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Interpreters Overview

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How to Become a Field Interpreter


George Mason University's Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center's Watershed Education Program for Fairfax County Public School students relies heavily on the participation of Field Interpreters.  Field Interpreters may serve in a volunteer or part-time wage position to deliver Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences or as we refer to them, MWEEs (pronounced Mee-Wee's).  


To apply for a PEREC Field Interpreter position please click here.


Once you have applied and contacted PEREC's K12 Education Director, Cindy Smith, csmitc@gmu.edu, you will need to submit the required Volunteer or Wage Employee forms and attend orientation and training programs. Please follow the instructions below in order to become one of our Field Interpreters




Submit your Volunteer paperwork

    • Please fill in the volunteer form and email it to Lisa Bair (LBair@gmu.edu).


Submit your wage employee paperwork so you can be paid


      For New Wage Employees, Lisa Bair (3005 David King Hall, (703) 993-5881, LBair@gmu.edu) must add you to our list of employees before your onboarding paperwork will be generated.

     Once you have been added to our list, an email should be sent to you that will redirect you to the forms you need to fill in.  



HR & Payroll Questions:  Once all of your paperwork has been processed through all the departments, you should receive an email regrading submitting your timesheet in Patriotweb (this process is not immediate). If you have questions regarding the visibility of your timesheet, direct deposit or other HR/payroll issues, please contact HR: 703-993-2600 to better understand where your record stands.  Mason is a very large university, so please have this information ready:  You should be working under approver Cynthia Smith, PEREC grants and contracts as a FX Field Interpreter.  PEREC is a center within the Environmental Science and Policy Department. Mason's Human Resources website explains more details on working part-time at Mason. 


IN ORDER TO BE PAID ON TIME, hourly wages employees must use PatriotWeb to record and sign-off on your timesheet hours before the end the two week pay period in which you worked (i.e., last Friday of that pay period, as shown on the PatriotWeb form).  On your timesheet, you must SAVE your hours on each day worked AND click SUBMIT FOR APPROVAL if you wish to be paid.  If you have questions regarding how to submit your timesheet on Patriotweb, please read through this manual.


          All employees will need to pass a background check.


Attend the mandatory Watershed Program Orientation meeting


If you missed the orientation meeting, you can watch the 3-part video orientation for new interpreters, covering "What is a MWEE?", on-line resources and logistical issues (about 20 min each). Please note, these videos are from previous years when this program had federal funding from NOAA, hence the name B-WET (Bay Watershed Education & Training).  


Submit your availability for the semester


If you haven't already sent you availability to Matt (Matt@Helfinstein.com), please email him which days you will be able to work.


Check the tentative work schedule providing assignments for scheduled and substitute interpreters for each field experience during the current academic year.


Attend mandatory MWEE field training on ( NEXT DATE TBD )


New interpreters are expected to attend a Mandatory field training on Friday (NEXT DATE TBD) from 8:30 am to 12 pm at Burke Lake Marina.

There is no food or drinks at this location, so bring a lunch or snacks to munch.  Dress appropriately as we'll be outside the whole time (i.e. sun hat, sunscreen Boots or shoes that can get wet). Bring a dip net if you have one and any macroinvertebrate guides you like.  Interpreters must arrange for their own transportation to and from worksites throughout the field season.

You'll be taking notes, and keeping track of ideas for enhancing the stations, so please review the Testing the waters Teacher's and Student Guide.


To better understand Chesapeake Bay issues and prepare for teaching MWEEs, we have provided lots of background material at the bottom of this page for you to review.  Repeatedly reviewing background material will boost your confidence AND help you guide students in making connections to their watershed.



Attend mandatory face-to-face meeting with Lisa Bair

          In order to work with us this semester you MUST have a meeting with Lisa Bair. Please email her at LBair@gmu.edu to set up an appointment. Her office is located at 3005A David J. King Hall, and her phone number is (703) 993-5881.  




Everyone Must attend Field Safety Training


Training will be held at the following times:

Monday September 26th from 12:00pm – 1:00pm in Police and Safety Headquarters room 230

Thursday September 29th from 10:00am – 11:00am in Police and Safety Headquarters room 230  

The field interpreters can register for these sessions at ehs.gmu.edu.

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