Honors College launches new YouTube series addressing global challenges


Hakeem Oluseyi and George Mason University President Gregory Washington spent an hour exploring how fusion energy might transform the way we live, and how the Artemis moon project is a stepping stone to technological advances that will help us on Earth, to a rapt group of Mason Honors College students.

Washington and Oluseyi is conversation for video series
Visiting Robinson Professor Hakeem Oluseyi (right) was the first guest on the "Our Future, Transformed" YouTube series, hosted by President Washington (left). Photo by Cristian Torres/Strategic Communications

“We do what appears to be impossible, but don’t be intimidated by it,” Oluseyi told the students about work in the sciences. “It’s just like everything else. It’s a step at a time. Know that you can do it and that hard work actually pays off.”

And the students couldn’t get enough, as they peppered the famous astrophysicist and Visiting Robinson Professor with even more questions after the formal presentation.

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“These opportunities help light a fire with us as students,” Rosy Sultana, a senior computer science major, said of listening to a world-class expert unpack complex topics.

Sultana was part of an audience of Honors College students participating in the recording of two episodes of a six-part YouTube series titled “Our Future, Transformed: Mason Spotlights the World’s Grand Challenges.”

students assembled for the recording of the video series
The six-part video series will feature faculty experts speaking about some of the most debated and significant topics of the day. Photo by Cristian Torres/Strategic Communications

“It’s just been an amazing opportunity to be able to hear from someone who is an expert in their field,” S Fagiano, a senior physics and math major, said, “to get more information and to be able to ask our weird questions about weirdly specific things that we might not have time to cover in class.”

Hosted by Washington, the series will feature faculty experts speaking about the key issues, implications, and solutions facing some of the most debated and significant topics of the day, including water policies in the West, police reform, problems at our Southern border, and getting more women into  STEM fields.

The conversations are envisioned as a showcase for Mason’s multidisciplinary intellectual community and another example of how Mason creates and offers an environment for student engagement and dialogue with experts who can prepare them to tackle the world’s grand challenges.

“We need all of you to take up the mantle and to embrace these challenges and to go forth and to do great things with them. That is a big part of our future and our shared future,” Washington told the students.

The first two conversations, recorded in the Showcase space in Research Hall on the Fairfax Campus, featured Oluseyi, who also teaches in the College of Science, who used his time to address the subjects of fusion energy and the new space race, respectively. Full versions of the episodes, which will be published monthly, are available on Mason’s YouTube channel. Shorter versions will be distributed across social media channels, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.

“It illustrates that Mason is always on the frontier of expanding our knowledge and that you have opportunities here,” said Abigail Walsh, a junior forensic science major. “We’re giving you the tools to go forth and do the research. Whatever you want to do, Mason is going to give you the resources to do it.”