Bryant University’s MyPATH (Make Your Passion And Talent Happen) program, a unique partnership between the University's Academic Affairs department and Amica Center for Career Education, helps students discover all of the amazing paths to success open to them. MyPATH brings together the entire University to offer first-year students guidance and support in choosing a course of study. It also helps them figure out who they are and who they’d like to become.
“MyPATH helps students discover what they love and how to use the tools, resources and network available to them,” says MyPATH student mentor Kayla Batalha ’22. “There’s so much pressure sometimes for students to follow a career path that’s just transactional, that would make them a lot of money. We try to remind them they can pursue a path that will make them intangibly wealthy as well. They can create a career that speaks to their passions and allows them to do work that’s meaningful to them.”
Part of a comprehensive program of support designed to aid students from when they first step onto campus to when they graduate and begin rewarding careers, MyPATH provides them with a variety of resources that can help them chart their future. Academic Advisor and MyPATH Coordinator Matthew Moquin notes that Bryant’s focus on interdisciplinary study and a requirement that students study both business and the liberal arts aids them in discovering best fit combinations that prepare them for careers they’ll love. MyPATH, he says, gives them a look at all of the academic options open to them.
The program also helps students shape their entire college experience by providing information regarding elements that can take their education beyond the classroom, including co-curricular organizations internship opportunities. “MyPATH is there to help students step out of their comfort zone and prevent them from getting tunnel vision,” says Moquin. “They can figure out how to combine areas and opportunities to create their own paths to success.”
“MyPATH gives students an opportunity to talk to people who already have some experience in their areas of interest and can help them understand the nuances so that that they can begin to make informed choices about what they’d like to do with their life.”
“Students are frequently surprised by how much flexibility they actually have in creating a curriculum and choosing majors and concentrations and minors that give them an amazing foundation for successful and rewarding careers,” agrees Veronica Stewart, Associate Director of Career Services for Bryant’s Amica Center for Career Education.
MyPATH introduces students to a supportive network of mentors and advisors they can rely on for all four years. “We all have our assumptions and preconceived notions about what a field or an occupation or an academic path is going to be like,” says Stewart. “MyPATH gives students an opportunity to talk to people who already have some experience in their areas of interest and can help them understand the nuances so that that they can begin to make informed choices about what they’d like to do with their life.”
At the heart of the MyPATH program are the MyPATH mentors, student advisors drawn from a wide range of courses of study. Specially trained by the Advising office, the mentors are available throughout the school year to students seeking advice or information. Their job isn’t to recruit students to their own major, but simply to share their experiences with younger students and talk with them about their goals and interests.
“Be a thinker and an observer. See what you connect with personally.”
“I try to be the person I wish I had when I was a freshman,” says Batalha. “I listen to what the students are going through and what they're thinking about and contemplating and try to help them by sharing my experience and my perspective in a way that helps them see things in a new light.”
The student mentors also offer a different viewpoint for students, complementing the advice they receive from advisors and faculty mentors. “When students can get information directly from their peers it helps them connect to it a little bit more authentically,” notes Moquin.
Showcasing bright futures
Each year, the MyPATH program culminates with the MyPATH Showcase, an event that brings together Bryant’s entire first year class for an afternoon of reflection and discovery. Each academic department hosts “breakout sessions,” where first year students can talk to both faculty and students. “It's a good opportunity to put all of Bryant’s offerings out there so students can take in all of the things that are available to them here,” says Moquin. “They might discover something new that resonates with them or make a connection they’ll revisit later.”
The Showcase’s keynote speaker for 2022 was Professor of Psychology and Founding Chair of Bryant’s Psychology Department Ronald Deluga, Ph.D., who offered advice on all of the different ways that students can create their own pathway to happiness and life success. Professor Deluga encouraged the students to build lives and careers that fit their personalities and their interests and to approach every new experience as a chance to explore. “Be a thinker and an observer,” he advised. “See what you connect with personally.”
“Every successful student and professional got their start by reaching out to others and trying new things so they can figure out what they want to do and how to get there.”
Deluga also encouraged the audience to reach out to others and take advantage of the many support services the University offers, including the Amica Career Center, the University’s 100+ student clubs and organizations and study abroad programs such as Bryant’s signature Sophomore International Experience. “We have all these wonderful entities at Bryant to help you succeed and be happy—and to help set you up for life,” he noted. “Take advantage of all of the services we have here, you don’t have to do it all on your own.”
Connecting with others
This year’s Showcase extended throughout the week and included two student panels with Bryant upperclassmen who shared their journeys. They described how they found their path, answered questions on topics ranging from finding internships to managing stress and passed along the advice that has resonated with them during their time at Bryant. “It’s never too early, or too late, to be planning for your career,” stated Abbey Chmura ’22, who will be joining world-renowned professional services firm PwC after graduation. “The more that you get yourself out there, the more you explore and the more you talk to others the better off you’ll be.”
That advice, says Stewart, is perhaps one of the most important lessons of MyPATH. “I think the most important thing students can take away from the MyPATH Showcase is to keep asking questions,” she says. “Every successful student and professional got their start by reaching out to others and trying new things so they can figure out what they want to do and how to get there.”