From counting Cheerios with his mom to playing video games, Josh Mitchell expressed an interest in math and science at an early age.
Today, the two-time Cal State Fullerton alumnus is a data and software engineer at Poshmark, a social commerce marketplace with more than 100 million users.
Mitchell ’21, ’23 (B.S., M.S. computer engineering), who landed an internship at Poshmark while a student, made a $20,000 gift to support the College of Engineering and Computer Science, Associated Students Inc. and Titan Athletics.
“Cal State Fullerton is one of the best educations that you can receive for the cost of tuition and I wouldn’t trade my undergraduate or master’s experience for another university,” said Mitchell, who served as ASI president from 2021-22. “I am a Titan for life.”
Choosing to Become a Titan
A high school athlete, Mitchell wanted to run track in college. But a back injury prevented him from pursuing that goal.
“CSUF felt like a good place to restart,” he shared. “I had a lot to give academically and after touring the campus with my parents, I felt CSUF was the right choice.”
His dad encouraged him to study computer engineering because of his love for numbers and analytics.
“I can’t say it was love at first sight, but after my junior year, I knew this was what I wanted to do,” said Mitchell. “As I got deeper into the program, I started to enjoy the challenges that computer and software engineering offers.”
During his senior year, Mitchell landed a virtual internship with Poshmark, where he now builds the pipelines that send data to the company’s internal and external partners.
“I was looking for an internship to practice my coding skills outside of my regular school schedule,” he said. “Poshmark treated me really well during the internship. I was happy to sign the return offer in late 2021 and move to the Bay Area.”
While a student, Mitchell also served as a computer science teacher and mentor for Dreams for Schools, a program that educates and encourages K-12 students to learn more about STEM-related careers.
Stepping Into Leadership Roles
Beyond academics, Mitchell actively engaged himself in campus life. He served as a residential adviser for two years; represented the College of Engineering and Computer Science on the ASI board of directors; and participated in such intramural sports as flag football, volleyball, soccer and basketball.
“Being an RA created a lot of first-time opportunities for me, and the lessons from those experiences made me who I am today,” said Mitchell. “It was my first leadership position, my first time hosting events, my first time handling serious conflict and my first time being a first responder.”
“A lot of students were struggling from the psychological scars of the pandemic and other national events,” he said. “I went in with a naively optimistic vision that I could get everyone on the same page and we could help solve our campus issues.
“On a campus with 40,000 students and thousands of faculty, that was not possible. You learn to appreciate everyone’s points of view and understand that everyone has their own lived experiences, which influence their decision-making. There are a lot of lessons that I learned that I reflect on even to this day,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell and his administration advocated for support in such areas as food insecurity, housing insecurity and mental health issues. They created an ASI app on the App Store and Google Play to support student needs, and spearheaded the “Beyond the Conversation” speaker series to facilitate conversations about mental health and diversity, equity and inclusion. The series has featured such speakers as Michael Phelps, Daniel Dae Kim and Angela Davis.
As ASI president, Mitchell had opportunities to visit Project Rebound and the Veterans Resource Center, participate in a track and field practice, and fly with the basketball and dance teams to South Carolina. He also served as a student representative on the Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation board of governors.
“I was so inspired by the amazing communities that I met during my time at Fullerton,” he said. “In a lot of the meetings that I was in, the number one issue everyone seemed to face was a lack of funding.
“I hope my gift can make a very small dent in this issue and help students get involved with activities and organizations they are passionate about.”