This summer, Boston Partners was happy to welcome Jaylah Gulley, a student from the Boston Arts Academy, to our team through the MLK Scholars Program. Prior to working in the Boston Partners office, Jaylah had been a beneficiary of Boston Partners’ mentoring programs. In her sophomore year at the Boston Arts Academy, Jaylah worked with a mentor who helped her with her math and humanities classwork. Jaylah sat down with our team for an interview to share her unique perspective.

Can you tell me a bit about your mentor?

She was really helpful and funny. She liked to make jokes but she had common sense — it made it comfortable to work with her. She was focused like a leader, somebody you could look up to.

What’s something about your mentor match that you didn’t expect?

It’s different than working with a teacher. A teacher can be strict or set in their ways — they teach you something a certain way. At school all kids learn differently, but a teacher only teaches one way. You get more attention in a program like this. My mentor would give me advice, help me proofread my work, and provide feedback before I handed something in.

Working with a mentor is more flexible and laid back— they can find a few different ways to explain something to you if you don’t understand. In math I went from a C to a B+. I still don’t love math, but I did better.

How has your mentor helped you prepare for your future?

I wanted to go to college but I wasn’t thinking about colleges my sophomore year. My mentor helped me understand that I needed to start this process earlier, I needed to start thinking about it before junior year. Now, I’m hoping to go to college for nursing. I want to go away and see how it is to be independent. I know there’s going to be more work and more stress. Working with a mentor has helped prepare me for the maturity of the work during senior year and beyond.

What did you learn about working at a nonprofit through the MLK Scholars program?

Working at Boston Partners is definitely different from my other jobs. In my last job, I mostly worked by myself. Here, working with a team gives you someone to talk to and ask questions. There is a lot more work too. The team is small, so there’s a lot more learning and doing. Here you work on projects that help you learn, understand how to talk to people, how to organize time well. I learned all about Google Drive and the need to communicate with everyone.