Annual Event Awards Scholarships, Recognizes Donors

Posted: April 8, 2013 at 5:01 am, Last Updated: April 9, 2013 at 6:47 am

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By Corey Jenkins Schaut

Scholarship winners, from left, are

Scholarship winners are, from left, Seth Robertson, Mackenzie Snider, Jacqueline Koromah-Mitchell, Ryan McCreedy and Nancy Xiong.

Five outstanding students, including the first-ever recipient of the Black Scholars Endowed Scholarship, were honored as part of the annual Scholarship Celebration Dinner on April 4 at the Mason Inn Conference Center and Hotel. The annual event also recognizes donors to university scholarship funds.

George Mason University President Ángel Cabrera thanked attendees for their support. “Tonight, I am surrounded by givers,” he said. “And once you decide to give, it doesn’t get much better than to give someone an education that can change their lives.”

He also noted that student scholarship recipients were “givers in the making,” as the educational opportunities students receive through scholarships would extend their talents to others.

Princess Bryant, a Mason scholarship recipient and dance student, shared her gratitude for being able to continue her studies because “Someone cared enough to invest in my dreams.”

Dan Wotring, BIS ’97, served as the emcee for the evening, sharing his personal experience as a Mason student-athlete, scholarship recipient, and now donor. Wotring is part of a four-generation Mason family and created the Wotring Wrestling Scholarship Endowment.

Wotring introduced the crowd to Princess Bryant, a Mason scholarship recipient and dance student. After her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and she lost some of her financial aid, Bryant was unsure if she would be able to return to study at Mason. Scholarship support ensured she could continue her studies.

“Someone cared enough to invest in my dreams,” she said. “Scholarship support means everything to students. You forever change our lives.”

Rodney Turner, JD ’93, president of the George Mason University Alumni Association, presented the association’s scholarship awards to Jacqueline Koromah-Mitchell, Ryan McCreedy, Nancy Xiong, Mackenzie Snider, and Seth Robertson.

Robertson, a junior majoring in electrical engineering and a member of Mason’s wrestling team, is the first Black Scholars award recipient. In addition to being a student-athlete, he serves as vice president and social action chair of the Eta Delta Delta chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and the academic excellence chair for both the National Society of Black Engineers and the Gallant Educated Noticeable Tremendous (GENT) Men. Through these organizations, Robertson developed a “study buddy” system to help his fellow students academically. He also participates in multiple philanthropic events across campus and volunteers in multiple local organizations.

Koromah-Mitchell, a junior pursing a degree in criminology, law and society, received the Peter C. Forame Student Leadership Scholarship. An aspiring lawyer and a campus leader, she serves as the vice president for recruitment with the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, community service chair for Lambda Sigma Sophomore Academic Honor Society, a Mason Ambassador, a member of the debate team, and a member of Mason’s Honor Committee.

McCreedy, a sophomore majoring in civil, infrastructure and environmental engineering, received the John C. Wood Undergraduate Scholarship. Diagnosed with a chronic debiliatating illness at the age of 7, he was not expected to live to adulthood. Beating the odds, McCreedy became the first Boy Scout with a disability to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout in the National Capital Region. He now serves as a student leader, having helped to found the Mason chapter of Theta Tau Professional Engineering Fraternity, of which he is currently vice regent, as well as Mason’s American Water Works Association.

Xiong, a graduate student in sociology, received the John C. and Louise P. Wood Graduate Scholarship. Xiong is a first-generation Hmong immigrant; her parents fled Laos to escape persecution. Her research focuses on issues of immigration and gender. The first in her family to pursue a college degree, she also volunteers in the community to assist victims of domestic violence.

Snider, a sophomore in the conflict analysis and resolution program, received the George Mason University Alumni Association Service Scholarship. Active in the Mason Ambassadors and Campus Crusade, she was a student leader for Love Botswana earlier this year and helped to raise enough money to pack 2,000 children’s backpacks with school supplies and to start a student mentor program in one village. Snider was initially inspired to give back after her family received a flood of support following her mother’s diagnosis with multiple sclerosis.

Chelsea McDow contributed to this story.

Write to Robin Herron at rherron@gmu.edu

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