2022 Spring Commencement student speaker found a home at Mason

girl in cap and gown
Bhagya Nair is the student speaker at this year’s Spring Commencement. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services

What brought graduating senior Bhagya Nair to George Mason University was its diversity and proximity to the nation’s capital. What kept her at Mason were the amazing opportunities and support she found. Graduating with a bachelor of science in information systems and operations management (ISOM) and minors in business analytics and health information technology, Nair was selected to be the student speaker at this year’s Spring Commencement.

Nair’s time at Mason has been filled with memorable experiences. An active member of the Information Systems and Operations Management Honor Society and the Mason Information Systems and Operations Management Association, Nair is also the director of the Tu Bhi Nachle dance competition and captain of the Mason Mahima dance team.

Nair will be recognized for Excellence in Business for Information Systems and Operations Management at the School of Business Degree Celebration on Sunday, May 22, for earning a grade point average in the top 10% of her class.

“Bhagya is a very responsible and self-motivated student,” says Lucie Li, an ISOM assistant professor. “She is always proactive, communicates well and politely, and she is a good team player too. She has many tools to be a successful graduate of the School of Business.”

Although there are many great experiences that Nair recalls at Mason, she says her time abroad in Spain and Morocco as part of BUS 200: Global Environment of Business had the biggest impact on her academic career.

girl holding green decorated cap
Nair was born in South India and grew up in Richmond, Virginia. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services

“This class provides an in-depth look at how business serves as the core institution that mediates relations between individuals across national boundaries,” said Nair. “Being able to contrast the business operations in these two opposing political, social, and cultural countries provided me with a new perspective on international business standards.”

This opportunity to get a hands-on experience with different cultures was always a goal for Nair.

“When I was applying to universities, I was trying to find a home away from home that had a diverse population of students who were accepting of one another’s differences, and could teach each other about their culture and heritage,” said Nair. “George Mason University set itself apart from other schools.”

Nair said Mason offered many opportunities to attend events to learn about different cultures and meet students of different backgrounds. Born in South India and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Nair found her home away from home in the School of Business Living Learning Community. This first-year academic learning community gives students the opportunity to live with other students that have similar interests, while also enrolling in two business courses together.

Despite all of her successes, the past few years have been a challenge for Nair. Her father died suddenly during the pandemic in November 2020.

“He was my inspiration to pursue a degree in business, and he always supported my academic career choices and guided me when I needed academic advice,” said Nair. “Losing him so suddenly feels like a hole that I cannot seem to fill.”

Nair pushed through her grief to complete 18 credits of classwork. “It was the hardest time that I had to face, but I overcame it.”

Nair said her father and grandfather would always tell her there are no shortcuts in life, and to put her best foot forward to succeed. Her advice to fellow graduates? “No matter what career path you choose, or life decision you make, be sure you go in with a positive attitude, and work hard, and you will find the results you are looking for. “

After graduation, Nair will begin a job as a technical discover analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

“I hope that my degree can aid me in the future to work my way up,” said Nair. “My goal is to one day be the CEO of my own tech company.”

Listen to Bhagya Nair’s speech at Mason’s 55th Spring Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 20, livestreamed at 10 a.m.