Staff Spotlight: Mikaela Wilburn, Career Pathways Specialist


Mikaela will lead our new cohort of RYSing Professionals, youth interns who will explore 16 career pathways as they start to build their own career path. RYSing Professionals will begin Feb. 2019 and will be a 3 month period of learning and development.

Applications are now OPEN for this internship! This is a PAID internship for young people (ages 15-21) that will include a job shadowing placement to gain work experience, and assist youth with further establishing and growing in their skills. Applications are due January 11th.

Name and Title:

Mikaela Wilburn, Career Pathways Specialist

How long have you worked at RYSE?

I’ve now been at RYSE over a year. I started October 2017!

How did you first hear about RYSE and why did you choose to get involved?

One of my close friends Alisha had just started working at RYSE and she was formerly a member at the center, so i’d known about it for some time. She told me about a job opening. I applied because RYSE aligns so closely to what I hold important and what I am passionate about. I grew up with parents who were youth pastors and my mother was an after school program director for 7 years with the Bay Area Rescue Mission. I learned from them what it means to be a youth advocate and what it means to show unconditional love to those who need it most. And that quickly became something that would be a part of my life forever.

As the Career Pathways Specialist, what do you do?

I support our youth with Job Readiness and access, and empowering them to reach for what they’ve or others have told them they cannot do. I encourage exploration into Career pathways to bring about awareness of the variety of career pathways available. I aim to be an advocate to provide better opportunities for our youth in gaining valuable career experiences.

What do you love most about your job?

I have met some young people who now hold a big piece of my heart. I love how they continually floor me with how amazing young leaders they are. I love so much watching them claim small victories every day whether it be a good grade, speaking up for themselves, or getting an interview opportunity. The energy and joy they exude is infectious and I always love sharing those moments.

If you had to describe RYSE in three words, what would they be and why?

  • Family

  • Vibrant

  • Loves

Tell me something that happened in the RYSE community that resonated with you this month.

I was able to take a group of members to a hiring fair and watching them go from nervous and shy to interacting and engaging was extremely rewarding to see.

Just seeing how that confidence grew and they started to establish their own self motivation and confidence was so dope.

What’s something the other staff and youth members don’t know about you?

I usually spend my summers in North Carolina and I love being in the openness and all the greenery.