Patricia Mathison

Patricia Mathison

Patricia Mathison



Community engagement, leadership development, social justice, counseling, mental health and student development.

Patricia "Patty" Mathison has been at Mason since April 2013. As Director for Social Action and Integrative Learning, Patty believes strongly in an asset based approach to community engagement while instilling a sense of social responsibility to those involved. She believes our role is to support and be in partnership with our surrounding community to work towards a more equitable, just and sustainable world. 

Patty supervises the SAIL staff and provides overall management and direction of the Center as well as connecting to community engagement initiatives across the university. She serves as the main coordinator for our Alternative Break program and oversees the new Bonner Leadership Program which she developed in 2019. In addition to her administrative role, she provides instruction for one to two courses each semester including INTS 294: Alternative Breaks.

In 2019, Patty was recognized with the Spirit of King award, presented to a staff/administrator who has made an exceptional contribution to the development of an inclusive learning environment through their programming, advising, student leadership development or other work that involves advocacy for equality and social justice. 

In addition to her work in SAIL, Patty also is a Resident in Counseling for the state of Virginia. She is a part time Mental Health Counselor at M & K Counseling Associates.

Patty recently earned her second Masters in Counseling and Development with a focus on Community Agency Counseling. Patty is able to connect her passion for mental health, social justice and student development into her role as Director and strives to encourage student growth, self-worth and connection to the world around them. 

Prior to her arrival at George Mason University, Patty had spent the prior nine years in Australia, Indiana, North Carolina and South Carolina where she was fortunate to work in the field of community engagement, leadership development, social justice and student support and development. She is also a very proud AmeriCorps Alum of City Year Columbia in 2004-2005 where she served as a corps member for the Young Heroes program, a service-learning program for middle school youth. Patty continued her commitment to City Year the next year serving in a staff capacity as the Program and Operations Manager, solidifying her joy of working with college age students. Patty is grateful to have the opportunity to work in a field and a Center where she is surrounded by compassionate professionals and students every day. In her free time, Patty enjoys spending time hiking with her dog, exploring and spending time with friends and family. 

Selected Publications

Wagner, W. & Mathison, P.E. (2015). Connecting to communities: Powerful pedagogies for leading for social change. In J. Owen (Ed.) Innovative Learning for Leadership Development: New Directions for Student Leadership, 145. (pp. 85-96). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.



Grants and Fellowships

Curriculum Impact Grant: Bonner Leader Program

Patty Mathison, Samuel Frye, Shauna Rigaud, Laura Poms, Julie Owen, Graziella McCarron, Nick Lennon (CHSS, CHHS, UL)

The Bonner Leader program, a four-year developmental model built around community engagement and experiential learning, provides a pathway for community service via federal work study and integrates curricular and co-curricular learning. The Bonner Leader Program affords college students an opportunity to use their energy, talents, and leadership skills to engage in community service while providing developmental and financial support.The program builds an infrastructure to engage with students every week, provides a developmental, multi-year program model, shifting how institutions sustain community partnerships. We are seeking an Impact Grant to support the creation of the Bonner Leader program here at Mason. The program connects co-curricular and curricular pathways to create a high impact educational experience for undergraduate students in line with the Mason Impact, Patriot Experience and University Mission.

Courses Taught

INTS 291: Leadership and Community Engagement

INTS 294: Mason Service Corps

INTS 395: Leadership and Community Engagement

UNIV 100: Introduction to Mason- Off-Campus Students

INTS 294: Alternative Breaks


M.Ed. in Counseling and Development- Community Agency Counseling, George Mason University 

M.A. in College Student Development-Student Affairs, Appalachian State University

B.A. in Sociology and Psychology, Shippensburg University


Recent Presentations

Mathison, P. & Moore, J. (2019, March) Social Action through the Decades. Presented at the Active Citizens Conference. William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA.

Mathison, P. Rigaud, S. & Harris, K. (2019, January) The Rose that Grew from Concrete: Social Action through the Decades. Presented as part of the MLK Commemoration Week. George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.

Mathison, P., Durant, R., Pearce, K., Rigaud, S., & Villatoro, D. (2018, February) The Dangers of Empathy. Presented at the Active Citizens Conference. William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA.

Donley, T., Duffey, A., Mathison, P., & Stoy, K. (2017, February) One Model with Deep Impact: How the Mason Nation 9/11 Day of Service has Developed Sustainable Partnerships Across Multiple Communities. Presented at the IMPACT Conference. Washington University, St. Louis, MO. 

Mathison, P. (2016, October). Discovering your Passions: What are you willing to stand up for? Presented at the Leadership Mason Conference. George Mason University, Fairfax, VA. 

Mathison, P. (2015, October). Leaving a Leadership Legacy. Presented at the Leadership Mason Conference. George Mason University, Fairfax, VA. 

Mathison, P., Finney, P., Garner, M., Galfetti, M., & Harris, K. (2013, February) The Rose that Grew from Concrete: A Presentation and Reflection on Service. Active Citizens Conference. William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA.