We disrupt normative views and systemic obstacles of higher education to amplify the success of contemporary college students at Mason.




Mason is a contemporary community where each student belongs, realizes, and thrives.




Contemporary students are students who have had more experiences than most college students in their lives before coming to Mason. They have been working professionals, have families, and so much more. They may have experienced things a lot of other students haven’t, like – being in the foster care system or in the military. They are students who don’t always see themselves reflected or fully supported in college outreach materials or campus programming.


Emilie Dubert, Director, Contemporary Student Services


Emilie Dubert (she, her, hers) has the privilege of serving as the Director of Contemporary Student Services. She did her undergraduate work at the University of Kansas where she studied chemistry and secondary education. Instead of becoming a chemistry teacher, she moved to Taiwan for four years to teach English as a Foreign Language to middle and high school students. Upon returning to the States, she worked in Preschool Administration while working on her MAIS in Higher Education at George Mason University. Emilie started working in Off-Campus Student Services in 2013 and has been working with off-campus, transfer, adult, and parenting students since then. She also leads the Mason Reads common read program, the Patriot Success initiative, and the UL Awards and Recognition Committee.  
In her free time, Emilie enjoys playing guitar and swimming. She is also pursuing her PhD in Higher Education at Mason with a focus on institutional barriers for contemporary college students.


Tony Berardo, Assistant Director, Off-Campus Student Services


Tony (he, him, his) is a civic minded administrator who works diligently to help George Mason University students become productive and engaged citizens. Tony is originally from the Meto-Detroit area and received his undergraduate degree from Central Michigan University in Political Science. Additionally, Tony spent four years in Wichita, Kansas where he received a Master’s degree from Wichita State University in Public Administration. Prior to joining the Contemporary Student Services team Tony worked for seven years in Housing and Residence Life at both Wichita State University and George Mason University.

Tony’s position helps strengthen the relationships between the University and local properties that rent to George Mason University students. Additionally, to oversees the Off-Campus Housing finder and can assist students in navigating this system. Finally, Tony works with the city and Community Relations team to make sure Mason Students are aware of all the amazing opportunities that are available in the broader community.

Tony’s research interests include the role universities play in civic engagement and how to create stronger relationships between universities, community colleges, and trade schools.

When Tony is onsite he is always happy to have you stop by his office. If he’s not present when you stop by, just shoot him a quick email to set up an appointment.

Shyama Kuver, Assistant Director, Contemporary Student Services

Shyama Kuver (she, her, herself) is an artist and educator who is passionate about creating inclusive campus spaces for all of Mason’s community members. She grew up in pre-tech San Francisco, where she was inspired by the rich diversity of cultures, beliefs, and the city’s innate sense of creativity. These experiences are what have led her to pursue a career in education, where every day she is motivated by Mason’s students and professionals.  
On campus her position is designed to assess the gaps in service that may emerge for contemporary students and how Mason can uniquely provide support for those students. By working closely with campus and community partners, she aspires to make Mason a space where all students feel a sense of belonging and thrive as they pursue their goals. 
Some of her research interests include quantitative and decolonial research methods, diversity and equity, and inclusion on post-secondary campuses, and surveillance modalities on campus and how they may affect student learning.

Casey Smith, Assistant Director, Off-Campus Student Services


Casey Smith (she, her, hers) is an advocate and cheerleader for students who are pursuing their passions at Mason. She grew up in gorge(ou)s, Ithaca NY, where the proximity to two large universities inspired a love of learning and the beauty of waterfalls and human kindness cultivated an appreciation for self-reflection. A first-generation college student herself, Casey never imagined herself in a career in higher education, but she deeply connects with the identity as an educator. Casey feels grateful to meet students from around the world that never fail to teach her something new about life and about herself.

Casey’s function at Mason is to support contemporary students throughout their transition to and through Mason. She supervises the student off-campus advisor team, who are a peer resource for students to connect with during their time at Mason. Balancing program requirements, family obligations, social expectations, career aspirations, and all the things that come with being human is challenging and exciting, and it’s Casey’s job to make sure that students are supported through this unique time in their lives.

Some of her passions include advocating for systems and processes that function for all students, not despite certain challenges. Casey is also a big proponent of celebrating successes, connecting with others, and treating every moment as a learning opportunity.

Casey loves to connect and would love to meet you, so you are welcome to drop by her office or drop into her inbox any time!

Louise Higgins, Office Manager, Contemporary Student Services


Louise Higgins (she, her, hers)  is the Office Manager for Contemporary Student Services. She is honored to support a dedicated and enthusiastic team devoted to all George Mason University students’ well-being.

A graduate of Pacific Lutheran University, Louise has a diverse background.  Most recently, she was at Gunston Hall, the historic home of George Mason. One of her proudest accomplishments has been her research support for the exhibit, Revolutionary Rights.

In her free time, Louise enjoys spending time with her four grown children who live in the area.

The Off-Campus Advisor team is a group of off-campus students (just like you!) that act as peer mentors to give information about available student resources, highlight opportunities for student involvement, and provide social support! Off-Campus Advisors are not academic advisors: they cannot give information on what classes to choose for the upcoming semester, whether or not you should drop a class, or advise you on your studies (if that is what you need, click here). They can, however, give you more information about the university, help you get involved, how to find off-campus housing, and provide advice and support on how to make the most of your off-campus student life! After you’ve had your advising appoint, click here to fill out a quick survey to be entered to win a raffle prize!

Set up a virtual meeting with an off-campus advisor by clicking here