A diligent, driven, and passionate job candidate, Abigail Mitchell strives to provide person-first community service in her field.
With a Law and Society B.A. from American University, she studied the anatomy of the legal system and its impact on society at-large in the nation’s capitol. Abigail is passionate about public interest law, housing rights, civil rights, criminal justice reform, child welfare, legal aid, domestic violence, homelessness prevention and political engagement around the issues of race, poverty, and social injustice.
My Leadership Journey
What experience best helped me grow as a leader since Freshman Year?
Coming into college I was a student who valued pushing myself to do and be better. I worked part-time in high school as a Community Events Intern with the Missouri History Museum, presided over Model UN club, and volunteered as a crisis worker at a crisis hotline for adolescents. But in college, my leadership skills would be put to the test.
My freshman year can be best categorized as a study in education inequity. I worked part time as a JumpStart AmeriCorps volunteer where I witnessed the pre-literacy education gap first-hand. Through systematic classroom engagement, pre-literacy teaching, reading skills development, and instruction through play, I worked with a six person team to close this gap in my classroom.
On a policy level, I joined the School of Public Affairs Leadership Program’s Urban Development team, which was tasked with identifying a local Urban Development issue in the District of Columbia to research and make change on. Over the course of the year, I worked with a five-person team to research the school to prison pipeline nationally and locally. We then developed empowerment workshops for Boys and Girls Club students on the issue. Both of these experiences taught valuable leadership lessons on working collaboratively, the value of reaching consensus and how productivity in a group environment much work.
My time encountering education inequity and its’ connection to other issues of poverty sparked a passion for advocacy in me. I wanted to address poverty and how it was preyed upon by the law.
My second year in college, I chose a year-long research project on returning citizens’ rights. I interviewed returning citizens about the issues they faced in reentry, evaluated parole services, and categorized and collected resources for newly released individuals. This culminated in participation in the Returning Offender Advocacy Institute, a course that taught addiction screening, and methods for advocating for returning citizens. I also worked as the School of Public Affairs Leadership Program’s Inclusion Coordinator, where I was able to put on dialogues on issues facing current students, specifically on race and class issues as well as facilitating the group’s internal networking infrastructure, and ensuring a smooth transition for the program’s new faculty executive director. I worked part time as a sociology TA, and changed my major to Law & Society.
I went on to intern at the DC Superior Court, Family Magistrate Judges Chambers where I gained valuable insight into the realm of family law. I witnessed hearings, drafted legal materials for law clerks, and provided judges with initial investigations ahead of hearings. In this position, I also was able to witness mental health and tenant court calendars. Beyond this position, I worked three part time jobs for the summer, including a position as a shop assistant at Kengla Flag Company, where I engaged with customers and fulfilled custom flag orders.
My junior year, I worked with the Council for Court Excellence, an advocacy and research group that engaged in DC specific justice issues. With this organization I engaged with the DC community and provided research assistance. Notably, I contributed to their Returning Citizen report, “Beyond Second Chances.”
I worked with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion to create race and class dialogues both on one-time specific issues and through nine week programs.
I went on to intern for the Equal Rights Center, a group that identifies potential housing discrimination claims and works to alleviate accessibility issues in D.C. Through this organization, I became civil rights tester trained, managed their housing complaint intake line, and helped to prepare accessibility and housing education materials for local businesses.
In the summer I worked with the development team of the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy where I managed grant applications for new initiatives, prepared an oral history project for the organization’s 50th anniversary celebration, and engaged with the Charlotte Legal Community to put on networking events for the organization.
My final year in undergrad, I took on a new challenge by moving across the world to Denmark, where I studied prostitution policy, human trafficking and criminal justice in Scandinavia through an experiential approach that included a trip to Amsterdam. I also traveled alone to eight European countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Upon returning to American University I engaged in a semester long legal history research project on the legal constraints imposed on women at the turn of the 20th century, and worked part-time as a legal assistant at an immigration law firm.