Five Podcast Episodes You Don't Want to Miss


Ever wonder what it would be like to interview a serial killer? Or are you interested in current global affairs or politics?

George Mason University President Gregory Washington regularly hits the studio with thought-provoking conversations with faculty members and noteworthy guest speakers. In the Access to Excellence podcast, Washington aims to educate and ask pressing questions on an array of topics that affect not only our community, but the world.

Since the inaugural February 2020 episode, more than 40 guests have shared their insights, including astrophysicist and Visiting Robinson Professor Hakeem Oluseyi, Robinson Professor Spencer Crew, and former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole. They discuss answers to critical questions such as the essential keys to effective peacebuilding, the importance of a scientific worldview, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s true motives in invading Ukraine. Here, we take a look at the top five most popular episodes.


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Episode 24: With Emergent Ventures, Tyler Cowen puts his money where his mind is.

Mason economics professor and alum Tyler Cowen, BS Economics ’83, gives his two cents on his optimism about the U.S. economy, fighting climate change, and how grants can help fight COVID-19. Emergent Ventures has raised more than $60 million to date and funded more than 200 projects.

Listen to the episode.


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Episode 26: COVID-19 mental health crisis is the second pandemic.

Director of Mason’s Center for Psychological Services Robyn Mehlenbeck educates listeners on important methods to combat stress caused by the pandemic.

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Episode 33: The real story of the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving.

Mason religious studies professor John Turner tells the true tale of Thanksgiving and the dark truths of enslavement and betrayal.

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Access to Excellence episode 33 cover

Episode 39: Russia’s war in Ukraine is tied to corruption and organized crime.

Louise Shelley, founder and director of Mason’s Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center, analyzes the ties between Russia’s corruption and crime and the war on Ukraine.

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Episode 20: Doing the work: Anti-racism, inclusion, and disrupting inequality.

Dr. Washington talks with Wendi Manuel-Scott, associate professor of integrative studies and history, and Shernita Parker, assistant vice president for HR strategy and talent management, about leading the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force and Mason’s continuous efforts to stop racism and create an inclusive environment for all.

Listen to the episode.


Other episodes welcome exciting faculty guests such as election expert Jennifer Victor, National Collaborative for Health Equity executive director Gail Christopher, award-winning novelist Helon Habila, and robotics and artificial intelligence expert Missy Cummings.

The Access to Excellence podcast is available on any of the most popular podcast platforms and at