This is the next segment of our blog series highlighting Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors who achieved the Gold milestone and have recently graduated from university. Each blog in the series features a different student and highlights their accomplishments, their experience with the Student Ambassadors community, and what they’re up to now.
Today we meetJulia Muiruriwho is from Kenya and recently graduated from the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in information technology.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
When you joined the Student Ambassador community in 2019, did you have specific goals you wanted to reach, such as a particular skill or quality?
I have always looked for ways in which I can impact a community and share the knowledge I pick up. My mentor recommended the Student Ambassadors community because he understood my values and goals and knew that this was the best program through which to achieve them. After getting in, I realized that it really was what I needed to make an impact on as many lives as possible.
Before joining the program, I was also struggling to realize where my passion lies and the options I had in the tech space, so I joined with the hope that I would understand the diverse tech fields and pursue that which I was meant for. Thanks to this amazing community, I created a career path which I devote to improving daily.
What were the accomplishments that you’re the proudest of and why?
I joined the university to pursue IT. It took me a while to understand and navigate the industry since it was completely new to me, but thanks to the Student Ambassadors community, I realized that there was so much in store for me that resonated with my passion and personality. But then I started to wonder: “What if there is someone out there struggling to make career decisions? What if there is someone out there not sure about what the IT and CS industry has to offer and the opportunities for them?” So, I created the Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program to help. Its mission is to create a space for Student Ambassadors to share their experiences, resources, learning, and opportunities with community members across the country and globe. The program launched in September 2021 and has 93 mentees and 28 mentors so far.
Another accomplishment was participating in the Imagine Cup competition in 2020, an experience that was life-transforming for me. With the mentorship and support that was part of the competition, my team was able to transition our project WildEye_KE into a startup Rhions Lab, where our solution uses IoT and AI to solve issues surrounding human/wildlife conflict, illegal wildlife trafficking, and poaching.
I also launched an Imagine Cup community in Kenya where we evangelize Imagine Cup through events and blogs and coach teams interested in submitting projects for the competition. We have published a total of 10 blogs and are currently planning a collaboration with the Microsoft Africa Development Center (ADC) in Nairobi to nurture high school students and prepare them for Imagine Cup Junior.
What’s next for you now that you’ve graduated?
I am currently at the Microsoft Africa Development Center for my co-op, and it is my hope to secure a full-time position at Microsoft to continue impacting society on a full-time basis.
If you could redo your time with the Student Ambassadors community, is there anything you would have done differently?
With my rather reserved personality, at the beginning, I was quite shy in interacting with the others. I think to some extent that made me miss out on some learning and growth opportunities, so if I were to go back in time, I would have started my active contribution and leverage the Student Ambassador benefits to the maximum, since there is quite a lot we can do for our community using those benefits.
If you were to describe the community to a student who is interested in joining, what would you say about it to convince him or her to join?
I had a lot of self-doubt and dealt with the highest case of imposter syndrome before and immediately after joining the program, but the Student Ambassadors in my community helped build my confidence, discover my passion, and pursue it. In addition to growing as an individual, the program has given me an opportunity to bring positive impact in my local community and stretch out to other parts of the world as well. If you are like me, I guarantee that this program is meant for you and by the time you graduate from it, you will be closer to your career goals and be a change agent in the world.
What advice would you give to new Student Ambassadors?
Network and take time to learn about what other people are doing, because together we help each other grow in our diverse areas of interests. Shake off any tiny bit of fear because it will only block you from all the opportunities that wait for you in the community. Share your takeaways and experiences with the world as you also look to learn from everyone else. It is an amazing opportunity to share with the world around you.
Do you have a motto in life, a guiding principle that drives you?
I have two:
Learn with the intention to teach.
Whatever I engage in, I leave things better than I found them
What is one random fact few people know about you?
I love art. You will usually find me at an empty desk with pencil and paper and loud music on--I would like to fill my house with my pieces of artwork.