In this series, we talk with Microsoft Student Partners from all over the world so we can get to know this robust community of big thinkers and bold doers who are working to have a social impact through tech. Student Partners are a global group of on-campus ambassadors who are eager to help other students, lead in their local tech community, and develop technical and career skills for the future.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
Today we’re talking with:
Althani Miguel Leonida
Lyceum of the Philippines University
Microsoft Student Partner since this year
Where are you from originally, and where do you live now?
I’m from the province of Bohol from the Philippines. It’s famous for the beautiful beaches on Panglao Island and the Chocolate Hills. But right now, I’m studying in Manila for my college degree.
How did you find out about the Microsoft Student Partner program?
I found out about it from one of the seniors of LPMSC (Lyceum of the Philippines Microsoft Student Community). One of the officers said I should apply. So last semester another officer and I applied, and we both got accepted.
What events have you put together as a Microsoft Student Partner?
Our first event was our general assembly, where we invited four speakers from Microsoft Philippines. We've also had a workshop for senior high school students so they can maximize Microsoft Word to write a paper for their research class.
Another workshop I organized was around the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification. Last year I earned my certification in Microsoft Word, and I was tapped by my advisor to have a review session for students so that they could get some insights from me and pass the MOS examination with flying colors. And I think about 90 percent of the population in the senior high school passed the MOS exam. I’m really happy about that because I’ve been able to be a part of their growth.
Are these events that you are organizing yourself? With other groups?
If I were to work alone, these events wouldn’t be possible. But because of the partnerships that we have with the other departments, these events can happen.
In our school we actually have the very first non-IT Microsoft Student Partner, named Kyla Magan. She's studying for a Bachelor of Science degree in international tourism and hospitality management, and helps us with organizing events.
What do you get out of putting on these events?
The resources of a Student Partner are not just limited to the software, developmental tools, and product keys given to us, but include the help of other Student Partners all over the world. We’re actually planning a competition, and that’s going to be really great.
What’s one thing other students should know about being a Microsoft Student Partner?
Being a Student Partner also means being a mentor. Student Partners are like mediums between their community and Microsoft itself. The company’s vision is to empower every person on the planet to achieve more, and we are the bearer of those visions in our respected community. We are becoming teachers to our community.
But the best thing is, we’re not just teaching youths, but we’re also teaching mentors and teachers. My favorite experience so far as a Student Partner was being tapped by our university to teach Microsoft Word to indigenous communities in our country. The best feeling was when the teachers and the indigenous people told me their day was very productive.
I never imagined in my wildest dreams I would teach teachers, and I think that will be a strong enticement for other students. Not all students are given the privilege to teach.
What’s your favorite music to listen to while you’re coding?
It depends on my mood. Sometimes I listen to Adele and Sam Smith. I’m into ballads.
What do you do to celebrate when you’ve finished a great piece of work?
I was raised by my mother to be practical, so even when there’s graduation, we don’t really celebrate. When I become a young adult, I carried that kind of attitude, but if there’s something that should be celebrated, I think I just sleep. That’s the greatest celebration that I can give to myself, to rest.
When you think about your future, what do you want to do with your software engineering training?
For me, this journey of taking computer science is just a steppingstone because I really want to become an ambassador or a lawyer. In being a Microsoft Student Partner, I have learned that there are Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) who act as the ambassadors of Microsoft and in different communities.
Is there anything else that you would want potential Microsoft Student Partners to know?
To make a successful event, don’t be shy on asking for help from advisors, alumni, and professors. When my term started as the president of the Microsoft student community, I had no idea on how to host an event. Like them, I was also a wallflower. But because of my seniors, I have become who I am now.
Sometimes, I am this one-man army who wants to do all the work, but that attitude gradually faded because a lonely man can never end what has been started. I never forget where I came from. Ever since I’ve started, I’ve never stopped appreciating and asking for help for those people coming up behind me.
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