Congressman Don Beyer, Mason student and lifelong learner


One of George Mason University’s most popular students is also a nontraditional one: U.S. Congressman Don Beyer. And like many Mason students, the 72-year-old is also juggling work and classes.

ABC crew working with Don Beyer
Rep. Don Beyer talks with ABC film crew at The MIX. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services

So far a TV crew from ABC News and a photographer from the Washington Post have accompanied the former Virginia lieutenant governor to his math classes to capture his education journey.

Beyer told the Washington Post that hearing about the work of Mason’s Institute for Digital Innovation and the plans for Fuse during a visit to Mason Square are what spurred his interest in furthering his studies.

“It was so impressive. I said, ‘Can I take courses here?’ ” Beyer is quoted by the Post as saying.

Don Beyer in his Math class
TV crew in Don Beyer's math class. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services

Beyer, whose full-time job involves representing Virginia’s 8th District and chairing the House science, space, and technology subcommittee, enrolled at Mason in fall 2022 to begin work toward a master’s degree in computer science with a concentration in machine learning. Right now, he is working to complete several prerequisites in math and computer science before he can start his graduate program.

Beyer feels strongly that before the U.S. Congress can regulate or enact laws regarding technologies, such as artificial intelligence, they need to have a better understanding of the tools and their potential. And like a lot of Mason students, he hopes to one day apply what he is learning in the classroom to his performance at his day job and use his AI knowledge in his legislative work.