How Asia Pacific College Utilizes Microsoft 365 During a Global Pandemic
By Abby Gail A. Tiongson
President Rommel Ormita introducing the Microsoft Community among the new members of the organization at their General Assembly last October 5, 2019.
Our lives are an endless sequence of decision making. Should I do this or that? Should I try that or this? In every decision, we would always assess its outcome and choose the one which benefits us the most. But every now and then, we land on a chance to decide on certain options or opportunities with unknown outcomes. Would you take a risk?
Rommel Ormita, an ordinary boy who had no confidence to think that he would be qualified enough to be a student ambassador of one of technology giants of the world, took a leap of faith by applying to be a Student Ambassador of Microsoft in September of 2019. He got promoted to the highest rank in the program: Gold on October 19, 2020. Who would have thought that he would become our country’s first ever student ambassador who would be promoted to Gold in all Asia in just one year?
As an Information Technology (IT) student with Specialization in Mobile and Internet Technologies, Rommel is quite active in extra-curricular activities such as leading the Microsoft Community (MSC) as President, and his role as the Events and Marketing Committee Head of Junior Information Systems Security (JISSA) of APC. He was even one of the SM Foundation Scholars to be recognized as an honor student in 2018, then following up with a win for the “Ram Best Project Award” of IBM Cognitive Build 2019 with his group and their project entitled “Scientia Pontiem System: Skills Bridge”.
Indeed, this humble young man knows how to make himself busy by immersing himself in different environmental opportunities. Looking back at his student ambassador story, he recalled that his beginnings were not as promising as what they had seemed.
“Iniisip ko pa lang subukan [mag-apply], pinapangunahan na ako ng fears and depression.”
The Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador (MLSA) Program, formerly known as the Microsoft Student Partner (MSP), is a program recognized worldwide aimed to equip students with modern knowledge and skills in the field of Computer Science and Information Technologies, as well as seeing its value in the community. These ambassadors are given the opportunity to be personally taught by tech leaders straight from Microsoft and even organize tech-related Microsoft events, seminars, and workshops in their local community.
“The program was introduced while I was a trainee in officer ship for MSC . We were encouraged to apply as a Microsoft Student Partner. Although, walang nag-lakas loob kasi our background in coding was limited. Onti pa lang alam namin.” He added.
Truly, the expectations and pressure of becoming an ambassador of Microsoft, the American multinational technology company, can be difficult to swallow at first. It may be a daunting task to carry the name of this prominent tech giant. It’s a great and honorable opportunity with even greater responsibilities.
Rommel mentioned that his advisers from the Microsoft Community, Ms. Jennifer Arroyo and Jayvee Cabardo, eagerly encouraged and guided him on his first steps on the program as they did before with the previous batches of officers in the community. They were a great help in overcoming his fears and doubts, which led him to submit his application in September of 2019.
Last December 18, 2019, Rommel participated in one of events of Microsoft Philippines entitled: Microsoft Developer Day where he talked to many industry professionals regarding the Microsoft Learn Program.
When asked regarding the final push in taking the leap, he told us: “My co-officers were cheering me on to join. Sila pa nga ang nag-shoot sa akin noon sa library for my video applications. Plus, I have realized that you have to take a risk as well, even though you think that you are not that good. I took the opportunity to apply and after a few months, nakapasa.” He proudly and cheerfully shared.
Rommel thought there was close to nothing to lose; better than not trying at all. Later, he found out that he was the only one who applied that year and got accepted as a bonus. The race had barely begun, and he had already proved to us the wonderful surprises of rising to a challenge.
After being elected as President of the Microsoft Community that same year, he balanced both academics and extra-curricular activities in achieving the three milestones of the MLSA Program. This is the program’s award system which gives the student ambassadors exclusive access to a wide variety of resources such as cloud storage credits for them to learn.
He was promoted as an Alpha Student Ambassador when he completed a learning path about a certain Microsoft Technology from Microsoft Learn in late September. After almost 3 months, he was then promoted as a Beta student ambassador later in November after conducting an event called “Code Filipina”, which focused on empowering public high school girls to code. It was an event to break the stigma that IT related courses were primarily for boys.
“Actually, I really thought na hanggang Beta lang maachieve ko, I expect kasi na kapag Gold Student Ambassador, madami nang nagawa and nakapagsalita ka na sa madaming events.” He commented.
However, advice from his two advisers left a huge impact that pushed him to perform more.
“Nakinig ako sa mga advice nila Sir Jayvee at Miss Jen na once na naging Student Ambassador ka kailangan mo maging “Bibo” which means you have to share everything you did in the student ambassador community para mapansin ka. Kapag tatahimik ka lang di ka mapapansin.”
On a side note, the negative connotation of the word “Bibo” or “Bida-bida” didn’t slow his path as a student ambassador. He believes that you should only focus on the people who truly want to support you and your cause, and to not mind the rest. Eventually, after putting his best foot forward for events he led or organized with the APC community, he became the first Ram promoted as the first Gold Student Ambassador in the Philippines and in Asia among nine other students from different countries for the year 2020.
As an element of comedic irony, he actually failed to attend the worldwide meeting call of student ambassadors after being held up by an academic requirement.
“Bigla na lang nagmessage yung mga co-student ambassadors ko; Kuya Rommel student ambassador ka na pala.”
Asia Pacific College as a Microsoft Showcase School takes pride in the achievements of this exemplary Ram as well as the contribution of the Microsoft Community in helping students find their way around the tools of Microsoft 365, especially in these turbulent times of online class.
This inspiring story of Rommel teaches us the value of testing your limits, leaving your fears behind, and starting something new. The birth of new discoveries and new opportunities came to be because someone took a chance despite knowing the risk of failure.
“Here in APC, we are life-long learners, so don’t limit yourselves. Take the opportunity. Take the risk. Have faith in yourself. You would never know unless you try.” (Rommel Ormita, 2020)
Henceforth, roll the dice, play the card, or apply as a Microsoft student ambassador. Big or small, there is no guarantee that you will win or lose but you will never know unless you try.
If you would like to become a Student Ambassador like Rommel, please feel free to visit https://studentambassadors.microsoft.com/en-US/ for more information.