onAir Networks 2


The onAir Networks mission is to make it easy to find, learn about, and interact with people and organizations who are developing and implementing solutions to global and local challenges – public launch in November 2023.

  •  Each onAir network uses the AIR software system and has a central Hub (e.g. US  Government Network) and related sub-Hubs (e.g. 50 state Hubs like the VA Government Hub).  Initial Hub content is aggregated from publicly available sources e.g. from wikipedia and government agencies and freely viewable by everyone.
  • Each Hub’s administration and curation is led by one or more university-based research centers or academic programs with affiliated associations, NGOs, and government agencies.
  • Anyone can become an onAir member. Your voice matters onAir and  it’s free. We encourage high school and college students and the interested public to participate in online and aircast discussions and collaborations as long as they follow a hub’s guidelines.
  • Our  first onAir networks are focused on how to support democracy around the world starting with the US and India networks. We have also begun networks around other key grand challenges such as climate change,  immigration, and cybersecurity.
  • Each network is supported by individual donations, foundation and government grants, and sponsors. In addition, profile posts of organizations and individuals can be curated by the identified person or group for a monthly fee.
  • OnAir Networks collaborates with its university partners to convene in person events like the Meet the Changemakers Day at GMU. These events will give students, faculty, and the public an opportunity to learn about and meet with researchers and research centers as well as federal, state, and local policy makers and other changemakers.
  • OnAir networks is a nonpartisan, 501c3 nonprofit that assists its network curators with fundraising and accounting as well as provide technical and management support.

Learn. Discuss. Collaborate. Make a Difference.  

Your Voice matters – onAir!   Find your interest communities;  Co-create a network!

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OnAir Post: onAir Networks


Meet the Changemakers Day
VA Government HubOctober 24, 2023

This Meet the Changemakers event will occur on Tuesday October 24, 2023 between 2pm and 8pm at the Johnson Center Dewberry Hall on the Fairfax Campus (Google map). If you are unable to attend in person, you can watch our livestream of the town halls and presentations (and chat with fellow viewers).

Meet the Changemakers  activities will include:

  • Presentations by Mason research faculty –  Approximately 4-6 minutes about their research center and a research-based policy goal followed by a short Q&A session with the audience.
  • Mini Town Halls with Congressional Members and Virginia 2023 General Assembly candidates – 15 to 30 minute discussions with politicians and their policy proposals to address grand challenges being discussed at Meet the Changemakers day.
  • 50 minute Town halls – Similar presentation as described above followed by federal, state, and local policymakers) discussing their views on the policy goal and what legislation they propose to address the goal followed by a Q&A session with the audience.
  • Opportunities to learn about Mason research centers and discuss their policy goals based on their research. Other stakeholders in the policy discussions will have tables in the lobby in addition to Mason students displaying their research posters.

Go to the links  below on the VA Government onAir Hub to:

For more information, contact Sophie. Wagner@onair.cc

The Power of Crowd & Community
Diamandis.com, Peter H. DiamandisJuly 2, 2023

XPRIZE epitomizes the power of engaging and leveraging the Crowd, but here are some other examples:

GoFundMe. This Silicon Valley–based, for-profit crowdfunding platform helps people raise money to cover the costs of life events that can range from injuries and accidents (often subjects of major media attention) to weddings and personal debt. Between 2010 and 2020, GoFundMe raised nearly $10 billion from more than 120 million donors. Strictly speaking, GoFundMe is a Crowd play, with only a minority of regular donors and just 500 employees.

TikTok. Founded in 2018 in China (where it is known as Douyin), TikTok allows users to create and post short videos. By 2020, the company had achieved 2 billion downloads and was rated the world’s third-fastest-growing brand. By 2021, it was rated the most popular website in the world. Given the autonomous nature of its postings, TikTok is essentially a giant, Crowd-based company with almost no organized Community. It’s been so successful that lawmakers are alarmed at the addiction it creates in users and are considering banning the application altogether.

Wikipedia. The Crowd populates, but the Community validates. The world’s encyclopedia, Wikipedia, averages more than 18 billion page views per month, making it one of the most visited websites in the world. The site adds more than 20,000 new articles each month and has 27 million registered users. It contains many times the content of the traditional encyclopedia, can be accessed at light speed, links from one topic to another, and it is updated every second of every day. Best of all, it is free.

How to reverse polarization?
PBS NewsHourMay 31, 2023 (11:22)

Over the past few years, this country has seen a dramatic rise in partisan animosity with dangerous implications for the health of our democracy. Judy Woodruff profiles some of the work being done to understand what’s driving that trend and what might be done to reverse it. It’s part of her series, America at a Crossroads.

The Impact of U.S. Political Polarization
The Science Survey, Oliver WhelanMarch 14, 2023

The past decade has been a constant “back-and-forth” between Democrats and Republicans on almost every level of American government and society. Now, America is starting to feel the impacts.

As Biden’s first term draws to a close and the 2024 presidential election looms, an already divided America prepares for another round in a seemingly endless political tug of war. Now, as the aftermath of former President Donald J. Trump’s presidency is still being felt, both the Republican and Democratic parties scramble to find viable presidential contenders. With political tensions at a historical high, this election is set to be one of the most pivotal elections America has seen in a while – and it’s not because of the candidates, it’s because of the impact it will have on the American people.

Over the past decade, America has undeniably been influenced by political division. Despite the accepted belief that government is improved by the existence of opposing parties, the last few years have displayed anything but that. Anti-cooperation between Republicans and Democrats has hindered governmental processes, and in extreme cases, it has even allowed the country to regress in its policy decisions, like overturning Roe v. Wade and allowing states to censor education.

“[Political] polarization is so strong in the Congress now that it is much harder to get cross-party support for any bill or judicial confirmation than in the past,” said Bruce Cain, a Professor of Political Science at Stanford University. If the past few years of legislative standstills reveal anything, it’s that political divisions have prevented both sides from achieving their political goals.

An Overview of the “Uniting for Ukraine” Program
American Immigration Council, Fact SheetJanuary 13, 2023

On March 24, 2022, the Biden administration announced its intent to “welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians and others” fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On April 21, 2022, the Biden administration announced the creation of the Uniting for Ukraine program. This program allows Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine to apply to come to the United States through “humanitarian parole.” Ukrainians who are granted humanitarian parole may remain in the United States for up to two years and may seek to renew that status for additional periods of time. On November 11, 2022, the Biden administration announced that Ukrainians granted parole are automatically eligible for work authorization as part of their parole status.

Ukrainians who want to participate in this program must be sponsored by a supporter in the United States and are responsible for arranging their own air travel to the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented the program on April 25.

What is “Humanitarian Parole?”

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) grants DHS the discretion to temporarily allow certain non-U.S. citizens to enter or remain in the United States even if they lack any lawful immigration status or legal basis for admission. Individuals who enter the United States under these conditions are granted “parole.” DHS may only grant parole to someone if there are “urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons” for doing so. The INA does not define what constitutes an “urgent humanitarian” or “significant public benefit” reason, leaving this up to the discretion of the executive branch. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states that one “urgent humanitarian” reason might include protection against “targeted or individualized harm.” Individuals who are not eligible for admission into the United States but who can demonstrate an “urgent humanitarian” reason for being allowed to enter or stay in the country may be granted “humanitarian parole.”

Who is Eligible for the Uniting for Ukraine Program?

In order to be considered for humanitarian parole under the Uniting for Ukraine Program, an individual must meet all the following criteria:

  • Resided in Ukraine “immediately prior” to the Russian invasion (through February 11, 2022) and was displaced by the invasion.
  • Is a Ukrainian citizen possessing a valid Ukrainian passport, or the immediate relative of a Ukrainian citizen who is applying for the program.
  • Has a supporter in the United States who has filed a Declaration of Financial Support (Form I-134) on behalf of the applicant.
  • Has been vaccinated for measles, polio, and COVID-19.
  • Has passed all biometric and biographic screening and security background checks.
  • Possesses a valid Ukrainian passport.

How Does Someone Apply for the Uniting for Ukraine Program?

There are five steps to the application process for humanitarian parole under the Uniting for Ukraine program:

  1. The applicant must have financial support from someone in the United States. This “supporter” must file a Declaration of Financial Support online on behalf of the applicant in order for the applicant to be considered for the program.
  2. Once USCIS approves the Declaration of Financial Support, the applicant must create a myUSCIS account, provide all required biographical information, and attest that they have been vaccinated for measles, polio, and COVID-19. If a person hasn’t been vaccinated for those diseases, they must obtain the first dose of the necessary vaccine prior to travel.
  3. If USCIS approves the application for parole through the program, the applicant has 90 days to arrange their own air travel to the United States.
  4. Once the applicant has arrived in the United States, they will be inspected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and considered for humanitarian parole for up to two years. The applicant must receive a medical screening for tuberculosis within 90 days of their arrival in the United States.
  5. If the applicant is granted humanitarian parole, they are automatically eligible to work in the United States through their parole status.

Who Can Become a Supporter of an Applicant for the Uniting for Ukraine Program?

A supporter of an individual applying for humanitarian parole under the Uniting for Ukraine program must be lawfully present in the United States. This includes:

  • U.S. citizens.
  • Lawful permanent residents, lawful temporary residents, and conditional permanent residents.
  • Nonimmigrants in lawful status (that is, who maintain a nonimmigrant status and have not violated any of the terms or conditions of the nonimmigrant status).
  • Asylees, refugees, and parolees.
  • Recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
  • Beneficiaries of deferred action (including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA] and Deferred Enforced Departure [DED]).

What are the Shortcomings of the Uniting for Ukraine Program?

Refugee advocates generally support the decision of the Biden administration to offer refuge to Ukrainians displaced by the war with Russia. However, some advocates have also voiced concerns about the Uniting for Ukraine program. First of all, the two-year limit on humanitarian parole under the program seems arbitrary given that no one knows how long the war between Russia and Ukraine will last or how long it will take Ukraine to rebuild after the war. In addition, some advocates argue that the resources spent on Uniting for Ukraine would be better spent on strengthening and expanding the U.S. refugee program, which would help all people fleeing armed conflicts around the world rather than just Ukrainians. Others have also criticized the decision to provide protections for Ukrainians without creating similar parole programs for other nationalities experiencing conflict and displacement. For instance, Afghans fleeing Taliban rule after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan are in desperate need of protection, but there is no ongoing formal special program that makes it easier for them to seek safety in the United States and many have been denied parole.

Climate change & the expanding role of universities
Maryland Matters, Maggie Holland & Candace Dodson-ReedMay 3, 2023

In 2022, with the passage of the Climate Solutions Act, the state of Maryland set the most ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals of any state in the U.S. The Act requires the state to reduce emissions by 60% from 2006 levels by 2031 and to achieve net-zero by 2045. And with the election of Governor Wes Moore at the end of 2022, this critical work was enhanced with his goal of ensuring that Maryland generates 100% clean energy by 2035.

Maryland has an opportunity to be a leader and it is exciting to set ourselves on a course to model proactive and rapid action to address emissions reductions with a governor, lieutenant governor, legislature, and state agencies that are poised and ready to act.

A key focus from our viewpoint is to address the potential risk of losing momentum and failing to act on the harder but most important ways forward to achieve these important goals.

Emissions reductions need to represent real changes in our energy systems. We have essentially stalled in the past on meaningful progress in transitioning to renewable and cleaner forms of energy like solar and wind. Prioritizing these transitions also requires a focus on:

Reducing our reliance on energy from other states. Maryland is a net energy importer because we consume about five times more energy than we produce in the state.
Accounting for the role we play in the transport and export of dirtier forms of energy elsewhere in the world, as the Port of Baltimore is the second-largest coal exporter in the United States.
Ensuring a just transition and sustained opportunities for work in the solar and wind industries, especially for those currently employed in the fossil fuel industry.
Reforming our own renewable portfolio standard so that we do not incentivize the counting of dirtier/polluting forms of energy production (e.g., waste incineration and other biomass burning) as top-tier energies.
Thoughtful updates to sustainability plans. Many plans for reaching net-zero rely on carbon offsets to meet targets while we try to make more substantial changes in our energy systems. But carbon offset investments can be problematic and further risk a lack of meaningful action to reduce emissions.
Universities play a critical role in helping execute this work for meaningful, long-term change.

In addition to ensuring that actively reducing their carbon footprint and environmental sustainability goals are key tenets of a university strategic plan, our great universities can be innovators and incubators, and can exchange ideas and practices. We often emphasize technological innovations and engineering solutions, but must also continue to tap into the breadth and depth of experience across disciplines, including the social sciences, arts, and humanities.

Our state universities would benefit from support to not only foster innovations to address a changing climate, but also to teach the next generation how to communicate on climate change and how to strategize on policy development and decision-making.


Mission and History

The Industry–University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) program accelerates the impact of basic research through close relationships between industry innovators, world-class academic teams, and government leaders. IUCRCs are designed to help corporate partners and government agencies connect directly and efficiently with university researchers to achieve three primary objectives.

  • Conduct high-impact research to meet shared industrial needs in companies of all sizes;
  • Enhance U.S. global leadership in driving innovative technology development, and;
  • Identify, mentor and develop a diverse high-tech, exceptionally skilled workforce.

The IUCRC program provides a structure for academic researchers to conduct fundamental, pre-competitive research of shared interest to industry and government organizations. These organizations pay membership fees to a consortium so that they can collectively envision and fund research, with at least 90% of member funds allocated to the direct costs of these shared research projects.

Universities, academic researchers, and students benefit from IUCRC participation through the research funding, the establishment and growth of industrial partnerships, and educational and career placement opportunities for students. Industry members benefit by accessing knowledge, facilities, equipment, and intellectual property in a highly cost-efficient model; leveraging Center research outcomes in their future proprietary projects; interacting in an informal, collaborative way with other private sector and government entities with shared interests; and identifying and recruiting talent.

Successful IUCRCs require:

  • A capable research/management team with a strong entrepreneurial mindset;
  • Universities, faculty, and students interested in deep engagement with industry;
  • A community of industry and government partners seeking pre-competitive, use-inspired research projects.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) provides funding to support Center administrative costs and a governance framework to manage membership, operations, and evaluation. Each IUCRC is expected to grow over time and be independently sustainable by the end of the award period.

Every year, more than 2,000 students engage in industrially-relevant research at Centers nationwide, giving them on the job training for a career in the private sector. About 30% of these student researchers are hired by the member companies.

NSF created the IUCRC program in 1973 to foster long-term partnerships among industry, academe and government. These partnerships support research programs of mutual interest, contribute to the nation’s research infrastructure base, promote workforce development, and facilitate technology transfer.

NSF is a federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an $8.1 billion budget in fiscal year 2019.

See the work that our Industry University Cooperative Research Centers are engaging in across all technology and market sectors.

View Center Achievements

The IUCRC program generates breakthrough research by enabling close and sustained engagement between industry innovators, world-class academic teams and government agencies.

Adobe does generative AI
Adobe BlogMay 23, 2023

Overview of generative A! from Benedict Evans newsletter.

Every incumbent tries to make the new thing a feature of the old thing, and every incumbent has read the Clayton Christensen ‘Disruption’ book and wants to make sure they make the jump. Adobe made a very successful shift to subscription SaaS in the last decade, and now it’s trying the same with generative AI, launching a de novo image generation product in Firefly and adding generative features to Photoshop.


The more generally important part of this, I think, is the move to add interface, control and product to the prompt: instead of typing 50 words into a box and waiting to see what you get, there are options and switches to give you some control. Stepping up another level again, I think these kinds of features, like most automation and indeed like Photoshop, will produce more employment, not less: making these kinds of workflows easier and faster will lead to more people doing it.


However, the other side of a platform shift is that while the incumbents make it a feature, new companies create entirely new tools that are native to the new possibilities, and unbundle the use cases one by one. Figma is not a web version of Photoshop (and Adobe is trying to buy it, which may or not be allowed by competition authorities), and there will be generative AI equivalents.   DEMOFIREFLY

Resetting the score
Other, Benedict Evans January 15, 2015

Sometimes, an entire industry gets reset to zero, and all the entrenched advantages and parameters go away. The iPhone had that effect, and so did HMS Dreadnought.

Rather like the iPhone, it contained few things that were fundamentally new – most of the key features had been around for a while and considered elsewhere – but it was the first to put all of them together in one place in the right way, and, like the iPhone, this changed everything. Every other warship afloat was obsolete.


History and Plans

AIR Networks is a corporation chartered in Virginia in 2012 with a mission to “Accelerate Innovative Research”.  AIR Networks was co-founded by Scott Joy and Todd Gillette to develop and implement the onAir knowledge network software system. Scott currently is the lead UX designer and Todd is the lead architect and programmer. In 2018, Todd recommended we apply the onAir software to support democracy in the US and around the world. To support this effort, we started Democracy onAir, a nonpartisan 501c3 nonprofit chartered in Virginia.

Over the past 5 years, Todd and Scott have worked with student interns, faculty, and staff from a number of GMU academic units especially with the Arlington based Schar School of Policy and Government’s Global Politics Fellow (GPF) program. Major student contributions have come from former GPF interns and current onAir Directors …  Ben Murphy, Managing Director of the US Government Network, Ani Prakash, Managing Director of the India Government Network, and Joseph Kubicki, Democracy onAir Media Director.

Current plans are to coordinate a Meet the Changemakers Day at the GMU Fairfax campus in the fall to introduce the Mason community and Northern Virginia public to GMU research with public policy ramifications and to the federal, state, and local representatives working on related policy legislation and implementation. At this time, we will launch the VA Government Hub which will provide a platform for information and discussions on Virginia governance and elections. Over the next year, we will be collaborating with political science programs at public universities in or near state capitals to lead the administration and curation of our other 49 state government hubs. Our goal is to find university collaborators in all 50 states prior to the 2024 elections and to share & aggregate content in the US Government central hub.

Over the next year, Democracy onAir will extend itsnetworks to other democratic countries such as these nascent networks:  India Government Network, South Korea Government Network, Taiwan Government Network, Ukraine Government Network, Costa Rica Government Network, and Canada Government Network.

Over the next year, we will also be launching, with university programs and research centers, a number of onAir Networks focused on grand challenges such as: Climate Change, Cybersecurity, and Immigration. The central hub to find and learn about all the onAir networks will be located at: onair.cc

The onAir System

OnAir is a dynamic, web-based knowledge sharing system.

  • The onAir platform supports the development of onAir Hub websites and onAir Hub networks that aggregate and display posts curated by onAir members.
  • All onAir Hubs are hosted on the “onair.cc” domain .
  • OnAir  Hubs aggregate and promote the best, publicly available knowledge about a topic and its related news, events, resources, people, and organizations. OnAir Hubs also provide a variety of tools for Hub member engagement including forums in each post and aircasts (livestreamed zoom discussions).
  • OnAir posts, by default, are under the CC-NC (Creative Commons-Non Commercial) license and can be shared with any other onAir Hub and automatically updated from the original post
  • OnAir Networks provides its Hub organizers and managers with the support and guidance to make their Hub the go to place for their topic. OnAir Hubs can be customized by their administrators. OnAir also provides whatever design, development, and content support that is required.
  • OnAir also develops and monitors the curation and moderation guidelines for the Hubs and manages the finances for each state hub. OnAir will share sponsor and other revenues with its hub administrative and curation partners.

Some Special Features

  1. The core onAir element is the post. Every post can aggregate information from multiple sources. For example, this Senator Kirsten Gillibrand post  incorporates content from her government and campaign websites, YouTube videos, Twitter feed, News items, and other external sources such as Vote Smart, Congress.Gov, and Wikipedia organized in a persistent, easily accessible table of contents. Every post can appear in multiple categories within a hub as well as shared with other hubs. Shared post content is automatically updated wherever it is displayed. 
  2. OAir hubs on any topic can be easily created, administered, and curated without any programming knowledge. OnAir Hubs are portals that organize the most comprehensive and publicly available content on issues, projects, people, and organizations.
  3. OnAir Hubs have multiple ways of bringing together experts with each other, with students, and with the public to discuss best practices, new ideas, and innovative solutions. Every post has a forum that enables persistent, ongoing discussions on various topics as well as a place to ask questions and make suggestions, tell stories, and add endorsements. In addition, OnAir supports professionally produced, livestreamed Zoom interviews, panels, town halls, and other discussion formats without requiring video expertise and displayable in posts and social media. OnAir also provides students with training on how to coordinate in person events like our Meet the Changemakers days.

Viewing content

Any web user, on a laptop, desktop computer or smartphone connected to the internet, can easily access content on any onAir Network hub for free.

All Hub content is under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license which permits content sharing and adaptation by nonprofit organizations as long as proper attribution is given to its author(s) and is used for non-commercial purposes. Content and moderation guidelines reinforce our commitment to fact-based, comprehensive content and civil and honest discourse.  See Terms of Service for more information on how you can re-use Hub content and view Hub disclaimers.

Simply visiting a Hub does not expose your identity publicly nor will onAir Networks sell your information. See our Privacy Policy  to learn about how we don’t use cookies, track your usage, or sell your email address.

You can watch aircasts in forums, debates, town halls, and interviews. Aircasts are Zoom meetings with featured guests and audience participation that are livestreamed to the public. Aircasts are recorded and archived in onAir Hubs and YouTube channels and shareable on social media and websites.

onAir Membership

Becoming an onAir member is simple and free.  All that is required is your first and last name, your email address and your zipcode. You can also identify the issues you would like a hub’s curators and authors to address. When you submit your email address to become a Hub member, it is your option to have your address displayed.

OnAir membership is currently by invitation. When open to public in the fall, go to this post to become an onAir member..

 Becoming an onAir member will enable you to:

  • Curate posts and moderate post forums;
  • Be a producer, host, or discussant for an aircast;
  • Comment on posts in any onAir Hub;
  • Qualify to be an onAir Chapter member e.g. Students on Air @GMU;
  • Intern with onAir Networks
  • Participate in special events like Meet the Changemakers Day.

onAir Chapters

OnAir is in the process of establishing onAir chapters in community colleges and universities in all 50 states and in other countries.  Each university chapter will assist Hub administrators in curating posts and moderating discussions. In addition, onAir chapters will coordinate in person events like this Congress Day at GMU and the upcoming Meet the Changemakers day.  To start an onAir chapter at your university, contact chapters@onair.cc.

OnAir chapter members have all the benefits of onAir members in addition to having the opportunity to intern with US onAir. Intern opportunities for students will include curating posts, producing and hosting aircasts, networking with other students and student organizations, and coordinating special in person events.

OnAir chapters are open to all members of a university community (faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the university).  Chapters can choose to create Registered Student Organizations for undergraduate and graduate students. Students onAir @GMU is our first onAir chapter RSO.

OnAir chapters will be outreaching to other colleges and universities in their state to form additional onAir chapters.


Over the past four years, George Mason University alumni, students, faculty, and staff have been developing, administering, and curating the US Government network of 50 state governance and election hubs and central US Government Hub. The VA Government Hub has been the model state hub for how to add state representatives, committees, and other state government content including aircasts with representatives and candidates (e.g. here is a one minute clip from an interview aircast with Don Beyer – congressman from Virginia’s 8th District).

Curating a post and administering a hub is simple and intuitive requiring no programming experience. Any onAir member, with guidance from hub administrators, can curate an existing post on a hub. In addition, onAir members can also start and curate new posts, moderate forums, and produce aircasts as long as they adhere to a hub’s curation guidelines. OnAir members can also start and curate, for a fee, a post that does not need to adhere to a hub’s guidelines. These posts will be clearly identified and can include copyrighted content (not under our Creative Commons license). To author your own post, contact your hub’s administrator (see address in Hub’s footer).

If your university organization would like to curate a Hub in an onAir network, contact the network (see address in central network hub’s footer). Post curators will be provided with a free @onair.cc email address, if requested.

Benefits for University Organizations

  1.  Gain increased visibility and interaction with several audiences – especially your and other university faculty, students, staff, and alumni
  2.  Connect with and influence federal, state, and local policy makers
  3.  Recruit new students, faculty, and affiliates
  4.  Attract new funding – from individuals, foundations, grants, corporate sponsors
  5.  Establish ongoing communication with audiences – via onAir posts, aircasts, post forums, and in person events
  6.  Help create and support the Go-To online place for communications on your organization’s focus

onAir Internships

Over the past four years with the help of George Mason University faculty, staff, and alumni, onAir Networks has been working with over 60 interns majoring in government, global affairs, communications, and the information science.  Former interns are now working on creating Hub networks for India, Taiwan, and South Korea to support democracy.

We encourage student interns to integrate their internship with their intern courses for credit, class projects, capstone projects, and research work. Many of our interns have taken 6 credit internship or capstone courses.  Most work is done online and unpaid.  Some of our recent interns have continued working withonAir Networks in management positions.

OnAir interns who commit 5 hours a week or more will receive a Profile post where they can include their resume, projects, video interviews, and other information about their interests, skills, and experience helpful to gaining employment and networking opportunities.

See this Democracy onAir internship post for more information.

OnAir networks is also developing a number of other networks including:  Climate Change, Immigration, and Cybersecurity and will be establishing internships for these and other networks.

Democracy onAir

Democracy onAir is a nonpartisan, 501c3 nonprofit that brings together, via online knowledge networks, information, experts, organizations, and the public to better address grand challenges like strengthening global democracies. One of Democracy onAir’s first networks is the US Government Network of 50 state hubs strengthening US democracy through facilitating greater civic engagement and civil discussion.

The Challenge: Citizen apathy, disaffection, and lack of knowledge threaten our ability to self govern. Modern day politics is a big driver in those issues. What can be done to reverse these trends and address a political system that drives many Americans away?

Our Goal: Create an online space where students (and the general public) can find trusted and comprehensive information about their representatives, candidates, issues, and governance, and where they can engage directly with their representatives to find common ground on issues and legislation that are important to them. When citizens better understand how change happens, they feel more empowered to make change themselves.

Our Plan:  To develop our student-maanged state Hubs through inspiring and onboarding student leaders in Student onAir chapters at universities in all 50 states. In addition to curating news and other content, student leaders will organize and produce aircasts with students to amplify as many student voices as we can.

Two minute video about US Government onAir is below.


Individuals and organizations can support a hub in many ways including:

  • Donating to onAir Networks;
  • Sponsoring a post, category, or entire Hub
  • Purchasing an Advocate membership and curate your own posts

See the Supporting US onAir post for more information

GMU Acknowledgements

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.

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, Lourdes Fernandez, 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.

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