New Faces 2016: Ryan Mitchell

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Ryan Mitchell, a transfer student and Army veteran in UW Tacoma's Urban Studies program, is focused on balancing family and school.

Ryan MitchellRyan Mitchell is focused on the big picture. The junior transferred to UW Tacoma from Pierce College in the fall of 2015. Not long after he started here, Mitchell learned that his wife was pregnant. He left school to work and support his growing family—he has two other daughters.

Mitchell came back to UW Tacoma this fall. Initially, he planned on getting a degree in social work but changed to urban studies. “I had a professor at Pierce who gave me some handouts about the program and after comparing the two I thought this was a better fit for me,” said Mitchell.

An Army veteran, Mitchell left the military after ten years of service. He spent the next four years working private security in Australia. “We moved back here to pursue my education which is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Mitchell.

Helping raise three children and going to school full-time is difficult. “My wife works nine to ten hours a day; trying to see her and fit everything in is difficult,” said Mitchell. “It’s definitely a balancing act of trying to keep everyone happy and recognizing there are going to be sacrifices.”

What keeps Mitchell going? “I’m focused on the end goal, on completing the next step in my education,” he said. After college, Mitchell wants to assist other veterans. “I want to work in some capacity to help improve their lives.”

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Written by: 
Eric Wilson-Edge / October 21, 2016
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or