June 8, 2007
By Anita Martin
With their rigid academic schedule, you might not expect an Honors Tutorial student to, say, serve on the Board of Trustees, travel to Africa on a tangential independent study on civil rights and found a campuswide network for diversity-related organizations. That is, unless you know Micah Mitchell.
This HTC communications studies senior, who graduates this Saturday, was among the first residents to live at the Read-Johnson Scholars residence hall (where he's worked as a resident assistant for the past two years). "One of the goals at Read-Johnson was to promote diversity, so we talked a lot about how we conceptualized diversity, which helped me to develop my thoughts about it," Mitchell says.
Mitchell, who is African-American, went on to help establish the HTC Diversity Council. "We were looking at the benefits of bringing more diversity into HTC, but we all wanted to approach diversity in different ways," he says. "We decided we needed a way to tap into the synergy of different organizations on campus."
This discussion led to the founding of Unify, an umbrella organization dedicated to the education, collaboration and celebration of diversity on campus. Among their activities, Unify has hosted variety shows that address issues of diversity and launched residence hall outreach programs promoting the acceptance of sexual diversity.
Mitchell also served as a student trustee on the Ohio University Board of Trustees during his junior and senior years, an experience he says provided the inside institutional knowledge to help him as a student leader.
"I carried that position with me in everything I did," he says. "It allowed me to explore issues that impact faculty, students, staff, residence life, athletics - really everything." He applied that knowledge by serving on such focus groups as the Quality and Diversity Subcommittee of Vision OHIO's Strategic Planning Team.
Mitchell's advocacy for diversity and the rich interactions he enjoyed through campus involvement provided the basis of his senior thesis, titled "Defining, Asserting and Negotiating Identity: Narrative Construction of Identity at the Intersection of Interpersonal and Academic Experiences."
Based partly on a social theory tutorial, Mitchell created an auto-ethnography, revisiting papers he'd written and analyzing definitive interactions during college, whether romantic, familial or academic, to investigate how they shaped his identity.
This fall, Mitchell will continue his study in human development through master's studies in Ohio University's Individual Interdisciplinary Program. He's constructed a program of study linking education, psychology and sociology.
For more profiles of interesting HTC characters, go to www.honors.ohio.edu/profiles.htm.