Joy Mason had dreamt of being a surgeon for as long as she could remember. It was this dream that led her to Case Western Reserve as an undergraduate in 2018. But, once she got to campus, her vision changed.
Now a fourth-year student studying business management with a minor in psychology and a concentration in healthcare, Joy is busy with activities on- and off-campus.
Joy serves as a resident assistant (RA) in the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Apartments in the Upper Class Experience after being an RA for two years for first-year students. She is a fourth-year scholar for the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning, where her primary volunteer site is University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, president of CWRU’s Model United Nations Team and a fellow for the Model UN program at the Cleveland Council on World Affairs.
Additionally, Joy serves as president of the CWRU Donald J. Kamalsky Chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary and this semester is also the programming Chair of the Central Atlantic Regional Leadership Conference, in affiliation with NRHH. Most recently, she was the only undergraduate student to be a recipient of the 2021 Mather Spotlight award.
After graduation, Joy will pursue her Master of Healthcare Administration next fall.
From her advice to first-year students to her most memorable moments on campus, get to know more about Joy.
Question: Why did you select CWRU/Weatherhead for your undergraduate degree?
Joy: I was drawn to CWRU’s campus community, location in Cleveland, open-door policy and the rich abundance of opportunities to get involved in leadership and service both on- and off-campus. When I decided to switch my major during my second year, my advisor pointed me in the direction of healthcare management. Within my first semester at Weatherhead, I fell in love with the PBL Building, connected with the curriculum, and instantly loved the faculty for their expertise and level of engagement with students.
Question: What stands out to you about your time at Weatherhead?
Joy: While I love working in the many study areas around Weatherhead, what really stands out to me are the professors and the student advising team. Almost every professor is very accessible in and outside of class and is willing to give help when needed, even outside of office hours. Additionally, all Weatherhead student advisors are very responsive, knowledgeable, and maintain an amazing level of communication with their advisees.
I enjoy how the Weatherhead degrees create well-rounded management students while still leaving room in our schedules to pursue electives that interest us but may fall outside of our immediate major and/or concentration.
Question: How does it feel to be the only undergraduate student recognized for the 2021 Mather Spotlight Award winner?
Joy: When the Mather Spotlight award winners were announced, I was shocked! While I am incredibly honored to be the only undergraduate student recognized, I really owe it all to the wonderful woman who raised me, the powerful women who have inspired me and the phenomenal women who I work with every day. Receiving this recognition has been an absolute highlight of my undergraduate career and it will serve as motivation for me to continue my work, hopefully inspiring others along the way. Thank you very much to my nominator, Sharon Ehasz and my mom, Connie Mason, for being the best role models. I would also like to express my immense gratitude to the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women for all of the groundbreaking work they do, and for hosting the Women in Achievement Awards to honor the leadership, commitment to cause, and accomplishments of the many amazing women across campus.
Question: What advice would you give to an incoming freshman who is pursuing a degree from Weatherhead?
Joy: To any incoming first-year student: take advantage of every opportunity you are afforded. Take a risk and join a case competition, enter the elevator pitch contests, go to the meet and greets, and most importantly, network often and make a new connection wherever you go. Spend the next four years exploring the world that lies outside your comfort zone, as this is where the best learning takes place. You will make mistakes, you will encounter setbacks, you will find things that you do not like and are not good at. Remember that learning and growing from negative experiences is just as, if not more, valuable than learning from the good times. If you open yourself to new experiences, allow yourself to be a little vulnerable at times and approach life with a growth mindset, you will be able to extract value from every single experience, each person you meet, every class and each path you take. Investing your whole self into the next four years at CWRU and Weatherhead will yield an incredible return on investment, in both your professional and personal lives. As I was once told by a mentor, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”
Question: What internships have you completed and how did Weatherhead help prepare you for them?
Joy: I had internships with the Volunteer Services Department at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and Cleveland Clinic as part of its Leadership in Healthcare Internship Program. Currently, I am a fellow at the Cleveland Council on World Affairs for their Model United Nations Program.
Stepping into each of these internships, I had mixed feelings of confidence and nervousness, but in the back of my head, I knew that I was prepared. As a Weatherhead student, I knew that I was going in with a well-rounded basic knowledge of everything from organizational behavior to accounting to management. Through my classes, I have been able to improve upon my presentation, public speaking, Excel, business writing and quantitative analysis skills. This strong foundation was undoubtedly a huge factor in my success in these internships and current fellowship. Being a student at Weatherhead has also helped me to build my self-confidence and develop a desire to seek challenges, grow from new experiences and remain diligent when the going gets tough. This mindset helped to carry me during the times I felt discouraged or when imposter syndrome began to creep in.
Question: What is one of your most memorable moments at CWRU?
Joy: Two events are tied for my most memorable moment at CWRU: my First-Year Move-In Day and the 2021 First-Year Move-In Day. I remember the Greek Life volunteers unloading our car on that very hot August day in 2018 and thinking to myself “Wow, the first day of the rest of my life.” While this may sound dramatic, I felt like I was walking around in the dream that I had created for myself since I learned what college was. Just as memorable was Move-In day this past Augus. After serving as an RA in 2019-2020 and struggling through those impossibly hard times, and after continuing in the RA role through the in-person, yet remote 2020-2021 academic year, it felt as if I was watching the happy ending of a movie as I volunteered for the 2021 First-Year Move-In Day. Everything was back in motion, and I could not help but feel so grateful for everything that makes it possible for us to be safely back on campus.