Inspiring exceptional students on the road to college
By Matt Schnepf
Before taking their giant leap into higher education, many students benefit from strategic initiatives that provide an introduction to life at Purdue University.
Prior to his first semester as a Boilermaker, Lovell Mitchell enrolled in Summer Start, a five-week module designed to help students jump-start their college careers. Now a junior cybersecurity major, Mitchell recently mentored several rising seniors from Purdue Polytechnic High School who spent a month on campus.
PPHS provides STEM-focused experiences that prepare underrepresented students for collegiate success, especially at Purdue should they qualify and enroll at the University. In support of that mission, a 2020 summer program helped members of PPHS’ first graduating class enter their senior year prepared for education beyond high school, connecting them with mentors like Mitchell.
“I love to inspire young minds and share my knowledge,” Mitchell says. He and other Purdue undergraduates served as peer mentors during the program, helping to guide participants through various on-campus experiences, including the completion of a university-level course.
As a mentor, Mitchell also shared personal experiences and insights with PPHS students.
“My job was to ensure they received the best experience during their stay and learned about being an actual Purdue student,” Mitchell says. “I was happy to help, whether it was showing them how to get around campus or how to learn the study habits and techniques of a college student.”
While in high school himself, Mitchell decided to study cybersecurity and believed the University would provide a perfect training ground.
“Purdue is one of the few schools that offer my major,” he says, calling Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming one of his favorite classroom experiences. “It was a programming class with C#. The course was challenging, with a large amount of work, but I gained a lot from it with the help of Professor Guity Ravai.”
Mitchell, of New Baltimore, Michigan, also is pursuing a minor in forensic science and hopes either to become an IT analyst or work with the FBI. A piccolo player and member of the “All-American” Marching Band, he is active in the National Society of Black Engineers and serves as social media and marketing chair for the Minority Tech Association.
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