Entrepreneur and senior mechanical engineering major Daniel Scott Mitchell came to George Mason University with a mission to build a toolkit of experiences and problem-solving skills to prepare him for his career. By taking chances on himself, he has more than achieved his goal.
Mitchell, an Honors College student, completed a variety of internships and research assistantships, but his success at starting his own business ventures across the engineering and technology landscape sets him apart. Most notably, he took a leave of absence for the 2019-20 academic year to complete three internships at companies across the United States.
“I have always felt that I learn better by applying knowledge in practice,” he says. “I did different things at each internship, and it was a unique opportunity to work in different areas with different problem-solving skills and mindsets.”
He crisscrossed the continent by first moving to San Francisco to intern at Tesla in fall 2019, then traveled to Boston to intern at a 3D printing company called Formlabs, and finally, he worked remotely for a company called Rivian that makes electric vehicles.
Mitchell sees internships as an opportunity to not only apply your knowledge but to discover what you enjoy, and that is part of the reason why he deferred his formal education.
“Internships are a great opportunity for students to try things out. It is an established agreement between you and a company to learn as much as you can, try and do a good job, and walk away having learned something in a short period of time,” says Mitchell. “You can’t do that with a full-time job.”
Aside from his impressive list of internships in his time away from Mason, Mitchell has always been solving problems and maximizing his time learning and innovating. He enjoys many other entrepreneurial ventures, and he is always looking for a new challenge.
“My motto is ‘I make therefore I am.’ For me, I see a need and I don’t want to wait around for a solution to appear, I want to tackle it myself,” says Mitchell.
It was this mindset that also pushed Mitchell to start a podcast with Mason Engineering alum Farbod Moghaddam, BS ME ‘19. Their podcast—Next Byte—is sponsored by Wevolver, an online knowledge repository and community for cutting edge information on engineering and technology.
“I’m an avid podcast listener, and I saw the need for a podcast that talks about the cutting edge of different fields in engineering and tech that didn’t go into granular details. My friend Farbod and I decided to take it on ourselves. We pitched Wevolver, and they loved the idea. It was in the works for a few months, but we are releasing podcasts weekly now,” says Mitchell.
Mitchell’s interests span the technology and engineering space, but he originally chose mechanical engineering because of its versatility. “It is very interdisciplinary, and I wanted a degree that I thought could give me the skill set I need to solve problems. Mechanical engineering here at Mason has definitely lived up to that,” says Mitchell, who has also served as president of Mason’s chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of American Military Engineers.
Long-term, Mitchell aspires to own and run his own company, but he will take all that he has learned at Mason and in his research, business, and internship opportunities into whatever opportunity comes his way.
“I have a lot of hobbies, passions, and interests,” says Mitchell. “But the one thing I always fervently pursue is to build new things and solve problems.”