Student Profile: Seamus Mitchell ‘24

Jan 24, 2024
Seamus Mitchell, class of 2024 and a double-major in criminal justice and English, is dressed in a black suit coat and red tie. He is smiling and leaning against a white wall, with a golden interior behind him. Both arms are folded across his chest.

Seamus Mitchell '24

Seamus Mitchell ’24 is a double major in both criminal justice and English, with a concentration in writing. As a student in high school, Mitchell described academics as “challenging”, despite working hard to ensure top grades. When scouting for universities that would support him, he was drawn to Westfield State’s Learning Disabilities Program, offered by the Banacos Academic Center. The academic opportunities and sense of community offered by members of the Banacos Center helped him make the choice to become an Owl.

While excited about attending the University, Mitchell spent his first year fully remote as classroom environments transitioned into the digital realm in the wake of the pandemic. “It was not easy,” Mitchell said. “But, I was still determined to make the best of it.”

Despite having never met his professors in person, he still felt connected, as Michelle Rizk-Jarvis, his LDP advisor in addition to his academic professors worked hard to ensure each student felt supported throughout COVID-19. While office hours were also virtual, Mitchell recalled never missing a Zoom meeting with his LDP advisor. “I was committed to using every resource and opportunity available to me,” he added. “I excelled in my own studies and started helping others.”

During his four years at the University, Mitchell served as secretary for the 2024 class council as well as an ambassador for the Banacos Center. He is also a tutor, and helps students studying criminal justice in addition to leading the “All Write Together” program hosted by the Reading and Writing Center. Now, in his senior year, Mitchell is preparing to pursue a career in the legal system.

Outside of his many campus activities, Mitchell “fell in love” with his internship with the Dedham Juvenile Court House, where he supported court officials such as judges, lawyers, and probation officers with their workload. This rewarding internship opportunity helped to amplify and anchor his passion for working in the legal system.

Mitchell was even able to travel to Florence, Italy, despite travel bans during and after the pandemic’s initial throes. While there, Mitchell immersed himself in the culture, sampling various kinds of food and activities while absorbing the vastness of another country. He said that the trip was “one of the most memorable and exciting experiences [he’s] ever had.” Going abroad was also instrumental in solidifying Mitchell’s interest in the legal realm within the nation, as he plans to “leave a mark” in the nation’s criminal justice system.

Because financial barriers are often a burden for students who pay for university themselves, Mitchell felt “free from financial stress” due to Westfield State’s thorough financial aid plans, as well as the scholarships which enabled him to have academic freedom. “It allowed me to continue to follow my dreams of becoming a lawyer,” he said. “None of this would have been possible if I hadnt been awarded these scholarships.”

Mitchell describes the University as “generous” and remains grateful for all of the support given to him, crediting the Banacos Academic Center, the Career Center, the Reading and Writing Center, the Student Involvement, Activities, and Leadership office, and the International Programs office especially. Because of the ample opportunities afforded to students by scholarships and the University’s support networks, “Westfield students succeed in more ways than they know,” he said. When thinking of the University’s donors and staff, he only had two words:“Thank you.”