Helena Mitchell

Regents Researcher Emeritus, Center for Advanced Communications Policy

Member Of:
  • Center for Advanced Communications Policy
  • School of Public Policy
Office Location: IPST Building
Related Links:
Email Address: helena@gatech.edu


Helena Mitchell holds an appointment as Regents’ Researcher. Mitchell is the first in the Ivan Allen College to be awarded this title. The Regents' Researcher title represents the highest academic status bestowed by the Board of Regents, which governs the University System of Georgia. It is in recognition of substantial, significant, and an ongoing record of scholarly achievement that has earned high national esteem over a sustained period. The title is awarded upon the unanimous recommendation of the president, the chief academic officer, the appropriate academic dean and three other faculty members named by the president, and upon the approval of the chancellor and the committee on academic affairs.

In tandem, Dr. Mitchell is the Principal Investigator for the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Inclusive Wireless Technologies (Wireless RERC) funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Disabilities, Independent Living and Rehabiliation Research. Since 2001, the Wireless RERC works to promote a transformative future where people with disabilities achieve independence through access to a dynamic inclusive wirelss ecosystem. Helema has also been PI for several emergency communications projects funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).Her areas of specialty include broadband and wireless communications, educational technologies, regulatory and legislative policy, emergency/public safety communications, and universal service to vulnerable, rural and inner city populations. Dr. Mitchell has held positions in academia, business and government which contribute to her unique ability to see multiple perspectives and utilize her unique skill for navigating new waters. 

Dr. Mitchell has held executive posts in Washington, DC with the Federal government. At the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), she served as the Associate Chief, Strategic Communications for the Office of Engineering and Technology to increase Commission dialog with advanced technology companies. Earlier as the Chief of the Emergency Broadcast System, her work resulted in major rulemakings that expanded EBS to include cable, satellite and advanced communications systems and the adoption of the Emergency Alert System. As a result, her team was selected as the FCC Organization of the Year. Helena previously headed the telecommunications development programs for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), of the U.S. Department of Commerce. There she spearheaded Executive Branch policy initiatives to increase educational, broadcast and non-broadcast telecommunications ownership opportunities; advance joint venture projects between the education and business sector; worked on international privatization activities; and was responsible for earmarking each year, more than $50 million dollars in domestic and international grants and loans. In recognition of the success of her policy initiatives in telecommunications, she received the prestigious U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Medal.

Helena Mitchell worked in broadcast management for more than a decade. She was Director of the Office of Television and Radio at Rutgers University serving as the administrator of its telecommunications and broadcast quality television and radio facilities. Through Federal grants she was able to create the Rutgers distance learning system and the Rutgers national satellite system which developed programming for university and corporate clientele. Helena was Executive-In-Charge of all public affairs and documentary programming produced for PBS. Under her guidance, Rutgers garnered industry recognition and programming awards. At WNET-TV in NYC she was Director of Community Services and executive producer of community and public affairs programming responsible for producing new pilots and educational/community programming for the tri-state area. In the private sector, she has also held other posts in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean and collaborated with entities in the United Kingdom. In Toronto, Canada she served as Vice President for Corporate Development for a firm specializing in international cross-border activities. There she built joint ventures and created projects between industry, government and educational institutions.

Dr. Mitchell has taught at the graduate level on a wide range of topics including domestic and international telecommunications, regulatory and legislative policy, and technical and advanced communications issues. She has also been the recipient of federal, state and private funding for decades. Helena has and continues to serve on a wide variety of community, industry and academic advisory councils and boards. At all academic institutions, Dr. Mitchell has been a faculty member and takes pride in mentoring students from high school through doctoral programs. Dr. Mitchell holds a Ph.D. from Syracuse University and was the first student to receive a combined doctoral degree from the Maxwell and Newhouse schools in telecommunications policy (technology utilization and telecom law); her M.S. is from the Newhouse School of Syracuse in television/radio; and her B.S. from S.U.N.Y. at Brockport in secondary education.

Areas of
  • Accessibility Of Wireless Technologies For People With Disabilities
  • Advanced Communications Technologies
  • Emergency Communications
  • Regulatory And Legislative Policy
  • Vulnerable Populations


Research Fields:
  • Information and Communications Technology Policy
  • Europe - United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Accessibility
  • Communication
  • Communication Policy
  • Diffusion of Technology
  • Emergency Communications
  • Emerging Technologies - Innovation
  • Perspectives on technology
  • Regulation
  • Science and Technology
  • Technology
  • Technology Management and Policy