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:
Yash Jain (he/him)
Blacksburg, (Virginia Tech)
Microsoft Student Partner since his sophomore year
What year are you in your education?
I’m supposed to be a junior, but I’m graduating a year early. So I’m a senior. I’m doing an accelerated master’s, so I’m also in my first year of a computer science master’s program. My undergrad is also in computer science.
What do you get most out of the Microsoft Student Partner program?
I like being able to see the creative ideas that come out of it. My school doesn’t push us to solve real-life problems, as much as it teaches us coding, so being able to access the creative part is quite rewarding. Also, I get to see ideas that I could never think of in a million years.
What non-Microsoft Student Partner organizations are you part of?
I started in the Virginia Tech hacker community my freshman year. I love hackathons and go to as many as I can each year, which means about five or six a year. I love it because there’s a drive that comes when you get to create something from scratch in 24 or 36 hours, and the people you’re around are all really passionate about creating cool things. We learn basics in class, but at a hackathon, you push the boundaries.
What’s the best idea you’ve ever had?
Being on public transportation at least twice a week, I would see an individual who would wave hi, but wouldn’t talk. I tried to talk to him, and it turned out he couldn’t speak. He used sign language. So one of the ideas I had was to write a text to show sign language in real time on a phone.
What do you eat to celebrate when you’ve finished a great piece of work?
For a healthy option: Tropical Smoothie Cafe hummus wrap.
For an unhealthy option: Taco Bell.
Do you think the Student Partner program events you planned helped develop a stronger community?
Definitely. I’m now really good friends with the people who came to the events in the beginning. When I first started planning them, I had seniors come and now I have freshmen. It’s great to see them getting inspired and growing.
I love doing these events and seeing the ideas people come up with. For me, it’s more about technology knowledge and development than just a pretty user interface. I want to see what their app can do and who can create a new and unique idea while they’re tackling whatever problems they might have in their own lives.
How do you rejuvenate or blow off steam?
I put on my music or TED Radio Hour, and I run. Virginia Tech has great trails.
What’s your favorite music to listen to while you’re coding?
“Paris” by Magic Man. Or EDM.
What do you like most about studying to be an engineer?
Honestly, the Student Partner program has been one of the best programs I’ve ever been involved in. It has opened up so much opportunity for me, and I can’t say enough good things about it.
My advice to students: keep coming up with unique ideas. That's how we’re going to make a difference in the world.
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