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November 30, 2011

Microsoft and Windows Taught Me to Excel at Being Me

Jocelyn Lieppman is a senior at the University of Oregon who has traveled the world, wrestled for high school varsity, and will break out into camp songs on impulse. Originally from Seattle, she grew up in Houston, Texas. She currently works as a Microsoft Windows UCrew Student Representative at U of O. Adventure is in her heart, and as such it no surprise that she is an international studies major who hopes to be paid to travel one day and share her experiences with others.


Recently, I was asked in an interview, what I would consider my greatest strength. After thinking about it, I said my greatest strength is recognizing opportunity and, taking initiative. Taking initiative is a huge factor in my life. I am a very strong believer in being open-minded and not becoming bogged down by rigid plans. The world is too vast, with unknowns and diverse options, for you to know exactly what you want in life. To be cliché, it really is about the journey. Life is about grabbing opportunities and being open-minded when the unexpected is put in front of you. This is how I came to find myself with this fantastic job with Microsoft.

Optimism is the key.

It all started last summer when I decided to find an internship for the school year. I listened to all the career counselors and professors tell me how important it was to have an internship while I was in college. I had the same fears every other college student has: Would I find a job after I graduate from college? What am I going to do with a liberal arts degree in International Studies? (Well, other than find myself a very cute French boyfriend.)

This led me to start checking the university career website each day to see if any interesting jobs were posted online. I was skeptical because most of the internships were unpaid and, it seemed I would be working as free labor, rather than an aspiring intern. But lo and behold I found a posting to be a campus representative for Microsoft.

I figured hundreds of people would apply for a position like that. I could picture the hundreds of other college students, with resumes far superior than my own, turning in impressive applications. I felt like I wouldn’t have a chance. But I played my cards smart.

I followed-up my online application with a quick phone call to the hiring personnel listed on the application. I introduced myself to her and told her how interested I was in the position and, why I felt I would be a great fit. To me, that is what taking initiative is. You aren’t going to get your dream job by working inside the lines. It is about taking that one little extra step that the other guys didn’t. A week later I got a call from my soon-to-be manager, Nick, and two weeks after that I was online participating in my first training session to be a part of the 2011/2012 Windows University Crew.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go:

One afternoon, I opened my weekly training newsletter to read, “Win an all-expense paid trip to the Caribbean with Microsoft! Make a YouTube video explaining why YOU should be the winner of this awesome adventure.” Now those are some words I can sink my teeth into. I am an avid rock climber and adventure-seeker. A trip to the Caribbean for an adventure with Microsoft Windows sounded right up my alley.

I made my video as a tribute to the Rocky training scene. I ran, kicked, jumped, and climbed my way across the University of Oregon campus with my friend, Danny, and his camera in tow. I even had to get the permission from the head of our Student Recreation Center to allow me to film at our rock wall.

My video shows viewers how Bing and Windows Live helped me plan the ultimate vacation. I used:

  • Bing Travel to plan my flights,
  • Bing Shopping to find those perfect souvenirs
  • And I uploaded my training pictures onto SkyDrive to share with all my friends.

I made my video by uploading the footage directly from my digital camera into Windows Live Movie Maker. After that, it was so easy to edit and add special effects to make my video have a professional flair. I uploaded my finished video directly onto YouTube from the Movie Maker.

I used social media and my personal networks to promote the video to a wide audience. I didn’t stop there. I showed the video to all my professors. They were so supportive of me, they sent the video out to their entire class mailing list. Within a few days I had over 300 views. And I won the contest!

If you are interested in checking out my video for yourself, you can see it at

Microsoft Caribbean Adventure, here I come!

Now, in just a few days, I am going to the Caribbean to represent the University of Oregon in St. John, USVI. This is one of the greatest opportunities I have ever had and, I couldn’t be more excited. All of this would never have been possible if I hadn’t taken the extra step that everyone else didn’t.

I have learned how important it is to grab an opportunity when it is right in front of me. Even if the opportunity requires more of myself than I had expected. My openness has allowed me to experience something entirely new and learn more about myself in the process. It taught me that:

  • Life isn’t about making a strict long-term plan
  • But taking each step in stride and,
  • Being open to discovering new skills along the way.

My job with Microsoft is about more than just promoting Microsoft products. Microsoft has given me the chance to just to be myself and develop strengths that I will take with me into my future endeavors.

Bon Voyage!

Jocelyn Lieppman