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This is the next segment of our blog series highlighting Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors who achieved the Gold milestone and have recently graduated from university. Each blog in the series features a different student and highlights their accomplishments, their experience with the Student Ambassadors community, and what they’re up to now.
Today we meet Bethany Jepchumba, who is from Kenya and recently graduated from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology with a degree in Business Innovation Technology Management.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
When you joined the Student Ambassador community in September of 2019, did you have specific goals you wanted to reach, such as a particular skill or quality? What were they? Did you achieve them? How has the community impacted you in general?
Coming from a non-technical background, tech communities had a profound impact on my journey in tech. I wanted to spread the technology gospel to all and have more learners join in, so I joined the Student Ambassador community,
As a Student Ambassador, what was the biggest accomplishment that you’re the proudest of and why?
I managed a Data Science and Artificial Intelligence community in Kenya with a co-lead in 2020 where we conducted 10+ events created to skill up beginners. We had over 500 learners in three months during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, I was an organizer of the first Microsoft Student Summit Africa in 2020. The event was a collaboration between Student Ambassadors from Kenya and Nigeria and received a total of 3,000+ RSVPs. There were 3 different tracks: Artificial Intelligence, Power Platform, Web Development. My main role was leading the team in designing the conference, moderating sessions, and preparing the speakers. I also stepped in to do an Introduction to DevOps session without any prior preparation when our speaker could not join the call.
I also led a team of five to win a five-week Game of Learners hackathon that had 60 participants. Winners were awarded one-on-one mentorship sessions with different industry professionals, including one with Microsoft’s Donovan Brown. I also delivered a workshop to 100+ on Manipulating and Cleaning Data to the Microsoft Reactor Community.
What are you doing now that you’ve graduated?
My journey in the Student Ambassador community pushed me to empower the next generation of techies. Currently, I am a Program Coordinator Associate at Andela, a unicorn that matches global companies to remote talent in Africa. I enable the skilling of over 50,000 learners through partnerships with global companies such as Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, and Facebook.
If you could redo your time as a Student Ambassador, is there anything you would have done differently?
In the program, I did my best, and I gave my best. If I could go back, I would do more of what I was able to accomplish, and I’d collaborate and speak up more.
If you were to describe the community to a student who is interested in joining, what would you say about it to convince them to join?
There is a lot of swag, free azure credits, and certification vouchers for Student Ambassadors. You will get to make long-time friends and have access to Microsoft Cloud Advocates. The opportunities in the program are limitless, and you get to craft your own experience.
What advice would you give to new Student Ambassadors?
Collaborate. There is power in working together. If you have an idea for an event or engagement you want to organize, include others--the more the merrier. Make Microsoft Teams your friend, learn how to navigate it, and you will not miss any important collaborations. Lastly, ensure you have at least one Student Ambassador engagement per month. Whether it is publishing a blog, speaking at an event, hosting your own sessions, or doing a certification. Ensure that you constantly take advantage of the program and all it offers. Remember, all the efforts you put in the program will be rewarded in equal measure.
Do you have a motto in life, a guiding principle that drives you?
“Do what you love, love what you do, and with all your heart give yourself to it.”
- Roy T. Bennett
What is one random fact few people know about you?
One thing in my bucket list is to visit an upside-down house, either in South Africa or the UK. I still cannot believe they exist.
Good luck to you in the future, Bethany!