News & Features, November 2023, Previous Issues

Alumna Spotlight: Communications major was drawn to politics

Johna Mitchell studied mass communication, concentrating in broadcast journalism, when she was a student at Saint Augustine’s University. When she graduated in 2015, she dreamed of being on the Food Network. But she found her calling in a field she didn’t expect – politics.

¨I was always at protests and realized there was clearly a missing gap between what’s going on in politics and what’s going on with the American people,” Mitchell said. “So that’s kind of like how I got into politics.”

She decided there was a disconnect between the political sphere and the general public that her communication skills could help bridge. Mitchell began doing communications work for political campaigns in 2016, but it took time to fully pivot her career.

Mitchell started out as a volunteer press assistant, helping with the election campaign of Raleigh City Council candidate Corey Branch. She worked her way up to the U.S. Congress, landing a job in February 2022 as a digital assistant, helping the Congressional Black Caucus with social media.

Recently, Mitchell started a job as a digital specialist for Congressman Jonathan L. Jackson.

Mitchell encourages current SAU students to take advantage of all the resources available, like the recording studio and editing labs. Though her path changed, the hands-on skills she learned at SAU gave her tools for success, she said.

No matter where students end up, she stresses the importance of staying connected to your alma mater after graduating. She has realized the portance of the SAU network for career help and moral support.

“I would tell students,” she said, “that when you leave, give back to the institution that gave to you.”

— Simeon Davis