A woman writing on a white board with a blue marker

“I love helping people who are not served by the education system.”

Maria Mendiburo is a former teacher who’s excited about how technology can spark curiosity in the minds of students. Now, she volunteers to team teach computer science at a small town high school.

My mom was a teacher who taught students who were blind and visually impaired, and as a kid, I spent afternoons in her classroom. That’s where I first began to love helping people who might not be served by the traditional education system.

I now have a PhD in educational policy. I want to figure out how to help all students succeed.

Even before coming to Microsoft, I’d heard about TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools – a Microsoft Philanthropies program that has reached 75,000 students since it was founded 10 years ago by a Microsoft employee). I thought it was a fascinating model because the focus is on partnering with the teacher—which has a long-term outcome if a volunteer can’t be there the next year. And it’s great to be able to serve rural schools whose students need it the most.

So I applied to volunteer, and I’m now going on my second year teaching at a small town high school in Leavenworth, Washington, where I often connect using video conferencing.

I think the best way to express gratitude to those who helped me is to try and do the same for the next generation of learners.—Maria Mendiburo, from West Palm Beach, Florida

A woman smiling while standing in a school library with a shelf of books behind her

“I firmly believe you can’t be what you can’t see.”

Dublin teacher Amanda Jolliffe knows firsthand the life-changing impact of role models. And that’s why she’s dedicated her career to showing students what’s possible for them, too.
a woman looks up at a blue sky with green palm trees in the background

“It’s pretty cool not to feel like I’m just one voice.”

Clara Mansilha and a coworker started an environmental sustainability movement at their local office—inspiring other employees around the world. 
a woman smiling

“On the day I became a citizen, my fifth-grade class joined me at the courthouse.”

While talking to a judge about US history, Gina Kirby found another calling: to support the military community.

“The importance of creating inclusive technologies like the hybrid event room is deeply personal for me.”

During the pandemic, Experience Lead Sascha Ackermann and his team set out to make meetings and events more inclusive, for both remote and on-site teams. The result was Microsoft’s first hybrid event room.