KIPP Spotlight: Aja Bhooma, Senior at KIPP SF College Prep

Aja is 17 years old and has a résumé that most 10-year-long career professionals would envy. From interning at Old Navy corporate to creating professional-level marketing videos for a national audience for KIPP Foundation, Aja is mature and determined with a clear vision of what he wants for his future and the action steps he needs to take.

Aja moved to San Francisco in August 2020. For most of the schools within the SFUSD system, it was too late to gain admission. Thankfully Aja and his mother learned about KIPP San Francisco College Prep and were admitted. Aja was happy to learn how highly ranked the school was within the city.

Like any new situation, the adjustment was tough at first but with the community-building activities at KIPP SF College Prep, Aja found it easy to make friends and feel like he had a support system. He credits part of his success in school to the culture of “welcomeness” that helped him adjust to a new school. “There’s a culture over here where students will automatically introduce themselves to new people just to make them feel welcome.”

Teachers like Steven Saltzgaber, an economics teacher at KIPP, had a tremendous impact on Aja’s educational journey. Mr. Saltzgaber’s economics class taught Aja how to manage his money and financial literacy. Mr. Salzgaber’s support of Aja both inside and outside of the classroom cultivated his own business mindset. He is Aja’s favorite teacher!

Aja’s love of marketing was sparked in his 10th grade English class where he was assigned a project to create his own commercial. He appreciated that Mr.Olausen guided him in his creative vision. Through this project, he discovered that he enjoyed learning about marketing and its leadership opportunities. Experiences like these are why Aja loves his teachers at KIPP.

At his internship with Old Navy Headquarters. He spearheaded a campaign for International Women’s Day, creating a list of ways the event would be celebrated and online influencers they could leverage. Aja saw his vision for that campaign become a reality.

Aja wants to grow as a person and find his true passion and dedicate himself to it. Aja’s hopes to pursue degrees in social justice and marketing and one day join a top marketing firm and work his way up to a CMO or CEO . “I want to be the person who’s actively changing the work environment and having more people who look like me, who act like me, and who have had the struggles that I have had. By doing this, I want to communicate social justice, and fight for advocacy wherever and however I can”

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