Stories of Excellence - Pamela Bates and Ketwan Graham

Education often changes a student’s life. In the human services program at Mitchell, the goal is not only to change one life but many lives. Pamela Bates and Ketwan Graham saw their lives transform during their time at Mitchell. Now they are helping to transform the lives of others.


Bates started at Mitchell in 2012 aiming to obtain her Work Certified/Career Readiness Certificate (CRC). Afraid of feeling out of her element and of being older than her fellow students, Bates had not initially planned to go further with her studies. However, with the encouragement of faculty and staff, she began a curriculum program in 2013. Bates found an accepting, supportive environment that helped her achieve dreams she never thought possible.  “My time at Mitchell taught me how to pick myself up and get on with life,” she stated. Bates wanted a career beyond manufacturing, and she initially began studying design. Her desire to help others and to work with youth and the elderly soon shifted her studies to the human services program. Bates joined the National Society for Student Leadership and served as vice-president for two years. She was also honored with an Academic Excellence award. Bates began working with the Iredell County Council on Aging as a program internship requirement and, as she noted, found her calling. After graduating in May 2016, Bates became the Title V Program Coordinator at the Council on Aging when the full time position opened. Future plans include continuing her work at the Council on Aging and obtaining a bachelor’s degree in human services from Lees-McRae College. While the coursework is challenging, she looks forward to graduating in May 2018.


Seeking a degree to further his career options, Graham came to Mitchell in 2010. He found a transformative experience that laid the foundation for his goals. The rigorous academic work redefined what he once thought of as his ability level and paved the way for his future studies. “Mitchell helped me grow up some,” he said, “It brought out the best in me.” Graham’s favorite memories of Mitchell are his experiences in the human services program. “I learned so much during my time at Mitchell,” Graham stated. “Mitchell laid the foundation for my undergrad and graduate school studies.” Graham went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Gardner-Webb University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California. He currently serves as the Student Assistance Program (SAP) Counselor for Statesville High School, assisting students experiencing stressors that can impede their school performance. He plans to become a licensed clinical social worker and open several group homes providing services for at-risk youth.


Learn more about expanding your goals and achieving your dreams at Mitchell! Discover degrees and programs Mitchell offers then find out how to apply. For additional support, speak to a counselor at (704) 878-3242 or To learn more about human services at Mitchell and how you can help others in your community, contact (704) 978-5419 or