List of Announcements (details below):

*         This Week at the Volgenau School

*         VSE in the News

*         Photo of the Week

*         Upcoming Events at the Volgenau School

*         Angelos Stavrou is a Mason Nominee for Statewide Award

*         New Federal Budget: Impact on Research Funding

*         Funding Opportunity: CyberCorps(R): Scholarship for Service

*         Sharon Caraballo Receives Funding from Dept. of Commerce (NIST)

*         Aditya Johri Receives Funding from NSF


This Week at the Volgenau School

What do we want to be when we grow up?

We're in the later stages of the faculty hiring season, and this is a question that shadows the whole hiring project.  Sometimes we hire to respond to growth in enrollments, sometimes to round out the capabilities of a program, and sometimes to launch into new areas.  Every new hire brings change to the School.  Sometimes the change can be dramatic, for example, when we hire a new department chair.  This year we are looking to hire three new department chairs, along with a dozen or so other faculty members, so big changes are likely.

When I meet with prospective hires, I always give them a copy of our most recent Annual Report<>.  I don't go through it in detail - they can do that on their flight home - but I do explain how it is organized.  Instead of focusing on departments or programs, it focuses on our areas of expertise<>, topics such as Big Data and Cyber Security.  This makes it easier for an outsider to understand the breadth and depth of our capabilities, particularly for topics that cross department lines.

I've also found that it also makes it easier for a job candidate to explain how they might fit in to the Volgenau School, and what capabilities they might bring with them if they were to join us.  It can generate excitement on their part, as they understand the variety of ways they could develop in the broader context of the School.

Deborah Crawford, the VP of Research, has identified three topics that align regional economic priorities, R&D funding, and Mason academic programs.  These are Health & Wellness; Cyber & Information; and Resilient Human, Built, & Natural Systems.  They are clearly aligned with the priorities of the Volgenau School.  This university-level perspective reinforces the work in the Volgenau School, and strengthens the pitch that can be made to a potential hire.

But it isn't just about persuading the candidate that this is a good place to work.  What's in it for us?  Where should we invest in new faculty?  Should we strengthen existing areas?  Invest in new areas?  Focus on strategic priorities?  Take advantage of an unexpected opportunity?

As I said at the beginning, what do we want to be when we grow up?  How do we create a rich and productive mix of faculty who can work together to solve challenging problems?  What future are we creating as we make each hiring decision?


VSE in the News

Here is a list of news stories about VSE that have been posted:

Beyond Mason

*         Voice of America: Mason students create prosthetic 3-D printed arm for 10-year-old violinist.<>

On the Mason news site (

*         PhD students convert years of research into three-minute talks<>. PhD student Bradley Snyder, winner of the People's Choice in the competition is mentioned.

On the Volgenau site (

*         Systems Engineering students want to make the world better, one robot at a time.<> Senior design team develops a robot assistant to help elderly people.

*         William Rosenberger selected as Armitage Lecturer for 2017<>. Statistics chair will give prestigious lecture in fall 2017.

If you have suggestions for other stories, please submit them to Martha Bushong, [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>.


Photo of the Week

Mechanical Engineering students develop a model for their senior design project, "Vehicle Lean Recovery System." (Photo by Creative Services.)


Upcoming Events at the Volgenau School

Whether you're looking for a specific event or browsing, our calendar lets you know what's happening at Volgenau. Here is a sample of what's coming in the next several weeks. For more information visit our calendar<> on the web. From this page you can share the event on social media, get updates, forward to friends, or save it to your own calendar.

May 11, 9:00 a.m.  - Mechanical Engineering Capstone Day
May 18 & 19, 8:00 a.m. - Emerging Security Challenges Workshop
May 18, 2:00 p.m. - Degree Celebration & Department Receptions
May 20, 10:00 a.m. - University Commencement
May 24, 9:00 a.m. - GMU - AFCEA Symposium
May 25, 1:00 p.m. - Digital Forensics Symposium

For information on getting your event posted via 25Live, please visit<>.


Angelos Stavrou is a Mason Nominee for Statewide Award

Professor Angelos Stavrou of the Computer Science Department has been selected to represent Mason as a nominee for a state-wide award given by SCHEV, the State Council for Higher Education for Virginia.

Angelos has been selected to represent Mason as one of the university's Outstanding Faculty Award nominees.  The Outstanding Faculty Awards are the Commonwealth's highest honor for faculty at Virginia's public and private colleges and universities. These awards recognize superior accomplishments in teaching, research, and public service.  Within this program, the Rising Star awards recognize early-career faculty.  For more information on the awards program, see


New Federal Budget: Impact on Research Funding

[The information below is adapted from a report prepared by Kerry Bolognese, Mason's Director, Federal Government Relations, Government and Community Relations.]

The Omnibus FY17 appropriations bill, which would fund the federal government until the end of the current fiscal year (September 30, 2017), is expected to be signed by the President.  Total R&D in the omnibus is $155.8 billion, an increase of 5%, with a somewhat larger increase for defense R&D. This includes increases of 4.1 percent for basic research, 6.3 percent for applied research, 4.0 percent for development, and 2.9 percent for facilities and equipment.  Highlights below

National Science Foundation - NSF would be funded at $7.472 billion, an increase of $8.7 million (0.12%).  Research and Related Activities will receive $6.033 billion, the same as last year.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) - The bill would provide $34.1 billion for NIH, a $2 billion increase. This figure includes $352 million authorized by the 21st Century Cures Act. The omnibus would provide $324 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a $10 million cut.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) - NASA's Science Mission Directorate would receive $5.765 billion, a $176 million increase.  Aeronautics Research would see a $20 million increase to $660 Million.

Department of Energy - The DOE Office of Science will receive $5.39 billion, a $41.8 million increase. For the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E), the bill provides $306 million, $15 million more than last year.  Increases in the following programs: Advanced Scientific Computing Research, 4.2%; High Energy Physics, 3.8%; Basic Energy Sciences, 1.2%; Nuclear Physics, 0.8%; and, Biological and Environmental Research, 0.5%; Fusion Energy was cut by 13%.

Department of Defense - The agreement funds DOD Office of Science and Technology (6.1-6.3) at $14.01 billion, a $760 million increase.  Basic S&T Research receives $2.28 billion, a 1.4% decrease.  Applied S&T Research receives $5.3 billion, a 5.8% increase.  DARPA is increased by 1.7%, to $2.94 billion.

Other Agencies: ... The National Institutes of Standards and Technology is cut by $12 million.   The Department of Homeland Security's cyber division- the National Protection and Programs Directorate - would receive $1.82 billion, a $183 million increase. ...

[One other news item from Kerry Bolognese's report:  Energy Grant and Contracts to be honored - As reported in Energy & Environment News, the Dept. of Energy told its program offices yesterday that it would honor "all" funding commitments for "previously obligated" grants and cooperative agreements.]


Funding Opportunity: CyberCorps(R): Scholarship for Service

Sponsor:  Directorate for Education and Human Resources/NSF
Deadline Date:  31-Jul-2017
Program URL:

Synopsis:  The CyberCorps(R): Scholarship for Service (SFS) program seeks proposals that address cybersecurity education and workforce development.


Sharon Caraballo Receives Funding from Dept. of Commerce (NIST)

Sharon Caraballo, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, received $21K from the U.S. Department of Commerce (NIST) for her project, "FY 2017 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship EL, ITL."


Aditya Johri Receives Funding from NSF

Aditya Johri of the Information Sciences and Technology Department received $50K from the National Science Foundation for his project, "RAPID: Collaborative Research: Technology Adoption during Environmental Jolts: Mobile Phone Use and Digital Services Appropriation during India's Demonetization Crisis."


Stephen G. Nash
Senior Associate Dean
Volgenau School of Engineering
George Mason University
Nguyen Engineering Building, Room 2500
Mailstop 5C8
Fairfax, VA 22030

[log in to unmask]
Phone: (703) 993-1505
Fax: (703) 993-1633