There are many things about the atmosphere around higher education that attract Mariam Aburdeineh—the diversity of opinions and the striving to make the world a better place among them, she said.
“I just think it’s really cool that we all get to support that environment, and also to be part of it with all these opportunities to learn and grow,” she added.
Aburdeineh, a communications manager in George Mason University’s Office of University Branding, has certainly done that at the university.
Not only does she write for the university website, The George newsletter, and Mason Spirit magazine, she pitches stories to outside media and has become invaluable as manager of President Gregory Washington’s Twitter account and the George Mason University News account.
Aburdeineh expanded her storytelling capabilities by teaching herself to use Adobe Premiere so she could help produce the quick-hitting engagement videos that spotlight Mason programs, and then organized a Zoom call in which she taught others.
For her tireless work, Aburdeineh is July Employee of the Month.
“It was really surprising and really touching,” she said of the recognition. “It makes me appreciate the people I work with even more. We’ve got a really great team. For them to recognize me and recognize one another is really uplifting.”
Aburdeineh, who graduated from Mason with a BA in communication in 2013, began working at Mason in 2018. She quickly earned a reputation as a hard worker and an easy collaborator with an “I’m ready to help” attitude.
“The best coworker in the world,” said Colleen Kearney Rich, Mason Spirit’s managing editor. “She makes my job easier and improves the quality of the storytelling in the magazine and across the university.”
Aburdeineh is still moving forward at Mason, as she is pursuing her master’s degree in education with a concentration in curriculum and instruction.
“It’s just a child-like curiosity to learn,” she said. “I like learning because it keeps it exciting.”
Besides, she said, “I’m a nerd. I’ve always liked school.”
How you got to Mason:
Returning to Mason was more of a homecoming. After graduating, I spent five years doing communications at local and national nonprofits, and was looking for a new opportunity. I thought working at Mason would be exciting, so when I saw the opening and found it to be a good fit, I applied.
Best day on the job:
Any day where I’m somewhere new or on location for a story. I loved going behind the scenes at the National Zoo to learn about elephant conservation and city wildlife, writing about red pandas and the Mason team that’s helping keep them off the endangered list, learning about American ginseng at an apothecary, and reporting on Vice President Kamala Harris’ campus visit and when five Supreme Court Justices came to campus. I also randomly met a cousin of mine from Bolivia I never knew existed while reporting at Mason. That was surreal and really cool.
What you like best about working at Mason:
I’m always learning something new and being inspired by the work of our students and professors. I also enjoy attending events on campus, and taking advantage of campus resources, like workshops at The MIX. Mason students have access to unparalleled opportunities, and I feel I experience the same.
What you do when you are not working:
Hanging out with my awesome husband, family, and friends, and exploring hidden gems in Washington, D.C. Lately I’ve been highly motivated to learn Arabic—you can catch me playing Duolingo, reading books or watching movies in the language. I also enjoy playing piano, learning ukulele and guitar, and drawing and painting.