Ph.D. candidates studying at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government partnered with Habitat for Humanity Prince William County and the Prince William County Department of Public Works last weekend. The students are members of the Association for Public Policy Ph.D. Students (APPS) group.

So, you know what they say about Ph.D. candidates?

You know you’re one of them when the concept of free time scares you.1

On Friday, September 9, and in their spare time, the APPS group cleared vegetation on a 1.5 acre, vacant, County-owned parcel near the Brighton Commons condominiums in Manassas.

The students cut back limbs and branches on cedar trees and overgrown scrub brush. They removed litter and debris from the site. And, they installed a “no loitering, no dumping” sign to discourage unwanted activity in the area.

Furthermore, you know you’re a Ph.D. candidate…

when you find taking notes in a park relaxing.2

All kidding aside, we hope the group found their work with Habitat to be a much-needed break from the rigors of their studies. Student members included Katrina Dunlap, Hong Zhang, Angie Gill, Josh Lee, Mo Ogutimein, Kirk Heffelmire and Simi Fasehun. And, we’re hugely grateful for the time they took from their busy schedules to help us out on our Community Development project.

Habitat for Humanity Prince William County regularly partners with the Prince William County Public Works Department in its Community Development work. Tim Hughes, an Engineering Assistant with Prince William County’s Environmental Services Division, coordinates the work sites with Habitat.

Community Development projects are part of Habitat for Humanity’s Neighborhood Revitalization program (NR). The NR program engages the residents of neighborhoods and other community partners to revive neighborhoods and make them safe, inviting places to live. Community development projects impact many residents. They improve the health and well-being of residents by revitalizing public areas, removing blight, improving water quality and generally giving residents improved access to public areas and a better sense of well-being and safety.

If you’d like to participate in a Habitat for Humanity Community Development project, or you know of one that should take place, please contact us at 703-369-6708 or

1,2And, if you’d like more Ph.D. student jokes, head to