All About ‘I-D-E-A’

Posted: May 3, 2013 at 9:01 am, Last Updated: May 7, 2013 at 7:18 am

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The idea for “I-D-E-A!,” the fifth and final video in the Mason idea series shown at President Ángel Cabrera’s inauguration came up during an initial meeting of the creative team.

“I-D-E-A” video developed for President Ángel Cabrera’s inauguration, April 26, 2013

Doc Nix (a.k.a. Michael Nickens, assistant professor of music) mentioned to the group he had noticed similar syllables and words being used to describe concepts for each component of the idea. He proposed an unorthodox way of bringing the four idea videos together with a fifth video — a spoken word piece. Smiles and nods went around the room, and Doc Nix started jotting down notes as the discussion continued.

Several weeks later he shared his written piece with multimedia specialist Paul King and they began brainstorming visual concepts for the spoken word delivery. King suggested that most of the piece be filmed for a short video, with the final verse being performed live during inauguration. With a powerful message and creative visual concept, the duo set out to find a Mason student performer.

Several members of the Mason community suggested Sha’Air Hawkins, a senior communication major.  When the team approached Hawkins, who has a music and technology minor, she was eager to collaborate. As an active member of The Green Machine pep band, she had worked with Doc Nix and was comfortable in front of large crowds.

Hawkins found her way to Mason after earning her high school diploma in Belgium, where she lived for six and a half years (her mother is in the U.S. Army). She heard about Mason when her older sister was applying to various American colleges and thought it’d make a perfect fit for herself.

Since arriving to campus as a freshman, Hawkins has been engaged in several different activities. She walked on to the Mason Women’s Track and Field team during her freshman year and participated for one season. She continued to pursue her passions for music and photography. She has performed at several events on campus and is set to release her debut EP album, “Le Nuage,” later this month.

Hawkins currently works at the Office of Student Media, and upon graduating in May,  Hawkins hopes to move to New York City to pursue music and photography in the entertainment industry.

See below for text of the spoken word piece

I, D, E, A

By Michael Nickens

© 2013 George Mason University. All rights reserved.

This is a lifetime mission

of collective vision

Aight listen….

I, D, E, A…….

I, D, E, ….

“A”  is for Accessible

Freedom demands access

One can’t simply possess a yearning for learning to make progress

Drive, discipline, and inspired desire are essential

but courses, resources, knowledge, networks, and collective wisdom must be made accessible

in order to grow beyond being simply an ambitious student and manifest professional potential

We’re striving to provide an opportunity

for every nationality, age, gender, culture, creed, and ethnicity

to behold, enjoy, and contribute to the unity and diversity

of our already amazing, yet still up-and-coming university

We must act with humility and civility

ensuring accessibility for our global community

Our goal is making a whole that is greater than our various parts’ sum

Which is why “Diversity” is where our IDEA’s “D” is coming from.

It’s not the differences between us that create the great divide,

It’s the limitations of the cracked lenses that pass light into our minds eye.

We can all try harder to relate

and MUST all try harder to communicate

we gotta mix it up: If we all agree, then it’s not diversity

Unforeseen innovations spring forth from unexpected chemistry

and change everything with divine artistry

I, D, E ,A

Mason Nation is not only about the Hoop Sensation

Our Location is adjacent to the capital of the nation

A Campus full of construction and renovation

We put the verse in diversity and in turn diversity into verse

We put the “a” in stem, turning stem into steam

Combining scientists, technologists and technicians, engineers, artists, and mathematicians

into an integrated humanitarian team

With dedication to an education

emphasizing the combination of generalization and specialization

Stimulation of Imagination

exploration, and collaboration

Realization of the limitations of Imitation

and avoiding stagnation while you prime your mind for globalization

We’re providing motivation for future generations

with brain-rearranging, life-changing Innovation

I, D, E, A

We are Equally Free

With diverse un-silenced voices

and Access to choices

We make it our tradition

to bring our ambition to fruition

They call us thinkers and doers

Spirited entrepreneurs

No words were ever truer

Not just community driven but community drivers

Well connected, but also self-reliant survivors

Our vision is strong

We craft the script

We compose the song

Freedom is the cause, a goal we all share

Learning is the path that will eventually get us there

Access provides the essentials setting the stage for exponential growth potential

Diversity is the formula catalyzing Innovation through convergence and reconciliation

Entrepreneurship is the vehicle carrying us bravely into the unknown

People hear these words and are inspired and amazed

they say “With all these tools you can create and shape a whole new world,

and invent your own Career!”

And I say, “yeah, that’s the IDEA”

© 2013 George Mason University. All rights reserved.

See all the Mason idea videos at

Write to Robin Herron at

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