Spring 2016 COMMConnection Newsletter

Welcome to the first edition of the second volume of the communication alumni newsletter!

In this edition, we'll give you a head's up on some upcoming events and highlight two of our alumni!

We hope that you enjoy this edition of the newsletter. Keep in touch with us and join the Communication Alumni Society!

Alumni Highlights


Nathan Williamson


Nathan S. Williamson, BA '12, is a senior policy analyst at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Policy and Planning (OPP). Nathan joined the VA in 2015 and manages its policy research agenda. He is also responsible for leading enterprise-wide policy analyses, legislative reviews, and engagements with U.S. and international veteran stakeholders.

Prior to joining the VA, Nathan was an auditor at the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) where he performed audits and reviews of the department’s federal law enforcement agencies. Of note, he led the OIG’s audit on the Department of Justice’s use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), which provided the public its first comprehensive look at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s use of UAS and resulted in the Department of Justice developing its first-ever policies governing the use of the technology.

Nathan is also a veteran of the U.S. Navy. As an Arabic linguist and intelligence analyst, he served two tours in Iraq assigned to a special operations task force conducting combat operations. Nathan also served as a mission manager at the National Security Agency. His military awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.


Photo: FP1Strategies.com

While many Americans are watching the 2016 presidential campaign with great interest, Danny Diaz, BA ‘00, is doing so from a ringside seat.

As campaign manager for Jeb Bush, Danny is tasked with what Politico describes as “the toughest job in the Republican race.” With a reputation as an effective crafter and disseminator of incisive political messages, Danny steers a campaign that has seen intense media scrutiny.

Politico’s account of Danny’s experience in politics, inspiring work ethic, and ties to Northern Virginia (including his education at Mason!) is a fascinating portrait of an alumnus playing a role in history.

News & Events

The PRSSA and Communication Department Annual Career Fair is Coming

Keep your eyes peeled for details regarding our Fourth Annual PRSSA and Communication Department Career Fair, to be held on March 22, 2016! This is the perfect opportunity to meet potential employers and network at the George Mason University Fairfax campus. 

Each year, the Career Fair is organized by the local chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America in alliance with University Career Services, and is sponsored by the Department of Communication and the School of Business. The event includes a professional panel (last year’s was “Be Your Own Boss in the New Millennium") by professionals in public relations, marketing, and mass communications. This panel discussion presents an opportunity for students to get insight on how to become employed, become an entrepreneur, and build a successful career. Students are also able to network with the employer panelists.

In 2014, the panel featured Gal Borenstein, founder and CEO of the Borenstein Group; Tod Plotkin, principal at Green Buzz Agency; Vanessa French, president/lead strategist of Pivot Point Communications; Carla Briceno, cofounder of Bixal; Sherri Arnaiz, creative director/owner of Sherri Arnaiz Web Design, Branding, Advertising & Marketing; Kimberly Guarino, marketing and business advisor to growth CEOs at Evolve Marketing; and Jennifer Brand, principal at Brand Solutions Group. 

The 2015 PRSSA and Communication Department Career Fair was a great success, hosting over 25 employers and attended by 250 students ready to network and learn about opportunities in the communication field.

The event is free to employers and students interested in careers in communication and marketing and will be held in Dewberry Hall in the Johnson Center on Fairfax campus. Students are advised to bring several copies of their resumes and research their companies of interest before arriving. Professional dress is required.

If you would like to host a table at the Career Fair, please contact PRSSA at gmuprssa@gmu.edu.


Open Scholarship Initiative 2016 (OSI)

The 2016 Open Scholarship Initiative (OSI) will be held at the George Mason University Fairfax campus on April 20-22, 2016. 

OSI is a global collaborative effort between all major stakeholders in scholarly publishing to improve the future of how research information gets published, shared, and accessed. The foundation of this effort is a 10-year series of annual meetings where high-level stakeholder representatives work together to solve important issues. Collaboration outside these meetings will also occur.

For more information, please visit: http://osinitiative.org/.


Virginia Association of Communication Arts and Sciences 2016 (VACAS)

The 2016 meeting of Virginia Association of Communication Arts and Sciences (VACAS) will be held at the George Mason University Fairfax campus on April 22-23, 2016. 

Robert Scott, professor emeritus of the University of Minnesota, once wrote a landmark piece defining rhetoric as a means for creating multiple situated truths. In other words, communication matters: our sense of ourselves and the world around us is produced in and through our communication with others. This conference represents an opportunity for communication faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students—especially those based in Virginia—to share their latest work in the field of communication. We encourage submissions across the whole range of the communication field, including, but not limited to: media studies, journalism, political communication and campaigns, public relations, communication theory and rhetorical criticism, critical/cultural studies, science and environmental communication, intercultural communication, interpersonal/small group communication, health and risk communication, and communication education/pedagogy. 

We welcome submissions from faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students, and papers/posters can present completed work or work-in-progress. Undergraduates in particular are encouraged to submit their work. In short, we envision this conference as a particularly supportive venue for undergraduate students to present their exemplary work in communication research and critical analysis.

Keep In Touch

Faculty Directory: http://communication.gmu.edu/people

COMM Graduate Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gmucommgrad?ref=hl

Make a Gift

To give to the Department of Communication, please mail a check payable to:

GMU Department of Communication
George Mason University,
4400 University Drive MSN 3D6,
Fairfax, VA 22030

Or to give online, click here and type “Department of Communication” in the writable box of the Gift Options section.