Mason Women Making History
Mason celebrates Women's History Month by honoring the ongoing achievements and contributions of Mason women who have played a vital role in our culture, society, and community. Check back throughout the month as we add to this page.
2023 Sojourner Truth Lecture with Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya
2023 Sojourner Truth Lecture
This year's lecturer and the award recipient is Dr. Kakenya’s Ntaiya.
Kakenya's Dream Founder and President, Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya, is a world-renowned educator and advocate for girls' health and human rights. Read more.
Working Moms Support Group Celebrates its 20th Anniversary
They say it takes a village to raise a child. But sometimes, parents are left wondering when that village is going to show up.
In 2003, Heather Aleknavage was a new mom doing her best to manage parenting and the demands of her job as an administrative professional at George Mason University. It wasn’t easy. Read more about Mason's Working Moms Support Group.
First Mason Alum to be mayor of Fairfax
Catherine Read is the first Mason alum to be mayor of Fairfax, and the first woman as well. Read wants closer ties between the university and its host city, and already has plans in motion. Learn more.
My Mason degree has grown in value as Mason has grown in stature in Virginia and globally. I consider it an amazing return on investment.”
Mason's first student newspaper
The story of how a student newspaper started at Mason doesn’t begin with a journalist, but with a candidate. It wasn’t until Helen Momsen would establish the Ledger that student media would make a significant impression on student life at Mason. In creating the Gunston Ledger, Momsen would begin a tradition that would help George Mason College forge an identity. While the Ledger would later be renamed Broadside in 1969, Momsen created the foundations for student media at Mason that can still be felt today.
Mason's First Female Private Space Explorer
In 2006, Mason alum Anousheh Ansari, BS Computer and Electrical Engineering ’88, captured headlines around the world when she embarked upon an 11-day expedition to the International Space Station, accomplishing her childhood dream of flying to space. As a result of her mission, Ansari became the first female private space explorer, the first astronaut of Iranian descent, the first Muslim woman in space, and the fourth private explorer to visit space. Read more.
Mason's First Patent
In the 1990s, Jenefir Isbister, a research professor in the Department of Molecular and Microbiology in George Mason University’s College of Arts and Sciences, was asked if it was possible to develop a quick, portable, and accurate tool to detect pathogens in liquids. Her answer led to Mason's first patent for her invention of a test for microbial contamination. Her research led to a second patent in 1999. Read more about her work.
Mason's First Doctoral Degree
On May 21, 1983, George Mason University awarded its first doctoral degree, a doctor of arts in education, to Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, a teacher at nearby West Springfield High School. Kreiter-Fonda received an Outstanding Academic Achievement and Service Award, and a Letter of Recognition for Quality Research from the Virginia Educational Research Association for her dissertation, Gathering Light: A Poet's Approach to Poetry Analysis. She served as Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2006-2008. Read more.
Listen as Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda reads her poem Dragon Run
Events Around Campus
Go for Gold! 2020 Olympic Karate Athlete Sakura Kokumai
March 30, 2–3 p.m.
Fairfax Campus, Johnson Center, Cinema
Visiting Filmmakers Series: Margaret Brown and Kern Jackson with Descendant
March 30, 5 PM - 8 PM
Kat Thompson: Looking for My People
Fenwick Gallery through April 2.
Mason's First Woman Physicist
Hired in February 1967 as an assistant professor, Eugenie “Jean” V. Mielczarek was the first woman physicist at Mason, in addition to being a founding professor of the Physics Department. This was a monumental feat in the male-dominated world of physics, science, and academia, but she didn’t stop there. She was also a leader and advocate for women, particularly women scientists. Read More.
Related Stories- Women in Stem
Women's Soccer claims Mason's First National Championship
On Nov. 24, 1985, George Mason University women's soccer defeated North Carolina 2-0 to claim the first-ever NCAA National Championship at Mason. Mason was the host for the Final Four championship games, and the team played in front of a record crowd of 4,500. Read More.
Mason Trailblazer Kim Crabbe
In 1986, Mason alum Kim Crabbe became the first Black woman called up to the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. Read more about Kim. Watch an interview with Kim below.