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George Mason University Partners With AWS on Innovations, Research

AWS will work with the university on streamlining the student transfer process, building out its data center engineering curriculum, creating collaborative opportunities for research and other initiatives.

Three students standing and talking at George Mason University.
Students at George Mason University
(Evan Cantwell/Creative Services)
George Mason University and Amazon have partnered to strengthen academic programming on emerging tech fields such as data center engineering and machine learning, and to implement ed-tech solutions for enrollment and other administrative needs, an announcement last week said.

According to a news release, the university will make use of services across Amazon, such as technical solutions from Amazon Web Services (AWS), to upgrade student services and build out its educational program in data center engineering. The announcement added that the university will work with AWS on a platform to streamline the student transfer process, with the goal of reducing systemic obstacles related to enrollment and transfers.

“The diverse talent pipeline that George Mason University produces is in part what attracted Amazon to Arlington,” George Mason President Gregory Washington said in the announcement. “Mason’s work with Amazon will better serve the students in that pipeline, as well as drive economic growth through business, government, and community collaborations as Mason becomes one of the most technologically advanced, inclusive universities in the nation.”

The announcement added that Mason is also working on new avenues for innovation and collaboration with the U.S. intelligence community in artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and 5G technology. It said the university will deliver a secure, cloud-based tool for university, industry and public-sector partners to team up for research.

“George Mason University has proven to be a leading education institution in the nation’s capital for a number of years,” said Kim Majerus, vice president of U.S. Education, State and Local Government at AWS. “As one of the first universities to launch a cloud computing degree program, Mason has always seen how the power of technology can help meet mission outcomes. This collaboration will be transformative in showing the positive impact technology can have on the education community across the nation, as well as advance research in cybersecurity, defense, and military intelligence for public-sector leaders.”

In addition to building out its data center engineering program to fill vacant jobs across the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, the university is also working with AWS to tackle food insecurity and environmental initiatives.

“In this long-term initiative, customer services and resources from across Amazon will accelerate innovation at Virginia’s largest public research university, including by helping Mason innovate and build on the vast portfolio of AWS Cloud technologies and solutions,” said Paul Misener, VP for global innovation policy and communications at Amazon, in a public statement. “This is just the beginning of a powerful collaboration that not only will improve student outcomes, but also will create a more resilient, efficient, and sustainable future for the university.”

According to the announcement, these initiatives follow other collaborative efforts between Mason, AWS and Amazon, including a recent hackathon which challenged academic institutions and private companies in the U.S. and abroad to devise ways for public-private collaborations to tackle the problem of counterfeiting. Mason’s Science and Technology Campus also hosted AWS Girls’ Tech Day event last month to inspire more girls and women to pursue tech careers.