#Avanade20Years: Avanade STEM scholarship program changing lives
- Posted on December 12, 2019
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
As part of our 20th anniversary celebration, we’re taking a look at some of the programs and activities throughout the years that have made us who we are. This week: Avanade’s STEM scholarship program.
When Avanade introduced our original 15 for 15 STEM scholarship program in 2015, it was a perfect fit for the people of Avanade. As digital innovators, we were inspired to make a genuine human impact on the lives of young women, ensuring their access to STEM educations and empowering them by investing in their future.
We offered 15 full scholarships – in celebration of our 15th anniversary – to give young women, often coming from less advantaged families and many the first in their family to attend university, the opportunity to study science, technology, engineering or math at a number of top institutions around the world. In addition to full financial support, we also offered internships and mentoring.
While we knew at the outset that we had the framework of a powerful program, few could have predicted how successful it would be over time.
The program, now named the Avanade STEM Scholarship, has become one of Avanade’s flagship corporate citizenship initiatives. From its beginning five years ago, Avanade has gone on to support 73 young women and build strong partnerships with 12 top universities in nine countries, with plans to add university partners in Canada and Australia this year.
But the program did not end at graduation, as we originally expected. As our first group of scholars began to graduate in 2018, they were encouraged to consider Avanade as an employer. To date, four of our STEM Scholarship alumnae have joined the company.
When our CEO, Pam Maynard, spoke with the young women who joined us, they told her that the mentoring component of the program and the strong relationship they built with their mentors were key factors in their decision to join Avanade. They said they came to see Avanade as more than the corporation paying for their studies, it was a group of individuals who truly cared about them and were prepared to set aside time to help them navigate the challenges and decisions that come with starting a career. Pam was so inspired that she decided to become a mentor and we have extended our mentoring program at a number of our partner universities to allow other Avanade STEM professionals to serve as mentors, as well.
For example, at the University of Washington Bothell, we currently have seven STEM scholars and mentor an additional 19 STEM students. In addition to one-on-one mentoring sessions, the students and their mentors come together from time to time so the students can meet others studying for or working in STEM careers. Program participants are invited to our Seattle office to attend events, such as our International Women’s Day celebrations, and get the opportunity to network with our executives, who make campus visits to offer insights and answer questions.The Avanade STEM Scholarship program has developed into much more than we originally envisioned, and we at Avanade are proud to know we are helping develop and inspire the next generation of technologists.