Mary’s Story

An interview with Mary Junnyleth Pena, Airport Jobs Passenger Service Agent for Asiana Airlines 

Peer Connector Tevin Gladney: What barriers did you face before you were connected with Airport Jobs and re-engaged in school?

Mary Junnyleth Pena: I understand that money is very important. Financials. This made me believe that school can wait, so I ended up taking only one college class per quarter when I graduated from high school. This slowed me down from my success. Although I had a scholarship to pay for my first quarter, I had to pay my own money out of pocket after that. Getting a full time job at G2 with Alaska Airlines was very helpful towards my success as a student.

Tevin: What advice do you have for others in similar situations as you?

Mary: Don’t give up and do what makes you happy!

Tevin: What are ways that you stay focused and goal-oriented?

Mary: My number one motivator would be my mother, who is in the Philippines. She came to visit me back in 2013. I have not seen my dad since I was five years old. I want to do everything I can to do make my mother proud. My goal is to save enough money in order to bring her back. When I finished high school in 2015, I got a job at Amazon. I did not feel that I was benefiting from that experience, which is why I sought out new opportunities. Another big goal of mine is to finish college.

Tevin: What motivates you to keep on going?

Mary: My family keeps me motivated. My two older siblings graduated and have good jobs in the Philippines. This motivates me to want to finish school.

Tevin: Who are some of your mentors that really supported you in the process?

Mary: Hmm… I would say the staff in the library at my high school (Tyee High School), people at my church, Airport Jobs staff, and my father. Even though he does not live with me, he has been a great support system.

Tevin: Is there anything else you would like to share that comes to mind?

Mary: More advice that I would like to pass on would be to be strong for whatever happens. Things will always get done. Everything is about experience.