Orange County native and Cal State Fullerton alumnus Josh Mitchell (BS ’21; MS ’22) has a passion for continuous learning – and empowering change. Motivated by his own experiences while pursuing his computer engineering degrees, Mitchell has committed to providing a generous level of support for CSUF over the next five years, which includes a scholarship to support College of Engineering & Computer Science students, particularly those who might benefit from it the most.
A Renewed Beginning
Mitchell’s dream wasn’t always to major in computer engineering. Originally hoping to run track in college, he was forced to take a different path after a back injury in high school left him unable to compete.
“CSUF felt like a good place for me to restart,” Mitchell says. “I felt like I had a lot more to give academically and was curious to see what my potential was in the classroom.” With encouragement from his father, Mitchell decided to major in computer engineering – a decision that would help shape a fulfilling, exciting future.
Mitchell’s faculty and staff mentors played a crucial role in his success at the college and encouraged him to engage more fully as a student. He says his favorite memory during his time at CSUF was going to March Madness in spring 2022 to watch Cal State Fullerton play against Duke.
“Tonantzin Oseguera [vice president of student affairs] included me on the trip, and I’ll always be so grateful for that experience,” Mitchell says. Part of his pledged support for CSUF includes a donation to the basketball team, inspired by this trip.
“ECS not only helped me develop technical and problem-solving skills that I use daily, but also allowed me to grow my leadership and social skills that have really helped me navigate the workplace.”
Josh Mitchell, ECS alumnus (BS ’21; MS ’22)
Mitchell adds that Pradeep Nair, professor and graduate advisor of computer engineering, helped him navigate his final exam for his master’s degree, and Sandra Perez, director of the University Honors Program, mentored him and made sure he was included during honors events. Jon Bruschke, professor of human communications studies, also mentored Mitchell as he completed his senior honors thesis, and Mitchell says the university’s leadership was very encouraging and reached out to support him during his year as student body president.
Acting as student body president and residential advisor at CSUF were transformative experiences for Mitchell. “I love CSUF for the people I met and the opportunities I could take advantage of, which were most beneficial to my career success,” Mitchell says. “ECS not only helped me develop technical and problem-solving skills that I use daily, but also allowed me to grow my leadership and social skills that have really helped me navigate the workplace.”
A Professional Powerhouse
Mitchell’s full-time career began at Poshmark in July 2022 while he was finishing his master’s degree. As a data and software engineer, he’s responsible for building pipelines that send data to the necessary internal departments and external partners of the company.
“One of the more intense and challenging projects I’ve worked on was building the internal application programming interfaces that send our financial data to our accounting department to close out the books every month,” Mitchell says. He feels that being challenged on projects is one of the most gratifying aspects of his career.
“I feel really good knowing how much I’ve grown as a software engineer in the past year, but also humbled by how much there still is to learn,” Mitchell says.
The demands of his job are balanced by a hybrid work schedule that allows him to work from his home in San Francisco two days a week. When he’s not working, you can catch him running, reading, or playing sports. “Recently, I’ve rediscovered my love of video games and have been playing a lot of Mario and Kirby,” he adds. “I also became a ‘plant dad’ a few months ago and have thoroughly enjoyed that experience.”
Mitchell also co-leads an employee resource group at Poshmark that’s focused purely on wellness, helping to grow individuals’ physical and emotional health.
A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
Mitchell’s love for and gratitude toward the University and college are evident, but they’re only part of his drive to give back. His other motivator is to uplift students who encounter the same challenges he did while pursuing his degrees.
“I remember being a student, working multiple jobs and feeling burnt out by everything I was trying to do to get ahead and succeed,” Mitchell says, “I hope this scholarship will provide some relief so that at least one student can focus on their education, participate in leadership roles, and enjoy their college experience.”
The first of Mitchell’s scholarships will be awarded in spring 2024, with special consideration given to students engaged in the National Society of Black Engineers or students who demonstrate and support the values of NSBE – an aspect that means a lot to Mitchell.
“Diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are important to me. As a biracial student, I couldn’t help but feel a little isolated during college because not many students had my racial and ethnic background,” Mitchell says. “Maybe this helps move the needle a little.”
Empowering the Next Generation
Mitchell’s generous support for CSUF and ECS will help shape the futures of students carving their own paths, and he’s enthusiastic about encouraging others to do the same. For those considering supporting ECS, “definitely do it!” he says. “Making an impact on others is (selfishly) rewarding. Even if it’s not a huge contribution, you could make an incredible difference in someone’s situation.”
He also has words of wisdom for current students, saying, “The habits that you do every day are what make you who you are. Practice healthier habits, and everything else will fall into place. Also, don’t be afraid to take risks! College is the perfect time to make a bunch of mistakes and learn from them.”
When asked if he’d like to add anything else about the college or University, his response was simple and to the point: “I love CSUF – #TusksUp!”