Mason Gersh
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My Story

Mason knew from a young age that he was interested in social justice and advocacy. At age four, Mason’s mother took him to the Million Mom March for gun control. His co-op and research experiences at Northeastern continued to grow his passion for social justice, while broadening the ways 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.

Here is Mason’s Northeastern story…

My Path
Why Political Science and International Affairs?

As a political science and international affairs combined major, Mason has 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.”

Co-op Experiences

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 United States’ Embassy in London.

Transformative Coursework

Professor Serena Parekh’s course, “Human Rights in the Twenty-First Century” (HONR 3310), 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.”

Experiences Abroad

Mason went on a Dialogue of Civilizations to Berlin and Istanbul under the leadership of Professor Berna Turam and Professor Kathrin Zippel, studying how minority communities use urban space. This experience invigorated his research capabilities.

Later 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.

Honors Interdisciplinary Thesis

Back on campus, Mason is pursuing a thesis that examines how the LGBT community has used urban clustering to create historically LGBT neighborhoods. He is working with Professor Thomas Vicino on his thesis. Mason received a Northeastern scholar’s independent research grant to continue the same research over the summer. Delving deeply into hands-on research, Mason has 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.

Next Steps

Mason channeled his interest in advocating for marginalized populations into full-time employment at the International Rescue Committee, a non-government organization in New York City. There, he is an international programs assistant offering lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees and other displaced people.

Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University