Program Award Winner: Hunter Purcell

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Each year, faculty in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) come together to select an outstanding student in their program to receive the honor of being named as their program award winner. Students selected for this award embody the very best of their program: they excel in their studies; they demonstrate leadership in classes and internships; and they have a genuine and tenacious passion for their discipline.

This year, faculty in Sport and Recreation Studies have selected Hunter Pucell as their Outstanding Graduate Student in  Sport and Recreation Studies . Congratulations, Hunter!


Q & A with Outstanding Graduate Student in Sport and Recreation Studies, Hunter Purcell

What academic accomplishment are most proud of?  ​ 

The opportunity to be Charley Casserly’s Teaching Assistant during the spring semester of 2019 and my internship opportunities with the Washington Redskins and NFL Players Association (NFLPA)  

What organizations/affiliations have you been involved with while at Mason? ​

GMU Affiliated: Patriot Club, GMU eSports, Bachelor Accelerated Master’s Program (BAM), Outside Organizations: Washington Redskins (Internship), NFLPA (internship), James Madison University Football (Internship)  

What are your plans after graduation? 

Pursue a J.D. from an accredited law school in the hopes of eventually finding full time employment in Football Administration within a high-level football environment (NFL, NFL Club or an Agency)  

What is your favorite memory in CEHD or your favorite part of being a CEHD student? 

My favorite part of being a CEHD student was the opportunity to work with some of the incredible staff in the Sport Management department specifically. I couldn’t have gotten to this point without the excellent guidance of some of the wonderful faculty and staff that I had the pleasure of working with during my time at GMU. My greatest thanks goes out to them.  

What advice do you have for fellow CEHD students (especially those that are not graduating yet)?

For fellow CEHD Students, I would advise you brainstorm your next steps for your career and keep pushing until you get the opportunities you desire. Heed advice of those who are knowledgeable, but know that no one knows what is best for you except you. Finally, take as many unpaid opportunities as you can while you can, and be sure to take full advantage of these opportunities by putting your best foot forward and making a great impression.  

Ws there anything else you would like to share about yourself? 

After the Summer of 2018 and my internship with James Madison Football, I was offered a full-time Graduate Assistantship position with the JMU football program. This would have meant transferring to JMU as a graduate student while receiving all tuition paid alongside a monthly stipend. Even after receiving a plethora of advice from professors and family members that I should go to JMU, my decision was certainly not one to do with money as they suggested it should have been, but rather it was about opportunity and positioning towards future success. In the end, I decided the place that provided the best path for myself in regards to the opportunities I desired was George Mason, so I doubled down on my commitment to GMU and decided to stay. This lead to opportunities with the Redskins and the NFLPA in the following year. The decision to stay was both the best and most difficult decision I made during my academic career, and it showed me the importance of taking a risk, knowing what is best for me personally and pursuing my own path.