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 Princess Oviawe who is from Nigeria and recently graduated from the University of Benin in the state of Edo with a degree in computer science.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
When you became a Student Ambassador in January 2020, 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 first joined, I had some specific goals in mind, namely:
Improve my public speaking skills
Learn more about mixed reality technology and design
Connect and meet other students to share ideas
So far I have been able to achieve these goals and even more. The community really helped me boost my speaking confidence. I have been able to organize, host and speak at events on mixed reality technology with other Student Ambassadors.
In general, I have grown to be a better person, I have learnt how to receive feedback, create accessible content, and make lasting friendships.
What is the biggest accomplishment that you’re the proudest of and why?
I have a lot of proud moments but one accomplishment that I am proudest of is building Elly, a browser extension that helps make content on social media more accessible by autogenerating alt captions. Elly started from a social impact idea hackathon which was held in September 2020 within the Student Ambassador social league [Editor’s note: Leagues are groups of Student Ambassadors who are excited to apply their skills and make progress on a specific meaningful issue or technology like accessibility, healthcare, or AI.] The Elly idea was born because other amazing Student Ambassadors and I were passionate about digital accessibility and genuinely wanted to learn more about it, so we collaborated and used the hackathon to not only learn more about accessibility but also to build a solution.
We decided to continue developing Elly even after the hackathon and so far, we have successfully published it to the Chrome web store and to Edge Add-ons. We are getting a lot of help from mentors in the community, and for that, I am super grateful. We have been able to raise more awareness of digital accessibility by speaking at events and by posting tips (we call them EllyTips) weekly on Twitter and videos on our YouTube channel. Elly is currently in Beta and you can sign up to get early access on www.joinelly.com.
What are you doing now that you’ve graduated?
Currently, I am working with the Elly team to raise more awareness on digital accessibility as well as improve the Elly browser extension. Also, I am working as a product designer at BezoMoney, a fin-tech company currently based in Ghana that builds and provides financial services and products for the young and unbanked. I got the opportunity to work here by reaching out to a former Student Ambassador who is now a CTO at the company. He helped me get an interview and the job because of how well we had interacted in the Student Ambassador community and because he was impressed with the skills I had learnt. Amazing!
If you could go back in time and redo your time with the Student Ambassadors community, is there anything you would have done differently?
I would have organized and hosted more events than I did. I would also have been more active in the community on Microsoft Teams so I could engage more [Editor’s note: this is the platform through which the Student Ambassadors and the program management team communicate and collaborate].
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?
Joining the Student Ambassador community is an opportunity to learn more technologies and start building your career in tech even as a student. It is an excellent way to learn soft skills that would be highly beneficial to upskilling yourself for the future.
What advice would you give to new Student Ambassadors?
As a new Student Ambassador, I will advise you to engage more with other Student Ambassadors on Teams, join leagues, and take part in community hackathons and events. Make use of the Azure credits and other subscriptions to create amazing projects.
Do you have a motto in life, a guiding principle that drives you?
Every new day is an opportunity to grow and be world-class.
What is one random fact few people know about you?
I love animated movies. I not only watch; I learn the lines and memorize all the songs :smiling_face_with_smiling_eyes:. You can find me randomly making puns, and quoting lines and jokes from animated movies. One of my all-time favorite animated movie is Mulan. I really love the movie because it showed how brave Mulan was in helping her father by going to war in his place and the funny and wonderful experiences she had while at war. Also, the soundtrack is amazing!
Good luck to you, Princess, in all your future endeavors!