Impacting Students' Career Development Beyond the Classroom.

Impacting Students' Career Development Beyond the Classroom.

Congratulations to integrative studies instructor, Susan Howard, for receiving the 2019 Career Connection Faculty Award, presented by the office of career services at George Mason University. The award is given annually to Mason faculty and staff who make a positive impact on students’ career goals, employment plans, or graduate school preparation. Awardees are nominated by their students and are recognized for their commitment to students’ professional growth, career-related skills, and mentorship.

“Professor Howard bakes in career development through class assignments, presentations, and activities,” one student wrote. “Her class then grooms students’ professional skills in cross-sectional critical thinking, effective written communication in the form of reports, rhetorically advanced communication in the form of oral presentations, and global fluency in building our relationship and knowledge of global circumstances through presentations on her impressive international work on health.”

Mason alumnus, John Hancq ’16, said his interest in social enterprises came from Howard’s global health class that developed his passion for creating effective solutions to world problems. He’s since launched, Hancq International, a company whose primary project, Karibu Honey Project, provides logistical support to Tanzanian beekeepers. Hancq credits the launch of his business, in part, to Howard and the skills learned in her class. He said he continues to keep in touch with her, gaining valuable connections through her personal network of individuals and discussing possible ways to expand the business. According to Hancq, her mentorship is priceless.

Howard is an educator and entrepreneur committed to helping students realize and maximize their potential as ‘scholars and engaged citizens who are prepared to act’ through an exploration of design thinking, principles of gamification, social marketing, and ideation tools. One student wrote “she begins her first day of class by openly and warmly inviting students to meet one-on-one with her for career mapping, questions, and development—actively seeking to build professional skills in alliance with her notorious motto my goal is to give you the tools to set yourself up for the real world.

As an instructor in the School of Integrative Studies, her teaching style engages students in a systems-thinking approach to understand the intrinsic link between health, environmental, social, and economic challenges and provides them with an arsenal of tools to ultimately adopt, advocate for, or design transformative solutions at an individual, campus, community, or global level. The School of Integrative Studies, housed within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, provides an interdisciplinary experience for students, as well as courses, engaged scholarship, tools, and real-world learning opportunities that bring learning to life and prepare students to enter the workforce.

Working in more than 20 countries, her work has included designing multisectoral programs and projects to address the link between environmental change and infectious diseases; stigma and discrimination and HIV; deforestation and fuel efficient stoves; integration of nutrition and agriculture in infant and young child feeding; earthquake relief and maternal, neonatal and child health; population dynamics, family planning and reproductive health; water, sanitation and hygiene; environmental health and democracy and governance.

Susan Howard