Winning Imagine Cup Software Design Competition 2008 at the national level was a dream come true. Team COSMIC competed against five other teams from other universities in Malaysia, appearing as the champion with our solution for a sustainable environment, Virtual Paper. The prize was no doubt amazing: the golden opportunity to represent Malaysia in the worldwide finals, Imagine Cup 2008 in Paris. Bonjour Paris!
The flight to Paris took us approximately 13 hours but our enthusiasm made the journey felt shorter than the reality. On 3 July 2008, we landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris. As soon as we arrived, we were given a red carpet introduction at the City Hall. The launching event was indeed grand as we saw the best of the best worldwide shaking hands and getting to know each other.
As for the competition, we gave our best shot competing against teams from 60 countries in the first two rounds of the competition. Though we did not make it into the semi-finals, we were glad to be given constructive feedbacks from the judges. We learnt not only to present our application but also essentially to sell our ideas to the judges from different backgrounds. In this clash of the titans, winning is not everything. Most importantly, we have gained international exposure, made many new friends, experienced the unique cultures from all over the world and was bedazzled by the wonders Paris had to offer.
Furthermore, I was honored to be selected as one of the fifteen speakers for the Women in IT event and nominated to join the student panel in the Education Leadership Forum (ELF). As these two events were held on the same day, the time clash allowed me only to voice out my opinions about how technology can help improve education in the ELF, held in front of ministers and ambassadors from all around the globe in UNESCO. There were only four outstanding Imagine Cup participants handpicked to be in the student panel and though I was the only female speaker, my mind was put to ease by the talented host, Anoop Gupta (Corporate Vice President of Unlimited Potential Group) and three other friendly comrades from Ireland, Australia and Pakistan seated beside me. With passion and determination, I shared with the audience my experience with technology as well as my hopes for how future education should look like.
In a nutshell, Imagine Cup 2008 opened our eyes to a world full of possibilities. The entire competition is similar to the Olympics for all the technology students. All I can say is that this is truly one of the best experiences in our lives. We returned to Malaysia with many new friends from all walks of life (Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa, Columbia, Australia, Ireland, Pakistan, China, India and many more), a new perspective on technology and a greater determination to contribute more in making a difference in the world with technology. Of course Paris was an amazing city to explore with its romantic vintage buildings and lighted night views.
All this would not be possible without the help of our Dean from USM School of Computer Sciences, Dr. Rosni Abdullah for providing us with the tablet PC, Dr. Azman Samsudin for lending us his USB digital pen, and Encik Azam Osman for accompanying the team to Paris. Our special thanks to Mr. Ian Su and Mr. Tyson Dowd from Microsoft Malaysia as well as Mr. Roslan Bakri Zakaria from MDeC for their endless support and guidance. Last but not least, we would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to our family, friends and everyone who has made our Imagine Cup 2008 experience a truly unforgettable one!
Representing Malaysia in Imagine Cup 2008 Worldwide