Friday, June 24, 2016

OSCAR is hiring! Join us as our Office Coordinator

OSCAR is offering another exciting opportunity! We have reorganized, and are now hiring a new OSCAR Office Coordinator. Don't worry, Samira isn't going anywhere - she's taking the role of Program Specialist, working on longer-term projects.

Position Description: George Mason University’s award-winning Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR) seeks an Office Coordinator to assist the Director of Students as Scholars and other members of the OSCAR team in coordinating the Students as Scholars initiative. OSCAR serves both faculty and students by supporting undergraduate research and creative activities across Mason. Through OSCAR, the Students as Scholars initiative supports curricular re-design to include student scholarship, the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program, a Work-Study Research Assistant program, an annual Celebration of Student Scholarship, and many other activities.

The position requires daily interaction with faculty, staff, administration, and students. The ideal candidate will demonstrate strong written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills and take initiative in analyzing and accomplishing tasks. The successful candidate will be flexible, well-organized, professional, curious, a problem solver, detail-oriented, and able to prioritize and juggle multiple tasks.

Duties will include coordination and support for OSCAR activities by:

  • Receiving visitors and answering inquiries by phone, email, or in person.
  • Managing calendars for the Director and Assistant Director, scheduling individual and committee meetings, and other events.
  • Performing fiscal duties, including purchasing, maintaining supplies, preparing travel documents, and hiring Work-Study Research Assistants. 
  • Managing workflow of multiple application and proposal review cycles.
  • Drafting, designing, and proofreading correspondence and publications.
  • Maintaining OSCAR files, records, and databases. 
  • Coordinating publicity about OSCAR activities, including updating the OSCAR website and other social media.
  • Representing OSCAR at admissions and orientation tables, the Celebrations of Student Scholarship, and other OSCAR events.
  • Assisting with additional tasks as assigned to support the Students as Scholars initiative and the smooth function of OSCAR.

The candidate will be knowledgeable about the value of undergraduate research and supportive of diverse undergraduate students. Ideal candidates should have an undergraduate in any discipline, although an equivalent combination of training and experience will also be considered. The candidate should demonstrate proficiency in Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Office365 Calendar) and have experience with editing websites and blogs. The candidate should also have experience working with (or be willing to learn) HireMason/Symplicity, 25Live, CommonSpot CMS, and database management.

For full consideration, applicants must apply for position number 02628z at; complete and submit the online application; and upload a resume, a cover letter highlighting your strengths with respect to the position description (no more than 1 page), and a list of three references. Review of applications will begin July 19, 2016.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

OSCAR Graduate Professional Assistant position available

OSCAR, the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research, offers a full-time Mason graduate student the opportunity to work as graduate professional assistant (GPA) for the 2016-2017 academic year, with the potential for extension into the summer and following academic year*. OSCAR is the home of Students as Scholars, Mason’s initiative to increase the opportunities for undergraduates to participate in undergraduate research and creative projects – what we call “student scholarship.”

Position Description: The GPA will be expected to support the overall mission of OSCAR, which may include any or all of the following, depending on the skills and experience of the selected student:

  • Assisting with the Students as Scholars curricular initiative, including tracking and organizing course information and assisting in faculty development activities .
  • Working as a part of the OSCAR team to support outreach events, including Admissions, Orientation, and Celebrations of Student Scholarship.
  • Coordinating OSCAR Fellows events and activities.
  • Updating the OSCAR website, blog, and social media.
  • Providing research support for OSCAR activities and assessment.
  • Providing workshops and/or consulting with faculty and students on undergraduate research projects (commensurate with experience).
  • Supporting student professional development activities associated with the URSP and Work-Study Research Assistantship programs.
  • Assuming responsibility for special projects as needed.
  • Finding creative ways to connect with OSCAR alumni.

Qualifications: We are seeking a Mason graduate student from any discipline, with an interest in higher education administration and/or a career goal of teaching and mentoring undergraduate students.  The student must:

  • Be a full-time graduate student (enrolled for 6 or more credits) in good academic standing (GPA 3.0 or greater).
  • Demonstrate that they are flexible, well-organized, curious, a problem-solver, detail-oriented, and able to prioritize and juggle multiple tasks. 
  • Have excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Interact professionally (in person, on the telephone, and over email) with students, faculty, and staff. 
  • Be comfortable working both independently and collaboratively.
Preference will be given to graduate students who have experience:
  • Conducting research or creative work themselves as undergraduate students.
  • Teaching, either at the high school or college level.

Schedule:  The student is expected to spend 20 hours per week in OSCAR, including attending a weekly planning meeting, throughout the academic year.  The GPA is expected to keep a regular schedule, but may be asked to be flexible for special events. Appointment dates will be August 25, 2016 through May 22, 2017.

Compensation: The GPA position include both a stipend and tuition support for academic year 2016-2017.

  • First time appointment without master’s degree: $12,500 with tuition support.
  • First time appointment with master’s degree: $14,500 with tuition support.

Application: Please send the following materials in a single pdf attachment to by July 22, 2016, for full consideration:

  • A cover letter (no more than 1 page) articulating how you meet the qualifications and highlighting how you would best contribute to the Students as Scholars program. 
  • A current CV
  • List of three references, including the name and contact information of your graduate faculty advisor.

*Continuation of the GRA beyond the first year initial contract is contingent on satisfactory performance and availability of funds.

Friday, June 10, 2016

URSP Student Vinh Mai Researches Infrastructure Projects

Most economists agree that functioning infrastructure is crucial to economic development. A dollar invested in new roads, energy powers, water system can generate not only more than a dollar in the money term but also non-monetary social benefits. However, economists predict that current global infrastructure investment portfolio cannot keep up with the rising investment demand in the next decades. Therefore, engaging private sector through Public Private Partnerships to provide infrastructure becomes indispensible.

Infrastructure projects are typically financed through project finance mechanism rather than corporate finance one. As a result, one of the major concerns is how to develop and structure infrastructure projects to be bankable and financially appealing to lenders. Also, PPP projects involve numerous project risks that might have a great impact on project bankability. If a project is not bankable, then there is no project being built. Therefore, my project is concerned with how to structure a project to achieve bankability and how commercial banks assess different project risks.

As mentioned above, I certainly believe that PPP is the future of infrastructure development. Therefore, I plan to become a PPP expert and to contribute my efforts in finding solution to our investment gap problem. My project involves a lot of readings about project finance, project case studies, and commercial banks lending criteria. Typically, I read more than 500 pages per week. Once a week, I have a 30-minute with my mentor who is the Director of Center for Transportation Public Private Partnership Policy. This week, I found a great case study book about project finance in highway projects, which might help me compare and contrast different projects to draw some potentially useful lessons.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Welcome to Dr. Karen Lee!

We are so very pleased to welcome Dr. Karen Lee to the OSCAR team, as our new assistant director! Dr. Lee is warm and funny and devoted to student success, and is a wonderful addition to OSCAR. Dr. Lee will running the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program and teaching the associated seminars and workshops. She will be providing programming to support students in Federal Work-Study Research Assistantships, and will administer the Undergraduate Student Travel Fund.

Students, Dr. Lee is available to talk about finding mentors, developing research projects, working with colleagues, and sharing your research through conferences, papers, etc. She'll hold office hours every week (including evening hours on Wednesdays during the semester), and be available by appointment - just email to set one up.

Dr. Lee is a native Bostonian. Trained as a marine biologist, she studies the ecology and behavior of crabs and crayfish, particularly the biology of invasive species and the impact of human activities on crustacean populations (she is happy to be closer to the ocean!). She is also the coauthor of an anatomy and physiology textbook for first year students. Before coming the George Mason University she was an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and was their first Undergraduate Research Coordinator. She has mentored undergraduate students during her entire professional career and has been a member of the Council on Undergraduate Research as a biology councilor for 12 years. Outside of work she sings barbershop bass and is a Red Sox and Patriots fan.