Mitchelle Greenlee draws inspiration from working with optimistic young people

Mitchelle Y. Greenlee lives and works with college freshmen as the Assistant Resident Dean of Thurgood Marshall College at UCSD. She is also the La Jolla Girl Scout Service Unit Secretary (coordinating the 150 Scouts who marched in the 2010 La Jolla Christmas Parade), Torrey Pines Elementary School Pizza Coordinator, a member of Torrey Pines Christian Church, a wife, mother to Isabella, a fourth-grader at Torrey Pines Elementary School and leader of Junior Girl Scout Troop 3631. Mitchelle jokes that she can turn anything into an Excel spreadsheet.

Mitchelle Greenlee, eeman agrama-minert

Mitchelle was born March 16, 1972 in Des Moines, Iowa and graduated with a B.A. in Mass Communications from St. Ambrose University, Davenport in 1994. She married Brian Greenlee in 1996. Her thoughts going into 2011? “I’m on Facebook way more than I should be!”

What brought you to La Jolla?

In 1992, while studying at St. Ambrose University, I heard about Thurgood Marshall College and UCSD as it was compared to the Oxford system. It fascinated me to learn of a university that could create great scholars while also developing students who would learn to be great citizens. So when I got married, my husband and I spent some of our honeymoon in Disneyland and the other part in La Jolla. After exploring UCSD, shopping on Girard, exploring the caves and taking pictures of seals, we knew some day we would move to this wonderful jewel. In 2000 our daughter was born here and La Jolla became our home.

What makes this area special to you?

In just over 5,000 acres there is a top-notch university, breathtaking coast, endless history, and a rich community filled with giving people. We know how to come together for things like the La Jolla Art and Wine Festival that supports our schools, and the La Jolla Christmas Parade that showcases the people who make our Village great.

Yet we also have fun at the YMCA, the La Jolla Library, the Museum of Contemporary Art, or just playing with the toys in Geppetto’s. From Windansea Beach to Mount Soledad to the great Torrey Pines and everything in between, lots of peace, love and community make La Jolla special.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

I would add a Star Trek-type way for everyone to beam themselves everywhere they want to go. This would decrease the pollution caused by the North Torrey Pines Road traffic. I would keep the streets themselves, however, so we could all still enjoy looking at the wide variety of cars the cool people of La Jolla move around in.

Who or what inspires you?

Working at UCSD and with Girl Scouts I see youth in its most beautiful stages of growth and development, creating leaders at critical times in life. I am surrounded by inspiration every day.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

I would ask Jesus Christ for prayer and answers, Thurgood Marshall for inspiration, Walt Disney for joy, Bill Cosby for fun, Fred Astaire for an after-dinner dance, and my great-grandmother Isabel Jimenez Chavez to get to know her. And, of course, I would invite my husband and my 10-year-old daughter to share the experience with me.

Tell us about what you are reading.

Though I enjoy PaperClip’s Student Affairs Newswire, Kim Edwards and Nora Roberts, I am currently dissecting the training manual for coordinating the 2011 Girl Scout Cookie Program in La Jolla and Pacific Beach. Cookie sales begin Jan. 30.

What is your most-prized possession?

Since I would not consider my daughter a possession, I would have to say a painting my great-grandfather made of a park in downtown Managua, Nicaragua before war and the 1972 earthquake destroyed it.

What do you do for fun?

In La Jolla? Surf of course! And eat at Jeff’s Burgers.

Please describe your greatest accomplishment.

My greatest accomplishment is not complete. I have spent my entire life finding small ways to change the world generally through others. I’ve worked in higher education for 18 years helping create tomorrow’s leaders. I work with the La Jolla Service Unit of Girl Scouts influencing the leadership development of young ladies. I pride myself on teaching my daughter about ethics and leaving things better than you find them. I’m an activist on causes I believe in and social injustices. I hope to continue to accomplish change one person or action at a time.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Think positive, be positive, think positive. If you spend your time thinking positively it will help you to reflect a positive attitude in all you do and with everyone you meet. In turn, this will help others to think positively as well. And it just spreads from there.

I love volunteering at Torrey Pines Elementary School because it is great to be surrounded by the positive energy of leaders like Kal the site supervisor, Jim the principal, Renee the foundation president and Hector the after-school YMCA coordinator. La Jolla is full of positive energy everywhere you go.

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Posted by Susan DeMaggio on Jan 12, 2011. Filed under 10 Questions, Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Mitchelle Greenlee draws inspiration from working with optimistic young people”

  1. Paula G

    Having worked with Mitchelle as a resident advisor when I was a college student at UCSD, I knew I had a mentor for life. Now, as a "grown up," Mitchelle is a wonderful friend as well! I hope she inspires other readers as she has inspired me for over 10 years now. Great story!

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