Emma Ewuraba Mitchell arrived at Drexel having already started her own nonprofit foundation promoting education for young girls and women. Her impact on other people’s lives, though, had just begun.
Mitchell, a junior economics and finance major, has been involved in the BRIDGE (Build Relationships in Diverse Group Experiences) program at Drexel LeBow since her first year. Through BRIDGE, she has mentored six younger students, while being a resource and fount of advice to many more, and has become a fixture in the program’s third-floor suite.
“BRIDGE gave me a foundation and helped me find people like myself,” she said.
Born in Trinidad and raised in Ghana, Mitchell had an international upbringing: her father works as a diplomat, and her parents lived in the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic while she attended Tema International School in Ghana.
“When I was looking at colleges, I knew I wanted to be in the middle of a city and in the mix with everything,” she said. Drexel has filled those needs while still being “a place away from the chaos.”
Her ties to her home country remain strong: She is founder and president of the Emma Mitchell Foundation for Women and Children, a registered non-governmental organization created for improving opportunities for education and advancement. “I want to empower women to be who they want to be and I want girls to know they don’t have to grow up to be a wife and mother and nothing else,” she says.
The foundation supplies scholarships for young girls to attend schools and seed money for women to start businesses. Mitchell also regularly gives inspiring talks throughout the country stressing the importance of education.
“Ultimately, I want to use my degree to work in a big corporation and leave a big mark, and I want to work for a company that’s very invested in helping their community,” she said, adding that she intends to save her earnings from her co-ops to benefit her foundation.
Yasmeen Carruthers, a junior marketing and business analytics major, met Emma through BRIDGE and calls her “an insanely component, all-around dynamic person.”
“For her, failure is not an option,” Carruthers said. “’No’ is not an option.”
Mitchell isn’t afraid to ask for help, though: Carruthers helped her move apartments, and because Mitchell doesn’t have a driver’s license, Carruthers had to pilot the moving truck. Mitchell took care of renting the truck, though, and the move was scheduled down to the minute, including a side trip to help a mutual friend who was also moving out of the same building—an excellent illustration of Mitchell’s careful planning and care for others. “She won’t tell you ‘I don’t know’ or ‘Figure it out for yourself’,” Carruthers says. “That’s why people are drawn to her.”
Tamyka George, a sophomore accounting major, says that Mitchell has been like a sister while also being her “mother” in BRIDGE’s family-based mentorship groups. Mitchell’s frequent check-ins were a tremendous source of encouragement while George studied abroad in Singapore during fall quarter.
“She’s very good at keeping up with people, and she never makes it seem like she’s going out of her way,” George said. “She’s someone you want to have in your corner at all times, through ups and downs—through everything.”