HTMitchelL: Nayomi Mitchell’s quest to create something beautiful

Nayomi Mitchell became a super hero in August.

Well, not so much Mitchell, a College of Computing undergraduate, as did Marvel’s preteen genius Lunella Lafayette, also known as “Moon Girl.” Just take a look at Moon Girl’s picture, and you’d be forgiven for confusing Mitchell (BS CM ’16) with her animated doppelganger. Both Mitchell and Moon Girl sport glasses and recognizable head-top bun hairstyles. They’re also both savvy scientists with an aptitude for creativity. Get to know Mitchell outside of class, too, and it's easy to see the similarities are more than pixel deep.

Mitchell’s ‘superpowers’ emerged at a young age. Her father purchased a violin and keyboard for the curious musician in third grade. Mitchell later mastered mandolin, guitar, harp, and ukulele, too. The musical maven even has a YouTube channel where she posts covers of popular songs. Most of Mitchell’s musicality is self-taught and she believes that helps keep it fun.

“I treat music as a recreational activity,” she said. “It's stress-relieving and fun.”

WREK listeners can share in the fun during her weekly shift at Georgia Tech’s student radio station. Mitchell lights up the airwaves every Monday with a healthy dose of Big Band and improvisational jazz. Obscure artists and tracks frequently dot Mitchell’s playlist thanks to WREK’s extensive music library.

Photos by Jillian Morn

Her artistry isn’t just limited to music though. She’s a first-rate digital designer who’s focused on coding the optimal user experience. Microsoft noticed Mitchell’s skills early by offering her multiple internships as an undergrad. She’ll return to Seattle after Spring graduation and a celebratory trip throughout Asia to become a full-time software engineer with Microsoft.

“Nayomi possesses extraordinary creative talents and is bound for achieving greatness in her future career,” said Ashley Rose Edgar, the College’s director of career development.

Mitchell leads by example. She’s a veteran of the College of Computing’s After School Program, a growing partnership with Atlanta Public Schools to excite kids about computer science. Teaching the next generation of computer scientists about the creative potential in STEM has been a constant source of delight for Mitchell, who attended public school in the Atlanta metro area.

“Exposure is the key to getting more kids into STEM,” Mitchell said. “It's fantastic for the kids in the class to figure out a bit about themselves and their interests, whether that’s STEM or not.”

She’d know. Like the Marvel superhero (described by its creators as a “little genius” with an obsession for troubleshooting electronics), Mitchell is a tinkerer. Computers in varying stages of repair or disrepair could be frequently found in her childhood home. Mitchell and her network technician father tinkered together on those computers for hours on end. Mitchell’s introduction to computer hardware was followed by forays into basic computer usage with a healthy mix of educational games. All it took was an AP Computer Science course at Norcross High School to seal the deal.

“My parents deserve a ton of credit for getting me where I'm at today,” Mitchell said. “They always encouraged me to stick with what I liked to do."

All super heroes have to get their start somewhere.