Mason helped him engineer a path to success


There are times when Isaiah Epps is stuck in traffic that his mind will try to work out how a better road design that could lessen the congestion.

headshot of Isaiah Epps
Isaiah Epps. Photo by Cristian Torres/Strategic Communications

Epps has been interested in how things are built ever since he was young. At first it was about cities and bridges. But a project in one of his traffic engineering classes, in which he designed a solution to the congestion at a Braddock Road intersection that leads in and out of the university, convinced him to concentrate on the traffic and water resource side of civil engineering.

“My vision,” said Epps, a member of Mason’s Honors College, “is seeing civilization in the future, from a traffic perspective and a water resources perspective, accessible to everybody. Just better infrastructure design.”

Epps burnished his résumé with internships at the Federal Aviation Administration and the Jacobs Engineering Group. Coupled with the campus diversity he experienced at Mason and the university’s proximity to Washington, D.C., Epps said his experience “far exceeded my expectations.”

“Everything I envisioned coming here and doing, it came to fruition,” he said.

Where are you from?

Chesapeake, Virginia

What is your best memory at Mason?

2020 Homecoming weekend. At that point everything was coming together for me. I felt like I was getting the hang of things. The tailgate was fun, just the different campus festivities throughout the week. That weekend was probably the most fun stretch I had being up here.

How have you grown while at Mason?

My resiliency and understanding to trust the process in every aspect of life. My father in June 2018 had a brain hemorrhage, was in a coma for a month and eventually passed in November of my first semester of college. Everything wasn’t how I pictured coming up here would go, how my mom and dad and me would go about doing things, and the immense grief along with that. My academic performance and physical health wasn’t up to par either as a byproduct of that. Going through that process and coming out of it better, I feel like I have developed the resiliency and fortitude to handle whatever comes my way in life and will be able to get through it.

What is your best advice for incoming students?

Put yourself out there. Take care of yourself physically and mentally, and always show gratitude. Study hard, manage your time, and embrace any shortcomings you face.

What’s next for you?

I plan on going back to the Hampton Roads area, and I intend to work with Rinker Design Associates.