One Step Closer with Aim High

SRA Scholar Jenny Hoang is a rising college junior at UC Davis, pursuing a major in Psychology and minor in Education. In a recent feature on UC Davis’ First Generation Initiative, Jenny shared her journey as a first-generation college student, how she manages her mental health, and more.

Now, she shares her experience with us as a College Intern at Aim High. For the second summer in a row, Jenny is taking steps toward her dream of becoming a teacher by interning at Aim High, an organization committed to closing the opportunity and achievement gaps in Northern California through summer learning for middle-schoolers from low-income neighborhoods.

See what she’s learned at her internship so far, the important leadership skills she’s gained, and her hopes for the future.

Career Pathways: Past Present, and Future

At Aim High, I am a College Intern. A few things that I have been doing is leading 8th grade math, leading a calligraphy class every Monday, supervising students during lunch, and more! My favorite part of my internship right now is getting to know my students and building a bond strong enough where they feel trust in me to confide in me with whatever is going on in their lives. 

The most surprising part of my internship experience so far is seeing how much my students have changed in the past year. I worked with Aim High last year, and seeing how much my returning students have changed is remarkable. They become more mature and more intelligent each year.  

After graduating, I plan to take steps towards becoming an elementary school teacher. This internship most definitely aligns with my career goals because Aim High gives me an opportunity to gain more teaching experience. I also work with actual teachers, therefore, I learn a lot from them. I learn about how to handle difficult temperaments and how to manage when students are in distress. 

Throughout high school, I had an internship at East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC) for three summers. While I worked there, I gained many leadership and organizational skills. I also learned how to take on many students with ADHD and autism, and how to be patient with the students when they are unable to focus on work. 

On Openness and Exploration

My advice for other students looking for an internship is to make sure you do something that you may not even consider doing in the future. For example, I’ve always wanted to be an elementary school teacher. I worked with elementary school students at EBAYC for three years, and never had I thought I would work with middle schoolers at Aim High. 

I gained so much from doing both. Despite my love for my students and how much fun I had last summer and this summer, I know that middle schoolers are actually not for me, but that is okay. I am glad I still got the opportunity to work with them regardless. It was something different and I really enjoyed doing it. 

Without SRA, I would not have ever heard of Aim High. And without Aim High, I would not have grown as an educator in Oakland. Thanks to Aim High, I learned so much in what it takes to be a teacher. We deal with a lot in the class and also out of the classroom. I learned how to lesson plan and how to improvise when the plan does not work out. I learned way too much to be able to put into words, but this is all thanks to SRA’s support. Thank you SRA!