George Mason University
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George Mason University

Featured Alumni

Hitting the Heights of Career Success

Many of our graduates have used the degrees they earned from Volgenau as a springboard to highly successful careers. Meet some of them.


Anousheh Ansari portrait

Anousheh Ansari

Anousheh Ansari

Anousheh Ansari, BS Electrical Engineering ’89, has reached amazing heights.

In 2006, a few days after her 40th birthday, she became the first Muslim woman in space, and was the first self-funded woman to fly to the International Space Station.

An Iranian-American engineer, Ansari co-founded and chairs Prodea Systems, and served as co-founder and CEO of Telecom Technologies.







Tigran Markaryan

Tigran Markaryan was the first graduate of the PhD program in Statistical Science in 2009. He is Executive Vice President of Custom Analytics, a subsidiary of Ipsos MMA, and was one of the first corporate executives to foresee the big data analytics movement. Even though his company is in New York City, he serves as an adjunct faculty in several key graduate courses at Volgenau. Five years ago, he developed a math refresher course for incoming graduate students, who often find the mathematical complexities of graduate statistics challenging. Many students who took the course feel it increased their chance of success in the program.


Brian Blake portrait

Brian Blake

Brian Blake

Brian Blake first considered getting his PhD in information technology at Drexel University, then switched to Mason.

He ended up at Drexel after all, but this time, as provost and executive vice president of the private research university.

Blake, who received his PhD in 2001, explored his passion for science while at Mason, and became a senior software engineer, first with Lockheed Martin Information Systems, then at the MITRE Corporation.



Cerasela Cristei

Cerasela Cristei, PhD, 2010, MS, 2005, is a civil engineer with more than 20 years of experience in design and engineering, ranging from residential subdivisions to Metro line extension projects. Currently, she is a senior engineer at Applied Engineering Management in Herndon, Virginia. Dr. Cristei is a member of the George Mason University Civil Engineering Institute Board, and serves on the Women’s Transportation Seminar's D.C. Chapter as a Professional Development Chair. She is also the Second Vice President of ASHE – Potomac. She brings her insights and design experience in both land development and transportation engineering into the classroom.