MA in Global Affairs

Ninon Nelson, 2023

Ninon Nelson

When are you graduating?

Spring 2023

Describe your dissertation, thesis, or capstone (if you completed one):

My capstone project was a news-media analysis of the BBC’s and Al Jazeera’s coverage of the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup. My research helped identify existing Orientalism in Western media and whataboutism in non-Western media sources. It pointed to the decline of objective news reporting and the recycling of harmful stereotypes by popular media conglomerates.

How did you choose your specific area of study?

I chose to obtain a Master’s in Global Affairs (GLOA) due to my belief that sustained international relations can create lasting global peace. This program allows students to view global affairs from an economic, political, and cultural perspective; thereby giving them the tools they need to develop concrete solutions to existing global problems. GLOA’S interdisciplinary research approach creates a unique curriculum that allows students to tackle multi-layered issues. Within my program, I decided to specialize in Global Conflict and Security, to commit myself to understanding existing political, ecological, and social threats.

How did your academic experiences in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences impact you?

CHSS is a space that encourages diversity of thought, allowing one to experience a plethora of unique cultures and educational experiences. I was fortunate to learn from passionate CHSS educators, who allowed me to hone my research skills and develop tangible real-world solutions to global incompetencies discussed in the classroom. Moreover, the field experience of my professors helped me actualize my professional goals and translate academic jargon into policy solutions.

Of which accomplishment(s) during your time at Mason are you most proud?

I am most proud of my contribution to the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GAPSA). First, as GLOA Program Representative and then, as the Science & Technology Vice President, I had the chance to work towards bettering the Graduate Student experience through active programming and community-building events.

Are there faculty or staff members who made a difference during your Mason career?

Out of all the accomplished GLOA faculty, I would like to recognize GLOA Program Director, Dr. Cortney Rinker. Her incredible work ethic and passion for education in an inspiration to all. She was the first Mason person I interacted with, whose kindness was so powerful it shone through her emails! I credit a large part of my positive and successful experiences at Mason to her.

What advice would you give to an incoming cohort of graduate students?

I would advise any incoming cohort to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way! From coffee hours with faculty to alumni networking events, you never know which conversation might help your professional journey. The email invites to these might be long, but it is worth your attention.

What are your current career plans following graduation? What are your long-term career goals?

I hope to use my academic and extra-curricular experiences at Mason to work in peacebuilding and assist with post-conflict resolution and reconstruction.