MAIS Faculty -- Year in Review

by Meredith Lair

Interdisciplinary Studies concentration heads wear many hats. Because Mason is primarily research university, faculty are first and foremost researchers, who produce new knowledge in their respective fields. Second, they are teachers who work with students in traditional classroom settings and as advisors to graduate students conducting their own research. And third, they serve as academic advisors and administrators, to Interdisciplinary Studies but also their home departments and even to the College of Humanities & Social Sciences itself. We are grateful for all their efforts!  

In fall 2019, Lisa Breglia stepped into the newly-defined role of Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs. But, Dean Breglia was so invested in the progress and success of her students that she continues to serve as the MAIS concentration head for Energy and Sustainability.  

In 2019, Andrew Crooks, concentration head for Computational Social Science, received two external grants for which he is co-primary investigator. One is from the Department of Homeland Security, for “A Crowd-Sourced Gazetteer for Monitoring Cartel Activity,” and the other is from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, for “Enhancing the Modeling Fidelity of Population’s Reaction to a Nuclear WMD.” Congratulations, Dr. Crooks! 

Samuel Frye, concentration head for Social Entrepreneurship, recently received a highly competitive GMU Curriculum Impact Grant from Mason’s Provost to develop a Bonner Leader program on campus. Congratulations, Dr. Frye! 

Christopher Hamner, concentration head for War & the Military in Society, continues to serve as the lead historian for the American Battle Monuments Commission’s Understanding Sacrifice program, which helps teachers to enrich their students’ appreciation of how the Second World War affected individuals and families. Through this program, Dr. Hamner has taken public school teachers to battlefields and cemeteries in France, Italy, and the Philippines. 

Meredith Lair, Interdisciplinary Studies’ director, recently received a grant from the Department of History & Art History to hire a research assistant to help with research on two separate projects, on soldier photography and sexual assault in the Vietnam War.  

Rachel Lewiswho has assisted countless students with their capstone research proposalin MAIS 797, expanded her role in Interdisciplinary Studies by becoming concentration head for Social Justice & Human Rights, currently the program’s largest concentration. Dr. Lewis continues to teach courses in Women & Gender Studies and heads that concentration as well. We are very grateful for all her efforts!