Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Tarah D. Mitchell

Tarah MitchellName: Tarah D. Mitchell

UR Major: Economics, Biology

Additional Education: MBA in Finance (Kaplan University ’10), M.S. in Cost Analysis (Air Force Institute of Technology ’12)

Current City, State of Residence: Long Beach, CA

Job Title: Lead Cost Analyst

Employer: US Air Force (Military)

Community activities: USO Volunteer, Figure competitor


How did you choose your major(s)?

I initially had a double major when I started at the U of R – biology (pre-med) and economics. I have always been interested in both, but as my semesters progressed, I found more of a connection and passion for the world of economics.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

As a student I was primarily involved in BSU, MSAB, NSBE, and Air Force ROTC. By being involved in these organizations I gained leadership skills, honed my communication and interpersonal skills, responsibility, time management, awareness of current and local events, and the core values that influence my job today.

What is your opinion regarding graduate school vs. working right after graduation?

In my opinion, doing both simultaneously broadens a person’s career opportunities. People that go straight to graduate school often lack the experience necessary to find a “good” job after graduating and people that go straight to work lack critical book knowledge. I worked full time in finance, while in graduate school for an MBA in finance. After completing graduate school I had not only credentials, but the practical experience to back it up.

What was your first job after graduation? What college experiences prepared or qualified you for that position?

My first job after graduation was a budget analyst within the USAF. Being a part of Air Force ROTC prepared me for this position and gave me insight into the Air Force culture, standards, and lifestyle. Earning my economics degree qualified me for this position by giving me the financial, statistics, critical thinking, and risk management skills required in the position.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career? Where would you like to be in five years?

Now I am a Lead Cost Analyst for the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS), one of the DoD’s highest priority space satellite programs. In all honesty, I didn’t choose this position; the Air Force chose it for me (lol!) since I recently earned my M.S. in Cost Analysis. In five years, I would like to be an actuary and still serve in the USAF as a Reservist.