Q&A with Nina Mitchell, GIES ’24

Universities all over the country clamored for first-year Stamps Scholar Nina Mitchell. Nina knew all along Illinois was where she belonged.
Interviewed by Kim Schmidt

You were accepted to Harvard, Stanford, and Northwestern. How did you decide to come to Illinois?

I always had aspirations to be admitted into a highly-selective university in order to receive the best education for my future. I was extremely proud to be accepted to the four schools I applied to—Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern, and the University of Illinois. Although there are many reasons why I decided to attend the University of Illinois, my early exposure to Illinois created a strong bond that was undeniable.

I have two older brothers, Robert, a recent Illinois graduate, and Michael, a current senior, who both decided to attend the University of Illinois to study at the Gies College of Business. They often shared stories of how exceptional their academic and social experiences were. The times my family and I visited campus during Mom or Dad’s weekends were always fun.

Nina holds a Fighting Illini flag on the day she graduated valedictorian of her high school class.

The summer before my senior year of high school, I attended the Emerging Business Leaders Program at the Gies College of Business where I learned from prominent professors and visited internationally-renowned corporations. Some of my personal highlights from the program were making life-long friends, working on the capstone project, and my team winning the final case competition. This amazing experience got me excited about pursuing a degree in business and provided valuable insight into the incredible support system and opportunities offered by the Gies College of Business. It also showed me how special a place the Gies College of Business is and how fortunate I would be to study here.

The University of Illinois offered me the Stamps Scholarship, which is its most selective and generous academic scholarship. This scholarship opportunity significantly influenced my decision to attend Illinois. The scholarship alleviated the financial burden on my parents for the cost of my college education.

Throughout the entire college admissions process, the Chancellor, deans, and faculty/staff at the University Illinois made me feel special through their personalized communications and frequent contact. These efforts showed that they truly wanted me to be a part of the Illinois family.

You come from an incredibly smart and successful family. How has your family supported you and what have you learned from them?

My parents are a dynamic duo and have had the most significant impact on my life. I learned from my older brothers, Robert and Michael, that in order to excel, you have to push yourself and never give up. Our family values are the cornerstone of why I am such a driven person. My parents have instilled in my brothers and me the tenets of integrity, leadership, hard work, and respect for self and others. Their sacrifices have afforded us unique opportunities to broaden our perspectives on what is possible.

Nina is pictured with her family, including her two older brothers, Robert, a recent Illinois graduate, and Michael, a current senior.

My family gives me constant love and support. They encourage me to set goals and work hard to achieve them. They also taught me to be compassionate and the importance of giving back to the community. My family is the key to my success, and I am so grateful to have Team Mitchell in my corner.

How has being a Stamps Scholar shaped your undergraduate experience so far? How does it feel to know you were selected to receive this scholarship?

Being a Stamps Scholar has already enhanced my college experience. I am part of a unique community with some of Illinois’ most exceptional students. During the fall semester, we organized some exciting philanthropy programs and held social events via Zoom in order to remain connected. I have incredible advisors who are engaging and always available to help me when needed.

Words cannot describe how extremely excited and honored I was to receive the University of Illinois’ most prestigious academic scholarship. Receiving the Stamps Scholarship is one of my proudest accomplishments. Knowing that I was selected based on demonstrated academic merit, strong leadership potential, and exceptional character is truly humbling. I am very fortunate to receive such a generous scholarship that helps alleviate the financial burden on my parents for the cost of my college education. I am looking forward to using my enrichment funds to attend programs that will help further my leadership experience, philanthropic endeavors, and study abroad opportunities.

What do you hope to do after you graduate?

After college, I plan on attending Harvard Law School where I will pursue a law degree and master’s degree in public policy. My career goal is to become an attorney and someday perhaps seek elected office. As a catalyst for change, my plan is to hold a position where I can have a positive impact on racial and social justice issues.

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