Alumni Spotlight : Osman Azami, Class of 2014

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What are you currently doing (career-wise) and how do you connect it to you experience at Penn?

After graduating, I spent three years teaching high school math in Dallas, TX, as part of Teach for America. The experience--albeit certainly challenging--was incredibly rewarding as I built meaningful relationships that last to this day. I am happy to say our students made incredible strides in SAT and AP scores that opened a whole new set of opportunities for them.

I'm now back on-campus pursuing an MBA and hope to continue to impact the education space but on a broader scale. Teachers are leaving the classroom at staggering rates. I believe part of the reason is they are overburdended creating lessons that ultimately fail to engage all learners. Making the process of creating aligned, engaging, and personalized content through the aid of technology can be a big part of the solution to retaining teachers and making education more equitable. 

How were you connected to Civic House while at Penn?

My most significant involvement during my time at Penn was within the West Philadelphia Tutoring Project (WPTP). I served as a tutor since freshmen year and then later as an executive board member. I took away two key lessons from my participation in WPTP. First, the importance of building deep reIationships and second, the ability to break down a topic and ask guiding questions. We were extremely lucky to count on the support of the incredible staff there; they were pivotal in making sure the organization functioned optimally and that we were each developing as student leaders. Together we were able to make positive changes that are still in effect today.

How do you remain involved with social justice/community engagement in your daily life?

Staying an informed community member and letting your voice be heard on a local level is very impactful. As an educator, I believe youth need advocates and that school boards and city council members are necessary stakeholders that we must tap into so youth are continually supported in their education. 

As a Wharton MBA, I am also part of Community Consultants where we are helping local non-profits on strategy and management issues while collaborating with experts here at Penn.

What was something meaningful about your time with Civic House?

Civic House provided a space to connect with other civic-minded students. I remember developing lasting relationships there that influenced my decision to join Teach for America.

Do you have any advice for undergraduates?

Penn is a massive place. Although its size can feel daunting, use it to your advantage. People at Penn want to help and get to know you. Be intentional about making connections with professors and students outside your traditional scope.