Thursday, January 15,2015
Now, through a minor in sport and American culture, Kleine is creating an oral history of how race and society played a role in Washington, D.C., sports.
Kleine took courses on U.S. sport history and basketball history with Professor Chris Elzey in Mason’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He was so fascinated with the subjects that he asked Elzey how he could learn more. Elzey suggested Kleine apply to Mason’s Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities and Research (OSCAR) undergraduate program.
“It allows him to do the hands-on work of an oral historian,” Elzey says. “Assessing his project so far, I’m very pleased.”
Kleine and Elzey created a list of potential interview candidates. Not everyone called back. But their persistence paid off when Kleine met two former athletes who were willing to share their stories of perseverance.
Kleine, of Pennsylvania, flew to Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Fla., to meet Maury Willis—three-time World Series champion; seven-time Major League Baseball All-Star Game player; All-Star Game Most Valuable Player; National League Most Valuable Player; two-time Gold Glove Award winner; and the first modern-era player with two, 90-plus stolen base seasons. Wills also is one of 10 finalists on this year’s Golden Era ballot being considered for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
“He was the real deal,” recalls Kleine, “I’d never met a more genuine, happy individual.”
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Monday, January 5,2015
The tattered and stained clothes on the table belonged to a young girl; the soiled garments, broken hair accessories and still-tied shoes are all that is left of her. The items were found buried in her grave, a grave she shared with a second person, most likely a relative. The clothes are evidence of a hideous crime—perhaps a human rights violation by the ruling government—that took place in the 1980s in rural Peru. Now, decades later, the alleged killers are finally coming to trial in Lima.
Time has faded the public interest in the outcomes of the dozens of trials emerging from the internal armed conflict. But a George Mason University professor and her protégé, a Mason alumnus, fare constant presences in the courtrooms of Lima, making sure that justice is carried out correctly and transparently. The professor, Jo-Marie Burt, teaches political science at Mason’s School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs and is director of Mason’s Latin American Studies program. Burt also is a senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America, where she works on human rights and transitional justice issues.
The student is Karina Arango, a Fairfax native who graduated last December with degrees in government and international politics and global affairs. When she’s not applying for a master’s degree and a Fulbright scholarship, she can be found in a sparsely populated courtroom, ever vigilant for legal irregularities. But the courts move slowly. “It’s a bit frustrating because I feel for the victims,” Arango says by Skype between sessions. “I know the families, and for some of these cases, I’m the only one in the audience. But it’s worth it because it’s important for the victims to have some sort of retribution, socially and legally.”
Arango, whom Burt calls “my eyes and ears on the ground,” and Burt, when she is not teaching at Mason, record whether officials are being impartial. They report on violations and seek to increase awareness about the trials, particularly in light of little local press coverage, through a blog Burt started in 2010, rightsperu.net.
Burt was Arango’s mentor for a project funded by Mason’s Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities and Research (OSCAR) in 2013. With OSCAR funding, Arango made her first trip to Peru as a trials monitor for Burt’s project. Burt and partner organization the Due Process of Law Foundation were recently awarded a grant from the Department of State that will allow the trial monitoring activities to continue into 2016.
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Friday, December 19,2014
Dr. Usher is Director of the Students as Scholars initiative through the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR) at Mason. She earned a BA in Anthropology and Biology from the University of Virginia, an MA in Bioarchaeology from Arizona State, and her PhD in Biological Anthropology from Penn State, and has previously been a professor at SUNY Potsdam (2000-2010).
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