Thursday , January 13 2022

Microsoft Launches “You Can Make a Difference 2”

You’re young. You’re passionate. You know technology (and stuff).

Microsoft Corp. has launched its second annual You Can Make a Difference scholarship program this week, which challenges secondary school students around the world to design technology-based projects to benefit charitable organizations. Previously available only to students from the United States and Canada, the program has been expanded this year to include high-school and secondary-school students around the world.

“You Can Make a Difference is a fantastic program that encourages students to use their technological skills to make a positive impact on society. We’re very grateful to be a part of this wonderful opportunity,” said Karen Blevins, a teacher at Grayson County Career & Technical Education Center, whose student Justin Bevins won one of the 10 scholarships last year with his idea to create a database for an annual auction benefiting the local chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

“Being in a small rural county, we feel fortunate to be the recipients of Microsoft’s generous support, and it was really a treat for us to work with an industry leader like Microsoft.”

The You Can Make a Difference scholarship will award a total of $50,000 in grants to 10 students — five male and five female — who create the best proposal for a software project designed to benefit a charitable organization.

Winners will receive a personal scholarship of $2,500, as well as a budget of up to $1,500 to implement the proposed project. A $1,000 technology grant also will be awarded to each winning student’s school. In addition, the 10 finalists will be paired with a mentor from Microsoft to help them implement their project. Each student who submits a proposal will receive a free copy of Microsoft’s Visual Studio .NET 2003 Academic development tool.

Entry proposals in English can be submitted via, Microsoft’s online community for technology students. The deadline for entries is April 30. Students can submit their materials in Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian or Spanish by visiting one of the localized versions of theSpoke. Judging will occur May 1–15, and winners will be announced in mid- to late May.

The 10 winning projects will be selected on the basis of:

• the potential positive impact of the project as acknowledged by the selected charity (20%)
• the letter of recommendation from the faculty advisor communicates commitment to the student and project (20%)
• the creativity of the proposed project (20%)
• the quality and accuracy of the specification (including budget) (20%)
• the student’s personal statement (20%)

Geek on, and good luck.

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Tw[email protected],, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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