Mitchell joins Plant City faculty
April 18, 2017
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Every year, Hillsborough Community College has a few new full-time teachers and this semester is not an exception. One of the new instructors is Mr. Perry (PJ) Mitchell, who teaches Chemistry on the Plant City Campus.
Before this semester, Mitchell was a part-time Chemistry instructor at both HCC and St. Petersburg College (SPC). He currently teaches Introductory Chemistry with labs and General Chemistry I with labs, and he hopes to be able to offer General Chemistry II on the Plant City Campus so students can stay on that campus for more of their coursework.
Mitchell earned an associate’ degree at SPC before moving on to the University of South Florida where he earned his Bachelor in Arts in Biochemistry and then his Master of Science degree in Chemistry.
As a child, Mitchell always loved science and his favorite science subjects were chemistry and astronomy.
While at SPC, he worked as a lab assistant and decided to focus on chemistry.
Chemistry is not a class that is only for science majors. According to Mitchell, “Learning and studying chemistry, or any basic science, teaches us how to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills both in and out of the classroom. We also learn facts of the world around us in the context of basic science literacy and how it applies to and affects us on a daily basis.”
As do other faculty members, Mitchell has a life outside of HCC. He says he is a “total nerd” and is an avid science fiction enthusiast and gamer.
He also cares for and tends orchids, carnivorous plants and bonsai. He has his own throwing wheel at home and makes his own pottery. Recently he has been trying to learn how to play the violin. In his words, “the keyword there is trying,” he says with a laugh.
Mitchell has some words of wisdom for students taking chemistry, whether from him or one of the other HCC instructors. He says that saying, “practice makes perfect” is a misnomer and should be “perfect practice makes perfect.” What he means is that students should learn best for their needs and find ways to study that match the way they learn. Going to lecture or just studying the problems in the books is rarely enough, and students should be aware of other resources, such as YouTube videos, the tutoring center and study groups.
As far as college itself, he believes students should know their limitations because they cannot overcome them if they don’t fully what they are. He says it is okay to work within limitations because everyone goes to college “in the hopes of changing the world even a little” and it is “okay if you only change one person and that person is you.”
Mr. Mitchell’s office is in PADM 134. Stop by to say hello and talk about chemistry or anything else you may find of interest.