2015 Microsoft Youthspark Challenge for Change contest winner, Saviour Okusenogu speaks on his motivation, ideas, skills and challenges in this inspiring interview with TechBreeds…He also talked about the activities of the Microsoft Student Partners in Federal University of Technology, Akure.
Could you tell us your name?
My name is Saviour Okusenogu.
Where do you study and what do you major in?
I’m an Electrical and Electronics Engineering student of the prestigious Federal University of Technology, Akure.
How long have you been involved in tech activities on campus?
Since my first year in FUTA.
You won the Microsoft Youthspark Challenge for Change contest in 2015 and represented Africa in the world event at Nicaragua. How did that make you feel?
It was a wonderful and peculiar experience, being the only African to win a global competition. It was pretty overwhelming.
Tell us how you learnt about the program and what motivated you to enter for the challenge.
I hesitantly attended a Students’ Union business event where Sola Amusan was the speaker. Funny, I really didn’t want to go. I was actually cajoled by a friend who assured me that there was going to be refreshments at the event. Sincerely, when Sola said he wanted someone from FUTA, in that room to win the competition, I wasn’t even thinking of myself, I also wanted that person (whoever it might have been) to win. Well after Sola finished speaking and the program was over, I ended up not getting any refreshment but I knew I got something that would last longer; an interest in tech. And that was my motivation.
Was there any time when you felt discouraged during the contest?
Not at all. I had support from friends and family.
Could you tell us more about the idea that qualified you for the world event and the encouragement you have received from Microsoft since then?
BISET Initiative. Become Inspired in Science and Engineering Technology. An Initiative aimed at transforming the static and stereotyped manner of learning science in secondary schools and utilizing specially designed, fun and interactive projects, fairs, and experiments to get students interested in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math). Microsoft ensured my idea left the strata of just being a concept to being a reality.
What are your areas of interest in technology and what are the skills you now possess?
Mobile software. I’m a Net developer. I build apps for the Windows and Windows phone stores.
You are a Microsoft Student Partner. Could you tell us your role as a student partner and how it is helping to motivate other students?
Microsoft Student Partners are always in the forefront of technological happenings and disruptions. Our job is to spark interest in students about tech using Microsoft technologies through our community events, training, hackathon, competitions and meet-ups. Handing them the access to grow their tech skills and become useful in the global techno-sphere.
Please tell us more about the activities of the Microsoft Student Partners on the campus of The Federal University of Technology, Akure.
We hold a weekly meeting on Sundays at GNS building on campus. We engage in school wide tech events, introduce students to Microsoft developer’s technologies, give them access, train them, and watch them rapidly grow their skills.
How are you coping with academics? Has your involvement in all these activities affected your academics in any way?
Yeah definitely. To become distinguished, you must in some way act different. The activities don’t necessarily reduce my focus or grades. It just takes away lots of my time. Most of which I spend learning and growing on my own to always be ahead in the tech world. It is just a thing of what techies have to do to be techies.
What motivated or inspired you to be involved in tech?
Movies I watched, one that showed a hacker in a black hoodie typing away on his PC only to discover after 2 minutes that he had broken into or gotten access to one thing or the other…I thought it was cool and wanted to be able to do the same. Also the excitement of wanting to build games (my first app was a game) helped too. Generally I like delving into cool stuff, and honestly tech is mighty cool.
What are the challenges you are facing and what are you doing to overcome them?
Heavy workload from school, work, MSPs, Church, etc. It’s only a matter of prioritizing and having effective time management skills. Also passion. Passion keeps you going. In all, God’s grace has been available 24/7 for me to run on.
Tell us about competitions and events you have participated in and projects you have done so far.
My team and I represented FUTA in the Imagine Cup 2016 with project Aegle – a hospital post treatment monitoring system. I’ve worked on a couple of projects including Aegle, Anti boredom App, A resistor color code reader, Resona – a private social app for people in relationships, etc. We also have something special coming up for Futarians next semester, y’all should anticipate!
How would you describe the growth of tech and techies in your school?
Oh! It is massively encouraging. So many large tech bodies like Microsoft, Google, Intel, etc. are doing a great job…it’s a wonderful experience to be around such tech lovers.