Building community and connections in Arlington


The Movers and Shakers Mixer event returned to Mason Square in late September, connecting George Mason University students with Arlington’s business, government, and community leaders.

A small group has a conversation during the Movers and Shakers Mixer at Mason Square
The Movers and Shakers Mixer gave students the opportunity to connect with leaders in the local Arlington community. Photo by Ron Aira/Office of University Branding

Since its inception in 2019, the Movers and Shakers Mixer has become a highly anticipated networking event for the Mason Square community. This year, more than 150 students, faculty, staff, and community members participated.

Bryanna Buker, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in international security, aspires to work in transnational crime at an intelligence agency. As a new resident, Buker said the event was an ideal opportunity to engage with other community-focused Arlingtonians. Her future career prospects also motivated her to attend.

A group of people gather together for conversation on the plaza at Mason Square
Photo by Ron Aira/Office of University Branding

“I wanted to meet people who could help shape my ideas of potential career opportunities post-graduation,” Buker said. “I’ve been debating going to law school after I finish my program. Meeting the recruitment team from the Antonin Scalia Law School allowed me to learn how to transition to law school.”

A group of people take a selfie together on the plaza at Mason Square
Photo by Ron Aira/Office of University Branding

Caroline Wesson, a doctoral candidate in political science, regularly attends Movers and Shakers. “I always leave with several business cards and excitement about ways I can get involved and engage my community through my research and skills,” Wesson said. “I was fortunate to speak with individuals from business and government who are passionate about economic growth and inclusion in our community, and those interested in how technology is transforming our society.”

Attendees had the opportunity to enter a raffle for one-on-one networking lunches with Arlington leaders. Amber Pittman, a graduate student in global commerce and policy, was one of the drawing winners. She recently connected with Jennifer Owens, president and CEO of Arlington Community Foundation, for their lunch meeting.

Owens expressed gratitude for the opportunity. “Thanks to the staff for creating events and opportunities, like Movers and Shakers, to foster connections between community members and students,” she said.