Aerospace Student Reaches for the Stars

By: Liz Daubenmire

Sophia Mitchell is the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science Engineer of the Month.  Mitchell maintains a 3.4 GPA in the Aerospace Engineering ACCEND program.

Sophia Mitchell in front of NASA Jet Propulsion (JPL) Laboratory

Sophia Mitchell in front of NASA Jet Propulsion (JPL) Laboratory

UC’s unmatched co-operative education program, ACCEND dual Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science program and top-rated beautiful campus are all reasons why Sophia Mitchell decided to study Aerospace at the College of Engineering and Applied Science. 

Sophia is a fifth year ACCEND student where she is earning her BA and MS in Aerospace Engineering.

Mitchell’s love for space began when she was just a little girl.  She explains, “I have always loved space and wanted to be an astronaut since the age of 6.”  After teaching herself complex physics and statistics in the 6th grade, she began conducting independent research.

In high school Sophia’s love for research evolved as she joined forces with a post-doc at the University of Louisville in conducting astrophysics work which later culminated in a paper published by the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Entering her undergraduate studies as an already-published student, Sophia stood out from the crowd.  Her continuation of hard work has pushed her to excel immensely both in the classroom and in her co-op employment. 

As Sophia reflects on her time here at UC, she says, “My best memories center around finally figuring out that one problem I had been working on for the last several hours.”  She goes on to say that whether she is alone or with classmates, finding that solution is always such a great feeling.

In between school and work, Mitchell has found time for herself.  She says “I love spending time with the friends I’ve made at UC whether we’re cheering on other Bearcats in sporting events, raising money for events like relay for life, projecting movies onto the wall of our common room or drawing with chalk on Sigma commons. I’ve had some wonderful memories at UC and will miss it when I graduate!”

Sophia Mitchell

Sophia Mitchell

Her demonstration of good life balance can teach us all a thing or two about prioritizing.  Sophia advises others to take little steps like utilizing google calendar, scheduling breaks, and starting on homework the day it is assigned because, “the earlier you can ask for help, the better.”  She also suggests connecting with professors and advisers from day one. 

Mitchell’s final word of advice is to get into research even if you want to go into industry.  She says research can show engineers areas in their field they may not know about.  It also allows students to get to know their professors better and it looks great if they’re applying to graduate school.

“I am extremely proud of my research. Ever since I started conducting independent research in the 6th grade, I have always found myself enchanted by the opportunity to do something that has never been done before,” Sophia expresses.

Mitchell’s latest research deals with the programming of robots to use human-like reasoning, called fuzzy logic.  She was most recently recognized for her paper, Precision Route Optimization using Fuzzy Intelligence” which led to her invitation to an international conference.

Throughout college, Sophia’s creation and development of FLIP (Fuzzy Logic Inferencing using PONG), CLIFF (Collaborative Learning using Fuzzy Inferencing) and PROFIT (Precision Route Optimization using Fuzzy Intelligence) have allowed her to dive into some of the lesser known parts of fuzzy logic and artificial intelligence, which she says is, “quite satisfying.”

Sophia Mitchell's poster presentation

Sophia Mitchell's poster presentation

Outside of engineering, Sophia has been impacting student life by trailblazing efforts in making campus more gluten-free friendly.  After she was diagnosed with Celiac disease, Mitchell grew frustrated with the total lack of food options on and around campus.  She decided to turn her experience into something positive by starting Gluten Free Bearcats.  Sophia explains, “While the group is only a year old, we strive to create a community on campus for gluten free students, bring safe food options to campus cafeterias and stores, as well as educate the UC community on Celiac disease and gluten intolerance.”

Sophia Mitchell hopes to impact both the University of Cincinnati and the aerospace industry.  She says she likes that the field is constantly changing and she is excited by the idea of something that is “cutting-edge.”  She explains, “Not only is there so much we have yet to learn about space, but we also know so little about the inter-workings of the human mind; something else that has always fascinated me.”

Mitchell has expanded her knowledge over her last four co-op rotations at NASA Jet Propulsion (JPL) Laboratory where she says, “I learned how to be a more independent and confident engineer which I think translates well into other parts of my life.”  She spent her first two co-op assignments researching with advisor Kelly Cohen, PhD, which laid the groundwork for her Master’s thesis which she is currently working to complete. 

Sophia hopes to continue at JPL in Pasadena, California after graduation and she is also considering getting her PhD.

There is no denying Sophia’s passion for space has paid off.  As a dedicated student, hard-working employee, and involved Bearcat, Sophia Mitchell is a quintessential Engineer of the Month.

Select for July Engineer of the Month, Alex Stenger.

Select for list of previous Engineer of the Month