Mason knew from a young age that he was interested in social justice and advocacy. At age four, his mother took him to the Million Mom March for gun control.
His co-op and research experiences at Northeastern cultivated his already budding passion for social justice, while broadening the ways in which he was able to conceptualize how social change and justice manifest themselves. His time at Northeastern also helped him narrow down this passion into a career path for after graduation as a policy and communications consultant at the International Rescue Committee.
Here is Mason’s Northeastern story…
As a political science and international affairs combined major, Mason pursued his passion for human rights advocacy in his research, classes, and co-op experiences.
“I wanted to do something for the betterment of humanity and even though math and science were always my best subjects, I really wanted to work with other people in intense team settings. Majoring in political science and international affairs seemed like the right way for me to learn how to become a more effective change agent while working in dynamic groups of people and working on issues that I am passionate about.”
Mason’s first co-op experience was with Oxfam which ignited his passion to pursue human rights advocacy. With hands-on, real world experiences, Mason was able to work with Oxfam on advocacy campaigns about industry transparency, climate change, and food security. In addition, he helped plan International Women’s Day events across the country.
Mason’s passion was later enhanced by his second co-op experience at the U.S. Embassy in London.
“Human Rights in the Twenty-First Century” (HONR 3310), taught by Associate Professor of Philosophy, Serena Parekh, confirmed Mason’s decision to work in the field of human rights policy. Meanwhile, Professor Denise Garcia’s “International Conflict and Negotiation” (INTL 3400) course engaged Mason in international issues and how negotiations can positively impact outcomes.
“I think it’s often over looked as to how progressive the United Nations is as an organization. I think it’s such an amazing institution that has become increasingly vital and so I want to see its prominence increase and the way that it is respected and the way that we, as Americans, engage with these big institutions.”
Mason went on a Dialogue of Civilizations to Berlin and Istanbul under the leadership of Professor Berna Turam and Professor Kathrin Zippel where he studied how minority communities use urban space. This experience invigorated his research capabilities.
During his third year, he studied at the London School of Economics (LSE) for a semester through the Hansard Scholars Program. The fieldwork that he started on the Dialogue of Civilizations program became the basis for the thesis required as a Hansard Scholar.
Back on campus, Mason developed a thesis that examined how the LGBT community has used urban clustering to create historically LGBT neighborhoods. He worked closely with Professor Thomas Vicino on his thesis, and received a Northeastern scholar’s independent research grant to continue the same research over the following summer. Delving deeply into hands-on research, Mason visited a number of historically LGBT neighborhoods, including Boston’s South End, in order to better understand how neighborhoods have the ability to create queer community and culture.
Today, at his job as a Humanitarian Policy and Communications Consultant at the International Rescue Committee, an NGO in New York City, Mason has been able to channel his interest in advocating for marginalized populations, offering lifesaving care and assistance to refugees and other displaced people.