When Microsoft recently announced that it is going through a transformational change to become the world’s leading “Cloud First, Mobile First” company, it launched an international search for the best and brightest young talent. Among these people is 20-year-old Royal Palm Beach resident Tiffany Ceasor.
The company created a prestigious intern program only open to exceptional graduate students who are also mathematical virtuosos. Ceasor was recently accepted into the program and will be spending her summers at Microsoft’s Seattle headquarters before hopefully working for the tech giant full time.
Having earned her bachelor’s degree years early, and presently enrolled as a graduate student in computer science at Florida Atlantic University, Ceasor said she cannot be more pleased because the internship brings her one step closer to her goal of harnessing technology to lessen the plight of the poor in third world countries.
“When I was younger, I went on a mission trip to Africa and saw the dirt-poor conditions in schools lacking equipment and sometimes even electricity,” Ceasor recalled. “One female student I met told me I was so lucky to be born in a country like the U.S., which offers such great educational opportunities. From that moment on, I have never taken my education for granted again.”
Ceasor also credits a middle school teacher who helped her fall in love with mathematics.
Former Crestwood Middle School math teacher Cory Gorman said his teaching style was all about making mathematics fun. “I realized right away that Tiffany was special,” Gorman said. “She had a drive and a hunger to learn that is unusual in students at that age.”
Gorman was quick to note Ceasor’s abilities in math and believes that his teaching style worked well for her.
“There was an advanced math teacher at Crestwood at the time who gave students 2 to 3 hours of math homework every day, which made some kids miserable,” Gorman said. “My style was to creatively look for ways to teach not only math, but more importantly, a lifelong love of math.”
Ceasor said that Gorman’s teaching style of making math fun was instrumental in her success.
Althea Ceasor, who lives in Madison Green, also thinks her daughter is amazing.
“Tiffany is an inspiration to everyone,” said the mother of three. “She’s the type of person who encourages people to follow their dreams, and she leads by example.”
Older sister Taylor, 22, is studying medicine, while 18-year-old brother Mario is a junior at FAU in an accelerated management information systems (MIS) program.
“We tried to teach two important concepts: the value of centering prayer and how to not be selfish,” their mother said of her parenting style.
Palm Beach County School Board Member Marcia Andrews is another one of Ceasor’s supporters.
“Tiffany is a wonderful scholar who has made some great achievements, but the thing I admire most about her is her selfless commitment to serving others,” Andrews said, adding that she has worked with Ceasor as volunteers for some of the same nonprofit organizations. “Tiffany is a beacon of light. She is centered. People can tell that there is something so wonderfully special about this lovely young woman.”
Ceasor is the first FAU MIS graduate student and first Royal Palm Beach native chosen for Microsoft’s International Business Data intern program. She competed against thousands of the top graduates of universities around the world. The position is highly technical and requires an extraordinary grasp of complicated mathematics and advanced analytics.
Ceasor asked to be photographed in what she calls “my sacred place,” which is a natural area near Madison Green where she sometimes centers herself.
After the internship and landing advanced degrees, she plans an international career with Microsoft helping find ways that technology and big data can make a difference in the world.
“I felt so badly about leaving behind those poor friends in Africa, and now I suspect that God is arranging for me to return there someday, not alone, but perhaps bringing Microsoft along with me to help,” Ceasor said.