Mitchell Foster, Staff


In this interview, Mitchell Foster, a Residential Area Coordinator at Brown University, shares their experiences becoming a Brown staff member during the COVID-19 global pandemic and guiding students through increased racism against the Asian and Asian-American communities.

Foster begins by explaining their upbringing in the Philippines and the ways that Filipino culture influenced their reaction to COVID-19. They share memories of the beginning of the pandemic when Foster was working at the University of Arkansas. They explain the challenges Asian and Asian American students faced early on when they were deciding to use masks and highlights the lack of community for Asian and Asian American staff and faculty both at the University of Arkansas and at Brown. Foster goes on to share the ways they prepared to protect themself against acts of racism and emphasizes that these acts can and do happen across the country, not just among certain populations.

In closing their interview, Foster implores listeners to seek assistance when needed and to know that there are resources and people who want to help. They also share their goals of pursuing a PhD program as a way to increase the visibility of Filipinos and Filipino culture in the academy.


Recorded on April 21, 2021 via Zoom
Interviewed by Amanda Knox, Pembroke Center Assistant Archivist and Michelle Liu

Suggested Chicago style citation: Foster, Mitchell. Interview. By Amanda Knox and Michelle Liu. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. April 21, 2021.


Mitchell graduated with a Masters in Public Administration and a Gender Studies Certificate from California State University, Chico and earned their bachelor’s in Business Administration from University of St. La Salle in the Philippines. They started their career in student affairs as a Graduate Assistant for Residence Life at Chico State and transitioned to full-time position as a Coordinator for Residence Education at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville where they worked for two years. They are a co-chair of the Multiracial Network (MRN) which is an active coalition of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) that focuses on multiracial research and visibility. Mitchell identifies as bi-racial and non-binary and goes by they/them/siya pronouns. Their research interests include Filipino-American and Asian American topics, transnational mixed-API experience and gender non-conformity/queerness in the pre-colonial context and as it relates to decolonization. In their current line of work, Mitchell utilizes vulnerability and courage as tools for community-building and creating a sense of belonging within their staff and on-campus communities.