Bonnie Baird Mitchell grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, the only child of Dr. Joseph Shannon Baird, Chief of Staff at the Municipal Hospital. Her unusual childhood was spent living in the quarters at the hospital, which specialized in treating children with infectious diseases. She was among the first to be immunized by Dr. Jonas Salk, who worked on his polio vaccine in the hospital and was a colleague and friend of her father's. Through her father, she met a young physics student, Phillip V. Mitchell, studying at Carnegie Tech. They were later to be married and raise a family.
Bonnie Mitchell has attended Hood College, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Tulsa, from which she has a BA degree. She is the proud mother of five children, each of whom majored in physics at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and then went on for PhD's at CMU, Stanford, Georgia Tech, and Berkeley.
All of her life, Bonnie Mitchell has been drawn to the Jewish community and Israel, in particular, for her inspiration in art and literature.