Carol McHugh defines what it means to be a well-rounded colleague and leader.
McHugh is the academic program assistant for George Mason University’s Bioengineering Department. Her day-to-day responsibilities include providing administrative support for students and faculty, coordinating events, supporting marketing and outreach efforts, and communicating with students and faculty on reminders and updates. Colleagues say her ability to take initiative on multiple tasks while always “bringing a smile to the office” is what makes her a great candidate for this award.
McHugh was also praised for her help with the two-day graduate recruitment open house event hosted by the College of Engineering and Computing. For exceeding expectations and upholding Mason values with positivity and kindness, McHugh has been recognized as the March Employee of the Month.
“To say that Carol has streamlined how our graduate program is administered is an understatement, and her efforts have allowed our doctoral students to finish their degrees in an average of under four years, making our program one of the best performers in this category at Mason,” said Parag Chitnis, associate professor in the Department of Bioengineering. “She is such an integral part of our department that we forget that she is a part-time employee.”
“She supports the administrative business functions of the department by creating brochures, flyers, and newsletters, as well as providing reception services, scheduling appointments and meetings,” said Kim Blackwell, professor and interim department chair. “Ms. McHugh supports our department with a kindness and grace that truly represents the Mason values of students first, acting with integrity, and being part of a team to make sure the job is done.”
“Carol is truly an exceptional and amazing person,” said Shani Ross, an assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering, “She works with integrity and is a great team player, doing her part and jumping in wherever is needed to ensure that the department operations run smoothly.”
How you got to Mason:
I worked for a long time at the K-12 school my kids attended, but once they graduated, I knew it was time for a change. Living in Fairfax, I’ve always seen Mason as part of our community, and since I enjoyed working in an educational environment, it was an obvious choice for me to look here.
Best day on the job:
I look forward to the days our department sponsors events–from being part of the event planning team to the satisfaction of seeing months of hard work come together in a successful event. In addition, our department is a bit spread out between Fairfax and SciTech [campuses] so these events bring faculty members and students together, and it’s nice to visit and catch up with everyone.
What do you like best about working at Mason:
My department! The Bioengineering Department is like a family where everyone helps and supports each other. Even through the pandemic, we held virtual happy hours. I have felt welcome and valued since my first day on the job and feel privileged to support the department. I find the research done by the faculty and students to be fascinating so I enjoy hearing about the work they are doing.
What do you like to do when you’re not working:
For the last several years, I’ve enjoyed gardening. I have a community garden plot in Fairfax and have grown a wide variety of vegetables. I’ve always enjoyed exploring and traveling as well. As a spouse of a retired foreign service officer, I got the chance to live in several different countries and to travel to many others. Next on the list is Arizona and Oman where my children are currently living and working.