Networking is, for many people, an intimidating yet necessary part of adult life. But at an Aim High event in August, networking looked more like a combination of speed dating and Shark Tank. Once our summer program concluded, twenty high school-aged teaching assistants (TAs) visited the Salesforce headquarters for a hands-on professional learning experience. The teaching assistants spent the day talking with engineers, college-aged interns, and members of the sales and marketing teams to learn about the variety of career options available at a fast growing company like Salesforce. This visit is one of many ways Aim High is offering learning opportunities to our young teachers beyond the classroom. “We really want to show our teaching assistants that Aim High is not only a summer job, but a resource, too,” said Maya Nieto, our Alumni and Student Engagement Manager who helped to organize the event. “We care about fostering their development outside of the classroom.” In small groups, our TAs were able to ask the Salesforce volunteers specific questions about their college choices and chosen career paths. “I enjoyed talking with the [college-aged] interns because their age and experience is really relatable,” added Jacob, a TA from our Excelsior campus. After the small group discussions, Salesforce volunteers brought a ‘real life’ work challenge to the table: develop a marketing strategy for the SF SPCA. Our TAs were tasked with generating a compelling sales pitch that would encourage people to support the organization and adopt pets. “The marketing challenge allowed us to build our skills and gain new ones, like creating pitches and team brainstorming,” said Marisa, a TA at our Ingleside campus. One group planned a fashion show for pet clothing while another group introduced “De-stress Day,” an on-demand service delivering puppies and kittens to offices and workplaces for one day. Salesforce volunteers judged the results and chose a a first-place concept. The winner was a clever app whose concept was simple: users upload a picture onto the app, which then pairs them with a “look alike” cat or dog that is up for adoption. Our TAs found the event to be a valuable learning experience. Throughout the day, they were able to practice the skills that make them successful both inside and outside of the classroom: collaboration, task analysis, teamwork, creativity, and time-management.
Do you know any exceptional high school or college students looking for a summer job that makes a difference? Applications to become a teaching assistant or teaching intern at Aim High open January 1! Check online for more details.