Reston, VA

The Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University is offering prospective graduate students the opportunity to sample a free virtual lecture regarding one of the more pressing concerns of the day: the coronavirus pandemic and, more specifically, the future threats that might be inspired by it.

The sample lecture, titled Will COVID-19 Inspire Greater Interest in Bioweapons?, will be held July 22 at 12 p.m. EDT. It will be taught by professor Gregory Koblentz, director of the biodefense master’s, PhD, and graduate certificate programs at the Schar School.

“The sample lecture will discuss the history of bioterrorism and why different terrorist groups have tried to develop and use biological weapons,” said Koblentz. “Understanding the motivations for bioterrorism can help us predict the conditions under which bioterrorist groups emerge.”

The online lecture will be based on a bioterrorism risk assessment framework that Koblentz developed as part of an earlier research project on chemical, bioterrorism, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism. In 2016, Koblentz briefed the UN Security Council on the impact of emerging technologies on the threat posed by the proliferation of CBRN weapons to non-state actors.

“This class sampler,” said Koblentz, “will provide a preview of one of the lectures I’ll be giving in BIOD 609: Biodefense Strategy in the fall. This will be the first chance for prospective students to hear my analysis of this threat.”

The session will reveal new insights about the pandemic and how diseases could be used for bioterrorism or biological warfare in the future. “There is a long-standing debate in the field about the threat posed by bioterrorism,” said Koblentz, “and there are a whole bunch of new questions being raised about how the COVID-19 pandemic might increase that threat. There are some disturbing indications that both far-right and jihadist terrorist groups are seeking to exploit the pandemic to advance their respective political agendas.”

Register to attend the sample lecture.

To stay updated on sample lecture opportunities or information about the Schar School’s graduate programs, please visit our admissions event page or fill out our request form.

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Retiring Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and two other local election officials are being honored by George Mason University for their leadership.

Hudgins, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Sharon Bulova and retiring Prince William County Supervisor Marty Nohe were selected for the university’s inaugural Regional Leadership Awards.

The award is administered through the Schar School of Policy and Government.

“It is our pleasure to present these long-serving public officials with our first-ever awards,” said Schar School Dean Mark J. Rozell. “It’s a small way to recognize the effort each of them has contributed to making Northern Virginia among the most successfully governed regions in the country. These awards are well-deserved.”

The retiring elected officials will be recognized at a dinner on Nov. 18.

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The Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University has been named No. 2 in the country in the 2019 U.S. News & World Report for its security studies programs.

If you dream of a career in international security, homeland security, emergency management or other fields that tackle “wicked problems” around the world, the Schar School has top-rated master’s degrees, graduate certificate programs and PhD programs to help you achieve your goals.

The Arlington, Virginia-based Schar School, convenient to the decision-and policy-makers of Washington, D.C., boasts a faculty that includes program former Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency director Michael V. Hayden, former ambassador Richard Kauzlarich and inaugural Carnegie Fellow and terrorism expert Louise Shelley.

Faculty also includes border security expert Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, former president and CEO of the Stimson Center Ellen Laipson, regional economics expert Stephen Fuller and former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

The Schar School is an important part of George Mason’s Research 1 Doctoral Universities rating as its faculty and students contribute research of consequence in fields including biodefense, homeland security, emergency management, global relations, war, elections, federalism, economics, energy and others.

For more information about Schar School offerings, including graduate programs in Biodefense, International Commerce, International Security, Organization Development & Knowledge Management, Public Administration, Public Policy, Political Science, Transportation Policy and Operations & Logistics, click here.

Join us for an online information session to learn more about the Schar School’s Master’s in International Commerce and Policy program. The webinar begins at noon (EST) on Thursday, April 11. The webinar is free. Register here.

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The kickoff celebration for the 2019 NoVa Maker Faire will take place next week in Reston, even though the event itself is set to take place elsewhere.

The annual event — now in its sixth year — gathers engineers, artists, scientists, crafters and more to show off their hobbies, experiments and projects.

The kickoff event will be at the Nova Labs “makerspace” at 1916 Isaac Newton Square next Wednesday (Jan. 23) from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Participants can watch presentations, get information about the Maker Faire and eat food.

The Maker Faire, which used to be held at South Lakes High School, found its new home at George Mason University in 2017.

The main event is slated to take place on June 2.

Photo via Maker Faire NoVa/Facebook

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Experts from George Mason University’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution will be in Reston next week to help interested citizens learn how to better navigate the muddied waters of the 24-hour news cycle.

Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive) will host “Hot Topics: News Blues and How to Defuse” from 7-8:30 p.m. Monday. During the program, representatives of the GMU S-CAR, along with Fairfax County Public Library employees, will provide an interactive workshop about media literacy and dialogue skills. They will aim to help attendees “learn tips for navigating through the overwhelming array of news sources” and “practice using respectful and positive communication techniques when discussing hot button issues.”

The free event is geared toward adults.

For more information, contact Reston Regional Library staff at 703-689-2700.

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Miley Cyrus/Credit: NBC.comHillary Clinton and Tim Kaine are bringing some star power to Fairfax County this weekend.

Singer, songwriter, and The Voice judge Miley Cyrus will campaign for the Democratic Presidential ticket Saturday.

The Clinton campaign announced Thursday Cyrus will speak at a rally at George Mason University in Fairfax.

She will also knock on doors to “speak to students about the high stakes in this election for millennial voters, laying out Clinton’s vision for an America that is stronger together,” says a statement from Hillary for Virginia.

“Cyrus will urge voters to visit iwillvote.com to ensure that they have all the information they need to vote for Clinton on Election Day,” the Clinton campaign said.

Check back for exact time and other info about the GMU event.

Photo: Miley Cyrus/Credit: NBC.com

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Billy Collins/The Poetry FoundationFormer United States Poet Laureate (2001-03) Billy Collins will be making an appearance in Reston in September as part of George Mason University’s Fall for the Book event and Reston Community Center’s Professional Touring Artist Series.

Collins will be at RCC’s CenterStage on Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. Tickets go on sale Aug. 1  ($15 Reston/$20 Non-Reston).

Collins has been dubbed the most-popular poet in America by The New York Times.

“Billy Collins is famous for conversational, witty poems that welcome readers with humor but often slip into quirky, tender or profound observation on the everyday, reading and writing, and poetry itself,” says The Poetry Foundation.

He is the author of more than a dozen books and a contributor to several more. Collins has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the New York Foundation for the Arts and has taught at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence, and Lehman College, City University of New York, where he is a Distinguished Professor.

The Professional Touring Artist Series will also include music, drama, and more. RCC also announced that Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson will be the keynote speaker at RCC’s Martin Luther King Day celebration Jan. 16.

See the full schedule and purchase tickets for the Professional Touring Artist Series on RCC’s website.

Photo: Billy Collins/The Poetry Foundation

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Wendi Kaufman/Credit: Elizabeth OsborneThis weekend’s annual Fall for the Book Festival at George Mason University will pay special tribute to Reston-area author Wendi Kaufman, who died in August after a long battle with cancer.

Kaufman, 50, will be honored at Stillhouse Press’ literary salon at 7 p.m. Saturday at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts.

Kaufman’s book, Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories, is being released this week by Stillhouse, a new publishing collaboration between the festival, the MFA program in creative writing at George Mason University, and the Dallas Hudgens, founder of Relegation Books, who is a Mason MFA alum.

“Wendi earned her BA and then her MFA here at Mason, and those of us who knew her through those years and since were honored to be able to bring out her first book of stories,” said William Miller, festival executive director and director of Mason’s creative writing program.

“The title story appeared in the New Yorker and many of the other stories appeared in literary journals and magazines, but the whole book didn’t find a publisher. That is the kind of book the students running Stillhouse Press wanted to pick as their first project.”

Fall for the BookMany high-profile authors and others in the literary world have paid tribute to Kaufman in recent weeks. Critic Bethanne Patrick wrote a memorial in Washingtonian, and novelist Joyce Maynard, writing for the New York Observer, offered a touching reflection on a “friend she never met.”

A memorial service for Kaufman will be be held Sunday at 7 p.m. at

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, 2709 Hunter Mill Rd., Oakton.

The Stillhouse Salon says Saturday’s event “will be both a remembrance of this gifted and generous author and a celebration of the work that she left for her friends and fans “

The Stillhouse event is requesting a donation of $20 ($10 for students). Attendees receive a Helen on 86th Street tote bag, plus food and drinks.

Following the reception, there will be presentations from other authors, including Roxane Gay, author of the highly acclaimed debut novel An Untamed State and the equally celebrated essay collection Bad Feminist; Ronna Wineberg, author of the debut novel On Bittersweet Place, published by Relegation Books; and Mary Kay Zuravleff, who will read from Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories.

Fall for the Book also has a long list of events at Mason and at other locations in Northern Virginia and in D.C. Visit the Fall for the Book website for more information for the week-long event.

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Reston Festival, 1960s/Credit: Reston Historic TrustReston’s 50th anniversary events continue April 28 with a symposium sponsored by George Mason University titled “Reston at 50: Looking Back at Forward Thinking.”  

A panel will discuss Reston’s diversity, planning, preservation from 7 to 9:30 pm, at The Reston Community Center.

Reston was a highly innovative yet highly risky plan when founder Robert E. Simon envisioned it in the early 1960s. In an era when suburban tract homes on larger lots were being built, Simon saw European style villages with high-density housing and lots of green space on the open land he purchased near Dulles International Airport.

Panel presenters include: 

Lindsey Bestebreurtje, doctoral candidate in the George Mason University Department of History and Art History, who will address the context of Reston’s groundbreaking policies of integration and diversity.

Harold Linton, Director of the School of Art at George Mason University, will provide a window into the development of the Reston Master Plan and its seven principles of design, design/planning precedents, architecture, success, awards, and liabilities.

William Jordan Patty, doctoral student in the George Mason University Department of History and Art History and Archivist/Librarian with George Mason University Libraries, will highlight the history of the Planned Community Archives,a research collection developed by the community in Reston and donated to the George Mason University Libraries.

Zachary M. Schrag, Professor of U.S. History in the George Mason University Department of History and Art History, will introduce three students scholars selected to present their research on Reston history.

Wendi Manuel-Scott, Director of George Mason University’s African and African-American Studies, will moderate.

This program is cosponsored by George Mason University Libraries and the Reston Museum and Historic Trust and is presented with the generous support of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

The event is free and open to the public.

Photo of Lake Anne Plaza in the 1960s. Credit: Reston Historic Trust

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