Natalia Kanos, the president of the George Mason University student body, is motivated by more than good grades, good degrees, and a good job. The Schar School Government and International Politics major—with a second major in conflict analysis and resolution—draws inspiration from vivid personal experience.
“Growing up in Nigeria and experiencing ineffective government and violence pushed me towards [majors in] GVIP and conflict analysis as these degrees are exactly what I need to succeed in my path,” said Kanos, a senior.
Her journey from Nigeria to Mason was not easy, Kanos said, but one motivated by determination and drive to create positive change in the world.
“Being interested in politics, I knew being as close to [Washington, D.C.] would give me the knowledge and experience I need. My goal is to help developing countries in Africa. I want to help advise leaders to create policy that will positively help its citizens.”
Now, Kanos has risen to the highest position in Mason’s student government and says she is proud of representing the student body and is passionate about enacting change on campus—and beyond—throughout her term as President.
“I want to make sure that every individual has the tool, environment, and support they need to succeed and develop as an individual,” she said. “A university exists because of students, and I want to make sure that students are heard and represented.”
Kanos’ proudest accomplishments to date are successfully running a rigorous election campaign and the student-oriented programs she has enacted since being elected, including a menstrual pilot program that will provide free menstrual products on campus beginning this fall.
Kanos has also worked as a research assistant at the Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation in the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Reconciliation and has served on the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force as part of the Training and Development Committee.
After graduation, Kanos plans to continue her education to pursue graduate school while using the tools she has been taught in her undergraduate classes.
“These experiences have given me the knowledge, confidence and skill needed to walk in the right path,” she said. “It's given me what I need to be a well-rounded individual and to become a major force within the realm of government and international politics.”