An interview with Ana Lopez, a staff senator and administrative assistant with the Volgenau School of Engineering Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations, was featured in a recent Mason Senate Staff newsletter. Here are her views on several important topics:
Role: I provide support to the director of advancement as well as to the VSE advisory board and alumni development board. I coordinate events and meetings, manage the office budget and provide stewardship to our donors. One of the most rewarding aspects is the awarding of scholarships to students. This past semester we awarded around $100,000 in scholarships.
What’s new: Recently, I assisted with the Mechanical Engineering Alumni Match Challenge to raise funds for the mechanical engineering student capstone projects fund and to establish a scholarship. I also work to increase the number of alumni who give and share the message that it matters not how much they give but the impact they can have by showing annual support.
For homecoming, student involvement and alumni relations will host virtual events from Feb. 5-14. They’re designed with alumni, students, faculty, and staff in mind.
Mason journey: I started at Mason in May 2016 as the administrative assistant in the Office of the Dean in VSE. A year later, a position became available in the Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations. The journey has been quite rewarding knowing that our office is making a difference in the lives of our students and engaging alumni. It’s a tremendous source of pride for Volgenau that Mason is the leading producer of tech talent in Virginia.
COVID-19 transition: At the start of the pandemic, I helped pivot our department to remote work and ensured everyone had the resources to successfully telework. We created a student emergency fund that alumni, faculty, and staff have generously supported to help many engineering students through this difficult time. To further engage our alumni, we hosted virtual happy hours and games. We also hosted our signature event, “Whiskey, Widgets, and Wonks,” virtually. This is typically a reception that includes a whiskey tasting from KO Distillery, which is owned by a VSE alumnus, and lots of robots and engineering projects that are interactive, informative, and fun. For this year, we had the whiskey delivered to the participants’ homes and shared videos and presentations from our faculty.
Best thing about working at Mason: The people – staff, faculty, and students. I have had the great fortune of meeting a lot of wonderful and interesting people, and I treasure all these connections. In particular, the students have a special place in my heart. They are driven, smart, and want to make a positive change in their communities.
Why serve on the Staff Senate: Over the last few years, I have developed a deep appreciation of the work my fellow staff members do. They are often the unsung heroes of Mason. I feel that in these times of crisis, there will be important and hard decisions that the leadership will be making that will affect the classified staff. Therefore, I felt it is important for me to represent and advocate for my fellow staff members. Classified staff is the foundation upon which the university stands and I am proud to be their representative and advocate.
At the end of the day: I am proud to work at Mason and to represent our amazing staff. Mason is doing a wonderful service in the community by providing wonderful opportunities for its students. I look forward to making a positive difference in the lives of my colleagues.
Courtesy of the Mason Staff Senate newsletter
Posted: January 14, 2021