Fresno State student – and 2018 McCaffrey-Knowlton Scholarship recipient – Eileen Mitchell doesn’t sit around waiting for opportunities to come her way. She learned early on to define what she wants and make it happen.
Mitchell is the second Fresno State student to receive the McCaffrey-Knowlton Scholarship, a $5,000 scholarship for students pursuing a degree in city and regional planning. The McCaffrey Group committed $25,000 to award five, $5,000 scholarships to students in the City and Regional Planning degree program at Fresno State University. The scholarship is named after Brent McCaffrey, president of the McCaffrey Group, and Ash Knowlton, president of construction for McCaffrey Homes, who are continuing the family legacy of giving back.
Not only is Mitchell pursuing a degree in city and regional planning, she has a double-major in geography with a minor in political science and a minor in urban studies. She started her post-secondary education focused on political science; but, a few geography classes later, she discovered how political science can be applied to geography.
And when Fresno State’s College of Social Sciences announced the return of the degree program in city and regional planning, Mitchell knew that was definitely an area that she wanted to pursue. In fact, she was part of the first Case Study in Urban Planning course in spring 2018 offered through the Geography and City & Regional Planning Department.
The course provided a first-hand learning experience about the realities of planning and implementing Tesoro Viejo, the new master-planned community in southeastern Madera County. Mitchell says the course was her favorite because it gave a real-world view of the complexities of planning and coordination with all the organizations and agencies involved.
A native of Visalia, Mitchell credits her propensity to get bored for finding new opportunities to challenge herself. It was the summer after her freshman year at Fresno State when she went to the Geography Department chair and asked for help in finding an internship. This initiative led to an internship that she has held for more than a year with the Fresno Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) where she updates maps, analyzes data, reviews policies and does everything in between.
Mitchell’s career goal is real estate development to further develop environmentally friendly, safe, and organized communities that future generations can enjoy. She points to her core mission of contributing to a better world as inspiration for her career goal.