This series highlights Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors who achieved the highest milestone of Gold and have recently graduated from university. Each blog features a different student and highlights their accomplishments, their experience with the Student Ambassadors community, and what they’re up to now.
Today we’d like to introduce Pier Paolo Ippolito, who is from the United Kingdom and graduated this past winter with a Master’s in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Southampton.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
When you became a Student Ambassador in the summer of 2019, did you have specific goals you wanted to reach? What were they, and did you achieve them? How has being a part of this community impacted you?
When I joined between the end of my undergraduate degree and the start of my Master’s degree, my main objective was to learn as much as possible given all the free learning resources we were provided and the internal community support. Since then, being part of the program has enabled me to learn more about Azure and AI technologies and to make connections all around the world.
The program not only was a great opportunity for me to learn more about Microsoft technologies, but it helped me share them with other university students such as in the University of Southampton AI society and through online publications (Medium, freeCodeCamp). As part of my technical writing experience, I have so far got more than 800K views worldwide for my articles, and some of them have also been translated in other languages. Following this initiative, I also decided to start my personal website in order to make it easier for users to access not just my blogs but also other forms of projects and code.
What was the one accomplishment that you’re the proudest of and why?
Thanks to all the support provided, it was possible for me to organize different in-person events such as an “Introduction to AI-powered Microsoft Tools”, but the community event I enjoyed organizing the most was the “Microsoft AI in Gaming” challenge. I collaborated with various members of AI Gaming and with the University of Southampton AI Society to produce this event that consisted of first running a workshop showcasing Microsoft Azure and AI Cognitive Services, and then a challenge of 4-5 hours to let each participant create an Azure Bot solve a Match game. Finally, each bot created by the participants were entered in a virtual tournament to determine the winner.
Another accomplishment I have been really proud of as a Student Ambassador was to be able to reach the final Gold milestone, as it demonstrates that I provided a tangible contribution to the community.
What are you currently doing now that you’ve graduated?
I am currently working as a Data Scientist for the SAS Institute in the UK & Ireland. SAS is an analytics company with more than 40 years of experience in this field, specialized in providing statistics and AI solutions. Thanks to the partnership between SAS and Microsoft Azure, I am currently helping the UK&I team to create enablement material within the company about the Azure & SAS integration.
If you could go back in time and redo your time with the Student Ambassador community, is there anything you would have done differently?
I would have probably tried to organize more cross-university events at the end of 2019 since there were different opportunities with universities such as University College London and Oxford Brookes University. Unfortunately, because of COVID, this hasn’t been possible anymore from 2020 onwards.
If you were to talk to a student who's interested in joining the Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors community, what would you say to convince them to join?
This program has been designed in order to promote awareness of Microsoft technologies across universities. Fortunately, these are very broad! By registering to the program you could be able to learn about different fields such as Web/Database development, Cybersecurity, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, DevOps, Cloud, etc...
Additionally, since this is a global initiative, you will also be able to learn together with other students all around the world and share what you learned with your local communities.
What advice would you give to new Student Ambassadors?
My only advice to new participants would be to not be shy, to try to make the most out of the learning resources provided as part of the program, and to reach out to all the other Ambassadors present in your area in order to organize events and activities together.
Do you have a quote or a guiding principle that drives you?
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
What is one random fact few people know about you?
Good luck to you, Pier, in all your future endeavors!
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