GRADUATE EDUCATION TOWNHALL: Strengthening Models for Mentoring and Advising Graduate Students at Mason (2 hours)


  • Laurence Bray George Mason University
  • Kim Eby George Mason University
  • Aurali Dade George Mason University
  • Rebekah Hersch George Mason University
  • Parag Chitnis George Mason University



Graduate students are considered one of the most vulnerable populations in higher education. They face financial uncertainty, pressure to graduate within a given time frame and before funding runs out, and disruption in academic work. The beginning of this session will provide updates and highlight ongoing initiatives to help and support graduate students at Mason.  The second part of the session will be used as a Q&A and conversation with the Mason graduate community to cultivate a culture of Graduate Education excellence at Mason. This is a collaborative effort between Office of Graduate Education, Office of Faculty Affairs and Development, and Office of Research.

Author Biographies

Laurence Bray, George Mason University

Computational neuroscience is a growing field of research as our technological ability attempts to approach the complexity of the human nervous system. In order to construct real-time intelligent systems, researchers must use high-performance computing, experimental data recording and complex brain modeling to develop robotic functions that mimic the way humans think. The focus of Laurence Bray’s recent research, “Large-Scale Biologically Realistic Models of Brain Dynamics Applied to Real-Time Intelligent Robotic Systems”, involves getting clear understanding of physiological responses to “trust” scenarios and modeling them in artificial intelligence. The United States Office of Naval Research is funding a grant to Bray’s lab for the purpose of exploring better decision-making capabilities of artificial intelligence. The project proposes the first biologically realistic model for trust based in both software and hardware modeling. Bray coaches Mason seniors to push the limits of technology in a variety of design project-based courses for the biomedical engineering program.

Kim Eby, George Mason University

****TEA 2002 Winner****

Kimberly Eby joined the Mason faculty in 1996. An associate professor in the School of Integrative Studies, she is also affiliated with Women and Gender Studies and the department of psychology. In 2002, she was awarded the George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award. Her scholarly and professional interests include issues surrounding violence and gender, leadership, organizational development and change, and collaboration and community building across a variety of contexts. She was a consultant for the National Learning Communities Project and continues to present at national meetings and consult with individual institutions on topics such as leading institutional change; learning space design; interdisciplinary collaboration; working with student and faculty diversity; and other issues related to faculty, teaching, learning, and leadership.

Aurali Dade, George Mason University

Aurali Dade is the Associate Vice President for Research Innovation at George Mason University. As Associate Vice President, Dade is responsible for developing and implementing university strategy for fostering a dynamic, supportive and growing research ecosystem. Dade provides leadership for the Research and Innovation Initiatives (RII) team which includes programs, offices, centers and institutes that are focused on supporting, connecting, communicating about, and convening researchers internally and with external partners.

Dr. Dade has a PhD in Environmental Science, an MS in Biology, and a BS in Environmental Biology. She has taught university classes focused on data ethics, risk, environmental science, and biology. Dade serves as the PI for the Earth Commission Subcontract to the Mason Institute for a Sustainable Earth, served as co-PI for the HHS funded grant: Promoting Research Integrity in Multidisciplinary and Multiteam Based Science Initiatives (2017) and PI for the HHS funded grant: Supporting Responsible Research Organizations: A Framework for Engaged Research Managers and Administrators (2016). She has published articles related to research administration and integrity, sustainability, and biology. She also served as the lead editor and author of two chapters for: Implementing a Comprehensive Research Compliance Program: A Handbook for Research Officers, a book published by Information Age Press in 2015.

Rebekah Hersch, George Mason University

Dr. Hersch provides strategic planning and active management of the University’s research development program to support and build Mason’s research and scholarship capacity, with emphasis on the development of multidisciplinary research and scholarship and supporting the University Research Institutes and Transdisciplinary Centers.

Parag Chitnis, George Mason University

Parag Chitnis joined the Department of Bioengineering at George Mason University in Fall of 2014. He also is a Principal Investigator at the Krasnow Institute of Advanced Study. The institute, which functions as an independent research facility at Mason, upholds a mission to expand scientific understanding of the mind, the brain, and intelligence by exploring the intersection of cognitive science, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and complex adaptive systems. His research in medical ultrasonics and photoacoustics drives innovation in biomedical imaging and tissue characterization; revolutionizing the way patients will one day receive quicker diagnosis, and less-invasive treatments.






MONDAY 10:00 am-12:00 pm