You’ve heard all about their time with the City Semester Pittsburgh program, now catch up with some of our alums and find out what they’ve been up to since they completed the program and how City Semester has impacted their future so far. First up is Anthony! Anthony was one of two students in our very first City Semester cohort in fall 2017. Check out his video about his experience with the program and read on to hear more from him.
Name: Anthony M. Mitchell
Year Graduated: Fall 2017
Degree: Political Science | Communications Arts & Sciences | Civic & Community Engagement
City Semester Date: Fall 2017
Internship Partner: Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
Where You Are Now
Anthony currently serves as community liaison, Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services at the Executive Office of Mayor Muriel Bowser.
What kind of work do you do?
The Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services (MOCRS) serves as the mayor’s primary constituent services organization by providing rapid and complete responses to constituent requests, complaints, and questions. This office is a key resource for the community as it supplies a direct link between district residents, their mayor, and the government of the District of Columbia.
What does your day-to-day look like?
One of the parts of my job that I enjoy the most is that there is no “typical” day, and each day offers a unique opportunity to engage as well as challenges and triumphs to experience. At the core of the work that I am fortunate to do daily is the ability to connect residents, businesses, and organizations to city resources, information, and services. This constant engagement is a fulfilling experience of bringing the government closer to the people while solving real issues on the way to a safer, more just community that we can all be proud of.
What is your biggest professional accomplishment so far?
This is a tough question to answer because there have been so many notable moments and rewarding experiences throughout my career. Each one has meant something special to me, whether it was getting legislative wins for millions of Americans in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate or making a meaningful difference block by block in the various neighborhoods throughout the District of Columbia. Ultimately, my biggest accomplishment has not been the articles, podcasts, magazines, etc., that I have been featured in, but it has been the ability to unapologetically infuse my personal passion for building community and my professional interest in delivering for marginalized communities, while simultaneously walking in my purpose of helping others.
Your Time with City Semester
The beauty in this is that you are given the freedom, autonomy, and support to think bigger, reach farther, and develop yourself into the changemaker we all know you to be. And we all want to help you get there because you will, in fact, change the world.
What was the biggest thing you learned during your time with City Semester?
I learned that even though urban sustainability seems vast and overwhelming, there are things that each of us can do to move the needle in the right direction. We only make the big change after a series of smaller, incremental wins over time.
Which topic during the urban sustainability class did you enjoy learning about most?
I appreciated learning about how each aspect of our society has a part to play in urban sustainability and better understanding how the part my career is centered around (politics and policy) works with the other sections/aspects of community to bring about meaningful change. Oftentimes, many people think of sustainability as a silo, but I truly believe that we are more effective in meeting the challenges of the present (and preparing for the future) if we work together in a multi-disciplinary approach.
How did your internship prepare you for where you are now?
After I had spent so much time working on elections and political campaigns, I was able to gain a better understanding of the workings of city government through the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Further, I was able to better understand the importance of the decisions made in city hall and their impact on neighborhoods as well as having a strong understanding of and connection to the people that these policies will impact. This helped me to maximize my time working for Congress and now working for Mayor Muriel Bowser and the residents of the District of Columbia.
What advice would you give to a new student just starting with the program?
This experience is one that can be both personally and academically enriching, but remember that it is YOUR experience. There is a lot of flexibility within the program to pursue what interests you, regardless of if you have studied it before the program or want to pick it up throughout the course of the program. The beauty in this is that you are given the freedom, autonomy, and support to think bigger, reach farther, and develop yourself into the changemaker we all know you to be. And we all want to help you get there because you will, in fact, change the world.
Living the Sustainable Life
We can’t control what we inherited from those that came before us, but we can control what we leave behind for others.
When did sustainability first become important to you?
When I realize that we only have one planet, and we have to do everything that we can to preserve it for the sake of future generations. We can’t control what we inherited from those that came before us, but we can control what we leave behind for others.
What’s your favorite sustainability hack/tip?
I would say my most frequently used are swapping plastic bottles for water bottles and going paperless whenever possible.
Last book you read?
The last book I read was A Promised Land by Barack Obama
Favorite Penn State memory?
There are so many fond memories to choose from. If I had to choose just one, I would say that my favorite Penn State memory was visiting campus for the first time during the Student Minority and Recruitment Team’s Achiever’s Weekend because that ultimately led to me choosing to make Penn State my home.
If you were a plant/flower, what would you be?
I would be bamboo because it doesn’t need constant sunlight but it is nearly indestructible and a great vibe to the surrounding environment.
Favorite Instagram account to follow?
One of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow is @ExpressYourselfBlackMan, and you should check them out when you can.
Best Creamery ice cream flavor?
Each flavor is uniquely crafted and individualized. Nevertheless, my favorite is a tie between WPSU Coffee Break as well as Death by Chocolate.