Meet the K-12 Partnerships Team
The K-12 Partnerships division of the Office of Admissions provides access to education via strategic outreach partnerships and the Washington Scholars Program. Through outreach efforts, we engage with students at an early age to provide the tools to help them prepare for their futures and gain the necessary understanding to navigate the college application process. We work with students, families, schools and community based organizations to make sure college is an attainable goal for all students.
The Washington Scholars Program encompasses the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment and the Washington Journalism and Media Conference which are week-long residential learning opportunities for college credit. These leadership programs are dedicated to providing quality educational and hands-on experiences for students interested in these emerging fields.
Click on any of our staff members below for more information.
K-12 Partnerships Staff
Amy Takayama-Perez — Dean of Admissions and Executive Director of the Washington Scholars Program
As the Dean of Admissions Amy is responsible for the overall management and execution of George Mason University’s recruitment strategy. Amy also serves as the Executive Director of the Washington Scholars Program, home to the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment and the Washington Journalism and Media Conference. She has an affinity for working with students and families in higher education. Before her involvement in the Washington Scholars Program, she was the Guidance Specialist for Loudoun County Public Schools and served as the Director for a county wide college access program. Previously, she has worked in the Office of Admissions as the Director of Undergraduate Recruitment. She has worked with countless students and families on the application and college search process and is very active in regional and national college counseling associations. A native New Englander, Ms. Takayama-Perez holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a Masters of Education from George Mason University, and serves on the Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Richard Friesner — Director of the Washington Scholars Program and Special Partnerships and Program Director, Washington Youth Summit on the Environment
Richard is the Director of the Washington Scholars Program and Special Partnerships, home to the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment and the Washington Journalism and Media Conference. In addition to managing these two programs for Richard also oversees several partnership programs that provide college credit from George Mason University to high achieving secondary school students. Richard is also the Program Director for the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment. In this role, Richard develops the summit's curriculum, identifies and recruits exceptional faculty and nationally recognized speakers in a variety of environmental disciplines and specialties, and coordinates with a fabulous group of staff in the Office of Admissions to make the summit an unparalleled experience for the student delegates attending. Richard earned a BS in Environmental Studies/Chemistry, a MS in Environmental Engineering & Science at the University of Kansas, and is pursuing a PhD in Environmental Science and Public Policy at George Mason University. Prior to working with WYSE Richard worked at the US Geological Survey (USGS) and as an environmental consultant for a nationwide engineering consulting firm. Richard also has extensive experience with student leadership experiences both at the University of Kansas and with the Boy Scouts of America.
Elena Johnson — Program Director, Washington Journalism & Media Conference
Elena is the Program Director for the Washington Journalism and Media Conference (WJMC). As the director, she works to create a fulfilling conference experience by developing the curriculum for the conference, as well as recruiting professional faculty and nationally recognized speakers in the fields of journalism and the media. She coordinates with the staff in the Office of Admissions to develop an enriching and well-executed conference for all the correspondents. Prior to working with WJMC, Elena worked as a College and Career Specialist helping high school students explore their educational and career goals and choices. She also managed the National Young Leaders Conference and the Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C. and New York City. Elena earned her BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She is excited to welcome future journalists to the nation’s capital!
Nathan Lockett — Associate Director, K-12 Partnerships
Nathan is the Associate Director for K-12 Partnerships and helps lead the team’s college-access programming. In this role Nathan works with school districts, non-profit organizations and the George Mason campus community to help students and their families understand the benefits of a college education and what steps are necessary to attain one. Prior to arriving at George Mason, Nathan directed K-12 outreach at Cornell University and taught 12th grade Economics at Ithaca High School. An avid runner, Nathan was the captain of the SUNY Geneseo track team, where he earned his B.A. in History and Education before later earning his M.S. in Instructional Technology from SUNY Albany. A lifelong New Yorker, Nathan is excited to work with the Virginia’s amazing schools and explore the nation’s capital; also he couldn’t be more excited to leave New York winters behind!
Amanda Gary — Program Coordinator, Washington Scholars Program
Amanda serves as Program Coordinator for the Washington Scholars Program (WSP). As the coordinator, she works along with the other members of the K-12 Partnership Team to create an unforgettable and fulfilling experience for the up and coming Conference attendees. Prior to working with WSP, Amanda served as an Administrative Support Specialist at Old Dominion University’s Center for Major Exploration (CME), where she educated students on various on campus resources as well as provided educational and career goal assistance. She genuinely enjoys assisting others through volunteering in the community and has served as mentor for K-12 aged students for the many years. Amanda is new to Mason and is very excited about working with the K-12 team. She holds a BS in Human Services Counseling from Old Dominion University and is looking forward to obtaining a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, with an emphasis in Higher Education, from Mason. She is happy to be on board, but is most excited to welcome our rising leaders!
Andrias White — Events Manager
Andrias serves as the Event Manager for the George Mason Office of Admissions and the Advanced Team Leader for the Washington Scholars Program. As Event Manager, she plans and facilitates recruitment events that attract prospective students from all over the country and showcase the prestige and innovation that is George Mason University. In her role as Advanced Team Leader, she is responsible for all on-campus logistics for the Washington Scholars Program Conferences and works hard to provide a seamless D.C. experience for all of the scholars. Prior to her permanent role in the Office of Admissions, Andrias served George Mason as Event Coordinator Assistant in the Office of Admissions. As a student, she received several university awards and was a member of many student organizations, university committees, and academic honor societies. However, she is most proud of her term as Student Representative on the GMU Board of Visitors. Andrias earned her Bachelors of Science in Tourism and Events Management from the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism at George Mason University and is proud to be a Mason Patriot!
Selina Kirwan — Event Coordinator
Selina is the Event Coordinator in the Office of Admissions at George Mason University and a member of the Advance Team for the Washington Scholars Program. In her role as Event Coordinator, she organizes and executes recruitment events for prospective students to showcase what life is like as a Mason Patriot. As a member of the Advance Team, Selina provides logistical support to the Washington Scholars Program Conferences and ensures the utmost satisfaction of all scholars in attendance. Prior to working with the Office of Admissions, she was a Site Director for Fairfax County’s Therapeutic Recreation summer programs as well as an intern for the NBA’s Washington Wizards. Selina earned her Bachelors of Science in Tourism and Events Management from George Mason University in May 2013. She is looking forward to welcoming all future scholars to the Washington, D.C. area!