Helena Mitchell holds an appointment as Regents’ Researcher. Mitchell is the first in the Ivan Allen College to be awarded this title. The Regents' Researcher title represents the highest academic status bestowed by the Board of Regents, which governs the University System of Georgia. It is in recognition of substantial, significant, and an ongoing record of scholarly achievement that has earned high national esteem over a sustained period. The title is awarded upon the unanimous recommendation of the president, the chief academic officer, the appropriate academic dean and three other faculty members named by the president, and upon the approval of the chancellor and the committee on academic affairs.
In tandem, Dr. Mitchell is on the School of Public Policy faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Principal Investigator for the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies funded by the U.S. Department of Education since 2001 to promote equitable access to wireless technologies by people with disabilities and served as PI for several emergency communications projects funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Dr. Mitchell has held positions in academia, business and government which contribute to her unique ability to see multiple perspectives and utilize her unique skill for navigating new waters. Her research expertise includes emergency communications, broadband and wireless technologies, regulatory and legislative policy, the development and implementation of next generation technologies, and universal service to vulnerable, rural and inner city populations.
Dr. Mitchell has held executive posts in Washington, DC with the Federal government. At the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), she served as the Associate Chief, Strategic Communications for the Office of Engineering and Technology to increase Commission dialog with advanced technology companies. Earlier as the Chief of the Emergency Broadcast System, her work resulted in major rulemakings that expanded EBS to include cable, satellite and advanced communications systems and the adoption of the Emergency Alert System. As a result, her team was selected as the FCC Organization of the Year. Helena previously headed telecommunications development programs for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), of the U.S. Department of Commerce. There she spearheaded Executive Branch policy initiatives to increase educational, broadcast and non-broadcast telecommunications ownership opportunities; advance joint venture projects between the education and business sector; worked on international privatization activities; and was responsible for earmarking more than $50 million dollars in domestic and international grants and loans. In recognition of the success of her policy initiatives in telecommunications, she received the prestigious U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Medal.
Helena Mitchell worked in broadcast management for more than a decade. She was Director of the Office of Television and Radio at Rutgers University serving as the administrator of its telecommunications and broadcast quality television and radio facilities. Through Federal grants she was able to create the Rutgers distance learning system and the Rutgers national satellite system which developed programming for university and corporate clientele. Helena was Executive-In-Charge of all public affairs and documentary programming produced for PBS. Under her guidance, Rutgers garnered industry recognition and programming awards. At WNET-TV in NYC she was Director of Community Services and executive producer of community and public affairs programming responsible for producing new pilots and educational/community programming for the tri-state area. In the private sector, she has also held other posts in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean and collaborated with entities in the United Kingdom. In Toronto, Canada she served as Vice President for Corporate Development for a firm specializing in international cross-border activities. There she built joint ventures and created projects between industry, government and educational institutions.
Dr. Mitchell has taught at the graduate level on a wide range of topics including domestic and international telecommunications, regulatory and legislative policy, and technical and advanced communications issues. She has also been the recipient of federal, state and private funding for several decades. Helena has and continues to serve on a wide variety of community, industry and academic advisory councils and boards. At all academic institutions, Dr. Mitchell has been a faculty member and takes pride in mentoring students from high school through doctoral programs. Dr. Mitchell holds a Ph.D. from Syracuse University and was the first student to receive a combined doctoral degree from the Maxwell and Newhouse schools in telecommunications policy (technology utilization and telecom law); her M.S. is from the Syracuse University Newhouse School in television/radio; and her B.S. is from S.U.N.Y. at Brockport in secondary education.