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Maryanisa Del Rio ‘19

B.A. in General Psychology with a major in Neuropsychology and a minor in Business Administration

What happens to Girls, Inc. girls when they grow up? If they’re Maryanisa Del Rio, they become a Girls, Inc. program coordinator. It’s been a full circle journey for Maryanisa, who was a participant in Girls, Inc. programs as a child growing up in Worcester, completed an internship at Girls Inc. as part of her Bay Path degree program, and then went on to be hired as their Eureka Coordinator. “It is an incredible feeling to see it all come full circle,” she shared. “I know what it is like to have been a Girls Inc. girl growing up, and so I know where are girls are coming from and what they need. I love the work I do and who I do it for. It’s rewarding work to know I’m impacting these young girls’ lives in a positive manner.”

At the start of Maryanisa’s senior year of high school, she knew that college was her next step, but she wasn’t sure where. “My hometown Worcester is filled with colleges; I had seen most of them multiple times,” she said. “None of them felt like home. I wanted to be just far enough from home to claim my independence, but close enough to visit family on the weekends if I wanted.”

Her college access program advisor told Maryanisa that she had imagined her at a nontraditional college like an all women institution, and Bay Path ended up on her list of colleges to tour. A little research turned up an upcoming summer cookout open house event, and she made plans to attend with her dad.  “When I drove down the driveway and stepped on to campus, it was like ‘Say Yes to The Dress’,” she shared. “I needed to say yes to coming to Bay Path. It felt like somewhere I could make home.”

Later that year Maryanisa returned to campus for an overnight event with her best friend. As part of the event, she was able to submit her application and have an on-site interview. She was accepted that same day. “I was so excited, and to be honest I didn’t apply to any other schools,” she said. “Everyone told me I was crazy not to apply to other schools, but I knew in my heart I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Four years later, here I am with a degree and a priceless college experience.”

While her decision to come to Bay Path may have been easy, deciding what to major in took a little more trial and error. Originally a psychology major, and then double majoring in psychology and marketing, the decision to change to a neuropsych major happened in the unlikeliest of places – while playing a tree in the spring theater production during her sophomore year. “The head of the Neuroscience department was also in the play with her daughter, and over the months we got to know each other and talked about the neuro programs,” Maryanisa shared.” When I took my first neuro classes I knew it was exactly what I was looking for. It was challenging and interesting in a way I hadn’t explored before.”

Two years and one degree later, Maryanisa has returned to Girls, Inc. as their Eureka Coordinator. “We first got to know Maryanisa when she interned with us and it took no time at all to realize that she was a person we wanted to see grow at Girls Inc.,” shared Suzanne Parker, Executive Director of Girls Inc. of the Valley.  “Someone who started as an intern can apply for positions with a solid understanding of our mission and programs, and hit the ground running in a new position. We have found that to be the case with Maryanisa.”

She urges girls who are interested in pursuing a career in science to not be afraid of new opportunities. “Explore each one as it comes,” she stated, “even if it doesn’t seem like the path you want to take. It’s better to have tried something than to wonder what it might have been like. The only closed doors are the ones that you never open for yourself. If I didn’t explore my options I might have not landed in this position that I love so much.”

That position allows Maryanisa to spend her days engaging girls between the ages of 12-18 to explore STEM, their future aspirations, and build lifelong friendships with girls in their communities. “I want our girls to have the best foot forward when it comes to the experience they’re getting,” she shared, “so they are exactly where they need to be to be successful young adults regardless of what path they choose to take.”

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