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Graduate discovered her community at Mason and learned to lead

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Sarah Hunter chose 鶹Ƶ not only because she knew it was a prestigious school, but because she felt a sense of calm when she toured the campus.

Hunter liked the atmosphere at Mason, and the diversity she saw during that campus tour made the neuroscience major feel like she would fit in. She was thrilled when she was accepted and began her freshman year, then COVID quickly changed everything.

After almost two years at home, returning to campus was difficult for Hunter. She decided that she had to get out of her comfort zone and re-engage with the Mason community, so she joined the student organization Women of Color in STEM. Finding this like-minded community sparked new friendships and built her confidence.

From there, she branched out and became one of the founding members of the Mason chapter of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE).

“I never saw myself as a leader,” said Hunter, who is graduating this week with a bachelor of science in neuroscience. “The more I got involved I actually felt heard, and it changed me. I’m more confident now.”

During her time at Mason, Hunter has held leadership positions with Women of Color in STEM, and NOBCChe, as well as the National Society of Black Engineers and the Pre-Pharmacy Honor Society. In all these roles, she is passionate about motivating others to get involved, find their path, and get inspired.

Her advice to incoming students is to get involved on campus as soon they can. “There are so many different kinds of student organizations here. It is hard to choose just one.”

Hunter plans to attend graduate school in the fall to begin a pharmacy degree.