J.D. Ndayishimiye

Westbrook High School, 2017
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, 2023
Hometown: Westbrook

“The Mitchell Institute is more than a check. It is like a family to me.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, J.D. was facing a lot of uncertainties: he had to move out of Boston when colleges shut down in March 2020, and in doing so moved away from an exciting pharmacy internship at Boston Children’s Hospital. Back in Maine, no part-time jobs were available, leaving this young man who was born in Rwanda with no income to use towards tuition, and also no opportunities for career-related experience. He discussed his challenges with a Mitchell Institute staff member who encouraged him to apply for a Fellowship Award to help offset his living expenses. This allowed him to return to Boston, continue his internship, and continue growing in his career.

What are your goals in college?
My goal is to graduate with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. While working on this degree, I am trying to expose myself to all pharmacy has to offer, by working and interning in a variety of settings, including hospital and retail pharmacies. I am also involved in a few professional organizations that focus on various career pathways in my industry.

How are the Mitchell Institute’s events and programs useful to you?
Oh my goodness, I don’t even know where to start. One specific event that had a huge impact on me was MILE II, a professional and leadership development event hosted each year at Unum’s headquarters in Portland. I still remember and use the skills that I learned at that event. For example, I learned how to properly prepare for an interview. Before this event, I used to attend interviews blindly without any sort of preparation, which would lead me to panic. Since the event, and since I started applying everything I learned at MILE II, I have had many successful interviews.

What moment stands out to you as the time you really understood what the Mitchell Institute could do for you?
Before I got to really know the staff, I thought it was like so many other organizations that just give out checks. But I was wrong, the Mitchell Institute is more than a check. It is more like a family to me. Everyone is so genuine and active in your life. The staff takes time to check in with you, see how you’re doing, and ask if you need anything. It blows my mind every time I receive texts or emails from a staff member, which I do at least two times a month. That level of connection is amazing to me.