The GMU onAir chapter is open to all members of GMU university community (faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the university). The Mason chapter has established Registered Student Organizations for undergraduate and graduate students called Students onAir @GMU.
The GMU onAir chapter oversees the administration of US Government Network of 50 state hubs including curating posts, moderating post discussions and producing aircasts. Students onAir @GMU coordinates in person events like Meet Your Candidates night .
GMU OnAir chapter members have all the benefits of onAir members in addition to having the opportunity to intern with US Government hubs and other onAir networks.
GMU OnAir chapter also outreaches to other colleges and universities in VA to form additional onAir chapters.
Students onAir @GMU is a Registered Student Organization at George Mason University.
Mission: Bring together information, citizens, organizations, and their representatives to find common ground on key issues to deliver better solutions for democracies.
Students onAir manages and curates the US onAir network of websites (Hubs), including the national Hub and the Virginia state Hub.
The chapter is currently coordinating Meet the Changemakers Day on October 24, 2023/.
The chapter also coordinated Congress Day 2023. Last fall, the chapter focused on outreach efforts to Northern Virginia congressional candidates to inform and engage students and NoVA residents in the 2022 midterm elections. The chapter supported interview aircasts with the candidates such as this highlight video of student interview with Congressman Don Beyer.
George Mason University faculty, students, alumni, and staff have been instrumental in developing the onAir software as well as our initial networks. Interns have been many Mason academic units including from the Volgenau School of Engineering, Schar School of Policy and Government, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Honors College. have participated in this work, most via a 6 credit, 20 hour a week internship programs. The following Mason Patriots have made significant contributions:
Todd Gillette, GMU PhD Neuroscience, 2015
Todd started working on programming the onAir knowledge network platform and exploring the creation of a neuroscience knowledge network in 2015 while completing his PhD at GMU’s Krasnow Institute. After graduation, Todd joined Northrop Grumman and is now a senior software engineer leading a research team of 12. In 2019, Todd realized that the onAir platform could be used to help address these election and governance issues. So, along with other Mason alumni, faculty, staff, and students, he formed Democracy onAir and became its Chair.
Tim O’Shea, GMU BA Government, 2019
After Tim graduated from GMU, he was hired in the summer of 2019 as the first Executive Director for the Virginia onAir Hub and became a Democracy onAir Director at this time. Tim recently graduated from Georgetown Law School and is a lawyer with DOT.
James Lillard, GMU BA GLOA, 2021
Jim was a GPF intern (see below) in the fall of 2021. Jim has been working with Democracy onAir as its intern Director since January 2022.
Aram Zucker-Scharff, GMU BA English 2011 and BS IT 2011, lead developer and CTO for onAir networks;
Meredith Cary, GMU adult education student, lead inspiration and sponsor for the Speak Up 1-minute videos and contest
Democracy onAir has been working with the Global Politics Fellows program over the past four years. Thirty GPF students have worked 18 hours per week interning with Democracy onAir developing first the Virginia onAir Hub then 49 other state hubs and the US onAir Hub. The interns also established a Registered Student Organization called Students onAir @GMU. See profiles of many of our GPF, Volgenau IT&S, and other GMU interns.
Some of the 2022 cohort of 11 GPF interns, led by Ben Murphy-Schar 2023, decided to continue working on US onAir after their internship. Ben became Managing Director; Ani Prakash-GLOA 2024, President of Students onAir @GMU (and a future Director of India onAir); Joe Kubicki-Schar 2024, Media Director; and Gabe Yu-GLOA 2023-Director of the Taiwan Government onAir network.
Other student contributors include Shuaib Ahmed, BA Volgenau- 2020, who led an IT capstone project with five other IT&S majors; Aram Zucker-Scharff- BA English- 2011 and BS – Information Technology who did some of the initial programming for the onAir knowledge networking platform; and Jordan Toledo, BA Government- 2021 who assisted us with outreach to Student Governments throughout the country.
Many GMU faculty members have assisted in developing US onAir including: Maria Dworzecka, Robert Weigel, John Casey, Andrzej Manitius,Gary Kreps, GMU professor and former chair of communication, communication advisor;, and Lourdes Fernandez, GMU English professor, two significant focus groups with her classes;and Jennifer Victor.
Mason staff who contributed to US onAir include: Will Rees, Paras Kaul, Jim McLean, Thea Kassas, and LeighAnn Skeen.
Representatives: Mason Fairfax’s state delegate, David Bulova and US House member, Don Beyer have been most helpful in the development of the US onAir network. We greatly appreciate their special efforts to provide ongoing support for Mason students especially with the aircasts they participated in and with future aircasts.
Since its founding in the fall of 2018, many members have taken advantage of the onAir internship opportunities especially interns in the Global Politics Fellows Program.
US onAir Internships
US onAir internships are sponsored and supervised by Democracy onAir, a nonpartisan, student-focused, 501c3 nonprofit providing trusted information on governance and elections and an online town square to facilitate more civil, collaborative democracies. Over the past four years with the help of George Mason University faculty, staff, and alumni, Democracy onAir has been working with over 50 student interns to develop the US onAir network of 50 state governance and elections Hubs and national US onAir Hub.
Many of our recent interns have continued working with Democracy onAir in management positions.
We encourage student interns to integrate their internship with their intern courses for credit, class projects, capstone projects, and research work. All work is done online and unpaid.
Next semester our plan to begin establishing onAir networks in democracies throughout the world with a focus on Asian democracies such as South Korea, India, and Taiwan.
Contact Scott Joy at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Here is a 2 minute video about US onAir internship opportunities.
Students and other people in the Mason community who are not part an onAir internship program, can contribute to the chapter in many ways including:
- Curating posts on issues, representatives, candidates, and committees;
- Aggregating content for a Hub’s top news articles, commentary, videos, and livestreams;
- Moderating a post’s forum comments;
- Being a producer, host, discussant/panelist, or zoom audience participant for an aircast;
- Submitting a 1-minute Speak Up video;
- Help promote the chapter and its activities;
- Author an adovcate post
- Donate to Democracy onAir or your organization become a sponsor
Most of the above ways to to contribute require less than an hour per week depending on the nature and extent of engagement.
Beyond helping to reinvigorate a more civil and vibrant democracy in their state, chapter members will:
- Have the same benefits as people and organizations that purchase premium memberships including a full member profile post and the ability to author or co-author issue related posts
- Be able to network Virginia elected officials and political organizations
- Acquire and develop their political communication and media skills
- Gain experience and credibility to pursue job opportunities including with Democracy onAir and other democracy promoting organizations