Contact Us

Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research

Have questions or comments? We look forward to hearing from you.

Visit: The Students as Scholars initiative is administered through the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, & Research (OSCAR), located in Johnson Center room 246, adjacent to the Office of Admissions.


Phone: 703-993-3794

Mail: OSCAR, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive MSN 1E2, Fairfax, VA 22030

Student as Scholars
QEP Leadership Council and Committees


In addition to the OSCAR team, many members of the Mason community support us! OSCAR is advised by the Students as Scholars QEP Leadership Council and three subcommittees: Student Scholarly Activities, Faculty and Curricular Activities and Assessment and Program Design. In addition, we have a review panel for the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program.  Let us know if you are interested in joining us!

Meet the members of these groups and see their charges.


Students as Scholars OSCAR Team

Bethany M. Usher, Ph.D.

Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education

Bethany Usher

Dr. Usher spends as much time as possible in graveyards - she is a biological anthropologist who studies cemeteries from both osteological and archaeological perspectives to understand the social structure and health of past communities.  She previously directed the Students as Scholars initiative through the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR), and served as an Associate Director of the Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence (CTFE). Bethany is now the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, but keeps her home office within OSCAR. She serves as a Councilor for Undergraduate Research Program Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), and was Co-Chair of the CUR National Meeting in 2014, Creating the Citizens of Tomorrow: Undergraduate Research for All. Prior to joining Mason in January 2010, she was faculty at the State University of New York at Potsdam, where she established the Center for Undergraduate Research and served as its Director. At SUNY Potsdam, she was an Associate Professor of Biological Anthropology and past chair of the Anthropology Department. She has a long history of collaborating with undergraduate researchers.

Karen T
Karen T. Lee, Ph.D.
Assistant Director, OSCAR

Dr. Lee is a native Bostonian. Trained as a marine biologist, she studies the ecology and behavior of crabs and crayfish, particularly the biology of invasive species and the impact of human activities on crustacean populations. She is also the coauthor of an anatomy and physiology textbook for first year students. Karen is the new assistant director of the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research. Before coming the George Mason University she was an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and was their first Undergraduate Research Coordinator. She has mentored undergraduate students during her entire professional career and has been a member of the Council on Undergraduate Research as a biology councilor for 12 years. Outside of work she sings barbershop bass and is a Red Sox and Patriots fan.

Jillian Rogero

Office Coordinator, OSCAR

Jillian Rogero is a passionate defender of the Pennsylvania Dutch not being the same thing as the Amish, the superiority of lard over Crisco in cooking, and the Oxford comma. Zie is a graduate of George Mason with a B.A. in History. While attending GMU, zie worked as a Research Assistant for the Folklore department through the OSCAR mentorship program and became very interested in research, both as a theoretical practice and in regards to zir field. As of late, Jillian has joined College Student Educators International (ACPA) and is pursuing research surrounding LGBTQ+ students and their challenges in higher education. In zir free time, zie reads textbooks about Powwowing, the American Civil War, and mental health studies.

Sherwin pic Graduate Professional Assistant, OSCAR

Sherwin Zahirieh is a master's student in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Environmental & Water Resources Engineering.  His research interests include watershed analysis and flood mitigation. During his time as an undergraduate, he participated in the URSP program, where he analyzed the impact of rapid urban development on the campus watershed. Outside of engineering, Sherwin is an active musician, and has played primarily Euphonium among other instruments in a variety of the School of Music ensembles. Sherwin joined OSCAR team in August 2016. 

Laurence Bray Headshot Laurence Bray

Faculty Fellow

Dr. Laurence Bray is a bioengineer who studies the basic fundamentals of neuroscience using experimental, computational and behavioral approaches.  She is currently the Associate Chair of the Department of Bioengineering, and serves as the director of the Department's Undergraduate Program. Laurence is also a new OSCAR Faculty Fellow, and serves as the Chair of the Faculty and Curricular Activities (FCA) Committee and a member of the Student Scholarly Activities (SSA) committee. Since she joined George Mason University in July 2013, she has been heavily involved in undergraduate research and education, curriculum improvement as well as course development. Laurence has instructed 26 RS-designated senior design projects, and mentored a minimum of two OSCAR URSP students per year. She received two OSCAR scholarly development grants (SDGs), from which a new course in partnership with INOVA hospital has emerged where students learn to apply engineering principles to medical problems through classroom and hands-on clinical experience.

Laura Poms
  Laura Poms

  Faculty Fellow

Dr. Laura Wheeler Poms is an occupational health psychologist focusing on how an individual's work environment influences physical and mental health. Laura earned her MPH and PHD at Mason and joined the faculty full time in January 2013.  She teaches epidemiology and has co-written one of the first text books on that topic targeted specifically for undergraduate students.  She also teaches health ethics, leadership and advocacy which allows her to combine her two favorite areas – organizational psychology and public health.  In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she currently serves as the Department of Global and Community Health’s Undergraduate Program Coordinator.  She has led her department’s efforts to scaffold research skills across the Community Health major, with support of a Scholarship Development Grant from the Students as Scholars program.  In 2016, she was recognized with a Master Teacher Award by the College of Health and Human Services. As an OSCAR faculty fellow, she looks forward to working with faculty across a variety of disciplines as they incorporate undergraduate research opportunities into their curricula.

About Us

The Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR) is home of the Students as Scholars initiative. We are located on the second floor of the Johnson Center in room 246.

OSCAR and the Students as Scholars initiative provides George Mason University with the opportunity to connect students with faculty and to the research and creative mission of the institution. This initiative aims to foster a culture of student scholarship through increased participation in and celebration of scholarly activities. Students see their education as a process of scholarly inquiry, where scholarship is valued as a core practice of the Mason student experience. Faculty engage students in current and relevant activities, using new paradigms of instruction and active modeling of critical thinking.

OSCAR supports students through:

  • finding a project and mentor
  • internal funding programs
  • opportunities to engage in existing scholarly work with Mason faculty and staff
  • travel grants
  • interdisciplinary courses
  • the on-campus Celebration of Scholarship

OSCAR supports faculty through:

  • finding students to assist with research
  • stipends for scholarly work with undergraduates
  • scholarship development grants and curriculum innovation
  • mentor awards
  • free memberships to the Council on Undergraduate Research