Aim High Career Days are like Take Your Child to Work Day, except bigger and better! Thanks to nearly 20 companies and organizations across the Bay Area, Aim High students got a sneak-peak into the working world and met countless employees with unique and inspiring professional stories. Our students got to see firsthand the amazing opportunities that await them after college. Here are just a few stand-out Career Days: Looking stylish is a full-time job. Just ask Stitch Fix, the online personal styling service that graciously hosted an Aim High Networking Day after our 2018 program concluded. College-aged Aim High alumni and Teaching Interns visited the company HQ. They eagerly practiced building professional rapports and learned about the myriad career opportunities present at the intersection of fashion and technology. Beyond networking, alumni and Teaching Interns toured the bustling office space and chatted with employees. They observed as the fashion team created mood boards and began preparing wardrobe offerings for the next seasons. They also heard from several Stitch Fix employees discuss their nonlinear professional trajectories and how skills can translate from one line of work to another. Two data scientists shared they had pursued PhDs before discovering they wanted to leave academia, while another employee revealed that he’d left a 20-year career in marketing, joined Stitch Fix at an entry-level position, and worked his way up to a leadership role. Networking Days provide college-aged members of our community with opportunities to build professional skills, network, explore career options. “At Stitch Fix, I learned that anyone and everyone can work in the tech industry,” says Leigh Ann Llarena, an Aim High graduate who is currently pursuing a degree in geography at UC Berkeley. “In addition, I learned the power of networking and strengthening relationships wherever I go. It was a rewarding and fulfilling experience.”
Ever heard of human-in-the-loop (HITL) machine learning? It’s okay. Neither had we. That is, not until the AI company Figure Eight hosted Aim High students for a Career Day this summer. At the SoMA-based office students learned about HITL, a branch of AI in which Figure Eight specializes. Employees explained how HITL leverages human and machine intelligence to create machine learning models. Using self-driving cars as an example, they demonstrated how computers identify cars, pedestrians, and signs in a sequence of street images to predict their future changes and movements. When the computer’s prediction is wrong, humans step in to correct the error and incorporate their judgement into the algorithm.
Following the crash course on HITL, students linked arms with Figure Eight engineers to brainstorms ways in which machine learning can be applied to a range of scenarios. One group discussed how it could predict the growth of cancerous cells within an organism, while another group considered how sports teams could use AI software to better train their athletes.
The Career Day convened with an office-wide scavenger hunt and smiles all around. “It was so much fun to host Aim High students,” says Figure Eight VP of Product, Alyssa Simpson who also co-lead’s Aim High’s Young Leaders Board. “Our employees really enjoyed the experience, and the students brought a wonderful energy to the office,” she said.
Aim High students didn’t talk about Model Ts or Focuses when they visited Ford Motor Company for a Career Day this past summer. Instead, they learned about Greenfield Labs, Ford’s new initiative to explore the future of mobility through human-centered design.
The visit to the Palo Alto offices also afforded students the opportunity to discuss college and career trajectories. Employees kicked off the conversation by sharing their own life maps that chronicled defining life milestones and events. Students then followed suit by creating their own life maps. They listed monumental events, like starting school, losing a tooth, while also including future achievements, like graduating college, getting a job, and moving to a new city.
Students had the opportunity to concretely apply what they know about college and career options to their own personal trajectories. As an added bonus, students got to meet an Aim High graduate, Andrea Howard, who is now a Ford employee. “As an Aim High alum, it was great to connect with the eighth graders at Ford career day,” she says. “As a manager at Ford, it’s important that I pay forward the experience to learn about opportunities beyond high school and college.”
Interested in bringing Aim High to your workplace? Contact Mariah Napoles, Community Engagement Manager, at email@example.com.