Making Northeastern Better for Everyone
“I don’t know why, but from a young age I’ve always loved chemistry,” says Lineyah Mitchell, E’21 and ME’21, chemical engineering.
So, when she graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School, which has a focus on science and engineering, she knew she wanted to continue on that path. But, the exact path was uncertain. While she considered Ivy League universities, she wanted to go someplace where she could really focus on technical studies. Then she visited Northeastern.
“I really liked the vibe when I visited,” Mitchell explains. “People didn’t look miserable! Other campuses I visited weren’t as lively or welcoming.”
Add that positive vibe to the University’s co-op program, and Mitchell’s mind was made up. While she has always been interested in chemistry and engineering, narrowing those interests down has been a challenge.
“I’ve never been one to be into only one thing; I have so many hobbies and interests,” she says.
Both of her co-ops have helped her take the abstract concepts in chemistry and apply them in practical ways, solidifying her belief that a chemical engineering career is right for her.
“I have fun when I can figure things out in this field,” she says. “I feel like I’m making progress. I feel like I can challenge myself, I enjoy myself… most days.”
Mitchell has so far completed co-ops with Concert Pharmaceuticals and Via Separations, and got wide-ranging experience to help her narrow down her interests a bit. At Concert Pharmaceuticals she was on the Pharmaceutical Development team and responsible for process development and data analysis, while at Via Separations she produced and tested membranes and membrane elements in tandem with scale-up efforts and was responsible for data analysis.
“I’m not as specific yet as some people,” she says. “But solving a problem that will help people or contributing to something that will positively impact the world, that’s the part that I enjoyed.”
During her time at the Northeastern University College of Engineering, Mitchell has done more than most to help continue—and broaden—the welcoming, lively atmosphere she fell in love with during her campus visit. She has worked tirelessly to help make engineering careers more open and inclusive for everyone.
She was on the executive board of the Black Engineering Student Society (BESS) for three years before taking a step back this year. That doesn’t mean she isn’t around, though. She still attends meetings and events when she can to help answer questions, give advice, or simply listen to other students.
“One small thing anyone can do to help make sure everyone feels welcome is simply have a conversation,” she explains. “If you see someone sitting alone, go talk to them, listen to them.”
For all her accomplishments at Northeastern, Mitchell has earned the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) scholarship, which is offered as part of Northeastern’s new partnership with the organization.
One thing she really appreciates about the scholarship is the networking opportunities and events the organization develops.
“Nobody knows every option in their field, so you can learn so much just from the networking opportunities,” she describes. “You can learn new information about your field, your career, yourself, and also other fields.”
She also appreciates that the organization clearly considers and plans events carefully. For example, for a virtual career fair, students weren’t just given a link and left on their own. They were given guidelines to go to three sessions and talk to at least 10 people.
“So, even now, they’re helping introduce us to companies that want to hire NACME scholars and are hiring full-time for co-ops,” she describes. “Every company had a group chat, then answered questions over DM. For what it was, it was a very good and interesting way to deal with the situation we’re in.”
After graduation, Mitchell plans to work in industry and then perhaps head back to school for a PhD, or other advanced degree, after a few years.