Mason's Doreen Joseph uses her gifts to serve others

Doreen Joseph, a junior cyber security major, was Mason's Black Scholar of the Year and hopes to make public service her life's mission. Photo by Evan Cantwell.

George Mason University’s Doreen Joseph credits her father for her desire to help others.

Now the junior cyber security engineering major hopes to make public service her own life’s mission as well.

“All throughout my life, my parents always raised me to always help out other people,” Joseph said. “So I’ve been trying to figure out how I can best serve others.”

Joseph, a 3.98 GPA student from the Honors College who was named Mason’s Black Scholar of the Year, was a Truman Scholarship finalist and received Honorable Mention honors for the Goldwater Scholarship that is reserved for the nation’s top STEM students.

She spent last summer working on cyber security during a fellowship in Boulder, Colorado with the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

“She’s met every challenge I’ve seen her take up,” said Kathy Alligood, Joseph’s former Honors College advisor. “I think she can do anything she sets her mind to.”

But it’s what Joseph does beyond the classroom that could have the most lasting impact.

When she was a sophomore in 2016, Joseph helped come up with the idea of building a textbook library that could help financially needy students at no costs. She led the charge in making that vision a reality by by spearheading a collection of previously owned books so that might be used again by students of limited means. That library continues to serve that segment of the Mason student population today.

Joseph was equally as instrumental in working with Early Identification Program (EIP) students as they sought to complete their college essays. Her quality insights and empathy quickly became a big hit among EIP students, many of whom were attempting to become the first in their families to attend college and didn’t always have somebody close by to help them along in the process. They requested Joseph in particular so often that Richard T. Stafford, instructor and digital initiative coordinator for the Honors College, said that he was at times forced to limit her availability.

With her constructive feedback, Joseph later played a key role in the expanding of the program to include face-to-face contact, Stafford said. Contact between the Mason students and the EIP students from nearby schools had previously been restricted to online until Joseph wisely suggested a specific course of action that entailed personal contact between the Mason and the nearby EIP students as a more effective means of coaching.

Serving others is what she lives to do.