Nancy Xiong comes to Women and Genders Studies from Wisconsin where she grew up eating delicious cheese curds and cheese everything. She is a first generation Hmong American born to Hmong refugee parents from Laos and is the first one in her family to attend college. From 2012-2013, Nancy worked as a graduate student in the Women and Gender Studies Center and in November 2014 returned to us as our program coordinator and as of August 2016, she is our associate director. She earned her master of arts in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations from SIT Graduate Institute and her bachelor of arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Recently, she just finished her second master in Sociology and a certificate in Women and Gender Studies at George Mason University. Her work and research interest include diversity and inclusion, immigration/refugee studies, gender based violence, international marriage migration & Asian American Pacific Islander studies. Nancy has worked, studied and/or lived in Burma, India, Japan, Laos, Nepal, and Thailand. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her sewing machine, turning on her creative hat to create works of art from anything and exploring the wonders of the world.
David Corwin joined the WGST staff in November 2013. He is an alumni of the MAIS in Women and Gender Studies program and the first student to complete a dual degree in MAIS with a concentration in Women and Gender Studies and the MA in English programs. David came to Women and Gender Studies as the graduate assistant and as of September 2016 is now the full time program coordinator. David markets the courses to students across campus, manages the budget and course scheduling, supervises the student staff, and serves as liasion for other units on campus, and teaches courses in the program. His research interests 19th and 20th century British women writers, masculinity and popular culture, men’s friendships, queer masculinities, and contemporary women writers. David hopes to work in higher education with his expertise in Women and Gender Studies and is currently a PhD student in the Writing and Rhetoric program here at Mason.
MaryAnn Vega is a third-year graduate student in the Master’s of Interdisciplinary Arts program with a concentration in Women and Gender Studies. She joined the WGST staff in January 2016 as an intern and is now our graduate assistant for sexual violence programming. MaryAnn received her B.A. in Sociology and Art History in May 2015. She is a fellow at Futures Without Violence and a member of Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honor Society. Her research interests focus on social inequality, but she is currently focused on sexual violence and how to prevent it from happening on college campuses. MaryAnn enjoys working at the center because it was her community as a commuter student and because the center provides a safe and fun space for studying and being with friends.
Kowthar Said joined the WGST staff in September 2016. She is currently a senior pursuing a degree in Applied Information Technology with a concentration in Information Security and a minor in Business. Kowthar enjoys spending time with friends, going to the gym, and having a good time with family. She has a love for museum hopping, Netflix binge watching, and spoken word poetry. She was born and raised in Northern Virginia but hopes to someday live across many different places in the world such as Dubai, Egypt, New York, Morocco, and South Africa. Her overall goal for the center is to provide a safe environment for everyone coming in to visit or hang out.
Jocelyn Martinez is a junior and joined the WGST staff in November 2015, majoring in Criminology, Law and Society with a minor in Forensic Science and Legal Studies. Once Jocelyn graduates, she plans to continue with Law School in order to focus on Immigration Law. She is fluent in both Spanish and English. She is also passionate about giving back to her community. During her free time, she enjoys powerlifting and learning about different societal issues.
Naomi Rath-Nesvacil is a graduate student in the Counseling and Development program at GMU, with a concentration in Community Agency Counseling. Beginning her position in Fall 2016, Naomi enjoys being part of the socially-conscious community that is created through the Women and Gender Studies Center and loves seeing new folks come in to share this safe space. In her free time, Naomi loves to play Capoeira Angola and Dungeons and Dragons, to dance, to travel, and to explore the wilder parts of nature. After graduation, Naomi aims to work with refugees in the Midwest and abroad, with the goal of facilitating healthy relationships within and between communities.
Lehna Asongwe joined the WGST staff in February 2016. She is pursuing a double major in Accounting and Information Systems Operations Management (ISOM), along with a minor in English. She was born in Cameroon and is from Fairfax. Lehna has a love for poetry, Lianne la Havas, and warm beverages; Tea over coffee except in the mornings. She aspires to someday become a French expat while developing a business that promotes black womanhood. Lehna loves working in the center because of the people, the books, and the sense of inclusion. She strives to implement the center’s sense of inclusion in both her professional and personal life. In her free time, Lehna enjoys attending spoken-word events, watching indie films, and attending concerts.
Najma Mohamud is a senior student of Conflict Analysis and Resolution here at George Mason University. I recently started my position as a Student Assistant at the Women and Gender Studies Department. I am passionate about human rights issues around the world, but specifically in East Africa. I am also familiar with the political process in the United States, and had the opportunity to intern for a congresswoman in the fall of 2015. I learned a lot about how women in leadership roles can make a difference and that gave me a new perspective on the importance of gender equality and equal opportunity. I hope to work for the United Nations after graduation and continue my mission of helping people. I am excited to be on this team and to learn more about women and gender studies.
Fareshta Jan is a (super) senior in Biology Honors on the premedical track. Fareshta joined the WGST office in Fall 2016 as office assistant and returned in Fall 2017 after a semester break. Born in a small town in Afghanistan, she was raised in UAE and recently moved to the States. Apart from science and medicine, she is passionate about mental health in the Afghan community, queer related issues in the Muslim community, and health care accessibility to minorities (people of color, LGBTQ+, disabled folks, etc.). When not stressing about school, she prefers spending time being near the ocean, drinking a cup of coffee, and reading prose from Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet. She loves working at the center because of the friendly and warm environment provided for all; something she hopes will become universal one day.
Shin Khang is a senior majoring in Integrative Studies with a concentration in International Studies. She is also minoring in Women and Gender Studies and is excited to be a part of the staff this year. She was raised in North Carolina where most of her family still lives. She loves to travel to experience different cultures, try new foods, meditate and inspire others. Some of her favorite TV shows are How I Met Your Mother, Friends, The Big Bang Theory and Game of Thrones. One of her favorite quotes: “Ten years from now, make sure you can say that you chose your life, you didn’t settle for it.” –Mandy Hale–
Shin has taken a few leadership classes and programs at Mason which has given her a desire to someday be a great leader in her community. After graduation, Shin plans to dedicate her life to build a career that is focused on helping people overcome any abuse they may have gone through. She looks forward to all the experiences she will gain and people she will meet while working in the Women and Gender Studies office.
Come visit us at the Johnson Center in Room 240K!