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International Education

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PhD Specialization

Develop the skills to be an effective educator in a global society

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Karen Wrightsman

Karen Wrightsman graduated in 2018 with a secondary specialization in International Education. Her research explores friendship formation between U.S. students and international students as well as intercultural competence for students and staff and faculty development. She is the Lead for Alumni Engagement and Career Development for the U.S. Department of State's Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program and oversees all programming, virtual tools, and events for 31,000+ Gilman Alumni and training workshops for campus advisors from higher education institutions across the United States. Outside of her research, she enjoys sailing and exploring new places.

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown graduated in 2017 and recently moved from City of Fairfax to Champaign, IL. From 2016-2020 he taught ESL Level 1 English and the IB Theory of Knowledge course at Mt. Vernon HS. In 2019 he received the Fairfax County Individual Excellence Award. Gordon cofounded the nonprofit, A Place to Stand. Over the past five years A Place to Stand has delivered hundreds of thousands of pounds of food to families suffering from hunger. In addition to continuing his service on the board of A Place to Stand, Gordon teaches high school English full-time and will work as an adjunct professor when universities safely reopen. He is research interests relate to motivation in education and focuses on scholarship on motivation and designing schools to solve community problems. He enjoys spending time with his family and playing guitar.

Sydney A. Merz

Syd Merz has held a few different roles in international and urban education after graduation from Mason in 2015, before landing as the learning and development manager for Business Operations with the Cleveland Indians. In her current role, she applies various pedagogies to engage a multicultural and multigenerational workforce in various learning opportunities so each teammate can maximize his/her/their potential, professionally and personally. She is an active member in the Cleveland Society for Human Resources (CSHRM), playing a key role in the Learning & Development SIG, and recently was nominated as CSHRM Member of the Year. She also is the co-coordinator for Strongsville Special Olympics, overseeing the administration of 11 sports for over 150 athletes.