Dr. Emerald Mitchell earned her doctorate in leadership and professional practice (Ed.D.) at Trevecca in 2016. Like other programs in Trevecca’s School of Graduate and Continuing Studies, the Ed.D. program uses a cohort model, meaning a group of students progress through the program together, building community, fostering creativity and encouraging growth in leadership skills. In her Trevecca story, Mitchell reflects on what her cohort meant to her.

In my cohort, we really became like a family.

We’d keep one another accountable, when it came to assignments being due or just working through problems together. We got so close that we’d even meet one another when there was no class, go out to dinner or have study sessions at one another’s homes. It really created a tight bond between us all.

One memory I have that is just vivid in my mind is taking statistics with Dr. Mindy Burch. is was a rigorous course that we had heard so many scary stories about that kind of put us in an uneasy space. Many of us were struggling in the class.

So one particular evening, we all kind of got together. It had to be about 2 a.m., and we all got together in the computer room, and we just started to review our notes and brainstorm together how to work through each formula and problem.

I really love this memory because there was one cohort member, now Dr. Alicia McColey. She was from Metro schools, but she loved math and statistics. She was able to break it down in a way that we could all understand. e great thing about that moment is we all had a chance to get to know Alicia a little bit better. At the same time, we were able to get through that class together. I think by spending so much time together that night—we had to stay up until almost 4 o’clock the next day and we had to be in class at 8 a.m.—we got to really know each other. We ordered pizza, we laughed, and we got through that statistics class together.

It was just a great joy at the end, knowing that we could count on one another at the toughest time.

Emerald Mitchell is the founder and director of Moves and Grooves, Inc., a Nashville nonprofit devoted to enriching the lives of at-risk youth. Learn more at www.trevecca.edu/moves


Emerald Mitchell also talked with us and shared some tips for anyone looking to make a difference through a nonprofit startup of their own. Read it on our blog.