This series highlights Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors who achieved the Gold milestone 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 Sabiha Shaik, who is from the United Arab Emirates and graduated last September from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, Dubai Campus.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
When you became a Student Ambassador in the Fall of 2018, did you have any specific goals you wanted to reach, like attain a skill or work on a particular quality? What were they, and did being a Student Ambassador help you achieve them?
I wanted to form connections with others who are as passionate about technology as I was, learn about upcoming technologies, and have an opportunity to reach as many people as possible and create a greater impact in my local community. Through the program, I was able to achieve all the above and so much more.
I was able to learn more about two specific areas I wanted to develop myself in--digital accessibility and mobile and web development. Attending weekly office hours, asking questions to Cloud Advocates, and participating in topic-specific hackathons all really helped me push my technical knowledge further. With the resources available to improve soft skills and interacting with other Student Ambassadors, I was able to increase the impact in my community by growing attendance at events.
I met many Student Ambassadors and was able to collaborate with a few along with a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional to start the MSInspir YouTube Channel. Since the channel started in Aug 2019, it has gained 41,789 views and a subscriber count of 1.59K. It includes 114 videos to date consisting of workshops, interviews, podcasts, and quick tips on all aspects related to technology.
Overall, the program was exactly what I needed as a student. It offered me a supportive community where I could be myself, thrive, and work towards building something that was much greater than myself. This community has had a tremendous impact on me, especially during university because I felt a bit left out as I couldn't find others who were as passionate or interested in technology as I was. This community gave me a chance to not only develop technical skills and soft skills but also have connections to cherish even after leaving the program.
You’ve mentioned some of your accomplishments, but what was one of the accomplishments that you're proudest of?
If I had to pick one, it would be speaking at the Student Zone of Microsoft Build 2020 about Microsoft MakeCode Arcade, where I gave a hands-on tutorial introducing programming concepts while creating a simple sprite-based game. Being able to interact and speak to an audience consisting of a mix of young students and new and experienced programmers who were looking to getting started creating games with block coding was truly an amazing experience. Session evaluations showed that 77% of the attendees learned new skills, and 88% were likely to use the skills discussed. It was amazing to learn that the session had such a huge impact, one that I was aiming to create when I joined the program. The session recording was later uploaded to YouTube where it was able to reach many more youths interested in getting started with programming, games, and block coding.
You graduated several months ago. What have you been up to since then?
I joined as a Junior Developer at the Chalhoub Group, the leading partner for luxury across the Middle East for over 60 years. I’m helping to develop the internal learning experience platform that employees use to learn everything from retail, leadership, digital and enabling artsthrough interactive interactions and experiences using code!
I still plan to continue conducting sessions and give back to the community during my free time.
If you could redo your time in the program, is there anything you would have done differently?
I don’t think there is a lot I would have done differently as my time in the program was filled with so many opportunities that I got to experience. I would probably have been a bit more confident and assured that what I'm doing is on the right track and do the thing, no matter how scary it might seem at first!
If you were to describe the Student Ambassadors community to a student who is considering joining, what would you say to convince them to join?
Imagine waking up every day knowing there is a community of people you can share your ideas with, collaborate with and leave a lasting impact on the world. That's the Student Ambassadors program. The opportunities in the program are endless – you get to develop your soft skills, event organization skills, and marketing skills on top of technical skills, and you get to expand your network. It’s a program that provides you a perfect blend of everything you might want to experience as a student.
And what advice would you give to new Student Ambassadors?
You’ll get as much out of the program as much work as you put in it. Seek as many experiences as you can in the program. Any given week there are plenty of things that are happening in the Student Ambassador community. Be active in the program.
Set goals and milestones for yourself in the program and think of how you can work on it by thinking of specific things you can do in the Student Ambassador community to achieve them.
Reach out to others in the program to learn from them and experiment with their tips for your local community. It’s not often that you have access to such a huge network of students from all across the world!
Finally, remember that it’s all about giving back and being proud of what you've accomplished, even if it’s just making that difference for one person in your community.
Do you have a motto in life, a guiding principle that drives you?
Do one thing every day (or week) that scares you! Growth comes from new challenges, and one way to ensure you keep growing is to keep doing things outside your comfort zone.
Lastly, on a lighter note, can you share one random fun fact about you that not many people know?
I enjoy art and painting in my leisure time, specifically sketching and acrylic painting. I was a part of the graphic design club at university where I designed posters for various events.
Thank you, Sabiha, and good luck to you in all your future endeavors! Learn more about the Student Ambassadors community and start your own journey today.
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