BTE Student Stories

Mayra Brown

Written By: Mayra Brown, Pathway to Success Participant

BTE Alumni Site: Norristown, Pennsylvania, USA

My name is Mayra Brown, and I am a rising sophomore studying Bioengineering at Temple University. I became involved in the Pathway to Success program through participation in Johnson & Johnson’s Bridge to Employment (BTE) program during my junior year of high school. As a first-generation college student, I knew that I would need someone to guide me through the college process, and Pathways-—as we like to call it—was able to provide just that support for me. I might have struggled without it otherwise. Pathways has helped me prepare for applications on a professional level, while on a personal level, Pathways has shown me tips and techniques toward having a balanced and healthy lifestyle while in school. 

Recently Pathways’ participants were each introduced to several Johnson & Johnson employee volunteers and other professionals who had careers like those of the participants.  So, now I have people to reach out to if I have questions about which path is the best for me to take in my career. Additionally, the other participants are students who have similar backgrounds and motivations, and it makes the whole college process a lot less daunting when there are other people you can identify with who are going through the same thing.  

“I have learned so much through the Pathway to Success program, including many skills that have helped advance me both personally and professionally.”

The skill that I really enjoy learning the most about is networking.  Within Pathways, we are constantly meeting new people, and encouraged to connect with these people online. I remember there being a workshop displaying what percentage of people are hired through networking and those hired through an application process alone. While I do not remember the precise statistic, I do remember the hiring rating for those with connections to be drastically higher.  Because we are constantly meeting new people through Pathways, I feel that with each interaction, I get better at connecting with people. 

I have had so many great experiences through Pathways, but my favorite would definitely be the Pathways Pre-College Academy during Summer 2019. This was one of the only in-person interactions we got to have due to COVID, and one of the only times I was able to be on a college campus, observing a college lifestyle. During the summer academy, I remember we completed a Birkman test to assess which career field best fits the test-taker, and it turned out to be pretty accurate.  I have some people close to me who are still confused about what they want to study, and I often wish that I could give them the same assessment so they could gain the same insights I did. Through this experience, I not only learned about myself and gained skills and knowledge, but I also gained a network of friends and an extended Pathways family.  

I really appreciate the sponsorship from Johnson & Johnson and FHI360; they provide the Pathways students with amazing mentors and resources to really help us excel. I would definitely recommend this program to other BTE students around the world. Pathways does a great deal to help students with each step of the college/career process. I feel that I was lucky to be able to join this program.