Content warning: This post discusses mental health issues.
Tell us your name, country, university and degree?
My name is Josh Tillson, I’m a Computer Science and Business major at the University of British Columbia in Canada.
Why did you join the Student Ambassadors community?
I joined to learn more about Microsoft tools and technologies while connecting with other students across the globe studying in similar fields.
What was being a Student Ambassador like?
Both fun and empowering. The program is truly set up in such a way that in order to make the most of it, you need to take initiative and get involved. If you do so, you’ll get exposure to countless incredible opportunities from events where you can learn from experienced students, to certificates, mentorship opportunities, and much more.
Was there a specific experience you had while you were in the program that had a profound impact on you and why? For example – being involved in a Social Impact Project, Networking with a Cloud Advocate or MVP, Mentoring another Student Ambassador?
The Microsoft Technical Resilience Mentoring Program! This initiative was an opportunity to meet and connect with Microsoft professionals and other students to chat about resiliency in tech once a week over a series of weeks. My mentors were amazing and so was our diverse group of students which led to some great thought-provoking discussion. This program was a major factor behind my motivation to work for Microsoft.
Tell us about a technology you had the opportunity to learn during your time as a Student Ambassador? How have the skills you acquired helped you in your post-university journey?
Security, particularly Microsoft’s tools around identity management and threat protection (i.e., Intune, Microsoft Defender, and Sentinel). My experience upskilling in this space helped me secure an internship and then a full-time offer with the Microsoft’s cybersecurity practice here in Canada.
What is something you want all students, globally, to know about the Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador Program?
It’s an amazing program where you can learn, grow your network and give back to your community. It will truly push you to grow as a leader and reach your fullest potential.
What advice would you give to new Student Ambassadors, who are just starting off in the program?
Find an area of interest within the program and get involved with it! Once you’re first accepted into the program, our Teams space can be overwhelming at times with the number of different events, channels and groups. Sift through the information to find an area that interests you most and push yourself to stay consistently involved in that area!
Share a favorite quote with us! It can be from a movie, a song, a book, someone you know personally. Tell us why you chose this. What does it mean for you?
Having grown up in a small town in Northern Ontario, I was surrounded with hockey from a very young age. That’s why I would have to go with the classic Wayne Gretzky quote: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” While this may translate to a “puck hog” in the game itself, it truly has a great deal of importance to our everyday lives. Particularly, I try to embody this quote by continuing to seek out new challenging opportunities where I can learn and grow.
Tell us something interesting about you, about your journey so far.
A few years ago, and struggled with my own mental wellbeing. Through my recovery, I realized the lack of accessible programs for youth struggling with mental health in my hometown and began to organize an event to raise awareness around the issue. With the help of a small committee I formed, we were able to bring together hundreds of individuals and raise over $15,000 to fund the first youth empowerment programs in our community. This important milestone in my life truly helped me learn and grow as both a leader and a team member, pushing me to develop the toolbox of skills which have been integral to my success to date.
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