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.
WHO ARE CONTEMPORARY STUDENTS
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.
Joisanne Rodgers, Director, Contemporary Student Services
Dr. Joisanne Rodgers (she, her) is a first-generation college student, a post-traditional student, a lifelong learner, and an educator passionate about post-traditional and contemporary students. Dr. Rodgers has worked in higher education for nearly 20 years in various roles, including admissions and recruitment, advising and success coaching, housing and residence life, marketing and outreach, retention initiatives, and student success initiatives. As Director of Contemporary Student Services, Dr. Rodgers leads a fantastic team of advocates and champions serving Mason’s contemporary student population. The team collaborates and partners throughout the Mason community to support contemporary student belonging, thriving, and success.
Dr. Rodgers earned a bachelor’s in political science and dance studies from Allegheny College, a master’s in student affairs in higher education from Western Kentucky University, a specialist’s in leadership from American College of Education, and a doctorate in leadership with a focus in higher education from American College of Education. Her research interests include post-traditional and contemporary students, mitigation and elimination of institutional barriers, and student success and retention.
Shyama Kuver, Asssociate 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.
Caroline Simpson, Coordinator, Contemporary Students
Caroline Simpson (she, her, hers) is passionate about contemporary student success. She is a double Mason alum, receiving her Bachelors in Public Administration and her Masters in Higher Education and Student Development. During her time as an undergraduate student she was transfer student who lived off-campus which is what inspired her to begin working with contemporary populations. In her free time she loves to hike, read, and play with her cats. She is happy to connect with you anytime!
Matt McLaughlin, Coordinator, Off-Campus Students
Matt McLaughlin (He, They) is an enthusiastic advocate for contemporary students. Matt comes to Mason from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his Master’s degree in College Counseling and Student Affairs as a single parent, adult learner, and off-campus student. The experience inspired him to work with and support contemporary students at Mason. As off-campus coordinator, Matt will supervise and support the contemporary student advisor program and the contemporary student lounge at Mason. He will also work closely with campus and community partners to provide students with resources and support for living off-campus. Outside of Mason, Matt enjoys spending time with his 7-year-old daughter and designing and playing tabletop games. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to him!
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.
Alexia Ferguson, Graduate Professional Assistant
Alexia is a Graduate Assistant for Contemporary Student Services. She is getting a master’s in sociology and previously received a bachelor’s in global studies and political science. She is a first gen student from Michigan and hopes to one day go into policy! She has a lot of experience with studying abroad, being a collegiate athlete, and being involved on campus. She would love to talk to you about all her experiences so stop by and see her in HUB 1014/1012!
Corey I Purnell, Graduate Professional Assistant
Corey (He, Him, His) is a Graduate Professional Assistant that is devoted to fostering benevolence and equity towards the rapidly growing population of off-campus students here at George Mason University. He grew up in his hometown of Newport News (The Hampton Roads area) and has attended George Mason University all throughout undergrad. During his junior year he realized that he wanted to change his major from History to Psychology and from that point forward, ventured toward an upward trajectory on what/who he wanted to be. In May 2021 he received his bachelor’s in psychology and today he is on the road to receiving his master’s in Clinical Mental Health, aspiring to one day become a licensed therapist. As far as hobbies are concerned, throughout the 2020 pandemic Corey has spent most of his time consistently and constantly studying Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese. In addition to that he loves and strives to always promote well-being in his life through fitness and health.
David Teodosio, Lead Contemporary Student Advisor
My name is David, I’m a marketing major, and I’m a contemporary student because I live off-campus.
The Contemporary Student 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! Contemporary Student 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! Set up a virtual meeting with a contemporary student advisor by clicking here.