.

Visual and Performing Arts


Erich Stem, M.A. Music '00, had an orchestra piece of his performed by the Minnesota Orchestra as a result of a national competition. The event was featured in the news journal of the American Composers Forum.

Did You Know?

Recent dance graduate Rita Donahue, B.F.A. Dance '02 and B.A. English '02, was chosen to join the Mark Morris Dance Group out of a thousand dancers who auditioned for the company this year.


Kay Benton, M.A. English '83, passed away on February 21, 2003.

Patricia Jackman Burtner Gribben, B.A. English '72, passed away on January 17, 2003.

Margaret Muller, B.S. Earth Systems Science '98, passed away on February 3, 2003.