Five female students from Vega – a brand of The Independent Institute of Education (IIEB) – have been chosen to present their ideas at this year’s Microsoft Design Expo, taking place at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington USA.

Students at Vega were challenged to design a user experience prototype that addresses a real-world problem, with Amy Burrow, Madelene Cronje, Luani Matthyser, Sandra Pavic and Keitumetse Pole standing out for their innovative ideas.

“We are grateful and extremely excited that we have been given this opportunity to represent our country,” said Matthyser. 

“As young females, the opportunity to present our ideas on an equal platform to that of the rest of the world inspires us to pioneer change in our industry,” she added.

In keeping with the theme of empathy, the students’ idea incorporates Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 360-degree cameras and other technologies, such as immersive mixed reality technology, to help people experience different cultures and actively engage in events and activities from anywhere in the world.

“We are so proud of Amy, Madelane, Luani, Sandra and Keitumetse, who worked together to come up with an incredibly insightful and well-thought out design solution for a challenge that many people in the world face,” said Shevon Lurie, the Managing Director at Vega.

An all-female group from Vega is heading to the Microsoft Design Expo in Washington. From L to R Madelene Cronje, Keitumetse Pole, Luani Matthyser, Amy Jane Burrow and Sandra Pavic. Picture: Supplied

“One of our biggest priorities is ensuring that the students are exposed to great opportunities outside of the classroom. Careers should begin on campus, not after graduation, and opportunities like these truly help broaden students’ perspectives of industries and prepare them for the complex world of work,” added Lurie.

The Microsoft Design Expo was established to ensure that technology becomes part of curriculum’s at design schools worldwide. More than 50 design schools have already participated since the Expo was established in 2010, with Vega being the first school in Africa to take part.

“The Microsoft Design Expo provides students with a platform to share ideas that will make a big impact on the world around them, encouraging them to think outside of the curriculum to understand how design can make a difference,” said Lillian Barnard, Microsoft South Africa’s Managing Director. 

“It’s also a great stepping-stone for students as it puts them in a position to launch their careers long before they graduate,” concluded Bernard. 

-Adapted from a press release