Faculty and Staff

Nance Lucas
Nance Lucas, Ph.D., Executive Director and Chief Well-Being Officer


Dr. Nance Lucas is Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, Associate Professor of Leadership Studies in the School of Integrative Studies, an affiliate faculty member of the Higher Education Program, and former Associate Dean of the School of Integrative Studies (formerly New Century College) at George Mason University.  Her teaching and scholarship passions focus on the intersections of science and applications of leadership and well-being.  She is co-author of Exploring Leadership: For College Students Who Want to Make A Difference (1st, 2nd,  & 3rd  editions), a best-selling book of Jossey-Bass Publishers, and contributing author of Leadership Reconsidered and The Social Change Model of Leadership Development and has delivered numerous keynote addresses and presentations globally.

At Mason, she is the co-founder of the Mason Institute for Leadership Excellence (MILE), the Leadership Legacy Program, and MasonLeads.  She leads Mason’s well-being university initiative in collaboration with colleagues across the institution, while also leading global and national efforts to advance human flourishing and organizational well-being. 

Nance received a PhD in higher education with a concentration in leadership studies and ethics at the University of Maryland, College Park. Lucas earned her MA in higher education and BA in industrial and organizational psychology degrees from the Pennsylvania State University.  She has received numerous awards and recognition, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Maryland College of Education.

Sonya Henry headshot
Sonya Henry, Associate Director of Well-Being Programs


Sonya Henry is the inaugural Associate Director of Well-Being Programs for the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being (CWB) at George Mason University. In this dynamic role, Sonya leads inclusive well-being initiatives that support student development and success. She is also responsible for collaborating with campus partners to integrate well-being into departmental practices and programs. Her portfolio includes university-wide programs such as Mason Chooses Kindness, BIPOC Well-Being Week, Spring into Well-Being, and Racial Healing Circles.

As a long-time higher education professional, Sonya has held various positions focusing on cross-cultural competence, student engagement, and program management at George Mason University, Georgia State University, and the University of Maryland-College Park. Her ever-evolving professional interests include the critical intersections of well-being, DEI, holistic development, and meaning-making. As an emerging thought leader, her well-being philosophy is grounded in learning the science first, then making the practice art, to catalyze individual transformation and collective liberation.

A true lifelong learner, Sonya holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Educational Policy Studies, a graduate TESL certificate, and a Master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

Katie Clare
Katie Clare, Associate Director for Resilience Programs


Katie Clare is the Associate Director for Resilience Programs for the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being (CWB). In this role, she is responsible for collaborating with campus partners to manage the university’s Resilience Badge and move it from a small hybrid program to a fully online program that will extend its reach to a wider audience. She is one of two Mason employees certified to teach Mental Health First Aid through the National Council for Mental Well-Being.

Prior to joining CWB and since 2001, she served in a variety of roles at George Mason University — all of which focused on student success. For more than 10 years, she served as the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. She has taught for the Honors College, the Department of English, and the UNIV 100 program. She piloted a course similar to UNIV 100 in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences for transfer students. In addition, she transitioned the content of the Mental Health First Aid training program into a partial-term course to increase student participation. For two years, she served as the faculty member for the Well-Being Living Learning Community.

Katie’s research interests include how we embody well-being concepts such as mindfulness and resilience in our daily lives and how writing benefits well-being. She earned her MA in English (Professional Writing and Rhetoric) in 2022, her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) in 2005, and her BA in English and Art History in 2001.

Whitney Hopler
Whitney Hopler, Communications Manager


Whitney Hopler is the Communications Manager for the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being.

She is the author of the spiritual well-being book Wake Up to Wonder, as well as the Wake Up to Wonder blog on her website.

Whitney has served as a writer, editor, and website developer for top media organizations, including Crosswalk.com, The Salvation Army USA’s national publications, and Dotdash.com. Whitney’s writing has appeared in many leading publications, such as Thrive Global.com, Guideposts, and The Washington Post.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from George Mason University. When Whitney was a Mason student, she served as an editor for the campus newspaper’s style section.

Mary Horner
Mary Horner, Administrative Assistant


Mary Horner is the Administrative Assistant for the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. Before working at Mason she spent 26 years as a human resources professional. Mary earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Texas State University.




Christian White
Christian White, Communications and Marketing Assistant


Christian White is the Communications and Marketing Assistant for the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Mason in Communication with a double concentration in public relations and media production, with a minor in Information Technology.





Zareena Khan
Zareena Khan, Assistant Director of Student Well-Being


Zareena is the Assistant Director of Student Well-being Programs, where she collaborates with Housing and Residence Life to support residential students and student staff well-being through educational resources and programs.

 Zareena’s passion for college student well-being started when she served as a peer health educator as an undergraduate student. She has worked in college health promotion in various capacities since 2015. Zareena comes to Mason having previously worked at the George Washington University’s Office of Health Promotion & Education, where she designed unique opportunities for students to engage all dimensions of well-being as part of the Raise Up GW student well-being initiative. 

Zareena earned her Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences, with a concentration in Public Health Education, in 2016 from James Madison University. She also earned her Master of Public Health in Health Promotion in 2019 from George Washington University. Zareena has been a Certified Health Education Specialist® since 2016.

Azriele Harris headshot
Azriele Harris, Well-Being Program Coordinator


Azriele Harris is currently a graduate student at George Mason University, pursuing a Master of Science in Forensic Science with a concentration in crime scene investigation. In Fall 2021, she received her Bachelor of Science in psychology and criminal justice from Old Dominion University.

Azriele serves as the Well-Being Program Coordinator, where she collaborates to deliver student programming for the department and assists with data collection and assessment.


Kristina Volgenau
Kristina Volgenau, Well-Being Doctoral Fellow


Kristina Volgenau, M.A., is a fifth-year Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student at George Mason University. Her research focuses on psychological well-being and how it relates to physical health behaviors (e.g., sleep, exercise, nutrition) and physical health conditions (e.g., sleep disorders, chronic pain, HIV). Her recent research, including her dissertation project, focuses on identifying complementary and alternative strategies that may be deemed more accessible and acceptable than traditional care to support the psychological and physical well-being of women of ethnic and cultural minority groups. In all of her research, she prides herself on using advanced person-centered approaches (e.g., Network Analysis, Latent Class Analysis, Multi-Level Modeling, Ecological Momentary Assessments) to answer her research questions.

Sandra Decaigny
Sandra Decaigny, Well-Being Marketing Coordinator


Sandra Decaigny is currently a graduate student at George Mason University. She is pursuing her master’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in community health promotion. In May 2022, she graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a minor in Hospitality Management.



Ayce Bukulmeyen Ozerdem, Well-Being Program Specialist


Ayce Bukulmeyen Ozerdem is Well-Being Program Specialist for our center. In this role, she coordinates well-being programs and resources based on Sophrology, a dynamic relaxation method developed by neuropsychiatrist Professor Alfonso Caycedo that includes physical and mental exercises to promote health and well-being.

As a Sophrologist, Ayce uses the mind-body connection to increase awareness and conscious living, to enable individuals to create more balance and harmony in themselves and the world around them. She graduated from Energy Centre Sârl in Geneva, Switzerland, one of the few institutions providing programs for specialism in Sophrology. She is also a member of the International Sophrology Federation as a Sophrologist.

Having earned her bachelor’s degree at a College of Science and completed her master’s degree in Conflict Resolution in Izmir, Turkey, Ayce has recently completed the Mediation Certification program from Mason’s Carter School and is a Court-Referred Mediator of the Supreme Court of Virginia. She is also a member and communication chair of the Board of Directors at Virginia Mediation Network.