Seeple Snapshot: Denise Mitchell

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Name: Denise Mitchell
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Year Graduated Undergrad: 2011
Undergraduate Major: English


Before you came to SIPA, what were you doing?

Before I came to SIPA, I worked at a few nonprofits. The first one in D.C., and that was actually an education non-profit that worked with independent schools. And then I did some traveling, I took some classes. I came back to Brooklyn and ended up working with a non-profit in East New York which was really involved with community development and arts education. I have been pretty non-profit focused.

What are you studying at SIPA?

I’m studying urban and social policy as my concentration, and my specialization is management. We joke that it’s the liberal arts degree of SIPA and I definitely feel like I get a very well-rounded education through that.

What’s been your favorite part about SIPA so far?

It’s hard to choose. I think definitely the diversity of the students. I’m continuously in awe of my classmates. Everyone is from a different country, everyone speaks five languages, everyone has traveled and lived in places that you’ve only really seen on the Discovery Channel and National Geographic. Everyone is just really well-rounded. I’m continuously impressed by my peers.

Do you have a favorite class that you’ve taken?

I really liked Critical Issues in Urban Public Policy with [former New York City] Mayor David Dinkins. As a native New Yorker, it was a really amazing experience to see this man who, when I was growing up, was mayor and now he’s my professor and I see him every Tuesday. And he brings in a number of really dynamic speakers. It’s just great because it’s a lecture series in every class.

Where do you see yourself after SIPA?

I see myself everywhere after SIPA. I’d like to open my own non-profit, preferably before graduating in New York City. I’d like to spend a few years working abroad doing international development work. I’d like to come back to New York City and get involved in public policy. And that’s the great thing about SIPA. You feel like you can literally do anything after leaving here.