Carrie Hutnick, working on her PhD in public sociology, has already taken her scholarship beyond the borders of Mason’s Fairfax Campus. George Mason News reports that her dissertation project was developed and is being conducted with an incarcerated graduate student; it examines how incarcerated and university students learn from and relate to one another as they engage in a discussion-based class together inside a prison.
In recognition of her work, Mason’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education presented Hutnick with its 2018 Spirit of King Faculty Award during the university’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Evening of Reflection on January 24. The award recognizes faculty members whose teaching, research, or advocacy work for equality and social justice contribute significantly to the development of an inclusive learning environment at Mason.
Hutnick was “incredibly honored” by the award. She describes her role as an instructor with Mason’s office of Social Action and Integrative Learning as helping students to “move beyond being just ‘doers’ of social justice or leaders in their particular area of social change” to finding ways to bring like-minded people together.
She explains: “I hope my work with students at Mason has helped them to develop as facilitators, educators, and community builders to foster collaborative communities working together to address systems that oppress and marginalize. To me, Dr. King created a movement based not only on political action, but on compassion and collaboration to construct a world with more relational justice, more structural peace.
“Dr. King believed that in order to work towards equality, informed and passionate leaders needed to inform and train others as agents of change. I’ve seen students become powerful educators for their peers in ways that expand and deepen the impact of their social justice work far beyond any actions they might take alone.”
In addition to Hutnick’s award, psychology major Gary Hooker shared the Yara Mowafy Award with the School of Business’s Noah Shoates; it is presented to a student (or students) who spurs a service project that has contributed towards making Mason a more inclusive, equitable, and just campus environment.
Integrative Studies major Hawatu Davowah received the Resounding Voice Award, which recognizes a student who has used their voice, through advocacy, activism, or community organizing, to work for marginalized identities and speak out against injustice at home and abroad.
Rodrigo Velasquez, BA Communication 2016 (with a minor in Women and Gender Studies), received an Emerging Alumnus Award, which honors alumni who embody the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., through their work, academics, and personal values, and who exemplify the university’s commitment to diversity, well-being, and innovation.
The college is proud of its students receiving these awards, and appreciates the energy, talent, and thoughtful action that they apply towards making Mason (and beyond) a truly multicultural community.
February 23, 2018