Mitch reading to Anna and Lisa at the Iowa City Public Library.

Get to Know Lingo

Mitch Lingo is an eighth-generation Iowan who has lived in the Iowa City area for over nine years. He is a former teacher and currently serves as a senior research scientist at Iowa College Aid. Ellie, his wife, is an Iowa City native and West High graduate who works as a diabetes provider in endocrinology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. They have two daughters and two toy poodles. You can find them on walks throughout the Morningside neighborhood on most Spring, Summer, and Fall nights. Mitch formerly served as president of Alice’s Rainbow House Childcare Centers. 

Mitch was born in the Historic Northside’s own Mercy Hospital. Mitch’s dad was a Hy-Vee store director, and Mitch moved around Iowa and Nebraska during childhood with his dad’s job. Ultimately, Mitch’s family moved to Marion, Iowa, where his mom was a counselor at Kirkwood Community College. Mitch graduated from Linn-Mar High School in 2002. Like many Iowans, he worked in the grocery store from age 14 until he graduated college. Mitch received an associate’s degree in liberal arts from Kirkwood Community College and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa in elementary and middle-level education and political science. 

Mitch graduated during the 2008 recession and was happy to find a teaching position in Omaha, Nebraska. While in Omaha, Mitch taught social studies and mathematics to 7th and 8th graders at a Title I middle school. While teaching, Mitch pursued a master’s degree in secondary education, emphasizing urban schools, at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Mitch served as the middle school representative on the Omaha Education Association Teachers’ Union board. Through the real-world experience of teaching, Mitch came to understand better the barriers and opportunity gaps that underserved students and their communities face due to generations of educational and political injustice. To better understand those barriers and to identify strategies to support students as they overcome them, Mitch earned a Ph.D. in the University of Iowa’s Education Policy and Leadership Studies program. As a graduate student, Mitch taught courses on gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, social class, and disability to future teachers and data science courses for graduate students. Mitch also spent two years as a research assistant for the University of Iowa Labor Center.

Mitch completed his Ph.D. in 2020 just as the pandemic hit, and like many Iowans, he faced barriers due to the economic downturn. In the Fall of 2020, he landed a postdoctoral fellowship at Pennsylvania State University that allowed him to work remotely from Iowa City. As part of a research team, Mitch helped create nationwide datasets on how states fund their public higher education institutions and financial aid programs. Shortly after his second daughter was born in 2022, Mitch joined Iowa College Aid as a senior research scientist studying college access, retention, and affordability in Iowa. His research is featured in Research in Higher Education, AERA Open, the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, and the Community College Review

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