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Awardee (current)

Elisa Mitchell

Elisa Mitchell

Elisa Mitchell joined Cal Poly Pomona in 2012 as the program coordinator for the McNair Scholars Program. In 2013, Elisa took on the position of Associate for the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR), a new office at the time. She has since helped develop OUR into a thriving entity that serves nearly 2,000 students and over a 100 faculty members each year. As part of the OUR, Elisa coordinates multiple programs, including those funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Education. She is hard working, extremely thorough, well-organized, kind, and cares deeply about Cal Poly students. Elisa provides a welcoming environment and goes out of her way to help every student she encounters.

A strong supporter of students reaching their academic goals, Elisa organizes opportunities for students to receive scholarships and funding for travel. She organizes campus research conferences, providing students a venue to present their research and opportunities to interact with other researchers. Elisa manages a variety of workshops that assist students in their research processes.

Assisting faculty and staff in obtaining external support, she actively participates in grant applications submitted by the OUR. This includes proposals to the NSF and to the US Department of Education. Additionally, she has assisted other divisions, such as the College of Agriculture, in writing applications for funding to the NSF. Her contributions include grant writing, data collection for use in the applications, editorial input, and budgeting.

Elisa contributes to program innovation, assessment, and review by continuously thinking about how the OUR can better serve students. She participates in professional development to enhance the services of the office, and leads many of the assessment and review activities.  Additionally, Elisa helps programs outside of the OUR, such as the McNair Scholars Program, NIH RISE, and SEEs, by coordinating joint activities.

Elisa provides data and analytic support to guide planning and decision making of the OUR and to other programs related to student research. Elisa oversees the student database that collects information about student engagement in research, student success (retention, graduation, GPA, etc.), and post-graduation data (graduate school enrollment).

One of Elisa’s most important contributions to the campus community is developing a collaborative and helpful culture. Elisa has become the go-to person for many programs with questions related to student travel or scholarships. Elisa is happy to help find a solution, never turning down a request for help simply because it is not “part of her job”. She is an inspiration to the Cal Poly Pomona campus.