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2019 Recipients


The John Toups Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Teaching Recipient


Kathleen Wage, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Kathleen E. Wage
Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Kathleen E. Wage is an associate professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at George Mason University. Wage earned a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1990, and an SM, EE, and PhD in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution joint program in 1994, 1996, and 2000, respectively. She joined Mason’s faculty in 1999.

Wage teaches linear systems and signal processing. She incorporates active learning in all her courses and mentors other faculty interested in using these techniques. With funding from the National Science Foundation, she and collaborator John Buck developed the Signals and Systems Concept Inventory (SSCI), a standardized exam designed to measure conceptual understanding of linear systems. The SSCI has been translated into Spanish and Chinese, and it is being used in the United States and overseas for formative assessment and accreditation. Instructors at 30 schools have administered the SSCI to thousands of students.

In addition to signal processing education, Wage’s research interests include array processing, random matrix theory, and underwater acoustics. As a part of her Office of Naval Research-funded efforts, she participates in deep-water propagation experiments. From 2009 to 2012, she spent 55 days at sea to deploy and recover equipment for a series of experiments in the Philippine Sea. During the PhilSea experiments, Wage and colleague Lora Van Uffelen developed a blog and videos to engage young women in ocean acoustics and engineering. Together, Wage and Van Uffelen were known as the Able Sea Chicks.

Wage has received a number of awards for teaching, including the 2016 Harriett B. Rigas Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Education Society and Hewlett-Packard for “championing active learning, developing an internationally recognized assessment instrument, and cultivating a sustainable and supportive environment for female engineering faculty.” Other teaching awards include the 2008 Mac Van Valkenburg Early Career Teaching Award from the IEEE Education Society, the 2016 Teacher of Distinction Award from George Mason University, the 2004 Outstanding Teaching Award from Mason’s Volgenau School of Engineering, and the 1994 Harold L. Hazen Teaching Award from MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Wage has received several awards for research, including the Office of Naval Research’s Young Investigator Award (2005) and Ocean Acoustics Entry-Level Faculty Award (2002). She is a member of the IEEE, the Acoustical Society of America, the American Society for Engineering Education, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, and Sigma Xi.

The Beck Family Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Research and Scholarship Recipient


Tyler Cowen, Holbert L. Harris Professor of Economics and Director, Mercatus Center

Tyler Cowen
Holbert L. Harris Professor of Economics and Director, Mercatus Center


Tyler Cowen is Holbert L. Harris Professor of Economics at George Mason University and director of the Mercatus Center. He received his PhD in economics from Harvard University in 1987. His book The Great Stagnation: How America Ate the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better (Dutton, 2011) was a New York Times best seller.

An Economist poll recently named Cowen as one of the most influential economists of the last decade. Several years ago, Bloomberg BusinessWeek dubbed him “America’s Hottest Economist,” and Foreign Policy magazine named him as one of its Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2011.

He co-writes a blog at, runs a podcast series called Conversations with Tyler, and has cofounded an online economics education project, His last book was Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero, just published in April.

He also attended George Mason University as an undergraduate, earning a BS in economics in 1983, and has very fond memories of his earlier time here.

The United Bank Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Recipient


Frederic Paul Bemak Professor, Counseling and Development Program

Frederic Paul Bemak
Professor, Counseling and Development Program


Frederic Paul Bemak received his undergraduate degree in psychology at Boston University and his master’s and doctoral degrees in counseling at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He is a professor in the Counseling and Development Program and founder and director of the Diversity Research and Action Consortium in the College of Education and Human Development. He also founded Counselors Without Borders and has taken teams to provide training, consultation, and counseling following disasters in New Orleans, Haiti, Thailand, Burma, California, Japan, and Puerto Rico.

Bemak’s activism in the civil rights movement coincided with him becoming a summer counselor in the federally funded University of Massachusetts Upward Bound Program, where he worked with diverse, low-income high school youth and families. Nine years later, he became one of the youngest directors of an Upward Bound program in the United States. Bemak’s civil rights and Upward Bound work created a foundation for his lifetime commitment to diversity and inclusion.

He has published extensively in the fields of cross-cultural and multicultural psychology and counseling, developing culturally responsive cross-cultural models to work with immigrants and refugees, survivors of natural disasters, and diverse and high-risk student groups. He is the coauthor of six books, including Social Justice Counseling: The Next Steps Beyond Multiculturalism and Counseling Refugees: A Psychosocial Approach to Innovative Multicultural Interventions.

Bemak is frequently invited to be a speaker, consultant, and trainer throughout the United States and internationally in more than 60 countries. The impact of his diversity work is evident with visiting professorships in Turkey, Brazil, Australia, and Mexico; a research scholar appointment in Taiwan; Fulbright awards in Brazil, Scotland, and Turkey; and an Honorary Distinguished Professorship from Amity University in India. Bemak also received a Kellogg Fellowship in International Leadership and Development to work throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and a World Rehabilitation Fund International Exchange of Experts Fellowship to undertake research in India.

A fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the American Counseling Association, Bemak was the recipient of the 2018 State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award. He has published more than 100 professional journal articles and book chapters and is most recently the coauthor of articles focused on challenges in promoting race dialogues in psychological training, culturally responsive counseling interventions dealing with refugee trauma, the psychological impact of terrorism on refugees, facilitating race dialogues in group psychotherapy, and culturally responsive models of intervention with modern-day refugees.

The United Bank Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Recipient


Rita Chi-Ying Chung Professor, Counseling and Development Program

Rita Chi-Ying Chung
Professor, Counseling and Development Program


Rita Chi-Ying Chung is a professor in the Counseling and Development Program at the College of Education and Human Development. She earned her doctorate in psychology from the Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. Chung is a child of immigrant and refugee parents, was a first-generation college student, and is the first New Zealand-born Chinese woman to earn a doctorate.

As a Chinese immigrant growing up in New Zealand, formerly a British colony, Chung had direct experiences witnessing the effects of colonialism, discrimination, and racism toward communities of color and the indigenous Maori population. As a result, she became motivated to advocate for marginalized populations. This lifelong commitment was reinforced by her parents, who instilled the values of human rights and giving back. She began working with immigrant and refugee populations in New Zealand in the 1980s. She was awarded a Medical Research Council (MRC) Oversea Fellowship to conduct her postdoctoral studies in the psychology department at the University of California, Los Angeles. The MRC’s support enabled her to continue working with migrant and refugee populations in the United States, conducting research and providing culturally responsive mental health services.

Chung garnered major National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grants that provided opportunities to give voice to migrant and other underserved communities related to psychological well-being, including an NIMH-funded grant to develop a conference on Southeast Asian Re-Education Camp Detainees (Vietnamese torture survivors) and Vietnamese Amerasians (children whose fathers were U.S. servicemen and mothers were Vietnamese). The conference was unique because it was the first U.S. conference on that topic, and it included members of each of those groups who shared their lived experiences and narratives.

Her work has expanded to include working with survivors of forced migration. Chung’s work on the sex trafficking of Asian women and girls led to an invitation to present at the United Nations. She is co-director of the nonprofit organization Counselors Without Borders, which provides mental health counseling to disaster survivors, such as those suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (Burma), and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, as well as the wildfires in California, earthquake in Haiti, and tsunami in Thailand.

Chung teaches multicultural counseling, which includes difficult race dialogues and a counseling and social justice class that addresses human rights and social justice. She is the author of more than 100 publications, several books, and training videos that address diversity and inclusion issues. Chung was the recipient of the 2013 State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award.

The Earle C. Williams Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Social Impact Recipient


Christianne Esposito-Smythers, Professor, Department of Psychology

Christianne Esposito-Smythers
Professor, Department of Psychology


Christianne Esposito-Smythers joined the faculty at George Mason University in 2008 as an assistant professor of psychology. She was promoted to associate professor in 2012, appointed as the director of clinical psychology in 2017, and promoted to professor in 2018. She is also part of the adjunct faculty in the department of behavioral and social sciences at Brown University and a licensed clinical psychologist.

Prior to joining Mason’s faculty, Esposito-Smythers served as a faculty member for four years in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She was an assistant professor (research) in the department of psychiatry and human behavior and a faculty member in the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies.

Esposito-Smythers graduated summa cum laude with a BA in psychology and English from Lafayette College. She received her MS and PhD in clinical psychology from Virginia Tech. She completed three years of postdoctoral fellowship at Brown University.

Esposito-Smythers designs and tests treatment and prevention programs for adolescent suicidal behavior, substance abuse, and other high-risk behaviors. More recently, she has been disseminating this work to the local community. She has been awarded almost $14 million in research grants, as principal or co-investigator, from the National Institutes of Health, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and other sources. She is the author of more than 90 publications and 110 national and international presentations. She also sits on the Scientific Advisory Council for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and participates as an expert panelist in meetings sponsored by federal agencies focused on reducing youth suicide and alcohol abuse.

Esposito-Smythers engages in active suicide prevention efforts in her local community. She served as chair for the Fairfax County Youth Suicide Review Team, for which she was awarded a County of Fairfax Team Excellence Award. She has also served on the Mason Suicide Prevention Task Force, the Fairfax County Mental Health Promotion Team, and work groups for the Fairfax County Children’s Behavioral Health System of Care—where her work has included blueprint planning, depression assessment, and evidence-based practices.

She consults and delivers presentations and clinical workshops to local community agencies. In collaboration with community partners, she is leading the Fairfax Consortium for Evidence-Based Practice, which delivers training in evidence-based interventions for youth mental health difficulties to behavioral health clinicians. This is a scalable training model that she hopes to bring to the state level and beyond.

2018 Recipients


The John Toups Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Teaching Recipient


Linda Monson, Distinguished Service Professor, School of Music

Linda Apple Monson
Distinguished Service Professor, School of Music


Linda Apple Monson, International Steinway Artist, serves as the Director of the School of Music in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University. A Distinguished Service Professor, Monson was the honored recipient of the university’s Teaching Excellence Award (2009), recognized by the Mason Alumni Association as Faculty Member of the Year (2012), and received the prestigious Influential Women of Virginia Award (2014). Monson delivered two TEDx talks and received the Toastmaster’s International Communication and Leadership Award (2014). A professor at Mason since 1999, Monson has also served as Director of Music at Springfield United Methodist Church for many years. In honor of the extraordinary impact of Monson’s teaching and music leadership, multiple donors established the Dr. Linda Apple Monson Music Endowment Fund in 2011 for student scholarships in Mason’s School of Music.

A nationally recognized arts leader, Monson was recently elected to the National Association of Schools of Music Commission on Accreditation, the executive board granting accreditation for music programs at universities and conservatories across the nation. She was also selected for the Fulbright Senior Specialist Roster, in collaboration with the U.S. State Department and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars. Monson served as an International Juror of the Washington Piano Invitational Competition (2013) at the Kennedy Center and was named a Visiting Guest Professor at Nanjing Normal University, China (2010).

As an active performer-scholar and an internationally recognized master teacher, Monson attracts advanced student artists from around the world to her piano studio at Mason. She has given lecture-recitals, solo piano recitals, and piano master classes throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Australia. An advocate of new music, Monson has presented numerous world premieres of solo piano works. Her research has been featured in lecture-recitals at the College Music Society International Conferences in Sydney, Stockholm, Helsinki, Buenos Aires, Dubrovnik, Bangkok, Madrid, and San Jose. She has also given piano master classes internationally in Seoul, Oxford, Dublin, Nanjing, and Kuala Lumpur.

A recent $1 million scholarship commitment from Sid and Reva Dewberry to Mason’s School of Music established the Linda Apple Monson Scholars Fund. In September 2017, Monson was recognized when the Grand Tier III of Mason’s Center for the Arts was renamed in her honor. Monson earned three degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University and a Diploma in Piano from Musica en Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain. She is married to Dr. Keith L. Monson, a forensic scientist. The Monsons are blessed with two children, Kristofer and Linnea.

The John Toups Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Teaching Recipient


Patricia Miller, George Mason University, Professor, School of Music

Patricia Miller
University Professor, School of Music


Patricia Miller, University Professor of Music, College of Visual and Performing Arts, joined the George Mason University faculty in 1991. She received her Bachelor of Music from Boston University, her Master of Music from New England Conservatory, and, as a Fulbright scholar, her Artist Diploma from the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. She completed advanced studies at the Schubert Institute in Baden-bei-Wien, Austria, and the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Miller has received awards and grants from the Metropolitan Opera, Kennedy Center, Urban League, and Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity, among others. She has received the Excellence in Teaching Award from Lambda Sigma Honor Society, Outstanding Career Achievement and Excellence in Teaching Award from Opera NOVA, Lifetime Achievement Award from Marquis Who’s Who, and the Sojourner Truth Award from Mason’s African and African American Studies and Women and Gender Studies Programs.

Miller is a distinguished international opera and concert artist and an esteemed music educator. Included in her extensive artistic career are performances with San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, Theatre Châtélèt Paris, Victoria State Opera (Melbourne), Arena di Verona (Italy), and Deutsche Oper (Berlin), among others. Her concert appearances include the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution, and Library of Congress, and master classes and lecture recitals at universities and conservatories around the world, including Moscow State University, Kiev Conservatory, Hochschule für Musik in Weimar, Germany, and Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea.

Miller’s mentorship and passionate teaching impact her students by bringing real-world experience into the classroom and studio. For more than 20 years, her students have garnered top honors in state, regional, national, and international competitions, including First Place at the National Opera Association Collegiate Scenes Competition. She has trained extraordinary young artists at Mason who are now singing with major opera companies domestically and internationally, such as Washington National Opera and Netherlands Opera, the “President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band and U.S. Army Chorus, and a Tony Award-winning Broadway revival. Miller has provided Mason students opportunities to study and perform abroad in Italy, Germany, Russia, and Korea.

Miller has been instrumental in pioneering curriculum and programming development in the Vocal Studies division of the School of Music. Her teaching excellence and relationships in the community have fostered meaningful artistic collaborations, and generous scholarship and endowment support for Mason’s School of Music. She has served on the National Endowment for the Arts Opera Panel, the Board of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and the International Institute of Education Fulbright Committee. Miller serves as Director of Vocal Studies, and in 2007, the university’s Board of Visitors awarded her the distinction of University Professor.

The Beck Family Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Research and Scholarship Recipient


Thomas Lovejoy, University Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, College of Science

Thomas Lovejoy
University Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Policy,
College of Science


Thomas Lovejoy is an innovative and accomplished conservation biologist who coined the term “biological diversity.” In 2010, he was elected University Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University.

He serves as senior fellow at the United Nations Foundation. He served as president of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment from 2002 to 2008 and was the biodiversity chair of the center from 2008 to 2013. Before assuming this position, Lovejoy was the World Bank’s chief biodiversity advisor and lead specialist for environment for Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as senior advisor to the president of the United Nations Foundation. Lovejoy has served on science and environmental councils under the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations.

Lovejoy’s seminal ideas have formed and strengthened the field of conservation biology. In the 1980s, he brought international attention to the world’s tropical rainforests, especially the Brazilian Amazon, where he has worked since 1965. In 1980, he produced the first projection of global extinctions for the Global 2000 Report to the president. Lovejoy also developed the now ubiquitous “debt-for-nature” swap programs and led the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems project, a forest fragmentation experiment now in its 39th year.

With two co-edited books (1992 and 2005), he has helped found the field of climate change biology. His and Lee Hannah’s new book, Climate Change and Biodiversity: Transforming the Biosphere, will be published in 2019. He also founded the series Nature, the popular long-term series on public television.

In 2001, Lovejoy was awarded the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. In 2009, he was the winner of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the ecology and conservation biology category, and National Geographic appointed him a conservation fellow. In 2012, the Blue Planet Prize recognized his work.

From 2008 to 2013, he chaired the Scientific and Technical Panel (STAP) for the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which provides funding to developing countries to meet their obligations related to the international environmental conventions. Since then, he has served as senior advisor to the chair of STAP. He is currently serving as science envoy for the Department of State. Lovejoy holds BS and PhD (biology) degrees from Yale University.

The United Bank Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Recipient


Angela Hattery Professor and Director, Women and Gender Studies

Angela Hattery
Professor and Director, Women and Gender Studies


Angela Hattery was born in Rochester, Minnesota. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology from Carleton College and her master’s and PhD in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is professor and currently serves as director of the Women and Gender Studies program at Mason.

The community where Hattery grew up wasn’t then and still isn’t very diverse. But her parents were committed to being sure that she was exposed to people from all different backgrounds, and family dinners were often attended by families of other races, religious traditions, and sexualities. Hattery is often asked when she first became a feminist. She recalls that though she didn’t have the language until college, she knew something was wrong when in the second grade her brownie troop was in the basement making crafts for badges while her brother, a boy scout, got to go polar camping. But, her real introduction to deep inequality in the United States was during her junior year in college when she spent a semester studying urban sociology and politics in Chicago. In one of the most segregated cities, her studies focused on the impact of widespread inequality, both race and class, on different communities, including white Polish families living on the near north side, Mexican and Cuban immigrants in Logan Square and Humboldt Park, and Blacks living on the famous South Side, but also in the projects of Cabrini Green and in devastatingly poor neighborhoods like Lawndale on the west side.

All of these experiences propelled Hattery to devote her personal and professional life to understanding inequalities, identifying their causes and proposing solutions. She has been teaching about race, class, and gender inequality for more than 20 years. And each semester she is encouraged by her students. Some already know a lot about inequality and her course merely provides them the tools to address it in their own professional lives. For others, her courses are the first time they have been confronted with these issues. For all of her students, the experiences of deeply studying inequality are transformative.

Professionally she is the author or co-author of 11 books, including her most recent book with Dr. Earl Smith, her research partner and spouse, Policing Black Bodies: How Black Lives are Surveilled and How to Work for Change.

The Earle C. Williams Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Social Impact Recipient


Stephen S. Fuller Dwight Schar Faculty Chair and University Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government

Stephen S. Fuller
Dwight Schar Faculty Chair and University Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government


Stephen Fuller joined the faculty at George Mason University in 1994 as Professor of Public Policy and Regional Development. In September 2001, George Mason’s Board of Visitors appointed him University Professor. In July 2002, he was named to the Dwight Schar Faculty Chair and Director of the Center for Regional Analysis, and he served in this capacity until May 2015. In October 2016, he was appointed director of the Stephen S. Fuller Institute for Research on the Washington Region’s Economic Future.

Prior to joining the Mason faculty, he served on the faculty at George Washington University for 25 years, including nine as chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Real Estate Development and one as director of doctoral programs for the School of Business and Public Management.

Fuller received a BA in economics from Rutgers University (1962) and his doctorate in regional planning and economic development (1969) from Cornell University. He has authored more than 900 articles, papers, and reports in the field of urban and regional economic development including monthly reports on the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area since February 1991.

His recent research has focusing on the structure of the Washington metropolitan area economy, how this changed during the Great Recession, and how it will change going forward as its federal-spending dependency diminishes. His current research involves tracking the performance of the Washington region’s economy in 2018 and 2019 under President Trump’s recently enacted federal budget and tax reduction plans.

Fuller served on the Virginia Governor’s Joint Advisory Board of Economists through five administrations. He also is a member of the CFO Business Advisory Group of the District of Columbia. His international assignments have included Kazakhstan, Georgia, Hungary, China, and Portugal. He served on the board of directors of the D.C.-based Tompkins Builders Inc. from 2004 to 2012, and currently serves on the boards of the Global Environment and Technology Foundation, Year Up National Capital Region, and Northfield Mount Hermon School in Gill, Massachusetts, where he is the board chair.

2017 Recipients


The John Toups Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Teaching Recipient


Jill Nelson Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Jill Nelson
Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering


Jill Nelson is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at George Mason University, where she has been a faculty member since 2005. She earned a BS in electrical engineering and a BA in economics from Rice University in 1998. She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for graduate study, earning an MS and Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 2001 and 2005, respectively.

Nelson’s teaching interests include signals and systems, communication theory, and statistical signal processing and analysis. She incorporates interactive pedagogical approaches such as group problem solving and reflection in her courses, and she emphasizes the importance of connecting course material with real-world problems. Beyond the classroom, Nelson is a principal investigator for two National Science Foundation STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education research projects focusing on broadening the use of innovative teaching

practices in university science, math, and engineering courses. The aim of these projects is to use small long-term teaching development groups to motivate and support faculty in moving toward more student-centered instruction. In past engineering education research, she has studied how students transfer mathematical knowledge to engineering problems, as well as how students’ conceptual understanding of engineering material relates to their interest in and motivation for the eld.

Nelson’s disciplinary research lies in statistical signal processing, specifically detection and estimation for applications in sonar, target tracking, and physical layer communications. She also studies machine intelligence as it applies to automating active sonar and developing collaborative intelligent radio networks. Nelson’s work on active sonar is funded by the Office of Naval Research, and her cognitive radio research is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). She is a 2010 recipient of the NSF CAREER Award.

Nelson’s teaching accomplishments have been recognized with the 2014 Mac Van Valkenburg Early Career Teaching Award, given by the IEEE Education Society. She also received the George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award in 2014 and the Volgenau School of Engineering Outstanding Teaching Award in 2011. Nelson has been an invited participant in the National Academy of Engineering’s Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium and the Project Kaleidoscope STEM Leadership Institute. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, the American Society for Engineering Education, and the IEEE Signal Processing, Communications, and Education Societies.

The Beck Family Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Research and Scholarship Recipient


Lance A. Liotta University Professor, College of Science Co-director, Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine

Lance A. Liotta
University Professor, College of Science
Co-director, Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine


Lance Liotta is a University Professor in the College of Science. He received his MD and Ph.D. (Bioengineering) from Case Western Reserve University and fulfilled his residency at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he initiated a research program that, to date, has yielded more than 700 publications (Highly Cited Investigator), and more than 100 issued patents. At NIH, Liotta was chief of the Laboratory of Pathology, chief of the Section of Tumor Invasion and Metastasis, and deputy director of NIH under NIH Director Bernadine Healy.

He and Emanuel Petricoin of the FDA set up the first NIH/ FDA Clinical Proteomics Program. In 2005, Mason recruited Liotta and Petricoin, and their distinguished scientist team, to create and serve as co-directors of the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM). The mission of CAPMM is to discover disease mechanisms, invent new technologies, educate the scientists of the future, and translate knowledge to help patients through prevention, early detection, and treatment.

Liotta has invented and patented, along with his laboratory co-inventors, high-impact technologies in the fields of diagnostics: microdissection (Laser Capture Microdissection), and proteomics (reverse phase protein microarrays, biomarker harvesting nanoparticles, preservation chemistries tissue, and protein painting to discover drug targets), that have been used to make broad discoveries. The Laser Capture Microdissection prototype is in the Smithsonian Collection. The CAPMM team applies these technologies too, for example, markers for early-stage disease, accurate diagnosis of Lyme disease (with Alessandra Luchini), individualized therapy for primary and metastatic cancer (with Mariaelena Pierobon and Julia Wulfkuhle), therapy of premalignant breast cancer as a strategy for prevention (with Virginia Espina), and an accredited CAP/CLIA diagnostic lab for patient testing.

Liotta has received numerous scientific awards including the Arthur S. Flemming Award, the NIH Award of Merit, the Surgeon General’s Medallion, and the 2015 Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. At Mason, Liotta has been a principal investigator on 12 NIH grants, three DOD cancer program awards, a Komen Breast Cancer Foundation award, the Walker Foundation award, the U.S.-Italy bilateral agreement award, and a Virginia Commonwealth award, and has served as a co-principal investigator on more than 16 other grants totaling more than $20 million in funding.

CAPMM (with Amy Adams) founded the Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program and the Galileo Science Café to promote science for the community and to inspire the next generation of scientists. CAPMM inventions licensed by Mason are the basis of two startup biotech companies, Ceres Nanoscience and Theranostics Health. Liotta emphasizes creativity and innovation in research and in education.

The Alcalde Family Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Recipient


Kevin A. Clark Professor, Learning Technologies Director, Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity

Kevin A. Clark
Professor, Learning Technologies
Director, Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity


Kevin Clark is a professor of Learning Technologies and the founding director of the Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity at George Mason University. His research focuses on the role of interactive and digital media in education, broadening participation in STEM, and issues of diversity in children’s media. Clark’s most recent research is a national study examining the Digital Lives of African American Tweens, Teens, and Parents. His research activities have been funded by such organizations as the National Science Foundation, Defense Acquisition University, Dell, Microsoft, the Entertainment Association Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Clark
is raising funds for his current project,, an online clipart gallery that will feature women and underrepresented groups engaged in STEM activities.

Prior to becoming a professor, Clark worked for an educational technology startup company, where he managed the design and development of educational video games targeting elementary children and schools. He also has extensive experience as a children’s media advisor and consultant for organizations such as Public Broadcasting Service, Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Cartoon Network, The Jim Henson Company, DHX Media, Disney Junior, Toca Boca, Hasbro, and Amazon Studios. Clark served as a consultant on the movie adaptation of Ezra Jack Keats’ iconic children’s book, The Snowy Day. Currently, he serves as CPB’s strategic advisor for diversity in Children’s Content Production, where he focuses on issues of diversity and inclusion in children’s television.

Clark has received numerous awards and honors, some of which include: being selected as a fellow for the 26th Annual Television Academy (Emmy) Foundation Faculty Seminar; being recognized by former President Barak Obama as a White House Champion of Change for his work in supporting and accelerating STEM opportunities for diverse students, schools, and communities; and serving as a member of the National Park Service Advisory Board’s Education Committee.

Clark holds both a BS and MS in computer science from North Carolina State University and a Ph.D. in instructional systems from Pennsylvania State University.

The Alcalde Family Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Recipient


Wendi Manuel-Scott Associate Professor, Art and Art History

Wendi Manuel-Scott
Associate Professor, Art and Art History


Wendi Manuel-Scott is director of the African and African American Studies Program and an associate professor of History and Art History. She received her Ph.D. in History from Howard University in Washington, D.C. Her scholarship and teaching explore the diverse processes that shape African American experiences—from Atlantic World slavery and Jim Crow segregation to systems of incarceration and black women’s resistance movements. Critical explorations of freedom and liberation inform her work with students, scholars, teachers, and the public at large.

The Virginia Foundation for Humanities and Public Policy and National Trust for Historic Preservation have supported Manuel-Scott’s more recent research on Antebellum and Jim Crow Virginia. One of her projects produced a long-running exhibit titled “Separate and Unequal in Bucking- ham County: Segregation and Desegregation in Virginia”; another project uncovered and narrated African American civic leadership in Falls Church, Virginia. With ve under-

graduate historians and colleague Benedict Carton, she is currently reconstructing the life stories of the enslaved people who worked on the plantation of George Mason, the 18th-century colonial patriot. Manuel-Scott and her team hope their archival discoveries will open a deeper discussion about our university’s namesake and inspire the creation of a campus memorial representing the humanity of the enslaved children of Gunston Hall, George Mason’s Fairfax home.

Manuel-Scott deeply values the power of historical memory as a tool to promote diversity and inclusion. Her work as a racial justice scholar and public historian is to make the unseen “seen” and the silenced “heard.” She facilitates K-12 teacher training seminars, social justice workshops, feminist leadership initiatives, and community programs for youth of color. Manuel-Scott seeks to harness the powers of collaboration and mentorship to foster transformative learning experiences for all people.

The Earle C. Williams Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Social Impact Recipient


Cynthia Lum Associate Professor, Department of Criminology, Law and Society

Cynthia Lum

Associate Professor,
Department of Criminology,Law and Society
Director, Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy


Cynthia Lum is an associate professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society at George Mason University and director of its Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy. She is a former police of officer and detective. She researches primarily in the area of policing, security, and evidence-based crime policy. Her work in this area has included evaluations of policing interventions and police technology to reduce crime and improve police effectiveness and fairness, understanding the translation and receptivity of research in policing, and assessing security efforts of federal agencies.

With associate professor Christopher Koper, she has developed the Evidence-Based Policing Matrix (with Cody Telep) and the Matrix Demonstration Projects, translation tools designed to help police practitioners incorporate research into their strategic and tactical portfolio. As director of Mason’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, she works on increasing the role and use of research and

Lum has been appointed to the Committee on Proactive Policing for the National Academy of Sciences, is a member of the Standing Committee on Traf c Law Enforcement, Transportation Research Board (National Academies of Sciences), the Research Advisory Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Advisory Committee of the Scottish Institute for Police Research (SIPR), and the Board of Trustees for the Pretrial Justice Institute.

Lum is a Fulbright Specialist in policing and criminology and in 2016 implemented the first International Summer School for Policing Scholarship at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland with colleagues from SIPR. She is the founding editor of Translational Criminology magazine and the Springer Series on Translational Criminology. Her new book (with Christopher Koper) is Evidence-Based Policing: Translating Research into Practice (Oxford).

The Earle C. Williams Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Social Impact Recipient


Michael W. Nickens Director of Athletic Bands, School of Music

Michael W. Nickens
Director of Athletic Bands, School of Music


Serving as director of Campus Life Ensembles and Collaborative Arts, and as an associate professor of music, Michael W. Nickens (aka Doc Nix) is most recognized as the leader of the “Green Machine,” which in 2015 was named the #1 pep band in college basketball by the NCAA and commended by the Senate and House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In addition, Nickens launched Mason’s fife and drum corps and WGI world- champion drumline, and oversees Mason’s winter guard. This collection of performing units, known as the “Green Machine Ensembles,” are internationally known for their thrilling, high-energy performances at Mason ceremonies and basketball games, professional sports games and events (Washington Capitals, Nationals, Wizards, and Redskins), community events (Celebrate Fairfax and the Nike Women’s Half Marathon), and marching competitions, as well as their popular internet videos that have been viewed more than 100 million times.

Nickens was named the 2016 Faculty Member of the Year by the George Mason University Alumni Association. He served as a faculty representative to the Board of Visitors, chair of the faculty of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), chair of the CVPA

Diversity Committee, and as a member of the School of Music’s Graduate Committee.

Since he joined the faculty of Mason’s School of Music in fall 2006, he has taught courses in sight-singing/ ear training, popular music in America, improvisatory music, brass methods, applied tuba, composition, chamber music, and jazz improvisation, as well as collaborations with Mason’s School of Dance. In addition, he was a co-founder and co-conductor of the Colonial Athletic Association’s “Breakfast with the Bands” intercollegiate pep band showcase.

During summers, he has taught tuba and euphonium, conducting, jazz performance, composition, improvisation, chamber music, large ensemble performance, and theory at the Performing Arts Institute at Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, Pennsylvania; the Music, Art, and Theatre Camp in Evanston, Wyoming; and the Northern Arizona University Music Camp in Flagstaff, Arizona, and taught at Mason’s Potomac Arts Academy. He has also coached a professional marching ensemble, “Mix It Up,” at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Nickens was born in Washington, D.C., and attended Fairfax County Public Schools in Alexandria, Virginia. He completed his academic degrees at the Manhattan School of Music, Yale University, and the University of Michigan.