Testimonials

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Dr. Paula Mitchell

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I have had so many positive experiences and opportunities during my employment at EPCC that I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

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A journey that began at the Army Nurse Corpse in the military, became a winding path that lead to the doors of El Paso Community College in the late 1970s for Dr. Paula Mitchell. “I have had so many positive experiences and opportunities during my employment at EPCC that I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I would never have imagined my career moving in the directions it has if I had accepted a position at another organization so many years ago.” Dr. Mitchell currently serves at the Interim Association Vice President of Instruction and Student Success. She also serves as the Dean of the Health Career and Technical Education, Math & Science and she serves as the Campus Dean at the Rio Grande campus. She started at El Paso Community College as a nursing instructor in 1979 and has held various positions through the years. Prior to starting her career at El Paso Community College, as a nursing instructor, she joined the U.S. Army Student Nursing Program during her junior year in Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa. “They paid my tuition and gave me a salary as a Private First Class for the remainder of my time in college,” Mitchell said. In return she was committed to go on active duty after graduating from college the year after with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. And after graduating, she went to Officer Basic and upon passing her licensure exam, became a registered nurse, thereby achieving the rank of First Lieutenant and served in the U.S. Army for 8 years. During her time in the military Mitchell was stationed in Fort Sam Houston, Fort Leonard Wood, in Missouri, Fort Bragg in North Carolina and finally at Fort Bliss. She met her husband in Fort Bragg, and their meeting and romance would lead her to stay in El Paso. While stationed at Fort Bliss she was also stationed at William Beaumont Army Medical Center and she finished her Mater’s through the University of Texas at Austin. “Thus, when I applied to teach nursing at EPCC, I had my full qualifications and was a nurse practitioner.” As her 8 years came to an end, she considered remaining in the U.S. Army after her husband retired, the base where she would be stationed did not allow her interracial marriage in the 1970s. “So, I decided to get out of the military upon my exit from Korea in September 1978.” Dr. Mitchell’s husband, who at the time was stationed at Fort Bliss, retired in February in 1979 and the duo decided to stay in El Paso. And that’s when Dr. Mitchell decided to start her career at El Paso Community College in January 1979. “My husband started at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office shortly thereafter. We both had great opportunities for our successful careers after the military.” While Dr. Mitchell initially found financial support through El Paso Community College, she was also able to cultivate a bond with the college’s employees and students. During her time here, she found a support system that helped her overcome challenges from back surgery, an MRSA infection and her late husband’s illness and death. “I have had so many positive experiences and opportunities during my employment at EPCC that I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I also have made so many friends that have enhanced my life. The personal and professional support of my colleagues have allowed me to continue to be a productive member of a great community.” Because El Paso Community College offered her an opportunity to grow in her professional career and a support system, Dr. Mitchell said this is what makes EPCC stand out. “In the students, I see them as constantly striving to reach a new goal, overcoming obstacles along the way, persistence and dedication. Faculty and staff for the most part want to see the students succeed but also want them to be self-starters. Providing a lower cost but high-quality programs to improve the educational level of community helps with our economy and overall community performance. I can’t imagine El Paso without EPCC.”

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Created at 3/6/2019 10:49 PM by Elliott, Lisa M.
Last modified at 6/12/2019 2:30 PM by Elliott, Lisa M.