Cassie Mitchell, assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, selected as a 2019 Diversity and Inclusion (DI) Fellow by Georgia Tech. As a wheelchair-bound quadriplegic and as a cancer patient, she has a passion to leverage her personal and academic experiences to positively impact lives both on and off campus.
As a DI Fellow, Mitchell cofounded the Georgia Tech ABLE Alliance, a new organization promoting inclusion, professional and social networking, and resource access for Georgia Tech students, faculty, and staff with disabilities. She serves as a faculty advisor for that club and is helping to build out its web and mentoring resources. In addition, she is also providing one-on-one mentoring for disabled students on campus and serving as a volunteer consultant to Georgia Tech administrators who are hiring disabled faculty or staff.
At Georgia Tech, Mitchell founded and runs the laboratory for pathology dynamics which uses a combination of computational, machine learning, and informatics-based techniques to identify complex disease etiology, predict new therapeutics, and optimize current interventions. Cassie’s research has focused on neuropathology, but her research applications in predictive medicine expand across all clinical specialties, including cancer, pediatrics, and cardiovascular medicine. Mitchell emphasizes a diverse research environment and has mentored nearly 450 undergraduate and high school students in her research program to date, as well as two NSF graduate research fellows.
Outside of her research and volunteer work, Mitchell qualified for Team USA at both the 2012 London and 2016 Rio de Janeiro summer Paralympic games. These global games are a major international multi-sport event for athletes with disabilities governed by the International Paralympic Committee. Mitchell has won numerous medals, in multiple sports, and become an American and world-record holder at these games.
“I have this sign in my office that says ‘never, never, give up’,” says Mitchell. “I believe every perceived challenge, whether physical disability, a complex research problem, or a track meet in the Olympic Games, can be conquered with the right attitude and effort. I want to help others, irrespective of their background or perceived challenges, light their own internal ‘never give up’ flame from within, so they illuminate through the darkness of life’s inherent trials.”