Spotlight on Doctoral Graduate Allison Mitchall

AllisonMitchallIn December, we recognize and congratulate our students who will receive their degrees during fall commencement.

To celebrate their achievements, we’ll feature some of our outstanding students and share their post-graduation plans throughout the month.

Allison Mitchall is a doctoral student graduating with her Ph.D. in educational research and policy analysis.

When did you begin your studies at NC State? I was admitted to the doctoral program in the fall of 2011.

What has been your best memory during your time at the College of Education? My best memories involve connecting with the other doctoral students in the program.  They are really talented, creative and have shared important insights, advice and laughter with me.  

I remember standing in the parking lot across from Poe Hall on many nights after class having great talks with fellow students about our future plans, a topic we read or something interesting that happened in class.

The doctoral students are also very diverse in their professional backgrounds: they are serving as teachers, school leaders, university administrators, or doing really interesting assistantships.  I even enjoyed our group projects (which most people dread!) because of the great people I met who were so hard-working and fun.  I learned so much with them and from them.  

What do you plan to do after graduation? I plan to work in the nonprofit sector on issues of college access, which was the focus of my dissertation research. It’s exciting to use all that I learned in the program to impact policy and practices to improve access to higher education for low-income, first-generation students like myself.

How do you think the college has prepared you to re-enter the field? I never really left the work world! As a part-time student, the opportunity to pursue my degree while working was invaluable. The ability to work with and learn from faculty, gain experiences and then use my knowledge in a new career field would not have been possible without the opportunities that the College of Education provided.

I received a great deal of support along the way from faculty who invited me to join their research teams, publish research papers, and present alongside them at conferences. Those experiences were essential to helping me grow as a researcher and advocate for college access for underserved students. The program prepared me to take that leap into a new career field and make a difference in an area that I’m passionate about!