Photo (Caption Below)
Zainab Salbi, Alumna of the Year, and Cathy Lemmon, President-Elect

Photo (Caption Below)
James B. Young, PhD '03, Faculty Member of the Year

Photo (Caption Below)
From left to right, Vildan Bayramoglu, Tomas Dundzila, Edwinna T. Smith, Brandon M. Baumbach, and James G. Hansen

Photo (Caption Below)
Barbara Parker Granieri (far right), Alumni Service Award winner, and her family

Photos by Evan Cantwell


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

Alumni Association Celebrates Outstanding Alumni, Students, and Faculty

The George Mason University Alumni Association hosted its annual Celebration of Distinction awards dinner on April 21 to recognize and honor outstanding alumni, students, and faculty members for their achievements and contributions to the university.

The Alumna of the Year is Zainab T. Salbi, BIS '96, founder and president of Women for Women International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women victims of war move from crisis and poverty to self-sufficiency. An Iraqi native, Salbi, whose experience with war in the Middle East sensitized her to the plight of women war survivors, founded the organization at age 23. Under her leadership, the organization has provided nearly $10 million in direct assistance and loans to more than 20,000 women and 90,000 family members in 10 countries. In 1995, President Clinton honored her at the White House for her humanitarian work in Bosnia. Most recently, she testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the situation of women in post-war Iraq.

Barbara Parker Granieri, BFA Dance '98, was recognized with this year's Alumni Service Award. Granieri serves as executive director of Friends of George Mason Dance, a fund-raising organization that has enabled the Dance Department to award scholarships to incoming students. She established a working advisory board to which she recruited renowned choreographer Mark Morris to serve as honorary chair. Granieri's experience and enthusiasm is a substantial resource for George Mason students. Her video documentary on the dance program now serves as a recruiting tool for Mason. Granieri received the 1997 Dance Faculty Award for Outstanding Leadership and was the first student in the dance program to graduate with recognition and distinction.

This year the Faculty Member of the Year is also an alumnus. Working as a reference and instructional service librarian and an instructor, James B. Young, PhD Education '03, has created a technology-enriched curriculum at Mason. He has chaired several committees, including the Electronic Portfolios Task Force and the Libraries' Task Force on Assessment of Reference Services. As director of the Andros Island Library Project, he organized a public library on a remote Bahamian settlement.

The Senior of the Year is Edwinna T. Smith, an integrated studies student. Since 2001, she has served as an orientation leader, supervising and mentoring student leaders and coordinating large components of the orientation program. Smith has also participated in an Alternative Spring Break, working in Detroit with inner-city school children. She has volunteered at the Alexandria Black History Resource Center, New Hope Housing, and the Fairfax Employee Childcare Center. Smith is a member of the University Program Board, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. She received honorable mention for service to George Mason through student leadership and has been on the Dean's List.

Vildan Bayramoglu was awarded the John C. Wood and Louise P. Wood Graduate Scholarship. She is enrolled in George Mason's MBA program, where she works as a graduate research assistant conducting financial analysis research and maintains a 4.00 GPA. A native of Istanbul, Turkey, Bayramoglu graduated from Istanbul University Faculty of Business Administration in 1990. In Istanbul, she worked with the Sufi Women's Foundation, an organization that helps rural women overcome poverty and illiteracy, teaching adult education classes on basic literacy and household budgeting to rural women who relocate to the city. She also supervised the foundation's Financial Management Department and helped find donors to fund foundation activities. Remarkably well rounded, she performed the leading role in the film Menekse Koyu and won the Most Promising Young Actress Award at the Ankara Film Festival.

Management major James G. Hansen was awarded this year's John C. Wood Scholarship. Growing up in Australia, Hansen was diagnosed with dyslexia while in elementary school. As a young student, he persevered through this setback and took on additional challenges. In high school, he worked with the Hope Youth Corps, funding his own way to Mexico where he worked with children at a free medical clinic and helped build a community center. After high school, he worked in computer repair, studying at night at a technical college in Australia. He came to the United States and attended Northern Virginia Community College where he made the Dean's List and was a Presidential Scholar. He then transferred to Mason, where he continues to be an outstanding student.

This year's Peter C. Forame Student Leader Award went to Brandon M. Baumbach, a second-year government and international politics student with a 3.90 GPA, who uses his outstanding leadership skills to advance the Mason spirit in the student body and local community. As president of the Mason Ambassadors, he acts as a liaison to the dean of admissions and Mason faculty and staff and conducts monthly Mason Ambassador meetings. Baumbach has also served as an Orientation Leader. He is a University Scholar, a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and a Habitat for Humanity volunteer, and participated in an Alternative Spring Break, traveling to the Dominican Republic to help build a village chapel. On the Dean's List every semester, he also finds time to tutor his fellow students.

The School of Information Technology and Engineering awarded the Computer Science Outstanding Alumni Award to Micah F. Wilkerson, BS Computer Science '00, who has played a pivotal role in the formation and launch of the Computer Science Alumni Chapter at Mason. His drive to create an avenue for computer science graduates to give back to the community and to fellow alumni has strengthened the department and enriched the Alumni Association. Wilkerson, who works for RCI in Vienna, serves on the chapter's core team.

The Department of Public and International Affairs recognized Marie B. Travesky, BA Government and Politics '92, with its Barbara B. Knight Distinguished Alumni Award. Travesky has more than 20 years of transportation, government affairs, and community relations experience in the public and private sectors. Travesky is a past member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Fairfax County School Board. In addition, she has served as a director of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. As president of Travesky & Associates, she has been responsible for public involvement, community relations, and government affairs programs for federally funded projects, serving as deputy project manager for public involvement on the Dulles Corridor Rapid Transit Project. Travesky is an active member of numerous community boards, commissions, and associations.

Mason PhD candidate Yinglee Tseng, MA International Commerce and Policy '02, was the recipient of the School of Public Policy Alumni Service Award. A role model for alumni and students and an active alumna, Tseng is a regular and enthusiastic volunteer at chapter events, supporting and advancing the value of all School of Public Policy degree and certificate programs. Tseng is the school's alumni chapter secretary for the 2003—04 term and a candidate for office in the 2004 chapter elections. Tseng first came to the United States in 1993 with a BA in English in American literature from the Chinese Culture University in Taipei. She entered the master's program in translation and interpretation at the Monterey Institute in California. Trilingual in English, Mandarin, and Japanese, she is a research assistant in international trade policy at the School of Public Policy.

University Career Services recognized Roger L. Campbell, BS Business Administration '74, and Kristie (Douglas) Woodside, BS Administration of Justice '98, with the Career Connection Alumni Award. Campbell contacted University Career Services about ways in which he could share his extensive human resources knowledge and experience and assist Mason students interested in federal employment. Campbell's son, Timothy, a current Mason student, is one of the reasons Campbell enjoys visiting the campus. Woodside is a senior employment specialist at GEICO Direct. She has been instrumental in advocating for George Mason graduates and promoting GEICO's emerging leaders program, along with other career opportunities, to Mason students.

The Wayne F. Anderson Award for Distinguished Public Service was awarded to Ron Carlee, DPA '95, who was appointed Arlington County (Virginia) manager in April 2001, culminating a career with the county that began in 1980. After reorganization in the mid-1980s, Carlee served as interim director to create a new Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Resources. He then served briefly in the county manager's office before moving in 1987 to the Department of Human Services as its fourth director. During 1999, Carlee left the Department of Human Services to lead the county's $20 million Y2K effort as interim director of technology services. He serves on Mason's Master of Public Administration Advisory Committee and a fellow in the Center of Excellence in Municipal Management.

Anthony P. Giorno, BA History '73, received this year's Stephen Karbelk Alumnus of the Year Award. In March 1995, Giorno was appointed a federal prosecutor, serving as assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia, where he has prosecuted federal felony cases. He also works as an investigator for the Department of Justice's Equal Employment Opportunity staff.

Jennie Wu, MSN '82, DNSc '89, and PhD Nursing Administration '92, was honored by the College of Nursing and Health Science (CNHS) with its Distinguished Nursing Alumni Award. Wu, a tenured associate professor in CNHS, has been a driving force behind the introduction and implementation of the nursing process and clinical pathways in mainland China and is working to launch the first-ever PhD nursing program in China.

Anne T. Demo, PhD, BA Communication '91, received the Department of Communication Outstanding Alumni Award. An assistant professor at Vanderbilt University, Demo teaches courses in rhetoric, culture and communication, and persuasion, and has published numerous articles in respected academic journals. While an undergraduate, Demo was captain of Mason's forensics team and won more than 100 awards in competitions.

In addition, the following scholarships and awards were presented to students: Dean Engle Memorial Scholarship to K. Adrienne S. Binnall, BA Government and International Politics '01; the School of Law Alumni Chapter Scholarship to Michael W. Brooks; WGMU's Beth Kauffman Award for Creativity to Andrew R. Phelps; the School of Management (SOM) Outstanding Entering Undergraduate Student Award to Seray Yildirimturk; the SOM Outstanding Entering Graduate Student Award to Larry Stullich; and the Marie Gillman Nursing Scholarship to Kimberly A. Woodard